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36 hours in New York City

New York NY
The view from Bar 54 at the Hyatt Centric Times Square in Manhattan, September 28, 2022. (Photos: NYTimes)
To state the obvious: You cannot see New York City in 36 hours. You could easily fill a couple of days eating your way down one street in Jackson Heights, Queens, or spend an entire weekend uncovering corners of Central Park. This guide is not designed to check landmarks off a list, but rather to offer visitors one slice of life in New York (minus the laundry schlepping and skyrocketing rent). اضافة اعلان

Below you will find a subterranean piano bar, a hidden garden, market shopping against the backdrop of an unbeatable skyline, and some big-picture and hyperlocal history to bring you a little closer to feeling the gestalt of the city.

Friday3:30pm: Get a bird’s-eye view of the city.

Pack in 400 years of history at the Museum of the City of New York in East Harlem ($20 suggested admission), opposite Central Park at the top end of Museum Mile. Its ongoing exhibition, “New York at Its Core”, will give you a glimpse of the neighborhoods you will encounter this weekend, and an overview of the many eras of the city’s development, including its few decades as the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, its 19th-century shift to an immigrant hub, the growth of the city’s park program after the New Deal and the birth of the punk and hip-hop subcultures of the 1970s and 1980s.

6pm: Go grand in Midtown.

To the dismay of the too-cool-for-school set, Midtown is having a moment. Rockefeller Center is enticing popular restaurateurs with real estate deals, aiming to draw locals and tourists alike. One glamorous newcomer is Le Rock, a French brasserie (from the owners of the popular TriBeCa restaurant Frenchette) with a sleek Art Deco design and a pricey (around $200 for two without drinks) menu of chilled oysters ($24 for a half dozen), bison au poivre ($60), and a long list of natural wines. For a night of grand Manhattan opulence, you are in good hands. Other notable arrivals in the area: Detroit-style slices at Ace’s Pizza, Italian dining with outdoor seating at Lodi (a New York Times food critic’s favorite) and the 11-seat Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar.

9pm: Drink somewhere old, somewhere new.

Cap off your night at Midtown’s new Pebble Bar, known for its celebrity clientele and investors. Find strong cocktails that cost as much as a cab ride (around $21); low lighting and cushy booths; and the highest number of chic 30-somethings per capita in the neighborhood. Grab a fistful of the fancy matchbooks on your way out. For the Midtown of yesteryear there’s Jimmy’s Corner, a dive bar opened in 1971 by former boxer and trainer Jimmy Glenn, who died of COVID-19 complications in 2020. Now operated by his son Adam, it remains a perfect spot for a beer ($3) and a shot ($3.50) for both tourists (hey, it’s right off Times Square) and longtime regulars.

Saturday
10am: Have a morning nosh.

The real breakfast of champions is a pastrami, egg, and cheese sandwich ($12.50) at Frankel’s Delicatessen & Appetizing in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. If securing a window seat is a bust, the benches of McCarren Park across the street are calling your name. And for breakfast dessert (you are on vacation!): Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop. You might recognize the bakery from the 2021 movie “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, but regulars know it for the unparalleled blueberry buttermilk doughnuts ($1.75).

11am: Shop by the skyline.

From Greenpoint, the northernmost neighborhood in Brooklyn, the views of the East River are unbeatable. Follow Noble Street all the way to the end, and you will find Greenpoint Terminal Market, a marketplace of vendors, every Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine. You will get a top-tier view of the Manhattan skyline while you sift through racks of vintage clothes, tables of art, and jewelry, and maybe get a really bad portrait made ($5) to commemorate the day. For a little more shopping, try Big Night, a “shop for dinner, parties, and dinner parties”; Dobbin St. Vintage Co-op for vintage furniture; and the mini-Japanese market at 50 Norman for housewares by Cibone and customized dashi packs from Dashi Okume.

1:30pm: Dive into NYC ephemera.

Hidden away from Williamsburg’s chain coffee shops and boutique gyms is City Reliquary ($7 entry), a tiny, colorful storefront wedged between buildings on Metropolitan Avenue. Inside is a quirky and fascinating collection of New York artifacts curated by this not-for-profit community museum and civic organization. Packed (really packed) into two small rooms, you will find defunct subway signage, souvenirs from New York World’s Fairs, samples of rocks from far below the city, and an astonishing amount more. Look for the many iterations of paper deli cups, including the iconic Anthora cup (designed by Leslie Buck in the 1960s), which you’ll still see at diners and bodegas today.

