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Make sure you get a good NYC bagel while you're there. My favorite place is Ess-a-Bagel.... I've been to NYC a few times over the past few years, and always try to stop in to get one. If you like a good bagel and lox sandwich, it's pretty hard to beat. Pricey though, but hey, that's NYC for you.
I generally go on business, so I have no experience with touristy things, but there's a lot of damn good food there. If you're into scotch though, be careful to check the prices before you order things at a bar! I saw a bottle I knew is like $100, ordered a double, and was charged $94 for the glass.. I was expecting it to be less than half that! You can get robbed when it comes to drinks...
Can you really say you’ve been somewhere, if you didn’t eat that place?
Want to try proper Italian, proper bagels. All that stuff. All. Of. It.
As for Booze? I’m strictly a beer man. I know my limits on that, including when something is going a bit squiffy. Shots or Whisky etc? Not at all. And whilst it’d certainly be an authentic experience, I’m not up for a Drunk Tank!
Also looking for Nerd Delights, such as arcades and that. I’ve got 9 nights, and my flight home is a 22:00 red eye, so I’m really looking at 8 days end to end.
I assume you'll mostly be in Manhattan? There are tons of sights to see just walking around. There's a GW and another game store. If you're a Stephen King fan, you can find the dark Tower at 1 Dag Hammarstad way (though they won't let you in). The delis are amazing. The museums are each worth a visit. Central Park is worth a walk through. There's Grand Central, the Empire State Building, Wall Street, etc.. Do you have any specific interests or sights you most want to see?
Oh, and you must go to the horse and buggies and say this:
Sadly, when I did it the cabbie didn't know his lines. Or what I was doing. Or why my wife was so embarrassed.
From Manhattan, take a walk across Brooklyn Bridge (If the weather's nice).
At the Brooklyn end of the bridge, take a right and walk down the side of the bridge. There are a couple of pizza places down there. Grimaldi's is the more famous one, but we went in the smaller one a few doors down. We were able to jump the queue because we were willing to sit at a bar in front of where they were making the pizza (why wouldn't you watch them making it!?).
Delicious pizza - it was honestly an highlight of our trip to NYC.
As a fellow brit tourist there, the Intrepid is cool, you don't get to go on aircraft carriers much in day to day life. Ellis Island is also very interesting, especially if you watched An American Tail as a kid. Uber is king and a great way to get around fairly cheaply with minimal effort. Last time we were there, we went down to Coney Island which was a really great way to break up the trip and see some sandy beach, funfairs, hotdogs and other iconic Americana things, and it would be especially nice there in June. 9 days is probably more than we'd spend in New York but we tend to do a fairly tourist blistering pace. You could always do a (long) day trip to Boston using some of the coach services that go back and forth, and that is a lovely city to explore as well, though that would be quite an expensive day.
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When you take a break from pizza you can go to Mamoun’s falafel, there’s a line out the door for a reason and you might go early in the trip because you might want to go back.
Check some magazine the week before you get there like the New Yorker or NY Mag and catch some music show, preferably on a weekday when the band is more random.
Museums - prioritize the Whitney, it’s a real rewarding exercise in having to try to get something out of the art, it’s explicitly American art so you avoid taking a six hour flight to look at a Turner seascape or something you could see in Britain. The highline is a mile long park built on a disused elevated train line and it’s right outside.
Brooklyn museum is right by a subway stop and pretty quirky for a big museum.
The tenement museum is pretty New York relevant and good, you have to book in advance.
Jewish museum is good. Different than the Jewish heritage museum where you shouldn’t go unless you have a 240 lb rabbi to shove you against the corner of a boxcar.
The Guggenheim is too big and boring don’t go there.
If you need clothes the stores on St Marks have better choices and prices.
The Intrepid (an actual aircraft carrier turned into a museum, with a submarine, astronaut landing pod, and Blackbird as well as assorted other cool stuff) is really effing cool.
Fraunces' Tavern and the house/museum next door is a really cool bit of history right next to Wall Street - apparently Washington used to go there for a pint, and it's still an actual bar, so you can, too. I certainly did and chatted up the waitress while I was at it
For geek recommendations I'd take the subway to Union Square, Forbidden Planet and Strands are on Broadway between 12th and 13th streets, a block or two south. FP is a big comic/toy/geek shop and Strands is the biggest used book store in the city.
The GW store is a few blocks farther south on 8th street.
(There used to be more geek stuff to see around there but alas so many gone...)
Compleat Strategist is the biggest game shop, it's on 33rd street and 5th Avenue, literally across the street from the Empire State Building.
Intrepid is definiftely worth a visit, SR71, Concord, Space Shuttle and a submarine. And it's a good walk from Times Square. The METs arms and armor exhibit is a legend and rightfully so.
