New York's best pickup spots
Where to go when you're cruising for chicks, dicks or something else entirely.
Tue Dec 1 2009
BARC Shelter and East River State Park
Volunteer to walk one of the adorable dogs at Brooklyn’s no-kill animal shelter, and you’ll never whine about being the wingman again. Take a quick jaunt over to East River State Park, where you’ll catch the eyes of other dog lovers strolling around its industrial grounds. Who knows? Maybe you’ll fall in love twice. BARC: 253 Wythe Ave at North 1st St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-486-7489, barcshelter.org/volunteer) * East River State Park: 90 Kent Ave at North 8th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-297-9470, nysparks.state.ny.us)
Big Nose Kate’s Saloon
The Coyote Ugly of Staten Island, this watering hole has Texas programmed into its DNA. Dirt-cheap wings, saddles and televised sports get a particular brand of men in a blaze, as they outnumber women here three to one. Thursday is Ladies’ Night, when women drink free from 10 to 11pm—and have pretty good odds at making a new male acquaintance by the end of the night. 2477 Arthur Kill Rd at Zebra Pl, Staten Island (718-227-2833)
This tapas restaurant, helmed by chef Seamus Mullen (from The Next Iron Chef), stimulates the senses with spicy Spanish fare and packed-in seating. The long communal tables make it only natural to chat up that cute stranger sitting to your left, and with delectable shareable plates like the Mahon cheese and house-made chorizo fondue ($12), who knows where your fingers will be wandering by the end of the meal? 53 W 19th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-255-4160, boquerianyc.com)
The Caf at the Angelika Film Center
Cruise for fellow cinephiles (or the unemployed) at this street-level caf, which serves a selection of coffees, teas and snacks (including vegan cupcakes and organic sandwiches). Long-winded movie-magic diatribes are encouraged—and hey, if all goes well, your first date is just an escalator ride away. 18 W Houston St between Broadway and Crosby St (212-995-2000, angelikafilmcenter.com)
Cafe Pick Me Up
Convenient name aside, the absence of free Wi-Fi at this East Village caf cuts the nonhormonal distractions in half; making eyes over your copy of Infinite Jest is a must. The two rooms of mismatched seating make it easy to sidle up to someone else’s table; splitting a pastry while discussing David Foster Wallace is optional. 145 Ave A between 9th and 10th Sts (212-673-7231)
Comfy vintage couches and dim lighting set the stage at this solid Queens haunt. Whatever you’re cruising for, you’re likely to find it here: The bar’s patrons span a wide demographic of ages and sexualities, and are just as eclectic as the music mix (everything from classic rock to ’80s hits). The center bar is great for scoping, and the bookshelves stocked with encyclopedias make for ready (if nerdy) conversation starters. If you’re lucky, you’ll make use of the free NYC condoms in the bathroom. 3205 Crescent St between 31st Dr and 33rd Ave, Astoria, Queens (718-606-9705)
This secret hideaway, recognizable only by the neon BAR that glows atop its door, is a popular hang for hipsters with a nicotine habit. Deep wooden benches line the bricked-out space, and tables are just wide enough to fit a pint or two. A staircase leads to an alfresco smoking deck, walled in by glass and visible from the bar below—perfect for ogling hotties or sharing a drag. And as any smoker will tell you, there’s no better icebreaker than asking for a light. 295 Grand St between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts (718-218-7866, larrylawrencebar.com)
Got game? Bring it to this adult playground, which offers an array of distractions, including bowling, pool, Ping-Pong, air hockey and—the greatest social lubricant of all—$20 beer buckets on Monday nights. It’s the perfect spot to invite some friendly competition—no hard feelings if you switch partners later on. 77-17 Queens Blvd at Jacobus St, Flushing Queens (718-476-2828, play-ny.com)
Wilfie & Nell
Both a curse and a blessing, the no-reservation policy at this convivial gastropub makes it near impossible to snag a communal table, and yet impossibly easy to score a PYT’s digits. Offer to tag-team your search for seating with the nearest cutie, then celebrate your victory over elevated pub fare such as Gruyre-and-onion grilled-cheese sandwiches ($8) and Scotch eggs wrapped in sage pork sausage ($4). Or simply squeeze in at any table where there happens to be room—and a piece of eye candy. 228 W 4th St between Seventh Ave South and W 10th St (212-242-2990, wilfieandnell.com)
NEXT TONY plays yenta
We armed three sets of perfect strangers with single-use cameras and sent them on blind dates. No one was murdered, and two of the couples even sorta almost liked each other. Score!
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