Stuff to Do

AllNY.com's look at things to do in NYC written by New Yorkers for New Yorkers and serious New York tourists.


It’s Time to Play Baseball in New York City

It’s an unusual baseball season already. Showing proof of vaccination or testing, sitting apart from your neighbors, and not dancing to YMCA is a very weird start. But, let’s cheer for the Bronx Bombers and the Amazins and say good riddance to cutout fans. It’s time to play baseball.

Increasing numbers of vaccinated sports fans and a bit of hindsight about how the virus spreads have helped us get to where we are with limited capacity seating. And within a few months, we should be in a much better position.

Here’s what you need to know if you plan to go the stadiums.

New Attendance Protocols

Courtesy New York Yankees

Going to a Yankees or Mets game will be like traveling to another state or even another country. You must be fully vaccinated or have a Covid test with a negative result no less than three days prior to the first pitch. You’ll need to show your proof of either if you plan to enter the stadium, whether you have a ticket or not. Temperature checks will also be required.

CDC guidelines are being followed by both the Yankees and the Mets. Masks must be worn at all times except when eating or drinking at your assigned “seat pod,” and it is suggested that you bring hand sanitizer and wipes with you as well as wash your hands frequently. You can expect to see signs and a small legion of people reminding you of this around the restrooms, too.

© Meryl Pearlstein

Social distancing will be required. Seating between pods will ensure that rules are followed in the stands but you will be expected to monitor your behavior when you walk through the stadiums. Detailed “Know Before You Go” safety information for the Mets and the Yankees is available on their websites and will be updated as available.

How ‘Bout Them Tickets?

© Meryl Pearlstein

Like the Red Sox and the Yankees playing a game without any excitement, getting a ticket will be another challenge.

Tickets are harder to score than ever. With initial games reduced to 20 percent attendance, and tickets on sale in “waves,” you can expect higher-than-normal prices particularly for popular series like Red Sox vs Mets or Red Sox vs. Yankees. Tickets are being sold in “pods,” meaning that you can only purchase them in pre-defined groups and seating will be strategically scattered throughout the stadiums.  For the initial “limited capacity” games, only 8492 tickets will be sold for the Mets and 10,850 for the Yankees. Tickets for other games will be released at a later date with the hope that capacity restrictions will be relaxed. Stay up to date by checking the websites for the Mets and the Yankees.

For safety’s sake, all ticket purchases will be contactless. None will be sold at the stadiums. Everything needs to be taken care of online and your phone is your entry ticket. Be sure to keep your battery charged or bring a spare as you’ll need to show your phone to return to seat if you go for a bathroom or refreshment break.

Batter Up

Courtesy New York Yankees

Concessions are still being worked out, but as a rule, all purchases will be cashless this year. If you have cash, you can convert it to a pre-paid debit card at a “reverse” ATM, or use your mobile phone or credit card instead. In-seat delivery has been suspended but you can pre-order and pre-pay your food selection on the MLB Ballpark App for express pick-up at designated locations, or just purchase at the stands.

Some of the classic vendors like NY Pinstripe Pilsner at Yankee Stadium have announced their presence at the stadium. Other concessioners will sell familiar local choices like Jersey Mike’s, Nathan’s, Lobel’s and Haru Sushi. There will also be Grab n Go options in two locations. The Mets have confirmed the return of favorites like fuku, Shake Shack, DO Cookie Dough and Pizza Cupcake. It will be interesting to see how Citi Field manages their outdoor craft beer garden space and food stands where people usually crowd and queue en masse.

Check the websites to confirm openings and rules for the various sit-down restaurants or the private clubs like the buffet-heavy Legends Suite Club at Yankee Stadium or the Delta Sky360° Club at Citi Field. Rules change all the time, it seems.

Can We Still Have a Seventh Inning Stretch?

Remember when a seventh inning stretch meant actually stretching your legs and taking a quick walk to grab a beer or hit the loo?  Be smart and try to schedule your break when the crowds are thinnest. Your safety is everyone’s safety.

