The City Guide to New York

Experience Gotham City like a local with the HYPEBEAST team’s picks.

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City Guides
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It’s hard to write an introduction for New York. Chances are that if you’ve never been here, you probably already recognize a lot of New York City since it’s an omnipresent backdrop in film, television and music videos. Not only that, the city has a ubiquitous presence across social media — alone, the “NYC” tag on Instagram returns more than 62 million results. The five boroughs that make up New York (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island) are some of the most exciting and diverse places in the world. During the day you can visit neighborhoods that represent cultures from all over the planet, while at night you can party until you drop and get a feel for why they call it The City That Never Sleeps. Of course, you can do the tourist thing and see the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Grand Central Terminal, but once that’s out of your system, New York is best experienced on the streets less-travelled — whether it’s grabbing some food from a taco truck (beginner difficulty) or trying your hand at a game of streetball (experts only). Neighborhoods like Chinatown in Manhattan, Bushwick in Brooklyn, and Woodside in Queens might not be the easiest to navigate as a first-time visitor, but they’ll leave you with a proper perspective on why New Yorkers are so passionate about their city.

News about NYC these days often focuses on how expensive the city is, but if you look around, there are plenty of amazing options outside of $200 USD omakases and the $20 USD cocktails. So, to give visitors a feel for some favorite local spots, and to compare notes with our readers here in The Big Apple, for our latest HYPEBEAST City Guide, we’ve gone introspective and asked the HYPEBEAST New York team for their top picks. Take a look at our list below and let us know your own go-to spots (if you don’t mind blowing their cover) in the comments — we’ll be sure to try out your recommendations.

Best Coffee Shop

Eddie Eng

Presso Coffee in Flushing. I stumbled upon this coffee spot after a spirited afternoon of Shanghai food with my friends down the block. The coffee is Stumptown, the atmosphere is fairly subdued, the space is huge, and the wi-fi is free. Plus if you’re looking for a quick bite, their croissant sandwiches are actually pretty decent. Don’t forget to bring a laptop.

Joe Encarnacion

Blue Bottle coffee is like crack, but it’s pretentious and annoying to wait in line watching water drip for a $6 USD cup, so I only get the New Orleans Iced Coffee. Walk down a couple blocks from the Williamsburg location to Serita Coffee for a quiet, elegant Japanese lifestyle-type joint. Very pleasant.

Robert Marshall

Peck’s on Myrtle Ave in Clinton Hill. It’s right around the corner from me, so I typically stop by and grab an ice coffee before work or my weekend trip to the park with my dog, Arnie. The coffee is great, the service is top-notch, and the baked goods are next level, especially the Pecan Chocolate Babka Buns! But it doesn’t stop there, as Peck’s has a chill backyard patio and they serve everything from deli meats to beer.

Felson Sajonas

Culture Espresso is a favorite amongst the HB editors, since it’s also right around the corner from the office. Their cold brew iced-coffee is super smooth and you can’t beat their pastries like the maple syrup-infused donuts and wild berry pop tarts.

Lily Chen

Spreadhouse is a gem in a prime location – it’s a quiet Boho shop with swinging chairs and ground cushions.

Adriana de Gaspar

KAVE in Bushwick is totally inconspicuous from the exterior; you enter through a long dramatic green hallway that spills out into the cozy shop. There’s a piano, there’s a dog-friendly patio in the back and the coffee is potent. 

Keith Estiler

Everyman Espresso – a great place to grab an espresso shot and the space is pretty roomy. Not to mention, there is also a cozy theater hosting shows at the back. 

Best Grooming/Barber Shop

Joe Encarnacion

Persons of Interest in Brooklyn is a hipster joint with talented barbers, chill vibes, and excellent music selection. Head barber Garrett is a G. Grab a beer from the cooler while you wait. However, Well Connected in the LES is my go-to cut & fade shop. Hilarious banter, blaring hip hop, and a revolving door of satisfied regulars. Ask for the homie Vince (Mista Butta). Show some love and buy a snapback.

Felson Sajonas

Freemans Sporting Club Barber has some of the best cutters in the business. Very professional and you’ll get exactly what you want. There’s no fuss, just straight-up clean and consistent cuts.

