Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan’

5 Places for Outdoor Dining in Brooklyn and Manhattan

Baby, it’s cold outside. But New Yorkers are resilient, and we love to eat. Cold weather won’t keep us home. After all, restaurants are our living rooms; it’s where we socialize. Bundle up and get ready for some creative options.

As New York City restaurants scramble to figure out how to keep their outdoor business flourishing during the chilly (and potentially snowy) winter months, many have come up with creative solutions to keep diners happy and warm. From igloos to bubbles, covered tents, and enclosed-yet-open structures, restaurants are developing new spaces to allow socially distanced socializing and fun.

Given that NYC regulations are constantly changing, please be sure to contact each establishment to verify opening hours, reservation policies, health requirements, and any other variations as the months progress.

Parklife

Parklife

Parklife in the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn will keep its hip crowd happy this winter with outdoor heating and two solariums. Using their 4000-square-foot outdoor yard, they have created a dining and drinking space that guarantees social distancing. Blankets can be rented, if you’re still feeling chilly, for a mere $5, and the blankets are washed, sanitized and vacuumed sealed after each use. Or bring your own. There’s also a fire pit if you prefer to sit in the great outdoors instead to enjoy Texan, Persian and Mexican-inspired dishes and warm cocktails like the new Apple Sauced and Break the Mulled. The bar/restaurant also offers one of the rare socially distanced entertainment options for you during the pandemic – they have a full event calendar with the likes of trivia and movie nights, all free.

The Greens on the Rooftop at Pier 17

The Greens on the Rooftop at Pier 17

The Greens on the Rooftop on Pier 17 will bring all the seasonal charm of Upstate New York downtown as it converts the Seaport’s “The Greens” into a village of 28  winterized rooftop cabins. The personal dining cabins, which fit up to 10 guests (the current maximum allowed in an indoor gathering in NYC), are decked out with classic winter décor and amenities including cozy and comfortable banquette seating, floor-to-ceiling views of New York City, a virtual fireplace, electric heating and a Molekule air purifier. The all-day menu from the Pier’s rooftop restaurant, R17, blends New American cuisine with a festive cocktail program by bar Dante including signature cocktails and recipes developed exclusively for The Greens. Even cooler to fight off any chill, you can order warm beverages in YETI vacuum-insulated drinkware. Reserve the cabins well in advance.

Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar

Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar

Chameleon and somewhat-of-a-speakeasy, the unmarked back garden area below Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar has transformed from an Austrian wine bar to Hütte, their new Alpine ski lodge.  A cozy winter retreat in the middle of the Upper East Side, Hütte (German for small cabin or hut) is a tented, heated outdoor dining experience. There you’ll enjoy hearty stick-to-your-ribs comfort food including game meats and fondue, paired with a wonderful Austrian wine list.  Guests are encouraged to bring a blanket, just to be sure. A piping hot Glühwein will add extra warmth. If you can’t fly to Austria this season, this just might be the next best thing.

Vicolina

Vicolina

Transporting you to Italy, new Carnegie Hill Vicolina has created an Italian garden in an enclosed box. Draped with flowers and grapes and reminiscent of a vineyard, the box is inviting and elegant. The interior is heated and decked out with chandeliers and white tablecloths. White-glove service is the norm. The evening is luxe and perfect for enjoying the restaurant’s extensive menu and wine list.  Be forewarned, portions are huge. The delicious chicken parmigiana is easily shared by two. If you happen to be there on the right night, a strolling musician will make you feel like you’ve just entered a private club or perhaps Trastevere in Rome.

The Mark by Jean-Georges

The Mark by Jean-Georges

For those in the know, the tony Mark by Jean-Georges at the Mark Hotel has been offering outdoor dining from the full menu along with a popular high-end hot dog stand. And, now, for the chillier months, the Mark’s green and white tents have been winterized to keep guests toasty. You can choose from an all-day menu with the likes of sushi, sashimi and black truffle pizza or from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s elevated selections like slow-cooked salmon in a fermented black bean vinaigrette and the signature salted caramel sundae, a droolworthy confection that includes popcorn and peanuts. Wear your fur-trimmed Moncler or a real or faux fur for this chic experience.

