Okay, I’m gonna be honest; I am not a pro on New York. I’ve been many times throughout my life but I’ve never been the one to do the directions or try to find the “hot spots”. I recently stubbled upon these little corners of the city and many are probably very well known already; however, they were not on my Pinterest search for “things to do in NYC”, so in some little way they are “local” approved (I say this because a few of these places came from the recommendation of locals) (still not me, I am in no way a local).
This is without a doubt at the top of my list. You walk in and you think it’s just a little bakery where you look in the glass and pick what you want, but no. Bypass the line of tourists and you’ll see a host stand and be taken to a table. From there, you order at least the plain New York style cheesecake. Trust me, my mouth is watering while typing this. I can’t even put into words how much this cheesecake changed my life. You know that scene in “Friends” where Chandler and Rachel find the cheesecake and its so good they eat it off the floor? Yea, that’s how I feel about this cheesecake. We also got the chocolate cake and it was phenomenal too, but if you have to choose one, get the cheesecake.
Eataly: La Pizza & La Pasta
Okay, so this is pretty well known, but since even though it’s popular and I still saw only locals (or really good acting tourists), I am including on the list. There is an Eataly in Boston and when I used to live there I frequented it often; however, it doesn’t even come close to the Eataly in New York. This Eataly is tight and cozy and has the best pizza it was almost like actually being in Italy. Also, get their house wines, they’re great and cheaper than the wine list. (Make a reservation, it may not be crowded but there will still be a wait!)
Birch Coffee West Village
You can choose any Birch Coffee spots, there were a few we saw (and went into), but this was the largest with the most seating room. We ran into this little place after walking for what felt like forever searching for the “cutest” coffee shop and I’m so glad we stumbled upon this one. Me, being my lactose-intolerant self (and the worst one, see the above photo of all the pizza), got my normal oat-milk latte, and I would recommend to you the exact same thing. I like to call myself somewhat of a coffee connoisseur, so when I find that one cup that has that specific taste, I know it’s a good spot. Wow, I sound so pretentious, but it’s true. This was the best coffee, my friend and I sought it out several times throughout our trip, while also ordering the chocolate croissant and seeing some cute dogs along the way.
We found this cafe after the “originally recommended from tourists” cafe was too busy. We were so hungry and tired of searching and luckily this very aesthetic little cafe popped up. They squeezed us in and the menu looked so good and of course, like always, I got the basic avocado toast. If it makes anyone feel better, it didn’t taste like basic avocado toast. Both my friend and I loved this artsy little spot that was too crowded to be considered a hole in the wall but we were definitely the only tourists there.
So there you are, tourist tips from a tourist in the hopes that you enjoy New York a little more than you would if you just followed the lists of everyone else. Voila! Enjoy!