So, I'm in the middle of using up yet another day of my life formatting the newest edition of the Native's Guide to New York. This is just rebreaking lines for the copies to send out to book stores, which means that I'll be doing this all over again in a few weeks one last time before slapping on an ISBN and finally bringing the "serious" editions to press. That having been said, I cannot begin to say how sick I am of those little pages of text. Once you've read and revised anything this many times, it's like tearing out your own fingernails to work on the damn thing.
But it does remind me of something that I'm going to write up for the next serious revision. If you're ever going to be in New York for a day with a couple of friends and want a real cross section of authentic New York food, forget every place you've ever heard of and get on the 1 train. Take it to 231st and get off. Right under the tracks is a classic New York diner, though these days they sell Mexican, too. A block over to the west is a huge Italian deli that can give you all you need in the way of pizza, heros, and the like. (And they sell a full selection of Manhattan Special. WIN!) Along that strip and on Broadway in the few blocks north you can get Dominican, New York Chinese, and pretty much the whole set. You want to hit a greasy, dark, Irish neighborhood bar? You're good. You want to shop for African crafts? No sweat. You want some gorgeous 1800's churches? Easy peasy. You've even got Riverdale from Archie Comics starting about five blocks away. Feel free to take the Number 10 bus north past the highway stretch and you'll get all the kosher pizza and real New York deli you can handle.
If you want to see places you've heard of and that they talk about on the television shows, then fine, go to Rockefeller Center and the Statue of Liberty and the frackin' World Trade Center site.
But especially if you've got enough folks with you to be able to hit a dozen places in one shot and buy food in all of them, especially if you've only got one day, if you want to see the real New York as New Yorkers live it, screw Manhattan, get up to the Bronx, walk around one little area you've never heard of, and you've all that you need.