Seven Places for Thanksgiving Dinner in Brooklyn and Manhattan

Thanksgiving this year will be celebrated in unusual ways. Our gatherings won’t be as large. We will be separated from extended family, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be virtual. But we can still enjoy a delicious holiday either at our homes or in some of New York City’s recently re-opened restaurants.

Here are seven ideas to ensure a festive and satisfying celebration.

MANHATTAN

Cote

You might not think of a Korean steakhouse as a go-to for Thanksgiving Day, But Simon Kim’s feast will make you reconsider. Including turkey in the form of turkey mandoo (dumplings), the prix fixe menu is purely Cote combining four cuts of steak (hanger, 45-day ribeye, flatiron, and galbi) with a variety of Korean accompaniments. Instead of the usual mashed or sweet potatoes, you’ll enjoy kimchi jjigae, egg soufflé, japchae (noodles), rice, kimchi, scallion salad and spicy housemade ssamjang). For dessert, no worries. You’ll have pie and ice cream as you should on Thanksgiving. Festive cocktails will be served as well. Reservations are required.

Cote

If you prefer to dine at home, Cote offers meal kits for six, with a choice of roast prime rib and sides or a more Korean take with Niman galbi jjim, Chef David Shim’s USDA prime short rib cooked overnight with sweet soy sauce, shiitake mushrooms, daikon, carrots, gingko nuts and chestnuts. Pick up and local delivery are available for the day before Thanksgiving at this Flatiron star.

The Standard Grill

The Standard Grill

The Standard Grill invites you to dine indoors or outdoors to observe a truly American Thanksgiving dinner, enhanced with the restaurant’s seasonal favorites. You’ll love the roasted traditional turkey with gravy, fall veggies and cranberry sauce. Non-meat eaters have of-the-season choices like Maine lobster salad with celery remoulade and wild apple, or baked salmon with creamy morels and sorrel sauce. Dessert sticks to holiday favorites pecan and pumpkin pies. Reservations are required, and the outdoor area is heated. You can walk off your dinner with a stroll along the adjacent High Line.

Wayan

Wayan

If you’re set on staying home, why not invite the family over for a Thanksgiving out of the ordinary. Cedric and Ochi Vongerichten’s Wayan offers a take-out, family-style dinner with a menu of Indonesian-inspired classics. Turkey is featured, done up in a roasted Indonesian style. Sides include Brussels sprouts with morning glory terasi, perkedel stuffing, mashed potatoes (yes, they’re really there!), roasted delicata squash, spiced cranberry acar sauce and long pepper gravy. The feast serves eight to six. Cocktails and whole pies for dessert can be ordered as well. Plan to return to SoHo for Wayan’s exciting non-turkey dishes.

The Polo Bar

The Polo Bar

It’s no surprise Ralph Lauren’s The Polo Bar stays true to tradition for Thanksgiving. After all, this is Ralph Lauren, the embodiment of Americana in dress as well as food. The restaurant will prepare classics done Polo Bar-style including Green Circle Farms free-range turkey, Calvados gravy, maple-sherry glazed baby Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, chestnut stuffing, popovers with maple butter, pumpkin cheesecake or Charleston bourbon pecan pie. Side dishes can be added to the family-style meal along with wine or cocktails. Add a Polo Bar touch with menu favorites including shrimp cocktail, Ralph’s corned beef bites, kale and autumn root vegetable salad, pigs in a blanket, honeynut squash soup, pumpkin cheesecake, classic cheesecake, old-fashioned five-layer chocolate cake and coconut cake. You can order a six-person or a 12-person feast. Pick up will be arranged for either Wednesday or Thanksgiving morning.

