Our Favorite New York Spots

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

To finish off our east coast road trip and begin our stay in New York, we asked our readers for help what to do via our Facebook page and in our first post.

Life Below the Highline Park, New York

We were WELL rewarded with plenty of tips! The sad thing is that even six weeks is not enough to get to do everything in the Big Apple; we feel like we barely scratched the surface of any NYC bucket list.

We did the best we could – spending lots of money on the subway and putting many miles on our walking shoes (but not enough to avoid adding a couple of inches to our waistlines at all the amazing restaurants).

But it was all done just for you (y’all owe us some pairs of fat pants). All so we could bring you this list of…

Our Favorite New York Spots!


You can’t be surprised that the first category has to do with eating, seeing as we dedicated a whole post to dumplings, noodles and cupcakes!

Jacob Restaurant, Harlem, New York

–> On our first night in the city, we were directed to a little spot around the corner for a buffet of delicious soul food. Jacob’s incredibly tasty mac & cheese and jerk chicken, plus the live Sunday night jazz music started our infatuation with Harlem.

–> Our favorite type of food is Vietnamese so we wasted no time scoping out Nha Trang for our fix. This restaurant recommendation came courtesy of this excellent list of cheap New York eats curated by Jodi at Legal Nomads. It is a most excellent list – we indulged in just five of those listed and they were all great).

Tom's Restaurant, Seinfeld, New York

–> We were drawn to Tom’s Restaurant as avid Seinfeld and Suzanne Vega fans, but we returned for the delicious cheap food and the cast of characters that goes there. Might be the best place in the whole city to just sit and enjoy many New Yawker accents.

–> We once asked a waiter at a pub where to find the best burger in New York. His answer: McDonalds. How sad that he hadn’t heard of Steak ‘n Shake! While the Original Steakburgers are the standard, I’d also recommend the Frisco Melt served on sourdough with a sweet and tangy sauce.


McSorleys Ale House

–> Many people recommended this gem: McSorley’s Old Ale House in the East Village. It claims to be the oldest continuously operating ale house in the city, which didn’t allow access for women until 1970! You can only order two types of beer, light or dark, and they bring them two at a time for $5. Pete likes the dark, I like the light, and we both loved the dusty atmosphere. (It also happens to be around the corner from our tattoo parlor, should you feel so inclined!)


We aren’t big shoppers (carrying only 130 liters of already-stuffed space between the two of us), but we needed to replenish and replace some of our holey clothes! We had great success in two spots:

–> Century 21 is *the* place to go for discounted brand names. Be prepared to fight crowds, filter through stuffed racks and not even get a chance to try them on (there are no change rooms for men!), but the deals are worth it if you’re patient.

–> We ventured into Brooklyn to find the Unique Thrift Store, and are so glad we made the trip. Excellent quality merchandise in an uncrowded store at great prices!


We did a lot of research for which Broadway or off-Broadway show we should see. And then we didn’t go, with no good excuse.

Being good-little-Canadians we also wanted to catch a Rangers hockey game, but those games are SO expensive!

This is what we did instead…

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

–> Walked the Brooklyn Bridge. We enjoyed walking the Brooklyn Bridge no less than THREE times. For us it was just a real testament to the enormity and scope of the grand city – the views are incredible from all angles.

–> Watched a taping of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon! It wasn’t that hard to get tickets – we got them about a month after applying. The show was hilarious and the crowd was completely hopping; I even got a high-five from Jimmy as he ran through the audience at the end of the show. (Yes, I have washed that hand since then).

–> We were pretty lame when it came to seeing the many world-class museums that New York can boast about, having only made it to the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Both are highly recommended.

–> And in case you missed it, this is what else kept us thoroughly entertained: visiting historic Ellis Island, walking through Central Park, Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater, debating the best city views, racing around the city in a scavenger hunt, and just taking advantage of the fact that New York is a photographer’s DREAM.

So much more to do…so many reasons to return.

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  1. This is a wonderful list. I have never been there, so this will be much useful if and when I will travel there.
    Have a nice day:)

  2. Great list guys!

    What about Shake Shack in Madison Square Park for burgers?! We waited an hour in line for them and they were probably the best burgers we had on our entire RTW trip.

    1. We tried the Shake Shack as well (you know, in the name of research), and those were delicious, but Steak & Shake won the taste- off!

  3. Looks like a great visit! I love NY, and all the crazy that it has to offer… But I never got the chance to walk the Brooklyn Bridge – I’ll have to go back 🙂

  4. Fantastic list of recommendations. We brought the 5 day New York passes which helped us get around a few more museums than you guys! Would love to spend 6 months there. Less than 1 week sucked haha.

  5. You’re making us want to go back! Our last trip to NYC was last February and it was FREEZING so we hurriedly walked through the city! Will have to go back and check out Tom’s Restaurant, Matt is a huge Seinfeld fanatic! Great post!

    1. We got so lucky being there for all of February and having nice weather! A little spoiler on Tom’s Restaurant – they didn’t actually film inside the place (it looks nothing like on the show), but they have a lot of cool Seinfeld stuff around.

  6. So glad you guys had a great time! Amateur night at the Apollo is one of my fave places to take out of town visitors!

    Come back and visit us soon!:-)

  7. As a native New Yorker, I am pretty impressed by your list. Sounds like you had a great time! I haven’t been to Jacob’s — hadn’t even heard of it — but now I’m going to try to go on a Sunday for jazz.

  8. I had such a great time in New York when I was there. One of my highlights, which you reminded me of, was seeing the David Letterman show being recorded. It happened entirely by chance – we were just standing in Times Square and someone asked us if we wanted to come and see it the next day. I’ve never seen anything like that before – so much fun! Can’t recommend doing something like that enough 😀

  9. Looks like you had a great time! Although, Steak n’ Shake? There has to be a better burger than a chain diner. I really want to go back to NYC and explore more. It’s so cool that you went to the diner from Seinfeld!

    1. I honestly didn’t even know it’s a chain – but it is the only one in New York! And it is magically delicious, regardless! 🙂

  10. There’s a Steak N Shake across the street from me! I had no idea it was so good! I guess I will have to go and give the Las Vegas outpost a try! Great post — will need to review this when I head to NYC.

  11. I can’t believe you got to eat at Seinfeld’s restaurant. That blows my mind. It looks like you need to spend a significant amount of time in New York when visiting.

    1. Funny you should mention that. It actually is just the sign that was in the show. The restaurant they ate in on the show was in the LA studio (or so the waitress who told us said so… 😉

  12. What a list!

    I take my second trip to this wonderful city in September and will definitely be adding some of your favourite spots onto my to do list.

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