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Give Mom a New York City Staycation or at Least Take Her to Brunch for Mother’s Day

It hasn’t been an easy year for mom: home schooling, cooking, searching for paper towels and having everyone home at the same time. It’s time to give mom a well-deserved break.

Everyone’s Favorite: Mother’s Day Brunch

Take mom away from the kitchen with these lavish Mother’s Day brunches

Courtesy Vestry

Vestry

Michelin-starred Chef Shaun Hergatt (SHO, Juni) has created a three-course prix fixe menu at his new restaurant, Vestry in The Dominick Hotel in SoHo. The menu shows off Hergatt’s versatility with a focus on seasonal selections, accented with Japanese ingredients. Choose from homemade blinis with trout roe to start or perhaps a carpaccio of salmon. The second course will please vegetarians, seafood and meat lovers with choices including black bass, chicken, or mushroom tagliatelle. A dark chocolate tart for two will finish the special brunch.

Courtesy Rainbow Room

Rainbow Room

Reopening after closing a year ago, the legendary Rainbow Room marks the occasion with its traditional Mother’s Day brunch, re-imagined this year from a lavish buffet to a family-style table feast. The prix fixe fete reconfigures the Rainbow Room classics, seafood towers, griddle platters and sides for table presentation. Dessert arrives with a s’mores cart, sweet treats cart and a dessert tower. Don’t forget to bring your cameras – being on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza offers spectacular views that you’ll definitely want to capture.

Courtesy Ai Fiori

Ai Fiori

Take Mom to the Riviera on Mother’s Day with a celebration at Michelin-starred Ai Fiori at The Langham, New York. The flower-filled restaurant is celebrating Mom with a special prix fixe brunch. Many of the restaurant’s signature dishes are offered on the three-course menu including spaghetti blue crab with lemon and chilies, raviolo al uovo with  spring peas,  pan-seared black bass, or the popular Fiori burger that can be enhanced with a fried egg. The brunch comes with complimentary chocolates and Ai Fiori can arrange a floral centerpiece to take home. Or surprise mom with an overnight stay and bring the flowers to your room.

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict - Couresty Junior’s Restaurant

Junior’s

At their Brooklyn and Manhattan locations, New York’s iconic Junior’s Restaurant offers a special  brunch and variety of Mother’s Day desserts designed to wow Mom on her holiday. If you can think beyond their iconic cheesecake, the brunch is equally tantalizing with lobster omelets, crab cake Benedict and French toast stuffed with strawberry preserves and cream cheese, a perfect complement to their adorable strawberry cheesecake mini hearts. If mom prefers chocolate, the mini hearts come in chocolate, too.

Courtesy Wave Hill

A Day at  Wave Hill

Turn Mother’s Day into an outdoor tradition by taking advantage of the one day a year the bloom-filled grounds of Wave Hill are available for picnicking.  At the Bronx garden and cultural center, the family can let loose on the lawn with a special Mother’s Day picnic supplied by Great Performances. Two versions, one designed for vegetarians, presented in reusable picnic  pouches and can be  ordered in advance for on-site pick-up on Mother’s Day.  All Mother’s Day picnickers need to do is bring  a blanket.

A Staycation Vacation Gift

A wonderful gift for an overworked mom, a staycation in the city is pampering and indulgent.

Courtesy The Baccarat Hotel

The Baccarat Hotel

Elegant appointments, spring florals, chocolate truffles and a luxurious Baccarat crystal keepsake are just part of this special stay experience created exclusively for Mom with the Mother’s Day Moment package at the ultra-luxe Baccarat Hotel. The hotel’s location steps from Fifth Avenue and Central Park complete the holiday escape. Make it a couple’s thing with breakfast in bed for two, or include the kids for a special Mother’s Day tea for all ages during Mother’s Day weekend.

Courtesy The Mark Hotel

The Mark Hotel

After a year of playing teacher, chef, psychiatrist and everything in between, mom deserves some serious “me time.” The Do Not Disturb: Mother’s Day at The Mark package indulges with five-star accommodations in a guest room or suite with amenities guaranteed to rejuvenate and restore. Caviar, blinis and Bellini’s from The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges set the tone upon arrival. Then it’s a mix of in-room and in-spa treats: cucumber eye pads, a monogrammed The Mark plush bathrobe, yoga mat, 60-minute full-body massage, Frederic Fekkai blowout and a special flower arrangement. Mom will soon forget that last year ever happened.

