motts and mulberries

2/17/09

Okay, folks – time to help out our friend DFB&T in the comments section. He’s taking a trip to New York City in April, and… well, I’ll let him use his own words:

…we’re going to be there from a Wed thru Sun. We’re going to go to one B’way play, but want to fill our time with other cool stuff. I was going to go on Travel Channel (Anthony Bourdain) or on Food Network to look for some cool restaurants and activities that are not the typical Times Square tourist bullshit…

There was a time when I was Johnny-on-the-Spot with this sort of thing, but then I moved to Brooklyn and now we spend so much time in LA that I’ve forgotten what street runs between 8th and 10th Avenue.

Any newly-native New Yorkers or expert travelers have some intriguing not-your-usual ideas for restaurants and points of interest?

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22 thoughts on “motts and mulberries

  1. GFWD

    Maybe this qualifies as tourist BS since I’m no New Yorker, but go to a taping of the Letterman show. That was pretty neat.

    Reply
  2. Jason Savage

    tough to beat a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for views. and when you get to the Brooklyn side, get a pie at Grimaldi’s.

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  3. CM

    Jason echoed what I was going to say, although if you lived in Brooklyn, you may have done it. The bridge is the best free attraction around!

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  4. dean

    In case it affects your advice, my wife & I are staying at The Lucerne Hotel and I believe I remember seeing that it is on 79th across from Central Park.

    Reply
  5. frcathie

    if you like indian food, then 6th street near 1st avenue is so much fun – many restaurants, great food, very cheap. most don’t have liquor licenses so you can go to the deli on the corner and buy indian beer and bring it in with you.
    though cliche, the staten island ferry is wonderful, especially at night, and it is free.
    also, although i get paid to say this – go to church!
    there are 50 episcopal churches in manhattan alone, starting with trinity wall street, once the tallest building in manhattan and the site of alexander hamilton’s grave and a pretty moving 9/11 retrospective (at st. paul’s chapel, part of trinity’s campus),
    and there are innumerable catholic churches all over the city, not to mention ever other denomination.
    most churches are a) open during the day b) free c) sources of really unlikely and interesting history and art (and possibly music and theater) and d) keys to other interesting, out of the way things going on in various neighborhoods

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  6. jersey

    My suggestions would be as follows:
    (1) If you haven’t picked the show, go see Billy Elliot. If you have already purchased tickets to another show, sell them on-line and go see Billy Elliott. You can thank me later.
    (2) Eat at db Bistro. It is a short walk from Broadway, and the food is OFF THE CHARTS. His other restaurants are more famous (and more expensive), while this place isn’t cheap, it is worth the bill.
    (3) Go to the new Yankee Stadium – and boo A-Rod vociferously. I hear there are tickets available in the first nine rows – for the low price of $1,500 a seat. Sign of the times.
    (4) If you want to check the “tourist” box, then hit the Top of the Rock observation deck. Great views of NYC from up there.
    (5) If it’s a nice day, grab a cocktail at the Boathouse in Central Park. It’s a pretty spot with a lot of good people-watching. Bryant Park isn’t too shabby either.

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  7. jersey

    Oh yeah, the Frick collection is pretty awesome if you’re looking to do the museum thing.
    St. Patrick’s Cathedral has a cool tour, too.
    And I’d tell you to see Conan over Letterman, but his last show is this week!

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  8. Claudia

    Do you have kids? Even if you don’t, I’d stop at the American Museum of Natural History. Not exactly off the tourist-beaten path, but it is bullshit-free. Yes, it’s crowded and the suggested donation is quite high, but it’s an extraordinary place. Personally, I’d skip the IMAX and all the extras; the regular collection is what draws the raves, and, on its own, is more than you can comfortably get through in a day. I’d even skip the planetarium; unless you have a planetarium buff in your group, I find it too clinical, and more about style than substance. My favorites: the Akeley Hall of African Mammals, the hall that details human origins, and the hall of Ocean Life, under the huge whale.
    And, of course, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is something everyone should see at least once.

    Reply
  9. Claverack Weekender

    Tamarind or Madras Mahal for some of the best Indian food outside of India.
    Ice skating at Wollman Rink
    The Toys R Us ferris wheel is actually kind of fun.
    American Folk Art Museum

    Reply
  10. cd

    as a former-manhattanite-replanted-brooklyner, one of my favorite things i’ve ever done is a circle line tour. in fact, if i had to recommend one tourist activity, it would be a boat or air ride of some sort (the helicopter tours at south street seaport are fun too, but expensive). circle line tours are fun, cheap-ish, and a great way to escape the city when you feel overwhelmed by the scrum. also, take advantage of all that the upper west side has to offer. there’s a great cafe at the 79th street boat basin that’s good for al fresco dining with children, and the west side of the park is a lovely walk. watch out for star sightings on central park west (once shared a moment with robert deniro and his dog outside his building)and check out harlem, not just for the apollo, lenox lounge, etc., but for awesome food. eat brunch at miss mamie’s spoonbread, and wander through columbia’s lovely campus afterwards.
    other things:
    fort tryon park and the cloisters; a perfect afternoon walk and picnic. take the A to 190th street.
    if you’re a foodie, H&H bagels, zabar’s and fairway are not to be missed.
    good shopping on columbus ave. chain stores and little boutiques galore.
    this makes me miss the UWS.

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  11. Lola

    I second CD’s suggestion of the Circle Line Tour. It’s very informative and gives you a chance to rest from all the walking you’ll be doing.
    I’d also recommend a bike tour of Central Park. Google bicycle tours and Central Park and I think you’ll get a place called Liberty Bikes. It was super fun.

    Reply
  12. Rebecca

    Whatever you do, just don’t get into one of the bicycle pulled rickshaws. My friend Jen (are you lurking here today, JG?) and I saw TWO accidents with those things being hit from behind. The tourist in the first one ended up with his feet inside the cab because they broke the windshield. It wasn’t pretty.

    Reply
  13. Caroline

    Some of my favorites are Grand Central Station – gorgeous place. And my favorite restaurant – it’s super cheap, no frills and sort-of-bad service but I’m sure they add crack to the food, Hallo Berlin on 10th Ave. between 44th & 45th. If you don’t like meat, don’t bother. It’s a bratwurst lover’s DREAM. I took a friend under duress, saying that “German food is gross” and she nearly licked her plate clean. CRACK, I tell you.

    Reply

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