We all need a good day off from time to time — especially right before the chaos of the holiday season starts brining even more hustle and bustle to our city streets, restaurants, and favorite places that we love so very much.
Before the festive pandemonium becomes full fledged, there is a slim window between now and Thanksgiving to pull off one of the better hooky days that highlights both the popular and lesser known in all of New York City.
Getting the most out of this one requires a few elements: decent weather (rain is a no-no but light snow could work if you’re bundled properly), a weekday, an early start, and a willingness to travel a good amount — hence the early start.
If you manage to align these conditions, then our day off is just for you.
New Yorkers are entitled to enjoy some of the touristy parts of the city as well, especially during the holidays. An early start gives you the chance to have places like Times Square, Bryant Park or Rockefeller Center to yourself before the rush hour crowd and later on tourists occupy these and other iconic spots for the duration of the day.
Once you’ve been there and done that with the midtown hits, take an opportunity to have a nice, 9 a.m. breakfast at a classic and likely empty city diner. I recommend jumping on the downtown R or W lines to 8th Street NYU for a comfort meal like no other at Cozy Soup & Burger on next to the station on Broadway (don’t worry, the pancakes rival the burgers in taste, too).
From there you could take a nice walk through Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park or if you’re like us you’ll then seek out Chess Forum on nearby Thompson Street; not just for a match but also to admire the game store’s unique piece and board designs—it’s important to stimulate your mind too on a hooky day!
From there jump on an A or C train from nearby West 4th Street and transfer to the G train at Brooklyn’s Hoyt-Schermerhorn station (where Michael Jackson moonwalked). Take that line to Greenpoint Avenue where you can find Sunshine Cleaners, one of the city’s best pinball bars, yes, you read that correctly.
After feeling like a natural pinball wizard, jump back on the G train to Queens at its terminal Court Square Stop; transfer to the 7 train all the way to Mets Willets Point for the next phase of the adventure.
No, you’re not going to Citi Field this time of year but rather Flushing Meadows Park, which will likely be empty on a weekday afternoon. Walk around these gorgeous grounds to get a closeup look at the massive remains of 1964’s World’s Fair like the both the Unisphere and remaining pavilions—this part of the day is best used for some thinking time and relaxing, mental decompression.
Hop back on the 7 train one stop the Flushing to tour the real Chinatown of NYC — a wise choice at lunchtime. Main Street and its surrounding areas will give you some of the best choices for an authentic and scrumptious Asian lunch that can’t be found in many other places.
Afterwards, jump up to the rooftop bar Leaf at One Fulton Square after to enjoy a view of Citi Field and the skyline for the ages. FYI, even though it’s an Asian-themed rooftop, Leaf carries a Swedish, pear cider that’s out of this world and will leave you feeling quite bubbly.
Since the sun sets so early, after enjoying a late lunch is the perfect time to jump back on the 7 train to Jackson Avenue where one of the coolest views of Manhattan is just a short few blocks away at the Hunters Point waterfront.
Once done taking a gander of the closeup, unobstructed city skyline and the East River, which will be bouncing off the sunsets vibrant magentas, hop on the ferry to Wall Street for a lovely dinner downtown.
We recommend one of the Harry’s Italian locations on Murray or Gold Street … just be sure to have reservations.
If you’ve got the energy then finish off the night properly with a few rounds with a date, some friends or all the above at Pier A, overlooking Lady Liberty and the harbor.
Meanwhile, your boss hopes that you feel better.