Sal’s: Brandi’s favorite pizza spot is located on Avenue A between Fifth and Sixth streets. To get there, take the F train to the Second Avenue stop, get out, and walk east (Avenue A is directly east of First Avenue).
Roxy Delicatessen: Jyndia loves this famous cheesecake place in Times Square, but with a caveat: Someone else (say, visiting parents) has to pay, because it ain’t cheap.
Roxy is in Times Square between 46th and 47th streets.
Keika: The sign for this restaurant is in Japanese, so you’ll have to look for the place with a statue of a man-size black squirrel creature with lit-up red eyes and a cotton candy machine. Shouldn’t be hard to miss. By the time you leave, you’ll wonder why you don’t eat balls of octopus with Japanese beer every night. You may even wonder why it never occurred to you to decorate your house with Japanese hair salon ads from the 1970s. The prices are great, and the check comes with cups of purple sugar- that’s for making your cotton candy. Located on St. Mark’s Street (Eighth Street) between Second and Third avenues. Take the R or W train to Astor Place.
Snacks and Coffee:
Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery: Magnolia in the West Village is the famous cupcake spot, but Brandi prefers the shorter lines and equally delicious frosting at Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery on the Lower East Side. To get there, take the F, J, M or Z subway to Delancey Street, walk north for a block on Essex Street and make a right onto Rivington. You’ll find the bakery at 126 Rivington.
Think Coffee: “All the little roadside espresso stands in the Flathead Valley are much better than most of the coffee in New York City,” says Brandi. “Montanans definitely appreciate good, strong coffee in a way that New Yorkers do not.” That said, you can take solace in the great atmosphere in New York coffee shops. You can also find a place to sit. Jyndia likes Think Coffee at 248 Mercer Street because it has free WiFi, a desperately-trying-to-be-hip NYU crowd, and a fair trade business plan that includes giving 25 percent of its profits to charity. To get there, take the 6 train to Bleecker Street, walk west for two blocks, and make a right onto Mercer Street.
Farmer’s Markets: It might surprise you to know that you can get fresh fruits and vegetables amidst all the concrete. On most warm days at Union Square (a stop on the L, N, R, Q, W, 4, 5 and 6 trains) you can find a farmer’s market with a robust assortment of everything from radishes to pears to pies. And if you feel like paying four times as much for an apple, you’ve got a Whole Foods store within view at the south end of the square.
Botanica Bar: This “divey” bar, according to Brandi, has a really cheap happy hour and nice owners. And after walking past some of the painfully swank bars in Manhattan – replete with $6 bottles of Bud Light – you’ll be yearning for a dive, trust me. To get there, take the B, D, F, V or 6 train to the Broadway-Lafayette Station. You’re right there – Botanica is at 47 E. Houston St.
Automatic Slims: Like Marie Osmond and Kevin Federline, Gabe likes to dance. Where does he go? Automatic Slims in the West Village, which one Web site calls “a real domestic beer crowd.” I don’t know what that means, but to get there, take the A, C, E or L train to 14th Street. When you get out of the station, walk south on Eighth Avenue until you hit Bank Street, and then make a right. When you hit the intersection with Washington Street, you’re right there – the address is 733 Washington. If you get lost, don’t worry – even New Yorkers get turned around in the labyrinthine streets of the West Village.
KGB Bar: With red walls and pictures of the Politburo on the wall, you’ll find plenty in this bar to make the old Butte Wobblies proud. What else you’ll find – and this is exceptionally rare for a New York bar – is a place where you can hear your friends and have an actual conversation. There are also literary readings here – check out the Web site at www.kgbbar.com. To get there, find Second Avenue after getting off the F train at the Second Avenue stop or the R or W train at Eighth Street / Astor Place. KGB Bar is near the corner of Second Avenue and Fourth Street at 85 E. 4th St.
Barcade: You can drink microbrews. Yawn. Or you can drink microbrews while playing the 80s videogame classic Contra. You’re not yawning anymore, are you? Barcade features two dozen or so 80s arcade videogames lining the walls. There’s Pac Man and Frogger, naturally, but there are more obscure favorites like Rampage, in which a mutant lizard, a monkey, and a wolf try to take down Chicago building by building. To get there, take the L train to the Lorimer Street stop and walk up Union Avenue until you get to No. 388.
The Statue of Liberty: Jyndia said she cried when she went there for the first time; she’s not alone. Brandi recommends taking the free Staten Island Ferry to catch a fine glimpse of the green lady. To get there, take the 1 train to the South Ferry stop.
Prospect Park, Brooklyn: Central Park is great, and Gabe rightly says it’s a must for any visit. But Central Park is the Going-to-the-Sun road of New York City – clogged with tourists. Frederick Law Olmstead designed Prospect Park just after he completed Central Park – you’ll find the same beauty without the cacophony. It’s welcoming for runners, bikers, and those who just want to lie in the sun in peace. To get there, take the B, F, Q, 3 or 4 train to one of several Prospect Park stops.
Teddy Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site: “Not all presidents were born in log cabins,” the National Parks Service wants you to know. “One was actually born in a New York City brownstone!” This house on 20th Street in Manhattan is a secret to many New Yorkers. But it’s a wealth of pictures, stories, and ephemera (a stuffed lion that Teddy shot!) that make for a fascinating hour or two. My personal favorite is the series of pictures showing Teddy, rifle in hand, leading two fugitives he chased and caught back through the North Dakota wilderness to justice. Without Roosevelt there would be no Flathead, Blackfeet or Kootenai national forests; there would be no Lolo or Bitterroot national forests, no Helena or Deer Lodge. And without 28 E. 20th St. (take the 6 train to 23rd Street, walk south on Park Avenue and take a right on 20th), there would be no Roosevelt.
SoHo and the West Village: There isn’t shopping like this in Montana, says Jyndia. Nor is there the assortment of fashionistas, international jetsetters, street lunatics and celebrities you’re likely to find here. Give yourself time to wander, and you won’t be disappointed.
Museums: You’ve got a lot of choices – good, like the Guggenheim, and bad, like the Museum of Sex. Is that really a postcard you want to send back to the Flathead? As for the can’t miss, try the Museum of Natural History, with it’s satisfying mix of science with a capital S and Indian Jones-style dusty antiquation. The Museum of Modern Art holds exquisite modern and post-modern treasures that changed the course of 20th century thought, but on the other hand it’s twenty bucks. Go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art instead, where the entrance fee is actually a “suggested donation.”
Related: Montanan’s Guide to New York City
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