Unlimited Metrocards Make Lunch’ing Out of Bounds More Common

NY Times reports today on how the Unlimited Metrocard has changed the way office workers approach lunch.  “Today, many downtown office workers think nothing of hopping on the subway at Wall Street and zipping up to Union Square for lunch. Workers in Midtown might ride a couple of stops to Macy’s to get some shopping done during a break.”  It’s true, while my goto Subway Lunch is now gone, I have considered seeing how long it would take to lunch in other parts of the city via the subway.  Shake Shack?  Chinatown? Some have even suggested Jackson Heights could be done in under an hour if you hit the trains right.  That would be amazing.  And this idea is clearly spreading… some of my former co-workers have made it a habit to hop on the Rock Center subway to Nolita for lunch on Fridays.

Anybody have any intel on this topic?  Back when it was still open, the Manhattan Mall food court was easy in under an hour.  Have you gone farther?  How long did it take?  And where did you eat?  Comments please…


  • The best “out of bounds” place we go to is to get dumplings in Chinatown. It’s a haul from midtown south, but it’s worth it. There is a little dumpling shack behind the church on Mott st. All they sell are dumplings and pork buns. The price is right, 5 dumplings for $1. That’s right, 5 for $1. In my opinion, they are the best dumplings I’ve ever had. It usually takes an hour to go there and back, but if everything is right, we can do it in 45 minutes. The process would go faster, but we usually get anywhere from 50 to 100 dumplings at a time for the office and some to take home, so they have to cook up an extra griddle full of them.

  • Once every couple of weeks or so, I hop the train from Times Square down to Chinatown for some Vietnamese or Chinese food for lunch.

    With it being only 3 stops on the N/Q, if you’re not a big group, it’s pretty easy to grab some pho at Nha Trang and make it back to work in an hour and 10 minutes or so.

  • Chinatown for bao and back from Midtown West. If you can catch the express lines on the NQRW, you can make it there in no time (I can’t remember which line it is but one goes from 34th to Union Square to Canal St). It was glorious. I tried to do Shake Shack once, but the line was (as always) far too damn long and I had to leave with only some custard.

  • I have hit Wildwood BBQ in Union Square several times in the last month as it is a quick shot on the N/R Line from 49th Street and Broadway.

  • While walking a long ways for lunch was great (and great exercise) when I worked downtown (Tribeca, Chinatown, Soho), I find that midtown lends itself better to trips by train. One reason is it’s a less pleasant walk to escape the crowds, traffic pollution. The other is that it takes forever to get the hell out of midtown! From Times Square it’s cake to get anywhere from Chinatown (like Nate mentioned), Soho (Alidoro anyone?), Chelsea Market (great roast beef sandwiches in Bowery Kitchen Supply), Fairway on 72nd St. (literally 5 minutes each way on an express 2/3), Whole Foods and the Greenmarket on 14th St, etc, etc, etc.

    The unlimited MetroCard is the shizzit

  • I catch the B/D to the village for my favorite Thai from Galanga (W. 4th at 6th Ave) or some gelato from Bruno’s on LaGuardia (near Bleecker). I should do it more often because my location at 31st between 6th and 7th is particularly scary when it comes to food options.

  • In a reverse lunch commute, we often hop on express train from Chinatown to go up to Koreatown for lunch. All in we almost manage to have lunch in a little over an hour. Express trains rock!

  • i do this constantly! it’s not a good day if i can’t make the most of my hourlong lunch break and get tha fuck outta midtown. for sanity’s sake, i cherish these days…

    my favorite haunts are:

    Roti Plus on Frederick Douglas and 125th St (1/9 to 125th) for HUGE Caribbean Curry Chicken roti and a beef patty with CoCo bread

    Eva’s on west 8th between 5th and 6th aves (B/D to west 4th st) for a big ass chicken and egg whites omelet or a falafel and hummus salad with pita

    Nicky’s Vietnamese on east 2nd between Aves A and B (F train to 2nd Ave, then a few blocks walk) for real deal banh mi and a Vietnamese iced coffee

  • Just read the article

    We should all give a big shout-out and group hug to the NY Times for once again stating the bleeding fucking obvious

  • A friday lunch date with the present Mrs McBagel ended up with us on the eurostar to Paris.And 9 months later with twin McBagels.

    Do I win?

  • 9 months is a little longer than my lunch hour allows…. When I run errands to the E Vill (fancy photo developer) on my lunch hour I hit up Mamoun’s on St. Marks while I’m down there. From 33rd on the 6, with some avenue walking it takes me an hour total, but that’s errand included. The subway usually only takes about 15-20 min of that each way….

  • Rock center on the B/D to Grand St. There are two vietnamese places withing a block, and Vanessa’s Dumpling House on Eldridge is super close and packed at lunch.

  • I won’t be eating lunch for the next week, just got a Ko reservation for next tuesday

  • The convenience of eating outside of midtown depends on who you are, what sort of position you hold in your company, and their lunch time policy. I’ve seen my lunch hour shrink from 60 minutes, to 40 minutes, and now down to a paltry 30 minutes, even as my salary and title have increased. I can barely grab a sandwich and rush back to my office in the tiny amount of time we’re given for lunch. Enjoy your long lunch hours while you have ‘em my friends. Your minutes are numbered.

  • @ Shuana – Nicky’s Vietnamese has the worst banh mi in all of the tri-state area. Not only is it too expensive, they don’t use quality ingredients and they take too long to make their 4 inch crapwichs. You should try the place inside the jewelry store, their banh mi are AMAZING!

  • 1 stop from herald square to bleecker street on the b/d or 15 minutes from murray hill to soho on the 6 – definitely faster than some walks

  • Rock center to west 4th street for Mamoun’s falafel. Can eat it while watching the ballers or bring it right back.

  • W Kong Bakery Co 242 Canal, right outside the N/Q entrance at Lafayette St, for the steam table in the back. $1.50 Ho Fun, Nai Cha (Milk Tea), etc. 30 mins roundtrip from times square.

  • Hey Rudy, you free for lunch this Friday?

  • “9 months is a little longer than my lunch hour allows”

    Sarah, you work with Bronx Briner Girl?

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