Admittedly, a disaster the caliber of Hurricane Sandy will but rarely happen in New York City. But there are still those stormy, or rainy, or snowy days when you need to set up shop somewhere and hang out for a while. Here are some safe harbors to which I repair in times of inclement weather.
Bubby's is more or less the perfect neighborhood restaurant, with reasonably priced comfort food, scrupulously sourced, great coffee, and probably the best pie in New York. Being there is like visiting your friend's house and having his or her mom cook for you.
A modern take on a classic New York restaurant, City Hall centers on steak and oysters without ever going for the steakhouse / brasserie feel. It's large and well-managed, and so makes a great place to just relax away from the trendy / hectic dining scene further uptown.
It's a little passe today, but the city's perennial "most romantic restaurant" hasn't gotten any less beautiful, nor its fireplace any less transporting. The food isn't the final word in high gastronomy, but it's very good, and resists fads in a commendable way. NYC needs more places like this, not less.
Few places could be cozier or more special than the cellar of this first-rate Brooklyn osteria, which is crude and rustic in a way similar places often try (and fail) to be. Look out especially for the remarkable selection of port wines. They're too good to have just as after dinner drinks.
A giant, surprisingly good Chinese food emporium, this Ollie's is huge -- you can just stop in for a few egg rolls and stay for a long time without anybody hassling you. Or you can get a huge meal. Nobody cares.
The big prestige restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, Asiate has what is undoubtedly one of, if not the best view in New York. It's utterly weatherproof, so watching a storm here is an especially perverse pleasure, one that makes you feel almost godlike in your power. It's great on a nice night too. But plan on bringing a bag of krugerands to pay for your meal.
With a great, affordable wine list and roaring fireplace, this Carroll Gardens wine bar is the ideal place to while away a winter night -- or, in summer, to laze outside and drink in the sunshine.
Big, clean, well-lit, and open 24 hours, this Lower East Side diner is the perfect place to go late, early, or any time everyplace else is closed. If you've had good diner food anywhere or at any time, you know exactly what to expect here -- which is a comfort in and of itself.
The model of a third-wave cafe, this place is big and airy and makes nothing but great coffee and espresso -- although there is a world-class almond croissant available if you need something to go with your macchiato.
Tom Colicchio's post Craftsteak restaurant is just as big, just as nice (big and well lit) and has the same great service as before, but cheaper, better, and more approachable food. Well, at least in the front lounge section. The main dining room is more ambitious. But both sides are very comfortable.
The lobby of the ace, with its free wireless, immense library tables, and dozen-plus couches, is an ideal place to hang out and relax or work. And with Stumptown on one side and The Breslin on the other you won't lack for coffee or food. (It has its own bar.)