Looking for something out of the ordinary to do for a prom date, or are you just a lonely middle-aged man craving human proximity? Then the arcade is for you! The Lazer arcade is probably the best in Manhattan, but like all arcades its overpriced to a criminal degree and full of weirdos and leches. But hey, theyve got those dance dance revolution machines and boxing simulators you just cant replicate at home, though long waits for sweaty nerds are requisite.
You might recognize this library from the end f Stephen Spielbergs A.I. Or from a host of other media outlets. The gold lions are truly iconic, and foreshadow the inside of the Library. You dont come here for books so much as ambiance and history. They usually have at least one free museum quality exhibit at any given time, and you can spend hours wandering around, reading placards, and smelling old books. This was one of the first places I went in NYC when I came here for the first time years ago, and its still one of my favorites.
Spoiled Brats is a nice little Hells kitchen petstore that Ive been to a few times. For some reason I end up around it once a month or so, and sometimes stop in to look at the animals and pick up food and toys for my pet rat, Jon Benet. The staff at this petstore really loves animals, and the conditions are very humane, unlike certain chain petstores (cough Petco cough).
The title of this store is more exciting than anything within its walls. This is a basic mom and pop (literally) music store in Hells Kitchen with a modest selection and a nice layout. The couple is very nice, but theres not all that much about it to draw you back. If youre in the area and need to pick up a Weezer cd its worth a look.
The Guggenheim Museum, affectionately called the Goog by . . . me, is housed in one of the most unique buildings in New York City. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 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. Exploring the Guggenheim is extremely enjoyable, but a floor plan is a necessity. The amount of artwork on display is significant, so much so that a visitor might feel a kind of art overload, which is why the museum offers self guided audio tours and group tours for interested visitors.
I went here on a field trip for an urban Studies class about Walter Benjamin (dont ask), and I found this to be a slight museum. There is, however, one salient feature that makes this place noteworthy: The Worlds Fair panorama. Ive seen pictures and read about it, but its a totally different thing to see it in person, and really pretty dazzling. The panorama is gigantic, and gives you an new sense of just how big New York city is, and makes you wonder what the hell is on Stanton Island. Theres also a huge inflated phallus-tent for some reason in the back that will surely delight your group of male friends.
I went here once with my nephew Gorge, and he had a blast (hes eight years old). He doesnt usually go for science stuff, but this museum was captivating for him. The have a wide variety of hands on interactive activities for a wide age range, with a lot of practical knowledge. The staff is mostly volunteer based, so they really care about working with the kids as well as providing a multicultural environment. They could a little bit more for adults to do though. Think of it as a less encompassing OMSI for those of you who have been to Portland.
I was lucky enough to stay at the Carlyle for free one time with a friends family, and Id say its the best of the Fancy New York hotels that Ive been to. Great views, huge, apartment like rooms and suites (ours actually had a piano), and yet a very laid back atmosphere. Theres little pomp amidst the luxury. I did peek at the room service bill, and it was absurd. Ill probably never be able to afford it, but if youre looking to blow money on a swank hotel, go with the Carlyle. Also, Woody Allen is known to play Jazz at the Caf Carlyle, so its worth a trip to at least the caf for a celebrity sighting.
If youve read my other hotel breakdowns, you might notice that I havent given 5 stars to any of the traditional fancy places like the Regency or 60 Thompson. Frankly, I dont think expensive hotels live up to their reputations. To me, theyre places to sleep for a few nights if your friends are out of town, and theyre either clean or theyre not clean. The Walcott gets a five because its just as comfortable as the Tribeca Grand or Regency, and about a quarter as cheap. Its located in cloying Touristville ( a few blocks from The Empire state building) but transportation is easy so it doesnt really matter. Great place, and the only place Ill book anymore.
With it's central location on Park Avenue at 61st street, nice rooms (a bit small) and an excellent staff, the Regency is a fantastic place to stay on vacation. It's known for it's "Power Breakfast", but for those who live in the real world, it's still fun to have breakfast there and laugh at all the people who buy into their own self-importance. All of the rooms were re-done over the past few years, so as long as you have a room high enough not to hear the traffic (over the 4th floor), this is a wonderful place to stay. There's also a good you'll see a movie star or recognizable executive.