If Helen Came For a Visit

A few weeks ago, my friend Helen and I traded tweets (yes, I said tweets) about an imaginary trip she would take to NYC. This inspired me to write down all my favorite places and think about how much fun it would be to play tour guide.

Helen hasn't been to NYC in quite some time and I'm still exploring new/interesting places to go. This is the list that I have so far:

1. Get massages at Great Jones Spa. Hang out for a few hours at the water lounge. (Helen: bring your bathing suit...or not!)

2. Go to my favorite independent bookstore McNally Jackson. Sit in the cafe, have a cup of coffee or tea, and just hang out for a while.

3. While NYC has many great museums and galleries, one of my favorites is the Museum of Art & Design . The space is intimate yet it doesn't feel so small that you feel like you didn't get your money's worth. And the exhibitions are inspiring, especially to the crafter/artist in all of us.

4. Decibel on East 9th Street is a serious sake bar--and probably the only one in NYC. I don't remember how I got home the last time I went to Decibel's. So we'll be sure to bring cab money and our address written down on a piece of paper.

5. Shake Shack in Madison Square Park--the place where it all began. It gives new meaning to the burger-shake combination. Oooo, I love a good burger!

6. High Line and the Pace Galleries. While the High Line is still just a promise to most New Yorkers, it's worth the scant 9 block walk. The views are amazing. Start at Gansevoort and exit at West 20th Street. Walk over to the Pace Galleries. The first one is on West 22nd Street, and the other two are on West 25th Street. The exhibits never disappoint.

7. One of my favorite bars in NYC is d.b.a. in the East Village. It has something for everyone--except food. But there are several places to order in food (yes, they will deliver it to the bar) and the bartender has a binder with menus.

8. Cafe Habana on Prince Street in NoLIta. They make really awesome fish tacos.

10. Menku Tei in midtown (West 56th Street) is the perfect spot for lunch or an early dinner when exploring the touristy midtown area of NYC (think MoMA, Rockerfeller Center, shops on 5th Avenue, or even Broadway shows).

11. Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown is a place that is not too scary for tourists interested in the NYC Chinatown experience. I happen to really like the food and it's on a quiet street rather than the hustle and bustle of the main Canal Street. It's also near the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for a little red bean ice cream cone afterwards.

12. Urban Exploring on the 6 train. This "lost" subway station is one of the few spots that many urban explorers do not need to break into (and you know who you are). Just stay on the 6 train after it's final stop at Brooklyn Bridge and be sure to be in the first train car for the best view.

13. Grimaldi's Pizza in Brooklyn (right over the Brooklyn Bridge). Brick oven pizza--probably the best in NYC, but there are so many foodies in this town with strong opinions on what their favorite pizza is. So let's just say that it's my favorite pizza--and I was born and raised in Brooklyn. So what do I know, right?

14. Brooklyn Flea is one of the most interesting and unique venues for handmade wares. Wear good shoes and be prepared to carry out a lot of goodies.

Okay, Helen. Here's your list! Happy Holidays, my English twin. I do hope you get to come play on my side of the pond sooner than later.

Much love,
Your American Twin Richela