Here's my list of things I always recommend to visitors to the city; sorry I don't have time to post links as well. (New Yorkers, feel free to chime in with things I've forgotten.)
- Take the subway -- after walking, the cheapest, fastest, and most enjoyable way to get around New York
- Visit one of our fantastic art museums: MoMA (free on Friday nights after 5 p.m.), the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, the Frick Collection (this latter especially appropriate if you like Stately Homes as well)
- Or other museums . . . The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is a terrific glimpse of "how the other half live[d]," and I particularly commend the Morgan Library for readers, as they have two terrific exhibits up right now -- one on Victorian bestsellers, featuring some of Charles Dickens's manuscripts and book contracts, and one on Saul Steinberg -- as well as the jaw-dropping heaven that is J. P. Morgan's library
- Have authentic Chinese food in Chinatown (Goodie's, New York Noodle Town, Dim Sum-A-Go-Go), New York-style pizza (Lombardi's, Patsy's, John's of Bleecker Street, or Two Boots for funky toppings), a hot dog from a corner stand, and at least one ethnic cuisine you can't find in your hometown
- Stand in the center of Grand Central Station and marvel at the ceiling; extra points if you can find the whispering corner on the floor below
- Take the Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty and back again; best when the sun is setting on a sunny day
- Visit Patience and Fortitude at the New York Public Library at 42nd St. and 5th Ave.; extra points if you go up to the Rose Reading Room, one of the most beautiful spaces in the city, IMHO. You can also visit Winnie-the-Pooh and Betsy, too, at the Donnell on 53rd St. between 5th and 6th, across the street from MoMA.
- Stroll through Times Square and Central Park
- Go to the top of a tall building -- probably the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock -- for a view of the whole city (probably not advisable in the cold)
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (ditto)
- Visit Coney Island (ditto II)
- Go to a taping of "Late Night with David Letterman," "The Daily Show," or a daytime talk show (probably a little late to get tickets now, but it's worth a try)
- See a show, on Broadway or off (I love "Company," "The 21st Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," and "Avenue Q")
And have fun!