A few days in New York City is both exhilarating and exhausting. Somehow, the city moves faster than life or humans or technology or vehicles or any individual entity can move on its own - but together time is bent and swayed and sped up and before you know it - it’s time to get back on the plane. It’s like a special magic trick that only the island of Manhattan possesses. But that’s the beauty of it.
Everyone talks about The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or The Met for the hip tourists, like it’s a gift from the cultural gods. And for a borderline cynic like myself, one honestly starts to wonder: how can it be that great? Friends, I’m here to report it’s THAT great. But here’s the deal: skip the European and American paintings. Skip the Musical Instruments and spend your time with the Egyptian artifacts, the Cambodian Rattan pieces by Sopheap Pitch and the newly opened Punk exhibit. These three areas will take at least 2 hours to walk through, but the combination spans so many areas of art and attitude, you’ll walk away feeling invigorated by life.
For a less traditional museum experience, The Art of the Brick at the Discovery Times Square Museum is around through the summer and into the fall. Who knew LEGO could be so art-y? You’ve probably seen some of the designs scrolling through your Tumblr feed, but this is your opportunity to see the sculptures in person.
It’s totally obvious by now and I’m a little embarrassed to even mention it, but in an effort to make this fresh in some way, I’m going to tell you how to see the Book of Mormon with the best seats in the house for $27. Every night there’s rush tickets sold through a lottery, which is a standard practice on Broadway, but what’s not as standard is Standing Room Only tickets, which are available for nearly every showing of Book of Mormon. Just show up two to three hours before the show and get in line by the ticket window. There’s roughly 25 standing spots for sale about an hour before the show and they’re available on a first come, first serve basis. It’s a little weird to stand for 2.5 hours for a show, but you’ll save HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS and the sight lines are brilliant. As a bonus, the team there will also let you enter the rush lottery if you are in line, so there’s a chance you could win rush tickets too.
But Book of Mormon isn’t the only show on Broadway right now with serious geek appeal. Beloved Doctor Who actor Arthur Darvill is currently appearing in Once, a show about two musicians who connect in Dublin. The show won a Tony, so tickets are getting a bit tougher to come by, but they too are offering up a limited number of rush tickets. They offer $35 tickets for Tuesday through Thursday shows and $40 tickets for weekend shows.
Once you’ve done the shows and the museums, you may be tempted to go shopping. Avoid this. I don’t get shopping in NYC. Walking into basically any store in Manhattan literally strikes me as an anxiety attack waiting to happen. But, if you want to have a really unique experience and buy a little swag, look for one of the Kate Spade Saturday Pop Up e-vending machines. These things are SOOOO cool. Basically, it’s a life size, touch screen controlled vending machine, which allows you to shop a human sized touch screen and then guarantees delivery within four hours. There’s four of these suckers in Manhattan located at:
I seriously considered the Sampler Skirt, which looks like a pixel party, but decided not to pay the NYC sales tax. Living in a place where paying sales tax for clothing seems weird makes shopping in other places kind of a bummer, but these bright spots were tempting.
Have we ever talked about Porchetta around here? It’s an obscure Italian pork roast served sandwich style known by Italians, Italian immigrants and their families - but basically no one else. Until now, because clearly you’re all going to go run out and try it. In this case, I’m talking about Porchetta in Alphabet City. They serve it up Roman style, which means large chunks in a warm bun. It’s soft and warm and delicious and most importantly, it’s boyfriend approved.
When the sun sets and a cold drink starts to sound good, get the Waterboo cocktail at the High Point Bistro in Chelsea. It’s like a watermelon slush with an extra bump. If hunger sets in, get the Mini Corn Dogs with Spicy Mustard. A classy trashy dish made polished and perfect.
I rarely, rarely, rarely like weird ice creams. Like, never. But L’Arte Gelato, which has a location in Chelsea and a cart patrolling the Upper East Side serves up some genius combos. The classic varieties like Amaretto and Hazelnut are astoundingly delish as well.
A classic slice of New York pizza has been there and done again and again, so may I suggest an alternative? TheInatteso Pizzabar Casano near Battery Park is serving up a classic Sicilian Pizza with fresh ingredients and soft, delicious cheese.
Since dessert is my favorite thing on earth, I have to mention Crumbs, which can be found all over NYC. Their cookies? Oh lord. Yeah, they’re amazing. Every single one is a sugar bomb of delightful tastes.
I stayed at the Z Hotel New York in Long Island City, which yes, is not actually in Manhattan proper. But after a long day in the city, I actually found the ability to sit on the rooftop bar and stare at the beauty and busyness of it all with the East River separating us, quite refreshing. On the weekends, the rooftop dance party allows you to skip steep cab rides too. AND they have a free bus to the city every day, which drops off at the 59th/Lexington station, which will get you basically anywhere in the city. It’s not a perfect hotel - the staff are a bit off-puttish, but I’m not looking for friends when I travel.
If you want to save money, you can still use Airbnb. While the city is really getting after some landlords, many tenants and landlords still follow the city’s policies to the letter, which benefits everyone.
I hope you liked Being Geek Chic’s first Geek Travel Guide (GTG!… I love acronyms.) In the coming months there will only be more of these fun posts if you like them, because hey, I can’t complain about having fun in lots of great places on this planet.