The Square That’s Anything but Square

Between 14th and 17th Streets lies Union Square, a beautiful park surrounded by shops, restaurants, entertainment and historic buildings. Since my first visit to New York City, Union Square has been my favorite area in the city – well, one of them because I think it’s impossible to choose only one favorite area in one of the most exciting and diverse cities on earth. Union Square has something for everyone, whether you are a New Yorker or simply a tourist passing through. Here are some of my personal highlights.

For the taste buds…

A few steps from Union Square Park you will find Chat ‘n Chew. Besides clever alliteration, this small restaurant offers the best of American comfort food in an authentic diner setting. The macaroni and cheese is the perfect remedy for a long and stressful day, while the “Thanksgiving on a roll” offers a delicious combination of everything that makes Thanksgiving one of the best holidays of the year – all year round.
For those of you who are chocoholics, Max Brenner (aka “Chocolate by the bald man”) is guaranteed to satisfy your craving. While the food is tasty, it is advisable to have nothing more than a small snack so that you have plenty of space for the wide selection of chocolate desserts on the menu, including a chocolate pizza.

For the mind…

Strand Books, which claims to have a collection of reading materials 18 miles long (for those of you from the rest of the world, that would be approximately 29 kilometers), is a bookworm’s dream. With knowledgeable and helpful staff, you will find any book that you are looking for among the maze of shelves – and if for some reason they don’t have it, they can order it for you. This is a maze in which you definitely want to get lost.
Alternatively, you could try Barnes and Noble – a book store in a Queen Anne-style building built in the 1880s – with four floors of books, magazines, and interesting gifts for any occasion.

For your entertainment…

If you would like to escape from the real world (or the summer heat) for a couple of hours, you could watch the latest superhero movie or animated adventure at the Regal Cinema located on 850 Broadway. For those of you who buy CDs and DVDs (yes, these people do still exist), Best Buy stocks the latest releases and often has music and movies on sale. This is also where you can purchase electronics for your entertainment needs.

Finally, for the weary bones…

If all the shopping and eating has left you tired, take a rest under the trees of Union Square Park; watch the squirrels play or listen to the drums or violins of street musicians who surround the park. The tall trees and flowering bushes provide an oasis from the busy streets of Manhattan, which allows you to recharge your batteries before heading to your next destination. Take a few minutes to check out some of the monuments in and around the park, including Gandhi, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln.

Chat ‘n Chew:
Max Brenner:
Strand Books:
Barnes and Noble:
Regal Union Square:
Union Square Park: