Let’s Explore NY: Eating my way through Flushing

I love the food of my people and there is no better place to get it than in Flushing, NY. Here’s a run-down of my favorite places in Flushing to get my eats on (spoiler alert, there are a lot of carbs involved). Also, you probably want to do this with a few people so you can share the food. Also, I’m pretty sure only Kung Fu has a website so you can’t really plan your meal. Be adventurous! I promise it will pay off.

  1. Kung Fu Xiao-long Bao – thin bao skin, tasty soup, and perfectly flavored meat all add up to make the perfect xiaolong bao. Their other dishes are pretty good too; I personally like the beef in scallion pancake and the turnip puffs.
  2. Yeh’s Bakery – this place has been in existence for decades. They churn out delicious sponge cakes, moon cakes, and butter cookies. If it’s your birthday, I recommend getting one of their whipped cream pies.
  3. Tianjin Dumpling House – this little stand is located inside the Golden Shopping Mall. Pick your own dumpling flavors or get pre-stuffed ones from the wall. I love the pork with chives or lamb with green squash (aka zucchini). Whatever you do, don’t forget the sauce.
  4. Express Tea Cafe – walk like 10 feet from Tianjin to get to Express Tea Cafe where they sell bubble tea but really excel at making jian bings, which are like chinese savory crepes. Get the classic, which comes with wonton crisps, lettuce, and sauce. Sounds basic but the combination is delicious.
  5. Xi’an Famous Foods – you could go to the stand in Golden but there is a far nicer outpost about a block down Main Street toward the library. Something with noodles and lamb is always the right choice here.
  6. New Flushing Bakery – get the Portuguese egg tarts. They are amazing; crispy crust and creamy custard. The regular egg tarts are also pretty good if they run out of Portuguese ones.
  7. New Mei Hwa – they specialize in meat over rice. This is a typical Taiwanese lunch. I always get the pork chop over rice, which comes with a pork chop and rice (obvs) as well as some type of green vegetable (it changes) and pickled greens (so good!). You can splurge and get the Taiwanese Railroad Bento, which for a $7.50 gets you some Taiwanese sausage and an egg.
  8. Li’s Lanzhou Hand-Stretched Noodles – beef noodle soup is king here. The broth is rich and the noodles are perfectly chewy. Also, it’s $6.50.
  9. Imperial Palace – go here if you want a traditional sit down dinner amongst many Chinese families. Peking pork chop and crab over sticky rice are my go-tos.

Featured Image by Chun Yip So

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Let’s Explore NY: A day in Beacon

Take the Metro-North to Beacon and find yourself in hipster paradise. But really, hipsters are pretty good at stuff so don’t let that put you off. (Metro North has a getaway package that includes admission to Dia:Beacon, find it here)

I imagine you didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn so by the time you get to Beacon, it will probably be time for lunch. Get lunch at Harry’s Hot Sandwiches. The sandwiches here are so good. SO GOOD. The pulled pork and the Cubano are my faves.

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Let’s Explore NY: Theater for a New Audience

Let’s catch some awesome theater at the off-off-Broadway Theater for a New Audience and eat some tasty Mediterranean at Miriam. You can take pretty much any train here (literally, the 2,3,4,5,N,Q,R,B,D,G, and LIRR all stop nearby).

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Let’s Explore NY: Lakes and Farms Aplenty in Upstate New York

I spent the weekend in Kerhonkson, NY where we had a great time filled with relaxation, nature, and fresh produce. Our first stop on the way up from NYC was A Tavola (food was delicious and fresh, decor was upscale rustic) in New Paltz. New Paltz just might be one of the hippest cities upstate. There are bars, guitar shops, and many restaurants so it seemed like a really cool place to hang out on a Friday night.
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Let’s Explore NY: Riverside Park and Sushi Yasaka

Let’s go to the Upper West Side for a picnic in Riverside Park. You can take the 1,2,3 to 72nd St and Broadway and walk west a couple of blocks.
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Photo Essay: July 4th on Coney Island

