What Do Teenagers Do In NYC?

By Meghan Riley

Sena Cheung (17, left) and Sebastian Flores (16, right) enjoying a Friday night in Central Park
Sena Cheung (17, left) and Sebastian Flores (16, right) enjoying a Friday night in Central Park

Even in a city that never sleeps, teenagers sometimes have trouble finding age appropriate things to do on a Friday night in New York City, according to an informal survey.

Once teenagers are allowed to go out with their friends without supervision, they need to find something to fill their time.

The survey showed that about 71% of teenagers are allowed to go out at 14 years old or younger, 14% are allowed to go out at 15 years old, 7% are allowed out at 16 and 7% are allowed out at 17 years old or older.

This doesn’t mean that kids are allowed to roam free and do whatever they want.

“My mother won’t let me go out at certain times,” says Amber Miranda from the Bronx, “And there are things that are too far, like Brooklyn.”

The survey also showed that almost 79% of teenagers have a strict curfew to follow. Almost 36% of kids have some kind of boundary from how far they can go from their house. And the other 28% have some other kind of restriction.

Once teenagers are allowed the option to go out and be with their friends, they have to find things to do.

Only 14% of teenagers who took the survey said that they had trouble finding thing to do in New York City this summer.

Parks, movie theaters and cheap restaurants are all popular places for teenagers to hang out on the weekends, according to the survey.

However, in order to go to movies or restaurants teenagers need money.

A large 86% of kids who took the survey said that their parents in some way pay for them to do things with their friends.

Only 14% percent said their parents always pay for them to go out with their friends, and half of the survey takers said that their parents only pay for them sometimes.

“Finding cheap things to do is imperative when you’re in New York City for the summer” said 17 year old Michelle from San Diego.

Over 57% of answers from the survey said that they can only spend $20 or less when they go out with their friends.

Less than half of the survey takers said that they pay more than that on a regular basis.

Teenagers, especially starving college students, need inexpensive options for things to do in New York City.

It is after all one of the most expensive cities to live in, according to CBS MoneyWatch.

Even just walking around the streets on a Friday evening can leave teenagers with few age appropriate options, says NYU PreCollege residential and commuter students alike.

The streets that are filled with bars and nightclubs and expensive restaurants can be distracting and leave some kids thinking there is nothing else to do, according to the 14% of survey takers that had a hard time finding things to do.

When teenagers get bored and see a row of bars on St Marks Place, they look for ways in, according to the residential advisers who were in charge of the PreCollege students this summer.. This means they search for fake IDs and can get caught and in a lot of trouble for having one.

Out of the 20% of students who took a separate informal survey, only half of their fake IDs worked and got them into bars in New York City.

The other half were caught and their IDs were taken from them on site, according to NYU PreCollege students who were with the group that got carded.

The Fakes Epidemic; Underage Drinking and Fake IDs

Cheap Things To Do In NYC


The Fakes Epidemic; Underage Drinking and Fake IDs

St. Marks Place is a popular strip for bars and clubs in the East Village Photo taken by Meghan Riley
St. Marks Place is a popular strip for bars and clubs in the East Village
Photo taken by Meghan Riley

Hookah bars and fake IDs have been popular topics in New York University dorms this summer.

A hookah bar or lounge is an easy 21-plus establishment to sneak into, according to underaged NYU dormers,  where patrons can smoke tobacco out of a shared water pipe and order alcoholic drinks.

In the NYU PreCollege Program, only 20% of PreCollege students own a fake ID, according to an anonymous informal survey.

There are a few different ways of getting a fake ID, including ordering them from websites and online providers like www.reallygoodfakes.com.

From this website, you can buy a fake ID from New York, Minnesota, or Colorado for only $150.

Each ID is guaranteed to pass a black light test at bars and nightclubs, have the correct hologram sticker for the state it is from, and a barcode to be scanned at stores, “to the best of their ability,” according to the website’s FAQs page.

The website even offers reprint options in case your fake ID is taken from you, which will happen if an establishment recognizes an ID as fake.

Bars and nightclubs have gotten very good at recognising fake IDs.

“Fake IDs will be confiscated and the police will be called,” according to a representative at Sahara Citi, a hookah bar on East 13th Street, “The police handle it from there.”

The ID must be handed over to law enforcement within 24 hours, according to New York State  law.

Using a fake name on an ID is considered a misdemeanour but using the real name of another person is a gross misdemeanour and can mean jail time, according to the underage and fake ID laws.

The possible charges for underaged possession and consumption would mean a minimum of $150 fine for a first offence.

That’s $300 that you’ve now wasted and a lot of explaining to do to your parents.


Cheap Things To Do In NYC

What is there to do year round in New York City? Let me tell you!



