Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Best of New York

I just got back from the NYIGF. It was a great time. I love New York, even in the slush.

The show was very interesting this year. There was a new baby section, a new location for the licensing gallery, a new "power isle" of the biggest publishers and greeting cards companies, and a fire. Oh yes, flames that touched the ceiling. It only took out one and half booths and it was after hours but the thought is pretty scary.

I meet people all the time who have never been to New York City (even in Rhode Island). And I tell them they must go immediately. But I was thinking, "what is it that I love about New York and would someone visiting for the first time have the same wonderful experience I always do?" I don't think they would. If you went for the first time you'd probably walk through Central Park and Times Square, visit the Empire State Building, take a boat to the Statue of Liberty, shop at Macy's or Saks, and check out the Met. Those things are all fantastic but it's the little things that make New York so special.Link
No matter what you are into you will find a store, restaurant, or museum that specializes in it. The trick is doing research ahead of time and creating the perfect itinerary for you.

Here are some of my favorite places in no particular order.


Franchia - Vegan Asian Fusion - Their menu is hilarious it reads something like this "Duck" Bibimbap, Curry Soy "Chicken", Spicy "Tuna" Roll... The dessert is the best part. Lactose free cheesecake = yummm!!

Photo from "this dish is Veg"
ABC Kitchen - Local Organic restaurant by Jean-Georges Vongerichten - This place is unbelievably delicious. The food was really fresh and flavorful. My homemade ginger soda was so refreshing. Go here! Then go shopping at ABC Carpet and Home.ABC Carpet & Home restaurant
Photo from New York Magazine and ABC Carpet and Home

Angelos - My favorite Italian Restaurant (sorry Federal Hill) - This place is not to be missed. I always order the same thing, Pappardelle Campagnole - Homemade Pasta with Wild Mushrooms, Garlic, and Tomato. If you are lactose intolerant order it without the butter.

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Ruby Foo's - Pan Asian Restaurant - My favorite place to eat in Times Square. They have some really fun sushi rolls. Try the Sushi Taco Trio Roll. It's a roll in a rice taco. So yummy!
Photo: Phil Kline via

Fig and Olive - Riviera and Coastal cuisine - They have a huge selection of Crostini. I highly recommend the Northern Italian Mushroom and Truffle soup. It's lactose free!
Fig & Olive
Photo: Fig and Olive

Cocoa V - Vegan chocolates - Buy the truffles, they are amazing!
Image 1
Photo from Cocoa V website

Mandoo - Homemade Korean Dumplings - In fact, they are made right in the window of the restaurant. This is one of my all time favorites. I used to work down the street and come here at least once a week. EVERYTHING is good (dumplings, soup, noodles, etc.)

Photo from Off The

Hummus Kitchen - They claim to have the best hummus in NY. - It was yummy and they have vegan (aka lactose free) desserts. I recommend to-go because the place is tiny and cramped. Get the falafel!
Photo from Phude-NYC

La Bonne Soupe - French-American bistro - I always get the soup of the day which comes with a big hunk of bread. Yummm!
Photo from

MoMA's Cafe 2 - Seasonal Foods - The cafe is open to Museum visitors only. The menu includes panini, handmade pastas, salumi, artisanal cheeses, salads, and soups.

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MoMA Store - Cutting Edge Design Ideas from Around the World - If you want to see the latest and most clever consumer products they have them here. I like to go visit my greeting cards here during the Holiday Seasons. If you buy a box, my name displays on the register.
Kinokuniya Books - Three stories of Japanese Books - They have an entire wall of Origami books, hundreds of craft books, and a few tables of very bright stationery. And that is just one corner of the basement!
Kinokuniya interior

Henri Bendel - Department Store - I don't think I've ever bought anything here but I love the first floor. I just go through the doors, walk to the back of the store and then turn around and leave. Every time I walk in I feel like I'm having a New York moment. It's beautiful, luxurious, and always bustling. Plus I love to see what the illustrator Izak has come up with lately. FYI, they have a really nice bathroom downstairs.
Photo from

Pinkyotto - Fashion beyond trends - I just discovered this place in Soho. They design their own line and have incredible sales!
Front Tie Printed DressLS Pockets Print Shirt Dress WB
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Nike Town - Five stories of Nike Shoes - I always find the coolest and most comfortable shoes here. This time I bought a pair of Nike waterproof boots!

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FAO Schwarz - Of course - I love how they have the store set up like a bunch of little boutiques.
Muppet Whatnot Gift Package  - Toys R Us -  Muppet Whatnot Outfits - FAO Schwarz®
Photo from

 Anthropologie in Rockefeller Center - This is the biggest and best Anthropologie I've ever been too. Although, the one on fifth and 16th has an amazing sale section.
Photo via De la Garza Architecture

Kate's Paperie - Stationery Store - There are a bunch of these around the city. There is always one near, no matter where you stay.
Photo from Sunday

Kid Robot - Urban Art Toys - If you love urban toys you must visit here. If you can't then follow their blog, it's excellent
Photo from

Mystique Boutique - Super trendy, cheap clothes - It's like Forever 21 taken up a notch.
mystique boutique
Photo: Lindsey Schickner/ AOL

Photo via

Society of Illustrators - Gallery - I always check out their calendar before going to NY. They have the most amazing illustration events and shows here.
History of the Building icon
Photo SOI

Madame Tussauds - Wax Museum - This place is totally cheesy but hilarious. Don't go without a coupon. They are usually handing them out on every street corner.

Gaga comes to Madame Tussauds
Photo via

Cooper-Hewitt - National Design Museum - I always check out their calendar too. You never now what they will have on exhibit.

MoMA - Museum of Modern Art - Hmmm, the MoMA appears in every section of my list. Go there!!
Photo: Peter Foley/EPA

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