Swedish couple on their way to the LES, Brooklyn and Queens, pls help!
Hi all! we are a couple going to NYC in late may. Well be staying at the Thompson LES and during this visit to NY we would like to explore the areas outside Manhattan. We will be renting bikes and plan to ride through Brooklyn Queens and other areas of interest. We would be very happy if you pls could recommend restaurants in those areas. We are looking for Steakhouses, Mexican, New American as well as microbrewerys and other cool places. We would like to spend around 100USD for dinner and around 50USD for breakfast/lunch.
Of course we would love your recommendations for the LES area as well.
Thanx so much for your kindness and is there anything really special we could easily ride 5-10 miles or so.
Thanks again :)
Jacob and Susan
No specific recommendations from me - it has been a while since I lived in NYC - but as a native New Yorker I would like to suggest that you do what New Yorkers do and use the subway to get around. New York City is large geographically and the subway will get you where you need to go a lot faster than a bicycle, with no need to find a secure spot to park a bike once you get to your chowish destination.
Now about the food. You can find anything in New York City but unless things have changed in the past ten years there is not a lot of good Mexican. (There are folks from all over in NYC but not a lot of Mexicans compared to other countries.) One thing not on your list that I would highly recommend is NYC's vibrant Chinese food scene. Head on out to Flushing, Queens and you can eat very very well and stay well within your budget.
I have to agree with you, PinchOfSalt. Although biking around the outer boroughs might seem like a fun way to get around, this couple will see a lot more if they use the subway because they will have a lot more time to see it. Maybe a day or two of biking would be OK, but I believe they will be missing out on a lot by biking everywhere.
It sounds to me like bicycling, and seeing the outer boroughs from that vantage point (it really is a great way to see the city) is part of the pleasure of your trip. As Swedes, you're probably more skilled and experienced at bicycling than most Americans. And increasingly, more and more New Yorkers use their bikes to get around, too. But cars and trucks, particularly in the outer boroughs, do not respect bicyclists much (or even see them sometimes), and it's true that certain areas can be downright dangerous, even if you stick to the sometimes nebulous bike lanes. So, do be careful.
Also, while I totally agree that Chinese in Flushing must be on the list, and the variety is endless there, I would point out that having spent some time in Scandinavia, I craved Mexican food after a time, and found nothing in the Scandinavian captials even resembling the flavors I desired. So, unless you've traveled to Mexico, (or Calif., or Texas, and those states have their own specific strands of Mexican), a lunch at Torterilla Nixtamal, or any decent taqueria in Queens could possibly be revelatory!
For Brooklyn & Queens you need to post on the Outer Boroughs board. Your request is also a little vague in terms of neighborhoods--where in Brooklyn? Where in Queens? Williamsburg, Caroll Gardens, Ft Green, etc?
Can you clarify your budget? Is it $100 TOTAL including tax and tip and wine/drinks/beer for the 2 of you for dinner? It will be challenging to do a good steakhouse if so.
I think a bike would be stressful as a tourist here unless you have a lot of urban riding experience already and know the city well. Bikes get stolen or stripped for parts in broad daylight in busy places here. As PinchOfSalt mentions, parking and locking can be an issue (there aren't many bike racks around the city). There are also some very dangerous intersections esp in Brooklyn where multiple bikers have died--check Gothamist.
What do you plan to wear to your meals? What will you do with the helmet when you arrive? What if the weather is bad? All things to consider....
As per the previous posters advice, I would limit the bicycling to areas that are bike friendly. Maybe plan a few bike rides and select or ask about restaurants in those areas.
I haven't ridden a bike in many years and never in NYC, but I might consider Central Park and maybe Riverside Park in Manhattan, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and maybe Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, and maybe Forest Park in Queens. More experienced or serious bikers may be able to provide some advice.
I have not ridden a bike for many, many years but I think that there are a lot of possibilities for you if you choose to get around Brooklyn this way. In fact, I think it's a very good way to get to many of the best areas in Brooklyn from the LES of Manhattan, as you get to see things that the underground portions of the subway will have you miss and that, by walking, you wouldnt have the range.
That being said, I do agree with kathryn that there are logistical issues involved and that some areas are not good for bikes nor will you be dressed for some of the places that you might read about and want to go to. However, I'd recommend biking over both the Williamsburg and the Brooklyn Bridges to areas in Brooklyn, but not the Manhattan Bridge as it leads right into Flatbush Ave and a tough stretch to bike. The Brooklyn Bridge gets you into Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, Atlantic Ave, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook and even (if you're energetic) Park Slope. And all without any danger. Unfortunately for car drivers like myself, these areas are fully equipped with bike lanes. You'll need to look at the hundreds of threads on the Outer Borough board to see where to eat in these neighborhoods, but the non-food site seeing includes great old churches (Tiffany windows, Underground Railroad site, etc.), great views of the Manhattan skyline & Statue of Liberty, great old neighborhood brownstones, some remaining ethnic enclaves & some very interesting new developments. Crossing by the Williamsburg Bridge gets you into Williamsburg in an immediate area that's not totally bike friendly but is a minute's ride to streets in the area that are. Again, lots to see, do and eat/drink (Brooklyn Brewery) in Williamsburg, land of millions of 20 & 30-somethings, especially on nice spring weekends. Lots of "cool places" (or so they tell me... I'm too old to be cool).
If you're into very long bike rides, you can even continue to Prospect Park, ride thru the park and then go on as far as you wish on Ocean Parkway, which goes all the way to Coney Island (& Brighton Beach)... totally bike friendly but a long ride. An all day adventure.
Good luck. Have fun.
Im assuming that as swedes John and Susan are comfortable riding bikes in a city - its easy to follow the bike lanes across the mannattan or brooklyn or Williamsburg bridge into brooklyn. Once there, there are many bike lanes to follow to areas like Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens Red Hook, Park Slope or Willaimsburg, or around the harbor on the bikeway down to the Verazzano bridge and onward. Id recommend getting a map and following these routes, which have become numerous and well marked rather than contending with commercial traffilc on the major streets.
During a weekend, the central american vendors will be operating in the Red Hook ballfields, the Good Fork is a good stop for brunch, and Steves Key Lime Pie is a fun stop in that area.
For more mexican and central american, Fifth Ave in Sunset Park might be of interest
There are a lot of interesting alternatives in the areas that would be bike accessible, no reason to be discouraging!!