Winter NYC vacation plans revolving around food, art, music, & history
January 6, 2016 10:06 AM   Subscribe

I'll be in NYC from Jan 22 - Jan 24 and am overwhelmed with excitement and also panic about What To Do and What To Eat. Can you tell me what you love to do and eat given my wide range of interests?

I'm flying in Friday morning to LGA and my home base will be Hell's Kitchen. However, I plan to get off the plane, eat, and spend the rest of the day exploring (and doing more eating), so recommendations don't really need to take HK into account.

My only concrete plan right now is the Whitney on Saturday, so I'd greatly appreciate any other museum suggestions, amazing music venues/shows, any unusual historical thing I should see, fancy cocktail bars, Asian beauty stores, off-Broadway theater, walking tours, anything to do with Shakespeare, etc. I will go anywhere a subway will take me so as such I'm not super concerned with locations; staying in Manhattan is preferable but not necessary. Assume I have done lots of typical tourist stuff already (Freedom Tower, Empire State, Times Square, MoMA, Metropolitan.) I would however like to see a matinee on Sunday before heading home.

I want everything I put in my mouth to be spectacular and have zero food restrictions. One of my meals must be banh mi, other than that I have no requirements and don't care too much about price (although I do not love fussiness.) I have access to great Jewish food at home so no delis needed.

I realize this is a very broad question without many location parameters, so any comprehensive resources will also be appreciated. I will be trawling Chowhound and Serious Eats for food recommendations as well.

Bonus question: I'm from Florida and the coldest time of year I've been to NYC has been November (around 40 deg.) I will have layers, a coat, boots, gloves, scarf, and hat. What would a warm weather person be forgetting which will help me prepare for the cold?
posted by tatiana wishbone to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
forgot to mention I have already done Sleep No More and will love anything to do with books as well.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 10:11 AM on January 6, 2016

Film Forum in lower Manhattan is showing Fargo on that Sunday!
posted by cakelite at 10:39 AM on January 6, 2016

Hmm, if you're flying into LGA, you could take the M60 bus and get off in either Astoria or Harlem. There's Greek and Middle Eastern food in Astoria. Also Socrates Sculpture Park and the Museum of the Moving Image. There's some great Ethiopian food in Harlem. The M60 terminates near Columbia University, where there are some good bookstores in the neighborhood.
posted by the_blizz at 10:41 AM on January 6, 2016

Oh, and for weather: long underwear or tights under your pants. Also, loose pants are warmer than tight pants. Wool socks. Thin socks to wear under the wool socks.
posted by the_blizz at 10:43 AM on January 6, 2016

I am biased because I live here, but I think the best food in New York right now is in Queens -- for pure deliciousness you can't possibly go wrong spending a day in Flushing eating Chinese (bonus: more asian beauty stores than you can shake a stick at) or an afternoon in Elmhurst eating Thai. Depending on how you feel when you get in, you can easily get to either from LGA -- take the Q70 bus 1 stop to the 7 train and the 7 train east to Elmhurst Ave for Thai or to Main Street for Chinese.

In Manhattan, you could also have an amazing day walking around Chinatown and the Lower East Side -- go to Spicy Village for Sichuan food, any hole in the wall dumpling place for dumplings, Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles or Lam Zhou for noodles, Joe's Shanghai for soup dumplings, Attaboy for delicious cocktails, and The Pickle Guys and Russ and Daughters of course, as well as anything else that strikes your eye. You can take an eating break at the New Museum or the Tenement Museum.

I'm not in love with most of the food options in Hell's Kitchen these days personally, though if you like beer at all Beer Culture is one of my favorite bars. I would also wholeheartedly recommend Yakitori Totto for yakitori and Larb Udol for thai.
posted by EmilyFlew at 11:00 AM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Just came in to say that EmilyFlew is absolutely right about Queens. By far the best borough for food -- not even close. Go to Flushing.
posted by holborne at 11:08 AM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

You are on the right track with layers. Seconding tights and wool socks. My toes were getting cold walking around during the recent cold snap so I zipped in to Eastern Mountain Sports and got a pair of their X-static Liner Crew Socks which helped considerably to wear inside my wool socks.
They are a bit on the expensive side but you might check out Muji for shopping (on my phone so can't link.)
We've had great food at The Red Cat in Chelsea.
posted by gudrun at 11:15 AM on January 6, 2016

THE show to see is Hamilton. I'd pay the premium to a ticket agency to see it. (I paid the earth to see the original cast in Book of Mormon and I don't regret it.)