Courtesy Crowne Plaza HY36

Crowne Plaza HY36

It’s time for mom to put those sweatpants and slippers away – she definitely needs some R&R and some new clothes. Book her a fabulous escape at the new Crowne Plaza Hudson Yards for a Mother’s Day VIP Shopping Experience. Mom’s guaranteed to return refreshed and happy after a relaxing overnight stay and a shopping experience with a private stylist. She can explore the Hudson Yards shops, the High Line, or simply sit by the bar and sip a well-warranted cocktail. The package also includes Champagne upon arrival and a $100 shopping certificate.

Courtesy Intercontinental New York Times Square

Intercontinental New York Times Square

If you’d rather not leave the family behind, the Intercontinental New York Times Square has two packages to appeal to everyone. Broadway may not be live at the moment, but with a suite stay, the stage show will come to you on Mother’s Day courtesy of the hotel with a private magic show with renowned mentalist Jason Suran either virtually or in your room. If the kids are younger, a second package arranged by the hotel with Build-a-Bear Workshop comes with a Build-a-Bear gift certificate, a special Build-a-Bear NYC backpack, and a surprise welcome amenity for children.  Moms and dads aren’t left out – they get a minibar credit.

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Say Thanks to Mom on Her Special Day with These Wonderful Mother’s Day Gifts

There’s no shortage of unusual choices filled with New York City style

Courtesy Angelina

Angelina

Paris export Angelina has created a truly fanciful dessert for Mother’s Day. The all-red Confidence pastry has a macaron biscuit base, topped with stewed strawberries, currant, white chocolate cream and fresh raspberries. Mom can choose an individual one or order a larger one to share among four to six people or an even larger one for six to eight people. Given the colors of this confection, this might be the most memorable Mother’s Day Instagram shot you’ll see that day. Dine at the patisserie or order in advance to devour at home.

Courtesy Sweet Generation

Sweet Generation

Sweet Generation is a non-profit artisanal bakery that trains youths aged 16-24 to work in the food industry. Through a program called RISE, students from marginalized or in-need communities receive hands-on job experience and entrepreneurial training. Started in Amy Chasen’s kitchen in Astoria, Queens and now expanded in Bushwick thanks to a multi-million-dollar grant from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Sweet Generation creates handcrafted cakes, cupcakes, pastries, breads and other confections with sales supporting RISE. For Mother’s Day, the bakery’s gift basket is a sweet collection of their most popular desserts including flower-decorated cupcakes, cookies, brownies and blondies. The gift pack is beautifully packaged in a Sweet Generation tote bag with a Mother’s Day card.

Courtesy Paris Baguette

Paris Baguette

Bakery-café Paris Baguette introduces two limited-edition cakes for Mother’s Day. The cream-filled cakes feature the sweet flavors of blueberry and vanilla and are topped with colorful berries. Beyond admiring their artistry and knockout decorations, you have to love the names of these as well:  Mom’s Very Berry Blueberry Chiffon, a blueberry fantasy from inside to out, and the Berry Special Mom Cake, a vanilla cake with sliced strawberries.

Courtesy Vesta Chocolate

Vesta Chocolate

Designed from the heart in tribute to the owners’ mothers on Mother’s Day, Vesta Chocolate’s Mother’s Day Jewel Bonbon Collection is a gift to all moms from New York City chocolatier and pastry master husband-wife duo Roger Rodriguez and Julia Choi-Rodriguez. The holiday bonbon collection reflects flavors and family traditions from two countries, the Dominican Republic and South Korea. The ginger tea, vanilla, and “morir soñando” orange creamsicle bonbons are favorites of  Roger’s Mami. Julia’s Umma is the inspiration for the tangy and sweet yuzu, Earl Grey and red bean bonbons.

