New York City on January 1: After the party there’s still things to do

There have been a few times I’ve ended up in a town or city when there’s a holiday–or on the wrong day, such as when a place I hoped was open was closed. For example, don’t go to the Solomon R. Guggenheim on Thursday. The doors are locked.

In New York City on New Year’s Day, it can feel as if no one is home. After the hoopla in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, the quietness of the streets can be even more disconcerting.

For a traveler who is hoping to find some activity somewhere, there’s nothing worse than that after the excitement feeling when there’s nothing left to do. If anyone is engaged in something fun, it’s not you. To help the traveler who has landed in Manhattan for New Year’s Eve and has the first day of 2008 to fill with things to do rather than flip through the cable channel of a hotel room TV, The New York Times has a wonderful article “The City Doesn’t Drop the Ball” on what you might do on Tuesday, the day after the ball drops.

Here’s the short list of what’s open.

The Statue of Liberty–If you don’t go inside, the trip out to Liberty Island on the ferry is enjoyable and offers a wonderful view of Manhattan. I’m not sure what the frigid air would feel like this time of year, though. I’ve only been here in the summer, but there is inside seating on the ferry and a snack bar on board. This would be a fun New Year’s outing.

The Museum of Modern Art–Oh, how I love this museum. If you do go, the various cafes throughout are worthy of a coffee pit stop. Also, if you need to pick up a 2008 calendar, this gift shop is the best for funky, interesting options.

The Museum of Natural History is also open. The last time I was here, I thought about how it was like stepping inside a science and social studies book, but all the pages are 3-D.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim may be closed on Thursday’s but it’s open on New Year’s Day. The article said that kids might be bored. Ah, not if you know how to take your kids through an art museum. One trick is to not plan to stay for hours, but have engaging your kids with the artwork be the purpose of the trip. With the circular layout of the museum, it’s visually interesting for children as well. I remember going here when I was 9 years-old and being attracted to Jackson Pollack’s art. Maybe it was because I thought his name sounded so cool.

The Poetry Project ‘s New Year’s Day Reading Marathon at St. Mark’s Church caught my attention the most since this is its 34th year and it’s in my brother’s neighborhood. This is a reading bonanza of 12 hours of poetry readings and performances. If you do head to St. Mark’s Church, there are a slew of ethnic restaurants in the neighborhood. Maybe you’ll get lucky and one will be open. Little Poland is on 2nd Avenue near 14th St. Try the potato pancakes.

The New York Times article does give other eating suggestions and a few more options.