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park

For a luxe Thanksgiving at home, Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park’s “To Go” spread revolves around an organic, free-range turkey that will make you feel like a culinary superstar. Cooking instructions from Chef Daniel Humm are provided. Sides are pre-prepared so you don’t have to do all the work yourself, and you’ll get an array of EMP hits plus vegetable dishes, traditional accoutrements, brioche rolls and pie for dessert. If you’re feeling particularly spicy and celebratory, you can add caviar and truffles to your order. Cocktails and wines complete the indulgence. You can order a feast for four-six people or eight-ten. Pick up is either Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. And here’s a nice Thanksgiving benefit: for every meal kit purchased, EMP donates ten meals to New Yorkers in need in partnership with Rethink Food.

BROOKLYN

JAMES

JAMES

Prospect Heights’ James has created a gorgeous holiday box of farm-driven delights for delivery or pick-up. Founder Deborah James is all about family and neighborhood, and her feast encourages good feelings with a menu of celery root soup, roasted Brussels sprouts dusted with honey and chili, whipped Yukon potatoes, bitter greens, roasted baby beets, heirloom roasted potatoes, focaccia stuffing with sausage, chestnuts and crispy sage. Taking center stage is a Sullivan Country young turkey topped with handmade salts and butters. Desserts include spiced pumpkin cake, fallen chocolate cake and roasted apple crisp. Pick-up can be scheduled for Wednesday or Thanksgiving afternoon.

Le Crocodile

Le Crocodile Private Dining

Williamsburg brasserie Le Crocodile takes advantage of its Wythe Hotel location, offering Thanksgiving dining indoors in its heated outdoor garden or in its new private dining option, Le Crocodile Upstairs, in converted hotel rooms. The prix fixe menu begins with winter squash soup with black truffle and Waldorf salad. The classic Thanksgiving feast continues family-style starring heritage turkey, carved to order, with cranberry sauce, sourdough stuffing, mashed potatoes, honey and maple glazed carrots and green bean casserole. For a dessert finish, there’s a choice of ice creams, pear frangipane tart, and pumpkin pie with brandy cream. Reservations are required.

You Won’t Miss Halloween as Much This Year with This IRL Treat at the Empire State Building

You don’t need to visit New York City this Halloween, nor even leave your home to have a true New York City trick-or-treat experience. This year, the Empire State Building is making its recognizable tower lights interactive for Halloween. On October 31 at 8pm, the iconic landmark takes Hasbro’s ESB Simon® memory game to new heights with a live game on the façade of Empire State Building. Your ticket to the fun — without leaving your home — is at www.Simon-Live.com where you can access the fast-paced game.

Simon Lighting

World-renowned production and lighting designer Marc Brickman and his team at Tactical Manoeuvre developed ESB Simon® using the world-famous tower lights as the pattern maker. You can prepare for the Hallow-IN event by visiting the website in advance to practice your skills to play.

So, grab your trick-or-treaters, costume up (yes, seriously) and enjoy a different kind of Halloween this year.

Here’s how it works:

  • Log into http://www.Simon-Live.com with your touch device (phone, iPad, computer) and click on “Let’s play” and wait for a game to start.
  • Watch levels of the Empire State Building flash in an increasingly complex series of blue, green, yellow and red colors and tones. Tap the building to correctly repeat the pattern. The longer you play, the more complex the sequences.
  • For every correct answer, players climb further up the Empire State Building. Each wrong answer knocks you down. Your objective is to make it to the top of the building and the leaderboard. You can keep playing until the game is over.
  • If you’re lucky enough to actually have a view of the Empire State Building, you can both play AND watch the display live on the building.
  • Up to 100,000 people can play at once, and the game will be live on the Empire State Building from 8pm – 9pm.

Need to brush up on your memory skills? Practice using Infinite Play mode ahead of Halloween night. But, unlike the Halloween game if you get one wrong answer in Infinite Play mode, your game is over.

Six New York City Museum Exhibits to Visit This Fall – Brooklyn and Manhattan

In August, Governor Cuomo gave the go-ahead to museums to open their doors. With new protocols in place and limited time slots, the experience is pure delight and a great activity for colder weather.

