Entertaining in the Empire City: Jess’ go-to Guide

Happy Friday! It’s the last day of the workweek and my the last post for the Entertaining in the Empire City series. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22 excited about both!

Today’s recommendations come from my best friend and roommate, Jess. Background info: I met Jess over a decade ago – participating in a variety show for our hometown theater. I became true friends with Jess when we were hired by Retail-Giant-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to deep clean their store with steel wool and a variety of semi-toxic cleaning products. I stayed friends with her for too many reasons to list. Top of my mind reasons include: Jess can hold a conversation with anyone, she’s never afraid to ask for what she wants, and her Instagram is a carefully curated work of art. She has the voice of Beyoncé, the face of Taylor Swift ;) and she always knows what she wants for dinner. The fact that she selflessly offers sound advice and unconditional support when you need it is just added bonus. (I really just keep her around for her Instagramming abilities).

So last but not least, in her words, here is Jess’ list of her favorite New York spots to show to out-of-town visitors.

Housing Works Bookstore, Soho: This place makes you feel like a hipster Belle in a bookstore paradise with spiral staircases and hundreds of rare, new, and used books. Pair that with a non-fat latte and decent record collection for browsing. Who needs a prince anyway?

UCB Cagematch, Chelsea: It goes without saying that Amy Poehler knows what’s up. Basically everything she touches turns to genius so it’s no surprise her underground improv den is sweaty, rowdy, and a whole lot of fun. I took my dad here for a midnight Cagematch show. He came for the PBRs, but stayed for the impressive fart jokes.

Le Cheile, Washington Heights: This one is just me being selfish. This adorable Irish bar is 2 blocks from my apartment. With its local art, subway tile decor, and locally sourced brews this place gives Brooklyn a run for its money. Oh, and the GIANT grilled cheese is kind of out of this world.

Fort Tryon Park, Washington Heights: If you want to blow a tourist’s mind take them to this park. It feels like you’ve been dropped inside a mythical fairy land complete with beautiful flower gardens, tangles of tree branches overhead, and castles filled to the brim with medieval art. Oh, and somehow you’re still in Manhattan.

PUNDERDOME 3000, Gowanus, Brooklyn: Alright, I’ll hand it to Brooklyn for this one. PUNDERDOME is a weirdly wonderful evening once a month where pun aficionados convene in a battle royal of wits. Don’t question it, just go. It’s a pun of fun (get it?!).

 

And that’s a wrap on Entertaining in the Empire City, folks! Anything we missed? Anything you’re dying to check out?

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Entertaining in the Empire City: Anela and Mandy’s Favorite Spots

Day three. You know the drill. These two ladies are one-of-a-kind friends, and both have such unique takes on their favorite spots in the city. I met them both at the same former job (at different times), and even both being ladies of fashion, their tastes couldn’t be more different.

Up first, Anela – who was born and raised in Long Island and bleeds Brooklyn to the tee. She’s lived all over the boroughs, recently traveled to Africa, and finds inspiration everywhere she goes and in everything she does. She’s quirky, fun, and endlessly curious. Here’s what she has to say:

Anela prefaces, “These are my all time favorite places to eat. They really have an old school vibe to them, and are very New York. I’ve gotten to know them well, and I have to say they have stolen my heart. “

As mentioned previously, my friend Mandy is another one of the fashionistas I surround myself with on the reg. Her Cali roots have instilled her with a sense of adventure and a professional drive that never gives up. For someone who I forced to call me “Princess” for the first three weeks we were acquainted (the same name didn’t vibe well with me off the bat), I’m surprised (and delighted!) that we are as close as we are now. But more so than that, I’m grateful, because I can’t imagine my New York life without her honest, rom-com-y, positive outlook on life. Here’s a few of Mandy’s favorite places she likes to show off to visitors.

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Entertaining in the Empire City: According to Mike

Here is part deux of the series I made up introduced yesterday – Entertaining in the Empire City.

The question: “When you have visitors in NYC, what are the five places (restaurants, bars, etc.) you MUST take them?

The answerer: my pal Mike, who currently resides in LA. I had the good fortune of befriending Mike a few years ago in between folding heaps of Joe’s Jeans, color-coding sock walls and opening fitting room doors for cheap men price-conscious shoppers at a former job. Simply put, Mike’s the best. I trust his fashion sense tenfold over my own. His sarcasm and wit are constantly on point, and he’s one of the most genuine people I have ever met. Also, I think that it’s a universally accepted truth that you haven’t lived until Mike’s called you a bitch. He uses that word better than anyone I know and it’s hilarious and honest (and warranted) every single time.

