NYC Neighborhoods Visited: SOHO, Nolita, Theater District, West Village, and Flatiron.
We started our day off with a late morning subway ride to SOHO for lunch at the famous Lombardi’s Pizzeria. They are renown for being America’s first pizzeria and since we had a taste of Grimaldi’s the day before, we just had to tickle our tongues with a taste of Lombardi’s. Located on the corner of Mott St. and Mulberry St., we were surprised when we saw that Lombardi’s had no line. We had surely thought that this famed pizzeria would have a line shooting out of its door, considering that we waited nearly an hour before we were able to get a seat inside of Grimaldi’s yesterday. In any case, we blew off the no line to the face that we were there just little after 30 minutes from opening. And anyway, we were both hungry for good pizza so no line was a good thing!
I’ve argued with a bunch of hardcore Lombardi’s fan about the superiority of Grimaldi’s, but with no firsthand experience of Lombardi’s slice, I was a bit biased. We ordered the same pizza as we did at Lombardi’s (pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms) but this time we also added spinach. Like Grimaldi’s you pay a bay price for either a small or a large and then pay extra for toppings of your choice.
So which was better, Grimaldi’s or Lombardi’s? My first thought was that they were very similar to one another. So similar that I could not choose a favorite between the two. But after a few minutes and my second slice, I had found a clear favorite. Grimaldi’s is indeed my favorite pizzeria in the state of New York. Hands down. The pepperoni had a spicier kick, the sausage was tastier and the cheese, oh my goodness the cheese at Grimaldi’s was thicker, cheesier, and there was just more of it overall. And let’s face it, more cheese is always a good thing. Plus, you’re eating a pie under the Brooklyn Bridge – that’s pretty freakin’ awesome. If you’re in New York, and have to choose between the two, I’d recommend that you cross the Brooklyn Bridge and have a taste of New York’s best, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.
After Grimaldi’s, we crossed the street and had a taste of Rice to Riches, a rice pudding specialty shop. The first thing you’ll notice is the colorful and chic decor and then you’ll notice the clever and witty sayings throughout the shop poking fun at skinny people. Rice to Riches is definitely not a place for the carbohydrate conscious. Both Michelle and I ordered a small serving each, I had the Sex, Drugs, andl Rocky Road topped with mixed nuts and Michelle had the Chocolate Chip Flirt. First note, the serving sizes are huge and a small is definitely big enough for two. The pudding is very rich and is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
We then walked down Stage St. and stopped by American Apparel. They were having a sidewalk sale and we were able to pick up some great items for $8 a piece. I grabbed a couple of Raglans – yay!
A quick subway ride to 9th, between 15th and 16th Streets, and we were at Chelsea Market – home of the Food Network. On the bottom floor of this large building is a market that is scattered with a variety of different restaurants and open markets. I even scored a free gingerbread cookie by checking in at One Lucky Duck on Foursquare. Have I told you how much I love Foursquare?
Once we had our fill of Chelsea Market, we explored the Chelsea area quite a bit. And then we made our way to Jon Wye’s flagship shop on 47 W 20th Street. If you read this blog on a regular basis, then you know who Jon Wye is, since I have featured him multiple times on the blog and on Co-Tee TV. Jon Wye recently opened up a brick and mortar store. The shop is actually located inside of an old church that has been transformed into a three story market and gallery known as The Limelight. Unfortunately, Jon wasn’t in – he’s busy in DC working hard on his products at his factory. I did, however, have a chance to explore this shop and was thoroughly impressed by what I saw. I’ll be posting more photos of his shop in a separate post so be sure to check back for that.
The Museum of Sex on 5th Avenue was our next detonation. The tickets are priced at $17 a piece, however, I was a but underwhelmed. I expected more sex. Don’t get me wrong, the museum features three floors of sex exhibitions, but none really shocked or offended me. I was expecting to be shocked and offended. Not really. They currently features five difference exhibitions, Sex Lives of Animals and Rubbers were the the ones that I found to be the most interesting. Who knew a rhino’s dick was so huge.
By this time it was about 4pm, so we decided to head back to Times Square. Before heading to our hotel we made stops at the Hershey’s store and the M&M’s store. Both were a bit meh for me and just too crowded to even browse the products. I wanted some dark chocolate Kit Kats but was not willing to stand in line for it. If you’re in New York and have to choose between the two, then I’d suggest passing on Hershey’s (the store floor is small and crowded, and you can find most of the products at your local store anyway) and instead hit up the M&M store (it’s 3 floors big and the wall of M&M’s is impressive).
After a short pit stop at our hotel to freshen up, we hit the subway once again toward West Village to pay a visit to Carlos, also known in the T-Shirt universe for his baking and lifestyle collective, Oven Fresh Dreams. Carlos has released some limited edition tees in collaboration with Nicolo Nimor of Nick Automatic and Greg Abbott. Carlos invited us to stop by the bakery that he works at, Amy’s Bread. What’s awesome about this is that I actually had this planned on my itinerary, based on some suggestions that I had read prior to his invitation. How serendipitous of him to invite us there! He hooked us up with some excellent brownies and we even chatted a bit about NYC and the food scene. Not surprisingly, Carlos is a foodie, much like myself and Michelle! Cool dude. Support his brand Oven Fresh Dreams and if you’re ever in NYC, pay a visit to Amy’s Bread to treat yourself to something special.
The West Village area is filled with an amazing assortment of small restaurants. Carlos suggested one called Little Havana, so that’s where we planned to go. It was located right across the street from Amy’s Bread on Cornelia Street. But alas, it was closed. So what to do? Eat a New York hot dog, that’s what we did. Michelle spotted Gray’s Papaya, which she had learned about from a J-LO movie and I had heard about it on the Food Network (or was it the Travel Channel?). Needless to say, I had a few hot dogs and the flagship papaya drink. Simple hot dog, but still very good. You get a nice crunch from the encasing, which is the sign of a good hot dog.
Before heading back to the hotel we decided to stop by Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. I was a bit hesitant, because it seemed like a tourist trap to me. And for the most part, it was. I’m pretty sure that most of the museum’s artifacts were replicas. It’s okay, I still enjoyed looking at the bizarre and absurd. But at about $25 a ticket, I’d pass on it if given the chance to go again.