Growing up in the suburbs of Northern California, "The City" meant San Francisco. Now it means New York City. Though it is 288 miles away from DC (where I live now), it is The City in my own mind. Some might say the New City. Get it? Anyway, in my time spent in The City I have gathered a collection of places worthy of visiting. Some are really really great, others are better than average and all will leave you wanting more.
And don't worry, my next post is going to be "New York City's Guide to Mary McMullen" as I am going this weekend. Hopefully that means I will update this list soon.
Here it is:
Frommers gives you a concise guide of what to do, how to orient yourself, blah blah blah. For a first time visitor it is quite useful and includes some good links and phone numbers.
THINGS AND STUFF TO DO
$20 for 4 hours of bike rental. Great way to tour the city. You can google various self guided bike "tours" and trails (like the Hudson River). Turns out I don't (know how to) ride bikes... but, it seems magical and fast.
Various cultural shows/concerts- free and in central park, one of my top five favorite places in the world, duh.
Staten Island Ferry
Free. Just take the subway down to the Whitehall stop... the ferry takes about a half hour each way... but is a great view of the statue of liberty and of the skyline. People often just take it for the ride, and then you must disembark, but there is nothing to see on Staten island, so just turn around and go back to the city. Once in lower Manhattan you can tool around Battery Park and/or Wall Street if you want.
My second favorite Cathedral in the City, first being St. Johns . Sunday Mass is interesting & don't worry they are used to (read: rely on) tourists stopping in just to look is acceptable.
TKTS Day-of Discount Broadway Shows (Times Square)
You stand in line, and they release non-sold out show tickets for half price.
Like the top of the empire state, but has a better view AND no lines. You get tickets in advance, or the day of and they are time stamped. This also means they limit the number of people so it is far less crowded. $21 for adults.
East side of Central Park. I like this place because of the variety. They also ask for a suggested donation of $18, but if I am not going to really delve in, I only pay partial.
$15- worth it... but the Natural History in DC is by far my favorite... so I am biased.
Modern Art housed in a building that is more more interesting then the MoMA, but the MoMA has a way way better store.
PLACES TO EAT
Vietnamese Sandwiches sold in the back of a jewelry store. Must get it to go. I suggest the spicy chicken, it's hot. $4 and a little adventure. 138 Mott St (between Grand St & Hester St, Little Italy/Chinatown/Asian Jewelry District)
Home made pastas, they offer a great all you can eat family style meal. Reservations recommended. Theater District/Hell's Kitchen.
They offer a lunch buffet that it fresh and tasty and perfectly spiced. 108 Lexington Ave (between 27th St & 28th St, Flatiron)
I call these "pot stickers". I also call these "tasty". Technically they are also called "Dim Sum" or an appetizer, but order enough and make a meal out of it. 100 Saint Marks Place (The East Village)
American- Often has live jazz, always has good food in a cool space. 99 7th Ave S (between S 7 Ave & Barrow St, The West Village)
Best in America.. literally, it was voted on... and I have pretty much tried them all anyway and agree. Once I was at a fancy Italian restaurant and paid like $15 for a TINY scoop of gelato. I was very impressed and asked them who their supplier was. I chucked when they said "Laboratorio Del Gelato". Don't worry their storefront isn't that pricy. 35 Orchard Street Lower East Side (walkable from Little Italy, but not in Little Italy)
Get the chicken platter- add white sauce. the hot sauce is FIERCE, just fyi. 53rd & 6th at the Ave. of Americas
Excellent Sushi... and reminder, I am from SF bay area, so I would know. 205 West 43rd Street, Times Square
French- casual- no reservations needed for lunch- I have only gone there for brunch, get the quiche- I love it and I hate eggs. 48 W. 55th MidTown East (near 5th Ave)
American Cafe- prob my favorite brunch spot of all time. My faves: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes or the Goldi Locks omelet. Various locations
P'butter is my favorite food & I am recommending this place, so there you go. 240 Sullivan Street, Greenwhich
Pomodoro Ristirante Pizza
Creamy, perfect pomodoro tomato sauced pizza. 51 Spring St, Nolita
And if you ever find yourself in Brooklyn, I am truly sorry, but will offer up two small glimmers of hope:
Ana Maria's (Brooklyn Pizza)
Pizza by the slice. No frills establishment. 179 Bedford Avenue in BROOKLYN, Williamsburg
Get thee a p'butter candied rice krispy treat. Thank me later. 359 Van Brunt Street in BROOKLYN, Red Hook
Moderate priced accommodations with good locations and most of all, they are CLEAN.
The Pod (European Style, meaning bathrooms/showers are single people, lockable, one person at a time, but they are shared among four or five rooms)
230 E 51st St
New York, NY 10022
The Paramount NYC (note: beds are low, like, on the floor)
235 West 46 Street
New York, NY 10036