Before the phenomena of binge-watching episodes of that favorite guilty pleasure program du jour on video streaming services or staring down, slack-jawed, for hours at the now ubiquitous mobile device while perusing social networks, there was another place, anathema to parents and teachers alike, where one could go to rot one’s brain and shorten one’s attention span. It was simply known as an arcade — the earliest iteration of which had pinball machines — and it was glorious.Now, you can imagine my surprise and adoration when my lovely wife suggested a little adventure to Modern Pinball NYC on a breathtakingly beautiful Saturday afternoon. You can also imagine my surprise and self-loathing when she repeatedly topped my score. There’s no doubt: my girl’s got serious game. And I’ll likely never hear the end of it.Modern Pinball NYC offers one-hour, three-hour and full-day passes which gives you access to all the available machines for as many games as you please during that period. It also offers private party and event bookings (all of which include re-entry privileges). Coincidentally, next door is a bar sharing our name, Mad Hatter Pub, Eatery & Beer Garden, offering a 10% discount to Modern Pinball patrons.Location:362 3rd AveHours:
Open daily 11 am – midnight
Pair it with:
Lunch at Shake Shack
What do you get when you open a Chicago-style hot dog cart, in a recently redeveloped park, near your acclaimed, upscale restaurant Eleven Madison Park (which has since been sold to its chef) simply to draw additional commerce to the area? A massive success, apparently. One certainly wouldn’t answer: the humble, seemingly-unrelated beginnings of the biggest burger (note that I didn’t say hot dog) phenomenon since the establishment of McDonald’s, Danny Meyer’s beloved Shake Shack. But that’s exactly what happened in Madison Square Park nearly fifteen years ago.
Offering, reputedly, one of the best burgers on the planet, Shake Shack also offers their eponymous milkshakes, frozen custard concretes, signature crinkle-cut fries, a recently added fried chicken sandwich and, of course, a hot dog, in a nod to their very humble beginnings.
The secret to the famed ShackBurger is two-fold: one devastatingly simple — the proprietary blend of butcher Pat LaFrieda’s 100% Angus beef and the cooking process of “smashing” the burger on the cooking surface, producing a crispiness at the edges; the other a mystery — the addictive, spicy-smoky-sweet, ingredient speculation inducing Shack Sauce. Throw that on the famed Martin’s Potato Roll with some other fixings and you’ve got the stuff of legend.
 Yes, there are other Shake Shack locations, but the original — even with all the fuss — is certainly worth it. To avoid the worst of the queues, simply check the “Shack Cam” here to get the scoop.
 Madison Square Park is a gorgeous recreational area hosting art exhibits and events throughout the year, as covered by this post. Make sure to pencil in some time to take it all in either before or after your meal.
Madison Square Park
Open daily 11 am – 11 pm