The Brotherly Combination of New York Comic Con and New York Anime Festival is this weekend (Oct 8-10), and while I cannot go this year due to that pesky thing called the Atlantic Ocean, I still want to help out any way I know how. As of late, I’ve noticed that people planning on attending the con, especially those from outside of NYC, are concerned about where to go eat, and it just so happens that I love eating and eating in New York.
First thing first however, there are some “harsh” truths I have to get out of the way. Namely, the Jacob Javits Center, located between 34th St and 39th St on 11th Ave by the Hudson River, is quite a ways away from everything else. Even 10th Ave can feel distant, and the closest trains, the A, C, and E (aka the “blue” trains), are as far as 8th Ave. So unless you want to pay those ridiculous convention center food prices, you’re going to have to walk, and you’ll need at the very least 10 minutes to even get to the closest place, a McDonald’s on 34th St and 10th Ave which undoubtedly be packed. Another thing to keep in mind is that, generally speaking, “avenues” are much longer than “streets” in New York. Remember that as you plan out where to go with the time you have.
Oh, and seeing as I’m not in NYC, I cannot verify everything will be as I say it is for the weekend. Food places open up and close all the time in New York, after all. My apologies!
The simplest method to obtaining food is to go along 34th and you’ll hit a number of other fast food places. There’s a Burger King, two Subways, a Wendy’s, and even a Chipotle’s by the time you reach 8th Ave. Of course if you take the food to go, you’ll save even more time.
But I hear you asking, what if we want to sit down and eat, maybe take our time? Well first, I would have to ask if you planned on going back to the con center, and second, I would have to once again point out the New York City subways. They may not be the most reliable, but they’re plentiful and they go to almost every nook and cranny in Manhattan, let alone the other New York City boroughs. At that point, I would say just find whatever, but I know that a lot of people are distinctly looking for places to eat near the Javits.
Once you understand that “near” is a relative term, you have quite a few options. There are multiple diners along 34th, such as the Tick Tock Diner and the Skylight Diner. All of them are decent enough, and good for holding a large crowd if you get there at the right time.
Also keep in mind that you’re in Hell’s Kitchen, and going north along 9th Ave (and to a lesser extent 10th Ave) is going to reward you with any number of restaurants of varying costs. As a general rule, the further up you go, the pricier the food will be, but you can still find places, like Burgers & Cupcakes on 9th Ave between 35th and 36th. According to a friend, there’s a couple of excellent bars as well, Pony Bar and Rudy’s. Don’t be scared by the appearance of smaller locations either, as they may very well serve good food. One such place is Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery on 47th St and 10th Ave, which serves the best tacos I’ve ever eaten. Try the cow tongue!
If you’re really unsure of how you want your dining experience to be, then my location of choice is 38th St between 7th and 8th Aves. Not only is this the street where you can get my beloved Go Go Curry, but if you’re looking for places that can hold more people, there’s Lazarra’s Pizza, a sit-down Balkan restaurant called Djerdan (if you’re a real anime fan you’ll get the Musaka and shout, “MASAKA?!”), Korean Fried Chicken at Bon Chon, and even a Chinese restaurant called simply 38th Street Restaurant and Bakery which serves food closer to the kind you’d find in Chinatown than your typical General Tso’s fare. Also along 8th Ave between 38th and 37th is 2 Bros Pizza, which has convenient $1 slices. There’s also a 42nd Times Square Yoshinoya, in case you want to quickly feed your desire for Japanese food and Go Go Curry is too full.
If you have a bit more time than that and a bit of cash to lay down, then I must recommend Tony’s Dinapoli, a family-style Italian restaurant located on 43rd St between 6th and 7th Aves. The place is popular so you’ll need a reservation, but the portions are big and the food is hearty, and they’re used to housing large crowds.
And if you’re vegetarian, you may want to check out some of the nearby Indian restaurants. While I haven’t been to it myself, the closest one appears to be Tawa Tandoor, on 34th St by 9th Ave.
So those are some basics to eating during your New York Anime Festival/Comic Con weekend. Happy dining! And if you want to find something specific to eat in NYC, even outside of the Javits range, don’t be afraid to ask me on Formspring or Twitter or even in the comments below.