The Coolest Places 2 Be In NYC Right Now

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Gotham West Market

Image via gothamwestmarket.com

Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen
Address: 600 11th Ave.
Website: gothamwestmarket.com

There are days you want to eat something, and others where you want to eat everything. On the latter, you’d be well-advised to head to Gotham West Market. The multi-vendor gastro wonderland is an indecisive eater’s dream. Unlike similar concepts like Chelsea Market, Gotham West has only eight carefully-chosen vendors, each of which occupies a small slice of the sleek space. Sit at Cannibal’s counter and take down a pig’s head cuban sandwich at Cannibal, or slurp a bowl of Ivan’s savory rye noodles.  Stop by Genuine Roadside for a burger and a side of ’70s nostalgia, or wash down tapas with Rioja at chef Seamus Mullen’s tapas bar. Sure, it’s avenues away from a subway, but with a Blue Bottle and a bike store on premise, Gotham West’s many diversions can easily consume an entire afternoon. Or, have you consuming for an entire afternoon. Both are strong options. — Shanté Cosme

Red Bamboo

Image via AshaniMfuko

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Address: 140 W. 4th St.
Website: redbamboo-nyc.com

If you’re looking for a restaurant that offers a menu contrary to your normal steak and potatoes type of dinner, Red Bamboo is definitely the place to experience.  Yeah, it’s a vegan friendly restaurant, but the delectable panko breaded and rosemary seasoned Soul “Chicken” will easily influence anyone to come back for more. The menu is unique, ranging from vegan burgers to soy beef, and the close-knit “homey” feel will seem as if you’re at your mother’s house for dinner. Stop by for lunch or grab a bite with your date before happy hour.—Cedric Hall

Bassanova Ramen

Image via EatingwithZiggy

Neighborhood: Chinatown
Address: 76 Mott St.
Website: bassanovanyc.com

Outside of Japan, New York is just about the best city for ramen in the world. You have Ippudo, Momofuku, Ivan, Chuko, Totto, and that’s just off the top of my head. Still, Bassanova Ramen stands out when it comes to wild flavors and radical experimentation. Founded by Japanese-American Chef Keizo Shimamoto who learned his craft at the original Bassanova in Japan, the recipes include ingredients like Thai curry and truffle oil added to the rich dashi. The Tondaku Green Curry Ramen, in particular, is one of the best bowls I’ve had in recent memory. Slurrrrp. — Nathan Reese 

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Xi’an Famous Foods

Image via NewYorkPost

Neighborhood: Various
Address: Various
Website: xianfoods.com

Xi’an Famous Foods started as a tiny basement location in Flushing’s Golden Mall, but has since grown into a small empire that spans from Greenpoint to the Upper West Side. Specializing in the pallet-searingly spicy cuisine of Xi’an in Western China, the food isn’t for those who gravitate toward bland and boring. But for urban explorers looking for something with more punch than General Tso’s, there’s no better place to find it. Standout dishes include the Spicy and Tingly Beef Hand-Ripped Noodles and the Lamb Face Salad. Yep, you read the right: lamb face—and it’s delicious. — Nathan Reese

Russ & Daughters Cafe

Image via RoamandHome

Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Address: 127 Orchard St.
Website: russanddaughters.com

In the back, there’s a sign: “For what you have been waiting, Russ & Daughters is enlarging its quarters for your sit-down convenience.” And by waiting, they mean: Since 1914, which is how long Russ & Daughters has been selling smoked fish, cream cheese, bagels, caviar, and so much more on the Lower East Side. And after so many generations, Russ & Daughters—without question, the greatest food shop in New York City—finally made a change. Most New York City institutions switching it up after 100 years of business usually aren’t received well. But Russ & Daughters isn’t most New York City institutions, let alone food purveyors.

