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Old 07-20-2013, 09:03 AM
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Go here and drink sake. Your friends probably don't even know about it. You're welcome.

Sake Bar Decibel, New York
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:11 PM
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Ok if you are into architecture, honestly Chicago's Gold Coast and the Loop will look better than NYC. Our beautiful skyscrapers tend to compete with newer ones and some bland Trump-like crap. So get the Blue Guide to New York City for arts, buildings, and a good overview of the most popular areas of the city. Also check the Not For Tourist Guide for NYC, there you will get a better idea of the areas outside of Manhattan though even they will be the trendy one or becoming hip.

Here are a few walking tours for Queens and Manhattan, hopefully Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Bronx folk can fill you in on other parts:

Manhattan: Midtown/Central Park South
Take the train 57th Street and walk from 57th and 9th to 5th Ave. You will see some beautiful buildings (The Grace Building, the Steinway Hall - peek in for opulence and pretend you are interested in getting a piano), some nice stores such as Rizzolli bookstore, and then around 6th Ave walk north to Central Park South to the Ritz Hotel and the area where everyone grabs a horse and carriage to ride through Central Park.

Manhattan: Chelsea/West Village Piers/Washington Square Park
Take the E to 23rd Street and walk to the Hudson River. Walk along the Highline and then grab a quick meal along the way. Walk further along the West Village piers to Christopher Street. If you brought a blanket and have some extra money get an ice at the vendors and chill on the grass and watch the ships gp by on the Hudson. Then walk up Christopher and turn right on Bleeker. At Bleeker and Cornelia make a turn onto Cornelia and get a drink (the place isn't cheap but great food and beverages) or stay on Bleeker and walk ONTO 6th Ave (you will see Father Demo Square as your landmark) and toward the basketball courts to see some great street basketball. Walk east to Washington Square Park - at night when they illuminate the fountain is best, then go back and swing onto MacDougal. Head south and grab a great slice at Ben's or splurge on sweets at Café Reggio. For an affordable meal, silent films and chalkboard tables go to the Olive Tree Café, as you head further down there are tons of other affordable options. At this point take a cab to W4th Street station if you are pooped.
Allow a whole afternoon early eve for this.

Manhattan: Washington Heights
Head up to 168th Street and walk north to about 175th. Grab Dominican food at Malecon. Take a look over to the east at a beautiful old building converted to a huge gospel church - you could catch a service on Sundays at 11 and eat at Malecon after the service. Check for a mural on Wadsworth Street and about 174 or so called "Know Your Rights" awesome bit of street mural art.

Manhattan: Cloisters/Inwood Hill Park
The Cloisters is a Medieval Museum in a recreated castle featuring artworks from Medieval and early Renaissance period. Go early - before 1 pm. Afterward, eat at the museum or bring a snack and then walk your way along the river for great views of the Hudson River and green shores of the Palisades in Jersey.

Manhattan: Lower East Side/East Village
Go there for hip nightclubbing and see some of the old tenements now spruced up with some restaurants - a lot of young people go here. Main hub Delancey street. In East Village, if you are into film Anthology Film Archives or on its border Angelika are great options. The corridors for partying are 2nd Ave which is college kids or 20 somethings and a bit White. For a cheap bar that though gay is quite straight friendly the Boiler Room on 4th Street off 2nd Ave is inexpensive and has a great jukebox.

Queens/Brooklyn/Manhattan - Too exhaustive to list but there are many fine rooftop bars and beer gardens. From a little pricey 125 Park in the Flatiron district to Bohemian Hall Beer Garden Czech Beer and Food and occasional bands. Also I am not familiar with the current dance clubs and band venues. Webster Hall in Manhattan is legendary but for cheaper check Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Manhattan. In Queens bars may feature some cool bands not well known but worth checking out - my fave is Bad Bucka, Bulgarian punk/rock/eastern european folk mix. The Rover in Astoria also sometimes features popular Celtic/Irish bands time from time.