Courtesy Schmackary’s

Schmackary’s

Cookie-loving moms will feel the passion that’s infused in Schmackary’s oversized cookies. For Mother’s Day, the popular Manhattan bakery, known for its crazy and constantly changing variety of inventive cookies, is also adding a choice of “schmall” … so you can try more than one. Mix the flavors up for a bespoke six-pack with Baker’s Choice, Gourmet Chocolate Chunk, Fan Favorites or Frosted Fantasy, for example. Make the gift even more special with a gift tin. If you purchase these in-store, you’ll get 15% off cookies and drinks.

Courtesy BoujFleaMarket

BoujFleaMarket

BoujFleaMarket wants moms to feel great on their special day. The Harlem e-boutique’s Mother’s Day gift pack is a cheery collection of lavender-scented body scrub and bath bombs, put together by mother-and-daughter co-owners Anastasia Linkpon and Adrian Mack. A shining example of entrepreneurship at any age, New York City native Anastasia is 7 ½  years old, making her one of the youngest recipients of the HOPE One Million New Black Business (1MBB) initiative in conjunction with Shopify.

Courtesy CAMP: Form Reimagined

CAMP: Form Reimagined

Sentimental by definition, moms collect things. Help your mother keep track of her treasures with a  CAMP: Form Reimagined Trinket & Tchotchke Box that’s as individual as she is. Brooklyn-based CAMP upcycles vintage canisters, sugar bowls and spice jars to create “campy” stash boxes to hold precious keepsakes. With each purchase, CAMP makes a donation to a charity for metastatic cancer research.

Courtesy Tipsy Scoop

Tipsy Scoop

New York City’s Tipsy Scoop does it again with another boozy holiday hit. The ice cream parlor’s Mother’s Day Pack features a variety of mom-tested, liquor-infused favorites: Dark Chocolate Whiskey Salted Caramel, Cake Batter Vodka Martini, Strawberry White Sangria Sorbet and Raspberry Limoncello Sorbet. Give your mom an aperitif, too – sign her up for Tipsy Scoop’s live Mother’s Day cocktail making class on May 9. Order a cocktail kit for yourself, too, and tune in to learn how to make two boozy ice cream cocktails. The kit includes boozy sorbet and ice cream, lemonade, candies, fruit and other goodies.

Courtesy Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Cooking Class with Chef Marcus Samuelsson

You can preface your boozy dessert afternoon with a soul food class by New York Chef Marcus Samuelsson on May 7. Celebrating the launch of his new cookbook, “The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food,” Samuelsson’s master class is all about the beauty of Black cooking. Register your mother and she’ll receive a package with the ingredients needed to make  tomato and peach salad, tamarind-glazed salmon and spiced wine cake.

Courtesy Eternal Roses

Eternal Roses

If you’ve ever been frustrated when the gorgeous roses you bought fade into oblivion after just a few days, Eternal Roses solves that problem with their line of “eternal” Mother’s Day flowers. Designed to last for several years, the preserved roses are artfully set in a variety of centerpieces that will beautify any table or nightstand. Pick mom’s favorite colors for a customized arrangement with staying power.

Courtesy Classic Harbor Line

Classic Harbor Line

Classic Harbor Line’s Around Manhattan Brunch Cruise keeps Mother’s Day spirited and scenic with a three-hour island circumnavigation on an elegant teak-decked yacht. The city’s skyline, bridges and landmarks provide the set for the almost three-hour sail which includes a three-course prix fixe brunch with a smoked salmon platter, house-made quiche and continuous mimosas.

Courtesy Deborah Miller Catering & Events

Deborah Miller Catering & Events

If after all this, you think Mom would just rather wake up to an incredible feast at home (that you don’t need to prepare), NYC’s Deborah Miller Catering & Events will make it special with an array of adorable small dishes like mini waffle sandwiches, honey-drizzled yogurt shots and strawberry shortcake dessert jars. Or, how about a bacon dessert jar? The possibilities are endless.

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Where to See New York City’s Cherry Blossoms

Put Your Passport Away. You Don’t Need to Leave the Big Apple to See the Glorious Trees.

