Teachers' Favourite New York City Spots

Teachers Choices:

Carlos’ Favourite New York Activities

Watch Soccer - I love to watch my team, Liverpool, and other English and International football (soccer) matches on a Saturday or Sunday morning. There are a number of bars in New York showing live soccer, but I usually go to McCormack’s on 3rd Avenue.

Brunch on the East Side - Penelope’s is my favourite brunch place at the weekends. I like to sit at the counter, so I don’t have to wait for a table. It is an unusual (funky) place with a friendly atmosphere. It’s on Lexington Avenue and 30th Street. For a review of Penelopes go to Menu Pages. Florent in the Meatpacking District and The Union Square Coffee shop are also cool brunch spots I like to visit.

Visit a New York beach at Coney Island – New York’s Coney Island is about 45 minutes on the train from Midtown. Coney Island features a beach, an amusement park, and the world famous Nathan’s hot dog stand. All the attractions are open and operating roughly between Easter and Labor Day.

Run with UNAC – Recently I’ve enjoyed running after work with the UN Athletic Club. We meet outside the UNICEF building at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and run for about 6 miles slowly. The people are friendly and run at all levels, so no need to feel worried.

Ice-skate in Central Park or Bryant ParkWollman Rink in Central Park and The Pond Rink in Bryant Park are much less crowded than the Rockefeller Center, and the Pond rink is free.

Jodi’s Top Ten New York Spots

The Frick Collection – 1 East 70th Street. Unlike large – and somewhat overwhelming - museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this art museum is small. In 2-3 hours, you can see all of the Frick collection, which is displayed in the beautiful former home of a wealthy American industrialist, Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919). My husband took me here for our first date, and he later proposed to me here, too.

The New York City Opera – 20 Lincoln Centre. Although its neighbor in Lincoln Center, ‘The Metropolitan Opera’ is more famous because of its elaborate sets, opera lovers often say that the NYC opera has better music. Also, the tickets are cheaper. In fact, if you are between 21-35 years old, you can join the ‘Big Deal’ program. That is, by paying a small membership fee per year, you will be able to go to any opera for only $30 (instead of the usual price of $80-$125) and will be invited to two pre-opera cocktail parties with free drinks and hor d’oeuvres There are special discounts for students, too.

The New York Puppet Library – Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. 718-853-7350. If you visit Prospect Park in Brooklyn on a Saturday, you will find many wonderful surprises – a beautiful Botanical garden, an art museum, and inside the large arch near the farmer’s market – a puppet library. At this very unique ‘library’ (open Saturdays from 11-4), you can play with the puppets, learn how to use them from the librarian, and, if you like, take them home for a week or two – all for FREE! I have borrowed puppets from this library for parties and it has been a lot of fun. Simply the experience of traveling in the subway with a giant puppet is very memorable.

The NYC shoreline & the Shorewalkers – This not-for-profit group leads recreational walks along the shore areas throughout the New York metropolitan region and promotes environmental causes. Although they have many other – and shorter – walks throughout the year, the most famous is ‘The Great Saunter’. This 32-mile walk along the entire shoreline of Manhattan takes place every year on the first Saturday of May. You can walk slowly on this mostly flat walk, see places in Manhattan that you likely haven’t seen before and meet many different people.

New York City Downtown Boathouse – Pier 40, far western end of Houston Street. Try kayaking in New York City – for FREE! The only requirement is that you know how to swim. From mid-May till mid-October on weekends and most weekday evenings, you can borrow a kayak, paddles and a life jacket for a 20-minute paddle inside a protected area of the Hudson River. The Boathouse offers kayaking lessons and kayaking holidays, too.

The New York Humanities & Social Sciences Library - Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. This library is a short walk from the United Nations and is quite famous. With its two lions in front, ‘Patience’ and ‘Fortitude’, the outside of this library has been shown in many movies and advertisements. However, don’t stop there! It is definitely worth your time to look inside. From Tuesday to Saturday at 11am and 2pm, there are free one-hour tours of the library. Simply go to the information desk in the lobby a few minutes before the tour is scheduled to begin. On the first floor, there is a ‘periodicals room’, a beautiful room where you can read recent magazines or newspapers from many countries of the world. On the second floor, there is a large and extremely beautiful reading room – a quiet place to read or study. In addition, there are art exhibits, free internet access, technology classes, and interesting lectures – most for free, and others for just a small fee.

