WHERE TO EAT
Here are our picks for the most scrumptious places to fill your belly this summer.
For A Sweet Tooth
Best retro-style cakes you won’t have to stand in line for: Billy’s Bakery 184 9th Ave (btwn 21st & 22nd Sts), billysbakerynyc.com. For people who aren’t afraid of refined sugar and butter, Billy’s Bakery makes picture-perfect desserts almost too pretty to eat.
Best sweet spot for your “allergic to everything” girlfriend:Babycakes NYC 248 Broome St (btwn Orchard & Ludlow Sts), babycakesnyc.com. Tell her you spent hours trying to find the perfect dessert spot for gluten free yummies; we won’t tell!
Best earth-friendly bakery for organic sustainable muffin needs: Birdbath 145 7th Ave South (@ Charles St), birdbathbakery.com. They deliver their goods from City Bakery to Birdbath locations via bike! Their shelves are built out of recycled paper! Pop your head in just to give them a thumbs up.
Best luxury chocolate shop: Jacques Torres Chocolate 350 Hudson (@ King St), mrchocolate.com. Hershey’s it is not, and you can’t go wrong with a box of their signature “Champagne Kisses” made with Taittinger Rose Champagne.
Best old-fashioned gelato and zeppolies: Ferrara’s 195 Grand St (btwn Mulberry & Mott Sts), ferraracafe.com. Ferrara’s is like going home (even if you’re not Italian). It’s been here since 1892 (what?!) and is lauded as America’s first espresso bar. Sit inside, or order out and devour your goods as you enjoy what remains of Little Italy.
For a Pride hangover
Best “hair of the dog that bit you” brunch: Nolita House 47 E Houston St 2nd Fl (@ Mulberry St), nolitahouse.com. Weekends, 10:30am–4pm, their “Boozy Bluegrass Brunch” delivers rousing music and delicious fare (brioche french toast soaked in vanilla bourbon custard, anyone?) at surprisingly affordable prices for the location.
Best fancy pants brunch: Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien 118 W 57th St (btwn 6th & 7th), normasnyc.com. Whether you order the “Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata” ($100–1,000) or slum it with the “Caramelized Chocolate Banana Waffle Napoleon,” ($22) you will never forget this brunch. Nor will your wallet.
Best soul food brunch: Amy Ruth’s 113 W 116th St (btwn Lenox & 7th Aves), amyruthsharlem.com. While good for any meal, Amy Ruth’s waffle menu makes it a premier destination for breakfast. The “Rev Al Sharpton” (chicken and waffles) or the “Dougie Fresh” (waffles with fried whiting) are fun to order, and more fun to eat.
For A Snack Attack
Best dripping-with-goodness slice: Artichoke 328 E 14th St (btwn 1st & 2nd Aves), artichokepizza.com. You will probably only be able to manage one slice (they’re huge) so choose wisely from the menu of four heavenly options. The artichoke signature slice may leave you feeling
Best Thin-crust Pizza: Grimaldi’s 19 Old Fulton St, Brooklyn, grimaldis.com. Ok, so waiting in line diminishes the flavor of any meal, but Grimaldi’s is superb if you can manage to get there at off-peak hours. Tip: Get take-out and enjoy a picnic at Brooklyn Bridge Park (brooklynbridgepark.com).
Best french fries in a cone: Pommes Frites 123 2nd Ave (btwn St Marks & 7th St), pommesfrites.ws. We’ve spent years trying to find the perfect sauce combo to go with these fries (they have over 20 varieties). Try mixing the sweet mango chutney with the sweet chili, or parmesan peppercorn with ketchup, we dare you!
Best burgers, hands down: Shake Shack Madison Square Park (btwn Madison Ave & 23rd St), shakeshacknyc.com. It’s not just that the burgers are crazy good or that you can check the length of the line (oh yes, there will be a line) on the web using their “Shack Cam.” It’s the veggie burger option of muenster and cheddar-filled deep-fried Portobello mushroom that knocks this place to #1.
Best burgers in the West Village: Corner Bistro 331 W 4th St (btwn 12th & Jane Sts), cornerbistro.ypguides.net. Not a place to sit and relax, this noisy and crowded West Village landmark will find you rubbing elbows with preppy dudes in collared shirts, but if you’re a burger lover, that probably won’t faze you.
