1 night in NYC
We will be staying 1 night at the Mariott on Times Square. We will be having dinner with some friends at Peter Lugers, but would also like to get in the must haves - slice of pizza, cheesecake, bagels, etc. Any suggestions for two lost Texans??
For cheesecake, you might try Two Little Red Hens on 2nd Av. between 85th and 86th Sts., especially if you're also going to the Metropolitan Museum. I actually like some of their items (such as their lemon, lime, Linzer, and chocolate-pecan squares) better than their cheesecake, but their cheesecake is delicious and real New York cheesecake.
I'll tell you what; how about if you go for lunch at Patsy's, sharing two pizzas (they're very thin crust, so I'm not suggesting anything ridiculously gluttonous) and a salad, then walk downtown through Spanish Harlem and have cheesecake at Two Little Red Hens, then walk or take a bus across to the West Side and have a bagel at Absolute, Broadway near 107th St.? I haven't been to Absolute in a long time, but they always made good bagels - the best in the city, many have long said. If you don't feel like going that far up, Lenny's, on the corner of 98th and Broadway, makes perfectly good bagels and also good muffins (I'm partial to the cappuccino muffin, but really, after having some of Two Little Red Hens' stuff, I think it'll pale by comparison).
I agree with the other posters about "neighborhood" pizza (and staying away from anything/everything in Times Square). As for bagels, we love H&H (the real ones, not the ones on the east side). The original is at 80th & Bway and they also have a location on 46th between 11th & 12th, both are open 24 hours. Always ask for whatever is warm and eat it right on the spot, plain. Delicious.
For cheesecake, we prefer S&S to Junior's. But I don't know of any place where one can get just a slice of S&S (the whole ones are for sale at Zabar's).
Enjoy your day!!
How about a pizza slice taste test in Greenwich Village? Go to Bleecker St Pizza for a slice of "Nona Maria" and then go to Joe's and get a slice of "fresh mozzarella." Both great slices but quite different. BSP is on the corner of Bleecker St & 7th Ave (just south of the Christopher St 1 train stop), and Joe's is on Carmine St between Bleecker & 6th Ave. Get a map of the Village, it can get pretty confusing.
I agree, there's something nice and satisfying about random corner pizza -- however, it'll be one of the slighter thicker crust, more cheesy slices you find in the city.
The really great stuff comes from coal-fired ovens and many of those places don't serve by the slice. Exceptionss are Patsy's in East Harlem, Di Fara (Brooklyn), off the top of my head.
However, you can get decent cheesecake at the Junior's in Times Square.