The best of 11 states - here in NYC

In honor of our nation's birthday, we unearthed art, food, culture and history from throughout the 50 states, right here in the city.

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


California | Illinois | Louisiana | Massachusetts | New Jersey
Texas | Hawaii | Colorado | Minnesota | Nebraska | Oklahoma

California

Thomas Keller runs a small empire of well-respected restaurants (including the French Laundry in Yountville, California, and Per Se [Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle at Broadway, fourth floor; 212-823-9335] here in NYC) and is considered one of the greatest American chefs. But can you shell out $275 for one of his tasting menus? Unlikely. Instead, head to the New York outpost of Bouchon Bakery (Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle at Broadway, third floor; 212-823-9366), serving baked goods (like flaky, buttery croissants for $2.95), strong coffee, and nibbles like sandwiches and soups ($9.75--$16.75).

Dig your toes into the sand at beachy Billyburg hang Surf Bar (139 North 6th St between Bedford Ave and Berry St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-302-4441, brooklynsurfbar.com). Surfboards line the ceilings, and there’s tiki crap everywhere, giving this casual spot the feel of an old surf shack. Try the fish burrito ($14), stuffed with sauteed cabbage, shredded cheese and tomato, a classic dish of modern SoCal cuisine.

Look no further than California Wine Merchants (15 Bridge St between Broad and Whitehall Sts; 212-785-7285, cawinemerchants.com) for a bottle of vino straight from the Golden State. “We have a selection of wine gems generally only seen on the West Coast,” says chief palate officer (and co-owner) Jennifer Frank. She recommends trying a 2008 Halter Ranch ros from Paso Robles: “It’s easygoing and a must-drink for summer,” she says. “And you can’t find it anywhere else in New York.” Exclusivity at just $16.99 per bottle? We’ll toast to that.

Prop 8 notwithstanding, the LGBT rights movement has roots in California—particularly in San Francisco, whose Castro District was the headquarters of Harvey Milk and is currently the center of the city’s gay life. Christopher Street is the New York equivalent—the famed corridor is home to the Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher St at Seventh Ave South), the launching point for the 1969 riots; George Segal’s sculpture Gay Liberation, in Christopher Park (W 4th St between Christopher and Grove Sts); and a plethora of LGBT-friendly shops and bars.

Fun fact: Largest population, tallest trees, hottest desert, biggest economy, greatest percentage of minorities. California: the x-treme state.

NEXT Illinois

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


Shake Shack Shack-cago dog.

Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

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Illinois

Unlike their streamlined New York counterparts, Chicago-style hot dogs practically require a fork and knife: An all-beef link is piled with toppings, including fresh tomatoes, relish, celery salt and pickled sport peppers, and plopped into a poppy-seed bun. Inhale the Shack-cago dog ($4.25)—made with Vienna Beef hot dogs straight from the Windy City—at Shake Shack (locations throughout the city; visit shakeshack.com).

Catch an improv show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (307 W 26th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves; 212-366-9176, ucbtheatre.com), whose founding members (including Amy Poehler) studied in Chicago under comedic legend Del Close. Close developed the Harold, a style of long-form improv now practiced by troupes all over the country. The theater’s annual Del Close Marathon, named in his honor, takes place August 14--16 and features 72 straight hours of made-up hilarity—occasionally showcasing big names like erstwhile SNL star Horatio Sanz and current 30 Rock naif Jack McBrayer (he plays Kenneth).

Chicagoans can visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park home and studio, the design center for some of his most famous buildings; here, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Ave at 89th St; 212-423-3500, guggenheim.org; $15--$18) is the finest example of the seminal architect’s craftsmanship. The museum pays homage to its designer with the exhibit “Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward,” on view through August 23.

Much has been said about Abraham Lincoln in the past year, particularly comparisons to President Obama—the two leaders do share the distinction of being elected from the state of Illinois, after all. Learn more about the life of Honest Abe at the New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park West between 76th and 77th Sts; 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org; $6--$10), which presents two exhibits about the 16th Prez this year: “Abraham Lincoln in His Own Words,” on view through July 12, and “Lincoln and New York,” which opens October 9.

