New York tips

1. Tulsi, 211 E. 46th, between 1st and 2nd.  The most authentic Indian food I’ve had in the U.S., ever, get the vegetables.  Not a cheap mom and pop, but by Manhattan standards this is reasonably priced for its quality.  Jones Wood Foundry is an excellent gastropub.

2. Incendies joins Of Gods and Men and Even the Rain as one of my favorite films of the year.  It is French-Canadian, set in Lebanon, and involves a journey of family discovery; I read it as an explicitly Christian movie.

3. Flushing, Queens, Golden Mall, go eat the Chinese food in the basement food court.  For visitors, convenient from LaGuardia airport by taxi.

If you live in New York, or visit frequently, this is my best blog post ever.

Comments

what about bookstores in NYC? any particular one?

There really aren't any good bookstores left like the ones that existed 10 years ago. 'Bricks and mortar' bookstores are a dying breed, and Manhattan rents are very high. McNally-Jackson in Soho is OK, as are the remaining (shrunken) Shakespeare & Co. locations. The Strand is interesting if you are a cheapskate and have a high tolerance for frustration.

I'd suggest the New York public library. One of the premier institutions of its kind in the United States and best of all: the books are free.

Book Court in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn is a nice indie bookstore, though it too is a bit small.

What David said. Not really many good ones left. Book Court is nice though and so is Greenlight Bookstore in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.

Flushing is really amazing, actually, I spent 2 nights there rather than downtown a week or so back for an event and loved walking out to get a coffee and pork buns on the street in the morning. Dumplings galore. Really good dumplings. Without searching too hard for the 'right' place though there are those, too.

new yorkers don't need restaurant tips from tourists. thanks anyway

Indeed.

For a man who sings the praises of Flushing Queens when it comes to authentic Chinese food, it seems odd that Taylor's No. 1 recommendation for Indian would in Manhattan, and not even in Curry Hill?!

matt d - give it a rest. I'll gladly take restaurant tips from anyone who knows their stuff, and Tyler clearly fits that bill as far as Asian cuisines go.

Mal - the Chinese and Indian food ecosystems in NY are quite different. A few 'noble failures' of the past aside (Chiam, anyone?), there has never been much of a 'haute Chinese' restaurant tradition in NYC, but there have been quite a few notable 'haute Indian' places (Dawat, Diwan Grill, Chola, Devi, ...), and most of them have been located in East Midtown. There is some good food to be had in Curry Hill (Lexington in the upper 20s), but the more ambitious Indian chefs and restauranteurs don't usually stay there.

What are Tyler's credentials for the authenticity validation of Indian food?

I usually cringe when Tyler talks about NYC, but the Flushing recommendation is, of course, great.

We are talking about the place Larry David famously catalogued good public restrooms for.

yes -- tulsi is terrific.
it's run by the same buy (hernant) who used to run devi back in the day.

(on the lower end, the best indian that i've found in nyc is dhaba.)

211 would be between 2nd and 3rd Ave.

Absolutely spot on with the Flushing Golden Mall basement food court. Flushing also has amazing Indian food. You should try the Ganesh Temple Canteen: http://bit.ly/bICms1. The food is amazing, and after eating there, you can visit the actual temple upstairs.

Tulsi does rock.

Bookstore-wise, if you've never been, go to The Strand.

I second the Strand. It's crowded so you have to be prepared. But it's an experience.

Sadly, NY City is much worse than many other cities, including much smaller ones, for book stores- it's clearly worse than Chicago, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston, for example. Probably others, too. The Strand has a lot of books, but many of them are crap (it's philosophy section is especially bad) and hugely over-priced. (Even though it's much, much smaller, I'd argue that Dove and Hudson books in Albany is a better _book store_ than The Strand, which basically only has size as a virtue.) I think the _Book Culture_, near Columbia, is better as a book store than The Strand (though probably not if you're looking for current fiction or maybe art books), but that in general NY is a bad book store town. I blame the high rents. (Unfortunately for me, Philadelphia, where I live now, is really a wasteland for book stores, and can't even blame the high rents.)

For NYC bookstores, I like the Montclair Book Center in Montclair, NJ. It's a great dig-in place to worship the art of ink on paper.

No, it's not in NYC proper. But you can handle a half hour by train.

Right on about Flushing. It's like heaven.

Tyler are you speaking in NYC?

NM, I see it TED.

For authentic Indian head out 74th Street in Jackson Heights...actually for a really great day walk down roosevelt from 64th to 109th and eat everywhere. The walk down Northern to eat Korean.

Been meaning to go to the Flushing food court for years.

Thanks for the reminder & recommendation!

Tyler, if you ever go to Queens go to Liberty Avenue and eat some West Indian "Indian" food. Highly recommended.

I had heard that the Flushing Food Court, and indeed, the entire mall, were slated to be demolished as part of a rezoning project over the next few years. The food court is great, but it looks like it might be displaced (or worse) in the next year ir si:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703529004576160670233619198.html

That's the Flushing Mall - not the same as the Golden Mall. I like the Tasty House, a few blocks up Kissena by the in-laws' apartment. Brilliant cheap noodles.

I'm an ethnic-food-loving New Yorker and I very much appreciate Tyler's recommendations. I eat a lot of Indian food, and haven't heard of Tulsi.

Not to be pedantic, but if a film is "explicitly" Christian, we should need no reading of it -- that is, no reflective analysis -- to detect that trait.

"2. Incendies joins Of Gods and Men and Even the Rain as one of my favorite films of the year. It is French-Canadian, set in Lebanon, and involves a journey of family discovery; I read it as an explicitly Christian movie... If you live in New York, or visit frequently, this is my best blog post ever."

ok then

I saw Incendie last week. I was not overwhelmed - possibly because it was so hyped up before I watched it. Also, having lived in Lebanon, it didn't cross my mind once that the film is set there. Of course, there are plenty of parallels: the factional infighting, references to the "south", expats in Canada... But there was a disconnect because nothing looked Lebanese to me: the license plates, shops, scenery, flags... I believe most of the Middle East scenes were filmed in Jordan, which may explain the differences + it was not the director's goal to single-out a specific country. I couldn't help but feel some similarities with Oldboy (Korean film)...

The Strand has a lot of books, but many of them are crap, having lived in Lebanon, it didn’t cross my mind once that the film is set there.

if you're in Flushing again, try Nan Xian Xiao Long Bao, and get (duh!) the xiao long baos.

also supposedly the turnip puffs are good too but i haven't tried yet.

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