I'll be arrive by train from JFK. Art, outdoors, food, music would be good. I wont have much time, so realistically mainly just planning to do some walking and get a simple lunch or snack. Any ideas for neighborhoods to explore place to eat, things to see?
Sure. Take the Airtrain from JFK to Jamaica and get the Long Island Railroad or the Subway (E) train to 34th Street. Walk west to High Line Park. The entrance is on 34th between 10th and 11th Avenue. The High Line is a little touristy, but it's the elevated rail line that used to bring cows from the stockyards to the Meatpacking district and you have a great vantage point of buildings around you from an elevated position. The landscaping is great too.
You can walk the length of the High Line which will bring you to the Meatpacking District. There, you have some great restaurants. The The Standard Grill is great for a moderate splurge - or there will be food trucks under the High Line for more value meals.
If you have an interest in art, get off the High Line at 23rd Street and there are many art galleries around in Chelsea (you might want to Google current exhibits if this interests you).
Chelsea Market at 16th Street is a great place to stop for lunch, craft beer or great wines at Corkbuzz.
From the High Line's southernmost point you're almost in the West Village, so you can continue wandering the streets with private houses, or head over to the Hudson River. There's a park the whole length with different things to do on different piers.
If you stay on the west side you can catch the E train back to Jamaica to pick up the Airtrain to JFK. If you are doing this in-transit before another flight, make sure to leave plenty of time - especially on the weekend. The subways can be weird on weekends.
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Take advantage of the limited time and check out Queens/LIC! Take the Manhattan bound E train to Court Square-23 St. stop and grab a quick bite at Sage General Store. Then explore the outdoor/indoor installations at MoMA PS1 right down the street and finish the trip with a quick drink or snack at the dinette. If you have time, I would walk towards the water or Center Blvd and you will have a beautiful view of the city. Also, if you find yourself in a rush to JFK, Uber is highly reliable in the area since the office is nearby.
That's not a lot of time. If you take the airtrain, you can get from JFK to Penn Station in about 40, 45 minutes.
You don't have time for queues. I'd be grabbing some takeaway and heading for Central Park to find a sunny spot. A great value snack I always enjoy in NYC is from The Original Soupman which is then just a quick walk up to the park.
Museum of Modern Art is not far away - so if you wanted an art fix, you're in the right neighbourhood. Given you've got roughly an hour commute back to JFK, I wouldn't recommend trying to fit much else in.
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