Many of the city’s cherry trees were gifts from Japan, some coming from the original batch that was given to Washington, DC and adorns their Tidal Basin. The sakura come in a variety of colors from white to pale pink and vivid fuchsia. They stand tall, they spread wide or they droop like weeping willows. For just a few months through the end of May, the varieties of cherry blossom trees bloom on varying schedules, with timing dependent on the weather. Now is the time to see the trees at their most brilliant – like the daffodils and tulips adorning the gardens, the petals will soon be lining the streets.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Esplanade © Micheal Stewart

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The queen of private gardens when it comes to hanami, the Japanese tradition of celebrating the transient beauty of flowers, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden takes the guesswork out of when the cherries are blooming with their Cherry Watch. The schedule is updated frequently so you can see which trees are blooming in which areas, especially helpful if you prefer pink Kanzan ones to whitish Yoshinos, or an allee of trees where you can sit, paint or just meditate.

Japanese-Hill-and-Pond Garden Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The two main draws are the aforementioned Cherry Esplanade and the Japanese-Hill-and-Pond Garden. It’s easy to envision yourself swept away to Japan when you look at the lovely trees and a beautiful vermillion torii set against the pond. Adding to the Japanese-inspired setting, the waters are filled with koi as you might see in the Imperial Palace gardens in Tokyo. Through May 9, weekends are enhanced with outdoor pop-up music and dance performances in lieu of the Garden’s traditional Sakura Matsuri (cherry blossom festival) postponed this year due to COVID-19.

Courtesy New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden

More than 200 cherry trees are scattered throughout the expansive New York Botanical Garden beginning with the entry walkway leading to the first of many colorful sculptures by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, “I Want to Fly to the Universe.” The mix of Japanese art and Japanese cherries creates a transportive effect as you roam the grounds.

Courtesy New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden’s Cherries Tracker will help guide your visit so you’ll know where and when to focus your time. Stop to admire the weeping cherries trees and the “Dancing Pumpkin” sculpture in front of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory before meandering along the path in the Cherry Collection. Daffodil Gardens is a beautiful area to admire the season’s varied yellow and white flowers along with the pinks of the cherries.

Central Park Cherry Hill Courtesy centralparknyc.org

Central Park

Central Park has an area called Cherry Hill on 72nd Street but that’s not the only place you’ll find the white-to-pink Yoshino and bright-pink Kwanzan sakura in the elegant park. A map of the cherry trees will help you as you search out your favorites. Central Park’s Yoshino cherries are also a gift from the government of Japan and can be found in abundance on the east side of the Reservoir and behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art as you head towards the Great Lawn. The area is perfect for picnicking with lawn areas and plenty of benches and you’ll see a parade of camera buffs posing against the showy pink and white blossoms.

Visit frequently as the intensity of the petals changes from week to week. For a shaded, dramatic walk, the bridle path from East 84th Street up to Engineer’s Gate flanks you on both sides with lush blooms.

Riverside Park Cherry Walk Courtesy nycgovparks.org

Riverside Park

Notable gifts from Japan to the US in 1912 and later from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York have created Riverside Park’s gorgeous Cherry Walk. Finally re-opened this winter after a massive reconstruction project, the stretch of the park from 100th to 125th streets is named for the Prunuc cherry trees that line it and is again filled with cyclists and strollers. Reflections off the Hudson River make this an exceptionally beautiful area to spend time and contemplate how lucky you are to be in New York City during this glorious season.

Courtesy Tastings NYC

A Pink Pause

Create a moment to celebrate the trees with food and drink – pink, of course.

Tastings NYC is the master of the portable picnic. To celebrate this beautiful time of the year, the Manhattan hospitality specialists have created the “Cherry Blossom Picnic,” a pretty-in-pink box of cherry blossom-influenced treats. Setting the stage are spring quinoa and roasted chicken, both with touches of pink. The final act is an adorable bag of mini strawberry pound cakes along with a pink beverage, your choice of  a rosé Champagne or a rosé wine.

