Got a hankering for a taste of the real Manhattan? You know, an authentic Big Apple experience that combines some of the city’s classic sights with a generous helping of its most bona fide flavors.
We know exactly what you mean.
After all, in the excitement of the moment it can sometimes be a bit challenging to pull oneself away from the lights of Times Square and Broadway and feel out the genuine pulse of the city.
Thankfully, however, there’s a solution: Manhattan’s growing selection of seasonal and annual markets. Not only will they introduce you to urban living on a local level, but if you plan out your route correctly they’ll also help you to explore some of the cooler corners of the borough as well.
Karen Seiger, author of Markets of New York City, puts it this way: For travelers who want a more personal connection with New York, exploring the wonderful alternative markets is a unique way to connect with some of the people who give the city its broad and diverse character.
Hard to argue with logic like that.
To help get your own urban culinary quest started, Spinlister has combined some of Karen’s recommendations with our own personal favorites to put together a Manhattan market bike tour for you. Take a minute to get yourself acquainted with both the route and the stops along the way, then go enjoy an original bite of the Big Apple.
GRAND CENTRAL MARKET
Yep, you read that correctly. Attached to the east end of New York’s most famous train terminal is this fantastic indoor farmer’s market, open daily until 9 pm on weekdays and 7/6pm on weekends. Amid its wealth of stalls you’ll find everything from fresh cuts of meat and cheese to produce, seafood and decadent desserts. The atmosphere is lively and the aromas are far more appetizing than what awaits you just outside the doors in midtown. Go and experience a surprising slice of culinary excellence in the heart of Manhattan.
BROADWAY FRENCH MARKET
If you feel like you’ve stumbled upon “un petit morceau de Paris” in the middle of Midtown, well, that’s the idea. The Broadway French Market, which runs Wednesday – Friday along a 1-block stretch of Broadway Boulevard, is organized by a group specializing in French-style outdoor commerce. Along with quintessential goodies like crepes and baguettes you’ll also find a host of other local vendors selling non-European specialities. Come for fresh ingredients and artisan crafts, or just pick up a snack and chow down in the nearby Greeley Square.
A staple of Manhattan’s upscale Meatpacking District, the Chelsea Market can easily be counted among the coolest shopping experiences in New York, if not the world. Imagine strolling through a 1 block x 1 block smorgasbord of regional goodies like coffee, nuts, wine, cheese, and pretty much anything else your culinary heart desires, all in an atmosphere that oozes both rhythm and style. As you peruse the 35+ shops and stalls, prepare to be in good company. After all, you’ll be one of around 6 million visitors to check out the Chelsea Market this year.
ESSEX STREET MARKET
The Essex Street Market has been a staple of the Lower East Side for generations, dating all the way back to its grand opening in 1940. Granted these days it has a bit of a supermarket feel to it when you first step inside, but don’t let that initial impression fool you. Take a little time to stroll around this vibrant indoor shopping space and you’ll discover some fantastic local selections, from gourmet cheese and chocolate to fresh surf and turf. With the exception of major holidays, the market is open daily until 7pm (6pm Sundays).