The throngs of travelers content to take pictures from the queue for the Empire State Building elevator, board a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, or sit through a Sex And The City Location tour will always be there in abundance, supporting many an steeply-priced venture. The TGI Friday’s in Times Square will always be full, offering $30 salads to willing consumers, and many a tourist might be left to wonder “how does anyone exist here as expensive/crowded/inconvenient as it is?”
Answer: nobody does.
Well a few individuals do. The Wall Street public have enough money for it, and dwell how we might imagine they do in the movies (or if you’re keen on Ted Danson’s George Christoper on Bored to Death), and a great many people are now living in gradually deteriorating rent-controlled rentals. Everyone else shelled out Manhattan rent for a while, then we got hip to the outer boros. People without (and, more and more, with) extraordinary wealth, but who know the city, usually tend to head for Brooklyn and Queens. What do I mean? The best dining places, watering holes, shopping, and neighborhood culture – indeed, the best things to do in NYC – have moved with them.
A new corps of tourists is gradually getting aware of this.
North 11th Street in Williamsburg, home of Beacon’s Closet – conceivably Brooklyn’s most well-known second hand retailer – and the Vice.com hq, is overrun with vacationers during weekends. DUMBO, home of Food Network’s Bobby Flay and background fordon’t make me express it againSex And The Cityhas developed into a bit like “Brooklyn Disney Land”.
These places can be worth traveling to, and there are lots more you haven’t heard of.
Want the most genuine Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean food beyond Asia? Check out Flushing, Queens, a 20 minute journey on the LIRR, and a solitary subway stop from the Mets’ City Field.
Keen on the next up-and-coming trendy neighborhood, like Williamsburg but devoid of the travelers? Try Prospect/Crown heights, home to a dizzying and ever-changing variety of dining places, coffee houses and bars, and debatably the best pizza in New York City.
A little to the north of Williamsburg, where you can find the most underrated brunch eaterie, Pizzeria, and steakhouse, correspondingly, is Greenpoint.
Why the outer boros? The same reason it’s preferable to crash with family and friends in a foreign place than to rely solely on a guidebook: you’re getting a taste of the city from the standpoint of locals. Sure, Soho has excellent (if crowded/overpriced) shopping, you’ll want to check out the East Village during your lifetime, and Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall can be worth a trip when you can get seats. ButNew Yorkers are generally bargain-crazy and artistic to-a-fault. Williamsburg’s Barcade, where one can find a pint from one of the best taps in the city for an average of $6 and play vintage video games for the original rates through the night, is more our speed. In the outer boros, especially if you ask a local, you’ll find-
-Authenticity – from Bushwick’s taco diner run out of the rear room of a genuine tortilla plant to Woodside’s SriPraPhai, roundly regarded to be probably the greatest of Thai Restaurants in the united states (think you’ve experienced Thai food? maybe), to Carroll Gardens’ generations-old salami shops on Court Street, the outer boros are replete with places in the magical post-popularity-with-the-locals, pre-tourist-mecca sweet spot.
-Beauty – Prospect Park, and Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and the roadways of Cobble Hill, Park Slope, and Brooklyn Heights, are several of the most photogenic city panoramas in The Usa, and unlike the Statue of Liberty and Central Park, they’re less congested than you’d assume. Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Bushwick – hardy patches spotted with street art -are another kind of eye-catching, but no less “real”.
-Vibrance – it’s correct that some of the more audacious eateries, like David Chang’s Momofuku, Masaharu Morimoto’s Masa, and Wiley DuFresne’s WD-50, along with a number of the “expense account” spots like 11 Madison Park and the Grammercy Tavern, continue to call Manhattan home. Many more, like Carroll Gardens’ Buttermilk Channel, Park Slope’s Al Di La, Williamsburg’s Fette Sau, and a rotating/ever-expanding cast of daring, chef-driven hotspots are proud to call Brooklyn home. The outer boros teem with business joie de vivre as restauranteurs and business-owners take advantage of their lower rent and increasing customer base.
-Higher Value – You night spend a great deal for a meal in Brooklyn (though you certainly don’t need to) but be assured your hard earned dollars are buying more. A lavish evening can be had at Buttermilk Channel for around $150 for 3, including wine – less than a third the price of a comparable Manhattan destination. And there’s a dizzying selection of great meals under $20. (Prospect Heights’ The Islands, in reality overpriced by Brooklyn standards, nevertheless serves up an brimming plate of jerk chicken for around $10, on the low end of the price of an average Manhattan food truck.) Don’t even mention the bars, where great varietals of ale are accessible for between $4 and $10 a mug and decent wine bars start at around $8 a glass. (It’s true, there are several decent watering holes in Manhattan, but if they’re not divy or overpriced, they’re overrun, like the West Village’s Blind Tiger Ale House – exceptional, but standing-room-0nly any time after 4pm, 7 days-a-week.)
To get a bit of all 3, explore the indoor flea market at One Hanson Place, otherwise known as the Williamsburg Bank Building (not to be mistaken for Williamsburg the neighborhood unless you want a costly and bothersome trip on the G train). Hundreds of small crafts business owners make this flea market their home every Saturday and Sunday, and a chat with just a few of the razor-sharp, tech-savvy, artsy shopkeepers will fill you with the outer boros character for weeks to come.
Whether you’re planning a trip to The Big Apple and looking to avoid the throngs and high prices, or a Manhattanite prepared to look past the East River – whether Yelp, the advice of a good friend, or (we hope) this site is your guide, give the outer boros a try, and prepare to enjoy the genuine New York.
Lastly, if you’d like to discover in the best things to do in NYC , including comprehensive articles about Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, restaurants, and attractions, head on over to the the Beyond Manhattan Blog.