Will the Chicago Cubs ever win another World Series? If they do, Kelly’s Sports Bar (12 Ave A between E Houston and 2nd Sts; 212-388-1464, kellysnyc.com) will be the epicenter of expat celebrations in NYC. Fans of the Cubs congregate here for the games broadcast on huge widescreen TVs, the camaraderie—and, of course, the drink specials. Happy hour goes from noon until 8pm, and kamikaze shots are only $2 between midnight and 2am. Holy cow!

Fun fact: Two years ago, a census analysis named Illinois “the most average state,” with a big city, lots of countryside, plenty of suburban sprawl and America’s bertypical town, Peoria.

NEXT Louisiana

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


Catfish po' boy from Acme Bar & Grill.

Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

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Louisiana

Chow down on authentic N’awlins-style cuisine at Acme Bar & Grill (9 Great Jones St between Broadway and Lafayette St; 212-420-1934, acmebarandgrill.com), an East Village fixture. The menu is filled with classic Louisiana fare like spicy Creole jambalaya ($14.95) and a fried catfish po’ boy ($11.95), as well as Southern specialities like fried okra ($6.95). Wash it all down with a Hurricane ($8), a potent potable that originated in New Orleans and uses three different types of rum. Have fun walking home!

Louis Armstrong may have spent most of his days in New York City (and died here—he’s interred at Flushing Cemetery in Queens), but he was Louisiana-born, and learned how to play the trumpet from New Orleans jazz figurehead Joe Oliver. A tour of The Louis Armstrong House Museum (34-56 107th St between 34th and 37th Aves, Corona, Queens; 718-478-8274, louisarmstronghouse.org; $6--$8) provides a glimpse into the legendary trumpeter’s life; on Saturday 4, the house celebrates Independence Day with a performance by Brooklyn jazz combo the Red Hook Ramblers.

When you drink Abita Restoration Ale, you’re not just imbibing a delicious, citrusy brew; you’re also helping support a company that’s rebuilding parts of Louisiana that remain devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The brew was created after the storms in 2005, and until 2007, proceeds from its sales were donated to community projects around the state. Though the program was discontinued, Abita remains committed to helping its community. Pick up a sixer in the Beer Room at Whole Foods (various locations; wholefoods.com) and embrace the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from helping others (and drinkin’ beers).

Mardi Gras isn’t happening for another seven months, but you can still get into the party mood (or dress the part, anyway): Elaborate feathered masks ($7.99--$274.99) and colorful beaded necklaces (99--$9.99) are available at Halloween Adventure (808 Broadway at 11th St; 212-673-4546, newyorkcostumes.com). But unlike in the French Quarter, public nudity isn’t exactly encouraged in NYC, so try to keep your shirt on.

Laura Selikson started Let’s Zydeco (letszydeco.com) in 1993 as a way to promote Cajun and zydeco music—both of which originated in Louisiana—in New York City. Sixteen years later, she’s known as “Zydeco Laura,” and her events at Connolly’s Pub & Restaurant (121 W 45th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-597-5126, connollyspubandrestaurant.com) feature some of the best swamp pop in the East. Catch Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe on July 19, and be sure to arrive early for the zydeco dance contest beforehand.

Fun fact: Louisiana was the very last state to ban the action-packed “sport” of cockfighting, with the prohibition taking effect less than a year ago.

NEXT Massachusetts

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


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Massachusetts

It’s impossible to imagine a place in New York that welcomes BoSox fans. But Red Sox Nation expats gather at The Hairy Monk (337 Third Ave at 25th St; 212-532-2929, thehairymonknyc.com) to watch David Ortiz & Co. on multiple plasma TVs while sipping Sam Adams Boston Lager ($6). The Irish pub is littered with Sox memorabilia, including an entire wall plastered with Boston Globe articles celebrating its home team. Theo Epstein once took a turn behind the bar as a guest bartender—who knows when he’ll show again.

