Monthly Archives: February 2022

Day Two Hundred and Seventeen: Walking the Borders of the Lower Garment District/Flower & Fur Districts from Ninth to Sixth Avenues from West 34th to West 28th Streets February 5th, 2022

Have you ever walked around Manhattan when it is 25 degrees outside? When the picks up, it gets cold!

My best friend thought I was nuts when I started to walk the lower part of the Garment District on a sunny but cold Saturday. This part of the neighborhood is bound by the campus of the Fashion Institute of Technology in the middle of the neighborhood and what remains of the Flower District on the eastern border with NoMAD (North of Madison Square Park) neighborhood and the new Hudson Yards neighborhood to the west. In all parts of the neighborhood, old is mixing with new as this area of Manhattan continues to change.

As I crossed the border into the neighborhood at West 34th Street, I was greeted by Golden City Chinese Restaurant near the corner of West 34th Street

Golden City Chinese Restaurant at 423 Ninth Avenue

http://www.goldencitynyc.com/

This is the restaurant I braved the cold last Christmas to pick up my best friend, Maricel and I’s Christmas dinner. Over orders of Lemon Chicken, Roast Pork Lo Mien, Hot & Sour Soup and egg rolls, we chowed down our dinner in our hotel room toasting Santa. The food is very good here and they have reopened their inhouse dining.

Walking down Ninth Avenue, you can see how the neighborhood is transiting from the former working-class neighborhood and docks to the upscale office and apartment buildings of the Hudson Yards to the west. Little by little the small brownstone buildings are disappearing and being replaced by shiny new glass structures.

Between One Manhattan and Two Manhattan West in the Hudson Yards complex between 389 and 395 Ninth Avenue is the Citrovia display. I was trying to figure out if this was a company display or an artist’s display. There were all sorts of lemons all in the trees and in the gardens. During the summer, these must be an amazing place to sit but between the snow and the winds that sunny day, I just walked through the display.

The Citrovia display at One Manhattan West on Ninth Avenue (Manhattan West Website)

Citrovia is a fantastic outdoor interactive outdoor installation that transports the visitor to a sprawling citrus garden of whimsical displays, a sitting area with a lemon tree forest and I swear when you walk through the whole thing you can smell fresh lemon (Manhattan West website). It is almost like the ‘Land of Oz” with lemon trees and slices all over the place. It is a whimsical journey through the lemon display.

I walked through the Manhattan West complex, and it really dawned on me how the neighborhood has changed so much in the last decade. They took a run-down neighborhood and made it shine with modern buildings housing new tech companies and a series of restaurants, shops and hotels. It is a neighborhood onto itself.

Manhattan West complex (Manhattan West.com)

Across the street from the Manhattan West complex old meets new with the former NYC Post Office, which is now finishing its renovation and is now the Patrick Moynihan Train Station, The James A. Farley building.

The James A. Farley Building was designed by the firm of McKim, Mead & White and was designed in the Beaux Arts style, the sister building to the former Penn Station (where the current Madison Sqaure Garden now sits). The current renovation of the building to turn the dream into a reality is by the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Wiki).

I was able to walk the halls and staircases of the complex that afternoon and the interiors are still not finished with a few of the restaurants now opened but the polished floors and new artwork is in full view. The public bathrooms are a nice change from the ones in Penn Station. The rest of the complex will be open by the spring.

The new rendering of the James A. Farley Building to the Patrick Moynihan Train Hall (Vno.com)

https://www.vno.com/office/property/the-farley-building/3313609/landing

James A. Farley

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Farley

James A. Farley was a former politician and the former Postmaster General under the FDR Administration.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Patrick_Moynihan

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a former politician and diplomat.

When I reached the border of the neighborhood at West 28th Street, I saw that I was across the street from the Church of the Holy Apostles at 296 Ninth Avenue, where I volunteer for the Soup Kitchen. I realized that afternoon that I have not been there in almost two years. The last time I had volunteered was the Friday before the government shut the country down on March 13, 2020. It dawned on me how long COVID has been going on.

What I never noticed in the almost 17 years that I have been volunteering at the Soup Kitchen was Chelsea Park across at the corner of Ninth Avenue and between West 28th and 27th Streets. I had always thought this was part of P.S. 33, the elementary school next door complex. This was a whole separate park.

Chelsea Park during the summer months

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park/facilities/playgrounds

Chelsea Park extends all the way to Tenth Avenue with soccer and basketball courts and places for people to not just run but relax under the blanket of trees in the summer. Facing Ninth Avenue in a small courtyard is the statue of the ‘Chelsea Doughboy’.

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park

“The Chelsea Doughboy” Memorial (NYCParks.org)

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park/monuments/232

The statute was designed to honor the war veterans of WWI. The term “Doughboy” no one is too sure where it originated. Some think from the fried dough dumplings that the soldiers eat or maybe from the way their uniforms looked which were a little baggy or from the dough clay that they used to clean their uniforms (NYCParks.org).

The statue was designed by artist Philip Martiny.

