From eating in the East Village to literally walking around in the wilderness of the Big Apple, here are 10 of the best things to do and see in the city that never sleeps.
- Red Rooster: What Happens When Harlem Comes Into Style
- Eisenberg’s: classic New York delicacies
- Brooklyn Bridge Park: a green destination with a view
- Juliana’s Pizza: old school pizza, new school style
- Mighty Quinn’s: the real barbecue comes to the East Village
- Grand Central Terminal: one of the largest train stations in the world
- MoMA PS1: artistic field trip to Queens
- Highline: the city at your feet
- American Museum of Natural History: whales, bears and distant galaxies
- Roosevelt Island: a quiet escape from a cable car ride
Red Rooster: What Happens When Harlem Comes Into Style
Uptown is more fashionable than ever, and right in the middle of it is the restaurant/bar/jazz club of famous chef Marcus Samuelsson, which opened its doors in 2010 and has been on top ever since. I go to the Red Rooster to sink my teeth into gourmet home-cooked dishes with international influences like spicy chicken and Swedish meatballs while staying for the ambiance generated by a motley crowd of beautiful people who fill the tables of the beautiful interior and the sunny outdoor terrace.
You’ll have to wait a bit and the subway ride from Downtown can be a bit long, but it’s worth it for an experience that condenses what I love about New York. There is also a jazz club on the ground floor that brings a little bit of old school Harlem back to the neighborhood with live music and cocktails.
310 Malcolm X Boulevard
Harlem, NY 10027
Rooster Harlem Network
Eisenberg’s: classic New York delicacies
Whenever I stand at the bar or take a table in the back, I know I’m about to have an authentic New York dining experience. Sandwiches filled with pastrami and cured meat are served on rye bread with a side of pickles. The cherry for me is a chocolate egg cream, which has no egg, but a huge amount of candy with chocolate syrup and soda.
It’s refreshing and 100% New York. If I go in the morning, I sit in the front and order a cup of coffee and a classic bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, a New York staple that, although not very healthy, is a great way to start the day.
174 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010
Brooklyn Bridge Park: a green destination with a view
With over 34 beautifully designed acres, this recent addition to New York’s park collection is one of my new favorite spots for an after-dinner romantic walk or a family adventure. Kids will love Jane’s Carousel, a 1920s merry-go-round. I like to relax on the green banks or sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the breathtaking views of Manhattan across the river. There is also a wine terrace and other local food stands where you can buy everything from lobster rolls to sophisticated sandwiches.
334 Furman St Brooklyn, NY 11201
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Juliana’s Pizza: old school pizza, new school style
New York pizza in a charcoal oven has always been one of my favorite foods. Opened by a true New York pizza legend, 80-year-old Patsy Grimaldi’s pizzaiolo, Juliana’s is my new bet when I want to savor that classic charred crust that can only be achieved with a charcoal oven.
I love being able to choose from traditional pizzas with San Marzano mozzarella and tomatoes to innovative recipes that incorporate ingredients like shiitake mushrooms and goat cheese. The dining area is small, but to some extent more stylish than a normal pizzeria, so the experience ends up being even better.
19 Old Fulton St New York, NY 11201
Mighty Quinn’s: the real barbecue comes to the East Village
When I need a mental and culinary break from the streets of New York, Mighty Quinn’s barbecues quickly transport me to the most remote regions of the two Carolinas and Texas in the middle of the city’s most eclectic neighborhood. Using traditional smoking methods and real wood, the flavors that concentrate the juicy meats are out of this world.
This place attracts fans like me every night of the week to its casual dining room with chic décor reminiscent of a cabin. And with prices priced at weight for succulent cuts like skirt, shredded pork or ribs, I have the option of ordering large quantities of food for a group of friends or enough for two. I always add a couple of hearty side dishes and water it all with artisanal draft beer. After this meat feast, you’ll leave with your batteries well charged to kick around town.
103 2nd Ave New York, NY 10003
Mighty Quinn’s BBQ
Grand Central Terminal: one of the largest train stations in the world
Welcome to Manhattan’s throbbing, pounding heart. It doesn’t fail: it’s through the doors and I get a rush. And although millions of commuters travel here every week on their way to work, it’s much more than a train station.
This historic and impressive landmark is constantly being flashed at by the stunned visitors who stare at the amazing ceilings of the emblematic main lobby. It’s full of places to eat, shop and drink, from a fresh produce market with vegetables and cheese to one of Apple’s largest stores. Once I’ve assimilated the architectural magnificence, I often get hungry and thirsty for the old New York atmosphere.
Luckily, the Grand Central Oyster Bar is just a few steps away, with a wide assortment of seafood dishes, properly shaken martinis and, of course, dozens of types of oysters ready to be eaten.
87 E 42nd St
Manhattan, NY 10017
Grand Central Terminal
MoMA PS1: artistic field trip to Queens
Like almost all New Yorkers, I love the MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, and one of the main reasons is that with the ticket you can also get on the 7 train and visit the PS1 in Queens. This cutting-edge museum located in a beautiful old school boasts promising artists from around the world and is MoMA’s youngest and most fashionable brother.
I recommend extending your visit so you can eat at its busy restaurant, M. Wells Dinette. I also love to take visitors to the lively activities, such as the Warm Up series in the summer, with different DJs and a dance floor in the outdoor garden.
22-25 Jackson Ave Long Island City, NY 11101
Highline: the city at your feet
This innovative public park, which stretches from the trendy Meatpacking District to 30th Street, has changed the way New Yorkers relate to our city. I enjoy walking along this restored railroad to experience the architecture and atmosphere of New York’s streets from a whole new angle.
Exploring the original details of the impressive design requires many visits, and the impressive vegetation, which varies according to the time of year, is amazing. What fascinates me most, though, is being able to see the city from a completely different vantage point. If you don’t want to be in a crowd, do as I do and go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to enjoy a nice piece of town without cars.
519 West 23rd Street
New York, 10011
American Museum of Natural History: whales, bears and distant galaxies
There is always some fun and exciting exhibition in this huge museum composed of 27 buildings and 45 exhibition halls. Still, it’s the classic experiences that keep New Yorkers like me visiting over and over again.
From the giant hanging whale in Ocean Life’s Milstein Hall to the handmade dioramas that allow us to take a close look at different natural habitats across North America, these relics adored by all ages are part of the fabric of New York. When I feel like a trip to the other side of the universe, I stop by the Hayden Planetarium, which shows the latest astronomical attractions in a state-of-the-art movie theater.
Central Park West New York, NY 10024
Roosevelt Island: a quiet escape from a cable car ride
There’s no better city tourist bargain than a trip to Rossevelt Island by cable car. For the same price as a subway ride I can fly over Manhattan and enjoy unbeatable views of the city that allow me to scour New Yorker apartments suspended over the East River.
And the fun doesn’t end when I get off the train. Take a ride to one of the city’s newest landmarks, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, with breathtaking views of the city skyline. Manhattan is so close that you feel like you can reach out and touch the UN building.