Why give the guy in your life a thing when you can give him an experience? These six only-in-New York experiences would make perfect gifts for brothers, fathers, husbands, uncles, and anyone else with a Y chromosome. Better yet—get two, so you can go too. By Jessica Allen.
This gift is something of a two-parter, since you need to be a member of the American Museum of Natural History in order to take a behind-the-scenes tour. So, first up, buy a membership to one of the city’s coolest museums. Then, sign your guy up for a members only tour to see the museum’s Big Bone storage room, for example, or learn about how fossils are saved and stored. These periodic, not-to-be-missed tours offer a chance to hang out in the halls after-hours, and sell out super quick.
For just $10, your guy can try four beers, learn about the history of brewing in Brooklyn, have some face time with an expert, and take home a souvenir glass as part of the Small Batch Tour at the Brooklyn Brewery (reservations required). On Sundays, you can save some dough and stop in for a free tour at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, or 4 pm (no advance reservations accepted). Prepare to be impressed: the Brooklyn Brewery exports more beer than any other American craft brewery. You can even bring your child to teach him/her the fine arts of hops (and of being a responsible drinker).
The city’s oldest distillery turned four in 2014. Yes, really. When the law changed and distilleries became legal in New York State for the first time since Prohibition, Kings County Distillery (opened in 2010) instantly became the city’s oldest. From a 19th-century warehouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, this outfit produces prize-winning bourbon, flavored whiskey, and moonshine (corn whiskey). Each comes in an old-school, minimalist bottle. Tours are usually offered on Saturdays (check the website for times).
For more than 130 years, Madison Square Garden has played host to some of the world’s greatest games, concerts, and performances. See where the magic happens—as well as where your favorite members of the Rangers and the Knicks hang their hats during game time—during the backstage tour. Depending on who’s playing, tours run daily from 10:30 am to 3 pm. Too basic? Try the VIP tour or a tour that includes a class with the Knicks Dancers.
Talk about truth in advertising, or nomenclature: Metal Shop Fantasy Camp is exactly what it sounds like. Its popular four-hour class teaches participants to master “the raw power of fire, metal, and electricity.” After learning the basics, everyone gets a chance to work on perfecting their very own metal cube. You could also get your man-friend a one-hour intro to welding or an intro to TIG welding and fine finishing (for more advanced students), in which the aforementioned cube gets taken to the next level.
Taking as his mantra the idea that “[w]e can have well-designed, locally made products that are a good value and will last through successive moves to new homes,” Gowanus Furniture Co. founder Peter Raho began making cutting boards in 2011, and has since moved onto bike racks, lighting fixtures, and many types of storage systems. At his Make Your Own Custom Cutting Board class, you and your man will spend two evenings contemplating grain patterns, gluing, sanding, applying finish, and maybe even monogramming.