Courtesy Croteaux

For a touch of pink romance and some virtual hanami, pour a bottle of rosé from New York’s rosé-only vineyard Croteaux. Born on the North Fork of Long Island, Croteaux is perfect for a cherry blossom toast. If you’re not near the North Fork, you can order their varietals online. Then grab a corkscrew and sit back to watch the sunset under the pink petals.

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How to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Style in New York City

Cinco de Mayo isn’t a Mexican holiday and Mexico doesn’t observe it. It actually began in California. As a side note, it commemorates a battle fought in Mexico in which the town of Puebla defeated invading French troops. Whether Cinco de Mayo is a tradition or a serious celebration, we can certainly have a lot of fun with it and show our affinity for all things Mexican.

Courtesy King David Tacos

King David Tacos

Start your holiday with Tex-Mex breakfast tacos from King David Tacos. The Brooklyn-based import from Austin is all the rage and will deliver a variety of taco bundles with choices like queen bean (refried beans potato, egg, cheese), Mom’s migas (eggs scrambled with Mom’s salsa and tortilla chips, with jalapeno rajas, cheese), or the No. 5 (chili non carne, beans, potato). For Cinco de Mayo, order their Taco Drop delivery and you’ll get two Mexican spring water Topo Chicos as a bonus. Just heat and eat! If you’re out and about, they also have carts at Madison Square Park and Prospect Park.

Courtesy TacoCina

TacoCina

Make it a Margarita day at Tacocina, the taco stand from Union Square Hospitality Group in Williamsburg’s new Domino Park. You can sip $5 frozen margaritas as you overlook the East River. Enter “CINCO” as a promo code when you place your order on taco.menu.

Courtesy Tipsy Scoop and Tanteo Tequila

Tipsy Scoop and Tanteo Tequila

What would Cinco de Mayo be without tequila ice cream? To celebrate, Tanteo Tequila has collaborated with Brooklyn’s Tipsy Scoop and Natalie’s Juice to create two special 100% agave-infused boozy desserts for Cinco de Mayo. The Tipsy Squeeze ( vanilla ice cream with orange juice, strawberry and blanco tequila),and The Spicy Fiesta (key lime sorbet made with Natalie’s margarita mix and jalapeno tequila) and both  5% ABV per serving. You can buy them from Tipsy Scoop’s locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan or online for same-day delivery in NYC.

Courtesy Universal Taco

Universal Taco

Popular Soho ghost kitchen Universal Taco has party packs to spice up your at-home celebration. The appetizer-to-dessert package includes traditional pork carnitas, salsa rojo, tamales with rajas and Oaxacan cheese, guacamole and chips. Top them off with onion, cilantro and jalapeno, to your liking, and choose corn or flour tortillas buñuelos add a sweet finish. Taco fans can add  a range of globally inspired versions: Baja-style shrimp, chicken shawarma, beef gyro, Peking duck, Argentine skirt steak, and pork carnitas. Vegetarians aren’t left out –  try the roasted cauliflower taco or Moo Shu veggie style with mushrooms and cabbage.

Courtesy Los Tacos No. 1

Los Tacos No. 1

They don’t look like much, but the lines tell a different story. The multi-station Los Tacos No. 1 stands in Chelsea Market and Times Square are the real deal when it comes to Mexican tacos. Los Tacos No. 1 was created after three friends from Tijuana, Mexico and California decided to bring authentic Mexican bites to the East Coast, using family recipes with fresh and simple ingredients. You’ll have to bring your own margaritas, though – they don’t serve alcohol.

Courtesy Seamore’s

Seamore’s

Created by Seamore’s Montauk-inspired sustainable seafood restaurants in Manhattan, the “Shrimp Taco Meal Kit” celebrates Cinco de Mayo with peppery salsa macha- braised shrimp, avocado, tortillas, lime crema and cabbage. Add your own tequila and you won’t even mind the easy clean-up.

Rosie’s Taco Kit Courtesy Baldor Foods

Rosie’s

East Village Mexican bistro, Rosie’s, has put it all together for you with their “Rosie’s Taco Kit.” Designed for a festive taco night at home, you can say you’ve done some of the cooking yourself with this party kit. You’ll get three different salsas, fresh ingredients to make your own guacamole, and three different taco fillings. Not to worry, though, the kit comes with step-by-step directions.