3pm: Go gallery-hopping.

Walking among the hundreds of galleries in the west side Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, rather than committing to one art museum, is a great way to take in a large sampling of artists and immerse yourself in their works. Start at the airy Nicola Vassell Gallery, an exciting new gallery committed to exhibiting diverse perspectives. From there, head up 10th Avenue to Jack Shainman Gallery on West 24th Street, where artists such as Gordon Parks and Carrie Mae Weems have shown their work. End your crawl at Greene Naftali, a roomy gallery tucked beneath the High Line (you might mistake the entryway for a parking lot).

6pm: Dine in the heart of the Village.

Greenwich Village cynics will complain about its restaurants: Lines everywhere, many cash-only and littered with celebrities and the rubberneckers that follow. For first-time Village diners, though, Bar Pitti unfailingly delivers an entertaining night out. Get there around 6pm (with cash — no cards accepted) and there should be a short wait. Order the eggplant Parmesan if it’s on the chalkboard of specials ($14.50), pappardelle in a pink cream sauce ($23.50), and a bottle of Lambrusco ($50). The best Italian food in New York? It is probably not the best on its block. But the brash-yet-somehow-charming service, prime location, and killer people-watching makes Bar Pitti a true New York affair. For a more relaxed alternative, Malatesta Trattoria has an excellent tagliatelle ragu ($17, cash only) and a lower-key ambience.

8:30pm: Sing along with the people.

Marie’s Crisis Café is a West Village space that has lived many lives: It was a boarding house, then a brothel, before it became a speakeasy in 1929. (It may also be haunted by the ghost of political theorist Thomas Paine, who died on the site in 1809). Arrive before 9pm to avoid a line and descend the stairs beneath Marie’s red-and-white awning. Inside, be enamored by guests singing along to piano-led show tunes until 4am. The staff is mainly made up of professional entertainers, and a night there feels like a cheat code to seeing Broadway-level talent for the cost of a couple of (cash-only!) beers.

Sunday
10am: Take a stroll through history.

The anchor of the East Village is the 4.5 hectare Tompkins Square Park, opened in 1834, a famous site for activism since the 1874 riot following a workers’ demonstration (and, more recently, the 1988 protest against police curfews and the 2022 opposition to homeless sweeps). On a Sunday, you will encounter a small farmers market, skateboarders, and a lovely dog run. Spot the neoclassical Temperance Fountain, installed in 1888 to encourage locals to drink fresh water instead of alcohol. Walk east out of the park and down Avenue C, also known as Loisaida Avenue, a name that references the neighborhood and its large Nuyorican — a portmanteau of New York and Puerto Rican — community. It won’t be open yet, but you can see the murals that embellish the historic Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

12pm: Grab your souvenirs.

Nolita, a neighborhood made up of three streets north of Little Italy, attracts foot traffic beyond the spillover from neighboring SoHo. Grab your last-minute gifts up and down Mulberry, Mott, and Elizabeth streets, stopping at McNally Jackson for signed books, Goods for the Study for stationery, and Abbode for art prints (starting at $55). For a moment of reprieve, sit among the sculptures in Elizabeth Street Garden. The community garden, created in 1991, is populated by antiques from the next door dealer’s shop, and is full of flowery nooks and hidden benches to discover. It might not be around for much longer because of a city rezoning plan — all the more reason to visit soon.

2pm: Enjoy a dim sum send-off.

Manhattan’s Chinatown is shrinking with “the largest exodus of Asian residents of any other neighborhood in the city”, as Aaron Reiss writes for the New York Times. One enduring stalwart is Golden Unicorn, a banquet-style Cantonese restaurant since 1989 that reopened with outdoor seating after a temporary pandemic closure. It is impossible to imagine lower Manhattan without Golden Unicorn’s excellent baked roasted pork buns ($5.95 for three) and plump xiao long bao ($9.99 for five). Find the unassuming entrance on East Broadway and wait for the go-ahead to take an elevator to the dining room. If you are in a rush, grab a pork bun ($1.50) and an order of steamed egg-yolk buns ($3.95 for three) from Mei Lai Wah Bakery for a walking snack.


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