July 29, 2021

Music Arts

Spearheading Arts Excellence

Family-friendly, fun things to do in NYC now

7 min read

Want to know when is the best time to visit, New York City, arguably the greatest city in the universe?

Now.

You can avoid traffic jams and crowds by visiting the Big Apple in the summer, when its residents flee it. While its denizens are sunning themselves in the Hamptons, you and your family can swoop in and enjoy all the wonderful, relatively new and mostly free things the world’s No. 1 City has to offer.

Here are just some of them. 

Things to do:  11 family-friendly day trips to take this summer without leaving New Jersey

Little Island, Manhattan   

It took five years to build, but finally Little Island, media mogul Barry Diller’s $260-million public park, has opened. It is, in a word, cool. Make that, super cool. A marvel of design — it looks like a cosmic bouquet of tulips that miraculously sprouted out of the Hudson River by 13th Street (the 2.4 acre park floats over the water) — Little Park offers drop-dead views (hello, Hoboken; hey there, World Trade Center) and a breezy lush green oasis in what is arguably the nation’s most frenetic city. It is currently New York’s hottest attraction.

And, it’s free.

What to do: Marvel. The views are spectacular from every corner: follow the boats on the river, admire the city’s surreal skyscrapers, look out onto the nearby Meatpacking District. Take lots of photos. And, if you plan ahead, catch the entertainment offered nearly every day and lots of evenings. Little Island has a modern all-wood amphitheater — it’s called the Amph and it was placed to provide glorious sunset views — and a smaller theater. Check its calendar online for dance, music and theatrical performances (kids’ shows too). 

The Amphitheater at Little Island

What you need to know: Get there in the morning, before noon, and you won’t need a timed ticket. Otherwise go online to reserve a (free) ticket. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.  Entrances are on 13th and 14th Streets, off the West Side Highway. You can grab breakfast, lunch, dinner and even beer and cocktails at food stands and eat at tables under colorful canopies. Know that you are just a stone’s throw from the Meatpacking District and the Whitney Museum of American Art, in case you’d also like to do some serious shopping and get a little culture before or after your isle visit.

Go:  Pier 55 at Hudson River Park Hudson River Greenway, Manhattan; littleisland.org.

Not so fast:  NJ’s pizza and hot dogs are so good that NY is trying to claim it as their own

Moynihan Train Hall, Manhattan

The soaring ceiling of the new Moynihan Train Hall

The New York Times called it “stunning.” And the $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall that opened at the beginning of this year is stunning. Certainly it is an epic improvement to Penn Station, the horror it mostly replaces (the NJ transit trains remain at Penn). Moynihan Train Hall is an airy, light-filled, lofty train hall with soaring ceilings (92-foot tall), slick marble floors and huge arched windows that make it look like a modern version of a European train station. 

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