Chand and Zul have had fifteen years of experience in the city with banh mi and mochi with regular apéritifs in between. This is their New York.
At the Union Square Farmer's Market, you get the freshest vegetables, fruits, eggs, bread, baked goods and more. For clothes - one of the best vintage clothing stores is Tokio 7 in the East Village, and there are lots of cute boutiques on Mott and Mulberry Street in Nolita, just south of Houston Street. Muji, an awesome Japanese brand which carries everything from clothing, suitcases, stationery, toiletries, and furniture, has several branches all over the city. Since we are both into boxing, we frequently browse East Coast MMA (Lower East Side) for new boxing and MMA gear. The best bookstore hands down is The Strand (just south of Union Square) - it's one of the oldest independent bookstores in the city and has an amazing collection. Sunrise Market (East Village) is the best Japanese Grocery store - you can get everything from sashimi quality fish to dozens of different types of green teas to freshly made mochi. "Mom and Pop shops" are quickly disappearing from NYC due to the crazy high rents, but if you spend enough time wandering in neighbourhoods like the East Village, Lower East Side, SoHo, Greenwich Village you will come across some goodies that are still standing (for now).
There are so many amazing restaurants in New York City, it's hard to mention just a few (but we'll try). You can find any kind of cuisine, and even specific specialities within a cuisine in NYC. Some of our favourite places to eat are Café Mogador (Moroccan - East Village), Sushi Azabu (Japanese/Sushi - Tribeca), Soba Ya (Japanese/Soba - East Village), SriPraPhai (Thai - Woodside, Queens), Txikito (Basque/Spanish - Chelsea), Russ & Daughters (Jewish Comfort Food - Lower East Side), Little Tibet (Tibetan - Jackson Heights, Queens), Upi Jaya (Indonesian - Woodside, Queens). There's also great street food all over the city, one of our faves is the Dosa Cart, parked in Washington Square Park (South Indian - West Village) - that guy is a legend.
If you want a classy place to grab a cocktail, check out Angel's Share (East Village), which is a sort of speakeasy (there is no sign anywhere, but it's pretty well known). The entrance is on the 2nd floor inside a busy, crowded Japanese Izakaya, but once you step inside you feel like you're in a different world. They're known for their really well crafted cocktails and extensive alcohol selection. For a less pretentious atmosphere, a good bet is International Bar, also in the East Village. Decibel, an underground sake bar in the East Village, is another fun place to get some drinks - they have a huge assortment of sake and also some snacks.
To burn off all the amazing NYC food and drink, our much-loved place to workout is Work Train Fight (NoHo). You can learn boxing through a variety of classes (from boxing 101 to intermediate all the way to sparring classes in the ring), take a semi-private session, hire a personal trainer or a personal boxing coach. It's got a great community vibe unlike the large corporate chain gyms, not to mention a kick ass workout that's really fun!
The museums in NYC are some of the best in the world. We both love modern art, so our favourite is the Museum of Modern Art - it doesn't matter what exhibitions are on, there is always so much to discover in the permanent collections. The Guggenheim is such a cool building and it is the best place to see an exhibition if something that piques your interest is showing there. If you like more traditional art, The Met is great - you can get lost in there for days.
Chelsea Market (Meatpacking District/Chelsea) is sort of an urban "food hall" with lots of interesting food stalls and shops inside. The building itself is really interesting and you can get everything from tacos, banh mi, lobster, Australian meat pies, German sausage, you name it! Nearby, The Highline Park (Meatpacking District) is an old above ground railroad track that has been converted into an urban park - it's really cool and different. Gantry Park in Long Island City, Queens, has an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline. Nearby, the Anable Basin Sailing Bar is a great place to grab a drink and a snack right on the water, with the same fantastic view.
More Chand & Zul here and their whistle-stop tour of Havana, here.