In the new sit-down restaurant on Orchard Street, they’ve managed to adapt an already perfect thing into simply more perfection, from the big band piping over the speakers to the soda shop-style counters, heavy dishware, and especially that menu: Latkes. Bagles. Bialys. Smoked salmon, lox, and herring. Caviar. Egg creams. Shrubs. Sure, there are some creative flourishes on the menu, but at the end of the day, these are mostly ages-old dishes in a restaurant that’s had a century of incredibly high standards to live up to before it even opened. And yet: Russ & Daughters cafe doesn’t just live up to those impossibly high expectations, but succeeds them. It usually takes a long time for something to become a classic. With Russ & Daughters cafe, it just took that first nosh. —Foster Kamer

Baby’s All Right

Image via DavidAndrako

Neighborhood: South Williamsburg
Address: 146 Broadway
Website: babysallright.com

Right around the time 285 Kent closed its doors, it seemed like every party shifted over to Baby’s All Right. But the two venues couldn’t be any more different. Baby’s, by weekend day, is a brunch spot with a usually fantastic drunk brunch special. Tucked right under the Williamsburg bridge, the spot hosts some of the very best DJ nights (THE KID MERO and Dapwell, included) and the back room serves as the perfect venue for a plethora of artists, not to mention there’s a fucking replica of the maze from The Shining on the floor of the performance area. Everyone from DIIV to Charli XCX to Ratking and more have performed in the back venue space, and with the “Pink Baby” drink, the spot is sure to only get more popular in the next year.— Lauren Nostro

3×1 Denim

Image via RobbReport

Neighborhood: SoHo
Address: 15 Mercer St.
Website: 3×1.us

There’s no shortage of places to buy a decent, stylish pair of jeans in New York City. But for those religious about their denim—or who are just looking for that elusive, perfect pair—there’s only one place you really need to go: 3×1, the brainchild of former Evisu designer and Paper, Denim, Cloth founder Scott Morrison. And while 3×1’s Mercer Street storefront might not look like the most important place to buy jeans in the universe, it won’t take more than a few seconds inside for you to figure the whole thing out. On the right are different cuts of denim, hung in plexiglass boxes on the wall, the fine art treatment for a pair of pants. Towards the back you’ll probably catch a seamstress or two in the workshop, which is right there, in-house, working on jeans you could soon walk out wearing. In the center of the room, you’ll find denim customizations of every possible variant, waiting for you to pick from them: Rivets, buttons, pocket shapes, linings, pipings, selvedge strips, interior pocket patterns. If there’s a way to customize a pair of jeans, they have it, and they will do it. But nothing will prepare you for what’s on the left side of the room: The Denim Wall. No, really: It’s a wall that feels like a mountain, stacked topped to bottom with various giant spools of denim, and denim that’s been personally collected from all over the world and brought here, for you. Black denim, grey denim, blue denim that fades to purple, purple denim that fades blue, denim as heavy as shag carpet or as light as tracing paper, denim that tastes like schnozzberries, etc. And yeah, we might’ve made one of those up, but then again, having seen with our own eyes the variants of denim Morrison has collected, and what one can do with them: For the right price? We wouldn’t put it past them, either. —Foster Kamer

Black Seed Bagels

Image via GabandGobble

Neighborhood: Nolita
Address: 170 Elizabeth St.
Website: blackseedbagels.com

If you’re a New Yorker, Montréalais, or person who just likes good food (and doesn’t have a gluten intolerance), chances are you have strong opinions about where to find the world’s best bagels. Still, there are some constants that most everyone can agree on: a bagel should be hand rolled, boiled, dense (but not too dense), chewy (but not too chewy), and well seasoned. Black Seed, SoHo’s new haute bagelry, plays like the perfect amalgam of those variables. Bagels are small—(no “scooping” here) but beautiful pieces of art. Toppings are also ingeniously devised, with the house-made beet-cured lox standing out as a highlight. Like most of the flavors at Black Seed, there’s nothing overpowering about the fish, there’s just an additional depth of flavor.) Also delicious is the tobiko caviar, which I would eat dangerous amounts of if given free reign in the kitchen. Something to note, however, is that the bagels really are small. If you want to get your fill, you’ll have to order one of the excellent side-salads. Don’t be daunted by the long line: The wait is worth it. — Nathan Reese

Bia

Image via BIABarandRestaurant

Neighborhood: South Williamsburg
Address: 67 S. 6th St
Website: bia67.com

Enjoy a soothing summer evening on a cozy rooftop with a bowl of the best Pho broth you can cop in Williamsburg. This Vietnamese establishment lures its guests in simply with the design—dark wooden tabletops, exposed ceilings, dangling light fixtures, and a sleek bronze color that brings it all to life. Your shrimp dumplings or stir-fried tofu will come out faster than you expect, alongside the specially-made intoxicating drinks. Drop in and have a bite to eat with some friends if Vietnamese food tickles your fancy.—Cedric Hall

