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50th and Lex./Selling NYC to Wife

  • s

I'll be taking my wife on a business trip to NYC the end of this week and we will be staying near Lex and 50th. We are just graduating from grad school and so are on a budget, but if I can show her some good food maybe she will agree to let us move to NYC. Are there any really good (any type) reasonably priced restraunts in this very commercial section of Manhattan? If you were trying to convince someone that NYC was wonderful where would you take them?

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  1. Walk her into Grand Central - if she's not at least majorly impressed your destined to live in Kansas!

    Also, hike across 9th ave to 50th for Grand Sichuan Int'l.

    1. For wonderful AND reasonably priced, try Le Colonial on 57th near Lex.

      1. g
        George Lynch

        I'd take them to New Jersey ;-)

        Seriously, though, New York City is one of the great cities of our time and probably of any time. From all the ethnic neighborhoods around the boroughs to all the great restaurants, from the cultural institutions (museums, art galleries, music halls, etc.) to the diverse architecture, from the amenities like Central Park, Prospect Park, the libraries to the bustling streets, New York City can't possibly be sampled in one visit.

        My suggestion is to walk, walk, walk. Take the subway to Montague Street in Brooklyn, walk over to the Promenade, check the breathtaking view of lower Manhattan. Then walk back into Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge, find your way to Chinatown, walk up the Bowery until it turns into Third Avenue and continue walking until you get tired. That'll take the better part of a day and won't cost you anything more than the subway rides and what you choose to eat and drink along the way.

        For reasonably priced eats, try Chinatown (and see the Manhattan Board for LOTS of opinions on C-Town restaurants), have a burger and a beer in an Irish pub, try some Indian in the East Village, have one pastrami sandwich at the 2nd Ave Deli in the East Village and ask for two extra slices of bread - you'll have enough pastrami for two good-sized sandwiches. Try some pizza.

        For finer dining, I would suggest La Mangeoire on 2nd Avenue near 53rd. Very nice ambience, good food, reasonable prices (by NYC standards). Another place we like is Chianti, on 2nd Avenue and 55th. You can hold the prices down in both these places by skipping the wine, or limiting your wine consumption to a glass of the house wine.

        Anyway, welcome to our fair city. I surely hope you enjoy your stay.

        4 Replies
        1. re: George Lynch

          Hi George, your suggestions are nice and it's great to know of others who enjoy New York. Just wanted to point out that two weeks ago I wanted to show the Promenade to a visiting European and found it was all boarded up. A big official New York City sign at one of the main entrances stated it was being renovated until, I think, the Spring. Let's hope it reopens on schedule.

          1. re: Ruby
            George Lynch

            Sad to hear. Is the entire span boarded up? It's hard to imagine that they wouldn't leave at least SOME part of it open to the public.

            1. re: George Lynch

              I couldn't see if the entire promenade was closed off but it looked like that from my bird's eye view. Just the teeny end part where I stood was open and that's not worth making a special trek there now--though Brooklyn Heights is beautiful anyway.

          2. re: George Lynch

            One address correction - Mitchell Place is 49th Street & 1st Avenue. 49th & Third is Smith & Wollensky Steak House.

            Otherwise, the best way to sell someone on NYC is to walk & let them choose a place to try.

            Have fun, it's a great city.

          3. j
            Jill Rovitzky Black

            Walk down Lex to 27th St. and take her to Kalustyans. Walk around, inhale deeply and admire the wonderful mix of merchandise. Then advance to the deli counter and order a mujadarah in a pita, or felafel with baba ganoush, either of which constitutes one of the truly great yet cheap lunches in New York.

            1. Go to the TKTS booth at 47 St. and 7th Ave. and get half price theater tickets. Eat dinner at Topaz Thai at 127 West 56 Street between 6th and 7th Ave. During the day visit the Cloisters which is the medieval branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.The Cloisters is beautiful and serene,it gives you the feeling of being at another place and time.For inexpensive good food go to Chinatown.A bistro that I like in the West Village,Chez Michallet has a early dinner Prix Fixe,for about $28.

              1. Welcome to New York! I second the suggestions that you go to Little India on Lexington between 26th and 29th Sts., and to 9th Av. in the lower 50s and 40s. Those are at least somewhat walkable. Chinatown and the East Village are probably not walkable, but easily reachable by bus or subway. Those are probably the neighborhoods in Manhattan south of 96th St. that have the best values in food, but there are also good restaurants north of you on the Upper East Side in the 70s-90s that won't kill your wallet (sorry, I can't name names there).

