On one glorious day, I ate and walked my way through The City’s neighborhoods, checking out what’s new and where to eat. This itinerary may not be for first timers – no Statue of Liberty or Metropolitan Museum visits. There is plenty of eating, however. Staying longer? I have more ideas on where to eat in New York.
Walk. Eat. Repeat.
Up first, a piece of Anthony Bourdain’s New York
After coffee at the Kimberly Hotel’s rooftop restaurant (super-cute!), I walked five crosstown blocks along 50th to Urban Hawker. Before his untimely passing, Jersey boy Anthony Bourdain (he is from Leonia) inspired the idea of a food hall in New York dedicated to the foods of Singapore/ South Asia. Bourdain’s dream came true in autumn of 2022. You can get Singapore style coffee and tea; Indian, Malay, Peranakan, and Hainanese cuisine — you name it and the dish hails from the region, it is probably here. I honored my fellow Jersey-bred food enthusiast by eating a big bowl of slurpy, spicy nyonya laksa (curry noodles) at Daisy’s Dream.
Rockefeller Center is a half block from Urban Hawker and I considered checking out the new Top of the Rock Observation Deck – nah, the line was too long. I had more eating to do, anyway. I headed down 6th Ave, one of my favorite stretches of sidewalk in Manhattan, towards Grand Central at E 45th and Park Ave.
From Grand Central to the Seaport
Grand Central was restored in 1998, revealing the stunning ceiling and removing previous structures that impeded the station’s natural light. I love it here. I hadn’t been to Grand Central Market in years and, after a hot minute wandering around the Dining Concourse, lost like the tourist I was, spent a happy hour perusing the many stalls, including Bien Cuit, Zabar’s and Murray’s Cheese.
Back on Park Avenue, I kept heading south, stopping for a lunch of duck lettuce wraps under the bounteous cherry blossoms at the bar at Wagamama (5th and 26th). I’m pretty sure I was the only out-of-towner there – the place was packed with people from nearby offices on lunch break. Onwards I went to South Street Seaport (Front and John St.) to see the transformation of Fulton Fish Market at the Tin Building, where chef Jean-George Vongerichten’s culinary dream of a food hall opened in summer of 2022.
At the Seaport’s Tin Building
Once inside, head up a level to the wide bar that serves as both Fulton Fish Co’s full-service restaurant (menu) and as living memory to the fish company’s former home. The raw bar is worth sitting down for but the plentiful seafood options include a shrimp burger and tinned Portuguese sardines. The building’s open floor plan means retail shops, carrying everything from high end chocolate to quick ramen preparations, open onto the central hallway/walkway. Nine restaurants, including six for sit down dining, three fast-casual concepts and a coffee shop, serve up everything from sushi and breakfast sandwiches to plant-based fare and tacos. It’s nice in here, maybe a little too nice, but I enjoyed a crepe as a late afternoon snack.
I wandered back to the cobbled streets of the Seaport, to the wall of the Seaport Museum. Running along it and adjoining buildings is a line that shows the high water mark the city endured during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It is shockingly high – over my head! The neighborhood’s recovery from that storm feels thorough and energizing, a reminder of the walkable streets of old New York. Recovery from Covid is still a work in progress, though – there should have been far more people walking around the area with me. I stopped for a coffee at Cafe Patoro to not only refresh my energy with a dirty chai latte for the walk uptown but to chat with the locals about the neighborhood. It’s busier on weekends, I was told.
The Bowery and SoHo
The Bowery was my next destination – I was meeting my brother for a drink at 310 Bowery Bar (yes, it is as crowded as it looks on their website). A Suntory Toki Situationship cocktail hit all my happy notes with Aperol and lime and just enough passion fruit liqueur to take the edge off the whiskey’s bite. We chose the bar for its proximity to chef Marc Forgione’s rustic Italian restaurant, Peasant, just across Houston Street in SoHo. The child of Larry – the chef who put River Café on the map and is known for his work at An American Place – Marc is a nepo baby (if there is such a thing in cheffing), and you can see the culinary thread of his heritage pulled through in his cooking.
A huge, wood-fed hearth adds warmth and, dare I say brightness, to a dim but cozy room and is the source of much of the menu’s flavor. Wood roasted oysters are dressed with melted bone marrow, steak tartare arrives with a pouf of pizza dough pastry, a toasty cap under which rests the meat and a singular lettuce leaf. A smaller menu clipped to the larger menu advertises the day’s veg, as well as meatier proteins, cooked on the hearth. These somewhat larger platters are ideal for sharing – we chose the suckling pig, the brussels sprouts and the squash.
It was a hearty, wintry meal well-suited for a cool fall evening and a great way to wrap up a food-fueled day in New York City.