Thanks to New York City FC clinching first place in the Eastern Conference, the Big Apple will be the venue for at least one game in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs and could yet be the sight for MLS Cup itself on Nov. 10. One thing's for sure, any fan traveling in for a game would be amiss not to at least try to savor some of the delights that one of the world's great cities has to offer.
There’s an energy and a vibrancy in New York City unmatched around the world. The city moves fast, its residents talk fast and the cabbies drive even faster.
In the city that never sleeps, the where to go and what to see is unlimited, as are the choices of food and drink in this multicultural hub for Etihad Airways.
Going to watch NYCFC compete on the Etihad Pitch at Yankee Stadium, or even at Citi Field, which will play host to NYCFC's Eastern Conference Semifinal against Toronto FC on Wednesday night ( (7 pm ET | FS1, Fox Deportes in US; TSN, TVAS in Canada)? Here’s your guide, from the inside, of where to eat and drink, how to get around and what to see.
Where to Eat/Drink
A disclaimer: This list is truly limitless. One of New York City’s greatest qualities is the variety of restaurants and food stands. Baring a chain restaurant, you can’t really go wrong almost anywhere you go in New York. Choose well.
NEAR YANKEE STADIUM:
- Stan’s Sports Bar: Yankees fans know Stan’s as the original and its been serving fans of the Bronx Bombers since 1979. The windows are always open, creating a fun outdoor atmosphere on game days.
- Billy’s Sports Bar: NYCFC’s Bronx pub partner, Billy’s underwent a multi-million dollar renovation in 2013 and has ample room on its main floor, a second level as well as a rooftop deck. Hard to beat the location — it's directly across from Yankee Stadium.
- The Dugout: Want to hang out with the Third Rail? This is your place. And, there’s a Taco Bell window inside the bar.
- Bronx Draft House: There’s 30 craft beers on tap, most from New York and maybe the best food selection by the stadium.
- Yankee Tavern: Dubbed the “Original Bronx Sports Bar,” Yankee Tavern has been family-owned since 1927 and claims Yankees legends Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra and Babe Ruth frequented it after games. Unlike the other pre-game spots, there is more than the usual pub grub available. The pastrami sandwich is a favorite, as is the calamari. Just ask the LAFC supporters, who packed in there in March.
ACROSS THE CITY: Want to experience first-hand how truly diverse New York City is? Head to Jackson Heights in Queens, a borough that proudly proclaims it is home to 200 nationalities with 170 different languages spoken. And if you go when any number of South American countries, or Mexico, play, you’ll be treated by an atmosphere perhaps unmatched this side of the southern hemisphere. As a bonus for those in town over the next few days, it’s a short trip to Citi Field, where NYCFC will play its first playoff game.
- Raja Sweets & Fast Food: There are 16 different kinds of roti as well as mouth-watering samosas on the 120-item menu at this Punjabi soul-food spot.
- Lhasa Fast Food: A few blocks away and hidden between an Indian jeweler and a sari shop sits this Tibetan restaurant which specializes in momos, a South Asian dumpling. Especially popular is the beef, which is seasoned with Sichuan peppercorn, celery, ginger and garlic.
- Arepa Lady: Three blocks from there is the home to some of the best arepas outside of Colombia and Venezuela. Maria Piedad Cano once sold these delicious corn cakes from a cart under the No. 7 train. Now she has her own restaurant where the arepa de choclo or sweet corn arepas are a favorite.
- Juanita’s Cafe: An offshoot of the famed rotisserie chicken giant Pio Pio, Peruvian sandwiches are the specialty, including pollo a la brasa (the famed rotisserie chicken with lettuce, tomato and mayo) and chicharon (with crispy pork shoulder, sweet potato and salsa criolla).
Make no mistake, New York City is a bustling metropolis and there is no easy way to get anywhere. Whether you chose to drive, jump in an Uber, rent a bicycle, take a bus or the subway, there will be crowds and inevitably some sort of delay. So pencil in some added time, take a deep breath and get around town like the locals.
- New York City Subway: There is no shortage of complaints from locals and tourists alike, especially about unannounced and numerous delays. But there is no quicker, and cheaper, way to get from Point A to Point B. Heading to Yankee Stadium, its the No. 4, B and D lines. Citi Field, it's the No. 7 train. At $2.75 each way, it's hard to beat.
