Out of Town Guide to NYC

I know we have all been there. Your friend texts you at 11pm. On a damn worknight. “Hey! I’m going to be in NYC tomorrow for the next couple of days. Let’s hang out. What should we do?”

Beautiful Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Flickr photo from Foodmayhem.com’s photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lonbinder/3579474655/

As of late, this has happened to me a lot lately. Not that I am some grumpy guy who doesn’t want to see my friends. In fact it is the exact opposite; I can’t wait to hang out and show them around my City. It’s just, well, it is a really big place and there is something for everyone. Of course there are galleries and exhibits and historical monuments and museums, but most people come to New York City to experience the city itself. This is a walking and eating city.

So here is my best list for NYC, although I doubt a normal tourist oft makes the travel to Queens or Brooklyn. And of course, everybody’s got their own best of best list, so I welcome critique, too.

Best Indian Food (veg): Chennai Garden, Murray Hill

Best East Asian Food Coma: Golden Mall, Flushing

Best Vietnamese: Pho Grand, Lower East Side

Best Vietnamese Sandwich: Hanco’s, a few locations

Best 24 hour Ukrainian: Veselka’s, East Village

Best Cheesecake: Junior’s, Downtown Brooklyn

Best Key Lime Pie: Steve’s Key Lime Pie, Red Hook

Best Gourmet Pizza: South Brooklyn Pizza, a few locations

Best Old School Pizza: Spumoni Gardens, Gravesend

Best Wood-grilled Pizza: Speedy Romeo, Clinton Hill

Best Pizza: Three Luigi’s, Clinton Hill

Best Deli: Stage Deli, Midtown

Best Smoked Fish: Russ & Daughters, Lower East Side

Best Bagel: Le Bagel Delight, Park Slope

Best Classic Donut: Peter Pan, Greenpoint

Best Gourmet Donut: Dough, Bed-Stuy

Best Arepas: Caracas, a few locations

Best Sushi: Linn, Astoria

Best Chinese: No Name, Northwest corner of Elizabeth Street & Bayard Street

Best Green Tea Ice Cream: Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Chinatown

Best Jerk Chicken: Soldier’s Restaurant, Flatbush

Best Doubles and Shark Bakes: A&A Bake & Doubles, Bed-Stuy

Best West-Indian Fast Food: Golden Krust, a lot of locations

Best Hipster Brunch: Diner, South Williamsburg

Best High-end Brunch: the Harrison, Tribeca

Best High-end Brunch (if Harrison is booked): Tribeca Grill, Tribeca

Best ‘take your grandma after church’ Brunch: Peaches, Bed-Stuy

Best Spicy Fried Chicken: Peaches Hot House, Bed-Stuy

Best Diner Experience: Cup & Saucer, Chinatown

Best Diners: New Jersey

Best Italian Sandwich: DeFonte’s, Red Hook

Second Best Italian Sandwich:  Graham Ave Meats & Deli, North Williamsburg

Cheapest (best) Falafel: Sam’s Falafel, Greenwich Village

Other Best Falafel: Rainbow Falafel, Union Square

Best Italian Café: Café Capri, Williamsburg

Second Best Italian Café: Fortunato Brothers, Williamsburg

Best Oyster Bar: Cosenza’s Fish Market, Belmont

Best Steak (Just. Straight. Steaks): Peter Luger, South Williamsburg

Best Real Mexican Taco: Izucar, Bushwick

Beast Authentic Mexican Hipster Scene: Los Hermanos, East Williamsburg

Best Free Music: Rockwood Music Hall, East Village

Best Bluegrass Dive Bar: Sunny’s, Red Hook

Best World Music: Barbes, Park Slope

Best Alternative Music Website: Brooklyn Vegan

Best Folk/Bluegrass Music Website: Gigometer

Best Daily Cheap Event Website: the Skint

Best Karaoke Experience: 32nd Street between 5th and Broadway, Koreatown

Best Place to People Watch: Washington Square Park

Best (other place to) People Watch: Fulton Mall, Downtown Brooklyn

Best Place to Watch Unruly Teenagers: Astor Place, East Village

Best Elevated Park: the Highline, Chelsea

Best maritime walk: Van Brunt ending at Fairway Supermarket waterfront, Red Hook

Best maritime walk (touristy, but still nice): Front Street, South Street Seaport

Best Waterfront Park: Brooklyn Bridge Park

Best view of Manhattan: Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Best Little India: Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights, Queens (there are yak momo’s here)

Best New York Castle (and to take your date): The Cloisters, Washington Heights

Best Clichéd Hipster Watching: Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg

Best Instagram View: Carroll Street Bridge, Gowanus

Best Tram Ride: Roosevelt Island Tramway, East 61st Street

Best International Street: Steinway, Astoria

Best Golf Experience: Chelsea Piers

Best Old School NYC Cobblestone Walk: Stone Street, Downtown Manhattan

Best Waterfront Promenade: Battery Park City

Best Public Bathroom: Bryant Park

Best “Hey, I’m Walkin’ Here” Walk: Court Street, Downtown Brooklyn

Best Fur Coats and Accordion Players: Brighton Beach Boardwalk, Brighton Beach

Best Skyscraper view from the ground: Columbus Circle

Best Skyscraper view from the sky: Empire State Building 

Best Rooftop Cool of Cool drink: Wythe Hotel, Williamsburg

Best Old School New York Bar: Campbell Apartment, Grand Central

Best Tiki Bar: the Zombie Hut, Carroll Gardens

Best WWII South Pacific Acid Dive Bar: 169 Bar, Lower East Side

Best ‘Old Fashioned’: Clover Club, Cobble Hill

Best Manhattan Dive Bar: the Patriot, Tribeca

Best Brewery Tour: Brooklyn Brewery, Williamsburg

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