Thursday, September 12, 2013

UPDATED: Traveling Tips for New York

** Individuals reached out to us seeking a good place to grab some pizza in New York. So, we reached out to New York native, Jimmy P., once again for his local recommendations. See below for the go-to places for a good pie.

For those of you flying out to New York to see the Giants take on the Mets and Yankees next week, and have never been to the Big Apple, we wanted to list some tips that should make your trip more enjoyable.

We'll skip the airfare and hotel recommendations, since both are ridiculously expensive, and you probably have all of that squared away by now ... we hope.

Fans flying into Newark, we strongly recommend taking the Newark Airport Shuttle bus to midtown. Buses departs every 15 minutes, and provide non-stop service to New York City with only three stops in Manhattan. One-way fare is $16, or roundtrip is $28. Tickets must be purchased online.

Fans flying into JFK, if the thought of spending $50-75 for a cab ride is too steep. We would suggest taking the AirTrain connector to the MTA's "Jamaica" station and hop on a MTA subway train for a ride into Manhattan. It will require a transfer once you're on the island, but it's not a bad ride and much cheaper than getting a cab or a town car.

Once you're in the City, make sure to get a MTA Metro Card. Most likely, you're gonna use the subway a lot once you're in the city so load up your card. Base fares are $2.50, but if you purchase the 7-day Unlimited card it's only $30. Make sure not to lose your card since the system charges $1 for every new card issued. Therefore, just add $10-15 the first time around to get you started. Finally, familiarize yourself with the subway system map. Yes, it looks complicated and overwhelming, but it's quite simple. Also, download a NYC subway system app to your smartphone, several are available to choose from.

If this is your first visit to the Big Apple, by all means, do the touristy stuff while you're there. Go to Times Square, Broadway, Theatre District, Central Park, Guggenheim, National Museum, etc. Just get it out of your system and go visit these places. Be forewarned, you'll be surrounded by other like-minded tourists, and keep your wallets in your front pockets and keep your purses in front of you. These areas are high pick-pocket areas too, so be careful.

Okay, so this isn't your first rodeo, and you've been to NYC plenty of times and have seen all of the touristy things ... what next? First, check out the areas where the locals are. For this, we tapped the shoulder of our good friend, "Jimmy P.", a lifelong New York resident who currently resides in Manhattan. By far the best place to hangout for drinks and unpretentious food is the West Village. The list below represents Jimmy's recommendation, and the ones with an asterisk are places that we've visited too.

*Blind Tiger Ale House:  We've been here before, albeit it was six years ago, but this place is solid. Definitely the craft beer destination in the West Village. This place is really known for their beer selection. They serve food as well.

If you're looking for a typical bar establishment checkout: Half Pint, 3 Sheets, and Amity Hall. Think Pete's Tavern in San Francisco.

Wogies: A Philly sports bar known for their cheesesteaks.

Employees Only: Think Comstock Saloon in San Francisco, same kind of vibe.

Windsor: This is for high end / expensive sports bar with good looking crowd.

Wilfie & Nell, Kingswood, and Highlands: these establishments are known for their food, and are not a sports bar, but Jimmy tells us these are places are solid for great meal with good drinks.

WXOU Radio: If you're looking for a no-frills drinking establishment, this is it. A classic dive bar. Note, this is a CASH ONLY establishment.

White Horse, Corner Bistro: if you're in the mood for a great burger, Jimmy recommends these two spots. In fact, he tells us that Corner Bistro has the best burger in the City!

*Kettle of Fish: We've been here too, it's still weird to walk down some steps to a place that looks like a basement, but this place has a solid following. If you want just drinks, then this is the place. Be forewarned, this is a Green Bay Packers bar.

Please note, most bars in Manhattan closes at 4 a.m., so PACE YOURSELF.

If you haven't been to a play in NYC, then go ahead and check one out. You'll be surprised, they're actually really good. Another great spot that people are frequenting is Brooklyn. In fact, a number of folks in our group is staying out there. Two places that have been recommended are Fabbrica and Die Koelner Bierhalle. The former is kinda like a gastropub, and latter is a German themed beer hall. In fact, they start their Oktoberfest celebrations next week.


John's on Bleecker Street: is good, probably a little overrated and usually a line to wait outside as it's fairly touristy but still good. Individual slices are not sold here, you must order the whole pie.

Keste: a nice sit-down pizzeria, and across the street from John's. A bit more upscale.

Numero 28 and Joe's (on Carmine): some of the best pizza in the city, and individual slices are available.

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