About restaurants: Grotto Azura recommended to the list has closed. I
suggest Da Nico, a few steps further down Mulberry. Family owned and
the owner still lives nearby! Brick oven pizzas, great pastas,
reasonable prices. I just profiled the entire Mulberry Street Little
Italy scene for a foundation journal (National Italian American
Foundation) and I have made a personal documentary of Mulberry Street
for 10 years as the "gentrification" changes have evolved. You can
spend an entire evening on the street, just strolling and people
watching. A lot of tourists love La Puglia. I have many fond memories
of its incredibly cheap and potent red wine served in Pepsi bottles
in the 1970s. It is a fun, noisy place to go to with a convivial
In the general area are many new restaurants on Prince Street and
Spring Street. Remember Friday and Saturday are very busy nights. The
Kitchen Club, Bistrot Margot are wonderful KC is pricy, Margot is
reasonable. Very reasonable is RICE on Mott Street. True to its name
has many different rice dishes and is a favorite with vegetarians.
This is the area known as NoLiTa (North of Little Italy) and is full
of the young and trendy. Lots of nice little bars. I suggest trying
for dinner at 6:00 rather tnan the rush hours starting at 7:00.
On Spring Street is also the Scene restaurant for the last few
seasons. Balthazar. I dare you to get a table. But you can usually do
a walk in early evening and sit in the bar area (smoking) and be
served. Not many people smoke and I have been lucky with this tactic
lately. For all its trendiness it isn't out of sight expensive if you
are careful (watch out for that wine by the glass thing. Adds up.
Share a bottle instead). If you are lonely for Paris, this is one of
the more authentic replicas. Next door to the resto is the bakery.
You can get a chunk of chocolate bread there (Yummy) and a coffee.
Walk around eating that.
Paper madness: Kate's Paperie. Mainly on Broadway But other locations
in the city. Big store is on Broadway. Food nearby: You can cross the
street to Dean and DeLuca's grocery store for a quick bite but lines
are long. They have every cheese in the world worth eating including
Morbier ready to eat. Ahhh. The prices are sky high.
Another is Felix on West Broadway and Grand, but now you are deep in
SoHo where the restaurants are more high-end. For rich Italian fare
and prices, Barolo is a treat on W. Broadway.
Over in the West Village there are many good restaurants, also. I
used to have a place on Sullivan Street. Across from my former apt.
is Peanut Butter and Co. which serves PBand J sandwiches and many
specials (try the Elvis). It is near NYU Law School and Wash. Sq.
Park. NOT AFTER DARK THAT PARK OR ANY PARK. If you walk around the
village you will find lots to eat and drink.
Cafe Loup on 13th Street and 6th Ave (tourists call this Avenue of
the Americas, NYCers, 6th) is not too far to go for a wonderful meal
with a professional colleague if you are entertaining. Call and
reserve a banquette in the back of the restaurant. Low noise level
there and great, reasonable food. Desserts are heaven.
The theater district doesn't hold many a bargain place, but Chez
Napolean is one I have gone to for nearly 35 years. 50th Street and
10th Ave. Old fashioned French. Same owner forever. Pierre Au Tunnel
I have gone to since I was a CHILD. Similar old style French. NO NO
NO to the Olive Garden. YES to the barbeque restaurant on Times
Square. Name escapes. Having Mac attack? My little niece loves the
McDonald's on Times Square. It is cheerful and huge. Quick service.
Very short wait even with long lines.
If you are with a group, you could invest in a Zagat's guide for 10
bucks and this is reliable information. Do purchase a copy of TimeOut
New York when you get here. Has all the listings you can want. Also,
get the Friday NYTimes for all the current info on the gallery scene.
Great short reviews by Michael Kimmelman, Roberta Smith.
Clubs: SOBs is fun for latin-flavored dancing, Wetlands for new
sounds,CBGB for colorful club kids. The old jazz places like the Blue
Note and Sweet Basil have hefty cover charges but are a must-go for
jazz afficionados. Les Paul still plays every week at Iridium near
Lincoln Center. No Mary Ford, though.
Tea. Ah yes. Tea. My favorite meal (after breakfast lunch and
dinner). The Tea Box at Takeshimaya (Japanese department store on 5th
Ave. Very intimate). The T Salon near 18th Street and 6th (check the
address) and and at all the big hotels, but my favorite is at the
Lowell Hotel. Really posh. It can serve as early supper if you plan a
night at the theatre with dinner after. After the theatre I also
recommend Joe Allen. Celebs, sit at the bar if you can't get a table
and order one of the big chopped salads to share with someone along
with the meal.
Sushi: Arrive early (5:30) and get the biggest bargain in your life
of Japanese dining - the twilight supper at Hasaki (9th Street off
Third Ave in the East Village). Go to the St. Marks Bookstore and
browse the PoMo section and the art books, then walk down St. Marks
Place. At the end you will find Gem Spa. Order a Chocolate or Vanilla
Egg Cream. No eggs, No cream. It is one of the few authentic egg
Not far away, on Second Avenue and 10th is Veselka. One of many
Polish restaurants on that short strip, and the best. Borscht. Hearty
First Ave in the East Village has lots of restaurants from Houston up
to 14th street. Alphabet City has tons of new and fairly inexpensive
places if you want to go far east. I again recomment TimeOut New
York, especially for new, trendy restos that are not yet listed and
may close after a few months (when the owner's trust fund runs out).
As for hotel dining, I still like the Oyster Bar at the Plaza and
Peacock Alley at the Waldorf. I have not been to the Algonquin since
it was renovated but others say it's good.
Meatpacking district: Florent, off Little West 12th. Cash only. Very
reasonable. Open almost all night. Great food. Models galore late.
Close by is the brother of Balthazar, Pastis, but it is also a big
scene and hard to snare a table.
Stay far, far away from "theme" restaurants. Noisy, crowded, many
many families with children. If you are a family with children try
Jekyll and Hyde, however. Goofy. Micky Mantle's isn't really a sports
bar and is expensive.
Chinatown is the subject in the current issue of TimeOut New York.
Good reviews of many high points. There are a lot of new Dim Sum
restaurants. If you plan to shop for knock off watches and Kate Spade
etc. bags on Canal Street, watches are no more than $10 and I often
get them for $8. Bags vary. Pradas, Spades, Fendi, Chanel all should
be well under $20. Street vendors sell bags but don't get watches
from them. Of course you will climb all 5 flights of rickety stairs
at Pearl Paint to see the wonders (and get a catalogue to order tax-
free from home...). Please don't leave Canal Street without going to
Pearl River, the Chinese department store with so much lovely stuff.
Rice paper books, real cotton black undershirts with those little
satin bows. I can't begin to list it all.
Now for clothes. Bring a pair of Totes boots. You never know in this
city. It is not going to be HOT. I like a sweater/raincoat combo with
a scarf, hat, gloves at the ready. I have used this all winter. No
heavy bulky coats for me. My raincoat is of a super tight weave
windbreaker variety and the sweater thinnest merino wool. Scarf is
the ubiquitous Burberry plaid (knock off). Looking forward to seeing
everyone (remember the fun latenight roundtable on Thursday eve.
Contemporary Art) Hope at least some of you can make the trip across
the Brooklyn Bridge.