When that sweet 16 birthday rolls around, if you’re lucky enough to be in New York City, there’s no shortage of exciting, fun and different things to do. Where else could you see a Broadway show, ride the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building or take group photos as your boat glides past the Statue of Liberty? Whether you plan to celebrate with a few special friends or gather together a whole group of well-wishers, when you get out and about in The Big Apple for your big day, you can certainly make it a day to remember.
Take a Cruise
Grab your camera and hop aboard a Circle Line cruise. Whether it’s your first or your 16th cruise, there’s nothing like sailing past Lady Liberty up close and getting a great birthday shot. You and your friends can choose from a full island tour, a semi-circle, harbor lights at dusk or a speed boat trip to the Statue of Liberty and back. Tours leave from Pier 43 on the West Side and refreshments are served on board. Reserve online in advance to receive a group discount.
Hit the Heights
You may recall the scene from “Sleepless in Seattle” when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meet at the top of the Empire State Building. Or when King Kong made cinematic history hanging off the radio tower. Without question, the quarter-mile-high 102nd floor is a place where special moments happen, so add yours to the list. A chorus of “Happy Birthday” surrounded by good friends and an 80-mile panoramic view is something you won’t forget. Group rates kick in for 20 people or more. Or, take in awesome 360-degree views from the 70th floor open-air level at the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center’s midtown observation deck. On weekdays, you and your friends can arrive early with birthday signs to be broadcast live in the crowd on the Today Show and then take the new NBC backstage tour.
Get On Your Skates
No matter what month you’re celebrating your birthday, an ice skating or roller skating party is a great New York City treat. In winter, choose an outdoor ice rink from two of midtown Manhattan’s most picturesque spots in Central Park and Rockefeller Center. Or, head for Brooklyn’s newest year-round skating rink at Prospect Park. Group rates are available for 12 or more with discounts for those who bring their own skates. Central Park’s Wollman Rink even has a teen birthday party package to include a buffet meal in an exclusive heated tent pitched rink-side. In the warmer months, Central Park Skate Circle at 72nd Street has all the rental gear; just come in your Lycra and tube socks.
It’s showtime under the neon lights of the Great White Way. If Broadway theater is your idea of the ultimate in sophistication, get a couple of friends and check out the discounted tickets for matinee or evening performances available from TKTS at Broadway and 47th Street in Times Square for a 25- to 50-percent discount on same-day performances. A list of shows that have seats available is posted every day. The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and Broadway musicals are always particularly popular, so arrive early for the best selection. Matinees are usually on Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m. or Sunday at 3 p.m. Celebrate with cake at Restaurant Row on West 46th Street while you’re in Times Square.
Cheer For the Home Team
When’s your birthday? Just name your game. You can even get a happy birthday message displayed on the scoreboard at halftime. New York City has more professional sports teams than anywhere, and there’s hardly a day without action somewhere. Get to Madison Square Garden to watch the Knicks or Liberty on the hardwood or the Rangers on the ice. Get a hotdog at Citi Field while watching the Mets or yell for the boys in stripes at Yankee Stadium. Claim your seats to cheer for the NY Jets or the NY Giants at their shiny new MetLIfe Stadium, head to Brooklyn’s Barclay Center to root for the Nets or ride the subway to the US Open to see what Rafael Nadal’s backhand looks like lately. If soccer’s your game, the Red Bulls have some top pros bending it like Beckham.