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The NoMad Hotel

Neighborhood: Flatiron
Address: 1170 Broadway
Website: thenomadhotel.com

Forget about the Wi-Fi leeching tech and media scene populating the lobby of the Ace Hotel right up the street. In fact, they’re all the more reason to take refuge in the NoMad’s dark hallways and various bars instead. The NoMad has a more international crowd attending to it, and its draw to jet-setting It-People has proven consistently powerful since the place has been open. Having a Maison Kitsune boutique for a “hotel store” doesn’t hurt, and neither does a choice of six different spots within the hotel to grab a bite or a drink, most drawing from the same critically acclaimed menu, though with occasional distinctions.

We say hit the atrium during the day, one of the greatest naturally-lit spaces in New York to grab a cup of coffee or breakfast right now. But more than anywhere else there these days, it’s the recently opened two-story bar room at The NoMad—replete with its own distinct cocktail and food menu from the restaurant, one that’s already earning raves from New York City’s most Twittered expense account holders—that’s the place to be. Expensive as hell? Yes. But if you’ve got it, and got it to spend? Spend it here. – Foster Kamer

Booker & Dax

Image via Drinks With Nick

Neighborhood: East Village
Address: 207 Second Ave.
Website: momofuku.com

Is it one of those too-tired Manhattan cocktail bars you’ve heard far too much about, that makes too far a fuss over their mixology standards? Sure, yeah, it’s one of those. But it’s also the kind of place that can make you leave your cynicism about institutions like these behind, as it’s operated by David Chang and Co, the reigning kings of taking ostensibly stupid ideas and turning them into brilliant Manhattan institutions that have yet to lose their luster. Yes, master bartender Dave Arnold is clarifying liquids and using liquid nitrogen and doing all kinds of wacky shit with his booze. But at the end of the day, it’s a great space to grab a solid-if not downright incredible-drink, and the snacks are halfway decent, too. Avoid at your own peril. –Foster Kamer

Bergino

Image via LocalBozo

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Address: 67 E. 11th St.
Website: bergino.com

Bergino Baseball Clubhouse offers a unique twist to baseball accessories, producing extraordinary items perfect for the game’s fanatics and gifting. If you’ve ever marked a map-designed or fuzzy purple suede ball down on your wish list, this shop that generates hand-made items will have that arranged. The venue itself—well known for its dope artwork and decorative fixtures like the Babe Ruth photo made of Legos and even a color-coded wall with baseballs neatly resting in steel baskets. No matter the desire to throw events at the place or just browsing, this is definitely a landmark to bring those who are seriously devoted to having some exclusive baseball collectables hanging around the house.—Cedric Hall 

Bard Graduate Center

Image via BardGraduateCenter

Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Address: 38 W. 86th St.
Website: bgc.bard.edu

Do you love museums and hate crowds? Visit this charming UWS townhouse for a double dose of intellectual stimulation and solitude. Connected to the Bard Graduate Center, which focuses on new ways of thinking about decorative arts and design, the museum hosts a handful of rotating exhibitions a year. This summer’s show (closing August 10), Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual Art, is all about textiles and drugs. Within, there’s a floating woven boat (awesome), and some extraordinary multichannel videos that contrast the seductive calm of rainforest with the jarring rat-tat-tat of drug cartel gun fire. It’s cerebral stuff, but delivered through an experience you won’t replicate at one of New York’s monolithic institutions. Plus, at $7, the BGC won’t damage your beer fund like a visit to MOMA might. — Nick Schonberger

Washington Square Park

Image via Wikipedia

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Address: Washington Square Park
Website: nycgovparks.org

Central Park is the incredible, epic classic of New York City parks, sure. And both Tompkins in the East Village and Prospect in Park Slope certainly have their charms (respectively, wannabe crust punks ten years too late and every Brooklyn parenting cliche the borough has to offer). But square foot for square foot, Washington Square Park is maybe the most special of these places. On the west side of the park, the pickup chess game tables (where Stanley Kubrick was known to play). On the south side, a newly constructed plaza, usable park bathrooms, and a new grass knoll, built into and over the ground. On the east side, those guys with the piano, the Otto gelato cart, the arcade with the benches. In the center, every stripe of street entertainment, be they cliche (break dancers) or refined (jazz trios), but so often the most impressive the city has to choose from. And then, of course, the fountain, and the arches, as seen in movies ranging from Kids to I Am Legend(of course, most of the movies screened during warmer seasons in Washington Square Park are in French, such is this park’s particular character).

