As Untapped Cities columnist, Luke Kingma, who boldly took us to the depths of Chinatown and to the wildest of NYC parties, moves on to the West Coast, he reminisces on his life in New York City in the best way he knows how–through its food.
It is no simple task to summarize 3.5 years spent in a city that has at once asked so much of me and given so much to me. I arrived in December 2010 with a paltry pile of personal items stacked in the corner of an old friend’s Upper East Side apartment. I’ll depart tonight with a similar haul, bound for Los Angeles and the inevitability of a car payment. (Do they still run on gas? Did we figure that out yet?)
As my mind criss-crosses the boroughs in search of a compelling narrative, I can’t help but distill my experience down to the food I’ve eaten during my stay here. From the $.20 pork & chive dumplings on Eldridge Street to the finest cuts of Pat LeFrieda beef in Tribeca, there has been meaning and memory in every morsel. So I began revisiting the restaurants where my own story was written, hoping to find remnants of myself if not one last warm meal.
With over 18,000 alcohol-serving establishments spread throughout the five boroughs, New York City is regularly in a state of good ol’ drunken merrymaking. Still, many of these locales may be just a bit too banal for the average bar hopper. Why sip at the ordinary surface-planted saloon, when you can go to a discreet subterranean spot?! For those who just imagined themselves bragging about their experience with the latter, here are 10 subterranean bars and lounges to satisfy the underground explorer within you!
1. Little Branch, 22 7th Ave South
Guests delighting by the bar counter at Little Branch. Photo via My Odyssey Years.
At Untapped Cities, we have a particular interest in repurposed places. New York City has historically been adept at adaptive reuse, though there are plenty of examples of the city forgetting this particular skill too. In addition to NYC’s repurposed banks, churches, synagogues, theaters, psychiatric asylums, and parking garages, here are eight fire stations that have been converted into great uses.
1. Downtown Community Television Center, 87 Lafayette Street
There is a long lineage of Chinese restaurants in New York City, from upscale stalwarts in Midtown to authentic Szechuan fare in Flushing. You can find pork buns, dim sum, soup dumplings, the list goes on and on. With so many options, we bring you our top picks of Chinese eateries in the city, just in time for the Chinese New Year. And if that’s not enough, be sure to check out our Sunday in Chinatown column by Luke Kingma.
From our previous adventure to find the best dumplings in NYC, we put Prosperity pretty high up on the list. This is one of the smallest dollar dumpling destinations on the list but definitely one of the best. They serve dumplings in two styles – fried and boiled. Prosperity Dumpling is the quintessential hole in the wall joint, steaming and frying up delicious dumplings just in time for the Chinese new year. They have a wonderful variety of fillings you can try and great crispy sesame pancakes as an add-on.