Right now, the garden café on the rooftop of the Met is caught in the miserable, icy grip of the polar vortex, its fountain of overpriced cocktails frozen over until reopening time in May. When it’s open, the Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar offers the opportunity to enjoy the very best view of the New York skyline, gratis—if you don’t count the $10 sandwiches and aforementioned pricey beverages. Skip the dusty monuments and paintings and head straight to the roof to bask in the glory of the living, breathing artwork that is New York City.
Once you’ve finished seeing Works & Process at the Guggenheim or an exhibition at El Museo del Barrio, it’s nice to take a break from Museum Mile and check out the streets and avenues nearby. Check out our suggestions for the next time you need a bagel or an egg cream after seeing some priceless works of art.
Central Park serves as the Berlin Wall between the Upper West Side—the kingdom of our beloved Absolute Bagels—and the Upper East Side, where Tal Bagels reigns supreme. (Though, let’s be real, the Upper East Side is a bit more capitalist than East Berlin.) With several UES locations, Tal has a neon orange sign that screams “affordable,” not to mention its Sunday morning lines of salivating customers. Inside, you’ll find perfectly textured bagels—crispy on the outside, hot and fluffy on the inside—and a wide array of options for your schmear.
Take a step back in time at this cozy diner only three blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has had the same storefront since the 1940s. On top of the great old-timey ambience, the food and the egg creams are delicious. One highlight is the butter burger, a burger that is actually cooked with butter. Eat it with some onion rings and an authentic fountain soda, and you’re ready to head to another museum for your second wind.
Fresh off the boat from Paris, Ladurée is the place to go if you can’t decide between feeling pampered and feeding yourself. Macarons—not to be confused with macaroons—are a French treat with a crisp shell, moist interior, and gooey center. Ladurée’s sweet, lighter-than-air confections come in a range of flavors from sea salt caramel to chocolate.