New Yorkers have a reputation for being cooler than cool, whether they’re the businessmen attempting to impress clients, the hipsters rejecting the mainstream, or the models who know where to be seen. If you’re new to New York or planning on moving to the city, you’ll need to adopt this attitude quickly. That means steering clear of the tourist’s joints and frequenting these hangouts the locals love.
1. Stuyvesant Cove Park is an Inner-City Oasis
Image via Flickr by Jeffrey Zeldman
Central Park might be New York’s most well-known park, but the locals prefer to leave it to the tourists and head to Stuyvesant Cove Park, along the East River. Picnickers enjoy unwinding on the grass while watching the activities of local fishermen and taking in views of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Midtown skyscrapers. You’ll see more active New Yorkers running through the park en route to the East Village. Its outdoor stage hosts live musicians throughout summer.
2. La Colombe Coffee is Chic Cafe Chain
Real New Yorkers would never dream of drinking the swill that passes for coffee at their local Starbucks. Instead, they turn to La Colombe Coffee when they need a caffeinated pick-me-up. With outlets in Tribeca, Soho, and Noho, and a Hudson Square branch on the way, La Colombe is winning over New Yorkers with its focus on exceptional brews and first-rate customer service. It’s a simple formula that’s making these coffee houses hot hangouts.
3. Don Hill’s for Hipsters
Image via Flickr by Charline Tetiyevsky
Hipsters love Don Hill’s, a grungy bar located on a quiet west Soho block. Its tiny dance floor gets crowded with chic twenty-somethings dancing to indie pop songs, while skaters and artists enjoy the mixed drinks served in plastic cups. Its founder Don Hill passed away in 2011, but new owners Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny (the older brother of actress Chloe) keep his spirit alive.
4. Berry Park Offers Affordable Eats with Incredible Views
Tourists vacationing in the Big Apple assume they have to spend a fortune to enjoy a meal with a view. However, the locals know they can soak up city vistas without leaving a hole in their wallet at Berry Park, a rooftop bar, and restaurant in Brooklyn. The menu of bar food is simple, but the pulled pork sandwich and grass-fed beef burger, both served with your choice of salad or fries, should leave you satisfied. Marvel at the view of the Empire State building while enjoying the German tap beers.
5. Ocean’s 8 at Brownstone Billiards Sets Pool Hall Standard
New Yorkers love hanging out at the city’s pool halls, but you won’t find them at the expensive Manhattan clubs. Instead, they head to Brooklyn establishments like Ocean’s 8 at Brownstone Billiards, a one-stop entertainment venue with 30 billiards tables, six Ping-Pong tables, two mini bowling lanes, and 27 TVs keeping patrons up-to-date with the latest sports action. It’s also fully licensed, with an affordable bar serving 20 draft beers and casual eats. It’s open until 4 a.m. on weekends, so it’s a great spot for a big night out. Ocean’s also hosts parties for groups who love the atmosphere.
Novel New Yorkers often experience some culture shock, but frequenting these hangouts can help you acclimate to life in the Big Apple.