Where is the center of the NYC food universe?
I may be accepting a job in midtown and it got me thinking as to where the best neighborhood to live would be, if I only considered access to good and diverse food. What residential neighborhood in the city has the best access to:
immediate food (good restaurants in the building and on the block)
walking distance/delivery food (10 minute walking radius or delivery)
food via subway (is there a close subway line that takes you to a stop that may have something unique or vibrant)
something special to be proud of that is on your block (ie: the best fish market, supermarket, butcher, bakery etc....)
Please help by being as specific as possible like a specific building, subway stop or intersection that you believe to be the center of the NYC food universe. Also, where are the NYC food wastelands?
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Do you have an unlimited budget for rent?
The great thing about the city is that there are great restaurants everywhere, especially when you compare them to places outside NYC. As far as supermarkets go, you might want to be on the upper west side somewhere near Fairway. Some might like to be near Trader Joe's, so it's more what your preference is.
if we're talking Manhattan, i'd say Union Square is as good as/better than anywhere...i'm biased because i live here, but you have: a) the Greenmarket 4 days a week, b) easy walking to restaurants in the East Village/Central Village/Soho/Gramercy/etc, c) the N/R/Q and 4/5/6 and L lines for access to elsewhere (including very quick express stops on 4/5 to go to Grand Central area Japanese food and/or to Grand Central to catch the 7 to Queens)...
Wastelands?...the UWS has great grocery stores, but restaurant options are horrendous...sure, there are a few "decent" places but nothing most people would ever go out of their way to get to (with the exception of the lower area near 64th where Picholine, etc are)...when i lived there for six months, it became a huge pain to have to commute to downtown for dinner...
But as mentioned above, subways and taxis here are absurdly convenient, so you'll be fine most anywhere...
I'm inclined to agree with Simon here. Union Square is an area where you have good shopping and restaurants in the immediate area, plus a plethora of transportation options to take you elsewhere around the city. One stop on the green line will bring you to Grand Central where you can do a quick transfer into Queens. One stop on the red line can also bring you to Penn Station where you can take NJT to Newark or LIRR to Flushing and Murray Hill. Chinatown is one stop away on the yellow line or a nice brisk walk.
Personally I wouldn't want to live right on Union Square as it's too noisy, but a couple of blocks away you have some quiet streets.
While your question is pretty broad, I'll givy you MY answer.
If I had an unlimited rent budget, I'd pick Soho. You are in walking distance of the Lower East Side (Katz's, Economy Candy), Chinatown (HK style bakeries, bahn mi, dumplings) and the West Village (Cafe Dante, Arturo's). You can also catch the 6 or N trains to just about anywhere else you'd care to go.
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