Best veggie-friendly sandwiches: Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop 129 Rivington St (@ Norfolk St), tinysgiant.com. This sandwichery used to be so tiny you could barely fit three people in it. Now they’ve relocated to a spacious corner where you can actually sit and enjoy your “Spicy Rizzak” (turkey, bacon, melted cheddar, tomato, onion and Tiny’s hot chipotle mayo on a hero). Almost every sandwich is available vegetarian!
Best hot dog if your girlfriend’s starving and about to have a tantrum and you need to feed her immediately: Sabrett your local street corner, everywhere, sabrett.com. The ubiquitous Sabrett hot dog stands will deliver exactly what you expect, no frills, no surprises.
Best hot dog for seasoned New Yorkers who are hungry in the middle of the night: Grey’s Papaya 402 6th Ave (@ 8th St). While the dog itself is made by the parent company of Sabrett (see Sabrett listing), it’s really all about how it’s served. And Grey’s serves them 24 hours a day for just $1.25. The only thing that could improve that is a little mustard.
Best hot dog for those seeking a little “je ne sais quoi”: Crif Dogs 113 St Marks Pl (near Ave A). The perfect mix of trashy and gourmet, you can get a bacon-wrapped hot dog slathered in teriyaki sauce, or you can keep it simple with old standbys like sauerkraut and onions. Oh, and did we mention all dogs are deep fried for that perfect “snap”?
For Something Fast and Frugal
Best mix-and-match world cuisine: Rice 292 Elizabeth St (btwn Houston & Bleecker Sts) riceny.com. Rice is an earth-friendly eatery where you can make your own dish by combining any of their 10 different varieties of rice with entrees ranging from Thai coconut curry to warm lentil stew.
Best healthy meal wrapped in a gigantic gluten-free crepe: Hampton Chutney CO 68 Prince St (btwn Bway & Lafayette), hamptonchutney.com. Their Dosas (large sourdough rice crepes) are varieties of seasoned vegetables, cheese and meats. Pretty much everything caps off at about $10.
Best affordable noshing in Soho: SoHo Park 62 Prince St (@ Lafayette) , sohoparknyc.com. If shopping in Soho has emptied your wallet, a quick burger ($5.75/veg $6.75) here will make you feel thrifty again.
Best 24-hour diner, pierogi vendor and après downtown theater people-watching: Veselka 144 2nd Ave (@ 9th St), veselka.com. With an extensive menu of diner staples and Ukrainian specialties, you can’t go wrong. Check out their recession-friendly “Blue Plate Specials,” a square meal for $9.95.
Best arepas: Caracas Arepa Bar 93 E 7th St (btwn 1st Ave & Ave A), caracasarepabar.com. Arepas are doughy corn pancakes grilled or fried and then stuffed with deliciousness, priced from $5–8.
For A Guest Who Needs To Say They Went There
Best place to enjoy a Victorian Gothic/Rustic Baroque atmosphere: Tavern On The Green Central Park W & 67th St, tavernonthegreen.com. While you won’t hear anyone raving about the food, you can still enjoy the ambiance. Tip: go for cocktails before the dinner rush, and then dine somewhere more affordable.
Best place to see the Russian Tea Room: Russian Tea Room 150 W 57th St (btwn 6th & 7th Aves), russiantearoomnyc.com. It’s changed hands many times since opening in 1927. All that’s left is the décor, and that’s what you’ll be paying for.
Best place to be served by a Ninja: Ninja NY 25 Hudson St (btwn Duane & Reade Sts), ninjanewyork.com. If you have to go somewhere unique and memorable, let it be at the one restaurant where Ninja waiters serve Japanese food in a “castle.” Go for the theatre, stay for the grub.
Best NY “destination” spot for food that is actually good: Babbo 110 Waverly Pl (btwn McDougal St & 6th Ave), babbonyc.com. Mario Batali’s cooking speaks for itself.
Best brasserie that still gets seasoned New Yorkers excited: Balthazar 80 Spring St (btwn Crosby & Lafayette Sts) balthazarny.com. They fit a lot of tables into this authentic-tasting French eatery, but if you truly enjoy French food you’ll call it cozy, not cramped.
