At the end of each month (as of last month), I depart from my usual content of sharing NYC tips and trivia to share some of my favorite New York things from the past month. I know it veers into lifestyle influencer territory, but don’t worry, everything I talk about will be related to New York City. So, if you’re willing to indulge me, let’s go into my NYC monthly favorites for August 2022.
Favorite NYC Cafe of the Month: Ten Thousand Coffee
This Australian brand had piqued my interest ever since it opened up a few cafes in New York because I had heard that it has the best coffee ever. Like, one sip and you’ll be in coffee heaven; that’s how much it was hyped up. It turns out that they were right. I went into Ten Thousand Coffee’s location near Bryant Park as a person indifferent to coffee and came out floating on a foamy, caffeinated cloud. Of course, I can’t speak for the whole drink menu, as I only tried a couple of drinks, but Ten Thousand Coffee’s espresso cream latte is the best latte I’ve ever had. It wasn’t just a drink; it was a symphony of chocolatey, creamy deliciousness. No other latte will ever compare to this one, so if you end up trying it, keep that in mind.
Favorite NYC Place of the Month: Queens County Farm Museum
Don’t let the word “museum” throw you off; despite this being a historic landmark, Queens County Farm Museum is a fully functional farm on the eastern edge of Queens. Yes, a FARM in New York City! This farm has been around since the 1600s, making it the oldest continuously farmed land left in the city, but what’s even more mind-blowing is that it’s surrounded by a regular residential neighborhood. But you’ll forget about the neighborhood completely once you pass through the farm’s gates and see the historic red farmhouse, the crops, and the livestock. Visitors are welcome to wander around the family-friendly farm, and for a small fee, I you can feed the goats and the sheep and take a hayride. This was one of the best things I did all summer, and I won’t rest until everyone I know goes.
Favorite NYC Book of the Month: “Our Subway Baby” by Peter Mercurio, illustrated by Leo Espinosa
“Our Subway Baby” is a heartwarming book, and it’s even more touching when you realize that it’s based on a true story. Back in August of 2000, a New Yorker named Danny Stewart found a newborn baby abandoned in the 14th Street subway station on the A/C/E line. He and his partner Pete called the cops and the baby was taken to the hospital. You’d think that would be the end of the story. But three months later, Danny was called to give a testimony about the incident and the judge suddenly asked him, “Would you be interested in adopting this baby?” He said yes, changing his, his partner’s, and the baby’s lives forever. There’s more to the story that I won’t give away because I want you to read it for yourself. But I will let you know that the author Peter Mercurio is the other dad in this tale and he turned their family’s story into a children’s book with spot-on illustrations. Between these illustrations and story itself, you’re going to end up tearing up just a little.
Favorite NYC Article of the Month: “The Voice of New York is Drill” by Camille Squires
I know some of you are going to look at me funny for choosing this article. And I’ll admit that before reading this piece, I had my own boomery pre-conceived notions about drill music. It’s still not my preferred style of rap, but the article makes you sympathetic to the kids in New York creating this music. Most of them aren’t violent or criminals; they’re just kids using music to express themselves, process the world around them, and hopefully make it big enough to lift themselves and their friends out of poverty. The article does a good job capturing their perspective, with direct quotes from nineteen of New York’s biggest drill rappers. It also goes into how New York drill music is different from other area’s drill music and how the current mayor seems a little wary of drill rappers, to say the least. Additionally, there’s a playlist at the end of the article with songs from each of the rappers interviewed, so you can actually hear what New York drill music sounds like.
Favorite NYC Podcast of the Month: Worst Asian Podcast
Despite the name, this is probably one of the best podcasts to add to your rotation. Worst Asian Podcast is hosted by Ben and Lingjie, who are “a couple Asian American millennials giving their worst opinion on all things Asian.” (They’re based in Queens, so there’s that New York connection.) I started listening to them earlier in August because I wanted to expand my perspective and diversify the media I consume. But every time I turned on one of their episodes, I ended up listening for hours because these guys are hilarious. I should warn you that if you listen to them while outside on the street, people might look at you funny because you won’t be able to contain your laughter.
Favorite NYC Video of the Month: “Architect Explores New York City’s Greenwich Village” by Architectural Digest
If you know me, you know that I love looking at other people’s houses. The interiors, the exteriors, the architecture: I love it all. And if you’re into that too, you’ll enjoy watching this video from AD. In it, architect Nicholas Potts goes around Greenwich Village pointing out the neighborhood’s history through its architectural details. You’ll learn things such as how you can tell if a house was built in the 1800s or 1900s based on the orientation of the brick and the history of the Weathermen House.
Favorite Thing I Learned about New York This Month:
When I was working on my Tribeca neighborhood guide (which you can find here), I learned the story of the Nutopian Embassy at 1 White Street. Nutopia was a conceptual country created by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1973 because John Lennon was facing deportation after the US denied his application for permanent residency. Lennon and Ono thought that if they created this country and made themselves the ambassadors, Lennon would have diplomatic immunity and could not be deported. That was interesting reasoning, but it sort of worked because Lennon’s deportation ruling was overturned in 1975, two years later. (Although he probably had some really good lawyers fighting for him too.) Lennon stopped mentioning Nutopia after 1975, and the building that was supposed to be the embassy is now this super fancy-pants restaurant.
I hope this edition of my NYC monthly favorites gave you some useful NYC recommendations and inspiration to experience more of what New York has to offer. I’d appreciate any suggestions for things you think I should check out this coming month.
But before you go, if you liked this NYC monthly favorites article and want weekly articles on NYC history, culture, and things to do, sign up for the Shiloh in the City email list and follow me on social media. Thanks for reading!