Take note of each museum’s policy for mask wearing and reservations and book ahead to secure your preferred visit date. Many also require a temperature check at the door.

New exhibits are planned for the fall – be sure to check each museum’s website for details. Brooklyn and Manhattan are definitely NOT ghost towns!

The Brooklyn Museum: Studio 54: Night Magic exhibit

The Brooklyn Museum

The museum’s fabulous Studio 54: Night Magic exhibit had barely opened when the pandemic closed the museum down. If you lived through the disco era of the 70s and 80s, this is a don’t-miss. The outfits, the music and the scene are all there. You might even want to break out your platforms and glitter for this one – you’ll be dancing through the rooms here.

The Metropolitan Museum

The grande dame of New York City art museums celebrates its 150th anniversary year with the Making the Met: 1870-2020 exhibit. This “greatest hits” exhibit is like viewing the museum as a snapshot. The exhibit limits capacity at all times, and you can head directly up the great staircase towards the exhibit and likely not encounter anyone else en route. If you become a Met member, you’ll have special access through the ground level door and up via a direct elevator.

Making the Met: 1870-2020 exhibit

If the exhibit whets your appetite for more, roam the other galleries which are wondrously (and a bit eerily) empty. Plan enough time to go to the Cantor Rooftop for the Lattice Detour exhibit by Héctor Zamora, a fascinating (and timely) interpretation of the concept of a wall. It’s open-air and the elevator to reach it requires only a quick trip with capacity controlled by an attendant at all times.

Whitney Museum of American Art

Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art Mexican exhibit

The best way to view this museum and avoid the crowds is to start at the top floor and work your way down. Take advantage of the outdoor patios on each floor and use the open-air steps connecting them. On each floor, the galleries are relatively empty except for what’s currently “on,” like the über-popular Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art Mexican.  Absolutely don’t miss the first floor exhibit, hidden on the east side of the building. It changes frequently but is always thought provoking. No one seems to know this gallery is there, so you’re pretty much guaranteed uncrowded viewing and contemplation. Note that The Whitney books up its limited time slots very quickly.

The Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim

The Guggenheim’s Countryside: The Future by Rem Koolhaas was sadly postponed by the pandemic and part of the outdoor portion was removed.  The exhibit is still solid, though, and the museum capacity is limited by time. The museum makes it easy for you to know how to view in safety. You can only head in one direction and arrows are indicated showing how to enter and exit a gallery. The arrows are also placed on staircases for exiting the museum after ascending the spiral.  Should you not want to walk the stairs, the elevators are closely monitored. Another plus: many of the restrooms are single person only.

New-York Historical Society

Rock & Roll Revolution exhibit

This repository of New York City-related collections and exhibits doesn’t usually get crowded, with the exception of its special exhibits. The current feature is about Bill Graham, the music promoter most responsible for the “Rock & Roll Revolution” begun in the 60s. You’ll want to spend a fair amount of time here, reading about the evolution of the rock concert scene in New York City and listening to the music tracks. You’re handed an audio guide that’s as contactless as it could be. No touch is required to activate — it turns on automatically when you approach an annotated part of the exhibit. Entry is timed and the exhibit is limited to a maximum of 17 people at any one time. For a sense of what it’s like to be back in a movie theater, the museum screens two films daily in a huge, vastly socially distanced setting. I felt comfortable watching the history of NYC film with seats all around me taped off and people respecting each other’s space. The museum also has an outdoor area showing the borough-by-borough response to the pandemic through photography and poetry.

MOMA

Handles by Haegue Yang exhibit

Plan for both indoor and outdoor art time at MOMA with their smart timed entry system. The museum adds an extra layer of safety as you must have a temperature scan before you can enter. The spacious galleries don’t feel crowded and there’s plenty to keep you busy and away from others as you explore.  Permanent collections mix with feature exhibits like the re-opening Handles by Haegue Yang, a full-scale riot of color and shape.  Escalators connect the floors so it’s easy to stay socially distanced as you travel around. For efficient navigation, start on the top floor and work your way down. Once on the ground floor, head to the sub-gallery for the current installation. I’m convinced no one knows this part of the museum exists. Then, take the escalator up to the outdoor sculpture garden where scattered seating will allow you to chill and safely appreciate the return of museums in Manhattan.

