Everyone’s got ‘em. Family or friends who come to town and want to do something more New Yorkerish than mill about Times Square, gawk at the Rockefeller skating rink, take the elevators to the top of the Empire State, or ride the carriages around Central Park. And of course, no one has any idea where they want to go. You’ve been appointed local tour guide for the dreaded hard-to-please guest. Where to take your out-of-towners? Here are some suggestions to try.
1. The Architecture and History Buff Aunt or Uncle
The Frick and The Museum of the City of New York. Both museums are laden with art and history and all that good stuff. These museums are smaller gems, so they aren’t quite as crowded as the Met or the MOMA. You can casually peruse these places with family members. If you have time, have a mid-afternoon break at Café Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie. It’s a lovely place to have a Viennese coffee and some really tasty pastries. Neue Galerie has great Klimt pieces and art as well. If YOU are the one who likes Klimt with Sachertorte, I don’t think it would be a sin to suggest to your Aunt or Uncle to make a detour at Café Sabarsky to buy you a nice coffee and a pastry for all that hard work you’ve been doing.
2. The Art Lover/ Hipster Cousin
P.S. 1 is the Queens contemporary art outpost of the famed MOMA. P.S. 1 isn’t filled with Matisses or Mondrians, it’s where you get to see cotemporary art that’s impacting the art world right now. Many of these artists have made names for themselves in the contemporary art scene. If your hipster cousin has been reading Artforum or i-D magazine or something along those lines, this is probably a good place to let him run around and spout off the strange contemporary art theories he’s learned at college.
3. Your Adventurous Eater/ Cheap Friend Who Loves to Walk Everywhere
Jackson Heights is an adventure all in itself. You can walk a few blocks and a whole different culture is available for your tastebuds to salivate over. In just a few blocks you can have Indian, Thai, Korean, Colombian, Malaysian, Dominican, Peruvian, Ecuadoran, Mexican, Tibetan, or whatever you might be in the mood for. Jackson Heights has tons of restaurant choices you and your adventurous friend can try out. One of my favorite Thai restaurants is SriPraPhai located on 64-13 39th Ave, Queens, NY. Or, go the Latin route and try La Portena at 74-25 37th Ave, Queens, NY.
Having put in many years of playing tour guide, it can be freeing to vary the program. I mean, how many times can you walk around the M&M store and eat at TGIFs or Hard Rock Cafe? Sometimes it’s nice to show off this town. There are more things to be seen here than can be seen in a few days. Why limit yourself to the tourist holding pens? Tour guides need to have fun, too.