September 30, 2020
Living in the midst of a pandemic and embracing the constantly fluctuating levels of anxiety, uncertainty, loneliness, and boredom has taught me to savor every in-person meet up my friends and I manage to arrange. After months of spamming each other’s inboxes with TikTok videos titled “Hidden Gems of NYC” or “Must Visit Places in NYC,” we finally got around to setting a (safe) dinner date at 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar last Friday.
Conveniently located four minutes away from the 28th Street station, the 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar proudly boasts its title as New York’s largest indoor and outdoor rooftop bar. While the hours of operation tend to vary based on the day, guests must pay a cover charge of $20 after 6 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. As college students/fresh graduates, we strategically met at 5 to avoid the fee.
A monumental thing about this year for my friend group is that we all turned 21, and maybe every 21-year-old before us has felt this way, but getting our IDs checked at the door for the first time — or maybe fifth time for those of us with early birthdays — felt mind boggling. A part of me prepared to defend myself in fear that the security guard would call my ID a fake. After checking our IDs and belongings, the lobby staff directed us to a set of elevators to the 20th floor and from there, we were instructed to take a flight of stairs to the rooftop bar itself.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a picturesque view of the Empire State Building that left even a native New Yorker like myself rushing to take pictures. The tables were appropriately distanced and arranged to accommodate groups, pairs, and solo diners, although the maximum number of people allowed in each group is currently set at 10. As with other bars and restaurants, we were expected to wear our masks, unless we were seated at our tables.
Each table had its own unique QR code pasted on it, which led us to an online menu we could directly order off. Paying online in advance significantly reduced contact between us and the wait staff, as well as the wait time… our drinks arrived within three minutes of us placing our orders! The food menu itself was relatively limited (especially in its vegan options), whereas the cocktail menu boasted some tantalizing specialties, resulting in a challenging decision-making process. My top three contenders were the raspberry mojito, pineapple moscow mule, and the frosé (served in a plastic pouch).
I ended up opting for the fish and chips and the raspberry mojito, both of which surpassed my expectations. While the fish and chips were served with tartar sauce, there was a separate station designated for water and condiments.
But wait, there’s more!
After dinner, my best friend Melissa and I ended our night at St. Mark’s Place, walking through Madison Square Park and Union Square Park. Along the way, we stopped to listen to a band performing Latin American music by The Cube on Astor Place and did our own take on the Bachata, a style of dance that has its roots in the Dominican Republic.
The three things I miss most about New York City when I’m living in Stony Brook for college is the lack of pressure to drive, thanks to the MTA; sidewalks, because they’re a novelty unless you’re on campus or in a residential area; and the pockets of surprises that wait at each block.