- Citi Bike: Feeling a bit more adventurous and looking to get in some exercise as well? New York City’s official bike-sharing system could be for you. For $12, you can get 24-hour access and unlimited 30-minute rides. Longer rides incur additional fees.
- Ride-Sharing: There is no shortage of options in this, more expensive option, from the traditional yellow cabs to Uber, Lyft and more.
- Suburban rail travel: Metro-North Railroad works its way up through the Bronx, including a stop at Yankee Stadium, as well as points north including Westchester County and Connecticut. The Long Island Railroad, as the name indicates, services Long Island, with a stop at Citi Field.
Where to Watch Soccer
Watching soccer in New York City is a serious business. Here are some of the best places to do so.
- Football Factory at Legends: The home base to watching soccer in New York City, Football Factory shows more than 100 matches per week from around the world, from the EPL to the Bundesliga, to La Liga, Ligue 1, the Brasileirao and yes, MLS.
- Soccer Republic at McHale’s Bar: Voted ‘Best Soccer Bar in NYC’ by the Daily Mail and Heineken, this Irish bar just outside Times Square is home to the Borussia Dortmund NYC Supporters Club, but there’s a great vibe for any match.
- 43 Bar and Grill: Located in Sunnyside, just off the No. 7 train, is this self-proclaimed home of soccer in Queens. As one of NYCFC’s pub partners in the borough, every NYCFC game, home and away — as well as New York Red Bulls games — are shown and there’s been a number of watch parties with giveaways.
- Back in midtown Manhattan, the Tailor Public House and St. Pat’s Bar & Grill both host NYCFC Supporters’ Club viewing parties. St Pat’s is one of NYCFC’s pub partners.
Where to Play Soccer
Want a pick-up game with a view? We’ve got you covered.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park: An 85-acre park on the Brooklyn side of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge Park might be the site of the most picturesque pickup games in the world. But beware, stare out at the stunning Manhattan skyline across the river and you might get megged. Fun fact: Frank Lampard’s introductory NYCFC press conference was held here.
- Flushing Meadows-Corona Park: In the heart of Queens, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is as soccer-crazed as it gets. Even if you can’t get on one of the heavily-populated fields, get an empanada from the nearby food cart and watch the action that goes from dawn to dusk. It’s also the site of the latest, and 30th, mini-pitch.
- Sara D. Roosevelt Park: Located in Manhattan's Lower East Side, it is the site of the annual Showdown in Chinatown charity match organized by Steve Nash.
- Metropolitan Oval: Built by German and Hungarian immigrants in 1925, the Met Oval is one of the most historic soccer sites in the United States. The home of an academy by the same name, walk through the entrance and behold a breathtaking view from the top of the hill, with the field below and the Manhattan skyline above.
- Street FC is a great app to find pickup games all around New York City.
What to See
Yes, you know all about Times Square, the Broadway Shows, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s a few hidden gems to check out when visiting New York City.
- Staten Island Ferry: You’re probably saying, that’s it? Take the ferry? Well, here’s why. First of all, it’s free. And offers unparalleled value and spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty, lower Manhattan, Ellis Island and Governors Island.
- Governors Island: While many will flock to Central Park, take another ferry to Governors Island, a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor. Pack a picnic, throw a frisbee or check out a number of fun activities on the island, which is open from May 1-Oct. 31.
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge: Another free, and healthy, thing to do in New York City. It’s about a mile in length with some great photo-taking opportunities. Just don’t walk in the bike lane. It’s kind of frowned upon.
- Eat, eat and eat at Smorgasburg: Bring an appetite and maybe a second stomach to the largest weekly open-air food market in America. Every weekend at select locations in Brooklyn, 20,000-30,000 people flock to eat from 100 local vendors. It runs from April to November.
- Walk across the High Line in Manhattan: Walk off those calories from Smorgasburg at the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side where visitors can take in nature, art and design.
- The Met Cloisters: Surely, one of New York City’s famous museums are on your do-to list. But go out of your way to check out the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, where medieval European architecture, sculpture and art are on display in authentic French monasteries.