New York is a place that can’t easily be replicated. Its heady mix of history, grit and beauty is helped into legendary status by rows of film-set tenements, stoic brownstones and glittering skyscrapers. But it’s possible to take a bite out of the Big Apple closer to home as well – if you know where to go. Here are six New York-style experiences that you can find in Sydney.
Eat at an old school steakhouse > The Cut, The Rocks
An enduring and quintessentially New York dining experience, steakhouses once proliferated almost every Midtown corner in their heyday. It can be a challenge to find true-to-style NYC steak in Sydney but The Cut in Sydney’s The Rocks does a fine job. Every delicious cut, from sirloin to skirt, is handled with expert care, with sides such as garlic and sage strewn thick cut wedges. Preparing the Oakley Reserve prime rib, a grain-fed cross of Wagyu and Angus sourced in Queensland, is practically an art form: after being rested overnight, seared and smeared with Dijon, it’s slow-roasted for four hours before being theatrically served tableside from an antique beef-carving trolley. It doesn’t get more New York than that.
Stop into small gallery openings > Follow the Inner West Open Studio Trail
The leafy neighbourhood of Chelsea monopolises the art scene in NYC, with hundreds of pocket-sized galleries. To emulate a classic Chelsea "art crawl", follow one of four Creative Trails that take place on weekends throughout the year. Each traces a path through a cluster of Inner West suburbs – including Lilyfield, Rozelle, Balmain and Birchgrove – via private studios, independent galleries and artist-run workshops.
Sip something at a speakeasy > Step into The Cumberland, Manly
At its height, New York’s speakeasy phenomenon mushroomed to an estimated 32,000 password-protected drinking dens by 1930. Relive the exuberance of a well-hidden watering hole at Manly’s The Cumberland, a sub-street level cavern that has its entrance through the fridge of a functioning deli. Snacks are Spanish-influenced—meats from the counter, of course—and foraged goods found in the Manly area flavour the drinks.
Take in a Broadway musical > Watch 9 to 5: The Musical, Lyric Theatre
Broadway isn’t just an arterial avenue that runs the length of Manhattan’s west shoulder; it’s the last word in the glittering world of theatre. Experience the same energy and exuberance of a show in New York’s theatre district by securing a seat 9 to 5: The Musical at the Lyric Theatre in April 2020. Featuring Tony Award-winning music by Dolly Parton, you’ll feel like you’re on Broadway in no time.
Grab a pizza slice > Hang out at Frankie's Pizza, CBD
The only occasion when enjoying just a single slice of pizza doesn’t cause a riot is when it’s consumed New York style: folded in half and enjoyed on a street corner. Frankie’s, the late-night, dive bar-esque joint that hums under the streets of the CBD, does its pizza in the spirit of Manhattan, selling by the slice. Considering its open until 3am, you’ll likely enjoy said slice on the footpath after all.
Catch a comedy show > Heckle at Happy Endings Comedy Club, Potts Point
The stand-up comedy scene in New York has given the world more than a few greats—Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer and Mindy Kaling all got their starts in the often-gruelling improv sets in the city’s comedy clubs. In Sydney, Happy Endings Comedy Club endures as a local favourite. Every Friday and Saturday night, the club serves up five fresh acts to woo the crowd; you never know which face might soon become a famous one.