This weekend I was sitting on Mandy Moore's couch giving a makeover to Yvonne Lehead when I got a text from Sara Nips (there are so many sexy things about that sentence). The entire Nip Clique has been super excited for her upcoming Vegas honeymoon because let's be honest, The Hangover has nothing on our more-than-slight homoeroticism.
Even though we're spread (haha. "Spread") all over the country, with two of us on other continents, most of us are East Coast based, so imagine, if you're not too afraid, the reaction that Mandy and I had when Nips shot me a sext announcing that Andy was thinking of changing their honeymoon destination to my hometown of New York City.
After we had finished "Squee-ing" and cavorting around in heterosexual matrimony, Mandy and I pulled ourselves together and concocted a plan to get Nips over to our side of the flag. Apparently she didn't need that much convincing because her next message was a request for a list of fun stuff to do in New York to help sway Andy over to the Dark Side (join us! We have roofies).
I of course immediately agreed to this because A) making lists and spreadsheets and color coding shit is like having sex to me and B) anything that lures Sara Nips into my
I sent her like a three-page email of the REAL New York City, color coded by section with links to the most important food, music, bars and classic sights. Apparently this made her day because not only did Nips forward this to all our friends, but posted quotes from the email on Facebook. Later I was told that my "real" NYC guidebook was hilarious, so for all of you who are planing a trip here, I decided to help you out and post it for you.
So here's how to do New York City on a bargain, the RIGHT way, without coming across as a desperate tourist or angry foreigner. Frommers, you are officially my bitch.
My email to Sara Nips is below:
Yay! You're coming to NY! (Please???)
Anyway, it was a total mistake to ask me to email you fun stuff to do because this is now a project for me. I'm color coding and organizing this shit.
PS- I didn't even have to look this stuff up. I JUST KNEW. OH HAAAAI.
PART 1: FOOD
I understand that since you guys are coming from Louisiana I have a lot to live up to, but NYC has some of the most amazing food in the world.
Before you attempt New York pizza eating, I must teach you the art:
1) It must be thin crust- none of this deep dish bullshit. Seriously, what the hell is that?
2) It must be a little heavier on the cheese- just enough to be heavy, yet not "extra."
3) Toppings are not acceptable. The only ones that are are extra sauce, extra cheese, and pepperoni, since at this point it's considered a classic.
4) It must be extra drippy with the oil (I call this "Joker Mouth").
|Why so delicious???|
Now that you've got that down, here are the best pizza places in the City. Basically anywhere you go for pizza in New York is going to be better than 90% of the country, but these are the standouts:
Ray's- There's only one ORIGINAL original, and it's on West 11th and Sixth Avenue. All other Ray's are cheap imitations. This is not only the greatest pizza, but the greatest food you will ever eat in your life. I took Rish and Nicole here, and they nicknamed it "sex pizza."
Rosario's- God, this pizza is amazing. The best part is is that this is right across from Arlene's Grocery so I constantly eat this before work.
I HEAR YOU JUDGING ME!
2 Bro's- These are all over Manhattan- I think there are like six of them. It's really good, and one slice is only 99 cents. Two slices and a drink are $2.75. Oh yeah.
You guys might also like Two Boots- it's cajun-style. There's one in Grand Central, although I wouldn't recommend buying any food there, since the prices are basically as much as your plane tickets, one in each of the "Villages," and one in Hell's Kitchen.
New York City has different food groups than the rest of us: pizza, bagels, hot dogs and pretzels. The best bagels in the City are at Tal Bagels- there are a bunch of them, but the one you want is on 86th and 1st. In the winter they warm them up for you.
There are two kinds of famous hot dogs in NYC- Gray's Papaya (although the fries aren't that great) and Sabrett's, which are the original "dirty water dogs" that everyone and their cat knows about. Bonus- most Gray's are open 24 HOURS.
Pretzels can be found at every single corner in Manhattan, and they're usually huge.
Secondary food groups:
Garlic Knots: The best garlic knots are at this place that I can't remember the name of on Houston, but they are mouth-watering.
Black and White Cookies: These taste like cake, and they are fucking delicious. The best ones are at Russian bakeries in Canarsie in Brooklyn. In fact, just let me buy these for you. I know what's up.
Falafel: just walk around and you'll find falafel carts.
Cheesecake: New York City cheesecake is like a new religion. The best one is just straight up plain, and it can be found at Junior's at 1515 Broadway. The original is at Flatbush and DeKalb in Brooklyn.
