Outdoor seating around either Union Square, West Village or 17 & 5th Avenue
I'll be in town midweek with some friends to do some shopping. We usually head over to Morandi's (which we love) but I'd like something different.
I'm planning on gettting a Bloody Mary at Spotted Pig probably right at noon when they open.
Where else can we wander over to? Eatly? Preferably somewhere fun.
I can't think of any upscale al fresco dining suggestions. Otherwise, there is a big place on the west side corner of the park that has decent breakfast/lunch/drinks comfort food.
There is also "L'Express that opens the front doors onto Park Ave so it's almost al fresco.
Les Halles a bit up Park Ave has outdoor tables and decent food.
On 6th Ave and 21 St there is Markt which has outdoor tables and good food.
Normally, when dining al fresco I prefer to be behind the building, away from traffic. But you might try Olio, on Greenwich Avenue at 6th. They've got a large outdoor seating area and a deal with the plant store next door so you're surrounded by beautiful flowers and plants. They do a mean Neopolitan pizza and some very good pastas along with several nice Italian wines by the glass. They're open 24-7.
You mention Eataly - the rooftop bar/restaurant Birreria is pretty nice and midweek, midday you might not have to deal with the crowds/maddening waits that you'd see on weekends or evenings.
Markt on 20 and 6th has outdoor seating for some decent mussels.
A few blocks west is Pastis, nice seating with good people watching.