Marion's work has been featured in Time Out, Bustle, InsideHook, Brooklyn Magazine, Huffington Post, and Wine4Food. Contact her at marion [dot] bernstein [at] gmail [dot] com.
The slices of Margherita at this 1933 East Harlem original are super thin and shorter than you’ll typically find, which means the average person—okay, fine, we—can easily wolf down five to six slices each, especially when they’re fresh from the oven with that bubbling, browned cap of creamy mozzarella beneath that zippy sauce.
This Brooklyn bakery proudly serves coffee, cakes and decadent cookie-smashed ice cream sandwiches using seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Their signature sandwich—the Goodwich—showcases vanilla ice cream, drizzled fudge and a hint of sea salt between two colossal oat chocolate chunk cookies.
This luxury hotel boasts a dozen dining options bearing the names of top chefs, including Bobby Flay Steak, Wolfgang Puck American Grille and Angeline by Michael Symon. It also has two spas—Spa Toccare and Immersion Spa in the connected Water Club—and 11 distinct drinkeries.
Since 2014, beloved pastry chef Umber Ahmad has been running her wholesale operation, cranking out her famous cheesecakes and brioche doughnuts, much to the delight of her devoted customers. (Oprah and Tom Colicchio are notable fans.) At her West Village brick-and-mortar, savory goods have a place on the menu, as well as chocolate chip scones and apple fritters, alongside longtime favorites (dark-chocolate brownies) and a full-service coffee-and-espresso bar.
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.
Greek eatery Avra Madison teamed up with celebrity chef and best-selling cookbook author Argiro Barbarigou to create a lighter alternative to the traditional Easter lamb fricassée. Subbing Alaskan halibut for lamb, and a seafood-vegetable broth for the traditional Avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce, Barbarigou creates a dish with such springtime flare, the Greek gods insist on pairing it with a complimentary glass of Assyrtiko, the bright and citrusy white Greek wine from Santorini. The dish and wine pairing is $50 per person.
Mathieu Palombino’s international pizza joint is but one of many that extol the virtues of the Neapolitan pie, but its stellar lunch prix fixe distinguishes it from the pizza-slinging masses. The set menu includes a mixed green salad and choice of any menu pizza (margherita, Brussels sprout, soppressata, marinara) during weekdays from 11am-4pm. Non-pizza crowd pleasers include roasted peppers and belly-warming meatballs topped with pecorino and fresh basil.
This Vietnamese darling injects some much-needed variety into the typical eggs-and-Bloodys brunch game. The pastured chicken congee is an elevated savory brunch bowl featuring a rice porridge base and a flurry of fresh leeks, shiitakes and goji berries, with a Heritage pork and sweet radish omelette to top. Ordering for the table? The bún thang and oxtail-potato hash are not to be missed.
This Astoria taqueria offers traditional Mexican eats with an artisanal flare. Slow cooked pork, citrus pickled onions and fresh cilantro are transported by local, fresh corn tortillas courtesy of Queens-based Tortilleria Nixtamal. And don’t dare forget the salsas—a housemade trio of habanero pepita, salsa verde and bourbon salsa borracha add a colorful kick to Pachanga’s tacos, tlayudas and sopes.
Stay in the original building that once housed LIFE magazine and you’ll walk the same hallways as famed writers and artists such as Norman Rockwell, Charles Gibson and John Ames Mitchell. The hotel’s 98 guest rooms and suites pay homage to the building’s 1894 heritage with turn of the century-inspired pieces, providing a delightful contrast to the user-friendly technology and refreshing natural bath amenities throughout each room.
Formerly the New Mills Hotel, the newly opened Moxy Times Square proves you can have it all—affordability, comfort and style. Relax in a Yabu Pushelberg-designed room thoughtfully outfitted with 100 percent Egyptian cotton linens and an oversize walk-in rain shower. Once recharged, head on over to one of five in-house dining spaces—we recommend a sunset cocktail at Magic Hour, New York’s largest all-season indoor-outdoor hotel rooftop bar and lounge featuring a rotating carousel, putt-putt golf course, topiary garden and stunning views of the Empire State Building.
Instead of waiting months for a chance at Saturday Night Live tickets, submit your online request to these equally entertaining TV show tapings in NYC. Surprise your favorite comedy club enthusiast with two free tickets to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Looking to complement your recent couples cooking class with some tips from a celebrity chef? Bring your bae to a free taping of the Rachael Ray Show. And for anyone taking acting classes, attending a taping of Inside the Actors Studio should definitely be on your NYC bucket list.
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.
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.
With so many independent bookstores located across the five boroughs, finding the best gifts for book lovers this holiday season will be a cinch. Pop into the Strand Book Store for quirky, book-centric tchotchkes, nab the latest literary tech gifts or help your favorite bookworm create her ideal reading ambiance with incense or a book lamp. All gifts are available online, so if you don’t have time to hit the streets of NYC to shop for gifts for friends, go ahead and checkout from the comfort of your own reading nook.