It’s definitely not our city’s most famed park, nor is it the greenest, but therein lies its most special charm: A pronounced lack of tourists, in one of the most touristy and ritzy neighborhoods in the city. It may be, as far as big parks go, the one most hidden in plain sight. And despite NYU buildings crowding up around it like an invasive species, the place still always feels diverse, alive, and quintessentially New York, in that it’s a perfectly free, useful way to regularly remind ourselves of why we put up with all the shit we do to live here. — Foster Kamer

La Marina

Image via VelvetList

Neighborhood: Washington Heights
Address: 348 Dyckman St.
Website: lamarinanyc.com

La Marina provides its guests with one of the best views in the city. You’ll be able to enjoy some of their delectable happy hour cocktails, all while eating an awesome meal overlooking the Hudson River. The resort-style feel makes the location one of the few blissful hideaways in Midtown. Pat down your sides before entering to make sure your pockets are swollen though, it can get a tad pricey. Nonetheless, great experience overall for your next event, date, or personal celebration.—Cedric Hall

Other Music

Image via RollingStone

Neighborhood: NoHo
Address: 15 E. 4th St.
Website: othermusic.com

For those who go beyond the effortless process of synching albums to your phone in order to vibe to music everyday, the record store Other Music in Noho has a plethora of vinyl and CDs to snag for the crib. The vibe in the shop is very personal, yet hippie-esq, as guests are able to play an entire record if they choose while shopping through racks on racks of underground artists and experimental musicians. Hands down, the employees are very knowledgeable and are always willing to help customers dig into some great finds. There’s even a “cheapies” section that offers discs as low as a buck. This place is definitely a hidden treasure within the city.—Cedric Hall

Mighty Quinn’s

Image via CityLightsandTastyBites

Neighborhood: East Village
Address: 103 2nd Ave.
Website: mightyquinnsbbq.com

We all know that finding quality barbecue in NYC is like searching for a small ass needle in a haystack. Mighty Quinn’s has proven to city-goers that they are the spot with the golden ticket. Be prepared to take an adventure with some of the most savory meats and flavorful sides in a setting that bleeds a soulful, southern feel unlike anywhere else in the city.  To make the experience even better, it is the first authentic barbecue spot in a fast-casual environment. That being said, you can grab a filling plate of their tender, smoked brisket and frites quickly on your lunch break if you’re having an uncontrollable craving for Texalina Barbeque.—Cedric Hall

The Strand

Neighborhood: East Village
Address: 828 Broadway
Website: strandbooks.com

It’s safe to say that The Strand is a one-of-a-kind bookstore. Established in 1927 by Benjamin Bass on Fourth Avenue as part of “bookstore row,” it moved to its current location in the ‘50s as the sole survivor. With its three stories containing “18 miles” of books—possibly not including the dollar racks outside—The Strand is a very lively relic from the increasingly distant past, containing both claustrophobia-inducing racks reaching to the ceiling on the main floor and airy reading spaces in the art and photo sections on the second. The rare book room plays host to talks from prominent authors and artists, ranging from Raymond Pettibon to David Sedaris, as well as housing inscribed works as well as first editions. As book shopping becomes an evermore sterile experience, The Strand stands as a reminder that it doesn’t have to be that way.— Russ Bengtson 

Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club

Image via Archinect

Neighborhood: Gowanus
Address: 514 Union St.
Website: royalpalmsshuffle.com

The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club is an extremely low key place that invites its guests to step out of their normal happy hour routine and try something new for a change. If you have no clue of what shuffleboard is, here’s the gist: you push a weighted puck down a court with broom-shaped paddles—not too hard—hoping it lands on the most points possible. The  thing that makes the Royal Palms stand out is the availability to make shuffleboard a drinking game. The place offers cocktail specials, delicious food trucks for some grub, and a massive space so that no one gets in your way.  Be spontaneous for a change and head out to the shuffleboard lanes. — Cedric Hall