Best place for steak: Peter Luger Steak House 178 Broadway (@ Driggs Ave), Brooklyn, peterluger.com. Steak done well…or medium, or rare, it’s up to you.
For A Little Romance
Best lesbian Tapas bar/restaurant: Beast 638 Bergen (@ Vanderbilt Ave), Brooklyn , brooklynbeast.com. Ok, there’s no such thing as lesbian tapas, but seriously, the food at this lesbian-owned restaurant is consistently delicious and well priced. Thursday night is ladies’ night!
Best atmosphere for dates and parties: Superfine 126 Front St (@ Pearl), DUMBO, Brooklyn. Another delicious “family”-owned spot with a menu that changes daily depending on what’s fresh. Menu items do sell out before the night is through, so go early for best selection.
Best place for some bubbly: Bubble Lounge 228 W Bway (btwn N Moore & Franklin Sts), bubblelounge.com. An entire bar devoted to delicate hors d’oeuvres and champagne! And the décor of comfy lounge chairs and bubble-inspired lighting lend themselves to flirting.
Best swank five-course dinner: L’Ecole 462 Broadway (@ Grand St), frenchculinary.com. The restaurant of the French Culinary Institute, they have an extensive wine list, impeccable prix-fixe menu and, because it’s a school and your servers/chefs/bartenders are all students, the prices are amazing.
Where To Shop
You can find everything in NYC, you just need to know where to look. We’ve simplified the daunting task of finding the most unique, fun and hip shops to get that perfect New York-buy.
For Wearables and Things That Shine
UNIQUE HOT SPOTS:
Funky La La Boutique 422 E 9th St (btwn 1st Ave & Ave A), funkylala.com. If you are ready to get funky, this is the spot for independent designer items and “approachable luxury.”
Zachary’s Smile 9 Greenwich Ave (btwn Christopher & W10th Sts), zacharyssmile.com.
A high-end vintage shop with its own line of recycled/restructured clothing, this is the place for one-of-a-kind merch. Tip: hit the sale rack!
Patricia Fields 302 Bowery (near 1st St), patriciafield.com. If you ever wanted a rhinestone
covered, well, anything…this is where to go. Drag queens and Carrie Bradshaws welcome.
Rags-a-go-go 218 W 14th St (btwn 7th & 8th Aves). Affordable and fun, this lesbian-owned shop will supply all your boot, button-down and T-shirt needs. Go go!
The Sock Man 27 St Mark’s Pl (2nd & 3rd Aves), thesockman.com. If you are looking for that particular sock—you know, the one with rainbow frogs drinking margaritas—it’s here.
Eye Candy 329 Lafayette (btwn Houston & Bleecker Sts), eyecandystore.com. Full to the brim with vintage and contemporary hats, jewelry and purses, even the most persnickety femme will find a bauble here.
Rony Tennenbaum Jewelry online store, ronytennenbaum.com. Lovely and unique wedding rings with a focus on pieces for LGBT couples. Inspiring!
Pippin Vintage Jewelry 112 W 17th (btwn 6th & 7th Aves), pippinvintage.com. A treasure trove of vintage and estate jewelry at value-conscious prices, it’s like walking into your grandmother’s jewelry box!
Macy’s Herald Square (34th St & 7th Ave), macys.com. Where it all began: the parade, the
miracles, the wooden escalators! Tourists and New Yorkers shop the amazing sales side by side.
Tiffany’s 727 5th Ave (@ 57th St), tiffany.com. Take your cue from Holly Golightly and just window shop, or walk right in and buy a “Tiffany Key.”
Century 21 22 Cortlandt St (btwn Church & Broadway), c21stores.com. This gigantic discount department store draws killer crowds that justify their self-proclaimed tag line “fashion worth fighting for.”
Housing Works Bookstore Café 126 Crosby St (btwn Houston & Prince Sts), housingworks.org. It’s got a great selection of used books, a yummy café, a varnished “library” feel and all the money goes to support homeless people living with HIV/AIDS.
Pearl River Mart 477 Broadway (btwn Grand & Broome Sts), pearlriver.com. A giant indoor waterfall, lanterns of all sizes and toys that look like they’ve been in storage since the early ‘80s—this Chinese emporium has it all.
