New York City trip, any tips?

abi's picture

A friend and I are going on our first trip out to New York City (while getting back to Vancouver in time for TypeCon) and I was wondering if anyone on here has any pointers in regard to either things to see and do or even some non-touristy fare (if anyone knows of any good book stores (design or otherwise) that would be great too). Thanks!

Jackie Frant's picture

Thank you for visiting my large hometown. I moved away in 1999—but I can tell you—you are in for the time of your lives. The touristy things one does there would be The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, The United Nations (still worth the tour), the musuems (pick your interest: Musuem of Art with Vermeers and Rembrandts and a Pisarro; Museum of Modern Art; across the street was a small museum on American Folkart - I don't know if it lasted; The Frick Museum—it was a private residence for the Fricks, and on death they turned it over as a museum, complete with a trustfund; The Guggenheim—if you are into Frank Lloyd Wright, it was dedicated in 1959 (still remember the dedication); want to see a Guttenberg bible? (one of six or seven remaining) it is always on display at the Pierpont Museum on 36th and Madison (not a touristy Museum at all!)

Other great things would be walking! Yep around Chinatown, Wall Street, SoHo (Which in Manhattan stands for South of Houston St) oh, cannolis at Ferrara's—best cappucino around.

The Empire State Building is always a pleasure. Not just for it's history (one of the first modular structures put up, deaths in making it, first King Kong movie shot there, airplane during WWII flew into it, immortalized in many a movie...) but it's a nice place to get a great view of the city.

Barnes & Noble has a rare book section in their branch in the Teens. The street you cross over, to get to Store 2 -- is their stacks dept.

If the Strand still exists - that's pure book heaven.

On 59th Street between Madison and Fifth was an old bookmaker. Outside his shop were antique maps and very rare books. I always wondered why no one just took them...

On Fifth Avenue was the old Schrieber's (? - memory going) it was bought out by a chain—however, if you are into architecture, they left the outside and inside alone. Another great walking area - 5th Avenue from 42nd to Central Park.

If you are into statues - please do check out Central Park. One of my favorites was the full size Alice in Wonderland. I really believe they made it to compete with the smallish Peter Pan in Hyde Park, London. And if you are in NY for the summer, check out the Shakespeare Fesitival in the Park - I believe it is still free, and always well done. A true NY Treat.

There are so many places to visit (it can take a lifetime) I just want you to be a bit on guard though. If you or your friend have a pocketbook, place it around your neck with the flap toward your body. It is amazing how many little fingers try to get in. If you are staying at a hotel, keep your valuables in the safe with the concierge—otherwise, maids have a habit of picking up what does not belong to them. Manhattan is fine, you really don't have to worry about where you can and can't walk. If you venture off the Island—there are still many places to visit and see, and safely. (Like the Botanical Gardens and the Bronx and Brooklyn, or the Brooklyn aquarium.)

It really depends on your likes and dislikes and what you want to see. New York City is wonderful because it has it all. And what is not in the city, is only a small commute away. (Beach anyone?)

Enjoy - and of course, send my regards to Broadway... don't forget the shows!

pattyfab's picture

On Fifth Avenue was the old Schrieber’s (? - memory going) it was bought out by a chain

If you mean Scribners, it's a Benetton now.

The Urban Center, on Madison btw (I think) 50 and 51st St.
MoMA has a great bookstore (as do some of the other museums)
Printed Matter in Chelsea
beyond that it's mostly B&N and Borders these days... my two favorites are gone: Untitled and the Dia shop

The Cooper Hewitt's Design Triennial is up now but not sure it will still be up when you get here - it closes July 29

I'd go to Coney Island since they're tearing it down this fall - at least a large section of it. It's not touristy either.

53rd btw 5th & 6th contains 3 great museums, MoMA, the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) and the Folk Art Museum.

Linda Cunningham's picture

And my favourite place: The Cloisters. Accessible via the A train and a lovely walk through Fort Tryon Park, where the motorcycle chase in Coogan's Bluff--an early-ish, somewhat forgotten, and very underrated Clint Eastwood film--was shot. If you love the Middle Ages, the Cloisters are a must-see: furniture, stained glass, and architecture.

Best part is that one admission gets you in there as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Take the bus from the Cloisters and it drops you right at the MMA's doorstep, complete with a bus tour of northern Manhattan. ;-)

Jackie Frant's picture

How could I forgot the Cloisters - and never many folks don't want to go that far North in Manhattan. Did you know that in the Cloisters' building was brought over stone by stone and reassembled here - and in the 1980s there was talk of disassembling it and moving it further up the Hudson? Wonderful memories there...

And Linda, thank you for letting me know the Folk Art Museum is still there - that place is a panic. When it opened it did so with a huge exhibition on Denim. Yep, what every artist out there could make using their old LEVYs...

And Scribner's -- thanks Patty - the brain is null and void - I should be playing the Scarecrow and not Auntie Em :-)

BTW - if you are into College Campuses - NYU is city-sprawled over the Village (Greenwich Village to you), City College is a great campus with two quads (and used in Majorie Morningstar

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Don't forget to check out this list of bookstores on the Typowiki -- there is a listing of New York bookstores near the end.

As for Barnes & Noble, the store at 21st Street and 6th Avenue stocks many graphic design books. Same goes for the one on the north side of Union Square.

pattyfab's picture

NYU is the monster that's eating the East Village. I'd skip it in protest, but Washington Square Park is amusing for people watching.

There is also a lot of free entertainment in NY in the summer - concerts and films in the various parks. It's all too numerous to list here (and I really should be working). Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn, and River to River come to mind.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

But in spite of NYU, do check out the Village. :-)

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

The Type Directors Club website has news of their exhibition at the One Club, if that coincides with your stay here.

There is also the New York chapter of the AIGA... They usually have exhibitions on their ground floor. Same goes for The Art Directors Club.

Linda Cunningham's picture

I also second Jackie's reco of the J. Pierpont Morgan Library (which has had a serious refit recently), and additionally, if you like books, you can always check out The Center for Book Arts at 28 W. 27th St. 3rd fl. as well as

Singular Objects
from The Artistsbook Library at Proteus Gowanus
A selection of printed, drawn, painted, collaged, welded, flat and sculptural book objects

Curator: Maddy Rosenberg

May 30 – September 15, 2007

Brooklyn College Library
Exhibit cases and Gallery Space (in 3 separate areas)
2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210

Map and directions

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Linda, I have never yet been to The Cloisters but I keep hearing about it -- will follow your directions to get there the next time I can manage to get away. :-)

abi's picture

Thanks a lot for all the detailed responses. I'm looking forward to the trip and I'll certainly check some of these places out. Thanks again.

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