If you'd like to try baseball both the Mets and Yankess are on the subway as well.
The downside is if you live in NYC for most of your life and then move to (hypothetically) the midwest, you've also had your last good pizza, short of visits back home.
I have no idea why these Chicagoans keep misrepresenting those casseroles they love.
I agree with Bran Dawri on the Museum of Natural History. I went on tons of school trips there when I was a kid, and I loved them. Then I went back with my wife as an adult and... it was a lot smaller. Sigh. You really can't go home again, whether literally or figuratively.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/19 17:58:51
Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote: For our American chums, which fast food outlets would you recommend for a slice of Americana?
I’ll eat pretty much anything, and whilst I can appreciate objectively good food, I’m also weak for fast food.
Names that spring to mind with no other real knowledge? Red Lobster, White Castle, Popeyes, Chick-a-fila.
I literally just know of their names. Are there any that are better than the others?
Seriously, even Americans shouldn’t eat there. We export enough of that globally, so if you want a crappy burger, you should be able to find a McD’s anywhere on the planet at this point.
Especially if you are going to NYC, where you have probably the widest selections of food available in the country, if not the world. While America is sometimes refered to as a melting pot, we are more like a chunky stew, where all sorts of different cultures come together to become more than the sum of their parts, while still retaining the parts that make them unique. Take advantage of that. Go to the little random mom and pop ethnic place. Doesn’t mater where they came from originally, but odds are they put their heart into their work trying to make it happen. You could have a different cuisine every meal, every day for your vacation and not repeat yourself.
Of the places you listed.
Red Lobster is overpriced and mediocre.
White Castle is a love/hate thing. Not a fan of them myself, but a lot of people enjoy a bag of sliders.
Not had Popeyes recently, I recall it being pretty good.
Chic-Fil-a makes a damn fine chicken sandwich. I boycott them though, due to their abhorrent religious/political policies.
I'd say Wendy's the current king of burger joints, with Burger King just behind, but I think you have both in the UK. Chipoltle's however rules them all, burritos and burrito bowls.
Among the casual dining places TGI Friday's is in fact a NY-originated chain and usually has some cool kitchy décor. But over any of those I'd recommend a NY diner or pizza joint. The Greek food in diners is my poison of choice.
Maybe do a fast food day? Just get a Wendys(?), Popeyes and something. Be a one day fat knacker.
Honestly, I'd just hit up Yelp! when you get there to check out some places. I travel a lot for work and this is what I do.
There are so many mom and pop shops in NYC, You shouldn't have to delve into the chains.
That being said, if you plan on a chain fast food place, 5 guys is probably the best for burgers. In-n-out is good too, but I don't think they have it up in NYC. Wendys is far away better than burger king, mcdonalds or other similar joints.
6000+ Order. Unity. Obedience.
Thousand Sons 4000+
If you're expecting fast food to be good in the US, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.
Burger King: Sucks and is about to go bankrupt.
McDonalds: Sucks and is losing money hand-over-fist.
Wendy's: Completely mediocre fast food.
Popeyes: Good biscuits, crap chicken.
KFC: Just don't bother.
Taco Bell: It's just Taco Belll, cheap fake Mexican food.
Long John Silvers: Awful fast-food fish.
Subway: Supremely mediocre sandwiches
There's nothing different about US fast food. You'll be vaguely disappointed with any of these. If it's a big world-wide brand, it's cheap and relatively poor. Is it worth buying at 0200 in the morning, or when you're at a gas station on a long drive? Sure. Being in NYC everything will be NYC expensive (from 20% more to nearly double what you'd pay in a normal state/city). That's mainly due to the logistics of getting ingredients and paying for rent in NYC.
There is a secondary tier of "good" fast food restaurants which are normally a good bit better than the ones listed above:
Five Guys: Expensive but pretty good burgers
Firehouse Subs: Solid, quality sub sandwiches
Chick Fil-A: The best chicken in the fastfood game, with the best service. If you boycott them because the owner practices a religion you don't like...you've got other issues that need addressing.
Hardees/Carl's Jr.: Makers of massive and often bizarre specialty burgers. Often good fries, milkshakes and chicken tenders
Cook Out: Only if you're lucky enough to live in the Carolinas...
In-n-Out Burgers: Depending on the franchise...a quality burger. Can be disappointing in the wrong places.
Shake Shack: Battles with In-n-Out for burger bragging rights
Skip the major international branded junk and go with anything you don't recognize. You're almost guaranteed to have a better meal. While in NYC I doubt you'd even need to bother with these, other than perhaps saving some money (nothing is cheap in NYC). You'd probably get the best bang for buck by going to one of the international centres of the city (Little Italy, Chinatown, etc.) and getting some questionable foods.