Landmarks and Places to See in NYC

Times Square
I’m working on a a project for RWA this year to help everyone navigate their way to interesting places in NYC. But I need your help: what landmarks, museums, places of interest, stores, and different locations are MUST-SEE spots in Manhattan?

Tell me tell me, so I can plot them out. Mwaaaahahahah, plotting.

Among my list of spots to recommend to visiting romance writers:

Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum (one of my absolute favorite places in NYC)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum of Sex
MoMA
Central Park walking paths of awesomeness
Woo Shoe (for all your shoe shopping needs)
Bloomingdale’s
Macy’s Herald Square
Barney’s (for what I call ‘aspirational shopping’)

Feel free to give me shopping locations, food locations, or just awesome stuff to see when you’re in New York City. But please do include a location when you make a suggestion – an address or avenue with cross streets, or vice versa. I may not be able to use them all, but I’ll include as many as possible.

Thank you, oh wise people!

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    Leelee’s Valise in Brooklyn for awesome plus size clothing
    TKTS in Time Square for cheap(er) Broadway seats

  2. 2
    JanetP says:

    I think the Frick Collection is lovely, and perfect for romance! Convenient to the Met, too.

    1 East 70th Street

    http://www.frick.org/index.htm

  3. 3
    Suzy says:

    The Cloisters!!

    Definitely, The Cloisters!!

  4. 4
    Melanie says:

    Tea and Sympathy at 108 Greenwich Ave. in the West Village.

    It’s a tiny tea shop, crammed with Royal memorabilia and all things British, including the food.  In addition to tea, you can order all kinds of traditional English goodies.  It’s like a little piece of the UK in the West Village.

  5. 5
    Ellen says:

    The Strand is my favorite NYC bookstore (though its genre selection is sadly lacking). It’s at 12th and Broadway and has new books, used books, rare books, MILES of books (as they advertise). It also has one of the most impressive young adult sections I’ve ever seen, on the second floor.

    Speaking of young adult sections… for the YA-inclined, Books of Wonder is another bookstore that cannot be missed. It carries only YA and children’s, and has some amazing art prints (plus release events for big books) and a cupcake shop in the store. It’s on 18th Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue.

  6. 6
    taylor says:

    Oooh, I second the Frick.  Also, I suggest the Rubin Museum—it’s smaller (so possibly more managable for people on a schedule) and has a great collection of Himalayan and surrounding areas/Buddhist art.  (Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17 St.—http://www.rmanyc.org/)

    Also, the Metropolitan Museum is obviously amazing, but I specifically recommend the Cloisters, not just for the collection, but their location.  Great views and a nice walk on a nice day.  (99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park—http://www.metmuseum.org/cloisters/)

  7. 7
    Jackie says:

    Seconding the Cloisters!

    Does it have to just be Manhattan?  Brooklyn has a lot of great places: Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, the Brooklyn Museum…

  8. 8
    Kate says:

    All of these suggestions are so good, especially the Cloisters, the Frick, Books of Wonder…can’t be missed.

    I’d add Top of the Rock (30 Rockefeller Center) for touristy fun and City Bakery, also on 18th between 5th and 6th.

    There’s also Serendipity (60th street between 2nd and 3rd ave) if you don’t mind a wait! Frozen hot chocolate! And Alice’s Tea Cup on 73rd between Columbus and Amsterdam. Both magical places.

  9. 9
    Livia Llewellyn says:

    If you can, if you have the time, take the PATH train to Hoboken or the subway to Brooklyn Heights, and see Manhattan from across the river. It really does make all the difference in the world to see city as it’s depicted in movies and TV – from a distance, with the skyscrapers rising up from out of the water as if they begin all the way at the center of the earth. If you’re not so inclined, then I suggest Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center), or the Observatory Deck at the Empire State Building. NYC is incredible when you’re in the thick of it, but you really can’t comprehend the sheer power of this city until you’re staring out at it, or standing over it.

  10. 10
    Karen says:

    One of my favorite “lesser known” museums in NYC is the Museum of the City of New York, which is at Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street.  It has a lot of interesting collections, including an exhibition of antique toys and historic furniture.  It’s a bit out of the way but well worth a trip.

    If someone is staying a few extra days and wants to see the area around NYC, the boat tours around the city are fun and fascinating.  I’ve taken a couple of tours on the NY Waterway boats – one that makes a complete circle around the city, and another one up the Hudson (although I think that one is seasonal).  The ferry ride to Staten Island is a classic, of course, and free!

  11. 11
    Ken Houghton says:

    What Suzy Screamed (and many others seconded): The Cloisters. (And while they’re in the area: the former Audubon Ballroom (166th Street) and the theatre/music hall at 175th and Broadway—the latter used to be where Reverend Ike was every weekend, the former is best known for Malcolm (ne Little) being shot there, and has become part of C/PMC’s Research Center.  For the time-hopping, or the paranormal/historics.

    The Museum of Radio and Television? (Is it still ca. 51st Street—yes, I know that’s down the block from my office—or did it also move to Queens?)

