Big cities mean tons of options, which unfortunately can also mean too many options when you’re pressed to find the best. When you want insight into the top spots a city has to offer, you turn to the locals. So to share the best gems of New York City, we’ve assembled the A-team of insiders: some of our favorite Krrb sellers and local bloggers with knowledge on where to go and who to see. Let’s meet the team!
Courtney Wagner of C&C Popup Shop, a traveling Brooklyn store of unique vintage, secondhand and upcycled finds. (CW)
Sarah Finkelstein of Color. Me. Quirky. is a interior designer, DIY-er, and very stylish Brooklyn-based blogger with an eye for repurposing thrifted finds. (SF)
1. Where do you go to a enjoy lazy cup of coffee and people watch?
AB: Black Brick on Bedford (Williamsburg) is perfect – they have a no computer zone in the front right on Bedford Avenue. Just sit and watch the people go by….plus awesome doughnuts.
CW: I just discovered CUP in Greenpoint! Each time I have been there I am pleasantly surprised at the entertainment and energy! It’s always full of engaging characters.
SF: I work in midtown and coffee is essential to my survival – both because of my caffeine addiction and for that afternoon break- and my favorite place is Ninth Street Espresso. It has great coffee, not to mention delicious sweets. Although they have a couple locations around the city, I frequent the one on 56th and could stand at the window bar people watching for days.
2. What’s your best burger spot in the neighborhood?
AB: I don’t really eat burgers – but for that very occasional time DuMont Burger – again on Bedford. This is what they do.
CW: The burgers at 67 Burger on Flatbush are REALLY hard to beat. Lots of options, great proteins, AND they have curly fries. A huge bonus.
SF: I’m not a huge meat eater but when I am in the mood for a burger Allswell is the perfect place to satisfy the craving. Saturdays they have happy hours that involve their delicious cheeseburger, with unbelievable fries and a beer, all for $10. Perfect combo.
3. After an exhausting day, where do you go locally to recharge?
AB: Maybe treat myself to having my hair done at fave local salon, Kinloch. I always feel so good when I leave here, plus they used one of my wallpapers in the salon so I feel right at home.
CW: It depends on my mood. If I’m feeling fitness-y, Prospect Park is a great place to jog and clear your head. If I need to be out and about, High Dive is a great place for drinks with free popcorn and games. There’s always an energizing crowd.
SF: After an exhausting day my favorite thing to do is hang out with my friends, which always involve grabbing Mexican. There is something about margaritas and guac that always makes everything better. That being said, my new favorite Mexican spot is Calexico. It’s always so much fun and the frozen margarita is the best!
4. What’s the most underrated community event?
AB: The Greenmarket and the Textile Recycling by McCarren in the Greenmarket. So good – don’t throw it away!
CW: The 5th Avenue Stroll is WHERE IT’S AT. Super fun day to stroll the Park Slope neighborhood with a glass of Sangria in your hand sampling all the delicious eats along the Avenue. It’s no Second Line Parade but it’s the closest thing to NOLA day drinking that we have in Brooklyn.
SF: I actually don’t know. I don’t go to a lot of community events, unless flea markets count. And in that case I would say that Brooklyn Flea is a must go for anyone in the New York area.
5. The forecast calls for a rainy afternoon. Where do you while away the hours?
AB: I’m almost always in the shop so a bit of tidying or lost in social media. Might go for a swim at the Metropolitan pool.
CW: This is probably a weird response but I’ve spent a few rainy days on the rooftop of Whole Foods in Brooklyn. It’s a great place to bring your computer and have lunch surrounded by their impressive rooftop farm and the ever changing and frequently smelly Gowanus canal.
SF: Other than on my sofa with my cat? Probably Charlotte Patisserie, it’s a small coffee shop in Greenpoint with the most delicious sandwiches. They make everything in house, even their dreamy pastries which are made daily. It’s the perfect place to wait out the rain and munch on some sweets.
6. If you’re meeting friends for a night out, where is your destination of choice?
AB: Freehold – I’m in LOVE with the vibe, the food, everything.
CW: Three’s Brewing is such a welcome addition to the Gowanus/Park Slope neighborhood. They have a wonderful garden and their rotating kitchen concept is genius. Every time you go the menu is different so you never get tired of visiting.
SF: That depends, for food: Miss Lilly’s is always great for a girls night out. The portions are perfect for sharing and the casual atmosphere makes gossip sessions go on for days. And for a fun (cheap) place, Whiskey Rebel is my favorite. Hello, they serve popcorn with your drinks (and as a popcorn freak) it’s hard not to be biased.
7. You want to spend as little money possible but still have a good time. What do you do?
AB: Get friends to take me out (lol). No seriously…a ride around the neighborhood on a Citibike since there’s so much to see, and The Crown Victoria does a pretty good brunch with endless mimosas or bloody marys for $22.
CW: Melody Lanes in Sunset Park is a classic. The bowling alley has not been updated. Ever. So it feels like you’re returning to the bowling alley of your childhood. And you can get a pitcher of beer for like 16 bucks from the greatest mutton chop looking man in Brooklyn.
SF: My favorite spot to go actually doesn’t cost a thing (if a Metro card swipe doesn’t count). That place is Central Park. It’s such a nice escape from the city, without actually leaving the city. I can spend hours walking around, people watching, and completely lose track of time. It’s the perfect little to no cost place, especially if you’re looking for a cheap summer date.
8. And for fellow travelers, what one place is a must-see on a tour of the city?
AB: Go and have a look at the green spaces and seating areas around the new developments (like the Edge on the waterfront in Williamsburg) then get on a water taxi to Dumbo at the pier at N 7th and go under all three bridges: Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn. Great photo ops!
CW: The Brooklyn Flea Winter Market in Sunset Park is a must-see. It’s a bit of a hike but it’s the ONLY place in the city to visit artisans, furniture dealers, vintage collectors, and jewelry makers all under one roof. And it has some of the most creative food concepts in the city. At least until March when it moves back outside.
SF: Wow that’s a hard one. In New York there are so many must see things. My go to places to tell people though are: the MOMA, Chelsea Market, and (for the shopper) ABC Carpet & Home. I know that last one is a bit strange, but as a furniture junkie that place is like six floors of heaven. I would also always suggest anyone coming to New York to stay as far away from Time Square as possible. Those Elmos are evil.
We hope you’ve been inspired to discover the best of New York! If you have any other local favorites (with some insider perspective), let us know in the comments!