9th Street Community Garden, Alphabet City
I know, I know – I spend a week in each neighborhood that I live in. But since I’ve spent so much time in Alphabet City I thought rather than a simple recap post, I’d do an NY Times style 36 hours piece – only in this case its 24 hours. It’s an arbitrary number, but if you live in NYC, why not check out Roomorama or AirBnB, crash with some great friends like Mike and Des to take a vacation in your own city for a night.
Alphabet City has become my nomadic home over the past year. It’s the answer I give to the inevitable question of what’s your favorite neighborhood. I’ve stayed on 9th and C, 6th and B, 13th between 1st and A, and 3rd between B & C. Here’s what I’d do if I only had 24 hours.
I love this Greek Place on my favorite food block in Manhattan on 7th between 1st and A. The food is excellent and the clay pots are hanging from the ceiling the If you want something a little less pricey, try Caracas Arepas bar. But be warned that you’ll have to wait. If all else fails, Luke’s Lobster has one of the best lobster rolls in NYC and rarely has a large line.
2) Amor y Amargo
“Love and Bitters.” This place makes its own bitters, which I learned are not associated with the rum production process. It’s a common misconception because Agnostura is the household name for bitters and also makes a lot of rum. I was happy to be informed as I had been pushing that misinformation for a couple of years now. Anyway, keep it classy with cocktails from this 13 seat bar. The bartenders know what they are doing so just give them rough guidelines and they won’t steer you wrong. You can buy some bitters to take home with you.
3) Summit Bar
Some of the best cocktails in NYC. Good bartenders and good music.
4) Late night food
2 options – sandwiches from Sunny and Anne’s that are named after various politicians; Zaragosa, a Mexican deli that serves food from steam tables. I’m told by a friend that this is the closest you’ll get to West Coast Mexican in NYC.
5) 9th Street Espresso
Wake up with some excellent coffee or espresso. If you’re planning on hanging around, you should probably have an Apple computer. Like many cafes in NYC, it looks like a commercial for Macbooks.
6) Best Breakfast Sandwich in NYC
It’s super expensive, but you won’t care after you taste the best Egg and Cheese sandwich in New York City at Barnyard.
7) Community Gardens
One of my favorite things about Alphabet City are the numerous Community Gardens. I’m most familiar with the one across the street from 9th Street Espresso which is managed by Puerto Ricans. People also refer to Alphabet City as Loisada, which I still haven’t figured out how to pronounce, but thats what the Nuyoricans (Puerto Ricans who live in New York) call the neighborhood. Bring a book and hang out until you get hungry. I met some interesting people in that garden, and even got invited to a crab boil one night. There is a laminated guide that you can pick up at the entrance if you’re curious about the various types of plants and flowers.
There is an outdoor space and though there are better burgers in the city (JG Melon, Shake Shack), this is a great neighborhood Burger Joint. If it’s a really nice out, go grab a sandwich at Sunny and Anne’s instead and find another community garden to hang out in.
9) Workout along the East River
Work off some of those calories with a run over to the East River and you’ll find a track, a path along the waterfront, and an outdoor gym. The outdoor gym is filled with New York City characters. It’s one of my favorite places to work out.
10) Tompkins Square Park
Plenty of history at this park where the Tompkins Square Riots took place, the Crusty Punks have lived, and Pradubpada’s tree is located
10) Nuyorican Poets Cafe
Check the schedule, but look for poetry and other performances at this LES / Alphabet City institution.
11) Dessert for Dinner
Lulu’s Apothecary is Vegan, but you’d never know it. The frozen yogurt is fantastic, especially if you get it with a brownie.
Oh, and don’t forget to talk to some locals.