    Antique Boutique, if it’s still around.  Several other vintage clothiers used to be on ‘Amsterdam in the 80s, but haven’t shopped there recently to know for certain.

    Chelsea Piers for the contemporary Rom/Com types.

  12. 12
    MissFiFi says:

    Cafe con Leche does a yummy Cuban breakfast
    http://rhgnyc.com/

    Sarabeth’s is AWESOME I like the one on 80th and Amsterdam Ave but the wait on a weekend can be long.

    Back Forty on Avenue B is choice http://www.backfortynyc.com/

    I second The Strand, it rocks.

    The Central Park Boathouse is a wonderful place to eat and it has this great open seating area over looking a pond/lake area. If you can swing it, do it. It is near Alice in Wonderland Statue
    http://www.thecentralparkboathouse.com/

  13. 13
    Rebecca Operhall says:

    two great chicks-who-read places to visit:

    The painting of Eloise at the Plaza & the Alice in Wonderland statue at Central Park.  (Bonus: you can climb the statue.)

  14. 14
    Gmini says:

    Century 21 for awesome discount designer shopping.  Just the shoe section alone is worth it.  Plus, it’s right across the street from the World Trade Center.
    The Staten Island ferry is still free and still has the best views of lower Manhattan.

  15. 15

    I had the great fortune of being shown around New York by people who live there. Wonderful experience, I’ll never forget it.

    The Fast Track ticket for the Empire State Building is worth it, if the queues are long and you don’t have much time. Gets you up there very quickly.

    Seconded for the Museum of the City of New York. Staggering collection of Tiffany and New York silver, and lots more.

    Katz’s Deli. It’s where they filmed That Scene in “When Harry Met Sally” and they make the best pastrami on rye that I’ve ever tasted.
    http://katzsdelicatessen.com/

    The New York Library. They have exhibitions as well. It’s an absolute must.

    Tiffany’s. Do I have to say why?

    I loved the Frick. It has some beautiful French pieces and an important Holbein.

    There are still enough Italian bakeries in Little Italy for you to get cannoli.

    The Guggenheim, but check the exhibition that’s on. It’s a staggering exhibition space, well worth seeing.

    And FAO Schwartz, the toy shop (remember Tom Hanks dancing on the piano?) It’s near the big Apple store, and Tiffany’s, all that.

    Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon in Central Park. Walk past the Dakota, where he lived and was killed, and then to Strawberry Fields. It’s a lovely memorial.

    Now I really want to go back!

  16. 16
    Amy says:

    Head downtown! A walking tour—
    Start with a walk down the HIgh Line, go shopping in the Meatpacking district, get lost in the West Village, head over to the Union Square Greenmarket, walk down through the East Village to the Lower East Side… Good shopping, great food and a taste of “downtown” is a must for a NYC visit!

  17. 17
    Carrie S says:

    Oh, god, you’re only on comment 16 and I’m already more jealous than I’ve ever been in my whole life.  You had me at Eloise!  And Tiffany’s (I wonder if it’s even possible to see through the windows these days without knocking over a whole crowd of tourists who, like me, have shown up purely to look through the window while eating a pastry from a paper bag).  And above all New York Pub Library *sigh* 

    Captcha:  total68

    I want to spend a total of 68 days in NYC!

  18. 18
    Diva says:

    Bump for the Met. I would go again just to see Sargent’s Madame X framed in that doorway…presentation is just everythingggggg and those experts know how to wow the visitor.

    Also, if you can go to an auction at Sotheby’s (I got to, fab!) it is so interesting and just—-beautiful. Great individual info about provenance and importance of works, stunning minimalist displays…

  19. 19
    shel says:

    Great timing. :) Subscribing to comments as I’m visiting.

  20. 20
    awaskyc says:

    I’d recommend the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (http://fitnyc.edu/3662.asp). It’s small and relatively near Javits and usually has a couple of interesting exhibits.

  21. 21
    awaskyc says:

    Oh! Also Alice’s Tea Cup (http://alicesteacup.com/) has the best damn scones in the city. And you can have a full high tea there, with trays of cucumber sandwiches and everything. There are a couple of locations, but they don’t take reservations, so if you’re going on the weekend, be prepared for a wait.

    For anyone interested in medieval manuscripts, there’s the Morgan (http://www.themorgan.org/home.asp) which has a large collection, including three Gutenberg Bibles.

    My favorite odd little shop is Evolution (http://theevolutionstore.com/) in Soho. They have everything from geodes to ostrich eggs to human skeletons. It’s like walking through the Natural History Museum, but it’s for sale!

    And there’s Abracadabra (http://www.abracadabrasuperstore.com/), a store full of masks, costumes, and props. Worth a walk through.

    Now I’m really digressing, but there’s also Fishs Eddy (http://www.fishseddy.com/) for all your esoteric tableware needs.

