Easy Places to Graze in Manhattan with a Baby

New Yorkers do not actually feed on tourists' infant offspring—though judging from out-of-towners' anxious Chowhound inquiries about bringing babies to Manhattan restaurants, one might suppose that's a common fear. In truth, visitors to Gotham can dine happily with their little ones and live to tell of it. Two mothers of five-month-olds share some advice that can help parents survive a New York vacation.

Keep Moving: Bring a baby carrier and get takeout when possible, suggests Chloelittle, who was up from DC with her husband and their baby boy. Their favorite carryout treats included Levain Bakery's oversize cookies, tender cake donuts from Doughnut Plant, and Ferrara's heavenly pignoli cookies. Toronto visitor shariberri scored a trifecta of downtown delicacies on a walking-and-noshing tour with Daddy and their daughter: Katz's famous pastrami on rye, smoked salmon on a bagel from Russ & Daughters, and Earl Grey gelato from Il Laboratorio del Gelato.

Timing Is Everything: Dine at off-hours. Chloelittle arrived at Ping's at 2 p.m., as the midday rush subsided, and was rewarded with a tasty, relaxed dim sum lunch. Even higher-end restaurants can work at the right time of day; shariberri savored "delicious bites and great wine" around 4:30 p.m. at The Modern.

Sometimes You Get Lucky: Chloelittle expected the worst at 9 a.m. on a Saturday at Murray's Bagels—and was pleasantly surprised by a manageable crowd and a convenient corner table with bench seating. Good bagels, too. And families with infants can often depend on the kindness of strangers. Chloelittle lucked out at Joe's Pizza, where fellow diners gave up their window stools and a grateful mom and dad "traded off holding baby while the other gobbled up a slice."

"We had a fantastic weekend," she concludes. "The city is actually much more baby-friendly than we had anticipated."

Levain Bakery [Upper West Side]
167 W. 74th Street (near Amsterdam Avenue), Manhattan
212-874-6080

Doughnut Plant [Chelsea]
220 W. 23rd Street (between Seventh and Eighth avenues), Manhattan
212-505-3700

Ferrara Bakery & Café [Little Italy]
195 Grand Street (between Mulberry and Mott streets), Manhattan
212-226-6150

Katz's Delicatessen [Lower East Side]
205 E. Houston Street (at Ludlow Street), Manhattan
212-254-2246

Russ & Daughters [Lower East Side]
179 E. Houston Street (between Allen and Orchard streets), Manhattan
212-475-4880

Il Laboratorio del Gelato [Lower East Side]
188 Ludlow Street (at E. Houston Street), Manhattan
212-343­-9922

Ping's [Chinatown]
22 Mott Street (between Pell and Worth streets), Manhattan
212-602-9988

The Bar Room at The Modern [Midtown]
9 W. 53rd Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), Manhattan
212-333-1220

Murray's Bagels [Chelsea]
242 Eighth Avenue (between W. 22nd and 23rd streets), Manhattan
646-638-1335

Joe's Pizza [Greenwich Village]
7 Carmine Street (at Sixth Avenue), Manhattan
212-366-1182

Discuss: Baby-friendly dining over MLK weekend?
NYC Dec 17-20 with a 5 month old....

Photo from Levain Bakery / Facebook