The Big Apple definitely does not need another list of recommendations… but that is not stopping me from compiling my favorite things to do/see/eat. This is currently a work in progress, and far from exhaustive, but it’s something!
- The Bellhouse: With so many live performance options in NYC, how does one choose? I’ve found that the Bellhouse often features consistently good artists and comedians in a hip, casual environment.
- Central Park: There’s simply too many things to do in this beautiful park. Walk, run, bike, or take a horse-drawn carriage. Visit and explore.
- The High Line: This is a must for me. The city turned some train tracks into a gorgeous urban walkway. Visit during sunset for some pretty phenomenal views of the skyline and river. At either end of the park, stop in at Chelsea Market for some good eats and/or marvel at the architecturally stunning (but historically tragic) Vessel at Hudson Yards.
- MoMA: There are so many museums, but MoMA might be my favorite. Their gift shop is an exhibit in and of itself. If you have time, and by time I mean lots of time, enough time to really soak in the wealth of art and culture, you’ll want to spend a few days wandering The Met.
- Soho: Even if you don’t think you need to shop, walking around Soho and its surrounding neighborhoods might change your mind. I especially love wandering through the bookstores in the area, including The Strand and McNally Jackson (and their satellite stationary stores!).
- Staten Island Ferry: For a very New York experience, ride the ferry (again, during sunset is ideal) and keep an eye out for Lady Liberty.
- Black Seed Bagel: I do love an NYC bagel (and regularly pop in at Bagels & Schmear), but I am so grateful that this place introduced me to the lighter and mild Montreal-style bagel. Make it fancy with their sandwich/topping selections.
- Cha Cha Matcha: My sister and I are obsessed with this local chain’s assortment of matcha-based drinks. On a long teaching day, a bit of highly caffeinated tea really hits the spot.
- Ippudo Ramen: On a cold day, this is where I’d go for a rib-sticking bowl of ramen.
- Jacques Torres: There are lots of these chocolate shops scattered throughout NYC. I’ve spent many winter days sipping on their hot chocolate, which is essentially like drinking a melted chocolate bar.
- Katz’s Delicatessen: Iconic, and for good reason! I typically split the three-meat platter with four other people, so that we can sample their unbelievable pastrami, brisket, and corned beef.
- Laduree: Is it basic to love macarons? But I do. This outpost of a Parisian classic serves their signature Marie Antoinette, which is a perfect bite. I also love to go to Dominique Ansel to see what inventive pastries are on offer — but nothing beats their simple, lemon-scented and freshly-baked madeleines.
- Levain Bakery: My partner constantly talks about how much he wants these decadent, melty-in-the-middle cookies. They’re really in a league all their own.
- Otto: Really good pasta.
- Prince Street Pizza: my favorite slice in the whole world is a Spicy Spring square from this hole-in-the-wall. Just imagine thick little discs of pepperoni, with their edges curled up from the grease. My students approve!
- Russ and Daughters: I would be remiss if I made an NYC list without including this establishment. You can go to the landmark deli or the newer sit-down restaurant. Either way, I’d recommend a simple bagel and lox.
- Sunflower Cafe: I might not travel out of my way for this cute, healthy cafe, but I am really glad it’s only a few steps away from my office. I love anything fried chicken here (although, again, there are lots of healthy options!).
- Xi’an Famous Foods: To this day, I have not found Szechuan food executed with such addictive qualities. I am not a lamb person, and this place will not make you like it… but I’ll take all of the other dumplings and hand-pulled noodles.
Last updated: January 22, 2022