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Insider Picks in New York – from a Brooklyn Native

This blog post was updated on April 14, 2022.

New York City never has a shortage of visitors. Thanks to cheap airfare and international appeal, the Big Apple’s melting pot of cultures, foods and experiences attracts people from all over the world.


Of course, there are touristy musts when in New York: a stroll through Central Park, catching a Broadway Show, seeing the attractions in Times Square, hitting up MOMA or the Met, and exploring all of the city’s boroughs.


But, what about hitting places that attract the locals? Or at least not as many tourists?


Annemarie Dooling, a community editor for Huffington Post and an active blogger, has called Brooklyn “home” her entire life.


Today, she gives us some of the area’s off-the-beaten path best bets to make any trip to New York City special. After wandering around all of the boroughs for most of her life, these are her top picks.


History/Culture: Queens Museum of Art – “The Panorama of the City of New York is my all-time favorite exhibit. It was created for the 1964 World’s Fair and was continuously updated until recently. Depending on date of creation, you can find your apartment, favorite restaurant and even your office in this enormous panorama.”


Dining: The Vegas Diner -“I spent many mornings before high school congregating with friends at this diner, and many evenings ordering super-huge Greek salads, french fries with gravy and over-sized desserts from a rotating mirrored display. It’s about as traditional Brooklyn as you can get and a great place to people watch for natives.”


Shop: Clove Lakes Book Store – “This Staten Island bookstore is as mom-and-pop as you can get. It’s run by the most adorable woman who will ransack the tall shelves to find exactly what you need – and if they don’t have it, she’ll order it. It’s also a great place to score simple school and office supplies. It’s always warm and cozy and friendly, like a thick blanket or a familiar friend.”


Be entertained: The Full Cup – “Another Staten Island favorite, a husband and wife team took over this cafe last year and tailored it to the community, their friends and family. On weekends it’s a great place to meet friends, with live music, parties and comedy shows. During the day, though, with free wifi and a tall cup of coffee, it’s a fantastic place to get some work done.”


“Panorama,” Flickr photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik

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