With her mini-empire of Grettacole salons, G Spas and Gretta Luxe designer boutiques, Gretchen Monahan is Boston’s undisputed style maven. Those with some serious cash to burn can book a one-on-one hair, spa or fashion-styling session with Monahan in the Greenwich Village penthouse loft that includes her Gretta Style Studio (666 Greenwich St between Barrow and Christopher Sts; by appointment only, e-mail executive assistant Jennifer Fox, jennifer@grettacole.com), where she attends to VIPs like Kelly Ripa when her hectic schedule permits. The space also hosts seasonal sales with high-end clothing and accessories from Gretta Luxe at up to 60 percent off for more frugal fashionistas.

You don’t have to make the three-and-a-half-hour Acela trek to Charlestown to experience the delights of Boston celebrity chef Todd English’s cooking. The same rustic Mediterranean cuisine is just a subway ride away at Olives (W Union Square Hotel, 201 Park Ave South at 17th St; 212-353-8345, toddenglish.com), an ideal spot for feasting on brick-oven flatbreads, like the rosemary-inflected fig and prosciutto ($14). Don’t miss signature desserts: molten chocolate cake and vanilla-bean souffl ($12 each).

If Massachusetts were an independent principality, JFK and Jackie would have undeniably been its king and queen (after all, the Kennedys are still considered American royalty). Pay tribute with a visit to the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St; 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org, suggested donation $20); not only was the structure a gift to the U.S. from Egypt in gratitude to the Kennedy administration for helping to save several temples, but Jackie could see the glass-enclosed wing its housed in from her Upper East Side apartment window.

New York and Beantown’s respective dessert phenomena meld as one in the Boston-cream cupcake available at Crumbs (multiple locations, crumbs.com; classic size $2.95, signature size $3.75). Just like the pie originally conceived at Boston’s Parker House Hotel, the cupcakes are made with vanilla cake, vanilla custard filling and a gooey chocolate fudge frosting, and are available in-store all this week. Flavors change regularly, but can be made by special request, so be sure to call ahead.

Fun fact: Four Presidents hailed from Massachusetts, all christened John: Adams, Quincy Adams, (John) Calvin Coolidge and JFK. (And we were close with Kerry.)

NEXT New Jersey

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


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New Jersey

Relive your angsty suburban adolescence by taking a day off to cruise the Staten Island Mall (2655 Richmond Ave, Staten Island; 718-698-9480, statenisland-mall.com), because really, what else is there to do in suburbia? The mall’s two stories are packed with all your standbys of yore (Aropostale, American Eagle, Claire’s Accessories). A trip wouldn’t be complete without fueling up on spinach and artichoke dip ($10.99) at Applebee’s.

Proving there’s more to the Garden State’s rock & roll legacy than Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, the Tony Award--winning Broadway musical Jersey Boys (August Wilson Theatre, 245 W 52nd St between Broadway and Eighth Ave; 212-239-6222, jerseyboysinfo.com/broadway, $62-$127) tells the story of the Four Seasons’ rise to fame, set to a soundtrack of the 1960s group’s music.

Although the show takes place in Jersey, many scenes from The Sopranos were actually shot in New York City. Tour the series’s film spots on the four-hour On Location Tours Soprano Sites (212-209-3370, screentours.com; Sat, Sun 2pm; $42), which makes stops at Father Phil’s parish, the Bada Bing and Holsten’s, the setting for the show’s final scene. Though the tour does drive through New Jersey proper, as long as you don’t get off the bus, you’ve technically never set foot on foreign ground.

Despite being widely available at nearly every beach town from coast to coast, saltwater taffy has its origins on the Atlantic City boardwalk, where it’s peddled as a popular souvenir. Pick up a chewy, sticky mass of boiled sugar at Economy Candy (108 Rivington St between Essex and Ludlow Sts; 800-352-4544, economycandy.com); assorted taffy costs $1.99 per pound.

Grab a bunch of your buddies, claim a booth at Tick Tock Diner (481 Eighth Ave at 34th St, 212-268-8444) and chow down on classic diner fare—like a greasy cheeseburger and fries ($8.95) and a black-and-white shake ($4.45)—while asking each other what you want to do tonight and never quite making a plan. The owners of Tick Tock also run its identical twin in Clifton, New Jersey, an Art Deco landmark that’s dates to 1948.