Artist Philip Martiny

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Martiny

Artist Philip Martiny was a French born American artist who settled in New York when he immigrated here in 1878. He was a contemporary of artist August Saint-Gaudens and known for his decorative styles in the Beaux-Arts fashion. He created many sculptures for buildings in New York City and Washington DC (Wiki).

Across the street is the Church of the Holy Apostles, where I have been volunteering for years in the Soup Kitchen (mentioned in many of my blogs between 2015-2020 before the COVID shutdown). The Church of the Holy Apostles was built between 1845 to 1848 and was designed by architect Minard Lafever with the stained-glass windows designed by William Jay Bolton (Wiki).

The church has always been progressive, and it was rumored to be part of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. The church had been an extension of the Trinity Church downtown for the working class people in the area. Now it also runs the second largest Soup Kitchen in the United States. The biggest is in San Franciso (Wiki).

The Church of the Holy Apostles at 296 Ninth Avenue feels like a second home to me

https://holyapostlesnyc.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Apostles_(Manhattan)

Behind the church is the housing that formally union housing for the International Ladies Garment Union housing, now known as “Penn South”, that was created in the 1950’s for housing for union workers. Contruction started in 1960 and these ten building still house some of the elderly members of the union. In the courtyard of building Seven is dedicated to Bayard Rustin, a civil rights and union member who lived there. There is a memorial plaque to him in the courtyard Wiki).

Activist Bayard Ruskin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayard_Rustin

The plaque dedicated to the activities is outside Building Seven between Eighth and Seventh Avenues

As I traveled the border of the neighborhood on West 28th Street from Ninth to Sixth Avenues, I have never seen so much transition on a street. On one side of the street is the back part of my Alma Mater ‘The Fashion Institute of Technology’. It seems that the college is taking the back loading dock area and building an addition to the college. On the other side of the street between Eighth and Seventh, the entire street has either been knocked down and rebuilt or older buildings renovated but the entire block between the two avenues is brand new.

As you cross Seventh Avenue at West 28th Street are the last remnants of the former “Flower District” which dominated these blocks here and along Sixth Avenue until the area was rezoned in the 1990’s. Now Sixth Avenue in this area is now apartment buildings and hotels. Still there are many commercial flower shops here and some amazing floral businesses along this block.

Mahir Floral & Event Designs at 156 West 28th Street is one of the nicest flower shops in the district. The store is so beautifully designed to showcase not only the flowers but the decorative items that they sell along with the plants and flowers.

Mahir Floral & Event Designs at 156 West 28th Street

https://mahirfloralevents.com/

There are all sorts of interesting design pieces that not only make the perfect gift but also to create the perfect event.

The store is so beautifully designed to showcase their items

Another wonderful store is Foliage Paradise at 113-115 West 28th Street. What I love about the store is the way it is designed when you walk through it. It is like walking through an enchanted tropical garden with paths down exotic trees and flowers on all sides. They have a big commercial and retail business according to the salesperson I talked to that day.

Foliage Paradise at 113-115 West 28th Street

In the front of the store when the weather is warm, it is lined with the most seasonal flowers and plants. When you walk through the store, it is like walking through an Amazon jungle in a warm climate at any month of the year. Just touring this store is fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is foliage-paradise-v-e1631554309969.jpg

Walking through Foliage Paradise is an experience

What brought back a lot of good memories when I walked down West 28th Street was walking past the Moxy Hotel at 105 West 28th Street. This was my starting point of my morning of walking “The Great Saunter Walk”, the 32-mile excursion around the Island of Manhattan over the summer of 2021 (before I pulled my back out).

The Moxy Hotel at 105 West 28th Street has the most amazing views

https://www.marriott.com/default.mi

My blog on Day One Hundred and Sixty-Seven: “The Great Saunter Walk”:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/13811

I had the most interesting room on the 10th floor with the most breathtaking view of Midtown Manhattan. I would just sit on the bed looking at the views before going to sleep. You have never seen a site than Midtown all lit up at night.

The Lower Garment District shares the border with the NoMAD and Koreatown neighborhoods and even over the last few months I have noticed some significant changes in the blocks that I had explored for the blog. Many buildings had been finished that were under construction or were in the process of being renovated. They still looked empty but there were better days ahead when they will be filled with the latest tech and advertising companies. Sixth Avenue is becoming a big commercial and residential neighborhood.

Sixth Avenue from West 28th to West 34th Streets has been going through a big transition over the last twenty years as the flower industry has moved mostly to Hunts Point and new apartment buildings have sprung up along the avenue. Many of the Beaux Arts buildings have been or in the process of being renovated as this are served as Midtown from the Civil War to the end of WWI. Not much has changed along the Broadway corridor.

I started my walk on the 34th Street border of the neighborhood by looking at Macy’s window displays along Broadway to see if much had changed since the holidays. They never were the most exciting displays even when I was working there. Lord & Taylor and B. Altman’s had better windows. Long gone now. I am amazed at the change of the department store scene in New York City since I worked there in the 1990’s. I could see it from the corner of West 34th and Broadway.

