Avoiding the Black Friday sales? Here's 5 non-shopping activities to do

November 22, 2018

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Friday, Nov. 23 is not for everyone. The Black Friday sales are over-hyped, over-crowded and over-the-top. Why not just “fugetaboutit” and do something else on what for most people is a day off from work and school? There is so much more to see and experience in the greatest city in the world than shop. Here are just five things to do in New York City on Black Friday that have nothing to do with shopping.

Go Play at Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex

Not many people who live in or visit the Big Apple realize that you can play golf, go rock climbing, or play lunch-time hockey without leaving the city. You can do all of that and a lot more at Chelsea Piers, a sports and entertainment complex where you can go to play or practice more than two dozen sports. You can take classes in everything from cycling and gymnastics to dance and pilates. It has a great fitness club, a number of restaurants and cafes and even a bowling alley. In other words, it is a great place to work off that third helping of pumpkin pie you had on Thanksgiving Day.

Browse, Skate and Sample the Vendors at Bryant Park Winter Village

The massive ice skating rink in Bryant Park may not be as well-known as its world-famous cousin in Rockefeller Center, but with 17,000 square feet to frolic about upon, there is plenty of room – and much less of a wait to skate. The ice rink is at the heart of a winter wonderland, the annual Bryant Park Winter Village. Just sampling the dozens of food stalls in the village is an adventure, as is browsing the scores of small kiosks that sell the unique kinds of knick knacks, do-dads and other neat bits that you won't find in a Black Friday mega store. The park, located between 40th and 42nd Streets between 5th and 6th Avenues, covers nearly 10 acres. It has been a public space since 1686 and is bordered on the east by the main branch of the New York Public Library.

Gasp in Awe at the New York Public Library (Main Branch)

The main branch of the New York Public Library has tens of thousands of books, maps and periodicals, but it also has a lot more. Even if you don't have a library card, you can gaze at the beautifully decorated ceilings more than 50 feet above your head in the Rose Reading Room, which is illuminated by grand chandeliers and very tall, very wide windows. The main branch is also home to numerous special collections of art and literature, including one now on display which features the work of renowned photographer Anna Atkins. The building itself – inside and out – is an architectural marvel. Be advised that the larger-than-life-sized lions at the front entrance have been known to suddenly spring to life – at least in the movies.

Take a Big Onion NYC Walking Tour

Instead of standing in line outside of a store on Black Friday, make better use of being outside and on your feet by taking a walking tour of the city. While there are many guidebooks for self-guided tours, there are professional tour guides who can take you places you might never find on your own. Those at Big Onion Walking Tours, for example, will guide you on a two-hour hike for about $25. See historic Harlem or visit places in the city where famous rock and roll stars played, great artists painted and sculpted, or where American history was made in the colonial, federalist, Gilded or modern age. Although most people may still be stuffed from the Thanksgiving feast the day before, the “Original Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour” makes for a nice change from leftovers, as walkers will visit and sample the cuisine and wares at local shops and markets of the Lower East Side. From fried plantains to Malaysian beef jerky, and from sour pickles to handmade mozzarella, this is not just a walking but a “noshing” tour of the city.

Visit Roosevelt Island by Aerial Tram

New York is famous for its subway and taxis, but there is one type of public transportation less traveled that's worth a try. That is the aerial tram to Roosevelt Island. It is the only aerial passenger tram in the United States, and runs every seven minutes from its 59th Street and 2nd Avenue terminal to Tramway Plaza on Roosevelt Island. There is a lot more to this trip, however, than just flying over the East River when you get to Roosevelt Island. It is the home of the FDR Four Freedoms State Park, the Strecker Memorial Laboratory, a 50-foot high lighthouse built in 1872 by prisoners from the local penitentiary, and many other sites of cultural, historical and natural interest. There is also a thriving community with shops, markets and more.