Glasserie

Image via FreeWilliamsburg

Neighborhood: Greenpoint
Address: 95 Commercial St.
Website: glasserienyc.com

As Greenpoint has shifted from industrial zone and Polish enclave to hipster mecca, its food game has evolved accordingly. Case in point: Glasserie, a new Mediterranean restaurant at the far northern tip of the neighborhood. Founded by Sara Conklin and located in an old glass factory—hence its name—the restaurant specializes in delicious takes on tried-and-true classics. Menu items include lots of seafood and lamb dishes, but the standout is the rabbit, which is up there with some of the best food you can find anywhere in New York City right now. — Nathan Reese

Flight Club

Image via Buamai

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Address: 812 Broadway
Website: flightclub.com

If you’re a sneakerhead (or not) chances are you’ve heard the raving reviews Flight Club receives on the daily.  For a decade, Flight Club has been the middle passage for buying, selling, and trading limited edition and vintage sneakers. People from all over the world have trekked to the two exclusive US stores to step foot in the heavenly kingdom of sneakers that are difficult to stumble upon anywhere else. The sign-less storefront could initially fool first-time guests into thinking less of the place. However, once inside, it’s as if you reached the end of the rainbow and are now aimlessly forced to sift through kicks and apparel for purchase. Shopaholics may want to stay at home for this one, because you’re sure to walk out with more than you bargained for. —Cedric Hall 

New York Public Library

Image via Wikimedia

Neighborhood: Midtown
Address: 5th Ave. at 42nd St.
Website: nypl.org

Serving the New York area for over a century, the New York Public Library has been an essential provider to many neighborhoods and visitors for quite a while. It’s a place that holds history, heritage, and an exceptional abundance of resources available to anyone who may come into contact with the place—which makes it a pretty dope library to stumble across. Channel into your creative psyche and sign up for the offered poetry workshops, or check out exhibitions from notable photographers like Donald Andrew. This experience is sure to leave you up on game to more information you may have been blinded by before entering.—Cedric Hall

Primrose Cafe

Image via EventUp

Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Address: 147 Green Ave.
Website: primrosenyc.com

If Fort Greene is the new Park Slope, then Clinton Hill is the old Fort Greene. That doesn’t make much sense, but, hey, they have to justify raising the rent somehow. In any case, Primrose is one of the places that make Clinton Hill so friendly and welcoming. It’s a tiny café on the garden floor of a brownstone. It’s got vegan and gluten-free snacks, great music on the stereo, a New York Times on the table for you to read, a sunny backyard, and friendly staff. It’s easy to miss because it looks like it should be someone’s apartment, but those in the know come to Primrose early and often on the weekends. — Lauretta Charlton

Variety Roasting

Image via Sprudge

Neighborhood: Williamsburg
Address: Various
Website: varietynyc.com

There are three Variety Coffee shops in Brooklyn: The one in Greenpoint, the one in Williamsburg off the Graham Stop, and now, the Variety deep in Bushwick, in a neighborhood otherwise known as Wycoff Heights. All three places arrived long before the throngs of tourists started following Manhattanite-outward migrations; all three places are basically neighborhood centers, usually piping great albums—and only great albums—through the place (alternately, owner Gavin Compton’s default: Springsteen). And all three regularly turn out some of the best coffee in Brooklyn, which for the longest time, was made with Stumptown beans. Recently, Variety started to mix it up, using Lofted Coffee Roasters and Toby’s Estate beans instead, getting drinkers and Wi-Fi squatters to expand their palates, or at least, get away from the same old stuff.

But the newest spot isn’t just going to be a new center of gravity for far Bushwick, it’s also where Variety’s going to be roasting its own coffee, too. That said, it won’t change the appeal Variety’s always had, inspiring diehard loyalty in regulars and making them critical drop-ins whenever you’re in their ‘hoods: The people. Variety’s baristas aren’t just some of the greatest in the city, but the friendliest, too, and they’ll serve the Pitchfork-approved songwriter, the Sundance darling screenwriter, the neighborhood old-timers, and you with no more and no less the same niceties. Some days in north Brooklyn, there’s just no better way to kill time inside—and maybe meet some great people—than a hour spent throwing back coffee in a Variety. — Foster Kamer

