It’s the end of summer, but happily, New York City is at its best in the fall, and fall is at its best in New York. From seeing the leaves change on a stroll through Prospect Park, to catching a glimpse of Fashion Week, to partaking in the spectacle of the legendary Halloween parade, visitors to this city of 8.5 million can see New York show off its full plumage in the autumn.
In 1807, Washington Irving described New York as “the thrice renowned and delectable city of Gotham,” and the nickname has stuck ever since, though it’s often mistakenly attributed to DC Comics and the Batman series. The metropolis is truly delectable, a destination for theater-goers, food fanatics, and the-larger-than-life. However, if you’re seeking a destination for canna-tourism, despite New York’s strong liberal leanings and the fact that it consumes more cannabis than any other city in the world, this isn’t it. Fortunately, there’s plenty to get your mind abuzz in the country’s largest city.
New York and cannabis. It’s complicated.
On the state level, cannabis is legal for medical use in New York, but don’t expect gates of THC heaven to open to you by complaining about your headaches to your neighborhood “doctor” in exchange for $50. In New York state, you must meet at least one of 12 medical conditions, obtain a medical recommendation from one of the few doctors registered for the program and go to one of the state’s few active dispensaries. Once in the dispensary door and even at a retailer as well-known as MedMen, which opened a location on prestigious 5th Avenue in 2018, the only formats that are compliant for medical use are liquids, vape oil, inhaler, and capsules.
This may all change fairly quickly. As Governor Andrew Cuomo and challenger Cynthia Nixon (yes, the actress) battle it out, each candidate has made relatively non-specific proposals to expand New York’s cannabis program and legalize adult use.
In the mean time, if you want to consume cannabis legally as a tourist, you should set your sights on CBD. Anxiety reducing cannabinoids may just be the right ones to focus on in New York City anyway. Gotham is home to stylish CBD brands like Sauc, CAP and Green Witch, which are easy to find in places ranging from the famously crunchy Park Slope Food Coop to the commodified cool Canal Street Market.
What to eat
New York City is home to people from cultural backgrounds that span the globe, and this city is densely packed. What does that mean for the food scene? It’s diverse, and it’s the best in the country because rents are too high and competition is too tight for mediocre purveyors to scrape by. What’s more, you can have everything from three Michelin-starred $500 tasting menus to deeply satisfying cheap eats for less than $15. The latter might require an expedition to some of the farther neighborhoods outside of Manhattan, but if you have the time, you’ll find it well worth the subway ride.
Try Jackson Heights in Queens, where you’ll find incredible Indian food next to Peruvian arepas and Tibetan dumplings.
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Flushing, also in Queens, is homebase for some of the best Chinese food in town.
Brighton Beach at the end of the Q train in Brooklyn is headquarters for Russian and Uzbek cuisine, all on a surprising slice of shoreline.
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Where do you get your Silk Road fix? Lamb soup with lagman hand cut noodles, lamb rib & lulya kabob, Gusht non (lamb pastry), Khushang (meat stuffed manti), and spiced lamb+beef pelmeni. All with lots of spicy chili paste, black vinegar and plenty of fresh minced herbs. This is Uyghur cuisine. Part Chinese, part Uzbek, part Mongolian, part Kazakh, all flavor bomb. Only at @kashkarcafe and #onlyinnewyork #kashkarcafe #brightonbeach #manti #pelmeni #lagmannoodlesoup #perfect #meltingpot #flavorbomb #newyorkornowhere #brooklyneats #eattheworld #feedyoursoul #khushang #gushtnon . . . . #eeeeeats #yum #tastespotting #foodporn #foodgasm #foodpics #delish #foodlove #buzzfeast #forkyeah #feedfeed #f52grams #foodpics #foodandwine #eater #foodie
What to do
See some art.
Art lovers or just art-curious visitors must carve out time for museums. Obvious but excellent choices include the revered halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (“the Met” for anyone who doesn’t want to stand out too obviously as a tourist) and the rotunda of galleries at the Guggenheim. If you’re looking for something that inspires more curiosity than the world’s great masterpieces, head over to MoMA P.S.1, the Long Island City division of the Museum of Modern Art that focuses on more experimental contemporary art. Open your mind to the often interactive, usually immersive and always innovative contemporary works at the New Museum. Or peer in on a petite treasure trove at the city’s smallest museum, built in a former freight elevator, the Mmuseumm.
Go on a walk.
If fitness is measured in steps tracked on a Fitbit, New York is the fittest state in the nation, largely due to the fact that people who live in New York City walk more and walk faster than people in any other city in the country. Fortunately, the city has great infrastructure for pedestrians and infinite routes that take you through beautiful places and interesting neighborhoods. Experience the city like a New Yorker and walk north to south on the avenues and east to west on the streets of Manhattan, or walk over a bridge to visit other boroughs.
Check out Brooklyn.
Just over the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, you’ll find Brooklyn. The stereotypes about the borough are all true, but there’s more to Brooklyn than bearded hipsters spending obscene sums on coffee and ceramics. New York’s second biggest borough is over three times larger than Manhattan, and there are a lot of neighborhoods, each with its own personality. You’ll find classic brownstones in family-friendly Park Slope, performance venues and breweries in Gowanus, hipster cliches in Williamsburg, and old warehouses turned into everything from ice cream factories to Tesla showrooms in Red Hook.
Go to a live podcast performance.
New York is home to networks like WNYC (an NPR member station) and Gimlet. Podcasts have become so popular that they don’t only happen in the confines of recording studios anymore; live shows hosted by podcasters or live recordings are a frequent occurrence. Check out the schedules at regular venues like The Bell House and Littlefield, and you just might nab tickets to a recording of your favorite show, or one of our favorites.
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