Tomorrow, the OWL 2020 Season will kick off with a bang at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. The NYXL Homestand is just the first of an ambitious new league format. Featuring eight matches per weekend split between two cities, thousands of OWL fans will descend upon cities around the world to see their favorite teams. New York City is the perfect first stop for this traveling production, with endless options for food, drink, and activities. Therefore, for those who are looking to explore the concrete jungle, here are some great suggestions.
Where The Heck Are You?
The NYXL Homestand is at the legendary Hammerstein Ballroom at 311 West 34th Street. Alongside being an awesome venue, the ballroom is also smack-dab in the middle of Manhattan, making navigation, transportation, and lodging a breeze. If traveling to New York by Amtrak, you will arrive at Penn Station, the event venue is only two blocks away. In addition, the Ballroom is only a hop-skip-and jump away from Times Square; this being said, most New Yorkers will tell you to steer clear of that area unless using the subway.
Where To Eat:
This might come as a surprise, but, New York City has a lot of restaurants. Yes, shocking, but if one is looking for some high-quality grub, they don’t need to look far in this concrete jungle. While Times Square has its fair share of chains, (TGI Fridays, Hard Rock Cafe, Buffalo Wild Wings, etc.) visitors should take the road less traveled, as that’s where much of New York’s culinary beauty can be found. The first thing that might come to mind for many tourists is NY style pizza. While this can be found basically everywhere in the city, one of the best “NY Slices” can be found at Scarr’s Pizza in the Financial District. This retro by the slice pizza joint makes their dough from high-quality, hand-milled flower, putting a modern take on a classic NY dish. Other options include the wildly popular Artichoke Basilles (multiple locations), who’s one of a kind artichoke pizza has become the stuff of legend in New York. Lines are long, so come prepared to wait.
A few blocks uptown from the venue is Hell’s Kitchen, featuring row after row of restaurants, bars and everything in between. Personal favorites include Gardenia Terrace, a cozy and dimly lit hookah lounge with good cocktails and Mediterranean inspired dishes; and Mentoku Ramen, which serves some of the best ramen in the city. Including a bowl of Yuzu-Kosho topped with whipped cream (yes, you heard that correctly).
What To Do:
After the festivities are over, OWL fans might be looking for some entertainment. The Hammerstein Ballroom is in an extremely central location, allowing for easy traversal of both Manhattan and the outer boroughs. One location to try out is Koreatown. A relatively small neighborhood nestled between Madison Avenue and Broadway. Featuring all of the esports classics like Korean BBQ, karaoke and boba tea. A personal favorite spot of the author is Space Billiards; a sleek, nightclubby pool hall with a wide selection of soju and other Korean inspired appetizers. Word of warning, however, if traveling with individuals who are sensitive to loud music, this is not the place to visit.
If in the mood to play some games and not just watch them, New York can oblige. Personal favorite gaming joints include Operating System, where the NYXL is holding their pre-party, and Waypoint Cafe, home of the Five Deadly Venoms fan club. Looking for some more retro gaming? Try hitting up the Barcade; with three locations across the city and chock full of arcade games, it’s guaranteed to be a good night.
Of course, these are just some suggestions, feel free to explore this beautiful, chaotic, multicultural smorgasbord of a city! It might get chilly here, but one thing is for sure: you’ll never be bored.