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.