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Where to Pack a Picnic Basket in New York

picnicDrinking on rooftop bars and lunching at backyard patios is great, but now that it’s the height of spring-summer season, we want to get as close to nature as humanly possible.  Which is why we’re more than happy to take an occasional break from restaurant dining, by picnicking at one of New York’s many  outdoor spaces or awesome parks.  But don’t waste a dime (or a calorie), on cut-rate supermarket cold cuts, sugary sodas and greasy chips, because the city is chock-a-block with seriously upscale markets — and many of the city’s best eateries will gladly pack you a gourmet hamper themselves!

Eataly

Eataly
200 5th Avenue
New York 10010
(212) 229-2560

Considering it’s directly across from Madison Square Park (and within short walking distance to Union Square), this incomparable Italian emporium is an obvious choice, for packing the ultimate al fresco lunch.  Grab a wood oven-crisped ciabatta from the bakery, an oozy mound of mozzarella from the cheese counter, curls of silky prosciutto from the salumeria, and for dessert, a tub of hazelnut-scented chocolate spread from the recently opened Nutella Bar.  Sure, you can pick up a pound or two of biscotti for dipping, but what’s wrong with using your fingers?

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Alta Linea

Alta Linea
180 10th Ave
Chelsea,New York 10010
(212) 933-9735

You’ll never go hungry along the High Line and that’s because it employs a slew of delicious vendors, such as Delaney’s BBQ and La Newyorkina (love those fruity, Mexican-inspired paletas!)  But all manner of restaurants have begun popping up in the area, too, and the newest, Alta Linea (from the L’Apicio & Dell’anima team), even provides picnic baskets, filled with breezy Italian dishes, like Fregola Salad and Mortadella-Taleggio Panini.

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Le District

Le District
225 Liberty St
Battery Park,New York 10281
(212) 981-8588

The French answer to Eataly, this mind-bogglingly large market is a godsend, for anyone looking to take advantage of the waterside views in and around Battery Park City.  The four separate districts (“Market,” “Garden,” “Café,” and “Restaurant”) provide enough options to fill a picnic basket a million times over, with goodies from the fromagerie, charcuterie, boulangerie and patisserie, along with spots offering prepared foods the likes of rotisserie chicken, coffee, chocolate, and even caviar.

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Telepan

Telepan
72 W 69th Street
Upper West Side,New York 10023
(212) 580-4300

Abutting Central Park, Telepan is more than just a destination for sit-down dining.  In fact, from now until Labor Day, the restaurant is offering picnic baskets to-go, with a choice of main dishes like Cuban Sandwiches and Fried Chicken, sides such as Farro Tabbouleh and Spicy Coleslaw, and desserts that include Red Velvet Cupcakes and Blueberry Pie Crescents, all served with Salt and Vinegar Cottage Fries.

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Eli’s

Eli’s
1411 3rd Ave
Upper East Side,New York 10028
(212) 717-8100

An afternoon spent at either Central or East River Park cries out for a jaunt for Eli’s Manhattan first, which even boasts its own adjacent wine and flower shops (why sacrifice style, even when you’re sitting on the ground)?  A tin of caviar, a side of smoked sable, and a ready-to-go French Mountain cheese board more than completes the trés gourmet picture, along with a selection of scrumptious sweets, like drops of dark chocolate, studded with Marcona almonds.

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Chelsea Market Baskets

Chelsea Market Baskets
75 9th Avenue
Chelsea,New York 10011
(212) 727-1111

Heading to one of the beautiful parks or piers overlooking the Hudson?  There’s no shortage of spots in the Chelsea Market, brimming with to-go treats and prepared foods.  But you can literally source everything for your picnic — including the hamper — from Chelsea Market Baskets, filled with local products like McClure’s Pickles, RedHead’s Bacon Peanut Brittle, Eleni’s Cookies, Fat Witch Brownies, and Kings County Beef Jerky.

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Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria

Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria
53 Great Jones Street
East Village,New York 10012
(212) 837-2622

Putting together an al fresco spread in the Noho/East Village area?  Hightail it to this beloved restaurant and alimentari, which serves impeccable breads crafted by world-class baker, Kamil Saci, along with house-cured salumi, cheeses aged exclusively for the market in caves located in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, as well as a wealth of drool-worthy prepared foods, like Farro Salad and Kale Pie.

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The Ploughman

The Ploughman
438 7th Ave
Park Slope,New York 11215
(718) 369-7595

Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s top picnic spot, which means there are plenty of places ready to serve the needs of peckish passerby.  And one of our favorites is The Ploughman on Seventh Avenue, which offers a fabulous selection of meats, breads, condiments and cheeses, along with an impressive array of unique, local beers.

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