Here is the next piece for Untapped’s curated guide for speedy exploration.  Last week, I presented 5 spots in Chelsea, and this week I now take you around the Flatiron District.

1) Idlewild Books

While guidebooks are sufficient for short touristic stays abroad, if you want to ensure that you gain more than a fleeting impression of a country then Idlewild Books at 12 West 19th Street is the go-to place for your pre-traveling preparations.

Arranged by country, the bookshelves feature world literature (fiction and nonfiction) alongside travel guides. During my visit, I decided to do some personal research and look up books on Denmark since I will be studying abroad there this fall. I sought help from one of the sales associates, David, and he located the books I needed in five seconds flat. He left me to peruse the texts on my own time, but the employees were always nearby, chatting casually with other customers but also ready to help anybody else.

As for my books, in addition to the travel guides, I found a murder mystery set in Copenhagen, a series of Danish fairytales, and historical fiction novels. Overall, the novels and travelogues that Idlewild chooses to accompany guidebooks strongly embody a facet of the chosen country’s personality.

And as for language classes, Idlewild hosts classes for those who want to learn French, Spanish, or Italian.

2) Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

The name of this shop/café is very fitting since Beecher’s makes its flagship cheese right on the spot.  Part kitchen, part bistro, Beecher’s on 900 Broadway is definitely an exploration and learning experience on what can be eaten with cheese.

Next to the glass cases full of cheese, there is a small eatery that offers the “World’s Best” mac and cheese.  Made with Beecher’s original flagship cheese, I definitely should not have ordered it when I was only slightly hungry.  If you have not eaten in hours and are experiencing hunger pains or want a dish that is enough for two meals, that is the time to order this mac and cheese.

Despite the plethora of types of cheese, the best part of my visit was when I saw a man enter the store with a baguette already in hand and directly march up to the counter to buy a block of cheese.

Beecher’s Cheese Kitchen

Beecher’s trademark ‘Flagship’ cheese

3) Fifth Avenue Sidewalk Clock

Located on 200 Fifth Avenue, this elaborate cast-iron clock is a relic from the heyday of the toy district. Created in 1909, this clock was a replacement for the previous sidewalk clock that had once stood in front of the historic Fifth Avenue Hotel.

However, despite being established as a landmark in 1981, the clock fell into disrepair over the years. It was only in 2011, with some complementary  controversy with the name branding, when Tiffany and Co. restored the clock to its former grandeur.

4) Terri

I am an unrepentant carnivore but I will always be in the mood to go to this all-vegetarian restaurant/juice and smoothie bar. Located on 60 West 23rd Street, a health-conscious friend originally gave me the tip on this place. With sandwiches, wraps, salads, desserts, smoothies, and juices all under $10, my wallet remained pleasantly plump. I follow no diet regime whatsoever but it’s a nice feeling when I’m full and know that I haven’t eaten anything indulgent.

Terri does offer their own “juice cleanse” diet, but I have not tried it — I’m satisfied enough with their smoothie, Brazilian Bombshell.

5) The Museum of Sex

Let’s talk about sex.

While a trip to this particular museum may bring back memories of that embarrassing first lesson on sex during grade school, the Museum of Sex on 233 Fifth Avenue offers a great deal of unknown but interesting information about sexuality and sexual behavior. From the cinematic history of sex to the sexual activities of animals that’s usually edited out from mainstream animal documentaries, the exhibitions aim to “bring the best of current scholarship on sex and sexuality to the widest possible audiences.”

Plus, for the savvy museum visitor, if you check in on Yelp, you can get a $3 discount on the admission price.

The caption accompanying this piece reads, “Please ride gently”

A full list of the current exhibitions can be found here.

If you think a museum solely about sex sounds intriguing, check out Untapped’s article on entrepreneurship and the fetish industry.

Get in touch with the author @iyisak

1 Comment

  1. vanessa chan says:

    nice ping there! 🙂

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