You asked for it: Solo activities

Date: October 18, 2010 2:20 PM
Subject: just a question

Can you recommend some places that people often go to alone? I hate the pack mentality of going to bars in droves, or needing a partner to dine with, so I'm looking for some ideas of places to go solo.


Dine alone

You won't even need a menu when you request a counter "chef's table" seat at Asian-fare hot spot Spice Market (403 W 13th St at Ninth Ave; 212-675-2322,; you'll be inches from the chef and can simply ask for what looks good. Try the pork vindaloo ($16) or red curried duck ($19), and keep your eyes peeled—head chef Anthony Ricco often chats up solo diners. "It's fun," says restaurant manager Eric Olson. "You're so close to the chef you can throw things at him."

Medidate alone

Be a Zen loner with monks at the Staten Island Buddhist Vihara (115 John St between Innis St and Richmond Terr, Staten Island; 718-556-2051,, where silence is key to finding nirvana. Take a meditation class inside the temple Wednesdays at 7:30pm, or make a wish before a sacred-fig tree, the kind of greenery under which Buddha achieved enlightenment.

Paint alone

Let your inner Jackson Pollock run free by contributing to a massive art installation by Greenpoint- based artist Tim Kelly, titled Puzzle Project. It's made up of interlocking, individually designed pieces; pick up your own blank one from the Reaves Gallery (526 W 26th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves; 646-734-9072,; Thu--Sat, noon--6pm; $10), go wild with Crayolas, then return it. "There are no rules, just make it meaningful to you," says Kelly. The entire thing—5,000 pieces—will be displayed next year.

Shuck alone

The counter at the Grand Central Oyster Bar (89 E 42nd St at Park Ave; 212-490-6650,, where diners perch alongside friendly strangers, is massive, snaking through the city's tiled mainstay. The restaurant's been around for nearly a century, serving saltwater classics such as pan-roasted cherrystone clams ($13) and fresh oysters from the raw bar ($2--$4 each).

Watch alone

You can grab discounted tickets before showtime at many of the city's Off and Off-Off Broadway theaters. Going solo means you're even more likely to snag a prime orchestra seat, says one box-office staffer at St. Ann's Warehouse (38 Water St between Dock and Main Sts, Dumbo, Brooklyn; 718-254-8779,, where you can save up to 60 percent on a rush ticket at surreal musical The Red Shoes.

Sleep alone

Need to get away from it all? Book a single room at the Pod Hotel (230 E 51st St between Second and Third Aves; 212-355-0300,; $149). Clean, modern digs are only part of the deal: there's also free Wi-Fi, a BYOB rooftop garden and, in summer, an outdoor caf. The rub? You'll have to share bathrooms with other podsters, but lights in each bedroom indicate when the johns are vacant, so you don't have to endure interacting with your neighbors.

Perform alone

Do you crack yourself up? Make strangers laugh by performing a solo show at The Peoples Improv Theater (154 W 29th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-563-7488, Stick your name in a hat for Monday's storytelling slam (6pm) or nab a three-minute slot during Tuesday's open-mike night (11pm), both free. "It's great for taking something you've had brewing for a while, creating something and seeing people's reactions," says artistic director Jeff Lepine.

See more You asked for it