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The NYC Shabbos-keeping, crutch-walking challenge!

We’re seeing off our daughter who is going to study in Florence (yes, Italy, not Florence, NJ, although I’m sure the latter is totally lovely and rich in Renaissance art) for a semester. So the four of us, aged 15 to 55, are going to spend a couple of days in NYC, since the plane departs from JFK. We’re staying near Times Square. Here’s the challenge:

A couple of us are Shabbos-keeping Jews and thus can’t go in motorized vehicles or pay money from Friday evening through Saturday at around 7pm. (There’s a great worldwide database of kosher restaurants at, by the way.)

But wait, there’s more: One of us is on crutches after knee surgery and another of us is having a back problem and can’t walk for much more than hour without having to do some serious sitting. The back-problem person is also generally whiny, is never satisfied, and will probably spend most of the day looking for good wifi signals.

We already have tickets for the Museum of Modern Art on Saturday.

Other suggestions? [Tags:]

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13 Responses to “The NYC Shabbos-keeping, crutch-walking challenge!”

  1. MoMA is about a 15 minute walk from Times Square–and for the more mobility-impared/shabbos-observant, there are always pedicabs (entirely unlicensed and probably horrifically unsafe, but I don’t think anyone’s been killed in one yet). Not sure how you’d handle the payment issue, but I’m sure you’ll figure something out.

    Also, Bryant Park has a giant outdoor skating rink set up at the moment, and they still have free WiFi. And once you’re at Byrant Park, you might as well wander through the public spaces at the NYPL, a number of which have very recently been renovated and look awfully pretty.

  2. as a foreigner I ll suggest my favourite spot in ny, the top of the empire state. going up trhough stairs should be free, and I heard it s were they would like to experiment wimax in the city. it could take some times and requires several hundreds stops. but at the end, you have all you can ask for :)

  3. Get tickets to the Planetarium. And those of you allowed to spend money can treat the others, after a brief walk to 57th Street, to a horse and carraige ride through Central Park to get you there. The show is amazing, literally out of this world. You get to leave earth and everyone gets their own passport, a universal one.

  4. When you’re at MoMA, check the film schedule. Your admission entitles you to a free ticket to one of two screenings that day. (Not everybody knows about this.)

    Time Square will be full of people from Jersey walking around, gawking, and looking for a place to eat.

    I would want to hit Barney’s (Madison and 61st) or Bloomies (59th and Lex.), if you want to check out clothes that are priced above most folks’ budgets.

    The new Time Warner complex at Columbus Circle can be interesting (59th St.). It’s an upscale mall right at the entrance to Central Park. Samsung has a “store” there that they call an “experience.” It’s not a store because they have all the smartphones, lcd tv’s and other devices that they don’t sell in the US.

    You can buy tickets in advance for the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas (B’way at 62nd) to see either “Capote” or “Cliche,” if you haven’t seen these already.

    If you’re still in the city on Sunday afternoon, the Lever House would be a treat of an early dinner (Park and 53rd). Then sample the chocolate (or pistachio) eclairs and coffee at Fauchon (Park and 56th).

    Enjoy, but don’t dawdle too much on the sidewalk, SOME people do have to get somewhere in a hurry.

  5. NYPL’s Rose Reading Room is an attractive place to set a spell, though you’ll need a cat5 cable for their wired tables, if their wifi pages are correct. Many NYPL branches offer free wifi, though; see the list on their site. Think about it: books, chairs, wifi, librarians…

  6. Can’t recommend specific activities, but this might be useful.

  7. Not to nitpick but should be ;)

  8. Mark, that is an interesting discussion of the eruv. I went to my brother-in-law’s summer house down toward Long Beach Island, N.J. a couple of years ago while visiting other relatives in Nyack.

    Two of his neighbors had a line, almost like a string, around their property. I asked Jordan, an observant Jew in the Syrian community in Brooklyn, what it was and he indicated it was an Eruv, but he and his wife really didn’t know much about the reasons for the practice or its interpretations.

    They both kind of fit the “I don’t know why we do this, but it is part of our tradition” point of view on religious practices. It is a very peculiar practice in my opinion, but I’ve never claimed to understand most religious practices. I love the Webster’s New World Hebrew-English Dictionary definition: “religious legal fiction drawing a symbolic fence around a town or parts thereof so that the encompassed area may be regarded as one’s own yard.”

  9. It is definitely a peculiar practice, Larry. But, as with most of the Jews’ peculiar practices, it’s a way of sanctifying the everyday — bringing one’s attention to G-d’s presence in the mundane. Or so I’m told.

  10. I’ve been to Florence NJ and I can tell you there is no Renaissance Art there. None.

  11. On Shabbat, you (the observant Jew) should not carry things beyond your yard.

    But it’s a problem, of course. What if you want to bring a pot of Cholent to your neighbor for lunch? Thus the Eruv was invented.

    Eruv is “mixing” in Hebrew. The complete term is “Eruv Chatzerot” – Mixing of Yards.

    It’s a piece of string surrounding a city or a neighborhood that “mixes” all the yards enabling the whole area surrounded by the Eruv to be “one yard”.

    How was the Cholent? Oy, I forgot you are a vegetarian.

  12. Eruv, a creative commons.

  13. David! Luckily, the weather here this weekend is wonderful. I suggest some serious bench-sitting tomorrow, Sunday. You could take the subway to Washington Square Park, walk a few steps, and, presto! complete entertainment for the whole family.

    Union Square bench sitting, while not the most aesthetically pleasing, provides shopping/eating opportunities that you can look around at while sitting collectively on your bench. Zen Palate is right there, to the east. Tonight there was a brass jazz band from Chicago playing on the sidewalk just south of Union Square.

    you might also want to go to the Blue Note for Sunday brunch. Who knows, they might serve something vegetarian.


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