Courtesy The Gumbo Bros

The Gumbo Bros

For a Cajun spin on the holiday, The Gumbo Bros offers a NOLA-inflected special for Cinco de Mayo. For a whopping $5, you can order two catfish tacos. The Boerum Hill eatery is what happens when Mardi Gras meets Cinco de Mayo. You can chow down on the tacos, get your hands dirty with their crawfish boil (call to arrange) and drink a few hurricanes or Abita’s to toast the holiday.

15-pound Big Ass Burrito Courtesy Cantina Rooftop

Cantina Rooftop

Plan an outdoor fiesta with your gang at Cantina Rooftop in Hell’s Kitchen. If you time it right, the sunset is a perfect backdrop to the colorful umbrellas covering the tables. Go a little crazy with your group and share the totally instagrammable 8.5-pound Big Ass Taco or the 15-pound Big Ass Burrito.  Wash everything down with a fruity Niña Fresa, made with Don Diego Silver tequila, watermelon, strawberry and St. Germaine.

Courtesy Sinigual

Sinigual

Sinigual will entertain you on Cinco de Mayo on their lovely patio with a mariachi band from 4-7pm. Order one of their handcrafted margaritas; guacamole as you like it, made tableside; and a pile of their sizzling fajitas, and let the party begin.

Courtesy Casa del Toro

Casa del Toro

For more entertainment, Casa Del Toro, the Oaxacan-inspired taqueria in Hell’s Kitchen presents a fiesta to remember with live entertainment from aerialists, contortionists and dancers.  The restaurant’s full Mexican menu and complimentary Patron tastings might have you dancing as you pose for photo opportunities in front of a step and repeat wall.

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It’s Easy to “Eat Green” with New York City’s Variety of Plant-based Dining Options

From American comfort food to fine dining, dessert and ethnic variations, you’ll have lots to choose from as you pay attention to how your dining affects the environment.

Courtesy Willow

Willow

Created by Guy and Tali Vaknin, the couple behind the city’s popular Beyond Sushi, Willow is your “green” go-to for American comfort food favorites. At the new Chelsea bistro,  you’ll find the comfort favorites that felt so right during the pandemic, but without meat. Think porcini chick’n Marsala, steak frites (made with grilled seitan steak), scallop cacio e pepe made with oyster mushroom scallops and semolina linguine, cheeseburger sliders, cauliflower wings, taquitos and calamari. A don’t-miss is their signature Willow flatbread with “ricotta,” pistachios, artichokes figs and baby arugula. You can also order vegan sandwiches like the “tuna” melt or cherrywood smoked pastrami made with seitan. Comfort food never tasted this healthy!

Courtesy Beyond Sushi

Beyond Sushi

The name says it all: this fast-casual restaurant goes beyond sushi to provide a varied vegan menu with flavors from around the world.  Adhering to a fully plant-based and kosher ingredient list, Chef Guy Vaknin’s Beyond Sushi has proven so popular that it is now a mini-chain with Manhattan five locations. In addition to veggie-filled sushi rolls and dumplings, the adobo mushroom tacos, butternut squash tortellini and jackfruit crab cakes are also standouts.

Courtesy Whipped – Urban Dessert Lab

Whipped – Urban Dessert Lab

Whipped–Urban Dessert Lab fills the vegan dessert void as the world’s first oat-milk ice crème shoppe. The company, opened at the start of the pandemic, has been a blessing for health-conscious ice cream lovers, with fans now converted to the dairy-free way of life. Whipped’s modern ice crème desserts have two signature bases — sweet crème with a touch of vanilla or chocolate – all free of dairy, eggs, nuts, soy and gluten. Toppings are dairy free as well and can be added to create “hand-selected fusions.” Newest flavors include strawberry shortcake, mint chocolate cookie, cinnamon apple crisp, peanut butter chocolate cookie, and chocolate, adding to the already cultish list of favorites. The best part? All are made with oat milk, which, in addition to being 100% plant-based and dairy-free, adds richness both in taste and texture. If you can visit the Lower East Side store, you’ll have the benefit of soft-serve cones with mix-ins or toppings like salted pecan, pretzels, or strawberry crumble. To go and blissfully available for delivery, the new hard-scoop Oate line is something you’ll want to keep in your freezer for late-night snacking.

