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Hidden Gems of NYC

With the quintessential Starbucks and other large, rudimentary food chains on every street corner, it can be hard to find a truly special and enjoyable place to dine or grab a snack. As appealing as it sounds to frequent a small coffee shop where the barista knows your order by heart, this is unlikely for most New Yorkers. While it may be more convenient to eliminate the need for a  trek around the city by succumbing to the desire for a Shake Shack milkshake, it will not bring you the same feeling of satisfaction as supporting a local business.

The West Village is a mecca for such coffee shops and other trendy places. The O Cafe is easy to overlook, as it is located on a busy corner on 6th avenue, but, should you walk in, you will not be disappointed. Packer’s very own Sasha McFarlane (‘21) may be standing behind the counter, or whipping up their signature Brazilian coffee. McFarlane loves his job, gushing: “Although small, I believe that O Cafe is the embodiment of the village coffee shop, serving fantastic coffee and a variety of Brazilian themed pastries” Charlotte Agliata (‘21) has visited the cafe, and can be heard raving about the phenomenal cheese bread.  

Located in SoHo, lies Pi Bakerie. On the corner of Thompson and Broome, the local gem offers Greek pastries, traditional small plates, and a good pick-me-up. Frequent diner Evan Chen (‘19), can often be seen devouring Baklava and sipping a Freddo cappuccino. He highly recommends Pi Bakerie, should anyone find themselves meandering the streets of SoHo: “Sometimes in the late fall, I like to enhance my autumnal energy by snuggling up surrounded by the cozy ambiance provided by Pi Bakerie with a triple venti nonfat latte with caramel drizzle.”

Packer students regularly get food from Lichee Nut, a casual Chinese restaurant on the Montague St, right of off Clinton. While there is no denying their pork dumplings and spring rolls are good, they pale in comparison to those from Nom Wah Tea Parlor. Opened in 1920, it is one of the oldest restaurants in Chinatown. Any New Yorker knows this restaurant is a haven for dim-sum lovers, and chinese tea enthusiasts. Located on the quiet and winding Doyers street, the restaurant is cozy and has an enjoyable ambience. The service is usually good, and even on busy days, the steamed dumplings are well worth the wait.

While the convenience of chains like Starbucks and Gregory’s is undeniably appealing,  there are numerous hidden gems in New York that may be closer than you would think; maybe it is the deli on your corner that makes a delicious bacon egg and cheese. The variety of food found in New York is unique and something that a lot of New Yorkers take for granted. We at The Prism encourage you to explore this city we call home and find a fun and tasty place to frequent.

Violet Chernoff is currently a sophomore at The Packer Collegiate Institute and is a reporter for the Packer Prism this year. She joined the prism because of her love for writing, and hopes to experiment with different genres, having recently taken a month long course on creative writing at Oxford University. Violet is on the Girls Varsity Softball team at Packer, and can be found after school volunteering at the Brooklyn Autism Center and the Hopkins Retirement Home. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and rewatching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Violet can be reached at vichernoff@packer.edu.

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