I’ve gotten a ton of requests for the specifics on our NYC visit—especially for food options—so here goes:
And while NYC has plenty of world-class restaurants, we didn’t visit them. On this trip we were looking for great places with a neighborhood feel that didn’t take hours and didn’t cost a fortune.
824 W. Broadway (near Union Square, across the street from The Strand)
This neighborhood coffee shop has reliable wi-fi and you can’t beat the location (at least not if you’re a book lover.)
30 W. 8th Street (by Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village)
This is the most beautiful coffee shop I’ve ever been in—wood and light and card catalog-style storage. It’s not the best coffee I’ve ever had, but it’s very good and the location—between Washington Square and the train—is fantastic.
BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE
1 Rockefeller Plaza
This location is a little tricky to find: it’s below ground in the Rockefeller shopping concourse. The coffee is fantastic. No dining in the shop (read: it’s all paper cups) but there’s plenty of seating nearby.
500 Sixth Avenue (Greenwich Village)
A bagel place may not be what springs to mind when you’re looking for great coffee, but the Counter Culture Coffee they serve here is terrific.
101 Saint Marks Place (East Village)
This cozy restaurant serves Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine. Great atmosphere—sit outside if the weather is nice.
148 Hester Street (Chinatown)
We never would have found this place without a recommendation. This inexpensive Hong Kong style restaurant has a vast menu (all in Chinese—English speakers can order by pictures) and a great variety of dim sum. Cash only, be prepared to share a table.
470 Sixth Avenue (Greenwich Village)
A hip, classic Mexican place with a neighborhood vibe. Pretty interior, great atmosphere.
THE GREY DOG
90 University Place (Greenwich Village)
This bustling eatery right by NYU makes easy, affordable food—sandwiches, salads, burgers, tacos. It’s an energetic, casual environment: a hostess seats you, but you order your own food at the bar.
359 Columbus Avenue (Upper West Side)
This Upper West Side landmark is beautiful (think white lines and glass stemware) but not stuffy. The menu proclaims they serve inventive Mediterranean cuisine, but we went for a wonderful, relaxing brunch. Notable: I drank the most expensive glass of wine I’ve had in my life—or at least the most expensive that I’ve ever paid for myself—while we waited for a table. (Worth it: we were wiped out from Book Con and the friendly bartender gave us a few tastings before we settled on our order.)
18 East 16th Street (Union Square)
I’m so glad we stumbled upon this little bakery on a side street right off Union Square. They’re known for their chocolate babka, but we headed to the café in the back for morning coffee and adorable European-style breakfast sandwiches. Eat-in or takeaway; very low-key. Lots of families dropped in on the Sunday morning we visited.
279 Church Street
A classic American bakery and café specializing in classic American baked goods. We stopped in for delicious sandwiches and iced coffees and were thrilled to discover they had Stumptown’s hard-to-find Nitro coffee on tap.
828 Broadway (near Union Square)
We visited several bookstores in NYC and this is the one worth writing home about. Book lovers could spend hours here (and many do). A true literary destination.
CENTRAL PARK BIKE RENTAL
We rented bikes from Bike and Roll New York City (many locations; we visited the one by Tavern on the Green in Central Park). For $14/hour ($8/hour for kids) we could cover a lot more ground than we ever could on foot (although bikes are limited to the main paths). Highly recommended.
I’d love to hear YOUR NYC favorites. (I’m making a list for next time, which can’t come soon enough.)