Courtesy Galioto’s

Galioto’s

New York City has its first plant-based Italian delicatessen with Galioto’s. Setting up shop in Little Italy, the deli and market is an Old Country throwback with a modern take. You can order vegan meatball subs and Impossible™ meatball parm at the deli counter or shop the market for seasonal produce, Italian specialties, and grab-and-go foods like pasta salads, sandwiches and giardiniera.

Courtesy AbcV

AbcV

“Plant based, sustainable, artisanal, and organic whenever possible,” promises AbcV, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s high-end plant-based restaurant. The restaurant is an homage to vegetables with presentation an equally important part of the concept. The gardenlike setting is a smart backdrop for dishes which exemplify intriguing flavor combinations. Green chickpea hummus or a “pasta course” of mushroom walnut Bolognese kicks off the meal. Follow with smoky tandoor white yam with coconut yogurt. Each pairs well with organic, alcoholic beverages or tonic “vibrations” with instructive names like “joy” and “grounding.” Because this is a restaurant from Jean-Georges, after all, you should select the chef’s tasting menu which comes with elaborate explanations of the largely unfamiliar platings.

Courtesy Reserve by Amor y Amargo

Reserve by Amor y Amargo

Reserve by Amor y Amargo is an exclusive plant-based pairing concept. Hidden through a door behind the counter of General Store by Amor y Amargo, the intimate speakeasy-restaurant from Chef and Master Mixologist Sother Teague is reserved for ten diners only. The prix fixe menu pairs stirred small plates and cocktails celebrating spirits and bitters such as a martini with olive bitters and Aquavit with cured carrot “lox” with tofu scallion cream cheese. The “improved” Negroni is made with overproof rum with pimento bitters and is accompanied by “scallops” of jerk-seasoned king trumpet mushrooms. Dishes and drinks change every two months to reflect what Teague calls “micro” seasons.

Courtesy Le Botaniste

Le Botaniste

Taking style inspiration from its “pharmacy” setting in Ghent, Le Botaniste is the first carbon-neutral certified organic plant-based restaurant in New York City. And while that sounds like a mouthful, the vegetable-forward, organic food is truly “good for the planet and good for your body.” Offering a fully plant-based, 99% organic food and wine menu, Le Botaniste lives its philosophy: Le Botaniste is building its own forest in Peru in partnership with GoForest, and diners can choose to “add” a tree to their orders, increasing the sustainability of their meal. Going one step further, carbon emission values are indicated for each dish on the menu. Lest we neglect the dining experience, the fast-casual menu includes the likes of spicy chili sin carne, Moroccan tajine with quinoa and lemon harissa dressing, seaweed tartare and a sushi roll with turmeric onions, marinated tofu and red sauerkraut.

Courtesy Jajaja Plantas Mexicana

Jajaja Plantas Mexicana

The East Village’s Jajaja Plantas Mexicana keeps the party healthy with a menu of plant-based Mexican street food, Mexican beers and an extensive tequila and mezcal program.  The “culture-and-community through comida and cocktails” concept encourages selection from familiar-yet-unusual dishes like tacos with chipotle sweet potato, or gorditas with serrano and shiitake bacon. A Mexican fiesta buzz sets the tone.

Courtesy Cadence

Cadence

Also in the East Village, Cadence meanders north of the border bringing plant-based versions of Southern and soul food together with wines from Black-owned vineyards. Executive Chef Shenarri Freeman has prepared family faves through the lens of sustainability and healthfulness. Re-imagined dishes from her Virginia upbringing like smoked grits made with chickpeas, heart of palm and chipotle aioli slaw; black-eyed pea garlic pancakes; or collard greens stuffed with Aleppo rice, shiitake mushrooms and poached pears appear on the  menu, perfect with one of the global wine selections.

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