New York: West Village
SEE The Meatpacking District
West of Ninth Ave., between Gansevoort and W. 14th Sts.
A cobbled, historic, working neighborhood that's disappearing as fast as you can say "Gucci." It's one of the buzziest parts of town, which makes it a fun, if expensive, playground. BT's advice: Go see this slice of New York life before it disappears forever, and then support the neighborhood businesses by treating yourself to steak frites at Florent, (69 Gansevoort St., 212/989-5779).
SEE Sheridan Square
Seventh Ave. at Christopher and W. Fourth Sts.
Named for the Civil War's General Sheridan but known as the epicenter of NYC's gay community-the Stonewall Inn, site of the historic 1969 riots for gay rights, is adjacent (212/463-0950). Nearby, The Duplex piano bar (61 Christopher St., 212/255-5438) is always a good time. (Joan Rivers performs her catty comedy here.) Neighborhood lesbians like the colorfully festooned Cubbyhole (281 W. 12th St., at W. 4th St., 212/243-9041).
EAT Chez Brigitte
77 Greenwich Ave., near W. 11th St., 212/929-6736
A trapped-in-time 11-person counter that serves French comfort food. Its Provençal omelet hits the spot any time of day, and the beef bourguignon is also très bon.
21 Bedford St., near Sixth Ave., 212/989-5769, cafeino.com
A pocket-sized café that spotlights Italian snacks such as bruschette (little slices of bread with savory toppings). High-concept flavor combinations include asparagus, parmesan, and truffle oil. It recently spawned a larger outpost on the Lower East Side-'inoteca (98 Rivington St., 212/614-0473).
EAT Extra Virgin
259 W. Fourth St., 212/691-9359, extravirginrestaurant.com
A stylish, decently priced newbie that serves marvelous Mediterranean dishes including to-die-for Caesar salad, roasted monkfish, and tarte Tatin. It's open for brunch, too.
28 Greenwich Ave., 212/675-2688
Authentic North Indian snacks and smoothies (lassis) made from low-fat yogurt-sample the rose or lemon blossom. Traditional paratha bread comes stuffed with daikon, goat meat, cheese, and other ingredients.
EAT Milk and Cookies
19 Commerce St., 212/243-1640
Stop here for snickerdoodles, oatmeal-cranberry cookies, and nutter butters like you've never had, and wash 'em all down with a chilled glass of organic milk. Feeling creative? Choose your own "mix-in," and in 10 minutes a mini-batch of your very own made-to-order cookies will emerge warm from the oven.
344 W. 11th St., 212/352-2300, wallse.com
Austrian cuisine executed with a light, sophisticated touch. Wiener schnitzel that doesn't feel like a punch in the stomach, delicate sauces infused with Riesling-you get the idea. Its martini made with pepper vodka and tomato water is a revelation-like a cocktail plucked from the vine.
138 W. 10th St., 212/929-0821, jacksstirbrew.com
Coffee-freak Jack Mazzola takes his java seriously-home brews are full-bodied and low on acid. His great-aunt Rosie's chocolate-chip cookies are a must.
DRINK Employees Only
510 Hudson St., 212/242-3021
Expertly mixed classic cocktails (try a Manhattan) amid sultry art deco decor. The only thing out of place is the tarot-card reader in the window.
3 Bleecker St., 212/473-3039
A well-worn, well-loved, well-stocked bar that pours fine wines by the glass and carries many beers from Europe-a goodly amount from brew capital Belgium.
835 Washington St., 212/243-3339, nychighline.com
Head straight to the basement lounge of this space-age Thai restaurant, where ginger mojitos flow freely. If you get hungry, order the steak with lemongrass-cumin mole.
SHOP Partners & Crime
44 Greenwich Ave., 212/243-0440, crimepays.com
An impressive independent bookshop where crime is a passion. There's an authoritative selection of mysteries and crime novels, from Agatha Christie to Claire Matturro. The first Saturday night of every month, Cranston & Spade Theater Co. performs classic 1940s radio scripts at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. $5.
125 Greenwich Ave., 212/989-4300, mxyplyzyk.com
A clever housewares and gift shop whose name was inspired by a character from a Superman comic.
SHOP C.O. Bigelow Chemists
414 Sixth Ave., 212/533-2700, bigelowchemists.com
The oldest apothecary in the U.S.-it's been filling prescriptions since 1838. An amazing selection of homeopathic and European health and beauty products.
PLAY Arthur's Tavern
57 Grove St., 212/675-6879, arthurstavernnyc.com
A small, laid-back music club that's hosted terrific talent nightly for over 50 years. Jazz starts at 7 p.m., blues at 10 p.m. No cover.
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