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NEW YORK CITY GUIDE, Offbeat destinations for adventurous visitors, museums, bars, cafes, neighborhoods, parks, squares and fun stuff
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Offbeat destinations for adventurous visitors
(Words: ©ablarc from Wired New York; Photos:© urban75)

To me, the quintessential New York dining experience is a hot dog from a pushcart. Get it with sauerkraut or onions, and maybe wash it down with a grape soda. That way, you won't waste valuable time eating lunch when you could be seeing something.

On the other hand, sometimes it's worth just sitting. In good weather, you can watch the world go by from a sidewalk café while you quaff beer.

Best I know is the sidewalk café at Markt, 14th St. and Eighth Avenue in the Meatpacking District, where Paris meets New York. The beer is Belgian and the victual specialty mussels. As an extra bonus, after 5 pm the bar here features pulchritude seeking male company.

For a classy saloon experience, I know no place to match Café des Artistes, 67th Street at Central Park West.

Accompanied or solo, you'll find conversation here, if only with the friendly and knowledgeable bartender, amid Art Nouveau surroundings that would find favor in Vienna. You might be tempted to stick around for the (pricey) food and heart-stopping desserts.

Restaurant, New York City

Even more hazardous sweets can be found at the Hungarian Pastry Shop, Amsterdam Avenue at 111th Street, where sitting on the sidewalk treats you to the passing parade of students and bohemians backdropped by St. John the Divine's colossal Gothic west front. The chocolatiest desserts here are also the best.


Best of all outdoor dining is to be found at the New Leaf Café, simultaneously rustic and deco in Fort Tryon, New York's boskiest park.

It's been around for a while but credit for its latest incarnation goes to Bette Midler.

Atmospheric as a French roadhouse, New Leaf is good to snatch a snack or saunter through a full-course meal before or after a visit to the nearby Middle Ages at the Cloisters, one of New York's three best museums. Great for Sunday brunch.

Brunch is a New York institution. Quintessentially, it's Eggs Benedict and Bloody Marys, but my choice is the cornucopia of herrings, salmons and hams you'll find at Aquavit, 55th Street between Madison and Park.

Chase that stuff down with some ice-cold drams of the spirit that gives this place its name. The surroundings are Scandinavian blonde, the welcome warm and icy.

» urban75 New York Cafe Guide

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