Service of Visiting NYC in Summer

July 3rd, 2014

Categories: Museums, New York City, Pedicabs, Retail, Tourism, Uncategorized

NYC in summer

There are great things to do that don’t cost a fortune when you visit New York City at this time of year. Here are a few and some tips of what to watch out for.

UniqloCheck out free days/evenings at major museums like MoMA which has Uniqlo Friday nights or Brooklyn Museum’s Target free Saturdays once a month. [And visit Uniqlo on 5th Avenue and 53rd Street for fun clothes for women, men and children in a range of styles at moderate prices—downright inexpensive style if you catch a sale.]

Stroll Grand Central Station to see the remarkable architecture and on the ground floor a tourist information window with maps and useful free guides. There are plenty of shops—visit Cursive for gifts and cards—and kiosks with NYC-made merchandise as well as pricey food stalls upstairs and prepared takeout downstairs with plenty of seats. Mendy’s hotdogs are worth a detour.

Bryant Park ChairsThe price is right for a brownbag lunch in Bryant Park behind the 42nd Street Library. Find a chair and table under a tree, catch a breeze and watch the scene, a game of ping pong or bocce. A short stay is restorative.

Fruit stands all over the city sell cherries, raspberries, grapes, figs and more at amazing prices. If you’re near Union Square, drop in on Trader Joe’s wine shop on east 14th Street and the food store a few doors down for treats, serious food and polite service. If you want to stock up on a few cases of wine note that you can’t park for even a minute in front but ask a staffer to load your purchases on a hand truck. They’ll walk the cases to your vehicle.

As in all my favorite cities, walking is the best way to get around. New Yorkers can be testy when they can’t negotiate a cluster of people stopped in the middle of the sidewalk so best keep walking or go to the side to get your bearings or regroup. Read a map on the sidewalk and I bet someone will stop to guide you.

Staten Island ferry 2A ride on the Staten Island ferry is free; the view of lower Manhattan priceless.

Avoid taking rip off pedicabs. I’ve written about them and several times about the bicycle sharing program. I can’t recommend that tourists rent a bike unless they know the traffic rules and are used to riding in vehicular and foot traffic in a city packed with impatient residents.

NYC taxiTake care that your taxi is charging you the city rate. You’ll know if the meter is set at the higher suburban rate, wrote Rebecca Harshbarger in the New York Post, if you see a flashing “rate code 4” message on the TV screen in front of you. [I don’t recall ever seeing it.] She referenced a scandal four years ago when cabbies were caught stealing $millions by up charging the meter. Last year the Taxi and Limousine Commission [TLC] caught drivers overcharging 659 times vs. 2,000 the year before. “The agency uses a GPS-data algorithm that analyzes trip information to catch rogue drivers, who are then automatically hit with a summons,” wrote Harshbarger—a trend going in the right direction.

What are your must-visit places in NYC or best warnings for visitors and residents?

 nycfireworks

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14 Responses to “Service of Visiting NYC in Summer”

  1. EAM Said:

    I might suggest the High Line which is free and will give you a chance to smell the flowers along the way. Also, the NY Botanical Garden is a gem and is accessible by Metro North. And, they have a GREAT gift shop. Also, it might be fun to take the circle line and see a different angle of Manhattan. It does take about 3 hours to go around the island by boat so be prepared.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    EAM,

    Great suggestions one and all! You reminded me: If you take advantage of the free Brooklyn Museum day, take some time to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens which is next door. Both are an easy and quick subway ride from midtown Manhattan.

  3. Nancie Said:

    All good ideas.. and Governor’s Island .. just a short ferry ride(now $2pp) right next to Staten Island Ferry. Coney Island a must see-Bryant Park often does free Broadway lunchtime performances too. Concerts in the major parks too!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Nancie,

    I keep forgetting Governor’s Island. In fact, I’ve never been [blush]! Shakespeare in the Park is also a thought.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    Fine suggestions, all. Now, where to sleep at a reasonable rate? The park bench, perhaps?

  6. JPM Said:

    I suggest the most pleasing small gallery in the world, before it gets much bigger — the Frick.

    It has the finest concentrated collection of great paintings found anywhere, yet remains bite sized, digestible and not overwhelming. Sadly, it has grand expansion plans, and soon, like what happened to the Morgan Library, it will lose its intimate appeal and just become another place to have lunch.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I’m giggling. Two years ago I heard about a place in the Bowery that charged $35/night for a room with bathroom shared by a bunch of people. I wouldn’t recommend it. A few months ago I did a search for people coming to the city for a client’s event. The rates I found were in the vicinity of $149/night. However with taxes and more taxes, goodness knows what the actual charge is. And the way things are heading in the city–all union workers getting 10 percent increase in salaries over a few years plus $10,000 signing bonuses–the park bench might be the best alternative.

    I remember the scene in a wonderful comedy of years ago, “The Out of Towners,” with Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis. He and his wife arrived in NYC during a transit strike and slept in Central Park as their hotel room was taken. A taxi ran over her shoe; they were robbed as they slept etc. etc. Funny as it was handled in this flick but not something to try.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    JPM,

    Oh my yes! Quick before it loses its charm and the feeling that you are in what was once a grand home. Really important suggestion.

  9. Debby Brown Said:

    Central Park without a doubt!

    Find friendly New Yorkers, happy to help you find Strawberry Field, point you in the right direction to Summer Stage and its free concerts; sip coffee and/or more at Pain de Quotedien inside the West 69th Street entrance. Take in the most beautful trees in the Park’s Writer’s Walk (The Mall); watch future art historians learn how to hose down sculptures of Shakepere, Blake, Shelly and more. The best: learn how to Tango, free, on summer’s nights with music and instructions at rotating venues through the Park. And that’s just the first chapter!! I’m never leaving!

  10. David Reich Said:

    Yes, the High Line is a nice refuge, while still in the midst of it all.

    At Grand Central, don’t forget the little Transit Museum annex, near the stationmaster’s office on the west side.

    Another refuge is the park at Tudor City — peaceful, makes you feel like you’re in a small town rather than right on E. 42nd St. And there are some benches that have a nice view of the UN and the East River.

  11. Kathleen Said:

    Take the #4 bus north up Madison Avenue to the last stop — Ft. Tryon Park. Not only will you be at the serene and enthralling Cloisters with a great view of the Hudson River, the Palisades and the GW bridge, but you will have had about an hour’s sightseeing trip through northern Manhattan. And if you take the # 1 bus south on Fifth from midtown, you’ll see all of Southern Manhattan, through the Ladies Mile, Chinatown and the City Hall area to South Ferry. Be sure to visit Federal Hall, just diagonal from the NY Stock Exchange, where Geo. Washington was inaugurated. And a visit just one block away to Trinity Church and its cemetery brings you back to NYC’s earliest days. Most of these adventures are either free or very reasonable.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debby,

    I have always been intrigued by the tango! This and all your tips are must-tries.

  13. Jeanne Byington Said:

    David,

    A bench in Tudor City is a wonderful secret spot to catch one’s breath in midtown, especially after a visit to the UN and Grand Central! A few minutes of calm and sanity after much hustle and bustle.

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Kathleen,

    My sister used to take me to the Cloisters on the bus when we were kids–wonderful memory. And all your great suggestions can be done without breaking the bank. If a visitor is lucky, he/she might partake in or overhear a typical conversation on the bus between strangers. It’s one of the best parts of bus travel I’ve enjoyed all my life.

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