23rd Street Thrift Stores (Goodwill-220 E 23rd, City Opera Thrift-222 E 23rd, Housing Works 157 E 23rd). Most people don’t associate thrifting with the big city, but this is a thrift store gold mine of well organized, good quality vintage and thrift buys.
FOR BOOKS, GIFTS, TRAVEL ITEMS AND TATTOOS
Muji 455 Broadway (btwn Grand & Howard Sts), muji.com. It’s like Ikea, only for small, expensive things. Their travel-size containers are the best on the market.
Jonathan Adler 37 Greenwich Ave (@ Charles St), jonathanadler.com. Treat your host to something from here and you’ll be welcome back anytime. Gorgeous housewares from candles to curiosities.
Flight OO1 96 Greenwich Ave (btwn W 12th & W 13th Sts), flight001.com. For hip travel caddies or high end luggage, shop here and travel in style.
Brooklyn Industries 500 Hudson St (@ Christopher St), brooklynindustries.com. Designed in Brooklyn by Brooklynites, they carry sturdy bags and purses in eye-catching textiles and simple,
Crumpler 49 8th Ave (corner of Horatio St & 8th Ave), crumplerbags.com. Utilitarian (they have a bike-bag with storage for beer) and fun (you can customize your colors at the store), this is a great Australian import.
Strand Bookstore 828 Broadway (@ 12th St), strandbooks.com. Eighteen miles of new, used and rare books, plus their signature sexy totes.
Partners And Crime Mystery Booksellers 44 Greenwich Ave (at Charles St), crimepays.com. This independent specialty bookshop has thousands of mystery titles, and they host live mystery radio plays on first Saturdays behind a hidden bookcase. Password: Fun!
Bluestockings Bookstore 172 Allen St (btwn Stanton & Rivington Sts), bluestockings.com. A diamond in the rough since the LES turned hip and trendy, pay your feminist dues here and buy a book or a fair-trade coffee.
McNally Jackson Bookstore 52 Prince St (btwn Lafayette & Mulberry), mcnallyjackson.com. An
independent bookstore for very smart, very hip people. Barnes & Noble it’s not, thank goodness!
NY Adorned 47 2nd Ave (btwn 2nd & 3rd Sts), nyadorned.com. You met her yesterday and today you’re ready for matching tattoos? Get yourselves to NY Adorned for the top tattoo (and piercing/henna) artists in town.
FOR GETTING HOT AND BOTHERED
Pleasure Chest 156 7th Ave S (btwn Charles & Perry Sts), thepleasurechest.com. Thinking of wearing a “candy bra” to the parade? Or just looking for some new toys? This pleasure emporium has it all!
Eve’s Garden 119 W 57th St (btwn 6th & 7th Aves), evesgarden.com. If you aren’t ready to stride off the street into your nearest sex toy shop, Eve’s offers a discreet location and savvy staff to help you enhance your sexual experience.
Babeland 94 Rivington St (btwn Ludlow & Orchard Sts), babeland.com. Hip and inviting, they’ve been making sex more fun for everyone since 1993.
Agent Provocateur 133 Mercer St (@ Prince St), agentprovocateur.com. The lingerie selection here is the pinnacle of high-end hot.
Where To Play
Either you’ve arrived, or your guests have, and now you need to decide what to do. Whether you’ve got plenty of cash or are sightseeing on a dime, here are our top picks for playtime.
Outside and Free
Hudson River Park follows the length of the Hudson from Battery Park to the GW Bridge, hudsonriverpark.org. You could spend all day exploring this gorgeously landscaped riverside path with vendors, art installations, grassy fields and clean restrooms.
Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal/South Ferry, siferry.com. The cheapest cruise with the best view, you’ll be snapping pics amid yawning commuters.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Row & Centre St. The most inspiring bridge needs to be experienced first-hand. Bring a bottle of water and wear comfy shoes; it’s long!
Brooklyn Bridge Park 1 Main St, Brooklyn, brooklynbridgepark.com. This soon-to-be-85-acre park
provides stunning views of lower Manhattan as well as concerts and free outdoor movies.
Coney Island 1208 Surf Ave (@ W 12th St), coneyisland.com. The perfect day-trip where you can catch the Circus Sideshow, ride the Cyclone and get sand in your cotton candy.