Fall Art Installations in New York City

After a long, hot summer, it’s refreshing to stroll around the city, particularly when the streets are dotted with exciting artwork, some permanent and some temporary. While museums are slowly opening, these exhibits will help you get your art fix.

Harlem presents a new monument celebrating multiple African kings. Titled The Boulevard of African Monarchs, the piece was designed by New York artist Kenseth Armstead and is located at 116th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. A three-dimensional piece standing 10’ x 10’ x 10’, it was unveiled in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Boulevard of African Monarchs

Celebrating women for the first time in Central Park, the new Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument honors three New York women: Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony on Literary Walk at the Southern end of the Mall. The monument was unveiled in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The three women are shown seated around a table with Susan B. Anthony holding a “Votes for Women” pamphlet, Stanton holding a pen and Truth in the midst of speaking.

Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument

Also honoring women, a preview of the IF/THEN She Can exhibit is located at the Central Park Zoo. Starting with six, the exhibit will ultimately have 122 3D printed statues of notable women scientists. The pop-up preview includes Kristine Inman (wildlife biologist), Rae Wynn-Grant (ecologist), Dorothy Tovar (microbiologist), Jess Champ (shark researcher), Earyn McGee (herpetologist), Kristen Lear (bat conservationist). The project is a collaboration between the Central Park Zoo and the IF/THEN organization.

IF/THEN She Can

In Between is a new concept of video art exhibition where continuous artwork is displayed for 15 seconds every two minutes on a large digital billboard in the heart of Times Square. Starting with artist Ben Hagari, the first video is part of his pandemic-inspired “About Face” video series. Filmed in his home in NYC, the image shows a character, constrained by limited expression and space, trying to navigate daily routines. As conceived by Hagari, the faceless protagonist reflects the concealed images of people today wearing masks as they go about their business.

Ben Hagari “About Face” video series

King Kong has met a worthy rival with the new reclining gorilla sculpture by Gillie and Marc Schattner. In partnership with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the artists hope to bring awareness about the diminishing population of gorillas in the world with their sculpture in Hudson Yards. King Nyani is based on the head of a silverback gorilla family and is the largest bronze gorilla statue in the world. Visitors are invited to sit in his hand, socially distanced of course. The sculpture sits in Bella Abzug Park.

King Nyani Photograph: Courtesy Gillie and Marc Schattner

NYC’s community gardens are fast becoming locations for some of the city’s most innovative and colorful art. As part of GreenThumb’s Art in the Gardens – Shed Murals project offering artists a means to display their art, the Flora_Interpretations mural by Rose and Mike DeSiano reflects the beauty of Manhattan’s Clinton Community Garden by two native New Yorkers with input from local residents.

Flora_Interpretations mural by Rose and Mike DeSiano

Also part of the GreenThumb’s Art in the Gardens – Shed Murals project, The Bronx shows off Vincent Parisot’s red, green and yellow wall painting of an agave americana plant, known as Athanatos in Greece, the home of the artist.  The name means without end, an allusion to longevity and to the love shared by the couples whose names and hearts are often inscribed on the leaves of the plant. Together, Athanatos for ever is in Jardin De Las Rosas.

A second mural in the Bronx, at the Jackson Forests Community Garden, Lady K Fever, Celebrations shows a group of people rejoicing over the creation of the garden with other images indicating planned garden features such as a pumpkin patch, a flowerbed and foliage displays.

Brooklyn has its fair share of murals in community gardens as well. Open to the public, Eden’s Community Garden is designed to educate neighborhood children about the benefits of growing your own food through gardening. The ArtisticAfro imagery on the shed shows a person holding a potted plant with a seedling inside supporting the garden’s theme of “Together, we will grow.”