The New York Road Runner’s Club - 9 East 89th Street. Although this organization is most famous for organizing the New York City Marathon every year, they also offer classes, running groups, and many shorter races. It’s great fun to run with thousands of people in Central Park. I highly recommend the New Year’s Eve ‘fun run’ – a 4-mile run that begins at midnight. The entrance fee includes music in the park before the race, a T-shirt and/or hat, water, champagne and snacks. You can run or walk among people of all ages (including babies in strollers) and enjoy looking at all the costumes and fireworks. Check out the ‘Road Runner’s’ calendar for other events throughout the year.

Hudson River Walkway – One of the most beautiful views of Manhattan is from the shoreline of Jersey City, New Jersey. To get there, you can take a quick trip on either the PATH train (toward New Jersey, to either the ‘Exchange Place’ or ‘Pavonia Newport’ stops) or by ferry (to ‘Exchange Place’ in Jersey City). Once there, you will find a shoreline walkway with many good restaurants, all with an amazing view of Manhattan. In summer, there are often ethnic festivals in this area. Also, there is a large shopping mall and sales tax is only 3%.

The Cloisters - Fort Tyron Park (Subway A to 190th St. Then take M4 bus to Fort Tryon Park-The Cloisters). The Cloisters house the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of art and architecture from medieval Europe. Best known for the beautiful tapestries on display, the Cloisters also offer architectural installations, a series of special programs, and fantastic views of the Hudson. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy this peaceful place.

The Guggenheim Museum – This museum is in one of the most unique buildings in New York City. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect from my home state of Wisconsin, the museum is shaped roughly like a teacup or an upside down terraced hill. It is not unusual to see adults with their children here, going up and down the spiraling ramp. The museum is quite large, so it takes at least half a day to see everything. From October to May, on the First Friday evening of the month, you can explore the galleries while listening to world-renowned DJs and sipping a cocktail.

Linda’s Top Ten New York Spots

The following are my ‘top ten destinations’ for daytrips out of the city…and the answer to the question: What do I do with my houseguests?

If you enjoy history, art, architecture, music, nature, picnics and shopping, there is something here for you. If you have questions that are not answered on the websites, please contact me for more information (use this form). Have fun and enjoy New York…it’s not just the city!

  • Storm King Sculpture Park (http://www.stormking.org/)
    Walk, talk, picnic and enjoy a collection of monumental sculpture in the great outdoors!
  • Woodbury Common Premium Outlets (Keywords: Woodbury Common Premium Outlets…and select the first on the list)
    After the art, shop ‘til you drop in an outlet center that has discount stores for all of the famous designers and brand names you find in Manhattan.
  • Pepsico Sculpture Garden (http://www/gardenvisit.com/ge/pepsi.htm)
    Walk less than at Storm King, picnic and see more sculpture in a beautiful outdoor setting at Pepsico Corporate Headquarters in Purchase, New York.
  • Caramoor (http://www.caramoor.org/html)
    This is advertised as ‘a garden of music’ in Katonah, New York, where Raymonde Burke lives!
  • Lyndhurst – (http://www.lyndhurst.org/home.html)
    This is as close as you can get to a castle in the New York area. It’s one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions.
  • Sunnyside (http://www.hudsonvalley.org)
    This estate was the home of Washington Irving, the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.
  • Kykuit (http://www.hudsonvalley.org)
    Visit the Rockefeller estate for architecture, art, history and gardens.
  • Boscobel (http://www.boscobel.org)
    This Federal style mansion is located on the east bank of the Hudson River, about an hour and a half drive from Manhattan, but it seems years away. Visit and enjoy the historical architecture, the outdoor theater and an unforgettable view of the Hudson River Valley.
  • Cold Spring (http://www.coldspringchamber.com)
    If you want to visit a small historic town with incredible views of the Hudson River at the water’s edge, go to Cold Spring. Main Street is filled with antique shops and restaurants and, if you have a car and some time, you can find hiking trails only one mile from town.
  • The Cloisters (http://www.metmuseum.org/home.asp) (Select The Cloisters in the What’s Online column.)
    This is not really out of the city, but you will feel as though you have left the city and the 21st century when you visit this medieval museum in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan.

