Perfect cocktails, chicken fat rice, and a REAL fireplace. One of the coziest spots in Greenpoint, particularly in the winter. Its "off the beaten path" location keeps out the bridge and tunnel goons, so you're likely to meet actual locals. Good for dates, solo thinking, or a small group.
My favorite place on Bedford Avenue, this bookstore has both new and used titles. If you're patient and look close enough, you can usually find a book that's worth more than they're asking. Not to mention their stellar selection of magazine titles. Good for design, art, photography, sociology, fiction, and everything in between.
A new-ish cinema located in the East Broadway section of Chinatown. They play a great selection of rare and vintage titles, plus hosting a considerable amount of director/cast Q&As post showing. People complain about their seats, but they're really not that bad. And yes, they have overpriced fancy snacks, but what theater has cheap snacks?! Go to Mission Chinese, Dimes, or Fat Raddish for dinner—all options around the corner.
Part of the Marlow restaurant group, Diner is one of the more casual / rustic options. The menu changes daily and is written out (most likely upside down by the wait staff) on your table or the back of a receipt. The only constant item is the burger, which to be honest, is one of the best in the neighborhood. If they have a breakfast sandwich for brunch, get that. The fried chicken sandwich (with dark meat) is also a favorite. They make scrambled egg dishes better than most. Dinner is solid all around (they crush a steak for two). Homemade ketchup and dijon mustard are on every table, so regardless of what you get, these two condiments are worth the visit.
If you're far up in Greenpoint and need caffeine + snack, Bakeri is my spot (I say "bake-ery", others say "bach-ery"—I still vote the former). Known for their baked goods—both savory and sweet—it's the perfect spot for a coffee meeting, small breakfast, or a solo book read. There's one large communal table in the center, plus a few two-tops and decent counter space—one of the rare cafes with enough room that it's rarely packed (except saturday!).
My favorite neighborhood fancy chinese spot. Quality soup dumplings (it's obligatory to get an order). Mock eel (mushrooms), ants climbing a tree (noodles), salt & pepper fry (fresh daily), and mu shu duck are some of the go-tos. It's spicy and filling—worth a night of feasting.
For brunch, the classic dish to get is the Feijoada, but the benny is also solid (and i don't recommend a benny lightly)—you can also ask for ham and spinach together (my favorite). For dinner you can also get the same thing, or the Moqueca (shrimp stew) is incredible. Pro-tip: if you're there for breakfast on a weekday, ask for a egg and cheese (add bacon or ham or avocado) on a croissant. Not on the menu—sounds basic, tastes amazing.
On the corner of a dark, barren corner of the old rust belt city of Youngstown, you will find the best ribs in Ohio (big claim!). The last time I visited I had just eaten dinner and only wanted a drink, but the bartender insisted we (me, my mom and dad) enjoyed some ribs—he gave us a few complimentary bones and even on a completely full stomach, they were gone in minutes. Cheap—C H E A P—drinks, incredible ribs and wings, and a history lesson of an old mob-driven city.
Broasted chicken = broiled + roasted chicken. This is what you'll find at The Elmton, and your mouth will thank you. The pizza is also well worth adding to the order. It's in a residential neighborhood and not near anything else, but you won't find anything else like it (have you ever heard of "broasted" chicken? didn't think so). Plus, it's hard to spend more than $20.
Justin James King is an artist/photographer living in New York City whose work has been shown internationally. He is currently working on a project that expands on his interest in landscape and memory, taking inspiration from the remnants of a devastating hurricane that changed the course of a river in rural Vermont. When he's not working in his studio or traveling to shoot locations he can often be found at one of these fine places.
Michael was born and raised in Seattle, and has lived in New York since 2009. He's done graphic and interaction design for Pentagram and Local Projects, and is currently a designer at the Google Creative Lab.