Along the waterfront at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Reverberation is a new large-scale installation by Davina Semo made up of interactive bells. Visitors are encouraged to ring the bells, calling up the city’s maritime history when bells were a key form of communication among ships and sailors.

Reverberation by Davina Semo

Queens has one of the city’s most intriguing art pieces, located at Beach 98 St. at Rockaway Boardwalk. A fascinating Corten steel sculpture standing 35 feet tall, Mother Earth by Kris Perry reflects architectural elements from temples, mosques, churches and Classical Greek buildings. Visitors can stand in the central space of the sculpture and look upward and outward in a moment of contemplation.

Mother Earth by Kris Perry Photo: Angus Mordant

Designed to reflect our changing times, the animated, augmented reality drawing Liberty Bell is being presented in six cities simultaneously, New York, Boston, Charleston, Philadelphia, Selma and Washington DC.  New York’s setting is Beach 108 St. at Rockaway Boardwalk and the Rockaway Ferry Landing. “Liberty Bell” was inspired by Philadelphia’s actual, cracked Liberty Bell and is a soundscape in 360 degrees that sways to the sounds of bells tolling in changing tones and rhythms. The full experience uses Baker Cahill’s free 4th Wall app with the viewer’s smartphone or tablet.

Liberty Bell

Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City is a favorite for cutting-edge outdoor art. Another timely tribute to today’s world, the art park’s MONUMENTS NOW exhibition seeks to address the role of monuments in society and commemorates underrepresented populations, cultures and histories. The exhibit evolves in three phases. Opening with commissions for new monuments by Jeffrey Gibson, Paul Ramírez Jonas, and Xaviera Simmons, the next two parts continue into the fall and winter with sculptures by additional artists as well as high school students.

MONUMENTS NOW

A timely visual nod to the country’s immigrant communities, The Immigrant Journey Past Meets Present in Staten Island also pays homage to New York Harbor. The mural and fence installation are located in Arrochar Playground. Artist Lina Montoya worked together with Sundog Theatre at the adjacent public school focusing on Ellis Island history and cultural immigration to create the yellow and blue design which features waves, mountains and stars.

Lina Montoya The Immigrant Journey Past Meets Present

Thinking about Bringing the Kids to New York City for the Holidays: Here’s What You Should Know

With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s looming, there are more than enough great reasons to bring the family to New York City. Beyond seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, shopping for dolls at American Girl Place, or donning ice skates to twirl around the rink at Rockefeller Center, there are many things to do that will let you explore beyond crowded Midtown.

The Rockettes

New York City is a real toy box of activities for families. It’s a showplace of the world’s best: a fabulous introduction to great eats, culture and diversity and, without a doubt, fun! So get out, explore, and experience the magic of the Big Apple.

Where to Stay with Kids

Many NYC hotels are family-friendly, offering free cribs on request, high chairs, strollers and other baby-related gear. Younger ones are often free so be sure to inquire. Teens and tweens get perks, too. Specials vary by season and by week. Check out the hotel’s website for the best prices.

Gansevoort Hotel

The Gansevoort Hotel (18 Ninth Ave; 212-206-6700) in the trendy Meatpacking District will hold special appeal for older kids. The area is super-cool with interesting boutiques and the newly reopened Pastis, a perfect place to sit and watch the city’s beautiful people. The hotel itself offers all the requisite baby supplies (including cribs, diapers and bath supplies) and older kids get Sony PSPs and Nintendo Wiis to use during their stay.

The Mandarin Oriental Lobby

With a bird’s-eye view of Central Park and Columbus Circle, The Mandarin Oriental (80 Columbus Circle; 212-805-8800), welcomes kids with an age-appropriate gift and keeps them busy with children’s DVDs, crayons and coloring books. It’s also well situated at the Time Warner Center with its many shops, restaurants, and wonderful holiday decorations. And you’re close to Central Park for an easy stroll to the Christmas Market or even a carriage ride inside the park.

Eventi Hotel Livingroom

Eventi, a Kimpton Hotel (851 Sixth Ave; 212-64-4567) caters to the junior set with the Tween Trap, complimentary rentals of a range of gadgets including Instagram printers, iPad Minis, PlayStation Vita, Beats Pill Portable Bluetooth speakers, Beat by Dre headphones and night-vision goggles. It’s also a dream location if you’re heading to an event at Madison Square Garden.

The Giraffe Hotel Lobby

In the quieter Flatiron neighborhood, the boutique Giraffe Hotel (365 Park Avenue South; 212-685-7700) entertains kids with its selfie-inspiring giraffe sculpture on the roof, kids’ menus and large rooms. To make sure you soak up some of the city’s outdoor pleasures, Madison Square Park is a few minutes’ walk away with an expansive playground, dog run, and the original Shake Shack.

Where to Eat with Kids

Food is a key part of any trip to the Big Apple. Where else can you try dishes from so many countries?  Skip the fast-food or fast-casual chains that you can find anywhere and visit the one-offs that make NYC so special.

Totonno’s

Coal-oven pizza was invented here, and Brooklyn offers some of the best. Try Totonno’s (1524 Neptune Ave, Brooklyn; 718-372-0606) in Coney Island after a walk along the boardwalk. Totonno’s knows just a little bit about pizza – it was founded in 1924. Or if you’re spending the day shopping or touring Little Italy, opt for a tomato pie or a clam pie at Manhattan’s oldest pizzeria, Lombardi’s (32 Spring Street, Manhattan; 212-941-7994) dating from 1905.

Jin Fong

Chinese dim sum is also a kid-pleaser. Did you know that NYC has three Chinatowns? In Flushing, Queens, join the crowd at Joe’s Shanghai (136-21 37th Ave, Flushing; 718-539-3838) for their rich soup dumplings, or in Manhattan go piece-by-piece at Jin Fong (20 Elizabeth St, 212-964-5256), where servers wheel a parade of dumpling carts to your table (hint: get there early to avoid the long lines). For the more adventurous, head to Brooklyn for a veritable Chinese feast of small plates at East Harbor Seafood Palace (714 65th St., Brooklyn, 718-765-0098).

Blue Smoke Photo: Melissa Hom

BBQ lets the kids eat with their fingers. Blue Smoke (116 East 27th St; 212-447-7733) is a great introduction with specially designed children’s portions and meals. If you’re in the middle of Times Square, Virgil’s is your go-to for kid-friendly BBQ with special menus and BBQ tastes from all around the country.  (152 West 44th Street, Manhattan, 212-921-9494). And while you’re in the area, be sure to visit the TKTS booth at West 47th Street for the chance to score discount tickets to family-friendly shows like Frozen, Aladdin, Harry Potter and Wicked

Serendipity 3

For dessert, a touristy “must” is Serendipity 3 (225 East 60th St, 212-838-3531), famous for its frozen hot chocolate, made with more than 30 kinds of cocoa. The concept makes no intuitive sense but it works, and it’s delicious. 16 Handles, a self-service frozen yogurt emporium, is a favorite among families, too, with creative toppings like mochi, Fruity Pebbles cereal, and fresh fruit.  There are numerous locations around the city.

What to Do with Kids

Staten Island Ferry

It’s a good idea to get an overview of the city to get your bearings, and you can do it for “free” by water. Splurge on a taxi downtown to the famous Staten Island Ferry. It costs nothing to grab a seat and see the skyline of New York and the Statue of Liberty, all from the warm, comfortable interior of this legendary vessel. Once you reach Staten Island, just grab the next ferry back to Manhattan.