Mike’s answers: I should note that he mentioned, “I had a hard time sticking to 5 places.” Here’s what made the cut:

  • The Room, Soho: Chillest bar ever.
  • The Heights Bar & Grill,  Morningside Heights: Cannot miss the happy hour on their rooftop.
  • The Sixth Ward, Lower East Side: $20 for brunch with unlimited mimosas.
  • Raines Law Room, Union Square: Really cool speakeasy. Visitors die over this place because they feel like they’re part of some exclusive New York lifestyle. *eye roll*
  • Veselka, East Village: Pierogi all day every day. OMG AND MINDY KALING LOVES IT TOO.*
  • Koronet Pizza, Morningside Heights: I don’t care what anyone says; this is the best NYC pizza place.
  • Spice (Multiple Locations): Delicious Thai food, and they’re all over Manhattan.
  • Obviously Shake Shack (Multiple locations): I love taking west coasters here.  They’ll never admit it’s better than In-N-Out, but they’ll know it’s true. Just like they won’t admit Disney World is better than Disneyland. “You just can’t compare the two,” they say.  YEAH, BECAUSE DISNEY WORLD IS THAT MUCH BETTER.

*see Mindy Kaling’s Instagram for further information.

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Entertaining in the Empire City: a la Allison

Do you live in a big city and find yourself desperate and unsure of what to do when you have to get to entertain visitors? I suppose you really don’t have to live in a big city to warrant that problem. But alas, a problem it is for many, if the random sampling I took of my friends holds true to the population at large.

Truth is, although I’ve been neglecting to update my audience here, I do tend to find myself occupied most weeknights and many weekends of the year — like you too, I am sure. But whenever I have guests coming that ask me to plan a fun weekend, my mind draws blank. My weekends in distant memory are suddenly painted in cherry red Netflix, my favorite coffee shop morphs into a Starbucks and the only activities that come to mind are Time Square, the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. Like most city-dwellers, none of that generally occupies my daily life. Point is — I always struggle to come up with cute, quaint, and not mega tourist-heavy spots for my house-guests.

I wanted to curate a no-fail list of amazing restaurants, activities et al to entertain weekend visitors, if you too happen to live in the city and face this problem. However – what do I know? A lot of my weekends DO consist of Netflix. So I did what any other girl would have done – I got by with a little help from my friends. And since I have many wonderful people in my life who volunteered to help a girl out, I decided to make this into a series.

Each of these fine New York loving pals took their own unique twist on answering my question, and their picks highlighted their own experience in the city and personality to a fault. So without further ado, I begin the first entry in my Entertaining in the Empire City series.

I’ve known Allison literally since the day I moved to New York. Unbeknownst to us both at that time, we later lived with each other for about a year, and even now we still remain close since her exciting relocation to Chicago a few months back. To paint you a little picture, Allison is what you’d get if you blended Carrie Bradshaw and Elizabeth Warren in a mixer, heated in the oven for 40 minutes at 375 degrees, and then iced that to look like Jackie O. She’s powerful, classy, and unapologetically herself 24/7. It’s no surprise that her favorite New York haunts are riddled with those vibes as well. In her words, here’s her favorite locales to entertain guests:

Dive Bar: Fourfaced LiarWest Village: Best place to meet the real New Yorkers who have lived in Greenwich Village for over 30 + years, who might have a drinking problem — but that only adds to its charm.  Ironically has the best bloody mary in Manhattan (made by John the bartender).

Mob-vibe Italian: VolareGreenwich Village: If you are under 35 you will be easily the youngest person there.  Even if you don’t eat here, go in and have a Negroni to experience the place.  In a city where restaurants open and close all the time, Volare has been a West Village staple for ages and you feel like you’ve entered a time warp when you walk in.

Wasted Happy Hour: Pazza NotteMidtown West: Best bang for your buck happy hour.  2 for 1 Martinis all night, 7 days a week.  Pizza, Risotto, and truffle fries (they LOVE their truffle oil here) are amazing and are the perfect foods to keep your hangover at bay.

Best ViewPer SeHell’s Kitchen: I literally take friends and family who are visiting here because I do not want to wait in line or be part of the Empire Hotel rooftop scene. Outstanding ambiance and you can always get a seat and enjoy a martini which are great here.  They usually have a DJ so you can dance if you want.

