Spring Break Staycation Guide

What to do in New York City if you can't go home, don't want to go home or just want to get out of the NYU bubble!

A sprawling view of the Manhattan skyline can be seen from the Long Island City waterfront. This scenic corner of Queens is a popular spot for students who want to escape the city for a while over spring break. (Staff Photo by Chelsea Li)

Spring break. Despite what pop culture depicts, not everyone’s counting down the days for their remote island getaway, beach vacation or weeklong party.

Instead, if they aren’t going home (or can’t go for whatever reason), some students opt for a staycation. With the seemingly endless array of things to do in New York City, a staycation could be just as exciting as a Spring Break vacation, without the added stress of having to worry about all the packing and travel.

“So I’m from Michigan,” Gallatin first-year Ama Sarpoma said. “And I don’t really like going back there because it’s kind of boring but it would also cost a lot to go somewhere like Miami which is where a lot of people I know are going over break so basically staying is just the most efficient thing to do. I think I’m going to try to explore the city a little more.”

Like Sarpoma, if you’re wondering what to do over break, here’s a couple of areas that you may not have time to visit when class is in session. 

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Queens

You’ll be surprised that there are things worth seeing outside of Brooklyn or Manhattan. Queens consists of many charming neighborhoods. The Long Island City waterfront has some of the most stunning views of midtown Manhattan. Astoria is also home to the Museum of the Moving Image, a cinema and museum hybrid dedicated to the history of film. With bike paths along Hunters Point South Park and Gantry Plaza State Park, restaurants and a new perspective, you won’t regret venturing toward the opposite side of the East River. 

Chelsea Piers

Is Top Golf too much pressure for you? Fear not because at Chelsea Piers, the vibes at the driving range are much less competitive and much more “lets see how far we can get the ball to go!” But besides the golf club, Chelsea Piers offers soccer fields, gymnastics facilities, basketball courts, batting cages, an indoor ice rink and bowling lanes. Located on the Hudson River embankment, Chelsea Piers also happens to conveniently be a 10-minute walk from Chelsea Market, a place perfect for a meal after running around.

Roosevelt Island

If you already happen to be in Long Island City, then the historic Roosevelt Island is not far away. In fact, the Roosevelt Island tram takes you from Roosevelt Island to the Upper East Side for one MetroCard swipe, placing the East River below you and the Manhattan skyline at eye level. The two mile stretch of land on the East River, right between Manhattan and Queens, is accessible through the tram entrance on 2nd Avenue between 59th and 60th Street.

Dumbo

You’ve probably seen the iconic photo with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background a thousand times on your Instagram feed, but that doesn’t make it any less worth attempting to recreate. You’re just a subway ride away — or even a walk if you’re feeling particularly ambitious — from taking in the entirety of the Brooklyn Bridge. But Dumbo’s cobblestone streets have more to offer than just Insta-worthy landscapes. Brooklyn Bridge Park has some of the most picturesque views of the city. You should also stop byJane’s Carousel, where you can enjoy a ride on the carousel and a scenic view for only $2. 

Although you may not have plans to leave the city, you can still have a memorable spring break. In fact, you may discover more excitement in the city than you would if you left.

A version of this article appears in the Monday, March 9, 2020 print edition. Email Daniela Ortiz at [email protected]

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