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If you were visiting NYC after a long absence, which neighborhoods are the best package of sightseeing and good cheap eats?

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If you were visiting NYC after a long absence, which neighborhoods are the best package of sightseeing and good cheap eats?

sasha1 | Jul 5, 2011 10:34 AM

Hi all. I'm trying to figure out how to ask this question and not be accused of being too broad or simply being ignored.

Husband and I are going to NYC later this month. We are playing it by ear, first time w/o kids in a long time, and trying to just go with the flow. No hotel reservations, so not locked into a particular part of town. We're going to try to stay somewhere cheap in the burbs and rely on our feet and public transportation during the day.

It's been a very very long time since either of us were in the City. I imagine we will be mostly in Manhattan, but as long as the subways will take us, we can go to the other boroughs as well. So here's the question:
if we have maybe 3 days and we don't want to spend it all crisscrossing town, which neighborhoods do you recommend for the best combination of sightsee and food-see, the highest concentration of both, the best bang for our buck?

Regarding the food-see part, here are our preferences: We both love cheap eats of the ethnic and street food variety as well as artisanal shops doing one or two things very well. So, we prefer a nice bakery with euro-style pastries and coffee over an eggs and bacon place any day. Love to make lunches out of a nice bread, charcuterie, cheese and fruit. Visiting cheese chops, farmers markets, or permanent markets you can nibble through (think SF Ferry Bldg or Pike Place Mkt). Authentic and cheap ethnic places, preferably something lacking in our part of the PNW woods (would love mexican, ethiopian, carribean, peruvian, korean, indonesian, singaporean, chinese - not interested in thai or italian - we have those at home; love sushi too but that's not compatible with the cheap eats idea). Not at all interested in recs for burgers or pizza (if memory serves, any corner slice place will have a better pizza than much of what we get at home). Not particularly in sandwiches either unless they are stellar (i.e. Bay Cities in Santa Monica, Langer's in LA, various Ban Mi in Seattle, Paseo also in Seattle) - might have to go to Katz's though. No need to recommend anything fancy, spendy, or white-tableclothy.

I so appreciate your advice. I've been browsing the boards but without a firm sense of geography of the city, I have a hard time answering this question on my own.

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