I struggled a little with this last installment about New York City because I didn’t want to talk about it at first. It’s not sexy. It’s not romantic. It’s about business.
When you work in the 10022 ZIP code, you are in the heart of Midtown East, home of Madison Avenue and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Rockefeller Center is just one ZIP code over. Central Park and the Theater District are close by. But after a long day of meetings, taking a cab or walking far seems cumbersome. Staying in your postage stamp size room is also not an option. Okay bright lights, big city – NOW what?
Of all the places in Manhattan, Midtown East is what I know best. I stay in 10022 every time I’m in town and have learned where to find my favorite morning bialy (PAX on E. 51st and 3rd Ave) and which street cart has the freshest knish. If you are doing business in Midtown East and don’t want to walk 15 blocks for dinner or a drink, here are my favs close to most 10022 hotels.
NY Luncheonette: This diner gets mixed reviews on Yelp, but I love it. It’s not gourmet, it’s not expensive. It’s clean, has fast service and the food is hearty and good. If you don’t want to eat in a dull hotel restaurant, this little diner comes with New York flare. At lunch it’s full of office workers, so you may have to belly up to the old fashioned counter, but that seems like a prize, not a punishment. Tip – try the veggie burger, even if you’re not a vegetarian. It’s the size of your face and made with avocado. Delish. (E. 50th and Lexington)
Bill’s Gay Nineties: This is probably the first speakeasy I’ve ever been in, but that’s not what makes Bill’s glorious. The converted brownstone mansion has transformed the first level parlor into a piano bar. Narrow and dark, you can sit at the bar or at one of the few tables, if you’re lucky enough to find a seat. And jammed into the corner is an upright piano with a crooner belting out Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. Grab a martini and feel free to sing along. (E. 54th and Madison Ave.)
Dawat: If you’re a foodie who wants to have a reasonably priced meal in Midtown, Dawat is your spot for flavorful Northern Indian fare. Internationally acclaimed chef Madhur Jaffrey owns the establishment and avoids the traditional Indian feel with a more upscale atmosphere. Try the Dal or Masala dishes for a guaranteed party in your mouth. (E. 58th and 2nd Ave.)
Fusia Asian Cuisine: You may think Fusia is a mistake when you walk in. It has an any-man’s-Chinese-buffet feel about it, but when the beautifully decorated plates arrive and you take that first bite, you know it’s going to be okay. Wonderful flavors of hot, piping food await. (E. 56th and Lexington)
Pretty much anything you find on 2nd Ave. between E. 58th and E. 48th are going to have good food and atmosphere. There are tiny French bistros and Latin cafes that spill out on the sidewalk in the summer. There are Irish pubs, English pubs and sports pubs. The crowd is typically a mix of locals, internationals and business travelers, which makes for a pleasantly eclectic atmosphere.