Cyclone Coney Island
The World Famous Cyclone

Coney Island is always a great place for photos. I wandered around here on July 4th, trying to take it all in.
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Let’s Explore NY: Governor’s Island

Let’s explore Governor’s Island. You can take the 4,5 to Bowling Green, the R to Whitehall St, or the 1 to the South Ferry Terminal to catch the ferry out of Battery Maritime Terminal to Governor’s Island. It leaves every hour on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends and costs $2. The ferry ride is a quick 10 minutes but go to the top if you want to snap some nice pictures of Brooklyn and New York
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Let’s Explore NY: Storm King Art Center

Let’s venture way up north for some fresh air and culture at Storm King Art Center. You can either drive, take a Coach bus, or ride NJTransit from Penn Station to Salisbury Mills and catch a short cab ride to Storm King.
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Let’s Explore NY: Mu Ramen and Gantry Plaza State Park

Let’s explore Long Island City for this date by going to Mu Ramen (12-09 Jackson Avenue), stopping by Gantry Plaza State Park, and ending the night at LIC Bar (45-58 Vernon Boulevard). You can take the 7 to Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av or the G to 21st St.
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Let’s Explore NY: Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters

Let’s explore Washington Heights and go to Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters (99 Margaret Corbin Drive in Fort Tryon Park). You can take the A to Dyckman St or the 1 to 190th St to get here.
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Let’s Explore NY: Flex Mussels and Joyce Theater

Let’s go to Chelsea (ish) and eat at Flex Mussels (154 W. 13th St) before watching dance at the Joyce Theater (175 8th Ave). You can take the 1,2,3 to 14th St to get here.
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Let’s Explore NY: Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Museum

Let’s go to Park Slope and have a picnic in Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and then visit the Brooklyn Museum. You can take the 2, 3 at Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum.
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Let’s Explore NY: Old Tbilisi Garden and Terra Blues

Let’s go to the NYU area and have dinner at Old Tbilisi Garden (174 Bleecker St) and listen to some blues at Terra Blues (149 Bleecker St., 2nd fl). You can get here by taking the A,B,C,D,E,F,M to W 4th St.
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Let’s Explore NY: Prospect and BAM

Let’s head to Brooklyn: have dinner at Prospect (773 Fulton St, Brooklyn) and catch a play or some music at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (651 Fulton St, Brooklyn). You can take the 2,3,4,5,N,Q,R,B,D to Atlantic Terminal to get there.
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Let’s Explore NY: Meme Mediterranean and the Barrow Street Theatre

Let’s explore the West Village: have dinner or lunch at Meme Mediterranean (581 Hudson St) and then catch a show at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow St). Both of these places are located in the West Village and you can get there by taking the 1 to Christopher St or the A,C,E to 14th St.
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Let’s Explore NY: Lasker Rink and Zoma

Let’s head uptown to Lasker Rink (north side of Central Park) and Zoma (2084 Frederick Douglass Boulevard). Both are these places are located in South Harlem and can be easily reached by taking the 2,3 to 110th and Lenox Ave or the B,C to 110th and Central Park.
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Learning Science from the Best in NYC

I love learning about random things. But more than that, I love learning about random things from people who have devoted their lives to it. These people always bring with their explanations a passion and a sparkle that restore my faith in academic research and inspire me to learn more. Thankfully, New York is a fantastic place to come into contact with academics; here are the places I go to when I want to learn something (also everything is free!):
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Chinese New Year in NYC

Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays. I get to spend time with family, eat delicious food, and make homemade dumplings! New York City is a great place to be during Chinese New Year because there are lots of fun events to attend and many restaurants will have specials featuring some of the dishes that are integral to any Chinese New Year’s feast (see the Grub Street list here!).
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Let’s Explore NY: Leo’s Latticini and the New York Hall of Science