Central Park Sculpture - Alice in Wonderland

You can create a full-day educational and fun scavenger hunt for the family at the city’s central gathering place, Central Park. Even if it’s cold outside, you’ll see throngs of local kids climbing over the park’s beloved sculptures of Alice in Wonderland, the Three Bears, and Balto, so join them! Then wander through the various playgrounds to the Central Park Zoo and Children’s Zoo (fee required), buy a ticket for a performance at the adorable Marionette Theater at the Swedish Cottage, or take the kids to watch the sailboat races at the pond.

American Museum of Natural History Origami Tree

From the park’s Western edge, it’s a short walk to the American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West at 79th St; 212-769-5100). What child doesn’t like dinosaurs? But there’s much more to keep the little and big ones engaged. The wildlife dioramas are classic, a fascinating mix of educational and creepy, and the Hall of Gems is always a thrill. If it’s butterfly season, wear a brightly colored t-shirt to attract them to your shoulders. Be sure to venture downstairs to see the intricate holiday tree made of origami.

New York Hall of Science Art of the Brick; Dino. By: Nathan Sawaya

Head to the boroughs outside Manhattan for some more child-friendly attractions: the New York Hall of Science (47-01 111th Street, Corona; 718-699-0005) in Queens and the Bronx Zoo (2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, 718-367-1010) are musts for curious kids.

New York Transit Museum Photo: Marc A Hermann

At the New York Transit Museum (Boerum Place and Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn Heights; 718-694-1600), set in an historic 1936 Brooklyn subway station, kids can explore all manner of urban transportation from buses to subways and trolleys.

For some park time while in Brooklyn, the ever-expanding Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO is a mecca for families and has terrific views of Manhattan plus a historic merry-go-round. On the other side of the river, at the tip of Manhattan, the futuristic Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park is a crowd-pleaser for all ages.

How to Get around with Children

The city is designed for walking. Most of the streets in Manhattan are laid out in a grid, so you can find your way around pretty easily. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a warm coat, gloves and a hat – you’ll be all set.

The outer boroughs are connected by far-reaching subway lines that run all day long. If you get lost, that’s half the fun. Don’t be shy about asking a New Yorker for help; rumors to the contrary, people in New York City are super helpful and love showing off their city.

If the kids are getting tired, there are lots of taxis and ride services (Uber, Lyft, Via) to bring you back to your hotel. Download the Arro, Uber, Lyft and Via apps to your phone for easy summoning.

If you’re traveling with kids, suitcases and, perhaps, a guidebook in hand, get in the queue at the airport for a yellow taxi. From JFK, there’s a flat fee of $52 to New York City plus tolls. Surcharges apply depending on the time of day. A taxi from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) will cost upwards from $35 or $55, respectively, plus tolls and surcharges depending on your final destination. A new Lyft partnership from LaGuardia has reduced the fee somewhat.  Ubers and other ride shares also service the airports.

Something Special

High Line

It helps to see the city from higher up, especially if you’re a little one. The wondrous High Line, a walking park built in an abandoned elevated train track, traces a route along the city’s Hudson River, with plantings, food carts and art. If you’re cold, you can stop off by the new Hudson River Yards and refresh at the kiosks and counters at Mercado Little Spain or duck into the shopping mall.  For another vista, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for an astonishing view of downtown Manhattan. And then walk back – you’ll get an entirely different impression of the city.

Cool Mess

Are your children budding chefs? At Cool Mess (137 East 62nd St; 212-355-9834) on the Upper East Side, you can don aprons and make your own ice cream.

Take Walks Backstage Tour

There’s nowhere better than Manhattan to give your kids an introduction to theater, TV and the movies. Are they wannabe actors? Take the kids backstage with Take Walks at the New Amsterdam Theater, home to Disney productions such as The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Mary Poppins. Here they can try on costumes and play with the actual props from some of these shows.

Older kids will love the Central Park TV and Movies Sites walking tour. They’ll recognize the Literary Walk from Glee, The Smurfs and Trainwreck; the Boathouse from Home Alone 2; the Plaza Hotel from Home Alone and the Bethesda Fountain from Stuart Little. And there are lots of photo ops to make their friends jealous.

Planning a trip to NYC?