The New York Challenge + February’s Mini-Challenge

For my first reading challenge, I thought that I should start with something I knew I could accomplish. What better to motivate me than books about my home, New York? Jill over at Fizzy Thoughts has created a great reading challenge: read and review one book set in New York City before May 1, 2010. Should be a blast!  For more info or to join in, head over to Fizzy Thoughts!

Not sure what book I’m going to read to fulfill the challenge yet, though–anyone have suggestions? (Too bad I’ve already read Lush Life, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and The Alienist…all of them have New York not just as a setting, but a character.)

There are also mini-challenges held monthly, and I can’t resist playing along! For February, the task is to compile a list of ten things (ANY things) about New York. I’m a born-and-bred New Yorker and have lived here my entire life (minus the time spent in Rhode Island for college); the past two years especially have been great, as I’m livin’ on my own in Queens, greatest of boroughs. My list, then, is a plain ol’ ‘Fun Places To Visit (Off the Beaten Path)  in NYC!’ These are tried and true fun activities for anyone, tourists and locals alike. :)

  1. The Museum of the City of New York - A smaller museum right by Central Park, they rotate collections all the time and, unlike many other museums in the city, you won’t feel overwhelmed trying to see everything there in a day. Perfect for this challenge because it always features New York in its exhibits!
  2. The Cloisters - Confession time: As a kid I was obSESSed with unicorns and read tons of books, both fiction and non-fiction, about them. While the obsession has faded a bit, I still go to the Cloisters to see the huge, beautiful Unicorn Tapestries. And if you don’t care for unicorns (blasphemy!), their collection of medieval art is still unparalleled, and the grounds there are gorgeous.
  3. Inwood Park - You will forget that you’re in super-urban Manhattan when you trek here. It honestly made me think I was in the Shire. Enough said.
  4. The New York Public Library - A must for any book lover! Not only can you actually read and borrow materials, but the building itself is beautiful inside and out.
  5. The Museum of Comic Book Art - A very small museum (one floor!) that has rotating exhibits about, what else, comic books! Old and new comics are featured. When I went last, there was a great exhibition about Archie and how socially progressive it was for its time!
  6. Astoria Park - Another beautiful, lesser-known park. Not only do you get great views of the East River and Manhattan, but in the summer you can usually find bands playing here for free! 
  7. 37th Ave, Jackson Heights – I used to live here and it is kickass. Jackson Heights has possibly THE BEST food in all of New York. Indian, Ecuadorian, Korean, Ethiopean, Mexican–whatever you’re hankerin’ for you can find here.
  8. The Museum of the American Indian - A great museum for anyone interested in American Indian history, especially those of the tribes that lived in New York. They often put on free programs, too. As a bonus, it’s right by South Street Seaport; when you’re done exploring the museum, you can take a walk along the waterfront.
  9. The HighLine - A new park as of last summer, the HighLine is actually a reclaimed 1930s rail line that runs over the street. There are pathways lined with flowers and grasses, benches to rest, and a great view of the water.
  10. The Union Square Farmers’ Market – Open year-round! Head here to pick up locally-farmed veggies, honey, flowers, and even goat cheese! It’s got a great vibe and you can feel good knowing you supported New York farmers.

If you think I’ve missed anything, drop me a line and let me know, and if you’re participating in the New York Challenge, comment with a link to your own post/list. Now to get reading!

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16 Responses to “The New York Challenge + February’s Mini-Challenge”


  1. 1 bermudaonion February 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    What a fun list! I wish I could spend more time in NY!

    • 2 tarynwanderer February 16, 2010 at 8:35 am

      Hey, thanks! :) And seriously, there is never enough time in NY. I still haven’t done half of the things I want to do here!

  2. 3 diane February 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Sounds like some great NY reading. I’m planning on possibly reading the book New York by Rutherfurd.

  3. 5 Rob February 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    I love the Cloisters too even though it’s a bit of a distance above Harlem. Usually I would drive up there on my way out of the city. When I went to the Museum of the City of New York last year they also had a Broadway theater exhibit. You came up with a lot of good ideas. I need to write my list soon.

    Aloha from Rob

    • 6 tarynwanderer February 16, 2010 at 8:34 am

      The Cloisters is great, and you’re lucky you could drive there! I feel like I’d go more often if it didn’t take me over an hour to get there.

      And yeah, the Museum of the City of NY is just great. The exhibit I just saw was a photo collection of NYC parks and it was gorgeous. It’s becoming one of my favorite museums!

      Looking forward to reading your list!

  4. 7 Colleen February 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Great list! You are right – Queens is the best borough – that is where I grew up!

    Can you believe I still haven’t been to the Cloisters? Need to do that soon!

    I may read Netherland or North River for my challenge choice- have you read Forever by Pete Hamill? It is one of my favorite NY novels.

    • 8 tarynwanderer February 16, 2010 at 8:33 am

      Hooray! Queens love! :) I grew up there as well and so always feel like I have to defend it/sing its praises!

      The Cloisters is a trek, but it’s worth it. I mean, it’s literally a big old castle; who couldn’t love that?

      And this is really funny–I just ordered “Forever”yesterday! I’m excited to read it and I’m glad it comes recommended. I’ve been enjoying your blog and will definitely be back!

  5. 9 Amanda February 16, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Yay for Jackson Heights! Both times I was in NYC I went there to eat at this one Indian food place. My sister introduced it to me and it was the first time I ever had Indian food. I’m completely in love with it now and hope to get back there when I’m in NYC again in May.

    I’m not a bit museum person, but I’m planning to visit the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center when I’m there. It has personal significance for me because my favorite band from the 90s recorded their only music video there. :)

    • 10 tarynwanderer February 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm

      Awesome!! It’s great that you were able to visit Jackson Heights, it definitely doesn’t get enough love!

      Hmm…was the Indian place Jackson Diner, by any chance?

      I’ve never been to that museum, but I have visited the Brooklyn Museum and it’s pretty sweet too (no music videos recorded there that I know of, though)!

  6. 12 Amanda February 16, 2010 at 8:56 am

    And by “bit” museum person, I mean “big” museum person. Yeah. :D

  7. 13 softdrink February 20, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for the reminder about The Cloisters. I’ve never been, but have always wondered about it. Now to see if I can fit it in this trip…

    Thanks for participating…you came up with a great list!!

  8. 14 Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books February 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Fantastic list! I’ve never been to the Museum of the City of New York, but it sounds like a location/size that could easily be squeezed into a visit to the city.

    Also have never been inside the Library … must make time on my next visit. I’m over to their website now, to see if they offer tours.


  1. 1 WWW Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday (Feb 24) « bookwanderer Trackback on February 24, 2010 at 8:44 am
  2. 2 Review: Forever « bookwanderer Trackback on March 25, 2010 at 7:42 am

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