                Specific suggestions of good, reasonably priced restaurants? On 9th Av.: Ariana Afghan Kebab House, but get the salad without dressing and use the hot sauces on the table in lieu of the mayonnaise they would put on; the dough (yogurt drink) may or may not be to your liking (I like it). This restaurant is good and a good value, though I wouldn't call it great. I haven't been to the Hell's Kitchen branch of Grand Sichuan yet.

                I'm not current on Indian restaurants in Little India, though Madras Mahal has been highly recommended on the Manhattan boards lately. But further east and south, on 2nd Av. between 20th and 21st St., there is an excellent Turkish restaurant called Gyroland, which I recommend, and it is cheap.

                In the East Village, I have had generally good luck with Madras Cafe (2nd Av. between 4th and 5th) Siam Lemon Leaf (2nd Av. between 11th and 12th) and Dok Suni's (1st just north of 7th. I like the squid dishes there best. It's not the most authentic Korean, though; for that, go to Little Korea on W. 32nd St., but those restaurants can be a bit pricey). I also like Katz's Deli, Houston and Ludlow, though it's not exceptionally cheap by any means (very big pastrami sandwiches for around $9).

                In/near Chinatown: I really like Congee Village, Allen St. just south of Delancey (Congee House, its sister restaurant, is on 2nd Av. between 96th and 95th). Soothing congee, and other dishes are spectacular. Not dirt cheap, but not expensive (dishes range from about $5-16 or so). I also like the much-debated New York Noodletown, Bowery and Bayard. For Malaysian food, Baba (Bayard near Elizabeth) and Nyonya (Grand between Mott and Mulberry) can be great. For Vietnamese pho, I like the restaurant on Grand St. between Christie and Bowery. If you want to go for dim sum, go for the full treatment at Jing Fong, an eating hall the size of a football field on the 2nd floor of a building on Elizabeth St. between Canal and Bayard (get your number downstairs first). Get the egg cakes from Mrs. Han's stall on Mott St. and Mosco. And get bubble tea, e.g. at St's Alp on Mott(I haven't tried the one a few doors south yet). There's another branch of St's Alp on 3rd Av. between 9th and 10th, which serves the same stuff.

                You must wander around the West Village, which is very pleasant with all its winding streets, but I don't eat there much. Just look for a pleasant cafe with an interesting and reasonably-priced menu. Lots of live music there, too.

                Good luck and bon appetit! And do check the Manhattan boards.

                If you have any possibility of a little splurge, I really liked my dinner at I Coppi a couple of months ago (~$40/person, 9th St. near Av. A), and my birthday dinner last February at Savoy (~$40-45/person, Prince and Crosby - get the venison if they're serving it), which has also gotten raves on the Manhattan board within the last couple of months (do a search on the name of the restaurant using the search feature). Consider having lunch at these restaurants if dinner is too expensive. I know that I Coppi serves lunch, but I don't know for sure whether Savoy does.

                1. Take her to Essa Bagel on 3rd between 50th - 51st, and to Wine & Roses Desserts cafe on 55th between 1st & 2nd, and if she's into kitchen paraphernalia, Bridge Kitchenware on 52nd between 2nd & 3rd. Also walk around Sutton Place! And then take her for a drink at the top of the Beekman Tower Hotel, on "Mitchell Place" (don't even ask) which is 49th & 3rd on a dark and starry night.

                  1. j
                    Jessica Shatan

                    One of the best things about NY are all the unique places that can't be found in any old mall. This is getting harder and harder to find as all those mall-type places have descended upon NY.

                    But with respect to where you're staying I might take her to Lyn's Cafe at 12 W. 55th betw. 5th and 6th for a muffin and coffee (quaint hole-in-the-wall caterer/cafe) then stroll up 5th Ave., passed Tiffany's, Bergdorf's etc. At 59th st. you'll be at the Plaza Hotel with horses and carriages lined up, FAO Schwarz, on one side, Central park on another. Wander into Central Park and take her ice skating at Wollmans rink, outside in the park with the trees and a view of Central Park South--if this doesn't melt her heart for the city I don't know what will! Afterwards catch a film at the Paris Theatre, kitty-corner to the Plaza. Stroll back down Madison for a change of pace and buy her a chocolate from one of the many chocolatiers in that area (Godiva, Lindt, Perugina). I'm swooning already :-)

                    Good luck!