When I first rolled into New York City on a Greyhound from the Martha's
Vineyard ferry terminal back in 1981, I never dreamed I would spend at least
the next 26 years of my life here. I was crashing on the floor of my former
college roommate's studio apartment in the far West Village and I hoped, as
I meandered about those maze-like streets, that downtown Manhattan would someday be my home. After protracted periods of life on the Upper East and West sides, I finally settled in Greenwich Village with my family of five. With an office in Soho, downtown is pretty much my full-time stomping ground.
Mornings are perfect at Balthazar in Soho, where the locals meet for blazing hot coffee, bread, and pastries baked at the Balthazar Bakery next door. Farther west on 12th Street, the new Cafe Cluny has a quiet neighborhood feel and plenty of free newspapers to peruse while ... [more]
Andy Arons, Gourmet Garage
Above the Financial District and encroaching on shrinking Little Italy and the Lower East Side is New York Citys expanding Chinatown--rapidly increasing in both size and population. Chinatown is a wonderful place to meander about. Everyone in your group will notice different things. On a recent visit with my family, my husband noticed that the streets bend, and the buildings bend with them. My older daughter noticed fish and dehydrated things in markets that she wanted to take home and examine under her microscope. And my little one marveled at lots of colorful kitsch: Hello Kitty and others. You can begin your exploration online here or on foot at the intersection of Mott and Canal.