PS- DO NOT go to Lindy's for your cheesecake. They may be famous, but they cost WAY too much money and the cake tastes lemony. FAIL.
Most restaurants in New York are ridiculously overpriced and you'll hate yourself for spending so much money, but I'll recommend some anyway, because hey, they don't cost nearly as much as your wedding right? Right? Oy.
The best deli of all time is Katz's Deli in the East Village. The sandwiches cost eleventy million dollars and they only take cash, but GOOD GOD are they ridiculous. Also take a picture of yourselves standing under the Katz's Deli sign because you have to.
Magniolia Bakery is actually really cheap and just check out the shit they have. If they delivered I would never leave the house, honestly. There are a whole bunch of them but I like the one on 59th Street right by the subway best.
Cafeteria- This is open 24 hours a day and is set up to look like a high school lunchroom (um, hence the clever name). The macaroni and cheese at this place should be illegal. If someone told me it had crack in it, I'd be like, "Yup. Makes sense." It's on 17th and 7th Avenue.
FYI- All I did was type "Cafeteria" into Google and the restaurant came up. YOU DON'T KNOW MY LIFE!!!
PS- the waiters are REALLY cute but also totally gay, so everyone wins. They also have melty chocolate cake, so say goodbye to my thighs.
Eatery- I always get the Watermelon Martini and the Mac and Cheese. Also, once my friend had to be lookout while two people we didn't know totally boned in the bathroom. Good times. It's in Midtown on 9th Avenue.
If you want Chinese food, I like Pig Heaven. It's somewhere in the low 80's on 2nd Avenue. All the chicken dishes are excellent.
If you want something cheaper, you could go for Ollie's. It's sort of Chinese fast food, but still pretty decent. The best one is in the 60's near Lincoln Center.
PART 2: MUSIC
My favorite part! Depending on when you come, I may have a whole bunch of shows going on, so I'll be able to treat you guys to to some free live music (I hope you don't expect to pay for any events that I might be hosting while you're out here, because that's adorable). I have a tour coming through in October, and there's also a huge indie music festival called CMJ that covers every music venue in Manhattan. Anyway, here are some awesome venues I can take you to:
The Continental (check out their drink prices)
Brooklyn Bowl (A bowling alley that also has INSANE fried chicken)
Sorry, I'll stop.
PART 3: BARS/CLUBS
I'm not a big fan of clubs AT ALL. I'm too impatient and too broke to stand in line for half an hour to spend 20 dollars on drinks. However, if you must, the ones on 27th/28th street are somewhat decent.
Le Souk at LaGuardia Place is kind of fun on Sundays and Mondays, too.
Bars are better. There are a ton all over the city that you can just walk into just from being out on the street. Actually, I should hook you up with my friend who guest bartends and he can send you a whole list of shit.
There are some I can definitely recommend, though:
Lansdowne Road is pretty cool. It's a sports bar in Hells Kitchen (10th Avenue) and it's around a whole bunch of cool stuff.
The Gael Pub has trivia night every Tuesday. Nerdy guys are hot. Oh, wait- you'll be married by then. But I won't be! It's on 83rd and Third Ave.
Pravda is super expensive but the martinis are amazing. It's near the Meatpacking District, near some other wallet-raping places, where you can make fun of the sorority skanks that fall all over each other like baby deer because they haven't figured out how to drink yet.
PART 4: STAPLES
You have to go to Times Square. Stay away from the chain restaurants and stores because they're stupidly overpriced and you can probably get them in Louisiana, but just walk through it once so you can say that you did.
You SHOULD check out:
You SHOULD check out:
The Wax Museum (which I will not go into with you because I'm afraid of it)
Ripley's Believe It Or Not
Sephora (it's HUGE. I can never just walk away.)
Ripley's Believe It Or Not
Sephora (it's HUGE. I can never just walk away.)
All the cheap-ass souvenir stores
Also go to 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue just so you can say that you were there. Don't buy anything because they fuck you hard and don't even make you a sandwich afterwards or tell you you're pretty.
The gigantic FAO Schwarz has a big clock (I said CLOCK!!!) that sings and is kind of creepy, but is totally awesome anyway. It's on 58th street and 6th Avenue. It's the one from the movie Big where they're dancing on the piano.
