IAOFM’s Official Guide to NYC

Last updated: Jan 28, 2014 8:55 AM

Welcome to New York, Broncos fans! With the team in town for Super Bowl 48, we received several requests for a guide to NYC, so here goes nothing.

Now, by no means is this intended to be a comprehensive guide to NYC; for something like that, it’s best to check out NY Mag, the Times, or Time Out NY.

I’m going to stick to what I know best from the 14 years I spent living in the city, and that mostly means places to eat and drink, and not so much the touristy spots.

And when I say I'm sticking to what I know, I really mean it. Even if I've spent much of my life in and around NYC, that's not enough time to have explored everything that makes it so great. There are thousands of restaurants, bars, and sites worth visiting, and there's literally something for everyone.

Just because I'm only listing two burger places, doesn't mean that I think there are only two great burger joints in New York. These are my favorites, and I'm confident you'll love them too.

Obviously, I'm well aware that the game is over in New Jersey, but I've never lived there, so if you must know more about the Armpit of America, you're on your own.

Manhattan

Manhattan is truly one of a kind, and can be overwhelming to anyone who's never lived in a big city.

There are several options for getting around town - the subway is the most efficient (and much easier to navigate than you might think), cabs are the easiest (but most expensive), buses are the best way to get across town, and walking allows you to really take in your surroundings the best.

But please, don't walk in ranks of three or more people (unless you're really trucking), and if you want to walk slowly or stop, pull over! There's little more annoying to a New Yorker than having someone come to a dead stop right in the middle of the sidewalk.

There are two easily accessed parks in Manhattan that qualify as destinations - Central Park and the High Line; the former provides a serene and transporting oasis with skyscrapers peering over it, while the latter offers a unique elevated path through the city, and stands as a remarkable feat of community activism.

99.9% of the time, I'd tell you to avoid Times Square like the plague. But it happens to be home to many of this year's Super Bowl festivities, so if you want to partake in any of that stuff, you've got no choice.

I can't tell you about that many of the city's museums, but one cannot go wrong with MoMA, the Met, the Whitney, Natural History, or the Guggenheim.

Brooklyn

If you're interested in checking out Brooklyn and walking over one of the East River bridges, most everyone will tell you to head to the Brooklyn Bridge. Indeed, that's a great walk, but traversing the Williamsburg Bridge would land you in a much cooler and less touristy neighborhood, one with some of the best food in the entire city.

Of course, you could also just take a quick ride over on the L train (6-7 minutes from Union Square to Bedford Avenue).

Williamsburg may be known around the world as hipster central, but that's no longer really the case. Rather, it's dominated now by yupsters and yuppies, for better or worse.

There is a slew of great restaurants in Williamsburg, several of which are listed below. Most places don't take reservations, but as long as you're wiling to wait, that means you won't get shut out, as can often happen in Manhattan.

Eats

Again, there's a ton of great food in NYC beyond what I've listed below, so be sure to check out ZagatWhere to Eat, and Cheap Eats if you need more guidance, Serious Eats to compensate for my glaring underrepresentation of the city's many great Italian and Chinese eateries, plus Eater and Robert Sietsema for Mexican suggestions.

Need a reservation? Head over to Open Table.

Exceptional Casual Food

Open on Saturday and Sunday, Smorgasburg is an incredible collection of vendors offering artisanal prepared and packaged foods in Williamsburg.

DBGB - Daniel Boulud’s sausage haven is located next to the former space of legendary music club CBGB.

The Breslin is located in the Ace Hotel and is run by April Bloomfield, one of the nation’s leading female chefs, and whose Spotted Pig put gastropubs on the map in NY.

The pastrami at Katz’s Delicatessen is to die for, and the place is a true NY institution. Just don't lose your ticket!

Motorino's Brussels sprout and pancetta pizza is a revelation; even if you don't like Brussel sprouts, you'll love this pizza.

Eataly is an overwhelming and incredible Italian food mecca run by the Batali/Bastianich empire.

Fine Dining

Eleven Madison Park is one of just four New York restaurants with a four-star designation from the Times.

For Top Chef fans, Gramercy Tavern is where Tom Colicchio first made his mark, working with now legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer.

Meyer’s first place, Union Square Cafe, is a slightly less fancy option than Gramercy, and is what put Meyer’s peerless service on the dining map.

Burgers

Meyer started Shake Shack out as a temporary hot dog stand across from Eleven Madison Park, and it's since exploded into an international burger empire. Despite the growth, the burgers remain among the best you'll find anywhere.

J.G. Melon serves the quintessential NY burger. Not sure I’d recommend trekking to the Upper East Side just for a burger, but if you’re going to Central Park, the Met, or the Guggenheim, plan to hit up Melon's along the way.

Sushi

Sushi Yasuda offers an authentic and sublime experience. Your meal will be pricey and quick (less than an hour), but if you're really into sushi, there's nothing better. Try to sit at the bar, and order omakase.

Blue Ribbon and 15 East are less intimidating and more affordable options, and the sushi is world class.

Noodles

You may not associate cumin with Chinese food, but after a taste of the hand-pulled noodles at Xi’an Famous Foods, you'll never, ever lose that connection.

Ramen is one of the newer big things on the NY food scene, but Ippudo has been cranking out delicious noodles and complex broths for years.

Barbecue

Mighty Quinn’s developed such an immense following at Smorgasburg that they parlayed it into a brick and mortar spot in the East Village.

Three times, Williamsburg's Fette Sau was named the best BBQ in NYC by Zagat. The menu changes daily, but most days, you'll find pork belly and boneless beef ribs, and they are not to be missed.

The story of how Daniel Delaney got his start selling brisket in NYC is a remarkable one; you can indulge in the smoky, peppery goodness in Williamsburg or on the High Line.

Steaks

Over in Williamsburg, Peter Luger is widely considered the best steak in NYC (cash only). But within the same neighborhood, St. Anselm (same owners as Fette Sau) puts out a $15 hanger cut that rivals the far more acclaimed and expensive stuff you'll find at Luger's.

If you want a classic steakhouse experience but don't want to cross the river, Sparks and Smith & Wollensky are two of many great choices.

Bars

Sidebar (the birthplace of Tebowing) is the place for Broncos fans to gather in NYC. Such a large contingent of Colorado ex-pats goes there to watch Broncos games that the Travel Channel will be filming a segment there this Friday, from 3pm to 6pm.

If you can't make it to Sidebar on Friday, they're also hosting a big party for Broncos fans on Saturday evening, starting at 6pm. Be sure to say hello to Anne Rapson, who does an incredible job of gathering Broncomaniacs there each and every Sunday.

There are a zillion great pubs, neighborhood and dive bars in NYC; Park Bar, Old Town, Doc Holliday's, and Molly's are a few of my favorites.

If beer's your thing, you'll find scores of great brews at d.b.a (East Village, Williamsburg) and the Ginger Man.

For well crafted drinks, check out Flatiron Lounge, Pegu Club, and DRAM (Williamsburg). 

Getting to the Game

Take the train. Trust me.


That's all I could think of for now, but I'll be sure to add to this list as more comes to mind. I hope this comes in handy for any of you in town this week, or ever, for that matter.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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