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Jan 2, 2014 10:31 PM

What says NYC to you?

My Danish husband and I (American from the south) will be in NYC later this month for work and I'm just now starting to make a list of things to see, do and of course…eat. It's interesting to hear what Europeans equate with NYC and what they think the must eats are (e.g. street hot dogs), but would love some suggestions from the locals. I think what I remember most from my 1 visit (30+ years ago) was an incredible pastrami sandwich.

We have an Upper West Side hotel and would prefer to stay fairly low key most of the trip, so not looking for fine dining as much as fun but yummy ideas.


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  1. Hope you will make it to Katz's Deli for an amazing pastrami sammich and NYC experience!! Enjoy!!
    So many fabulous pizza places too.
    Bagels and bialys you won't find anywhere else in the world.
    Easy subway ride to almost anywhere from the UWS.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Motosport

      That's what I'm talking about, thanks! Katz is on the list, and I'm collecting names of pizza places. I am apparently so far out of the loop it's embarrassing, as I never heard of a bialys before!

        1. re: plf515

          Good to know, thanks so much for that!

    2. Katz's and while you're down there, definitely Russ and Daughters.
      Since you're on the UWS though, hit up Barney Greengrass - we love it there.
      Sal and Carmines on 101/102 and B'way makes my favorite slice in the area.
      Bypass the dirty water dogs, and also on the UWS, hit up Grey's Papaya (or is it Papaya King) on 72nd and B'way. Get the recession special :)
      Head to the halal guys on 56th and 6th ave and grab a combo platter over rice with extra white sauce and a side of red sauce.
      Grab a burger at burger joint in le parker meridien hotel or alternatively hit up Shake Shack.

      Most importantly, have fun :)

      3 Replies
      1. re: r32nissan

        yum, thanks so much for all of the specific recommendations. I have noted them all and will start putting them on my travel map!

        1. re: r32nissan

          Love Barney Greengrass, just mind the hours. Closed Mondays. Tuesdays through Sunday 8am to 6pm. Restaurant opens at 8:30am. There's a takeout side and a dine-in side. Crowded on weekend mornings.

          Halal Guys is on 53rd and 6th, not 56th. Here's a list of all of their locations per their Facebook Page:
          53rd and 6th - SE corner, 10am to 4am, 5am on weekends
          53rd and 7th - 10am to 4am, 5am on weekends
          53rd and 6th - SW corner, 7pm to 4am, 5am on weekends (Main Cart)
          Laguardia Community College, Thomson Ave in front of the B Building - 10am to 8pm
          14th St and 2nd Ave (new) - NE corner, 11am to 4am, 5am on weekends

          Open 365 days a year including holidays.

          They will also post any special offers and hours on Facebook.

        2. How long will your stay be? Do you have any interest in the outerboroughs?

          13 Replies
          1. re: Pookipichu

            We will be there for 7 days, and yes--we are very interested in at least a quick visit to some of the outer boroughs. Suggestions?

            1. re: Transplant_DK

              For that post on the Outerboroughs board. Lots of good ideas.

              1. re: Transplant_DK

                Since you'll have a nice chunk of time, I definitely think you should check out the outerboroughs. The west side is very convenient because you can shoot down to Penn Station and take the LIRR to Flushing in 19 minutes, cheaper and faster than a taxi. Post on the outerborough board.

                1. re: Pookipichu

                  We are going to take a bus tour of the outerboroughts, and I'm checking out the board for suggestions for places to grab bites in different areas. Thanks!

                  1. re: Transplant_DK

                    A bus tour of the outer boroughs? I'm not sure this is a good use of your time. If you want to experience New York, take one of the many foodie walking tours of Brooklyn. The 2 and 3 subway trains run express and can get you form W 72nd St to Brooklyn in not much over 1/2 and hour. You would have a much more New York experience than a bus tour.

                    New York is a bad city for bus tours, there's lots of traffic, long distances, and it's a walking city - see it on foot.

                    1. re: AdinaA

                      We did a great tour of Astoria once, although I forget the name of the company.

                    2. re: Transplant_DK

                      Go ahead and take the bus tour. It's a great way to cover a lot of ground.

                      You'll undoubtedly see some areas that you find interesting. When you do, come back and explore them on foot. If you post on the Outer Boroughs board you'll get lots of suggestions for restaurants in specific neighborhoods.

                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                        +1 for an Outer Borough bus tour.
                        Yes, New York is a walking city, but no (largely) subterranean subway ride will give you as good a sense of Queens and Brooklyn as quickly as a bus ride will. And the traffic congestion Adina refers to applies far less there than in Manhattan.

                        (Actually, doing that circuit on a bicycle is the best of all worlds since it gets you off the main drags, but that can be a touch harrowing for novices. Running the marathon route is another possibility, if you're dressed for it.)

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          + ZaZa for the Bus Tour in the outer boroughs, where there are concentrated communities of people from all over the world--with lots of Good Food...and Culture!

                      2. re: Pookipichu

                        Agreed -- Flushing and Woodside are both very convenient from the west side of Manhattan if you take the LIRR from Penn Station in Manhattan and it's not expensive, especially if you get a CityTicket fare.

                        A CityTicket fare is $4.00. CityTicket only applies on weekends, though.

                      3. re: Transplant_DK

                        Well, if you're willing to leave manhattan, by all means come to Staten Island and get some Sri Lankan food! All the Sri Lankan restaurants are just a short bus or train ride from the boat. And they all sell the best eggplant you will ever eat, and you will love it even if you normally hate eggplant.

                    3. For me NYC means creative fusion or reinterpretations of ethnic cuisine. Look into:

                      Red Farm
                      Mission Chinese Food
                      Barn Joo
                      Momofuku Ssam Bar
                      Ma Peche
                      Pig & Khao
                      Mission Cocina
                      Empellon Taqueria

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: fm1963

                        Great, thanks! Red Farm and Momofuku Ssam Bar were added to my list very early, as I'd heard of both before knowing about this trip. We would love to try Ma Peche, but they are unfortunately closed during the time we will be there (Jan 18-26). I will add the others to my wish list and then start plotting which ones we can make, thanks!

                        I adore a good Taqueria, so thanks for adding Empellon. It sounds great!

                        1. re: Transplant_DK

                          Visited NYC for only the second time, a few months ago.

                          Lots of incredible eats but 2 highlights were Barney Greengrass and Momofuku Ssam Bar. They were simply fantastic.

                          Katz's was great. But I actually think I liked Carnegie even better - though most might roll their eyes at that statement :)

                          Zabar's and Eataly a must.

                              1. re: Motosport

                                OY! That makes another one who is rolling her eyes!

                            1. re: Transplant_DK

                              According to the Momofuku website, Ma Peche is open during the period of Jan 18 - 26. It's one of my most favorite restaurants.

                              1. re: ellenost

                                Oh! I must have read it wrong, thanks so much!!!!

                                1. re: Transplant_DK

                                  I'm not really thrilled with Ma Peche. I can understand if a person works in the neighborhood and goes there for lunch, but I think there are better options.

                          1. One of the first and last thing I do when in NYC is to go to Katz's. he first it get a sandwich and the last to get a couple pounds of pastrami and corn beef to bring home.

                            I used to always head over to Arthur Avenue for cheese, meats and pasta but I can now find just as good around here.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: foodieX2

                              Not sure I can get away with bring pastrami and corned beef back to Europe, but we will definitely fill up while there as both are virtually impossible to find here (at least not the kinds I remember from the US). We've dabbled in making both at home, so will be fun to try the real thing!