16 Bucket List Must-Dos for ‘Real’ New Yorkers
1. Walk among the tombstones
Don’t be scared, and no, it’s not morbid. Greenwood Cemetery, south of Prospect Park in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, used to compete with Niagara Falls as New York State’s most popular tourist draw in days of yore.
It’s first on this list because this writer lives close by to it, and can personally attest to the beauty and incredible views of the surrounding areas the Cemetery’s vantage points provide.
The Morris-Jumel mansion (MJM) was built in 1765, and has been visited by a cavalcade of who’s who in American history, not the least of whom was George Washington himself.
It’s been a museum since 1904,and has been visited by Queen Elizabeth II amongst countless others. It serves as a solid reminder of how deep New York’s history really is.
3. Have a drink– if you can find it
It stands for Please Don’t Tell, and it’s a bar hidden away on St. Mark’s Place. You won’t find a sign for it, and you have to go in through another joint, Crif Dogs. Once you gain access to PDT, you will gain access to arguably some of the best cocktails in the city.
4. Visit your neighbors from the past
It doesn’t look like a museum; it looks like an old storefront. But The City Reliquary is one of the world’s best sources on colloquial New York exotica. It hosts block parties, movies, and even concerts in its backyard.
The City Reliquary is a non-profit civically funded connection to the people of New York past.
5. Explore a castle’s grounds
James Bailey, of the storied Barnum and Bailey Circus, built this, well, castle in Harlem in 1886. There’s a freakin’ castle in Harlem! How awesome is that?
In those days, the feeling was that Harlem was going to be the next 5th Avenue, so that’s why this 80,000+ square foot citadel was constructed there, along with the grounds which would become known as The Grey Gardens.
It’s been a funeral home, and was once overrun by wild dogs, but Bailey House and the adjoining Grey Gardens are undergoing renovation for a new day.
6. Bask in greatness
There are 98 bronze busts of eminent people at The Great American Hall of Fame, including President Franklin Roosevelt, Eli Whitney, George Westinghouse, and Alexander Graham Bell. The Hall can be found on University Avenue in the Bronx. If you’re not a fan of breathtaking views of The Cloisters in an open air promenade, then you shouldn’t go.
7. Watch your favorite show
Formerly known as The Museum of Television and Radio, the Paley Center for Media was renamed for William Paley in 2007. The attraction is simple; if you like television, then you will like this place. It’s a shrine to, and a theater for, everything you are already familiar with, and it’s shocking that there’s nothing to match it anywhere else.
8. Buy clothes from a ‘hole in the wall’
But first you have to find it. We’ll help you out. At 54 Clinton Street there is what appears to be an arcade. But that photo booth isn’t what it seems, it’s the entrance to Community 54. Inside you’ll find top-of-the-line vintage wear and the store’s own brand of shirts and hats, styled after the Brooklyn Dodgers logo.
It isn’t the cheapest, but it’s the coolest, and the shopping experience at Community 54 is like no other.
9. Be a cowboy or cowgirl
This is simple; learn to ride horse. If you haven’t done it, you should. If you have, and you miss it, go to the Jamaican Bay Riding Academy. You can host parties here, board the kids there for a summer camp, or just go horseback riding.
10. Fly on the trapeze
Yes, New York City has a trapeze school. Learn how to fly through the air, or if that’s too much for you, bounce on the trampoline. You can learn other gymnastic and acrobatic skills as well, and chances are there’s something there you’ve always wanted to try.
11. Read some comics
If you’re even passingly familiar with pop culture, whether you read comic books, newspaper cartoons, or watched animated shows on TV, there’s something for you here, at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.
From MoCCA themselves: “It is the mission of MoCCA to promote the understanding and appreciation of comic and cartoon art along with the artistic, cultural, and historical impact of what is the world’s most popular art form.”
12. Listen to a story
The Moth is a non-profit organization about storytelling. It’s a basic human need, to be told a story, and it’s the concept that all facets of our entertainment are based upon. So find the next Moth event, and have your perspective changed.
13. Float away with music
At the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, you will find Bargemusic. It’s a floating concert hall, basically. The concept is that an audience listens to live Classical Music while floating on a barge.
Unusual? Yes. But listening to artists expressing themselves through the masterworks of music as Manhattan’s skyline serves as the backdrop? It’s nothing short of epic.
14. Cheer on your team
Even if you don’t like baseball on TV, going to a live game is always a blast. Baseball lets you relax and talk to the people you’re with. Of all sports, baseball is the most socially conducive spectator sport.
The Staten Island Yankees are way cheaper then their famous MLB sponsors. Add to that constant promotions and in-game entertainment; the chance to see potential Yankees superstars before they become legends; and the undeniably American feeling of a small town ballgame; and the SI Yankees are your best bet for economic live sports fun!
15. Detoxify in nature
Probably the most well known attraction on this list, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden remains very under-rated. It’s important for New Yorkers surrounded by concrete 24/7 to reconnect with the natural world, and the BBG can do that for you.
The beauteous bounties of the BBG includes a rose garden; a Japanese-inspired landscape; a pond filled with turtles and fish churning the water to be fed by you; and much much more. It lies adjacent to Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum, a zoo, and features free admission on Tuesdays. There are no reasons not to visit.
The wonderful thing about New York City is it has something for you, no matter what you’re into. Sports, shopping, science, history, the arts, you name it. So take advantage.
Gotham has already offered up so much not only to the nation, but to the whole planet. So it definitely has something for you too.
16. Enjoy old-school NYC
Pass over the corporate clones. Instead, go to McSorley’s for a pint, Eisenberg’s for a tuna melt, or the Clover Deli for an old-school NYC experience.
New York City is rich in history and wonder and New Yorkers easily forget that. But whatever it is you want to do, it’s right here in the Big Apple.
As originally seen on spolied.nyc