Beloved

Image via freewilliamsburg

Neighborhood: Greenpoint
Address: 674 Manhattan Ave
Website: belovedbar.com

Beloved happens to be one of those neighborhood bars that you and your friends can randomly walk into if you plan to grab amazing drinks in more of a chill atmosphere. There’s an open space for dancing, a backyard, and of course a bar where bartenders are enthused to serve specialty drinks. There’s no doubt the people in here know exactly what they’re doing. Sit back, relax, and allow the bartender to concoct a drink that matches your mood, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the place. Consider Beloved for your next celebration or casual date.—Cedric Hall

Supreme

Image via EUNUM

Neighborhood: SoHo, Nolita
Address: 274 Lafayette St.
Website: supremenewyork.com

This skateboarder’s safe haven is located in a cozy little shop in Soho. The gear—high-end apparel, such as the Nike SB sneaker line exclusively available in skateboard shops, is sure to send skate rats into a frenzy. Even if you aren’t into skating and enjoy the brand itself, dropping by the store is an experience alone. After working with pioneering designers, musicians, and artists, Supreme has become a cultural landmark that anyone should check out if they are in the NYC area.—Cedric Hall

Kiehl’s

Image via HollyJCurtis

Neighborhood: Various
Address: 109 3rd Ave.
Website: kiehls.com

It may seem strange to put a luxury cosmetics shop on a list filled with bars, music venues, and restaurants, but Kiehl’s, whether you know it or not, is as much of a New York institution as Russ & Daughters or the New York Public Library. Kiehl’s was founded way back in 1851 and has occupied the same storefront in the East Village since then, meaning it has spent one hundred and fifty years in the same exact spot. Though the original pharmacy may look a different than it did in pre-Civil War days, it still has an appealingly old time-y vibe. It’s worth stopping by if you need some quality shampoo, or just for the comfort that, though businesses and bars come and go, some things never change. — Nathan Reese

Village Vanguard

Image via BarNoneGroup

Neighborhood: West Village
Address: 178 7th Ave. S
Website: villagevanguard.com

The Village Vanguard is more than a jazz club. It’s an institution. In 2015, it will have been around for 80 years. The number of musicians who have graced its stage is staggering. You walk down 15 steps and find yourself in a small room with cramped tables and a host, Lorraine Gordon, who does not give a shit who you are or what you’re doing in the club that her husband opened in 1935. She’s there to uphold some unspoken rule about making sure jazz musicians know that they still have a place to call home in New York City. Recording a live album at the Village Vanguard is a badge of honor that any self respecting Miles Davis-lover would appreciate. The only thing better than listening to a live version of Sonny Rollins recorded at the Vanguard, is to see him there on the stage. You don’t even have to be a jazz fan to love this place. You just need to appreciate its deep history in the New York arts scene. Once you’re there, you’ll realize that the history and legend is seeping through the walls. That sensation alone will get you through the first set of the night. — Lauretta Charlton

Carbone

Image via GQ

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Address: 181 Thompson St.
Website: carbonenewyork.com

Carbone is the Italian restaurant you want to be at in 2014. The old world Italian cuisine that boasts big portions of the basics done the best—the veal parm, meatballs (best in the city, sorry everyone else) and the spicy rigatoni ala vodka are absolute musts. Besides the stellar food, Carbone’s decor successfully takes you back to the 50’s—checkered tile floor from “The Godfather” and all. There may be a homage to the classic film, but Carbone succeeds where other Italian restaurants in that the Italian atmosphere isn’t cliche nor corny. The wait staff is friendly, hip and doesn’t try too hard to impress you with their faux Italian accent. During the early evening dinner hours classic music from the 50s and 60s permeates the dining room and later in the night at around 11:30 a perfect all Hip-Hop (Jay Z, Biggie, Tupac, etc etc) playlist kicks in. It’s not often you get to leave a place and brag to your friends “I went to the best Italian spot in the city,” but you can when you leave Carbone. — Joe La Puma

East River Tattoo

Image via MattooManner

Neighborhood: Greenpoint
Address: 1047 Manhattan Ave.
Website: eastrivertattoo.com

In a city full of great tattoo shops, none is cooler than East River. Owned by contemporary artist Duke Riley and designed by tattooer Sue Jeiven, the shop has a quirky old-school maritime vibe fitting of the type of tattoos they needle into skin. Walk-ins are welcome, and even if you aren’t looking for any body modification, its worth a visit for inspiration alone. – Nick Schonberger