Queens: Astoria/LIC
23rd Ave off the Ditmars stop in Astoria. Try Telly's Taverna and then walk to Astoria Park to see the huge pool and two bridges around sunset. For more modern Greek food try Agnanti. On Broadway in Astoria for a more hip bar/restaurant that serves mead, kombucha, and interesting main meals, Queens Kickshaw. If for outdoor cafes and Irish Bars try 30th Ave between 30th Street all the way to 44th. If you love hookah bars, go to the Middle Eastern section Steinway Ave from 28th Ave to Astoria Blvd. If you like street murals (which are always threatened with extinction) try Welling Court Murals off Vernon near Socrates Beach in Astoria/LIC (it is by the Astoria Projects in Hallets Point area of Astoria).

Further south is LIC with a great theater venue hidden among old industrial buildings and TV /recording studios - Secret Theater. For drinking the areas off Vernon Jackson/Courthouse Square/ and a little less Queens Plaza have many options.

Queens: Jackson Heights
Just for sheer information overload and taking a mini-trip out of the US US, walk along Roosevelt Ave at 11:30 pm from 74th Ave to 84th. Good dining options abound but offhand the ones I like are off Roosevelt to the north. Also nice if you come late afternoon to check the historic district with beautiful apartment buildings, try one of the numerous Indian restaurants, before taking in the huge Columbian/Central and South American mélange that is Roosevelt Ave.

Queens: Jamaica Ave
The area from the train station about a dozen blocks out has an example of working class/middle class shopping for the African American Caribbean-American community. You will see guys selling African art and trinkets and tons of clothing stores and mom and pop shops. My co-worker from Texas liked it very much because the shopping was quite different from anything else she has seen. There is a good food court off Jamaica Ave. If you are a big history buff the Revolutionary War site of Rufus King House is nearby and worth a visit if in Jamaica.

Queens: Forest Hills - Austin Street and train station
Compact place to eat , drink, and shop with a Barnes and Noble bookstore in the Austin Street area near the 71st/Continental stop. The best part is going to one of the restaurants bars overlooking the plaza near Long Island Railroad Station. Wander down to see the Forest Hill Gardens mansions with a strong Tudor influence. Some of those homes could be on the set of a Harry Potter film.

As for my very hidden places - Mad Donkey on 36th Ave in Astoria is one of the friendliest dive bar with peanut shells on the floor, good bar food, and drink specials. Get there before 7 so you have Paddy as your bartender. Then on 35th Ave check out the small but beautiful daily flickering of rainbow lights over the columns of the portico at Kauffman Astoria studios where many films and shows are filmed (Sesame Street to Nurse Jackie) before going to Mars on 34th Ave to have oysters and beer or just beer and relish the eccentric take on speakeasy style and playlist of jazz and old fashioned blues. If you need your art fix hit the Museum of Moving Image on 35th before Mad Donkey and Mars. Take a cab home or walk to the Steinway street subway stop.

PS. There is only one dance club for 20 somethings in LIC that is beautifully done - the owner let me see while I was doing a photography walk - Purlieu on 36th Ave. Rococco inspired design and ceiling murals on the entranceway to the main dance/longue area. May or may not be your cup of tea. If into beer gardens in this area Studio Square is big airy place worth visiting if you have time.

Last edited by astroia 34567; 07-20-2013 at 08:51 PM..
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by FrankInPhilly View Post
Guidebooks - let's call them "guides" so we can include websites - vary greatly in quality. They're a good starting point, but only a starting point.

Actually, that's why I specify guideBOOKS. Any moron can post advice on a website, but there has to be some level of accuracy to be published. And some lines, like Frommers, imply a good level of reliability, and have been around since long before the internet. Not to mention that it's condensed in a handy package where you can scribble notes.
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:28 PM
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Make sure you go to the boat house in central park and ride on those small boats around the lake, and then walk down on Fifth and Sixth ave. Visit Wall Street, Little Italy, Chinatown, Soho, Villages, Staten Island Ferry, etc.
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