Noted in NYC

A Manhattan walking itinerary

First posted April 25, 2014.

Tourist season is upon us. If you live in NYC, that means you’ll soon have friends and relatives coming in for the weekend and sleeping on your couch. Some of them have spent time in New York and just want to see you, but I guarantee you’ll have at least one visitor per year who hasn’t visited before – and if you don’t live in New York and are reading this, that visitor might be you.

You can always go back through back entries of this blog when looking for ideas (check out my “things to do” tag!). But in this post and a few others, I’ll outline some sample itineraries for a day with friends who want to explore the city. Because most of my visitors are twenty-somethings on a budget, most of my suggestions are free – though there are a lot of stores are on this itinerary, so remember to bring enough money for some small souvenirs! If you’re looking for something to do on a Friday evening, swing by the free hours at the Morgan Library & Museum. Grab some finger food at their café or have some sandwiches at the Pret around the corner before heading to bed early to rest up for a busy Saturday!

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The Origami Tree at the American Museum of Natural History

First posted on November 26, 2013. Revised with current information. 

When my alarm went off this morning, I awoke to Light FM playing Christmas music—Transiberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo”, to be exact. I groaned, partly because it felt too early for Christmas music, but mostly because I didn’t want to get up yet. It’d be hypocritical of me to really be annoyed when I was excited to realize one of my favorite new holiday traditions is about to start.

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Five Things to See at the American Museum of Natural History

I had friends in town this weekend and on their last morning here, we popped into the American Museum of Natural History. There are many, many things to see there (and many rooms I have yet to check out) but if you only have a limited time there, these are five spots I love. Remember that the admission price is technically pay-what-you-wish!

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Subway art

I wrote recently about some of the joys and frustrations of commuting, but I didn’t mention one of my favorite things about the NYC subway system: the art. I was reminded of it when riding the B train from Brooklyn to Manhattan this week. As the train leaves the Dekalb stop, before it crosses the Manhattan Bridge, there is an art piece to the right of the train—an animation given motion by the movement of the train.

At (and in that case, between!) stations throughout the city, there are fun and thoughtful works of art. Spotting them as the train pulls in or as you wait on the platform can make a long commute far more interesting. The first time I noticed the grimy mosaics of steam trains on the Grand Central 4/5/6 platform was magical, even if I did wish they were a bit cleaner.

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The Origami Tree at the American Museum of Natural History

When my alarm went off this morning, I awoke to Light FM playing Christmas music—Transiberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo”, to be exact. I groaned, partly because it felt too early for Christmas music, but mostly because I didn’t want to get up yet. It’d be hypocritical of me to really be annoyed when I was excited to realize one of my favorite new holiday traditions kicked off today.

A few years ago I visited the American Museum of Natural History just after New Years, and on that visit I was introduced to the Origami Tree. For the last forty years, volunteers have folded hundreds of origami objects and used them to decorate a Christmas tree within the museum. Last year the tree featured various groups of animals—herds, flights, even a parliament of owls. Another year the tree honored the collections of the museum and had everything from dinosaurs to space shuttles.

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