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What I’m Watching: Fall TV Lineup

For obvious reasons, last years Fall TV Preview post was one of my favorite things to research. I love autumn for so may reasons (see: the PSL, fall fashion, football, sweater-weather, and so on…), BUT a new television season just may be is without a doubt my favorite. So without further ado, here’s what’s lighting my fire this ’14-15 season! [All times are listed in EST.]

fall tv lineup

Returning favorites:

  • The Mindy Project (FOX), Tuesdays at 9:30pm. Mindy and Danny are a couple now, haters! Also: Adam Pally and Ike Barinholtz are comedic geniuses – show me a scene that holds a candle to the “You’ve Got Sext” texting exchanges, and I’ll… figure out a better way to end this sentence. Season three premieres TONIGHT – September 16th.
  • Modern Family (ABC), Wednesdays at 9pm. Cam and Mitch are finally married. Haley and Andy are still not dating. So many cast members, so little time (but, not really, because popularity and awards). What will happen next?! Season six premieres September 24th.
  • Mom (CBS), Mondays at 8:30pm. With Anna Faris and Allison Janney in the lead, Mom is my guilty pleasure. Season two premieres September 29th.
  • New Girl (FOX), Tuesdays at 9pm. Jess and Nick are over. So are Cece and Schmidt. Here’s to hoping this season will bring us back to the quirkiness and originality of season one, since any hope of romance has been formally denied for the time being. Season four premieres TONIGHT – September 16th.
  • Parenthood (NBC), Thursdays at 10pm. Amber is prego! Haddie is gay! The greatest and most underrated television couple of all time (Julia and Joel) are finally back on the right track. In its final season, all of our characters growing up and moving on – which is, I suppose what happens in real life. Poignant, but needed. The final season premieres September 25th.
  • Parks and Recreation (NBC), scheduling TBD. It’s the final season for Leslie Knope et al. in Pawnee. If the last three minutes of season six was any indication, it looks like we’re in for quite the ride for season seven. Final season premiere date is TBD.

New shows that I’ll be tuning in to:

  • A to Z (NBC), Thursdays at 9:30pm. Because, no offense, Cristin Mioloti deserves better than a HIMYM sequel. Pair her with Adam Feldman and create a 500 Days of Summer style rom-com television program, and I’m all ears. Premieres October 2nd.
  • Bad Judge (NBC), Thursdays at 9pm. I mean, you had me at Kate Walsh. This premise [a well-respected criminal court judge whose personal life is a falling apart hot mess] sounds like a hot mess in itself. BUT said premise has worked a thousand times over (i.e. Grey’s Anatomy, The Mindy Project, etc.). Sooo here’s to hoping Kate can work her magic and make this happen. Premieres October 2nd.
  • Marry Me (NBC), Tuesdays at 9pm. Casey Wilson is a goddess and Ken Marino is also fine. The light-hearted premise (re: unfortunate engagement) is silly and rom-commy, but something tells me these comedy die-hards (CW just off Happy Endings and KM of Party Down fame) wouldn’t have signed up for something that wasn’t worth their time and talent. Premieres October 14th.
  • Mulaney (FOX). My roommates and I have deemed this “New Seinfield.” As all of my roommates are Friends folks, that isn’t necessarily a compliment. Regardless, I’ll give any sitcom a shot, and with Fox’s sitcom track record and Mulaney’s writing cred (he co-created SNL’s Stefon!), my verdict is that this is worth checking out. Premieres Sunday, October 5th.
  • Red Band Society (FOX), Wednesdays at 9pm. Set in the children’s ward of an LA hospital, this drama features a motley crue of young patients, craving normalcy while literally fighting for their lives. It sounds out of the box, and if written and acted well, very tear-inducing, so I’m interested to what direction this will take. Premieres September 17th.
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10 Things…

Blog-tember Day 10 Prompt: List 10 things that you love about yourself! Let’s kick that negative self-talk outta here!

  1. I’m not a picky eater.
  2. I know how to dress for my body-type. Mostly. Yesterday, a co-worker did tell my outfit made me look like an Orthodox Jew, but in fairness, I’m not claiming how to dress for my religious affiliation.
  3. I make an effort to stay up with current events/world news.
  4. I make an effort to work out. Sometimes.
  5. I’m a really good friend.
  6. My childhood room is decked out in fuzzy zebra-print, and I will never admit it was a mistake. I will own that fuzzy zebra-print decision until the end of time.
  7. Cats… typically like me (?)
  8. I’m decently skilled at math.
  9. My independence. Aka the greatest hamartia of all.
  10. I consistently surround myself with pretty solid folks. The good people in my world keep me grounded and sane, and without those qualities, any and all of the above would cease to exist.
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What my personality and The Lion King have in common

Blog-tember Day 9 Prompt: Let’s talk personality types. Introverted? Extroverted? Unsure-troverted? ;) If you know your Myers-Briggs type, tell us about it! If not, you can take this similar test and share your results.

I’d go into further detail, but I think this image pretty much says it all:

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 1.21.17 AMGuess I’m with Mufasa and Jesus.

Also, this is a fun (and maybe more reliable?) source. Looks like I’m cut out to be an Ad Exec or Sales Manager. Works for me.

Happy Tuesday, all!

 

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