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more brief new york stories

It’s been a while since my first full day in New York. I haven’t had time to write, which must be a good thing.

1. Chinatown might be the most… neighborhood-y neighborhood on Manhattan. It’s very clear that the residents live and work there… It’s got a strong connectedness. Every other neighborhood is such a destination.

2. Brooklyn Bridge: Still fun to walk over.

3. Dinner at Celeste was quite good.

It’s hardly a “find” (it’s highly-rated in Zagat’s), but still, with entrees that hover around $10, glasses of wine for $5, and truly immaculately prepared meals, there’s a lot going for it.

4. H&H Bagels: still the fucking best.

5. Though wildly overpriced, taking a horse-drawn carriage around Central Park at night is delightful, and really, something you simply cannot do anywhere else on earth.

6. Dean and Deluca and the Gourmet Garage simply make me cherish the Berkeley Bowl all the more. But Zabar’s… I mean, it’s a mob-scene mad-house, but it’s also got amazing stuff at good prices.

7. Seeing a Big Show at the Met on a weekend is an exercise in near-futility. The Van Gogh drawings were great, but the jostling… ugh.

8. That said, little is as serene as the under-attended Japanese Art rooms at the Met. And many of the pieces there are amazing. My favorite: the gibbons.

9. I don’t think the shitty art in the Art Bar has changed in 10 years.

10. The cupcake I had at Magnolia Bakery was not all that. It was okay, but the frosting was too dense for dense’s sake.

11. New York Unearthed is kinda pathetic. I mean, I love the material, what little is there, but it is sadly sadly unloved.

12. Hotel Chelsea – definitely grows on you. I’m quite enjoying it here.

13. St. Marks Bookshop – Still the bomb. Probably my favorite bookstore in Manhattan. Proves that Big Chains don’t put independent bookstores out of business — they just put bad independent bookstores out of business.

14. d.b.a. – still good stuff. I ordered an Old Foghorn, which is a barleywine brewed by Anchor. The bartender, not quite knowing what she was doing, served it in a pint glass. Typically, it’s served in a smaller goblet, like a Belgian ale. Not that I complained.

  1. No trip to NYC is complete without an over indulgent trip to Mario Batali’s Babbo (or slightly less expensive, Lupa). If there was ever any doubt to the man capabilities as a chef, it was quickly erased after my first bite of beef cheek raviolie.

    Sure, he’s TV celebrity chef, which is sorta annoying in a way, but the man rocks. Second favorite meal next to the French Laundry out on the left coast.

    Dinner for two will drop about $250-350 if you do it right, but it’s worth it, IMO.

  2. If you’re still here, consider seeing new york on a bicycle. There is a bike path up the entire west side from batterie park all the way up to 132nd street (then it’s only a short break where you ride on the streets before the path resumes again to Washington Heights on up) — that’s a good long ride. On the east side you can go from Batterie park up to 34th street and then take 1st avenue past the UN building…I think the path starts up again after the 59th Street bridge (feelin’ groovy) where it goes until 125th along the east river. (Kevin Ready and I actually went further up the east side but it’s a bit of an adventure.)

  3. I love that photo of the Brooklyn Bridge. New York simply has to be my next travel destination. Thanks for the suggestions of where to go!

  4. I think NYC is one of the places where small, non-chain stores can still survive. The new Addidas building just looks out of place… it is kind of sad in a way…

  5. magnolia sucks. try billy’s bakery on 9th ave and 22nd – much much better.

    also, if you liked dba (and what beer drinker doesn’t?) check out the ginger man. it is just off 5th ave and 34th.

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