Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New York - Amber and Fernando

I've had some really fantastic advice over the last few weeks about our trip to New York, (not least the inimitable Amber's .... Any apartment anywhere will be fucking amazing because you are in new York fucking city and it is the coolest city in the world. You've gotta love Amber.)

But I really had to share this email that Ellie, aka Miss Domm sent me, because I love love love it. It is her friend Fernando's top list of Things To Do In New York and I thought you might love it too....

Best Bowl of Eel
St Mark's is one of my favorite streets in Manhattan. It's where midtown starts to turn into downtown, midway between NYU and Tompkins Square Park. There's all kinds of quirky shops there: karaoke bars, head shops, comic book stores. The best reason to go is Kenka, which is a Japanese restaurant that serves great traditional cuisine (no sushi, though) and the cheapest pitcher of beer in town. Kenka's sign isn't in English, though, so to find the restaurant you have to look for the statue of the bear/raccoon god with the red eyes next to the candy floss machine. I'm serious. Once you're drunk and full of boiled eel, take your candy floss and go down to the West end of the street to have some shots at The Continental, the best bar in the neighborhood. They will probably be projecting a Dennis Hopper movie onto the back wall.

Best Middle Eastern Food
For me this is a tie between two places: Yaffa Cafe and Moustache's. Yaffa is on St Mark's near Kenka and has a lot of seating including an outdoor patio (but if they're going in the winter that doesn't help much). Moustache's is on the West side in the Village and has the best pita bread on the planet. Moustache's is really tiny so if you want a seat on a weekend night it pays to get there early.

Best Famous Museum in a City Full of Famous Museums
There's tons of famous museums in New York but you honestly can't do justice to all of them - if you can only pick one I recommend the Met. They just renovated their Greek & Roman sculpture galleries and their Islamic art wing was being renovated when I left - I think it might be done now. You can combine it easily with a walk through Central Park and a visit to other neighboring museums like The Guggenheim.

Best Not-Famous Museum in a City Full of Famous Museums
PS1 in Long Island City is a contemporary art museum that is housed in the former Queens Public School 1. It's a great space and the exhibits change regularly - it's always really challenging art and a great time.

Best Not-Famous Museum in a City Full of Famous Museums (if you don't like contemporary art)
The Neue Gallerie (on the Upper East Side over by the Gug) is run by The Ronald Lauder Foundation. It is full of Klimts. Like dozens and dozens. If you like Klimt, you have to go there. It's also quite small and you can do the whole gallery in an hour or two.

Best Sushi (in the world)
Ginger on 1st Ave and 10th Street is the best sushi place on the planet Earth and everyone should go there once. There is no more inventive sushi menu anywhere. I don't often get homesick for New York but when I do it's Ginger that I'm thinking about usually.

Best Neighborhood to Avoid
The Meatpacking District. It's full of far too many pretentious-likes and you'll pay $20 for a warm glass of Schlitz. It my humble opinion, this is not worth your time.

Best Bar
The Back Room on the Lower East Side has no sign outside, you just need to walk on the West side of Norfolk Street until you see a huge black guy standing by himself outside of an abandoned-looking building. That's the bouncer - ask him if you can go into The Back Room. The Back Room is set up like a speakeasy and they serve cocktails in teacups. It is totally great. Dress nice.

Best Plants or What-have-you
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is really lovely and if you go out during the day you can spend the evening going to cool Brooklyn bars like Matchless and Pete's Candy Store and hobnob with the hipsters.

Best Reason to go to Staten Island
This is a trick. There is no reason to go to Staten Island.

. image by Jen_Mo