Fun fact: No, “Born to Run” is not the official song of New Jersey. But the legislature did once propose a resolution to make it “the unofficial theme of our State’s youth.”

NEXT Texas

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


Frito pie and a margharita from Cowgirl.

Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

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Texas

Named for the Fort Worth museum dedicated to pioneering women of the American West, the Cowgirl Hall of Fame (519 Hudson St at 10th St; 212-633-1133, cowgirlnyc.com) serves toothsome Tex-Mex food like Frito pie ($7.95) and Texas onion loaf ($7.50), 16-ounce frozen margaritas using fresh fruit puree (try the Loredo Lime, $8) and a Texas-friendly attitude—which is to say none. On your way out, stop by the General Store for braided belts and rock candy.

Saddle up for a rowdy night at Rodeo Bar (375 Third Ave at 27th St; 212-683-6500, rodeobar.com), whose daily happy hour (4--8pm) offers super-strong lime and strawberry margaritas are just $6 and come with free nachos and wings. You can also nosh on Cowboy Kisses (shrimp and jalapeo wrapped in bacon, $9.95) while you catch country, rockabilly and bluegrass music in one of the free nightly live music performances.

Make like the Lone Ranger at the Bronx Equestrian Center (9 Shore Rd at City Island Rd, Bronx; 718-885-0551, bronxequestriancenter.com), and go horseback riding (Western-style, of course) through the wooded trails of Pelham Bay Park for $35 an hour. Cowboys in training can sign up for hour-long private lessons for $65 before giddying-up.

If you’re going to walk the walk, you should at least look the part. For that, hit Billy Martin’s Western Wear (Trump Plaza, 1034 Third Ave between 61st and 62nd Sts; 212-861-3100, billymartin.com), an upscale country-and-western-gear boutique that has sold buckles, belts, turquoise and silver jewelry to famous Texans like George H.W. Bush. Not Texan, but notable: its own line of cowboy boots inspired by the TV show Deadwood ($395--$7,000).

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and the large-scale paintings created by Texan Robert Rauschenberg—a handful of which are on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Ave at 89th St; 212-423-3500, guggenheim.org)—are no exception. Don’t miss Yellow Body, which includes images of fellow Port Arthur native Janis Joplin.

Fun fact: Houston is named for Sam Houston, president of the independent Republic of Texas in the 1830s and '40s, making it the U.S.’s largest city named for the leader of another country.

NEXT Hawaii

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


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Hawaii

Put your hips to good use by taking a hula class at Nola Studios (244 W 54th St between Broadway and Eighth Ave, tenth floor; 845-359-9214, hulanewyork.com), where istructor Luana Haraguchi has been teaching traditional hula since 1968, and makes sure students are aware of the cultural roots of the dance. Or, don a grass skirt and embrace the aloha spirit during the one-day “recession special” ($15) intro class July 11, at the Sheridan Fencing Academy (2035 Second Ave between 104th and 105th Sts, second floor); funds will go toward sending the school to the World Invitational Hula Festival in November.

The Hawaiian Shave Ice at Eton (205 Sackett St between Clinton and Henry Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-222-2999) comes recommended by Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Andy Wang (andywangmusic.com). He and his family went out to Red Hook specifically to try it a few weeks ago, and left impressed. It carries 26 different flavors, like coconut, cotton candy and bubble gum, and prices range from $3.25 to $4.75 per serving.

L&L Hawaiian BBQ (64 Fulton St between Cliff and Gold Sts; 212-577-8888, hawaiianbarbecue.com) is a Hawaiian franchise, but transplant islanders can appreciate its greasy goodness. Nersa Miller, of halawai.org, recommends the garlic-ahi plate ($8.59), the SPAM musubi ($3.29--$4.49) and garlic-shrimp plate ($8.59).

Fun fact: The only state in which coffee is grown is Hawaii, where it’s probably worth getting up in the morning.

