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Mix one part Luxardo maraschino liqueur with one part ephemera and you’ve got Behind The Wood, New York’s newest craft cocktail pop-up bar operating on Friday and Saturday nights inside Venturo Osteria & Wine Bar in Sunnyside, Queens. Aiming to fill Sunnyside’s glaring void of late night cocktail haunts, BTW co-founders Mashia Baldwin and Scott Scaffidi officially opened the pop-up on July 24, and thankfully, the two veteran bartenders have big plans to stay open through December, changing up their seasonally themed craft cocktail menu every two months.
Better known as the Bloody Mary, this iconic brunch cocktail can be traced back to the upscale St. Regis Hotel’s King Cole Bar, where in 1934, French bartender Fernand Petiot delivered on Serge Obolensky’s request for his famous vodka-tomato cocktail, only this time adding salt, pepper, lemon and Worcestershire. At the time, “Bloody Mary” was deemed too vulgar a name for the St. Regis’ upper crust clientele, and thus, the maritime moniker remained. King Cole Bar still pours the simple vodka- and tomato-based highball, now accented by a smoky kick of cayenne pepper.
A rolling-track ladder is a solid indicator of a good wine shop. Slope Cellars uses one to reach a wall-to-wall collection of global bottles, marked by an impressive assortment of French wines as well as a broad selection of $12-and-under offerings. Look for organic and local wines marked with a star.
This cramped, subterranean transit nave wasn’t always the catacomb of controlled chaos New Yorkers love to hate. Inspired by the Roman Baths of Caracalla and shaped from the same stone as the Colosseum, the original 1910 Penn was regarded as one of the most noble buildings in Manhattan. Sadly, the grand facade was destroyed in 1963, and in 1969, the city erected the fluorescent-lit battleship gray concourse you tolerate today.
In 1989, my mother moved three kids, two cats, two birds, one dog, and her newly-minted husband from a somewhat normal suburban life in northern New Jersey to a deteriorating 22-room Victorian mansion in southern Delaware. Locally famous for its age and size, the Harrington townies affectionately knew it as "The Fleming Mansion."
It’s no surprise that the cocktail virtuosos at this knock-and-buzz Milk and Honey spinoff yield a traditional Sazerac so well-balanced it could bring Peychaud himself back from the dead. It’s this absinthe-rinse-served-on-the-side type of authenticity at the brushed-steel bar that’ll leave cocktail mavens glad they waited in line.
A derivative of the 18th century Blue Stocking Society—an English collective established to promote literature written for women, by women—this volunteer-powered bookstore, activist center and fair trade cafe stays true to its eponym housing over 6,000 titles on feminism, sexuality, anarchism, social justice and queer and gender studies. There’s even a case devoted to alternative menstrual products, affectionately labeled “BSTOX.” Check the events calendar for nightly readings, workshops, performances, discussions and films.
Conveniently located just a few steps from the Bedford Avenue L train, Dziupla is a rare combination of elevated quality and quantity in an area all too sadly known for its overpriced, mediocre-at-best eats. For the ultimate value, swing by during happy hour Monday through Friday from 4pm to 7pm, where you can indulge in $3 beers, $4 wines and half off all pierogies. At just $5 a plate, the chanterelle-topped spinach and goat cheese pierogies are one of the cheapest eats in all of NYC.
If you’re looking to get as close to nature as possible while basking in the glory of indoor plumbing, then this high-end glass cabin is for you. Nestled on a private six-acre lot blanketed by a lush fern forest, architect Adam Rolston’s modern-rustic design touts floor-to-ceiling windows along the entire length of the cabin. Guests can enjoy morning coffee on the private deck or evening cocoa in front of the Danish wood-burning stove.
Kalustyan’s is a chili head’s utopia. This two-story, packed-to-the-rafters ethnic grocery store is teeming with Middle Eastern and South Asian spices offered in coarse, powdered and liquid forms. When you’re done stocking up on harissa and Calabrian spread, head upstairs to the deli where you can sit and enjoy a house-made falafel sandwich dressed to the nines with lettuce, tomato, pickles, tahini and (of course) hot sauce.
Small but mighty, this independent shop has been serving Pratt scholars since 2001. Sam Lee is at the helm, eager to help his customers find the right sketchpad, chipboard or foamcore. Rumor has it he’s been known to make special deliveries and even keep the shop open after hours for students with last-minute art supply needs.
Scores of hungry New Yorkers and homesick Chicagoans have been flocking to this neighborhood pizzeria since North Shore native Emmett Burke first opened its doors in 2013, and for good reason: The Chicago-style deep-dish pies are heart-slowingly authentic. Consider the Gabe Froman—a 10-inch round of crackly golden crust blanketed with layers of melty mozzarella, tangy-sweet tomato sauce, fresh spinach and half-moons of crumbled sausage and spicy pepperoni. Ask for a side of house-made dill-infused ranch for dipping.
Specializing in traditional Shanghai street food, this Fulton Mall offshoot is a much-welcomed addition to a neighborhood food scene that struggles to offer anything beyond Shake Shack. The sizeable blue crab and pork soup dumplings come four to an order, filled with a steaming hot, sweet and savory crab-pork bath sealed tight by supple dough and a distinguishing orange-hue tip.
Eye candy is plentiful at this quirky shop that's light on cooking tools but heavy on stylish dinnerware. To wit, look for white plates modeled after slices of New York pizza from the Shape Shack collection or witty Shuguh bowls and Cawfee cups from the Brooklynese collection. Fervent party throwers will love Strip Tea highball glasses emblazoned with (tasteful) female dancers, while serious bakers can use glass jade stands to put their homemade birthday cakes on a proper pedestal.
You’d never guess that New York’s seemingly idyllic residential community was once crawling with convicts and lunatics banished to the island’s neo-Gothic asylums and penitentiaries until death did them part. Not only will this two-hour walking tour question your belief in the undead, it’ll stir up anxieties about how we deal with society’s poor and sick, challenging your own discomfort with the unconscious human desire to keep all things “unpleasant” hidden from view.