It's a cafe, restaurant and bar with a terrace with great views facing the Hudson.
West 79th Street, New York, NY, United States
+1 212 496 5542
Google map: bit.ly/Jr3mlC
It's where W79 St meets the Hudson. Take a 1 train to 79 St and walk west (downhill), or take the M79 bus a block or so. Walk under the West Side Highway and keep going. You don't see it till you're there.
People argue all the time about which cupcakes are the best in NYC. Let me settle it: Buttercup Bake Shop. It used to have locations on the East and West sides, but sadly, only one remains. You'll have to venture to 973 2nd Avenue (between 51st and 52nd Streets). If you're not into cupcakes, you can also order banana pudding, cake slices, or muffins.
New York, like most cities, is best seen on foot. Too often, when you're fixed on seeing a specific attraction, you get there the quickest way possible and don't always notice everything else on the way. Take time out to explore a few neighbourhoods, with no specific aim other than to get a real feel of New York. Check out lower Manhattan, starting with SoHo, and stop for a drink in O'Nieal's Grand Street (the bar filmed as Scout in Sex and the City). Then wander further down Mulberry Street into Little Italy and scoff a bowl of pasta in an authentic local restaurant, before sampling the chaos and colour of Chinatown. Or head to the Village to queue with New Yorkers for a cupcake at the Magnolia Bakery, before wandering down the tree-lined streets of mega-bucks brownstones for a glimpse of how the other half lives.
Great place for breakfast – never “brunch,” kay? – in the Village. So good in fact that people happily queue to get in on a Sunday morning. But the retro diner decor, buzzing atmosphere and not-too-phony great service make it worthwhile. Oh, and the food: all manner of egg dishes, bacon, coffee from the bottomless jug … let’s do breakfast, man.
Hours: Sun-Thurs 8:30am-10:30pm; Fri-Sat 8:30am-11pm
Of all the New York cliches, the funniest for me is the way people talk, or tawk. It's not just what New Yorkers say, it's how they say it, and where. I heard a man in deep conversation with his therapist on his cell phone in the middle of Times Square, and a woman on the metro discussing her orgasms in a way that would make most Tube travellers blush. And what's great is that nobody bats an eyelid. They're all too busy tawking.
This is why story slams hosted by The Moth are such a good find. They let New Yorkers do what they do best: tell their stories publicly, loudly and competitively. They happen on an open-mic basis every two weeks in venues around town - I saw mine at the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe in the Lower East Side. Each event has a theme and stories are judged by a panel, with winners going on to compete on one of the twice yearly Grand Slams.
The Moth draw on a diverse pool of talent to host the events - actors, authors, former presidential speech writers - and the storytellers themselves are razor sharp. As a night out it's funny, sad, brash, gentle and totally unscripted.
The Moth organisation has a wider purpose of running outreach programmes for marginalised people in New York City. Through workshops they encourage participants to shape their life experiences into well-crafted stories, which are then performed on stage. Their website states that part of their mission is to "satisfy our vital need for connection by celebrating the diversity and commonality of human experience". I guess the same could be said for New York City itself.
You can find out more about The Moth at www.themoth.org/
A perfect place for Sunday morning brunch, tucked away in the East Village. You have to get there (preferably armed with your copy of Sunday's NY Times) before it opens at 10am, as it's small and gets incredibly busy - and rightly so. The menu is a collection of brunch classics with a twist ... and, because you're on holiday, there are nine different bloody mary's to choose from. I had something that involved spicy chick peas and a poached egg. I think it was probably the best breakfast I've ever had, but the combination of jet-lag, a bloody mary and managing to bag a table right in the window put me in such a state of euphoria that a Little Chef fry up would have tasted wonderful.
54 E 1st St, New York 10003 Btwn 1st & 2nd Ave; Tel: 212-677-6221
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