Ask A Local with Chef Fernando Marulanda in NYC

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What are three words you like to use when describing (city/region) to visitors?

 For me NYC is the eternal Port of Adventure and Metropolis.

Which hotels do you recommend staying at? Why?

Almost any hotel will provide you with good service, but I am partial to The Archer Hotel where you can enjoy some great food at Charlie Palmer Steak or Great cocktails at Spyglass Rooftop Bar.

Best time of year to visit?

I think the best time of the year to visit is the beginning of Fall or the last week in December. The excitement during the holiday season, is palpable with all the tourist meshing in with all the natives and locals. I mean, there are songs written about it.

yankee stadium nyc bronx

What are your favourite outdoor and indoor activities?

For outdoor and indoor activities I visit some of the most beautiful parks in the world, play baseball or basketball in Central Park,  take photographs in Prospect Park, visit  the Bronx Zoo and The Botanical Gardens, enjoy Coney Island in the Summer, I see the Architecture of the City, visit landmarks because I like history such Grants’ Tomb, Trinity Church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral (where I was baptized), St. John the Divine, all Museums down Museum mile, I enjoy the best selection and variety of restaurants and cuisines in the world, I enjoy Live Music venues like Minton’s’ in Harlem for Jazz, concerts in Madison Square Garden, or in all the venues of Summer Stage and all the street festivals throughout the year like St. Gennaro, or parades like St.Pattys Day and sometimes just sitting on a bench and people watching. There is never a limit on things to do. Catching a movie in Bryant Park, going bowling or a nightclub or an old neighbourhood dive like Reifs Tavern since 1941.

What is your favourite street? Why?

My favourite street is 101st and Lexington Ave. because I grew up there and my formative years were spent there. As far as street that’s well known I love BROADWAY. One of the longest and oldest avenues in the country and with so much variety and history spanning its whole length from Inwood, to the heights, thru Harlem down the Upper West Side, to midtown, to the Flatiron district all the way to City Hall, Wall Street and Battery Park.

What are your favourite annual festivals and celebrations?

I love the St.Gennaro festival, St.Pattys Day, the Puerto Rican Day festival and the Summer stage music festival. 

What are your safety tips?

Like anywhere else be aware of your surroundings, have a plan as to where you are going and planning to visit and have a budget for the day. I also recommend being yourself and don’t be afraid to talk to strangers, those strangers are the ones that will give you direction and protect you from any undesirable areas or people.

Your top three shops to visit.

Flamekeepers Hat Club in Harlem, Kitchen Arts and Letters on the Upper East Side and Mr. Throwback in the East Village.

Which souvenirs should visitors purchase? From where?

Get a shirt from WO-HOP after you go eat there, the best Chinese food.

Describe your perfect day in NYC.

I wake up and go get my newspapers and go sit and have my morning coffee in a local cafe, get on my bike and go for a good ride and workout around Central Park. Go home and get ready to go on the Circle Line around the city on a mild Fall day. I return home and get ready for an early evening game at Yankee Stadium, hopefully the Yanks win and then I get back to the neighborhood and visit my local dive, preferably Reifs Tavern and catch up with some good friends and plan the next day’s adventure.

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Vanessa Gordon
Vanessa Gordon is the Founder of Travel & Taste Magazine. She earned her Master of Arts degree in Education from New York University and studied Literacy and British Literature at the University of Oxford, and Institute of Education in London during her study abroad experience as a graduate student. She lives with her husband, daughter, son, and our cats Abby and Amy. She is also the Publisher of East End Taste Magazine, LLC and Founder of the annual summer event, the Hamptons Interactive Brunch. Her writing has appeared in many print and online publications including Modern Luxury, Psychology Today, Long Island Pulse, Medium, Thrillist, Sag Harbor Express, The Independent Newspaper, and many more. She has been featured in AM New York, Parents Magazine, Pregnancy & Newborn, Hamptons Magazine, Resident Magazine, Social Life Magazine, and many more.

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