Lily Chen

Unleashed Spa and Self Service Dog Wash in the East Village. Yes, in New York paying to wash your dog yourself at the groomers exists – particularly when said dog is shedding and will clog up an already non-draining shower.

Ben Roazen

Astor Hair — All of my barbers speak Russian, so I’m a fan of Astor Hair. Astor has a fleet of barbers that collectively speak as many languages as the United Nations. They’ve cut hair for celebrities, local legends and politicians.

Best Spot to Pick Up New Balance Sneakers

The New Balance Unite space in the newly-relaunched Foot Locker store on 34th Street in Manhattan is the place to visit. With an unparalleled selection of rare and limited edition NB styles from across the globe, the space is a one-stop-shop for NB fans in any easy-to-access part of the city.

Best Cheap Eats

Eddie Eng

Shanghai Cafe Deluxe is arguably the best soup dumplings and scallion pancakes available, all for under $10 USD to fill you and your guests up. Pan fried noodles are hit-or-miss, and avoid the fried-mini buns here (they’re larger and crispier down the block at 456) but overall this place is great. Cash only and I think the bossy host lady doesn’t work there anymore, so feel free to bring out-of-towners.

Joe Encarnacion

Hunger Pang in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn is a chill eatery with amazing Asian American comfort food. It was started by Brooklyn native Medwin Pang, who appeared in the movie Kids as one of the Washington Square Park skate rats. Taqueria De Los Muertos in Prospect Heights is the only legit SF style burrito in NYC. Bay area stand up! The Islands just down the way is the ill Caribbean joint in Prospect Heights—their curry goat is the spiciest food I’ve ever had. 

Felson Sajonas

Los Tacos No.1 located inside the Chelsea Market has the best tacos in New York in my opinion. The go-to is the carne asada on soft corn taco shells for $3.75 USD. Order an ice-cold cup of horchata too to wash it down.

Lily Chen

Uncle Zhou in Elmhurst or New World Mall Food Court in Flushing hands down. New World Mall Food Court’s cheap eats have no competition. Ride down to the basement and get 20+ stalls (get the hand pulled noodle soup in the corner).

Ben Roazen

Baohaus — I’ve spent many a night scarfing down a Manager’s Meal at Baohaus ever since I stumbled into the place one night in sophomore year. I’ve never looked back. Absolutely essential if you’re drinking/partying/socializing anywhere near the Union Square area. Zaragoza Mexican Deli is essential because it’s a bigger and cheaper burrito than Chipotle and they garnish it with three sauces that make up the Mexican flag.

Keith Estiler

Cristina’s Deli and Grill in Whitestone, NY is perfect for late night munchies. Be sure to ask for the Heart Attack sandwich.

Kareem Cooper

The Bagel Store - There’s two of them but the one on Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg is the better choice. There’s a bunch of incredible flavored bagels (the french toast and rainbow bagel are super lit)  as well cream cheeses; they’ll also make almost any sandwich for you. Also, Crif Dogs and Don Panchito Food Truck.

The New Museum in downtown Manhattan

Best Art Space

Felson Sajonas

The new Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking neighborhood is a great place to spend the day looking at cool modern art. It’s small so seeing everything won’t be too daunting like the other big museums in the city. The outside area on each floor also has some sculptures and you can hang out there on a good day to see nice views of the city. 

Lily Chen

Dia:Beacon in Beacon, New York — about a one hour’s train ride away that’s art & nature combined.

Ben Roazen

The Hole Gallery on Bowery, The New Museum.

Best Place to Grab a Drink

Joe Encarnacion

Angel’s Share for the ultimate date spot: a Japanese speakeasy, hidden behind Village Yokocho in the East Village. Grab a table by the window during a winter snowfall for the ill backdrop. If you’re not winning that night, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Washington Commons in Prospect Heights for a pleasant beer with the homies. 

Robert Marshall

There isn’t a more hipster joint in Clinton Hill than Cardiff Giant, and I love it. It’s a quaint bar with an outdoor patio that only serves alcohol from New York State. The cocktails are phenomenal and the bartenders know what they’re talking about. I take all my Tinder dates here because it’s in close proximity to my crib. “Wanna go back to my place and meet my dog?” 60% of the time it works every time.