Alife Rivington

Image via GorillasRiot

Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Address: 158 Rivington St.
Website: alifenewyork.com

Been looking for those retro Nike’s for quite sometime now? If you come across the Alife Rivington Club, the shoe gods might grant your wishes and make your dreams come true. This place is known for having all of the “hard to find” kicks in stock at their Rivington Street location. The store is extremely personal creating an exclusive shopping adventure with their dark wooden shelves and alluring mood lighting.  Apparently, this one’s not for the footlocker freaks either, true sneakerheads need to brace themselves for the experience they’ve been striving for, for so long. This place has a profound reputation, so drop in if you have a stack to throw.—Cedric Hall

Warby Parker

Image via DowntownMagazineNYC

Neighborhood: SoHo, South Village
Address: Various
Website: warbyparker.com

Warby Parker is everyone’s favorite mail-order glasses service, serving-up designer frames at affordable prices. But you already know this. What you may not know is that WP also happens to have four fabulous showrooms in New York where you can see their whole stock in person. These brick and mortar shops are staffed with helpful folks that will walk you through the order process and find a frame that’s just right for your face. E-commerce may be the future, but nothing beats actually holding something in your hand before you buy it. — Nathan Reese

Bossa Nova Civic Club

Image via NewYorkTimes

Neighborhood: Bushwick
Address: 1271 Myrtle Ave.
Website: bossanovacivicclub.com

Bossa Nova Civic Club is a strange anomaly in the New York nightlife world. For one, it’s a legitimate venue with the bonafides of an underground warehouse party. Then there’s the fact that, at two years old, Bossa Nova is just as cool as the day it opened (perhaps moreso, considering the caliber of acts they’ve been booking). Parties may come and go, venues open and close, but so far Bossa Nova Civic Club remains the best place to dance for serious fans of electronic music. — Nathan Reese

Bergen Street Comics

Image via StudioPhototrope

Neighborhood: Park Slope
Address: 470 Bergen St.
Website: bergenstreetcomics.com

2014 is a great time to be a comic book fan. Titles like Saga and Pretty Deadly have put creator-owned comics back on the map, big names like Hawkeye and Moon Knight have gone in fantastic new directions, and longtime favorites like The Walking Dead continue to go strong. Unfortunately, while comics themselves are doing just fine, brick and mortar shops are struggling. Enter Bergen Street Comics, a beautiful little store located between Prospect Heights and Park Slope. The staff is always friendly, the selection fantastic, and there’s none of the creepy old-school vibe that some comic book stores still cling to. Whether you’re a lifelong comic book lover, or just curious about getting back into them, you owe it to yourself to visit Bergen Street Comics. — Nathan Reese

Roberta’s

Image via ThisIsGonnaBeGood

Neighborhood: Williamsburg
Address: 261 Moore St.
Website: robertaspizza.com

It might as well be the town hall of Bushwick, since it’s also the North Brooklyn neighborhood’s biggest draw. Rightly so: Carlo Mirarchi’s pizza joint is so much more that just a pizza joint. That isn’t to say that the Neapolitan pies coming out of those massive ovens aren’t worth showing up for, because they are, and maybe have a higher hype-to-reality quotient than any other piece of pizza in New York. Take the Bee Sting, for example: soppressata, honey, mozzarella, and chili oil—the kind of sweet fire you’re never gonna find on any other slice in America. But there are levels to Roberta’s, figuratively, and literally: The plated dishes are regularly providing new revelations in flavor.

And then there’s the Tiki Bar, out back, serving up frozen blended drinks and raging dance parties year round. Or the in-house radio station. Or the garden, or the apiary, or any of the other magical places—on what could only be described less as a restaurant space, and more as a campus—where they grow the stuff that goes in their food. And if you’re lucky enough, you might one day get to see the inside of Blanca, the restaurant-within-a-restaurant of Roberta’s, and possibly the hottest reservation in town these days, a meal people usually liken to a religious experience. Basic humans will shy away from the commute to Bushwick, or the two hour wait they’ll give you at the door. Give not into the temptation to be basic: Head out back to the bar, get a drink, and settle in. One of the best meals/nights you can have in New York is just getting started. — Foster Kamer

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