New York’s Finest

GLR Scours New York City for Untapped Treasures as Part of Our “Diamond in the Rough” Series

One of the major upsides of living in New York City is having options.  Drinks at the Pierre, dinner at Grammercy Tavern, award-winning Broadway shows, the world’s best shopping—the list goes on.  The downside is that hitting up the city’s hottest spots often means waiting in lines and dealing with hordes of out-of-towners.

Scoping out premium goods, services and venues where you can avoid the crowds might seem daunting, but sometimes, off the beaten path, waiting to be discovered in obscurity, there’s a Diamond in the Rough.


Walker’s Restaurant



Home to Bubby’s and the Odeon, Tribeca is well known as a bustling brunch destination.  However, if you’re in the mood for a less “scene” Saturday or Sunday afternoon, head to the lesser known Walker’s on North Moore Street for a more low-profile, casual vibe and a hearty American menu. With tin ceilings and walls covered in old black-and-white photographs, Walker’s has an old Tribeca feel that neighborhood locals love.  The brunch menu offers standouts like Eggs Walker’s–a benedict featuring fresh Nova lox–which comes with a side of fruit and complimentary mimosa, bloody mary or beer.


16 North Moore Street
New York, NY 1001
(212) 941-0142


New York Transit Museum



When people think about the New York City museums they love to take their kids to, usually the same places come up: the Museum of Natural History, the Met, MoMA, the Children’s Museum. Indeed, my girls love all these too. What’s not to love. But one of our favorite museums, one that’s smaller and not as well known, is the New York Transit Museum. Located in Downtown Brooklyn, it is off the beaten path, away from the tourists and crowds. Which in many ways is a good thing, because almost every time we’ve been there we’ve practically felt like we’ve had the place to ourselves. No crowds = happy kids.

The Transit Museum is located in what used to be an old subway station. In fact, finding the museum for the first time can be difficult – I literally did think the entrance was a subway entrance and not the museum itself. I hear that’s common. Once you enter it, however, you’re taken into the underground world of everything transit, including old subway trains, buses, and trolleys. Kids love to run around and try their hand at “driving” one of the buses or hopping on and walking up and down one of the trains. There are many of them actually, making the museum deceivingly much larger than one would think upon entering. In fact, it is the largest museum in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history. Who knew?  — fifi+hop


Boerum Pl & Schermerhorn St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 694-1600


Nelson Blue



South Street Seaport is always teeming with tourists, but around the block on Front Street you can dodge the crowds and step into the South Pacific at Nelson Blue, a gastropub featuring authentic New Zealand fare.  Adorned with Maori tribal carvings and a hanging war canoe, Nelson Blue offers an upscale twist on Down Under favorites like New Zealand lamb skewers, green-lipped mussels, panko-crusted crabcakes, and corn and zucchini fritters.  The extensive wine list features selections flown in from the Otago and Marlborough regions.  If you’re lucky, the restaurant’s gregarious Kiwi owner, Pauli, will be behind the bar telling stories about his most recent skydiving trip and handing out free Steinlager pints to friendly patrons.


233-235 Front Street at Peck Slip
South Street Seaport, NY 10038
(212) 346-9090


NYC Water Taxi



Let me start by saying it is such a fabulous way to see the Big Apple, and loads of fun! With 6 different “hop on/hop off” stops throughout the city, and a tour through New York Harbor, it is a sure-fire way to see as much of New York as you can in one day, with spectacular skyline views along the way. And because you buy tickets in advance (you can show your receipt directly from your phone) there is a limit to the crowds and lines.

This is how it works: the water taxi has 6 main ferry pier stops, where you can hop on or hop off. They are: Pier 79 at West 39th Street, Pier 45 at Christopher Street in the West Village, Slip 6 in Battery Park, Pier 11 at Wall Street, Pier 1 at Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo, and Fairway Dock in Red Hook, Brooklyn. After Red Hook, the taxi takes you right in front of the Statue of Liberty, where you can gaze at Lady Liberty from a stand still and take those must-have pics. From there, the taxi continues back to the start at Pier 79. (Note, some taxis make two additional stops at South Street Seaport and Ikea in Red Hook – see the website to learn more). Taxis depart approximately every 20 minutes from each stop, allowing you to get off and explore around the city at the stops you’d like, and get back on to continue the route. Along the way, cruising through the New York Harbor, you get all the iconic views, including the Empire State Building, One World Trade, and the Brooklyn Bridge. You can create your own itinerary and get off at as many or as few stops as you’d like, or simply take the boat ride around the harbor, which is a 90-minute ride.  — fifi+hop


Multiple locations


New York Tailor Shop



While crowds flock to SoHo for some of the best shopping and nightlife in NYC, few know that the neighborhood is also home to one of the city’s best tailors. For any type of clothing alteration you could possibly need, head to New York Tailor Shop on Kenmare Street and don’t think twice about the unassuming name.  Quality alterations can be done in 20 minutes if needed and at an unbelievably affordable cost (standard pants alterations will set you back a mere $8).  While you wait, get some shopping in or grab a bite in Little Italy.


60 Kenmare Street
(between Elizabeth Street & Mott Street)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 343-8790


Pegu Club



We love speakeasies as much as the next person (PDT, Raine’s Law Room, Death & Co to name a few), but let’s face it, you rarely can enter these places on a whim and get a seat, let alone get in the front door (or back door, or side door, or secret door in the phone booth). That’s what is nice about Pegu Club. They make world class cocktails, sans the high maintenance.

The original Pegu Club no longer exists, but head down to 77 West Houston Street in New York’s Soho and you’ll find the modern day Pegu Club, a legend in its own right. If you appreciate not only the finished product, but what goes into making a world-class cocktail you won’t be disappointed by the care that is put into each of the elegant bar’s signature cocktails.

Their signature drink, The Pegu Club Cocktail dates back to the late 1800s. It originated at its namesake hangout, the original Pegu Club, a social establishment for British officers near the gulf of Martaban in Burma. Legendary mixologist Harry Craddock wrote in his famous 1930 “Savoy Cocktail Book” that the Pegu Club Cocktail “has traveled and been asked for around the world.” Craddock was right as the cocktail made its way Stateside, to much fanfare. It may look like a sweet drink, but if made properly (plenty of gin and bitters) it packs a punch—no pun intended.


77 W Houston St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 473-7348


fifi + hop, a GLR partner site, contributed to this article.