Times Square

Establishment neighborhood
1515 Broadway, Times Square
Palatial old-fashioned entrees (tuna melts, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken fingers) and a whole lot of legendary cheesecake round out the offerings here. (The cheesecake really is where it's at.) There are two city-centric options (including one in Grand Central), but if you have time, head to the original on Flatbush in Brooklyn, which still retains its 1950's aesthetic—red booths and banquettes, formica countertops, old-school uniforms, the works—and its friendly, neighborhood feel.
Culture Espresso
72 W. 38th St., Times Square
The garment district isn’t exactly known for a stellar specialty coffee scene, so the fact that there are two excellent options a mere block from each other is pretty great. Culture Espresso is the original, but it’s snug, which means you might have to wait for a seat. The newer and significantly bigger Culture 36 is ideal for getting stuff done, if you don’t mind the semiloud music. Both locations brew Heart Coffee Roasters coffee and serve Culture's famous house-baked chocolate chip cookies (they sell out fast, so come on the earlier side).
Kinokuniya Bookstore
1073 6th Ave., Times Square
If you have a stationery or sticker addict on your hands, they’re going to freak. This Japanese mega-store facing Bryant Park is one of our favorite midtown oases, and a solid option for a quick sushi cafeteria-style lunch. There’s an entire floor dedicated to Japanese manga comic books, a solid selection of design books and international fashion magazines, but the basement is the main draw. There, aisle after aisle is stuffed with an incredible array of Japanese stationery goods—adorable pens, pencils, notebooks, and erasers to last a lifetime.
New York Public Library
5th Ave. at 42nd St., Times Square
The iconic seat of the NYPL takes pride of place on Bryant Park in Midtown. While it is still an important research institution, it's also a landmark we like to visit for many reasons beyond the book-lined shelves, from the Children's Library housing the original Winnie the Pooh Dolls, to the Rose Reading room, where anyone can grab a seat and work in peace and quiet, to the excellent bookshop, full of NYC-themed storybooks and classic reads. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the exhibitions themed around the library's holdings and the stunning Beaux Arts 1911 building itself.
Grand Central Terminal
89 E. 42nd St., Times Square
Metro-North commuters come into the city each day via this Beaux-Arts gem, but it's a worthwhile stop for anyone curious about the city's rich history. Among the many highlights are the iconic constellation mural above the Grand Concourse, and the Oyster Bar, which we love for its famous interiors, built in 1913 under the arches of the train station. In addition, we're always fans of a drink at the Campbell Apartment, an authentic, dimly-lit, old-fashioned bar nestled in the building, where you have to dress up for admission. And, if you need a quick snack, the Dining Concourse houses many NYC highlights like Junior's, Shake Shack, and an outpost of Murray's Cheese.
Murray’s Cheese Shop
Grand Central Station, 43rd St. and Lexington Ave., Times Square
Murray's seems to import every conceivable cheese in production for public consumption, and has a staff that can happily walk you through (and sample) all of them. There are cheese cave tours offered for those who want to learn even more and delicious sandwiches—or melts—for anyone who wants more than just a few hunks of the good stuff. While they supply most of Manhattan with their cheese plate offerings, they also ship across the states. The original and main location is in the West Village.