Tuesday, May 24, 2011

a few favourite NYC spots

Restaurants that we love:
  • Stanton Social (Stanton and Ludlow, LowerEastSide – favourites on menu: French onion soup dumplings; edamame; red snapper tacos; donuts for dessert)
  • Schiller’s (breakfast, drinks, Lower East Side)
  • Balthazar (french bistro: for breakfast lunch or dinner, Soho)
  • Jules' Bistro (St. Mark’s Place in EastVillage)
  • Tartine (small, cute neighborhood BYOW restaurant for locals, WestVillage)
  • Cafe Mogador (Moroccan food on St. Mark’s: cheap delicious food)
  • Cafe Orlin (Good little terrasse on St. Mark’s, cheap good food)
  • Sebastien (Ludlow near Grand. Quiet)
  • Keen’s Steakhouse (midtown)
  • Quantum Burger (vegetarian, GreenwhichVillage)
  • The Mermaid Inn (seafood, on 2nd Ave. In EastVillage)
  • Luke’s Lobster (delicious relatively cheap lobster rolls in a tiny place, on 7th ST. Near 1st Ave in EastVillage)
  • Chick Pea (hummus, all over, 6th ave near 22nd street -- chainFood, healthy lunch option on the go)
  • Madeleine (really great macarons and delicious coffee, Parisian place, on 23rd btw 6th-7th.)
  • Cafe Cluny (breakfast in WestVillage)
  • Jane’s Restaurant (breakfast in Soho)
  • Alta (tapas, near WestVillage)
  • Classic Stage Company (good coffee near Union Square (13ths street near 3rd ave.)
  • Carmine’s (Times Square)
  • Max Brenner (Chocolate everything, Union Square)
  • Sarahbeth’s (Breakfast, Amsterdam?, UpperWestSide)
  • Babycakes (Gluten-free, Broome near Ludlow, LowerEastSide)
  • Magnolia Bakery (cupcakes, WestVillage)
  • Rickshaw Dumplings (we ate at the food truck, but they have a restaurant on 23rd near 6th)
  • 11th Street Cafe (11th street near Hudson, WestVillage)

There are really great bars in every single neighborhood in Manhattan. You're not in Kansas anymore. Do not be worried about not knowing which one to go to. Wander into whichever one looks good and you'll probably like it.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn is also a good place for discovering cool bars and it's a $15 cab ride from Manhattan's lower east side (you can also get there by subway).

Manhattan bars (this list will grow):
  • Pegu Club (W Houston, Soho)
  • Angel Share (St. Mark’s /9th str., EV)
  • Blarney Cove (super narrow dive bar, btw ave. A & B on 14th street)
  • Waverly Inn (exclusive club on Bank Street and Waverly Place)
  • The Bitter End (Bleeker St.)
  • Vol de Nuit (Belgian Bar in GV)
  • Total Wine Bar (5th Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn)
  • Village Bistro (jazz, Greenwhich Village)
  • Blue Note (jazz,Greenwhich Village)
  • Lincoln Center: Jazz + dinner at Dizzy Gellespie restaurant

Hockey-viewing Bars for catching Habs' games:
  • Kelly’s Pub (great low-key spot for watching hockey, on Avenue A near 2nd street)
  • Warren 77 (owned by Sean Avery, best place for watching hockey games, on Warren St.)
  • ESPN bar in Times Square (also good for watching hockey)
  • 3rd and Long (sports bar, manager is a Habs fan. 3rd ave and around 33rd)

Cool things to do:

If you're new to NYC, I highly recommend taking the tour on the double-decker red buses, as a starting point. The buses allow you to hop-on, hop-off all over the city. The traditional starting point is at Times Square (though you can get on at any of their stops around town).
The red bus offers two main tours of Manhattan: one is the lower manhattan loop and the other is the uptown loop. I would do both if time permits (each loop takes 2 hours to complete w/o getting off, so best to do no more than one per day). If you can only do one, I would recommend doing the downtown loop. Well worth it for getting a basic overview of the city and it's many neighborhoods and how they relate to one another geographically. If it's not raining, try to get a seat on the upper deck of the bus (you'll see nothing from the first level of the bus). If it's a rainy day, consider taking the tour another day -- one when you can sit on the upper deck of the bus comfortably.

Cool things to do (in no particular order. This list will grow too):
  • Museums, museums, museums. Sooo many...
  • Tenement Museum
  • High Line
  • Lincoln Center: Jazz + dinner at Dizzy Gellespie restaurant
  • The Moth (regular storytelling competitions -- great fun)
  • Visit The Society of Illustrators (they have life drawing sessions and often have interesting speakers and exhibits)
  • Take art courses and furniture making at 3rd ward
  • SVA: art courses, etc.
  • Sewing classes at Flirt
  • Walk across the Brooklyn bridge
  • Shopping in Soho (everything, Uniqlo, J. Crew, Anthropologie, etc..) & Union Square (Fishs Eddy, DSW,
  • Anthropologie, J. Crew, Container Store)
  • Outdoor hockey in Central Park (October till April)
  • Hockey at Chelsea Piers (all year round)
  • Soccer in Central Park
  • Rooftop movies (Various locations – we saw the Happy Poet in the LowerEeastSide)
  • Shakespeare in the Park (Al Pacino starred last year)
  • Street festivals every weekend in the summer
  • Buy a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers at the corner store
  • See cherry trees in bloom in the spring (best around easter especially in Central Park and apparently at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens)
  • The Hamptons (East Hampton: 1770 House on Main Street; the Maidstone also looked cool; see mansions on Lily Pad Lane; we also visited Montauk and Sag Harbor)
  • Flea Market/Antique Garage on 26th street
  • Flea Market in Hell’s Kitchen
  • Free movies at Tribeca Grand (Sunday nights, free popcorn too!)
  • Farmer’s Market in Union Square
  • Washington Square Park (good for hanging out and hearing live music)
  • Wash and Fold laundry
  • Wine delivery by bike! (on Hudson in WestVillage)
  • Bryant Park:
  1. Reading room
  2. Live Music
  3. Movies in the Park
  4. Free Skating
  • Central Park:
  1. Rent a row boat ($12/hr)
  2. Hot Dogs & Beer in the Boathouse Resto
  3. Brunch at the Boathouse resto (dressy, book well in advance on their website)

Check back here at a later date.
We'll refine the lists, add some relevant photos and use hyper-links to make the blog a little more helpful for visiting friends who want to check out cool spots around the big apple.