Food, Design and Culture: Why We Love NYC

The editors of Where New York reveal what they like best about the Big Apple.

The three editors of Where New York reveal what they like best about the Big Apple. Each has a different passion. One raves about coffee and sushi; another adores sporting events and cocktails; a third—well, he simply loves buildings.

Lois Anzelowitz Levine, editor in chief Where/IN NY

I have distinct memories of moving into Manhattan directly after college. Happily surrounded by a dozen or so friends, the Great Lawn of Central Park was the grand meeting place on summer and early autumn days. Blankets, beer, baseballs, a Frisbee or two and Dennis Hurley’s black Lab, Nomad, would occupy many of those idyllic weekends.

Round K Cafe, New York

Many of those friends have scattered—to New Jersey, Scarsdale and even Oregon. I have remained working in NYC, commuting from a town near Princeton, New Jersey. I still love visiting Central Park, but now I also seek out cool coffee bars, indulge in a New York steak now and then, and eat sushi as often as possible. Recently, I was turned on to the unusual coffees at Round K Cafe. This East Village spot offers drinks like wasabi lattes, matte black lattes and Vietnamese cappuccino, all very strong and exotically tasty.

When I get a hankering for red meat, there are two places I turn to most often: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and the legendary Peter Luger Steak House. Luger’s porterhouse is simply the best I have ever tasted, sliced at the bone, well-salted and juicy. At Del Frisco’s, I get a wide range of steak choices, from filet mignon to New York strip, all exceptional: The waitperson will not leave the table until I have cut into my beef to make sure it is cooked to my liking. I also never bypass the lobster mac ’n’ cheese or the humongous, six-layer lemon buttercream cake for dessert, even if I can only fit in a few bites.

Finally, sushi. I have had many exceptional Japanese experiences here—the tuna with avocado and ponzu at the gorgeous Blue Fin; Hatsuhana’s salmon lover’s lunch special—so when my friend and I decided to try Sushi of Gari, I did not expect to be exclaiming as if I had never experienced sushi before. The most basic pieces—yellowtail, red snapper, salmon—were so tender, so satiny and so fresh, it was as if they had just been pulled from the ocean. But that’s what I love about New York: It never stops surprising me.

Francis Lewis, executive editor Where/IN NY

I like New York’s buildings. For this native son, a structure that pierces the sky, as Midtown’s Chrysler Building does, is as near to heaven as I can ever hope to get. Other buildings, like Greenwich Village’s charming 19th-century row houses, hug the ground and bring me down to earth.

Guggenheim, New York City

I like buildings that move me emotionally,—National September 11 Memorial and Museum—buildings that hurry me along,—the Guggenheim Museum’s spiral ramp is my kind of thrill ride—and buildings that stop me in my tracks—Whitney Museum of American Art.

I like homey mansions—The Frick Collection—and luxury apartment buildings that I dream about calling home: architectural marvels that zig and zag—56 Leonard St.—and slip and slide—520 W. 28th St.

I like towers with great views—One World Observatory—and theaters with long queues—Richard Rodgers Theatre, where “Hamilton” plays. I like buildings that resonate with sound—Carnegie Hall—and others that are as silent as the grave—General Grant National Memorial, final resting place of the 18th U.S. president.

I like that history was made at Fraunces Tavern in the 18th century; I like even more that Fraunces Tavern Museum doesn’t rewrite that history today.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York pleases me because it shows me the money—half a million gold bars—but doesn’t charge a penny to see it.

Finally, I like buildings that escape the wrecker’s ball and live to see another day. The parachute harness factory that is now the Fisher Landau Center for Art proves that when it comes to repurposing real estate, no one does it better than NYC.

Daniel Fridman, assistant editor Where/IN NY

I don’t drive. Growing up in Rego Park, Queens, taking the R subway to high school and to work at the NHL Store, I never felt the need. Everything I wanted was and still is a MetroCard swipe away.

That same subway still takes me to my favorite music venues today. After seeing a rock show at Times Square’s PlayStation Theater or Hell’s Kitchen’s Terminal 5, I like to go to The Iridium and peruse the wine list to the melodies of jazz and rock greats.

For a smaller venue experience, I hop on the F train to the Lower East Side and an acoustically excellent Bowery Ballroom. Right next door, my favorite bar—One Mile House—pours craft beer and plays grunge rock. Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse is about 100 feet away: a legendary subterranean dining room covered with photographs of four decades of diners, my family among them. Neighboring Home Sweet Home is my secret spot for a nightcap with retro dance tunes and a disco ball.

Slowly Shirley, New York City

Then there’s the West Village, a cocktail fan’s utopia. At Slowly Shirley, I go with the Irish-whiskey-based “Plum Tuckered.” Candles, red leather couches and soft jazz embellish this underground lounge and create my perfect weeknight escape.

This city’s accessibility lets me engage all my passions. I love spectator sports. To watch my New York Red Bulls and New York Islanders, I travel by PATH train to Harrison, New Jersey, to Red Bull Arena, or by subway to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

The ability to go anywhere at any time is a convenience I’ve never taken for granted. It might just keep me here forever.