There are plenty of opportunities to eat outside in NYC in the warm weather, some better than others. This is a guide to the nature of those opportunities so you can make the most of what is available. But NYC’s winter is bitter and just note the outside eating opportunities available as the snow covers the streets require a reliable source of heat to make them viable.
NEW YORK’S ROOFTOP BARS
Oh boy, some of these are soooo good, just check they have a fire pit if you want to try any in the depths of winter. Apart from sky high prices in all the really good ones, there’s almost no downside to NYC’s rooftop bars: the views are tremendous and the booze and food is excellent. Here’s a few guides to really great ones. Go to NYC’s Best Rooftop Bars , a lively guide to some excellent ones and to 98 Great NYC Rooftop Bars
While there are 5,100 mobile food vending permits in NYC only about 500 belong to food trucks and only about a 100 of those are offering high end innovative food. So there’s an awfu lot of dodgy food vendors out there, see the section on Food Stands. Frankly the food truck business is cutthroat and the very best of them build up a loyal clientele and then quick swap their food truck for a bricks and mortar store. But the best food trucks are very, very good see NYC’s 10 Best Food Trucks
RESTAURANTS/CAFES WITH SIDEWALK TABLES
What is oh so sophisticated in Paris and Venice can be a nightmare in NYC for the very simple reason that NYC sidewalks were not built to have tables and chairs on them. So a great deal of outside sidewalk eating in NYC leaves you exposed to the grot of passing cars and trucks, pedestrians weaving between tables and hurtling cyclists. The heaviest concentrations of sidewalk extensions to restaurants and cafes are in SoHo and Greenwich Village followed by the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, wo head to those neighborhoods to check them out. The food and drink can be great but choose wisely when opting to sit outside on the sidewalk to eat.
These are what you see by the dozen outside the Metropolitan Museum of Arts and other places. They will be mainly selling hot dogs and pretzels, but I suggest you follow the example of native New Yorkers. Any New Yorker who wants a great hot dog will go to a bricks and mortar hot dog shop and will carefully select his or her toppings to bring their freshly grilled hot dog to the point of greatness. I promise you the pale, sweating hot dogs sitting in hot water in kerbside hot dog stands are no match for the real thing.
NYC has glorious parks and all of them have either restaurants right in them or good to terrific food concession stands. Know that you can go to any NYC park and get food that with either be very adequate or out of this world and then if all else fails the ice cream will be very, very good.