Photo: Tagger Yancey IV
They say New York City's got it all. Unfortunately, that includes the occasional spell of uncooperative weather. But staying sheltered from the elements doesn't have to mean staring at your hotel room's walls or sitting on your couch. We've got ideas aplenty on how to take advantage of NYC culture, recreation and food while keeping dry on a rainy or snowy day—or staying cool during hot spell. For our quick list, read on.
Hmm, if only New York City were home to . Because if it were, we suppose you could spend all day dry and cozy inside admiring masterpieces of art and design or marveling at the wonders of the natural world. And if only some of them were to offer …
MoMA Design Store. Photo: Andrew Lovley
NYC has some of the best shopping in the world. Thankfully, there's a lot of it to be done in large, dry, comfortable locations throughout the City. Try , and for the classic department-store treatment and and the for collections of retail shops.
The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers. Photo: Scott McDermot
Courtesy of Nitehawk Cinema.
Even a trip to the cinema in New York City is different than in most cities. Indie theaters like the screen the kind of nonmainstream fare (documentaries, foreign films and such) that you'd be unlikely to find in a typical multiplex. The same goes for the movie theater at the . If you'd like to combine dinner and a movie, you should try in Williamsburg. There, waiters will serve you at tables propped up right in front of your plush theater seat (you place your orders by marking a small piece of paper with a golf pencil). Finally, those fascinated by the history of film can hop the train to Astoria, Queens, home of the . There are more film-and-TV artifacts here than at any other institution, and it also hosts a steady stream of screenings and public programs.
If you're interested in television, radio, the Internet and other digital technologies—and their impact on society and culture—the is the place for you. In addition to a public library of more than 160,000 TV and radio shows and commercials, the center hosts occasional screenings of classic episodes and films, often focused on special topics—say, presidential campaign ads or an Orson Welles' centennial. It's a thinking couch-potato's paradise.
New York City's nightlife isn't all about lounges and dance clubs—there are plenty of places that combine fun and games with a booming soundtrack and some adult beverages. , in Williamsburg, is exhibit A. The bowling alley serves food from Blue Ribbon and also hosts live music from locals and big touring acts (Guns N' Roses and Robert Plant have even played there; Questlove, from the Roots and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, deejays regularly on Thursday nights). Down in Brooklyn's Gowanus neighborhood, matches the favorite game of Love Boat cruisegoers with tropical cocktails, rotating food trucks and an occasional pop-up restaurant. Other places to find fun, games and libations include —a bar jammed with classic arcade games—which has locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan; , a sometimes-raucous table-tennis nightclub; and the Skee-Ball-obsessed .
Photo: Tagger Yancey IV
It's been said that in New York City you can see the world for the price of a subway ride. That's not far from the truth on certain lines, like the 7 train, which runs from Times Square to Flushing, Queens, along a route sometimes referred to as the "International Express." This is elevated for most of the way, so you'll have a view of the different neighborhoods it travels through. There are numerous international dining options along the 7, or you could visit the , just steps from the line's final stop in Queens (Flushing-Main Street). With more than two dozen Asian food stalls to choose from, it may be unlike any mall food court you're familiar with.
Photo: Marley White
Many New Yorkers haven’t even been to the , so you'd have one up on the natives if you did. If you are a New Yorker, when’s the last time you visited? Tickets are required for a weekday visit (and include a guided tour), but you can purchase them with relatively short notice. On weekends the visitor center is usually open to walk-ups, but there are no guided tours.
Staten Island Ferry. Photo: Jen Davis
OK, so it's not necessarily indoor-indoor, but you can escape the elements for a while below decks on the Step out on a port- or starboard-side deck to get Statue of Liberty views and imagine yourself a grizzled seafarer for a minute before ducking back inside and grabbing one of the ferry's famously underpriced beers.
Grand Central. Photo: Brittany Petronella
Go wander about , one of New York City's landmark buildings. Take a self-guided audio tour or a 75-minute circuit led by one of the transit hub's expert docents. There are several food options on the lower level's Dining Concourse, including the classic , with its beautiful Guastavino-tile architecture. Fancy a cocktail? Try , formerly the private office and saloon of 1920s tycoon John W. Campbell. There's even a or two waiting for you to discover.
Courtesy, Angela Cranford/MSG Photos.
Did you know there's a lavish apartment inside Radio City? So pleased were the Rockefellers with impresario Samuel "Roxy" Rothafe's productions at Radio City that they gave him his own place to live—on premises. .
The City is known for skyscrapers, but its smaller-scale historic houses offer an opportunity to time travel to a rich cultural past. Once functioning as country estates or homesteads for New York's upper-crust landowners, the houses are a throwback to an era that's hard to imagine in today's bustling urban environment. Preserved in bucolic settings in City parks and located in all five boroughs, the houses boast grand architecture, lovely gardens, working farms and commanding views. .
New York Public Library. Photo: Will Steacy
in Marine Park and in Long Island City are a couple of the covered ice rinks that offer skating year-round. and Prospect Park's have covered rinks that offer ice-skating in winter (and roller-skating in summer). Check out for other locations.
So there you have it: a foolproof list of activities to make even the dreariest day fun. Getting off the couch, though, is still up to you.