Three Postcards from New York

Once you’ve had the time to make a pit-stop from treading on tar-laden streets, (even if that’s just to stare at a great-looking storefront), New York will leave you with a sense of belonging to something larger like no other city can. From point A to point B, getting there often overlooks the path in-between. We got three sets of postcards from New York, so you can pick and mix to experience the city through the eyes of people who’ve lived there, and love it. Kanika and Mansi from Brown Paper Bag gave us a quick primer to New York’s Chelsea:

Cocktail Bar
Bathtub Gin is accessed by walking through a coffee shop, and actually features a cast iron bathtub that you can climb into with your cocktail. 132 9th Avenue, 646-559-1671.

Neighbourhood Bar
The Red Cat is a neighborhood mainstay with great food, but we like the bar best, manned by friendly bartenders and a favorite among locals. 227 10th Avenue, 212-242-1122.

Coffee Shop
Sullivan Street Bakery offers great pastries and sandwiches along with the coffee; try owner Jim Lahey’s custard-filled Bombolino to know what we’re talking about. 236 9th Avenue, 212-929-5900. PS: Also visit Underline, a tiny coffee shop with pretty charcoal floors, serious brews and great avocado toast. 511 West 20th street, 917-477-9476.

Cookshop is our main hang-out, a frustratingly busy brunch spot that offers five different kinds of Bloody Marys and Huevos Rancheros like you won’t believe. 156 10th Avenue, 212-924-4440.

Empire Diner is the only diner in New York where it’s okay to order dishes such as lemon chicken and vegetable lasagna, but their eggs are pretty good too. You might also recognise it from Manhattan, Woody Allen’s love letter to the city of New York. 210 10th Avenue, 212-596-7523.

Santina is a buzzy gem tucked under the High Line, the latest culinary blockbuster by the guys behind Dirty French and Carbone. Come here for yummy cecina with avocado salad, a summer section dedicated to tomatoes, colorful chandeliers and cutlery, or to eat in the shadow of a Julian Schnabel painting. 820 Washington Street, 212-254-3000.

Kanika and Mansi’s postcard from Tulum, Mexico here and they answer the Nico Q&A here.

Photographer Prarthna Singh counted New York as home for long enough that it is up there with her favourite cities. This is her guide to the best spot for pizza, a mean Moscow Mule and where to hit the snooze button when the rest tires you out.

The Ides Bar
This is the rooftop bar at the Wythe Hotel, and it is an excellent spot for post work drinks with a spectacular view of the city. They do a great Moscow Mule.

Hotel Delmano
One of my favourite bars in Williamsburg; super-cosy, with a seventies living room feel to it. And the cocktails are great: the Brooklyn Beauty and St Helen’s are my favourites.

Gran Eléctrica
A sweet little Mexican spot in Dumbo. Has a lovely backyard with open air sitting for the summer. Of course if you feel like waiting in line to get a slice of the famous Grimaldi’s Pizza it’s right next-door. The Brooklyn Bridge Park is a walk away, perfect for a post meal nap in the sun.Blue Collar
Hole-in-the-wall burger joint with one of the best burgers I‘ve had till date.

Eataly is like walking into Willy Wonka’s Factory for a food lover. Grab a glass of Prosecco and stroll through the different food stalls, also a good place to get your hands on some great quality produce. Make sure you stop at the Nutella Bar on your way out.

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.