NRF in NYC: KG’s Highlights for 2013 Attendees

It’s that time of year again…NRF is just around the corner! While some of you are seasoned NRF vets like ourselves, we know that a few tips on coffee shops, lunch hot spots and popular sights might be useful for the newbies! New York City in January can be brutal, but this city truly never sleeps, so we’ve got just the stuff to pull you out of the cold stupor of winters in the Empire City and have a great time at NRF!

See the Theatre!

The KG Team always tries to see a Broadway show every time we head to NRF. It’s an experience only found in New York City. If you get to the city a couple days before the conference begins, settle in and hit the musicals! See Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre or Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre on January 11 – it can start off your week in NYC with a bang! Stomp, Chicago the Musical, Rock of Ages and Mamma Mia! are other popular Broadway shows running during the conference!

NRF Networking – Beyond the Conference!

NRF is a great venue for meeting new people and making fresh connections. Make networking more fun by attending some company parties held during the conference! We’ve got a few suggestions on the best events to schmooze and booze:

  • Retail Touchpoints party. This event is hosted by the team at Retail Touchpoints and is geared for retailers.  The RTP always picks a great location! Last year the event was at Bobby Flay’s Bar American – yum!
  • Rock N Roll Retail. This event is hosted by RIS News and is a great way to unwind after busy days at the convention!
  • Super Saturday. Hosted by RetailROI, this event brings in analysts to give industry insights to retailers.
  • Retail Insider’s party. Cathy Hotka of Cathy Hotka & Associates hosts an annual Retail Insider’s party for retailers and industry analysts. This is usually an invitation-only event but a great one if you can make it!
  • Gartner Sunrise Breakfast. For retail executives only, this event hosts analysts from Gartner to speak on strategy research and industry best practices.

Check out this list of more NRF networking events to put on your calendar!


Since we don’t want to get involved in NYC’s best pizza debate, we’ll stick with something we know – coffee. We love teasing our president, Jeff, about his massive coffee consumption at NRF, but when you realize just how much energy you need to survive a crazy week of early mornings and late nights, access to a good cup o’ joe is no laughing matter! If you’re looking for more than a Starbucks frap, check out these local NYC java gems:

  • Abraco – “This place serves serious coffee” says Adam from A Life Worth Eating. Its espresso concoctions are equal to some of the top roasters in town, but if you’re on the run (headed to the next item on your NRF agenda!) Adam recommends grabbing a quick drip coffee- “guaranteed to be good”!
  • Joe the Art of Coffee – “Joe is perhaps the best all-around coffee shop in New York City” according to Eater New York blogger Greg Morabito.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry – Even after the Holidays!

If you’re looking for quality cuisine, NYC has it covered. While we can’t attempt to offer suggestions for every delicious dive in the city, we can send you a few recommendations we’ve discovered thanks to some NYC native bloggers as well as some finds of our own!

  • Nice Green Bo. A must-try for any fan of Chinese food, according to NYC fashion blogger Taylor Morgan. “It’s a local hole in the wall that is amazing! They are famous for their dumplings but everything is good!”
  • City Sandwich. Tons of variety and if you can’t get away from the convention center, order online!
  • Shake Shack. This is a Must-Do for any NYC visitor! The legendary long lines are worth the wait for a good burger and fries with a shake on the side.
  • ‘witchcraft. The “top notch” Great Pumpkin Sandwich crowns this awesome sub menu, according to Gothamist blogger Jen Carlson.
  • Not to mention the food trucks! Check out these top five food trucks in NYC and if you’ve got a hankering for some vegan breakfast goodies, check out the Cinnamon Snail!
  • Market Table. KG had the good fortune of stumbling across this little eatery in 2011. The menu has an upscale, foodie feel, without the extraordinarily large NYC price tag. Everything we ordered was delicious, from roast lamb to spaetzel pork, and the wine list was also excellent.

If you’ve got time for touring…

We know you’ll be busy at the conference for most of your time in New York City, but if you plan to build in some downtime, check out these fun sights!

  • Union Square. According to Taylor Morgan, there’s a great farmer’s market and shopping in this area. She also recommends hitting the Coffee Shop diner for some pancakes!
  • 9/11 Memorial. An important site to make time for while visiting New York City, recommended by Lonely Planet blogger Jason Castellani.
  • 14th & 9th Avenue. We thought this suggestion might be a cool way to see something different in NYC! Suggested again by Taylor Morgan, this area has Chelsea Market and the Highline, “which is an old train track turn beautiful walking path/garden that is raised above ground level. Very cool.”
  • Staten Island Ferry. This is an easy (and free!) way to see a few of the sites without paying for a formal tour. Another great suggestion from Castellani.