Q: Hi Playground! I would love some recommendations for exploring NYC with my 13-year-old nephew from North Carolina. He’s a drummer and loves live music. Any thoughts?? ~ Thanks, LF
A: Hi LF! A music loving teen? You’ve come to the right place! Georgette and I both have 13-year-olds who fall squarely into this category.
My first recommendation is for School of Rock. This fun Broadway musical features a live, on-stage rock band comprised entirely of teens and tweens. Your nephew will love it (and you will, too, it’s a lot of fun).
Before or after the play, walk down to 34th Street and 9th Avenue to Sam Ash Music Store. This classic NYC spot is filled with every rocker’s dream stock: guitars and drum kits cover every inch, and musicians (including rock-inclined teens) can try out the wares. Score!
Add a little sightseeing in by heading west from Sam Ash to connect to the High Line and head downtown. You’ll get great views and and an elevated view of the city. There are food stops on the path, and usually a musician or two. Then descend at 14th street and hit Chelsea Market for lunch, dinner, or a snack from the range of quick dining options and sit down restaurants. (It’s Melissa’s son Aidan’s absolute favorite food spot.)
For live music that’s teen appropriate, try Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village, a live music venue that’s a NYC staple. It offers all-ages shows several times a week with cover bands and singer/songwriters. Before the show, be sure to leave time to visit Bleecker Street Records, where you can get lost in a maze of amazing music that includes used CDs and posters as well as albums.