This is a big musical venue right on the tip of downton Manhattan. It fits about 2,000 people, and has like five tiers of balconies. It has awesome prewar architecture with huge columns and frescos and such. It plays host to a wide variety of functions and acts, but you'll most likely end up there for a concert. I saw Cake and Northern State play a show there in October, and it was awesome. Huge sound, though you'll want to show up a a few hours in advance to get close to the stage. There's also been some gang activity as of late unfortunately, with several high profile shootings, so you'll want to be careful. Also, no pulbic water fountains, so be prepared to spend four bucks on a bottle of poland spring water, because they search you good.
You've probably never heard of this zoo. Even if you've been to Corona Park, where it's located. I randomly saw a sign for it when we went to see the Panorama at the Queens Museum, and ducked in to check it out. It's done up like a "park" to help hide the lack of content. It's American animal themed, which should probably give you a hint about the kind of uninteresting animals you'll find, although they do have a Spectacled Bear. It is good and cheap though, so it migh be worth it if you're killing time before a baseball game with kids.
You probably haven't heard of this place unless you live in Brooklyn, and for good reason. It has even fewer animals than the Central Park zoo, and lacks the benefit f being in Central Park. It's mostly geared toward interactional exhibits for young children. I went with a friend's family and was bored in twenty minutes.
As recently spotlighted in the feature film "Madagascar," Central Park Zoo offers a gander at a rather small variety of animals in the midst of central park. Most of the exhibits are spread around an open area of the park and are gated off with ticket takers looking at passes. Adults cost 6 bucks, but children (up to 12) are only a dollar, so it's probably worth the value. but again, there isn't a whole lot to see (120 species compared to Bronx Zoo's 4,000) and you can see some of the highlights from outside the pay gates. Kids will probably want to get closer though. Those gates are also veeery short . . . .
This place earns points for being the only aquarium in New York City, and certainly the best in the state if there are others. It has a number of nice exhibits, and plenty of fish. Overall the Bronx Zoo is a far better value, but sometimes you need an aquatic fix. Really they should allow you entrance on a zoo pass, but if wishes were fishes. It lacks anything quite as grand as the window into the bay at the Monterey Bay Aquarium or the crowd drawing stars like the deceased Keiko at the Oregon Aquarium or the Great White Shark at Monterey Bay. Wow, I've been to a lot of aquariums.
This is probably the best Zoo you're going to find on the Eastern seaboard. While I personally like the Oregon Zoo in Portland more (formerly the Washington Park Zoo), this one is still pretty damn good. Moreover, their main Ape concentration is in Gorilllas. Most zoos usually pick one Ape and stick with it given the difficulty of keeping them, and the Bronx Zoo has chosen the gorilla, which happens to be my favorite Ape. Getting there and parking can be a bit of a pain, and the crowds can be obnoxious, but if you make it there on a quiet day you'll have a blast.
Though it has gotten some buzz recently in various 'insider' guides to Manhattan, the Burger Joint remains an anamoly. Located somehow behind curtains in the lobby of the posh Parker Meridien hotel, this little hole in the wall serves simple, juicy, delicious burgers for $4.50. I was confused and scared walking in the Meridien's vaulted marble mirror foyer in rumpled street clothes, but I fit right in at the Burger Joint. The service is rude, and for some reason all the customers seem pissed off, but the food is great. And according to the wall, celebrities show up all the time to sign bricks.
New York city is littered with dingy little pizza parlors all claiming to have the best slices in New York, authentic sicilian, fres ingredients, etc. etc. They rarely impress. Sal and Carmine's however, nestled unassumingly next to a liquor store on the Upper West Side could possibly be the real deal. They make no claims, and the restaurant is dark, cramped, and none too clean, but the proprietors don't mess around. The pizza is the best I've had in New York. Tons of toppings and cheese, just the right amount of grease. You'll know it when you taste it. Don't expect much help from Sal or Carmine though, as they are a couple of grumpy old pizza men.
Adjacent to the Moma, the Design store is a separate entity that specializes in commodifiying modern art for the masses. You don't need to buy a ticket to the museum to shop there and you don't need to appreciate modern art deeply. It's basically a big room filled to the brim with crazy and cool household knickknacks and accessories. It also has a wide assortment of art prints and postcards if you're looking to spruce up your apartment with a touch of class. Most things are fairly pricey though. I could only afford postcards and a Moma slinky.
Regardless of where in the country you live, you've probably heard of the Moma, but odds are you haven't actually been. There seems to be a stigma in visitors about Modern art, as they think they'e going to see painted rakes and open garbage cans masquerading as art. Well, there is stuff along those lines, but there's also an extensive collection of some of the best modern art in the world. You haven't seen a Pollock painting until you get up close enough to see the texture of the paint splatters. The other usual concern is price. Tickets are very expensive. But get this: Friday's from 3-8 admission is free! Free! How could you pass that up?