I want to thank you for coming to visit my home city. It's a truly
amazing place with more than enough activities to keep you occupied
for 3 days. In fact, I'll warn you not to try and see too much in your
3 days here. You don't even have time to scratch the surface of the
city (I've lived here for 10 years and still haven't seen everything),
so it's a good idea to limit yourself to a few neighborhoods and
activities, and get the most you can out of them.
In addition, I'll add that I spent almost 5 months travelling the
world alone. I was on a backpacker circuit, and away for a lot longer
than you, but many of the same rules apply. You run into many
different kinds of people along the way. Some are interested in making
a friend for the day, others aren't. If you're open and friendly with
everybody you meet, you'll frequently find somebody else to chat with,
have a cup of coffee with, etc.
A quick note about being open and friendly: Use common sense with
regards to safety. You can be very friendly while keeping your guard
up at the same time. Believe it or not, New York is one of the safer
cities in the United States, but keep your wits about you and don't
fall for scams. One of the best ways to avoid people asking for
money/donations/surveys/etc. is to simply ignore them and walk the
other way. (Three Card Monte is a scam -- don't even stand around to
I've previously written an itinerary for somebody who will also be in
New York for part of this week. The link to that itinerary is [
http://answers.google.com/answers/main?cmd=threadview&id=233290 ]. I
would recommend browsing through the information I've provided there
and seeing if any of it is applicable to you. Towards the bottom of
that question, journalist-ga and others have also added helpful
comments. Since I wrote the answer, I would also be more than happy to
answer clarification requests here based on the information in that
In regards to your specific requests, here are some ideas for "unusual
walking tours." I have no idea what days of the week you'll be here,
so I'm listing a few that you might be able to enjoy.
If you're a Seinfeld fan (or possibly even if you're not but just want
a quirky tour), consider "Kramer's Reality Tour." It's run by a guy
who claims have been the inspiration for Seinfeld's "Kramer"
character. The website is at [
http://www.kennykramer.com/RealityTourText.html ]. The tour runs on
Saturays at noon, and costs $37.50. Phone number: 1-800-KRAMERS.
According to the website,
"Now the Real Kramer invites you to join him as he takes you on a bus
and video tour of New York City to sights made famous on America's # 1
sitcom. Visit such locations as the real Soup Shop and possibly even
meet Al, The Soup Guy, (he takes great displeasure with being called
the N-Word) visit the office building where Elaine worked for Pendant
Publishing, Kramer had his coffee table book published and George had
sex, on his desk, with the cleaning lady. Of course there will be a
stop for photos at the real Monk's Restaurant where, right next door,
you can get a "hot" Caffe Latte. Along the way Kramer will answer your
questions and share backstage information on how the show was created,
and how many story lines and characters' names came right from real
life. And there's more: exclusive rare video footage, surprise guests
and the most fun you'll ever have on a tour."
The New York Public Library has one hour tours [
http://www2.nypl.org/home/research/calendar/tourschedule.cfm ] from
Tuesday - Saturday at 11:00A and 2:00P. The building is an
architectural landmark at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, so this might be
of special interest to you. Call (212) 930-0501 for more information.
Across the street from the Library, is Grand Central Terminal. It's
another architecturally significant building. Make sure to look up at
the ceiling while you're inside. There's something wrong with the
constellations pictured up there...can you figure out what it is? Free
tours are offered on Wednesday, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
According to [ http://www.grandcentralterminal.com/tours.html ]:
Every Wednesday at 12:30 pm, there is a free tour catering to the
individual run by the Municipal Arts Society. Meet at the information
booth on the Grand Concourse. For more information on this tour call
Every Friday at 12:30pm, there is a free tour catering to the
individual which is run by the Grand Central Partnership. Meet on 42nd
Street in front of the Phillip Morris/ Whitney Museum across the
street from Grand Central. For more information on this tour call
Free Weekend Tours Of Grand Central
July and August - 11:00 AM
Take a wonderful one-hour tour of the countrys most historic train
terminal and learn some of its secrets. Every Saturday and Sunday meet
our tour guide (the one holding the sign) by the information booth in
the middle of Grand Central. Tours are limited to 50 people each."
Finally, I'm going to copy the following information from the answer
I've linked to above about the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. I
personally think this neighborhood is very special, even if it isn't
part of the major tourist route. In addition, from here you're within
walking distance of Chinatown and Little Italy. I'd highly recommend
seeing the museum, even if you don't get to do the walking tour of the
neighborhood offered on weekends:
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum offers walking tours of the
neighborhood (frequently run by local history graduate students).
According to their web site, the tours are offered at 1:00P and 2:30P
on Saturdays and Sundays only. In addition, the Tenement Museums main
feature is an old tenement (apartment building) which was closed for
60 years until researchers went in and explored it in the same way
that archeologists might examine the ruins of Rome. They offer guided
tours of this building where theyve recreated the rooms in the styles
of the many immigrants who passed through it. If you want to get a
taste of how real people lived in old New York, this is the place to
do it. Id recommend scheduling a tour of the building that starts
shortly after your walking tour finishes. Note that you CANNOT enter
the building unless you are on an official guided tour!
Given that youre arriving in peak season and some of these tours are
for a maximum of 15 people, Im quoting the following disclaimer from
their web site:
Do I need reservations?
Public tours: No. However, public tours sell out quickly. You should
purchase advance tickets if you want to ensure space on a tour.
It's web site is [ http://www.tenement.org ], it is located at 90
Orchard Street, and you can contact them at (212) 431-0233.
For "cutting-edge music," you need to head into Greenwich Village and
wander around. You can see a list of some of the most popular places
at [ http://www.weekendevents.com/NEWYORK/nymusic.html ]. I'll
highlight The Bitter End and Bottom Line. (Some friends of mine have
performed at both places in the past, and I really liked the
atmosphere at both venues.) Or, you can just walk around Greenwich
Village and wander in and out of places until you find something you
Contact information and show schedules:
15 W 4th Street (4th & Mercer)
131 West 3rd Street (between 6th Avenue & MacDougal Street)
147 Bleecker Street (between Thompson and LaGuardia)
New York City, NY 10012
Voice: (212) 673-7030
You can find poetry reading listings for New York City at [
http://www.poetz.com/calendar/ ]. There's quite a bit listed for this
If you're looking for comedy, try Stand Up New York or Chicago City
Limits Improv. I'll warn you that Stand Up NY can get very vulgar,
whereas Chicago City Limits will usually be slightly more family
friendly. Oh, and if you do go to Stand Up New York, get to the door
early and say that you're on the "VIP list" as a result of the lottery
drawing that you won. You may get in for free if you're believable.
(Don't worry...EVERYBODY who has ever been there and entered the
drawing has eventually won tickets!)
Stand Up New York
236 West 78th St. (& Broadway),
Chicago City Limits
1105 First Avenue @ 61st Street
212 888 5233
In this answer, I've tried to answer your specific questions about
tours, clubs, readings, and other sociable events. I'm going to link
to my other answer here [
http://answers.google.com/answers/main?cmd=threadview&id=233290 ] as
another resource in case you'd also like ideas for museums, shops,
neighborhoods, and Central Park.
Please ask for clarification if needed. I hope you enjoy New York City
as much as I do!