Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

New in New York: This Time Around


Brooklyn Bridge

Every time I go to New York, I try to do a few things I haven’t done before, whether it’s checking out a new neighborhood, a new kind of food, or a major tourist attraction.

On this trip, I had Mario with me — not only is New York is his favorite city, but he’s eager to check out anything, cheese factor be damned.  And so we hit up a lot of new spots:


Katz’s Delicatessen

I wrote about Katz a bit previously — but I just have to reiterate that this pastrami was life-changing.  I have never had anything like it.

Mario ordered us both pastrami sandwiches and handed me a plate of fresh-cut pastrami.  I was still a bit skeptical, seeing Katz’s as “that place from When Harry Met Sally” and not for any culinary value.  And then I tasted my first pieces of Katz pastrami.  Oh.  It has VALUE, all right.


Look at that sandwich.  Look at how moist that pastrami is.  It’s no match for the bread.  Not a drop of mustard was used on this sandwich.  And I almost finished the whole thing.

Worth it?  Oh yes.  It’s not cheap, and a pastrami sandwich will set you back $15.95, but you are not going to find another sandwich like this anytime soon.  Eat up and enjoy.

NYC Courthouse

The Courthouse

Not that this is a major New York City attraction, but as a fan of addictive New York-based legal dramas (currently back on Netflix and getting into Damages again!), it was a place that was nice to see in real life.

We also caught a nattily attired wedding party on the front steps.

Wedding Party

Worth it?  Eh.  Walk by, take a picture, and you’re done.  You’ll see it on the way to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

One of the major symbols of New York City, the Brooklyn Bridge is definitely the most iconic way to cross from Manhattan to Brooklyn or vice versa.

The bridge was beautiful, and lots of fun to photograph.  But I wasn’t crazy about the experience itself.  The narrow walkway was clogged with slow-moving walkers, making it tough to get good pictures.  People kept straying into the bike lanes and getting yelled at by the bikers.  And this was on a dark day when it drizzled on and off — I can’t imagine how crazy it is on a sunny day.

Shirts on Brooklyn Bridge

Worth it?  I’m glad I did it, and it’s a free experience worth doing, but I have no desire to do it again.

Kate, Mario and Cheesecake

Junior’s Cheesecake

Junior’s Most Fabulous Cheesecakes and Desserts in Brooklyn has been one of the most famous places in New York to get your cheesecake on.  Mario and I, both being cheesecake fiends, set going there as a priority.

Junior's Cheesecake

The restaurant was warm and decked out with hearts for Mother’s Day.

I tried cheesecake topped with chocolate mousse.  Mario went for the strawberry cheese pie.

Junior's Cheesecake

The cheesecake was fabulously delicious, and I would love to have more of it, but I thought the chocolate mousse/cheesecake ratio was a little too chocolatey and not cheesecakey enough.  Next time, I’ll go for plain cheesecake.

Worth it?  Oh, yes.  At $6.95 per slice, this is definitely an affordable New York splurge.  And if you don’t want to go to the original in Brooklyn, there are Junior’s in Times Square and Grand Central as well.

Rockaway Beach

The Rockaways

Here is a part of New York that I never thought of visiting — and it ended up being one of the biggest surprises.  Mario’s friends Matt and Nicole have been living here for several months and invited us to come see their neighborhood in Rockaway Beach.

The Rockaways are technically part of Queens and therefore New York City, but it doesn’t look anything like it — it’s quiet and residential, without a lot of stores.  The beach is immense.  It’s right by JFK Airport and you can get here from Manhattan in less than an hour.

Rockaways post-Sandy

The Rockaways were also hit tremendously hard by Superstorm Sandy, and even though it’s been six months, the rebuilding process has been extremely slow.  You see sagging houses in the streets.  Parts of the boardwalk are torn up.  Subway service hasn’t yet been restored, which has made life harder for a lot of people who commute to Manhattan from here.

View from Rockaways

But if I know the spirit of New Yorkers, this place will absolutely be rebuilt, better than ever before.

Worth it?  Definitely worth the trip, just make sure you know how to get here without the subway running past Howard Beach.  There are express buses from Manhattan.  Then I’d wait until a summery day when you can enjoy the beach to the fullest.

Have you ever been to any of these places in New York?

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25 Responses to “New in New York: This Time Around”
  1. I haven’t been to any of those places but I’ve only been to NYC once! I absolutely fell in love with the city and dream almost daily about going back asap.

  2. Tamsin says:

    I really, REALLY wanna try both of those cakes!

    One day, New York, one day!

  3. Shaun says:

    Katz is insane! I’ve never had a better sandwich than thier pastrami!!