Mary’s top ten

Museum of Natural History
Great for adults and kids. See dinosaurs, the great blue whale, live butterflies, cultural exhibits, IMAX movies, and tons more. And don’t miss one of the fantastic shows at the Hayden Planetarium. Take a walk in Central Park (across the street) afterwards or enjoy lunch at one of the many nearby cafes.

New York Botanical Garden
In the Bronx. Two-hundred and fifty acres of gorgeous trees, plants, a maze for kids and other exhibits. Lots of hands-on activities for kids. At Christmas time, they have a fantastic toy trains exhibit that is a must-see.

Central Park Zoo
At Fifth Ave and 64th Street. A very small but attractive zoo with sea lions, penguins and 200 more species. Great for kids, even little ones because it’s not so big. Stroll through the park afterwards, past the Dairy, to the Carousel (see below).

Central Park
You can go by yourself or take a walking tour to see the sights of this magnificent and diverse park. Rent a bike or a boat; jog or skate or just amble through the winding paths. See Belvedere Castle, the Delacorte Theater (free performances of Shakespeare plays in the summer “Shakespeare in the Park” series); the Great Lawn (free performances by the New York opera in the summer), the reservoir (especially beautiful in April when the cherry blossoms are out), Bethesda Fountain, the Boathouse, the Dairy, Tavern on the Green, Summerstage (lots of great concerts all summer long – many are free) and many historic bridges, arches and statues. If you have kids, don’t miss the Conservancy Water, where you and your kids can sail model boats by remote control and the Swedish Marionette Theatre. If you are a bird watcher, you’ll find all kinds of species here – bring your binoculars.

Coliseum Books
A wonderful independent bookstore located on 42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, across from Bryant Park and the New York Public Library. Great books and a little café attached. Check out their website for special events – mainly authors reading from their work.

Stand-up Comedy
Do you like to laugh so hard your sides feel like they’re splitting? Try out a comedy club and listening to outrageous (and sometimes uncouth) routines by today’s leading stand-up comics. There are many of these clubs in NYC. Check out the links below:

Riverside Park
While it is not as big or fantastic as Central Park, Riverside Park does have the advantage of being on the Hudson River. It stretches from 72nd to 158th Street and there is a bike path and walking/jogging paths the whole way. In summer, grab a barbecued hamburger at the 79th Street Boat Basin café. Play tennis, soccer, or volleyball or just sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Pat’s top ten New York City spots

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Discover magnificent collections of the world’s art (western, Islamic, African, Asian). Visit the Temple of Dendur, the rooftop sculpture garden overlooking Central Park (you can pay whatever you wish to enter!)

Washington Square Park: Sometimes called the “living room” of historic Greenwich village, the park ‘s street lamps even have lampshades designed by a local artist. It also has the famous Washington Square arch, reminiscent of the Arch of Triumph in Paris. WSP is surrounded by the buildings of New York University. In good weather, it is filled with students, Greenwich Village locals, chess players, musicians, jugglers and all kinds of “street entertainers”

Hudson River Park near Battery Park City: Watch the boats, bicycle ride, roller blade, picnic, have a weekend brunch, and learn how to relax in the big city

The Chinese Scholar’s Garden: Are you beginning to wonder if there is any place to relax and hear yourself think” in New York? Visit the beautiful Chinese Scholar’s Garden, an authentic ancient Chinese-style artist’s meditation garden in New York City’s borough of Staten Island

The Mercantile Library: Listen to lectures on and readings by some of the great figures in the literary world

The Bowery Poetry Club: What is a poetry slam? Find out at the Bowery Poetry Club, a place where everyone can be a poet!

The Art Galleries of Chelsea: Explore the art galleries of West Chelsea (in the 20’s between 10th and 11th Avenues) and discover what’s on the “cutting edge” of the New York art scene.

The Chelsea Piers: Play golf, go skating, take a boat ride, exercise, and even go bowling in the dark!

The International Center of New York: This non-profit organization welcomes newcomers to New York City with classes and other opportunities to practice English and to go sightseeing. Check out the web site and arrange a tour of the center if you want to consider becoming a member

The Museum of Modern Art: Enjoy the grandeur of modern art in this beautifully designed space where members of the United Nations community can enter free of charge!

©United Nations, 2006.