Bumble’s Big Apple City Guide
Best place to get a slice? Go on a date? Let our most inspiring city-dwellers show you the way
Imagine having access to the little black books of New York’s top tastemakers, scenesters, movers, and shakers? Well, you’re in luck! We asked Bumble’s most inspiring city-dwellers to share their go-to spots for delicious pizza, a romantic date night, and more.
The Best Slice Around
Ask any group of New Yorkers to reveal their favorite pizza place, and you’re bound to have an intense debate on your hands — as well as a long list featuring every sort of pizzeria imaginable, from high-end restaurants to holes-in-the-wall selling dollar slices. Our list members were no different. Their top spots span every borough, price range, and variety, from Barboncini in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, serving brick-oven Neapolitan, to family-owned Dani’s in Kew Gardens, Queens, known for their sweet tomato sauce.
But the overwhelming favorite, getting more than twice as much love from this bunch as its nearest competitor, was Greenwich Village institution Joe’s Pizza. The mere thought of a slice (or Sicilian square) from the 43-year-old restaurant provoked outsized responses. “Gimme all the Joe’s!” said writer Rachel Sklar. “Don’t even bother arguing with me about this,” said entrepreneur Joshua Cooper in defense of the Carmine Street eatery’s preeminence.
Other spots with big followings among New York’s most inspiring people include Bleecker Street Pizza, known for its late-night hours and affordability, and Lombardi’s, which claims to be the oldest pizzeria in the U.S. “Fun fact: they remained open during Hurricane Sandy, operating from a car generator,” said editor Jessica Bennett.
Date Night (Or Day) Inspo
If Bumble’s most inspiring New Yorkers had a motto for their dating lives, it might just be “take it outside.” When we asked these hundred-plus people of all ages and relationship statuses to name the best spot for a date in the city, Central Park was by far the most popular answer. And what’s not to love? Manhattan’s oasis of calm has it all, from the grassy expanse of Sheep Meadow (ideal for a picnic) to the picture-perfect Lake (and all the romantic potential of its rental rowboats).
It wasn’t just Central Park that proved a hit. These city-dwellers crave any opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors with their plus-ones. Startup founder Abigail Opiah favors Brooklyn Bridge Park, with its East River views. Real estate manager Tanner Tew recommends Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, especially after hours in the summertime. For actor and writer Lee Hurst, it’s Hudson River Park — with a blanket, bottle of wine, and snacks, of course.
For the less outdoorsy of the bunch, Brooklyn’s quirky Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club came highly recommended, as did cocktails at some of Manhattan’s most beloved, old-school haunts: legendary Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, the bar at French brasserie Balthazar, and the plush Lobby Bar at the Bowery Hotel were among the top picks. For dinner dates, our group is fond of ABC Kitchen, Brooklyn Crab, I Sodi, Morandi, Antica Pesa, and Buddakan.
And then there were the inexpensive date ideas, like a picturesque ride on the Staten Island ferry (cost: free ninety nine), a chat on a park bench in leafy Stuytown, or, for journalist Liz Plank, something closer to home: “Just you, me, my apartment,” she joked, “and you're assembling my IKEA furniture.”
When we asked our most inspiring Bumble users to name their favorite New York hidden gem, they were understandably sheepish. “If I told you, I’d have to kill you,” said finance head Yashoda Clark.
Some of their favorite top-secret spots are genuinely hidden, like Apotheke, a cocktail bar tucked away behind a phony storefront in Chinatown, or Rooftop Reds, a reservation-only vineyard and winery on a Brooklyn roof. Others are just relatively little-known outside their neighborhoods, like beloved dive bar Sunny’s in Red Hook, or Oda House, the East Village restaurant bringing homestyle Georgian (the country, not the state) cooking to the masses.
You’ll have to fire up Google Maps for some of their off-the-beaten-track picks. Author Jennifer Brown favors the Ellis Island Museum. Photographer Nicholas Wilkie is a fan of the Staten Island Boat Graveyard. Performer Yeman Brown recommends the Jerome Robbins dance archive at the New York Public Library. Founder Laurence N. Chandler urges New Yorkers to check out the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, Queens.
Some folks’ definitions of “hidden” (and, well, “gems”) proved slightly more confounding. Said TV producer Lilly Burns: “Have you heard of this place Chipotle?”