We’re always bowled over by how complex and captivating our cities are when you start opening doors. Which is perhaps why the recently published children’s book Inside Out: New York, struck such a chord with us. Illustrated by the enormously talented Josh Cochran, the book is a dramatic and detailed landscape of the city, that folds out through a double-sided concertina, featuring the exterior of over 80 signature landmarks on one side and revealing their buzzing interiors in the other.
1. Coney Island
A classic destination, but well worth a visit. I actually dislike the beach part of Coney Island (I’m from Southern California) but the boardwalk is pretty epic. Eat a hot dog, check out the hand painted signage. A better local beach to check out would be Fort Tilden. A tad more difficult to reach via subway but a really nice bike ride in and not very crowded. I should also mention, tops are optional here.
2. Brooklyn Bridge
I love to walk across the bridge during the nicer months. It gets a tad crowded but you can’t really beat the sights. A favorite thing to do is quietly sing Empire State of Mind by Jay Z while dodging the tourists.
3. Nom Wah Tea Parlor
This is New York City’s first dim sum house. They serve dim sum all day and night. Most places only serve dim sum during brunch hours. Decor is very old school New York and the food is spot on.
4. Intrepid Space Museum
This is a cool place to see the actual space shuttle and right on the water as well. During the summer they show outdoor movies right on the aircraft carrier.
5. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Still a solid place to hang out if you go on a weekday. There are all sorts of interesting exhibits here and it’s nice to wander around on a rainy afternoon and get a little lost.
6. Desert Island Comics
My favorite bookstore. It’s small and owned by a guy named Gabe. He also hosts the Comics Art Brooklyn festival every year which features a lot of really great art and comics. Well curated featuring beautiful limited edition books as well as fan favorites.
7. Prospect Park
I like this smaller park because it’s not as crowded and feels rather intimate vs. its Manhattan counterpart, Central Park. There are still places you can wander around without seeing a single person and great lawns to lay out in and people watch. Once I saw a red tailed hawk hanging out, right above my head.
8. East River Water taxis
These ferries go up and down Brooklyn and is a fun way to go from Greenpoint down to Dumbo. It also ventures into Manhattan. It also goes really, really fast.
9. Redhook Soccer Tacos
Just google this. Anthony Bourdain featured them in an episode of No Reservations. Best described as a large gathering of food trucks featuring an array of beautiful pupusas, tacos and huaraches.
10. Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel
Remember that amazing children’s book Madeline? There is a beautiful mural painted by Ludwig Bemelmans featuring Madeline in Central Park. It’s one of those tiny New York bars that has a piano in it and people wearing fur coats and bow ties. Though I found it really fun and not that stuffy at all. Drinks are really expensive but I think it’s worth it for the stellar people watching and fancy vibe.