  22. 22
    Maria De Angeles says:

    Wow I have SO many recomendations. Maybe I should just email a map with the locations.
    For shopping:
    The Cosmetic Market-A must for girly girls who like to save money. Like Sephora only cheaper! Brand name cosmetics, perfumes, and gift sets for half price.
    The Fragrance Shop is also a cool place on 21 East 7th street where you can make your own perfume.

    If you hit up the Strand like so many wise posters suggested and you are into Fantasy romance then go nearby to
    Gothic Renaissance at 110 4th Ave between 11th St & 2nd Ave. It’s expensive but fun to look at. If you dont mind walking down a little more then try out Trash ad Vaudeville on 4 St Marks Pl between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave.
    I agree with all the Clositers posts but also take the time to explore the beautiful park its in. There are some romantic spots to watch the sun set. Afterwards try some of the delicious food in the neighborhood.
    Cachapas Y mas offers some great venezuelan food
    on 107 Dyckman St (between Nagle Ave & Post Ave).
    If you’re in the mood for something fancier try
    809 Sangria Bar and Grill across the street @ 112 Dyckman St.

    From the neighborhood where the Cloisters is you can easily get to The New York Botanical Garden where you’ll see beautiful flowers that will definitely inspire you! The address is 2900 Southern Blvd. Just take the A or 1 train to 207th street and then hop on the Bx 12 bus all the way there. If you’re going from midtown you can take the Metronorth from 42st Grand Central to Fordham Road.

    The newly redone Coney Island is also fun this time of year. Take the N train to Stillwell avenue to get there.

    For partying/entertainment:
    Visit the Slipper Room for a Burlesque show on 167 Orchard St
    between Rivington St & Stanton St.
    Affairs Afloat takes you on a party cruise around Manhattan and has scenic views. Its only ten dollars a person but if you enter your name and address on the website you get free tickets sent to you at home.
    http://www.affairsafloat.com/parties.html

  23. 23
    Avrelia says:

    1) Bryant Park – lovely place surrounded by amazing skyscrapers and NY Public library. THere are concerts at summer, lots of food to eat and books to read – the shelves are open in the park, so you can just sit and pick up a book to leaf, there is also a kids’ section, near the Carousel. Oh, I love the Carousel! One can ride a cat while listening to Edith Piaf there…

    2) Planetarium at Natural history Museum. I know nothing more romantic than gazillions of stars and some black holes. Nothing can beat a black hole!

    3) Century 21 and Daffy’s for shopping.

  24. 24
    Vicki says:

    Ellis Island. It is interesting, they had a great talk when I was there, lots of info if you are writing something historical, lots of fun looking up grandparents.

  25. 25
    Josie says:

    For foodies, Fairways and Citarella, right next door to each other on Broadway between 74th and 75th. And on 67th there is Gracious Home. All right near Lincoln Center.

    Aside from the Cloisters and the Frick, consider the Morgan Library, on Madison and 34th? and the Neue Gallerie, across from the Met, just off 5th Avenue. Turn of the century Austria.

    And if anyone’s going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, don’t neglect the Costume Institute or the period rooms.

  26. 26
    Jennifer B. says:

    Bump for The Cloisters – highly recommend the audio guide. The musical cues are fantastic. (If someone hedges because they don’t think they’ll like the art, go with the Harry Potter angle. The wall tapestry seen in the Half-Blood Prince is at The Cloisters).

    I would actually recommend against The Museum of Sex. While it is interesting and provocative and all that good stuff, every time I go with a friend from out of town, there’s been a sense of “is that all there is?” which is extra funny given its topic…

    Battery Park and the Wall Street area are fantastic for walking tours. The Museum of the American Indian is stunning and Ellis Island is a ferry hop a way.

  27. 27
    Jen Penny says:

    My absolute favorite museum is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. It’s on Orchard Street, just south of Delancy and they have a lot of great tours that you can take through the house, each with a specific historical bent. It’s also an on-going restoration project that my firm has been working on so I’ve got a special soft-spot for it.

    I’ll also second Amy’s recommendation for the High Line (I like to start at the north end at 20th street and work my way south). It’s a great contrast to all the spectacular old stuff seeing something so new and surrounded by truly beautiful buildings and “landscapes.” Plus there’s lots of great food in the area.

  28. 28
    meoskop says:

    Virgil’s BBQ has the best biscuit in the north and I say that as a diehard bbq girl. 44th at Times Square.

    If you venture into SoHo, Kee’s chocolates at 80 Thompson Street is divine. You can also get them at 452 fifth in midtown, but you won’t run into Kee Ling Tong.

    For a not for the budget minded amazing import – Pierre Marcolini is the finest I’ve tasted, his wares can be had at – oh, never mind. They closed in NY. SADNESS.

  29. 29
    meoskop says:

    Oh! I forgot! Google “City Hall Stop” for the not open but amazingly divine pics of one of the no longer used subway stops you can get a peek of if you dedicate the time. I’m a huge fan of seeking out the forgotten aspects of NY, the peeks into the past they offer.

  30. 30
    Nicole says:

    Crumbs Bakery on Broadway, between 37th and 38th for fortification between all the other stops!

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