Some fun places to eat things:

Cowgirl on Hudson Street in Greenwich Village/Tribeca

Tataki in Tribeca It's very good and very reasonable. (This is a good stop if you plan to cruise Canal Street)

Rafiqi's food carts are all over the city, I was a regular at the one on Hudson and Charleton.

I went to the Guggenheim to see the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit and I was so disappointed. It was notes and blue prints in the basement.

Have fun!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:17 AM on January 6, 2016

Joe's Shanghai in Flushing has the most amazing soup dumplings, definitely (there's one in Chinatown too, but I've heard it's not as good). I also really liked their seafood noodles as well. Riko in Midtown is great for Peruvian chicken.
posted by lunasol at 11:23 AM on January 6, 2016

The Titanosaur

And Hamilton, if you can get in. Or On Your Feet. Or Allegiance.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:02 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Take this advice with a huge grain of salt since I've never been and only saw it on tv last night but it is in Hell's Kitchen. Mocu-Mocu is a Japanese street food cafe that had some insanely good sounding desserts on the menu.
posted by mmascolino at 1:50 PM on January 6, 2016

Motorino for Neapolitan pizzas is our favorite, locations in the east village and williamsburg.

Xiian famous foods is another favorite - an unusual regional take on chinese foods the things to get here are the cumin lamb or stewed pork "burgers" (meat in these kind of english muffin like griddled bread pockets) and the hand pulled noodles - i like either the mt qi or cumin lamb with the noodles, though they have a cold veggie version that is also quite good. very casual spot - they have a bunch of locations but my preferred one is in manhattan chinatown - they just opened a related sit-down spot (the other location has seats but you order at a counter) called Biang! on 2nd ave in the east village which i havent tried (but i have been to the biang! in queens and its great).

Curious about your Banh Mi requirement - NYC is not particularly well know for its vietnamese food. In keeping with my recommendation for Xi'ian above, consider checking out a location of Num Pang, another local chain-lett doing a sort of cambodian-inspired non traditional banh mi. Again, locations all over town.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 3:22 PM on January 6, 2016

If you're not averse to a trip out to Brooklyn, I just posted an IRL meetup for dim sum on Sunday 1/24 at Pacificana. (Might interfere with your matinee plans, though - there's no predicting how long the wait to get seated is for group dim sum.)
posted by oh yeah! at 7:19 PM on January 6, 2016

Seconding Xiian Famous Food, especially the handpulled noodles with the cumin lamb. That dish is one of those things that you can still perfectly recall the texture and flavor of years later. Plus it makes your face number than doing key bumps.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:45 PM on January 6, 2016

I went on one of Scott's Pizza Tours (a walking tour, although there are also bus tours). It was really cool and I learned that there is a lot to learn about pizzas, and you get to eat some very good pizza too. Scott himself led my tour.

You are bound to have heard of it, but I did enjoy visiting Strand Book Store (18 miles of new, used, rare books). I also visited the New York Public Library, got a library card as a free souvenir and did a self-tour (they have guided tours as well). It is a beautiful building and you will also recognise it from many films.
posted by AnnaRat at 1:54 PM on January 8, 2016

go see the Picasso Sculpture show at MoMA (also the Jackson Pollock show)

the Metropolitan Museum of Art!!!!!!!!

GALLERIES: in Chelsea since you'll be at the Whitney (Andrea Rosen, Luhring Augustine, Matthew Marks, Paula Cooper, David Zwirner, Hauser and Wirth, Greene Naftali, Barbara Gldastone, both Gagosian spaces, )

EAT: Manhattan: Mermaid Inn, ABC Cocina or ABC Kitchen (connected; one is Mexican food, both are amazing) Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Somtum Der, Tavern On Jane post Whitney (my favorite place to take out of towers, or myself, laid-back, non-pretentious above-average bar food and super pleasant atmosphere) my favorite Banh Mi is at Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli on Broome st. btw Elizabeth and Mott after which you might as well walk east on Broome to Canada Gallery and Marlborough Broome gallery.

EAT: in Williamsburg: Rye, Reynard, the Four Horsemen (although this is more wine and delicious snacks) than strictly restaurant), Allswell

DRINK: at Jimmy's Corner for cheap and local (right off Times Square and in sight of Broadway theaters; amazing mix of people) or the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis hotel for upscale ( i know it seems preposterous to recommend that anyone pay $30.00 for a cocktail but seriously immaculate cocktails and the best bar snacks ever, plus the amazing Maxfiled Parrish mural; you only need to get one drink and they come with a big sidecar, just don't go anywhere near Happy Hour)
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 10:23 PM on January 8, 2016

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