NEXT Colorado

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


Courtesy Pier Glass

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Colorado

Glassblowing remain a popular activity in Colorado—just ask expats and artists Mary Ellen Buxton and Kevin Kutch. The couple owns and operates Pier Glass (499 Van Brunt St near Reed St, suite 2A, Red Hook, Brooklyn; 718-237-2073) and offers regular free glassblowing demonstrations (the next one is July 18 from noon to 6pm). Or schedule a one-on-one Glassblowing Experience lesson ($100, by appointment). Says Buxton: “An artist works with you exclusively, guiding you through making a piece of glass of your own. It’s very cool. Or, well, very hot.”

With a massive antler chandelier that rivals a Chihuly, glowing faux birch trees and a seemingly limitless supply of lumber paneling the walls and ceilings, the Aspen Social Club (157 W 47th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves, 212-221-7200) is as authentic a Colorado ski lodge as you’ll find in midtown Manhattan. And it wouldn’t be Aspen without authentic Rocky Mountain oysters ($10) on the menu (those are bull testes, for you cityfolk).

How are the Denver Broncos going to fare now that longtime coach Mike Shanahan is out of the picture? Watch with bated breath at the de facto Broncos bar in NYC, Butterfield 8 (5 E 38th St between 5th and Madison Aves; 212-679-0646, butterfield8nyc.com). Once football season starts, call to reserve a seat: For $25, you can saddle up to the bar for unlimited draft beers and “nuclear” wings.

Follow the footsteps of renowned Coloradan Hunter S. Thompson with a self-guided Gonzo walking tour. Start at his former home at 57 Perry Street (between Bleecker St and W 4th), which he references in The Rum Diary as “a five minute walk from the White Horse. I often drank there, but I was never accepted because I wore a tie.” Stop by said tavern (567 Hudson St at 11th St, 212-243-9260) and down some of Thompson’s favorite, Chivas Regal ($7.50). If you prefer beer, head to his other haunt, McSorley’s Old Ale House (15 E 7th St at Third Ave; 212-474-9148, mcsorleysnewyork.com) for a $2 half-pint of the house brew.

Fun fact: Skiing, hiking, some other sports that seem strange to use New Yorkers: Colorado is the skinniest state, with a mere 17.6 percent obesity rate.

NEXT Minnesota

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


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Minnesota

Fraternize with the Land of 1,000 Lakes locals right here in New York City: Minnesota native Nora Riemenschneider founded the “Minneapple in the Big Apple” happy hour ([Le] Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St at Thompson St; 212-505-3474, lepoissonrouge.com; first Friday of the month 6--10pm, free). “We bring in a guest Minnesota DJ, reader or musician to keep it interesting,” says cohost Taya Mueller. Drink specials include $5 draft beers.

After you become an honorary Minnesotan, head one block over to The Half Pint (76 W 3rd St at Thompson St; 212-260-1088, thehalfpint.com). Expat Kieley Taylor swears by the Half Pint’s squeaky cheese curds ($7.50), a Minnesota State Fair staple. “Most New Yorkers don’t know what these are,” he says. “They’re similar to mozzarella sticks but fried without batter.” Wash 'em down with one more than 100 available beers.

Not all of MN’s local cuisine is as easy to get used to. The widely reviled lutefisk (dried whitefish and lye) is rarely celebrated outside of self-declared “Lutefisk Capital USA,” Madison, Minnesota. In fact, the only shop in NYC that sells lutefisk is Nordic Delicacies (6906 Third Ave at Bay Ridge Ave, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, 718-748-1874). Bring a pound ($15) to your next potluck.

Fresh air is a priceless commodity around these parts, so ignore the car exhaust and pretend you’re breathing the crisp Minnesotan air on your way to the “On Feathered Wings: Birds in Flight” exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West at 79th St; 212-769-5100, amnh.org; through Aug 30, suggested donation $15). Featuring the work of world-renowned birds-in-flight photographer (and MN native) Jim Neiger, the exhibit includes stunning photos of elusive birds in action, from tandem bald eagles to a double-crested cormorant midmeal.

About 150 years ago, Swedish migrants flocked to Minnesota for its geographic familiarity and totally rad timber industry. Today the state retains its Scandinavian roots, but NYC is home to the Scandinavia House (58 Park Ave at 38th St; 212-879-9779, scandinaviahouse.org). Be sure to check out the international sensation Varg Veum, a six-film Nordic noir series that follows a House-esque PI (Wed 8--Aug 13; Wed 6:30pm, Thu 2:30pm; $9). If you require a nosh with your flick, register for the three-course prix-fixe Dinner & a Movie ($30).