  4. Clare says:

    This is about the 10th time I’ve talked about my need to visit New York this week already! I think the universe is telling me to stop putting it off and book the ticket! Wonder if I can make it happen this year!?

  5. We’ll have to try those too!
    Agree 100% except for Brooklyn bridge! I walked it with a group of students I was taking care of and it was absolutely fantastic and one of the highlights of a month in the city! We weren’t expecting the pedestrians only wood floor and views to die for we had! Hopefully I’ll be walking it again soon 🙂

  6. Jessica says:

    My boyfriend is going to New York this summer, so I am definitely going to pass this along to him!

    Also…I LOVE Damages. The first season was definitely the best though, in my opinion. 🙂

    • Totally agree. I just got Netflix for the first time in years and I’m midway through Season 3 now. Nothing can top that incredible first season! And Ted Danson rules!!

  7. I’m so glad you got a DSLR. That pastrami picture is mouthwatering!

  8. Dani says:

    You made my mouth water with the picture of the cheesecakes! We’ll go there for sure, it’s actually walkable from where we’re staying, so no excuses 😉

  9. I’m going to New York in a few weeks and your post made me a billion times more excited!! I was already planning on visiting Katz but maybe I need to add Junior’s Cheesecake to my list too!!

  10. Aurora says:

    I moved to NYC in august – never having thought that I would _ever_ live here! But, it has been a pleasant surprise. From the food (i could just stop there – the food alone is a reason to live here!) to walking over the Brooklyn Bridge to the diversity of places you can go to!

    Next time you are here — head up to Queens (if you have not been already) – I have just started to explore!

    And … 9 months in the city and the slow walkers just about kill me! 🙂

  11. Catherine says:

    I’ve done the walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a gorgeous, bright and crisp December day. The bridge did have a lot of other people on it, but we all seemed to be moving at a steady pace. I got some great pictures. However we didn’t really explore Brooklyn once at the other end. Definitely making Katz’s a priority when i’m back there later this year.

  12. hayley says:

    We’re there for a few nights in October – I was last in NY in something like 1997, so I can’t wait. Brooklyn Bridge is high on the agenda (which means we’ll see the Courthouse; good to know)… will make a note of Katz’s, that sounds like a place my partner would LOVE.

  13. Erica says:

    I loved reading about these places! My friend Shana and I walked past Brooklyn Bridge on our way to Chinatown, next time I’m definitely crossing it. We also spent a couple of hours on Rockaway Beach, which felt so calm compared to Coney Island.

  14. Sofie says:

    I’ve been to Brooklyn Bridge!
    And next time I go, I want some of that cheesecake:)

  15. Lindsay says:

    i’ve been living in nyc for 5 years and have yet to experience that katz pastrami. IT IS HAPPENING! (after i return from my own southeast asia jaunt this summer! :P)

  16. I remember the food in NY as one of the best I have ever tasted. There was such a variety. I still dream about the endless plates of spaggethie with meatballs I had in a small hidden Italian restaurant north off Broadway. They were better than my Italian mother in law’s meatballs and that is an achievement. 🙂

  17. Just what I need! We are heading to NYC in 8 days so will check out of of these places for sure – Especially Juniors Cheesecake!!

  18. I love NYC! And every time I visit I feel I only scratch the surface. Gonna check out some of the places you saw – like The Rockaways! I keep forgetting NYC has a beach!

  19. Jade says:

    Loving the pictures from your new camera!
    I’m going on a US adventure this summer to visit friends in Arizona and Colorado and will have 24 hours in New York alone- what should I miss and what should I definitely not miss??

  20. The Brooklyn Bridge is TERRIFYING. I thought I was going to die the whole time I was on that wooden death trap. AAAAAGH now I’m reliving it!

    Cheesecake…I may have said it on your FB page, but Veniero’s!!!! Their Italian cheesecake is made with ricotta rather than cream cheese and ohmygod, it’s the best cheesecake, nay, one of the best desserts I’ve had in my entire life. Fantastic.

    Also, if I ever get gay married, I’m totally wearing a blue suit like the groom in that photo.

  21. TrudieA says:

    Kate, great tips. I will definitely put them in my list of places and things to do in NYC next time I am there. In my last trip in April, my brother took me to Eataly and Il Cantuccio, two places with food worth trying.

    • I LOVE Eataly. My sister took me there. It’s funny — first we went to Crif Dog, a hot dog place where everyone there was her age (23 at the time). Then we went to Eataly and everyone there was MY age (27 then)! We had some great wine, mozzarella and prosciutto.


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