Enjoy Your Favorite Restaurants While You Can

Bill's Gay Nineties' Facebook Page
What was once Bill's Gay Nineties

I remember going to Bill's Gay Nineties (57 East 54 Street) for the first time about three years ago and realizing how great it was. People thrown together — Wall Street honchos, midtown tourists, my friend and me — and we're all singing the same old showtunes and hits of yesteryear together. We sat at the bar next to an older gentleman with rose-colored bifocals and a yellow silk tie who told us that his recently acquired stepson (whom he hated) made $5 million a year as a lawyer.

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The Metropolitan Fish Market Is Williamsburg's Last Fish Store

The last fish market in Williamsburg
When you think of the concrete jungle that is the border of Williamsburg and East Williamsburg, the thought of fresh fish is not usually the first thing on your mind. But for the last 22 years, Pat Zollo has sold locals some of the finest fresh fish in the city at Metropolitan Fish Market (635 Metropolitan Avenue, 718-387-6835).

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110 Years of Spleen Sandwiches at Ferdinando's Focacceria

Photos by Kevin Kessler for the Village Voice
Paul's Focacceria opened in 1904, the same year the ice cream cone was invented and Cy Young threw the first perfect game. Paul's was located on a residential street just a few blocks away from the Brooklyn piers, and it served traditional Sicilian sandwiches to the local Italian community and Italian longshoremen clamoring for a taste of home. It was only open for lunch. Today, the longshoremen and working pier may be gone, but Paul's remains — it's now called Ferdinando's Focacceria (151 Union Street, Brooklyn; 718-855-1545).

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Joanne Hendricks Cookbooks Is One of Three Rare-Cookbook Shops Left in Manhattan

Joanne Hendricks showing off the goods
The stretch of Greenwich Street between Spring and Canal is one of those blocks we often walk down and think, "Man, it would be cool to have a place right around here." And situated along the street, inside a circa-1820s rowhouse, is one of those gems we often find and think, "Man, this is what New York is all about." Inside the ground-floor room of the home, past the wide-framed wooden door, sits one of the greatest collections of rare and antiquarian cookbooks in the world. Welcome to Joanne Hendricks Cookbooks (488 Greenwich Street, 212-226-5731).

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The Year in Old-School New York Restaurants

Used with the permission of Herbert Glaser
Glaser's Bake Shop, early 1900s
That is it, folks: another year in the books. Whether it was a fine year with lofty heights or a forgettable one with some deep-valley lows, we can all look forward to January 1 to start anew. For me, this year was happily filled with visiting those old-school New York establishments throughout the city that are still open and keeping the quality high. We lost a few of the gems along the way, but overall, throughout this constantly changing city of five boroughs and eight and a half million people, we've held on to many old-school treasures, which are tucked away in every borough. And as our parents told us to say, "We should be very thankful." We are.

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The Best Meatballs in the City Are at This East Williamsburg Meat Market

Photos by Kevin Kessler for the Village Voice
Gennaro "Jerry" Virtuoso: THE meatball king

It's a cold, dreary morning on the corner of a residential street in east Williamsburg. Inside a two-story brick building, Gennaro "Jerry" Virtuoso is ripping apart day old bread that has been soaked in water. These bread crumbs are then added to a large bowl of ground and cut beef that, after a stint in a 500-degree over, will become some of the best meatballs this side of New England.

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Delicious Ukrainian Food in a Basement

Photo by JoAnn Costanzo
A church parishioner happily making dumplings one by one.

Hidden restaurants usually fall into two categories: Those that cater to Wall Street types looking to impress on a second date, and those that don't need to advertise, because they're places so excellent and revered, word of mouth is all that is needed.

Located just below a chiropractic office in the basement of an East Village townhouse, Streecha Ukrainian Kitchen (33 East 7th Street, 212- 674-1615) is the latter, a place that a friend may tell you "is kind of hard to find."

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My Bodega and Me: A Love Story

Behold: Everything you need

In any great relationship, there is a give and take that needs to exist, an ebb and flow that must be followed. There are high points and low, and it's always a two-way street. But twenty- and thirtysomething New Yorkers don't really follow any of these guidelines: We text through dinner, look at Instagrammed dog photos at the bar, and don't call anyone besides Grandma and Mom.

For all the one-word texts I send and receive, there is one relationship that I do work on almost daily, and usually twice a day on the weekends: my partnership with Graham Garden, my local bodega.

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How a Food Writer Eats His Way Through the NYC Marathon

Can you please tell me where the mini Snickers are at?

It was shortly after 1 p.m. when my thigh region really started to burn. "I should eat something soon," I thought aloud. Having already digested some bananas, the last thing I wanted was another piece of fruit.

"We got mini Snickers ovah here," a Long Island accent called out from just around a corner, somewhere around mile marker 18.

"Can I eat a Snickers right now?" I murmured. "It will be tough to eat this."

About four seconds later, the mini Snickers was gone, and it was without a doubt the best-tasting Snickers of all time. I was running the NYC Marathon -- my first marathon -- and I was again in search of my next bite.

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Where to Find Authentic Polish Treats Near the Bedford L Stop

Richard and Christian Podedworny
With a softball-sized jelly doughnut in hand, a Polish construction worker sat on a bench next to a hurried Brooklyn mom typing away on her phone, with child, stroller, and yoga mat in tow. Inside the shop they were perched next to, a crowd of Eastern Europeans mixed with twenty- and thirtysomethings with well-worn Barbour jackets; each was ordering coffee and something else. "DzieƄ dobry. Let me have three blueberry cheese danishes," a customer said.

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