Fun fact: According to legend, Minnesota’s 10,000 (or so) lakes were formed from the footprints of Paul Bunyan, who apparently had very irregularly shaped feet.

NEXT Nebraska

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band.

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Nebraska

Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and his indie record label, Saddle Creek, are straight out of Omaha. Revel in that sensitive cornhuskin’ sound on Saturday 4, when Oberst will headline the River to River festival’s free concert in Battery Park (State St at Battery Pl, enter at 20 State St; 212-360-3456, rivertorivernyc.com) with crooning heartthrob Jenny Lewis.

Thank Nebraska natives Edwin and Kitty Perkins for the 1927 invention of everyone’s favorite powdered drink, Kool-Aid! Satiate your taste for bug juice and stop by comfort-food joint Amy Ruth’s (113 W 116th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-280-8779, amyruthsharlem.com) for their “Kool-Aid of the Day” ($2.50)—because Purplesaurus Rex just tastes better when a grown-up serves it to you.

Nebraska native L. Ron Hubbard—not to mention Tom Cruise—would want you to take a free stress test in the Times Square subway station (1470 Broadway and 42nd St between the S and N/Q/R/W platforms); Scientologists hang there most weekends during peak tourist hours. Next, grab the 2/3 up to 110th St or down to Utica Ave and stroll up one of two Malcolm X Boulevards, as the civil-rights hero hailed from Omaha. In Harlem, shop the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market (52 W 116th St between Malcolm X Blvd [Lenox Ave] and Fifth Ave; daily 10am--8pm) for traditional African arts and textiles. Down in Brooklyn, stop by the Brooklyn Rescue Mission’s second-annual Malcolm X Boulevard Community Farmers’ Market (Malcolm X Blvd between Chauncey and Marion Sts, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; 718-363-3085; Sat 8am--1pm, July 11--Nov 7) for produce grown by local youth at Bed-Stuy Farm.

Fun fact: The tradition of Arbor Day began in Nebraska in 1872. So it’s got that going for it.

NEXT Oklahoma

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With bonus factoids from our resident quizmaster, Noah Tarnow of the Big Quiz Thing (bigquizthing.com).


Pecan pie from The Little Pie Company.

Photograph: Heami Lee

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma is the only state with a certified “state meal,” consisting of fried okra, squash, corn bread, barbecued pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken-fried steak and black-eyed peas. Natives officially cap it off with a slice of pecan pie. Pick up a small piece (pies $7.50--$29) of the Sooner State at The Little Pie Company (424 W 43rd St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-736-4780, littlepiecompany.com).

Mickey Mantle may have been born in Oklahoma, but he’s conveniently best known as a Yankee. His legacy of long balls is nearly matched by his history of bad business investments, including the Mickey Mantle Bowling Center and Mickey Mantle’s Holiday Inn. Yet his lone successful venture—restaurant Mickey Mantle’s NYC (42 Central Park South between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-688-7777, mickeymantles.com)—still stands, teeming with baseball 'bilia and Mickey-approved hickory ribs ($28).

Pick up authentic-and-adorable Oklahoman cast-off clothing at No Relation Vintage (204 First Ave between 12th and 13th Sts; 212-228-5201, norelationvintage.com). The family-run thrift store receives regular shipments from Oklahoman rag warehouses, culling everything from circle-skirt dresses (usually between $15 and $30) to handcrafted cowboy boots (around $50).

With cities named Okmulgee and Cherokee, it should come as no surprise that more than 8 percent of the population are either Native American or direct descendents. Visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, 1 Bowling Green between State and Whitehall Sts; 212-514-3700, www.nmai.si.edu; free) and soak up some Seminole beauty. Sign up for the NMAI’s Maraca-Making Workshop on July 9 (6--8pm; $25, call for reservations).

Fun fact: Despite its relatively small population, Oklahoma kicks ass in Miss America pageants: six champions, a record matched by only California and Ohio.

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