New York City is one of the best places in the world with many many neighborhoods to explore. This is the start of a series exploring each neighborhood. I’ll note one activity and one meal that I love in the neighborhood to start and hopefully, you’ll discover more!
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Weekend Trip to Lake Placid

I hate being cold but one good thing about winter is skiing! Lake Placid is a great ski resort that’s perfect for a weekend trip (that you decide on at the last minute); it’s only about 5 hours drive from NYC. Lake Placid was home to the 1932 and 1980 Olympic games so there are many winter activities that one can do there.
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Finding my favorite book in NYC

Call me old-fashioned but I still love going to bookstores and browsing the shelves to discover new titles. A friend once said that if she could choose a superpower, it would be to put her hand on the spine of a book and instantly read its contents. Even without this superpower, there’s something magical about running your hand over rows of books. Here are some of the best places in NYC to find a good book:
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Yummy Food Stores in NYC

New York is well-known for its shopping but the shops that I find myself frequenting the most are the food shops in NYC. I love that you can find a shop that specializes in pretty much anything you feel like eating. Here are some of the best:

Pickle Guys (49 Essex St) – this place has been around since I was a little kid. I loved running around the corner and picking a freshly pickled pickle from one of the giant vats. They have salty or garlicky or spicy and the owners are so friendly!

The Pickle Guys
photo by Jay Mandel

Murray’s Cheese Shop (254 Bleecker St) – so much cheese and they have their famous cave for aging the cheeses. You can get soft cheese, bleu cheese, French cheese, Spanish cheese, all kinds of cheese! Continue reading “Yummy Food Stores in NYC”

Cheap Ways to Experience World Class Culture in New York (Part 2)

This is the second post detailing how to experience world class culture in NYC. In this post I’ll list my favorite museums and galleries, which are either free or have a suggested donation as well as museums that have cheap nights.

Free/Recommended Admission (I recommend paying this if you can afford it but just know that you don’t have to):

The Met (1000 5th Ave) is one of the best art museums in the world. I especially love the sculpture gallery at the Met. It is just astonishing how realistic and emotive a piece of marble can be. 

The American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West and 79th St) is one of my favorite museums. I remember coming here on many school trips and being amazed by the life-like exhibits. The best thing about this place remains the giant full-size blue whale that hangs above the main gallery.

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Cheap Ways to Experience World Class Culture in New York (Part 1)

New York has some of the best cultural institutions in the world but they can be very expensive. But did you know that many of these institutions have programs that allow you to buy great tickets cheaply? Many museums are donation-based and pretty much all concerts and shows have either rush tickets or cheap tickets for young people. In this post, I’ll go through the many ways to get tickets to performances on the cheap. The next post will be about going to museums and galleries cheaply.

The New York Philharmonic offers students rush tickets up to 10 days in advance online, which is an awesome deal. My favorite program, however, is the 35 under 35 program. This program allows you to buy as many $35 tickets as you like for 3 or more concerts (you have to attend at least 3 concerts) as long as you prove that you are under 35 years old. The tickets can be in any section (hello Orchestra and First Tier!) and you can choose from almost any concert at the Philharmonic. I’ve been able to see Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, and will be going to a Yo-Yo Ma concert in the spring.

The Met Opera offers rush tickets for $25 for anyone Monday – Saturday at noon and 4 hours before the performance for Matinees. You can buy two tickets and the seats are in the Orchestra or First Tier. You have to buy them online via the Met website Continue reading “Cheap Ways to Experience World Class Culture in New York (Part 1)”

Favorite Food Mainstays in New York

I grew up in New York and it’s always held a special place in my heart so I thought it might be fun to do a small series of NYC posts. One of my favorite things about NYC is how easy it is to find delicious food. I’ve seen a lot of places come and go but here are some of my favorite places that have been around for a while. The service in all of these places is really warm and makes you feel extremely comfortable. If you get the chance to visit any of these places, you’ll immediately see why they’ve been around for so long.  Continue reading “Favorite Food Mainstays in New York”