Things To Do, See, & Eat in NYC
I grew up in Weehawken, New Jersey, a town situated directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Naturally, I went to the city quite often growing up. Below are my recs for places to see, foods to eat, and cocktails to drink—touristy, classics, hole-in-the-walls and all.
- Chelsea Market: A food court and shopping area rolled into one building. I absolutely love Very Fresh Noodles' bowls (get their taiwanese beef noodle soup! or cumin lamb soup if you’re okay with spice). At The Filling Station, you can sample a selection of delightful flavor-infused balsamic vinegars, olive oils, and salts. My friends have gotten hearty lobster bisque from The Lobster Place, and L'Art Del Gelato's offerings are quite good as well.
- Browse some of the free art galleries near Chelsea Market. David Zwirner Gallery is the one that had a 4 hour wait for Yayoi Kusama’s infinity room exhibits. I enjoyed the Tagliatella Gallery, which features pop artists reminiscent of Warhol's and Koons' work.
- Also near Chelsea Market is Highline Park. Take the stairs up to the overpass and snap a few photos; it’s a classic IG photo-op spot.
- Check out Penn Station, a 20 min walk away, and get banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery. Bring your own reusable spoon :P
- Stroll through Bryant Park, a 13 min walk from Penn station. In the winter, there's a holiday market with side-by-side pop-up vendors. Not sure if there's a summer/spring equivalent.
- Revel in the hustle & bustle of Grand Central Station.
- Walk down 5th Avenue and take a peek at Tiffany’s and all the fancy af brands
- End up at Central Park. Break for tea and desserts at Maison Kayser or Lady M :)
- Museum of Modern Art is super close to Central Park and is one of my favorite museums. They have Free Fridays, where patrons can enter for free between 4-8pm.
- Soho is a fun neighborhood to explore. You can grab a cronut from Dominique Basel’s bakery while you people-watch and/or try Greek yogurt with rose petal jam from Greecologies. Glossier, famous for their millenial pink logo, has a showroom in the area.
- Ride the NYC subway and alight at 42nd St/ Times Square. Take in the giant scrolling billboards, roasted nut & hotdog carts on every corner, and Empire State Building looming in the background. Nab tickets for a discounted Broadway show (usually up to 40% off) at the TKTS booth and snap a photo on its iconic red stairs.
- Stroll through Columbia University's urban campus situated in Morningside Heights. You can take any subways headed north and alight at 116th street. I recommend buying a reloadable yellow/green metro card if you plan to take the subway across multiple days.
- 99¢ pizza wherever you may come across it
- $8 Chicken/Lamb and Rice from the Halal Guys. There are multiple franchise locations, but the OG cart is at 53rd and 6th ave. Everything is commercialized now, though, so hit up the cart that's most convenient for you.
- Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Co. is my favorite place for bagels. They've got seasonal specials (e.g. gingerbread bagels during December) and close to 30 kinds of cream cheese. I typically buy two or three for the road back to Boston, cut them into chunks, store them in a container, and nuke them for 10 seconds in the microwave whenever I want a bagel bite. Multiple locations all over NYC, but I frequent their store in Chelsea the most!
- Fig & Olive is a very nice sit down restaurant that has locations on Fifth Ave, in the Meatpacking District, and in Uptown. I’ve been there for lunch as courtesy of a final round post-interview meal with the firm I'll be joining this fall, Accenture Strategy :)
- Jongro BBQ, Hanbat, and BCD Tofu House in Midtown/KTown are my top Korean restaurants. BCD is open till 3am Sun-Thurs & open till 6am Fri&Sat so they're perfect for drunk munchies after a night in KTown.
- If you're into sushi & seafood, show up early for all-you-can-eat (AYCE) at Ichi Umi in KTown.
- Sweet Chick in the Lower East Side (LES) is SO GOOD. Hands down the best chicken and waffles that I’ve ever had. Go early to put your name on the list, and you'll get a text when your table is ready. I went for brunch and got the rosemary waffles. The compound butters that come with each order of waffles are not to be overlooked—lemon butter, rosemary butter, and berry butter!
- Katz’ Deli in LES is a little overpriced at $21 for a hefty pastrami sandwich and there’s a wait if you don't go early in the morning but I think it’s worth trying at least once. Pastrami > corned beef!
- Eggloo in LES is yummy–Hong Kong egg waffle used as a cone for ice cream and toppings. They've got earl grey & Thai tea soft serve!
- Bibble and Sip in Midtown is known for their cream puffs that come in matcha and earl grey! One of my cousins had a wedding and ordered cream puffs from them, 10/10 recommend.
- 10Below in Chinatown for rolled ice cream
- Prince St Pizza in Nolita/Soho if you're a fan of pepperoni (they pile it on and bake the pizzas till the pepperonis curl and become crispy). My brother recommends eating it fresh/not taking slices-to go because they lose their texture.
- Soft Swerve and New Territories are two more cool ice cream places that sell purple ube-flavored soft serve. Bar Pa Tea has milk tea ice cream + boba. Big Gay Ice Cream has creamy soft serve with fun names.
- LeVain Bakery for famous huge, gooey mini chocolate-chip studded cookies.
going out to drink is expensive & I prefer to be more economical when I turn up (i.e. drink at home with friends), hence this short list
- Fat Cat has $3 cash cover and it’s a live music sports bar with pool, ping pong, and shuffleboard tables. Lots of fun with a group of friends, though you can end up waiting an hour or two for a game table to open up. Crowd is usually 20s-30s, pretty friendly folks.
- Little Branch in East Village is a speakeasy! Really tasty cocktails. I recommend the Silver Fox if it's still on the menu—gin, egg whites, biscotti liqueur.
- Employees Only has a special place in my heart because I went to their second location in Singapore during an MIT-sponsored summer program before checking out their original location in Manhattan. We told the bouncer that we visited EO in Singapore and got a round of whiskey shots on the house ay (+1 because free drinks, -1 cause ya girl ain't the biggest fan of whiskey)