Felson Sajonas

Employees Only is beloved by those who work in the restaurant industry, hence the name. Go with the Billionaire Cocktail.

Lily Chen

Pregame at Mr. Fong’s and then go to Happy Ending in LES.

Ben Roazen

Masion Premier in Williamsburg has a literal absinthe fountain—and it just won a James Beard award for best cocktails. Also, oysters. Other great cocktail spots would be Apotheke and Sweet Chick (The Elvis is still my favorite drink I’ve had in the LES).

Keith Estiler

Kinfolk 90 is a gorgeous venue with salvaged wood lining its walls. The bartenders are chill, the bathrooms are unisex, and most of the time, bar patrons are down to earth just like the music playing. 

Kareem Cooper

The Charleston has extremely cheap deals — during happy hour you can get a personal pizza, a beer, and a shot for $5 USD. Also at Berry Park The music is really good and the drinks are even better. The huckleberry lemonade might change your life.

Best Place for a Street Snap

Joe Encarnacion

They may be overused, but Instagram noobs, have at it: Spring Street Salt Shed, Irish Hunger Memorial, Stuyvesant Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park Steps.

Felson Sajonas

Mercer Street’s brick roads are a great backdrop for street style photography. The facades of the shops and boutiques will add a bit of allure to your images as well.

Lily Chen

The corner on Crosby & Howard in SoHo – it’s a cobblestone street corner with low black-metal stairs.

Ben Roazen

Bond St. Mews, the piss-soaked alley between Supreme and Housing Works, any of the art-plastered walls in Nolita.

Keith Estiler

You won’t find many tourists posing for pics at the 9th St. Path Station with its crazy exterior pipe installation on the ceiling. Also check out the graffiti-soaked alleyway of North 6th St. in Brooklyn or under the docks at Coney Island. The striking architecture of the Fulton Center and the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub are also great places to shoot. Lastly, if you’re looking for GoT vibes in the city, head to The Cloisters in upper Manhattan.

Kareem Cooper

East River State Park – The scenery is amazing, it’s like a painting come to life.

Hidden Gems

Eddie Eng

The Lo Mein Cart outside of Chase on the corner of Mott and Canal St. If they’re giving out Michelin Stars to hawkers in Singapore, this lady can’t be too far off. For less than a bottle of Coke, you can get some of the best tasting stir fried rice noodle in the city, jam packed but contained neatly in a 4×4 styrofoam take out box. Don’t forget the extra napkins and expect to drop a lot of it, but careful not to lose any of the mini roast pork bits or the tiny pieces of egg–they’re the best part of the order.

Robert Marshall

Fort Greene Park between 7:30-9:30 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday. I have a schnauzer named Arnie that needs to get out of the apartment and run around, and there’s no better place in my neighborhood than Fort Greene Park, sorry Spike. On the weekends, It turns into the Westminster Dog Show where every breed imaginable is running around just happy to be off the leash. I dare you to walk through the park and leave without a smile. It’s just too damn cute!

Felson Sajonas

Apotheke is a super cool speakeasy and it takes a bit of searching to actually see the entrance. Once inside you’ll be amazed by the décor and the bartenders in lab coats. They have cool cocktail names like the Sitting Buddha and Tokyo Drift. Dress up a bit to up your chances of getting in.

Austin Boykins

The West 4th Street courts are a mecca because the emphasis is on basketball. No extra seating to cater to celebs or influencers, all you have is a court with tall fences surrounding its lines. Reminiscent of a wrestling match where opponents fight to come out victorious. Bring your A game and hold nothing back.

Keith Estiler

Trek to Objectify 139 in the Lower East Side to find waxed doll candles and quirky books on emerging artists. If you’re into Dia de Los Muertos kitsch, Fuego 718 in Williamsburg is the place to be.

Kareem Cooper

Nitehawk Cinema - Kind of like a movie theatre/restaurant hybrid. Their movie selection isn’t large but they make up for it by sometimes showing really dope old school movies or the most random movie they could find. Good way to spend a night if you need something to do.

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