Asia Society Museum

725 Park Avenue, New York, NY



Free on Fridays from 6pm to 9pm

Under 16 free entrance always

Association with Hunter College is free admission


American Museum of Natural History

79th Street and Central Park West, New York, NY



Suggested admission fee is $22 for adults, not mandatory


The Guggenheim

1071 5th Avenue, New York, NY



Admission fee is suggested, pay as you wish on Saturdays 5:45pm to 7:45pm


The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY

200 Eastern Parkway Museum



Admission fee is suggested, pay as you wish

$4 discounts for students


Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY



Fridays from 7pm to 10pm admission is pay as you wish

Association with New York University is free admission


Museum of the City of New York

1220 5th Avenue, New York, NY



Suggested admissions fee is $14 for adults and $10 for students, pay as you wish

19 and Under are free



Conservatory Gardens at Central Park

Entrance at 5th Avenue and 105th Street or 106th Street gate inside Central Park



Botanical Gardens

2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY



Weekdays student price $18, Weekends student price  $22


Sports Games

Mets Games


$10 promenade level seating for students, rush list


Yankee Games

Half priced tickets for students at the Ticket Window



Broadway Shows


Discounted tickets to day-of performances


AMC Movie Theaters


Discounted movie tickets on Thursdays for Students


Exercise Classes

Yoga Classes


10 class card for $100 with student ID, 5 class card for $50 with student ID

Talking the Talk at Conversation Day

by Barbara Yerkes

A volunteer for Conversations New York leads a discussion about happiness.
A volunteer for Conversations New York leads a discussion about happiness.

People eager to discuss a variety of topics gathered at Bryant Park in July to join Conversation Day, an annual event dedicated to bringing people together through in-person interactions.

Anyone who was interested in participating could simply get a nametag, check the board of topics, and join a table of other people willing to talk.

The organization running the event was “Conversations New York”, whose goal is to encourage New Yorkers to engage in meaningful, face-to-face conversations to promote a better understanding of other humans and their perspectives. The nonprofit started in November 2012, and this was their third annual event.

Trained volunteers were stationed at each table to keep the conversations lively, and to make sure each participant was contributing.

Volunteer Sally Moses of Brooklyn said the appeal behind the conversations is that, “You can talk about anything and be as open as you want because you probably will never see the person again in a city like New York.”

We’re celebrating the soul of New York. Our collective ideas, feelings, intuitions, hopes, concerns, anger” said Ronald Gross, founder and director of Conversations New York. “I would want (the participants) to get is a reminder that it’s really fun and enjoyable and rewarding.”

Conversations New York holds conversations every day in a smaller format, to encourage people daily to pursue more human interaction.

Related article: How Social is Social Media?

How Social is Social Media?

By Barbara Yerkes

[slideshow_deploy id=’69’]


The conviction that we’ve lost track of the value of human conversation as part of our social, culture, intellectual and educational life”

When you walk through Washington Square Park, be careful not to run into people glued to their phone playing the latest Pokemon game, completely solitary despite being in a lively area.

Or maybe when you grab lunch with a friend, you notice her scrolling through Instagram and checking her Facebook feed more than contributing to a conversation. As you look around, you might see similar scenes happening at each table.

Millennials, people born after 1980 according to Pew Research Center, receive a negative view about their cell phone use from older generations, particularly because of the large amount of time spent on phones.

“Looking around seeing everyone on their phones in the middle of a beautiful park on a sunny day makes me sad for this generation. Back in my day we had conversations with each other,” said Greenwich local Emma Bamdorf, 53.

Although the initial purpose of the cell phone was to increase conversations, 84% of teens aged 16 to 18 in an informal survey said that since they started using their phones, they actually talk to their friends less.

In an attempt to increase face-to-face communication, organizations have been created solely to bring people together to talk with each other.

Conversations New York” is a group where trained volunteers plan meetings around the city where people can go to sit down and have a conversation about anything ranging from politics to love.

Ronald Gross, founder and director of “Conversations New York,” said the inspiration for this group came from, “The conviction that we’ve lost track of the value of human conversation as part of our social, culture, intellectual and educational life… I want people to get a reminder that it’s really fun and enjoyable and rewarding and profitable.”

But with the growing consumption of social media, is conversation just growing on a different platform?

Ninety-two percent of teens reported that most of the time spent on their phones was on social media applications, the most prominently used being Instagram and Snapchat to post photos and videos. 

The move from face-to-face conversation to online doesn’t necessarily mean there is a lack of communication, or is detrimental to human interaction.

Sophia Klass, 17, of the Upper East Side said, “social media and phones in general allow teens to keep in touch with each other, especially because we’re always busy with academics and extracurriculars.”

Other teens stated that using phones too much only becomes a problem in large social situations if everyone is on their phone instead of talking to each other. Some said that their only negative is the distraction it can create at school.

Besides social media, other types of apps that take up time are gaming oriented,where they can be played anywhere on a mobile device.

With the recent release of the wildly popular Niantic app “Pokemon Go,” players travel with their phones to catch Pokemon, level up, and advance in the game with the use of real time location and activity tracking.

This new development in apps has created a new sense of being attached to a phone, as users everywhere are thoroughly attached to their mobile device. While some people see this as “teenagers being addicted to their phones,” most players just view it as a fun and interactive way to play a game, and actually have met people while playing.

Some of the negative stigma results from the fact that the new Millenial generation grew up with technological advancements, where older generations were introduced to it later on in life.

“There’s such an unfair blame put onto teenagers about being on their phones too much, but they allow us to stay connected, and have interactions that we wouldn’t be able to have without them. It only becomes a problem when used in extreme,” said 16 year old Amber Deshawn of Lower Manhattan.

For more on Conversations New York