New York’s melting pot of ethnicities and cultures have infused the city with a diverse variety of cooking techniques and cuisines, to create an outstanding culinary landscape. The metropolis is home to tens of thousands of eateries, and consistently rank as the world’s top foodie destination.
Choosing where to make a dinner reservation can prove difficult; however the search can be narrowed down by visiting the city’s bustling ethnic enclaves.
Manhattan boasts Chinatown, Koreatown and Little Italy, Indian eateries in the East Village, Turkish restaurants across the East 40s, and Western African bistros and cafes in Harlem’s Le Petit Senegal (Little Senegal). Across the East River, Queens offers Chinatown in Flushing, Greek restaurants in Astoria, Little Guyana in Richmond Hill, and Polish gastronomies aplenty in Ridgewood.
Brooklyn caters to large Orthodox Jewish communities in Borough Park and Crown Heights with kosher restaurants and delicatessens, a pan-Arab population in north Bay Ridge with Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian and Moroccan eateries, and Bangladeshi groups in Kensington with specialist grocery stores and markets. The Bronx famously features a sizeable Italian community and its own Little Italy (Belmont’s Arthur Avenue), a prominent Irish American population and number of Irish pubs and bars in Woodlawn, alongside Ghanaian food delicacies in Concourse Village. On the other side of Manhattan Harbour, Staten Island’s Tompkinsville is a hotbed for Sri Lankan culture and cuisine.
New York City is not only a repository of global cuisines, but also the birth place of many world-renowned dishes. The Hamburger was reportedly first served to sailors from Hamburg, along the Lower West Side docks in the 1820s. It is claimed that Eggs Benedict was invented in the kitchens of the Waldorf Hotel to satisfy a hung-over Wall Street stockbroker.
The Hot Dog is said to have arrived in Coney Island from Vienna (wiener) or Frankfurt (frankfurter), and immediately caught on to be sold from carts throughout the city. New York kosher butcher, Sussman Volk is credited for inventing the Pastrami Sandwich – a speciality that was made world-famous by local eateries Katz Delicatessen and Carnegie Deli. The Coal-Oven Pizza (or pie) is a local food institution, with Lombardi's in Nolita acknowledged as its founding father.
New York City is undeniably the world’s shopping Mecca. Opportunities to spend a pretty penny abound, from invitation-only boutiques to designer flagship stores and colossal discount outlets.
Midtown Manhattan is renowned as the heart of the city’s retail, chiefly due to legendary shopping zones like Fifth Avenue, the Garment District and the Diamond District.
Fifth Avenue is touted as the world’s most famous shopping street; home to the headquarters of Tiffany & Co alongside mainstream retailers, prominent designers and department stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. Covering less than one square mile, The Garment District is a hub for the majority of the city’s fashion showrooms, and is a go-to for great sample sales. Located on West 47th Street, the Diamond District is lined with jewellery wholesalers, foundries and pawnbroker, and is regarded as one of the globe’s premier diamond centre.
Great shopping opportunities can also be found Downtown in SoHo, Greenwich Village, the Meatpacking District and Union Square; and Uptown along Madison Avenue on the Lower East Side and Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side.
Madison Avenue (between 57th and 79th streets) boasts the world’s most expensive retail real estate, home to beautiful architecture that hosts high-end luxury boutiques and upscale retailers. Dotted with big name designers, excellent gallery spaces, global retailers and intimate boutiques, SoHo is regarded as New York’s centre for the uber-fashionable. Greenwich Village is a go-to for record and book stores, and proudly boasts the bohemian Bleecker Street. Union Square is considered one of the city’s hottest shopping/eating/hangout zone, home to huge mainstream retailers and the city’s biggest farmers’ market, Greenmarket.
Outside of Manhattan, Brooklyn is New York City’s most sought-after shopping destination. Neighbourhoods like Park Slope, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, and BoCoCA are celebrated for their unique atmospheres, creative energy and excellent retailers.
Boerum Hill’s Smith Street is a shopper's paradise, complementing great retail opportunities with a distinct Parisian charm. Greenpoint and Parkslope brim with one-of-a-kind, independent fashion stores. Brooklyn’s trendiest neighbourhood, Williamsburg caters to its hipster residents with vintage design, music and fashion stores. Fort Greene is home to one of the city’s best flea markets, the Brooklyn Flea weekend market.
Visitors to New York City very rarely take their shopping ventures outside Manhattan or Brooklyn, but when they do it is generally to visit Century 21 Department Store (C21). The legendary New York City outlet offers top designer merchandise for reduced low prices, at seven stores across the New York/New Jersey area – namely Long Island and Rego Park in Queens, and Jersey Gardens, Paramus and Morristown in New Jersey. Century 21 can also be found in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn and in Downtown and Lincoln Square in Manhattan.