Go to Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. Also, if you feel you must, go to CitiField where my beloved Mets play. The 7 train is the only train that goes to Citifield from Manhattan because no one else cares about the Mets, sadly. The Yankees Clubhouse store is in Times Square, on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Ave.
Go to the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty, of course.
Get a Metrocard and ride the subway.
St. Mark's is the best street in New York City. It's on the Lower East Side (8th Street from 3rd Ave to Avenue A) and has awesome record stores, St. Mark's Hotel and St. Mark's Comics. I can't even mention everything cool that ever happened here, so just look at the Wiki page and judge for yourself. PS- I also took Nicole here and we found wings at 3am. WINGS! AT 3 AM!
Go to Grand Central during rush hour and laugh at the butt-pucker.
PART 5: CHEAP SHIT/BARGAINS
The NY Pass is really cheap- about 60 bucks- and it gets you into a bunch of the main NYC attractions (Times Square, Statue of Liberty, etc). No strip clubs, though, sorry. :(
20at20 is where you can sign up for certain Off-Broadway plays for only 20 bucks. It's not going on right now but it may come back in the Fall. I saw like, 11 of them a few years ago.
Walking- seriously- I walk EVERYWHERE in New York. It's the best way to see stuff and you meet the most insane people. Plus your legs will look fucking fantastic. Here's a site to get you started, but you also have Central Park, Bryant Park (where the Project Runway fashion show is), Washington Square Park in the West Village (the "Dog Park!" It's adorable!) and multiple other walking paths.
All those food carts that I mentioned above. Seriously some of the biggest excitement ever to enter your mouth. Sorry, Andy. <3
PART 6: SHOPPING
Basically, walk into whatever store you want, but here are my favorites:
Kim's Video and Music- seriously the best and most eclectic music store ever. They have everything from Blu-Ray to vinyl, and they always have in-store performances. I'm there at least twice a month. They're on 1st and 1st in the East Village (my favorite area of NYC. I'm moving there.)
Bleecker Bob's- Another awesome record store, this time in the West Village on 3rd Street. They always have cool shit for a bargain, and on weekends they're open until 3am.
STRAND- This a famous bookstore in Union Square, with a Kiosk in Central Park. They sell rare and used books, too, and CD's and DVD's. If you stop in, be sure to get a STRAND tote bag to post on Tits' wall so she gets jealous.
Forbidden Planet- one of the most famous comic book stores in the history of comics. The New York store is the only FP store that's not in the UK, and it's located in Union Square right near the subway. It has everything- comics, toys, action figures, graphic novels, trading cards, apparel, event notices- I have literally spent hours in this place. I also DO NOT in any way have a picture of the storefront as the home screen on my phone. And by DO NOT, I mean I am totally lying.
Midtown Comics- second only to Forbidden Planet. There are three locations- one is literally right across from Grand Central, on 40th street, one is in Times Square, and one is downtown, on Fulton. Although that kind of defeats the purpose of the "Midtown" part, but OK.
Sunshine Cinema- not really "shopping," but they show cool, "new classics" on weekends at midnight. Recent stellar choices include Rocky Horror, Back to the Future and the MUPPET MOVIE! More convincing: My ex took me here on our first date and I immediately gave him sexytimes. BAM! FTW. It's on Houston (pronounced like the TV show, not like the TX city).
Jack's 99 cent Store- Like Walmart for even bigger cheap-asses. It has everything, including Halloween costumes. There are two- one across from Bryant Park and one on 32nd and Madison.
Ricky's- this is basically the Starbucks of NYC costume cosmetics stores since there's one every five steps. They have a lot of weird, colorful shit like wigs, glitter makeup, dirty magnets and basically whatever else you can think of that you don't want to display on the fridge when grandma comes over.
Or do you???
Whole Foods- I fucking love whole foods. I'm pretty sure they have my picture up in corporate to warn the employees as to when I come in. The art to shopping here is to ask to "try" stuff and then keep coming back to "try" stuff again.
Anyway, there's a gigantic one on Houston Street that is THREE STORIES complete with a bakery and beauty section. I'm not allowed in there without adult supervision. I've been told my O Face comes out.
Toys in Babeland- EXACTLY what you think it is. (You're welcome, Andy)
So that was it- my bible of shit to do while you stay in New York. If anyone ever needs a tour guide, feel free to hit me up. I accept Visa, AmEx and Mastercard. But not Discover, that little ginger bastard.