Shakespeare In The Park Central Park @ 81st St, publictheater.org. From June 10 to July 12, catch the Bard’s gender-bending comedy, Twelfth Night, for free. Pick up tickets beginning at 1pm at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park or online.
Lesbian Basketball on Fridays E 10th St (btwn Aves A & B). On most Fridays in the summer you can find local girls playing ball here. Drop by for a pick-up game or just to drool.
Outside and a Great Value
South St Seaport Museum Schooner Ride 212-748-8786, southstreetseaportmuseum.org. Sail aboard the Schooner “Pioneer” at 3pm or 7pm Tues–Fri or 1pm, 4pm and 7pm on Sat and Sun.
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens 1000 Washington Ave, bbg.org. Stunningly manicured gardens that vary from traditional Japanese to Native Flora. There’s a great café, too.
The Cloisters 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, metmuseum.org/cloisters. Way up in Fort Tryon Park (A train to 190th) there is a gem of a museum housing art and architecture of medieval Europe. Half indoors, half outdoors, the cloistered gardens are a city escape.
NY Water Taxi/ Taxi Beach nywatertaxi.com. These yellow boats are a great way to get from A to B and sight see. Take the water taxi from East 34th St or Wall St (pier 11) to a man-made beach complete with volleyball net, bar and sand!
Bike and Roll Bike Rental 557 12th Ave (@ 43rd St), bikeandroll.com. Rent matching bikes at any of their from locations and discover the best way to see the city. It’s a great way to see Hudson River Park.
Central Park Boating East Side of Park (btwn 74th & 75th Sts), centralpark.com. Pick up your boat at the Loeb Boathouse and drift back in time while showing off your rowing skills.
Liberty Island See website for directions, nps.gov/stli. Pay your respects to the graceful green lady with a torch. She’s mighty impressive up close.
Empire State Building 350 5th Ave, esbnyc.com. Ok, you have to go inside to get outside, but we still consider this an outdoor activity. It is worth the wait, but if you want to be whisked to the front, cough up $41.52 for an Express Pass ticket.
Discount Broadway Tickets At TKTS Father Duffy Sq (@ Bway & 47th St). Get same day tickets to hot Broadway and off-Broadway shows at up to 50% off.
The Museum Of The City Of New York 1220 5th Ave (@ 103rd St), mcny.org. You love NY, now learn all about how it came to be such a wonderful place.
NY Liberty/ WNBA at Madison Square Garden wnba.com/liberty. Watch our home team play against Indiana on June 26 at 7:30pm. More game dates on the web.
Museum Of Sex 233 5th Ave (@ 27th St), museumofsex.com. A stimulating museum both intellectually and, um, otherwise.
Studio Museum Of Harlem 114 W 125th St (btwn Lenox & 7th Aves), studiomuseum.org. A nexus for black artists locally, nationally and internationally.
Transit Museum Corner of Boerum Pl & Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, mta.info/mta/museum. At the only museum that lives in an inactive subway station, you can meander through subway cars from the ‘20s through the ‘60s (complete with old advertisements) and learn about who built all
Lower East Side Tenement Museum 108 Orchard St (btwn Delancey & Broome Sts), tenement.org. A living museum that can only be experienced by choosing one of their numerous guided tours.
Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 5th Ave (@ 82nd St), metmuseum.org. Our favorite spot is the tea garden upstairs. Take a day and find yours.
PS 1 22-25 Jackson Ave (@ 46th Ave), Queens, ps1.org. Contemporary, experimental art on display inside and out—a great reason to go to Queens.
MoMA NY 11 W 53rd St (btwn 5th & 6th Ave), moma.org. Get your modern art fix here and maybe catch a film you’d never see at your local movie theater.
Lesbian Herstory Archives 484 14th St, Brooklyn, 718-768-DYKE, lesbianherstoryarchives.org. In their words, “If a lesbian did it, we collect it.” Call ahead or check the website for hours before dropping in.
for tourists: nyc.visit.com
for locals: notfortourists.com/newyork
for pet owners: hopevet.com/amcny.com
for parties and pride events: gomag.com
for subway riders: mta.info, hopstop.com
for jersey girls: panynj.com, njtransit.com
for car renters: thrifty.com
for lgbt athletes: oobnyc.org
for bike riders: transalt.org
for aspiring do-gooders: gaycenter.org