I've decided to give a mini-guide of things to do in NYC that aren't so touristy.
1. Metropolitan Museum of Art - if you like art, this is a great place to go. Also, it is pay whatever the heck you want to pay. There is a suggested $20, but that's just suggested. Any New Yorker knows you could technically pay $1 and get in. 5th and 82nd.
2. Strand Bookstore. I LOOOOOOVE STRAND! My brother hates it though but that is because he just can't appreciate it well enough. There are new and used books--18 miles worth of them actually. Broadway and 12th (subway to union square)
3. While your in the vicinity of Strand, you should definitely go grab a coffee at Joe at 9 E. 13th St - just a couple blocks from Strand. (If you are facing Union square, standing next to Strand, turn left and walk...it's across the street from Hertz). The coffee is great and it's a nice small coffeeshop and I love it.
4. Central Park. Self explanatory. You can just walk through it to get to the Met, or you can explore the park, go to the zoo, you can just take a leisurely stroll or grab a book and hang out on one of the lawns (i.e. The Great Lawn). I once came upon the Broadway softball league and watched Legally Blonde beat Wicked. The park is huge - B/W 8th and Madison and 59th and 110th. I don't suggest going past 100th Street though because then you're entering Harlem. And for lunch, get a hot dog from a street vendor. They are disgusting and nicknamed "dirty water dogs" but it's a rite of passage.
5. Before you go to Central Park, you should get a pastry and go have breakfast at Tiffany. You can't go inside with the food, but you can stand outside the window eating your pastry. (watch the movie) Then when you finish, go inside and dream.
6. While you are in the Central Park area, try to go to Serendipity on 60th St. in the Upper East Side. Everyone deserves to try Frozen Hot Chocolate once in their life. It's not easy to get in so if you are strapped for time and don't care if you get it at Serendipity, go to Dylan's Candy Bar and get one there. Although Serendipity is super cute and worth the wait/bribe.
7. Afternoon Tea at The Plaza (Palm Court). Make reservation. Great experience for all women with good etiquette. It's not cheap ($60 per person) but you do get great tea, cute tea sandwiches, and the experience of luxury. You must dress up. No jeans, tshirts, flipflops, bra straps showing, etc. Wear a nice day dress or skirt and top. Nice dress pants and a blouse are ok. Try not to take pictures. There is an Eloise option if you have very well-behaved daughters so that children only cost $32 each.
8. Broadway. See a Broadway show - don't pay full price. I always try to avoid Times Square, but if you want to see a Broadway show, you are going to have to go to tckts and get discounted tickets. Now, just because you got a discounted ticket doesn't mean you should wear jeans or, God forbid, shorts. Please don't. Going to a broadway show used to mean something special. Dress nicely. You don't have to go all black-tie or even cocktail (unless you want to), but nice. No jeans, shorts, flipflops.
9. If at all possible, avoid Times Square. It's hell on earth...tourists EVERYWHERE, it's just not enjoyable in Times Square. Get in, get out.
10. Dinner if you are at a Broadway show. Playwrights Tavern. Amazing food. Not expensive, but nice. Peaceful.
11. Want to go shopping, go to Soho. Best shopping and there are even cobblestone streets in some places (if wearing heels, wear wedges...trust me). If you want to experience Chinatown go ahead...just keep your wits about you. Don't be stupid. I scared the crap out of my mom once doing something pretty stupid even though nothing happened. If you are alone, do NOT go into backrooms/attics/etc. Please don't buy fake designer bags. The high population of fake designer bags makes the real thing not as special. Those of us with the real thing don't want people thinking ours are fake just because soooo many people have fake ones. And yes I know I used to buy fake bags but I stopped years ago, and will never do it again.
12. Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology. Cool museum of fashion. 7th Ave and 27th Street.
13. If it's between Thanksgiving and Christmas, go to Bryant Park. It's like a great little Christmas city. My brother and Zach had a shop there last year (this year you'll have to get their games from online). 41st and 6th. There's also an ice skating rink.
14. Dinner at The Waverly Inn on Bank St in the West Village. It is a rather exclusive restaurant so if you can actually manage to get reservations (you better no someone really important or show up and beg in the afternoon), you may see a handful of celebrities or important people of society. Dress nicer. No jeans. No flipflops. No tshirts. Dressy casual at the least. NO PICTURES! Leave the nice celebrities alone.
15. Don't care about dining amidst big people, but want a nice dinner? Try Quattro at Trump Soho. Or try Balthazar (french) on Spring St in Soho - they have amazing food...and their breakfast is also amazing just FYI. The best Italian food is at Forlini's on Baxter Street. It's on the border of Little Italy and Chinatown. Seriously, amazing. go to Forlini's (make reservations, it's polite).
Now I really want to go to NY...it sucks not living an hour away anymore.