I started my walk from the front door of Macy’s and walked down Sixth Avenue from West 34th  to West 30th Street. Things have changed so much in thirty years. The whole area has gotten so much better. It was so run down when I worked there. Also the retail scene was so much different. Where the H & M is now used to be Herald Center, an upscale mall that never did well and the concept closed two years later when I returned to work in the buying offices. The only thing that survived was the food court on the top floor.

Macy's

Macy’s at 151 West 34th Street

At the very edge of the neighborhood on the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 35th Street is the most interesting piece of artwork on a building that once housed the Desigual flagship store. The work is by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel and entitled “Multicultural Freedom Statue” and was created in 2019. It is a tribute to multiculturalism in New York City (Artist Bio). The store has since closed.

The painting at Sixth Avenue at West 35th Street by artist Okuda San Miguel

Artist Okuda San Miguel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okuda_San_Miguel

Artist Okuda San Miguel was born in Spain and known for his colorful geometric styles in painting. He graduated from the Complutense University of Madrid with a BFA and has shown his work all over the world (Wiki).

The last building I noticed for its beauty was on the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 34th Street, 47 West 34th Street (1378 Broadway or 2 Herald Square) the Marbridge Building. The Marbridge Building was by architects Townsend, Steinle & Haskell in 1909 in the Classical Beaux Arts style and has been used as an office building since its opening (Wiki/Photo/Street).

47 West 34th Street-The Marbridge Building

https://streeteasy.com/building/28_47-34-street-astoria

Before 1965, this was home to Saks 34th Street before its move to its current Fifth Avenue location. The store was founded by Andrew Saks and opened its doors in Herald Square in 1902 just five weeks before Macy’s opened their doors. The store was designed by architects Buchman & Fox in the Classical style. The store was bought by the Gimbel family in 1923 and that is when it was moved to its current location at 511 Fifth Avenue. The original store is now covered with new siding to give it its modern look for H & M (NYC Circa). The building stretches from West 34th to West 33rd Street along the Broadway corridor.

Saks 34th

The Saks 34th Street Building on the corner of West 34th Street and Broadway

https://en.wikipedia-on-ipfs.org/wiki/Saks-34th_Street.html

Next door to that was the old Gimbel’s Department Store building that closed in 1986, a year and a half before I started at Macy’s. Gimbel’s had always been considered our rival for years but I think because of the sheer size of Macy’s I have a feeling that we beat them in sales. Gimbel’s had come to New York City by way of Philadelphia by the Gimbel’s family. It was founded by Adam Gimbel in 1887. The store in Herald Square opened in 1910 in the classical style by architect Daniel Burnham (Wiki). The store stretches from West 33rd to West 32nd Streets along Broadway.

Gimbels Department Store

Gimbel’s Department Store at Sixth Avenue and 33rd Street

https://ghosts-of-retailers-past.fandom.com/wiki/Gimbels

When the store closed in 1986, it was renovated and was called A & S Plaza when that store moved into the space. When A & S closed in the mid 1990’s when it merged with Macy’s, the store was renovated again and now is called Manhattan Mall. It is mostly office space now (Wiki).

When I worked at Macy’s in the early 1990’s, Herald and Greeley Squares were places to avoid until about 1994 when the parks were renovated and new plantings and French metal café tables were added. Now it is hard at lunch time to find a table. In the process of the renovations, the City also restored the statues dedicated to James Gordon Bennett and Horace Greeley.

James Gordon Bennett statue

The statue dedicated to James Gordon Bennett and his son James Gordon Bennett II

The statue is to Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom and Invention and two blacksmiths who flank a bell that once topped the Herald Building where the New York Herald, which was founded by James Gordon Bennett in 1835. The statue was dedicated in the park in 1895 (NYCParks.org).

James Gorden Bennett

James Gordon Bennett

The statue was designed by Antonin Jean Carles

antonin Carles

Artist Antonin Jean Carles

http://www.artnet.com/artists/jean-antonin-carles/

Antonin Jean Carles was born in France and was a student of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Toulouse. He was known for his monument sculptures.

In the middle of this former shopping district and just south of Herald Square is Greeley Square named after Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune. The square was acquired by New York City in 1846 and turned into the park. The statue that dominates the southern end of the park was designed by sculptor Alexander Doyle in 1890 (NYCParks.org).

Greeley Square was named after Horace Greeley, who published the first issue of The New Yorker magazine and established the New York Tribune. He was also a member of the Liberal Republican Party where he was a Congressman and ran for President of the United States after the Civil War.

Horace Greeley

Publisher and Politician Horace Greeley famous for his quote “Go West, young man, Go West”

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Horace-Greeley

Horace Greeley Statue

The Horace Greeley statue is located in the park just south of Herald Square in Greeley Square.

The statue was created by artist Alexander Doyle. Alexander Doyle was an American born artist who studied in Italy with several artists. He is best known for his marbles and bronze sculptures of famous Americans including many famous Confederate figures that have come under fire recently.

http://www.askart.com/artist/Alexander_Doyle/61138/Alexander_Doyle.aspx

Once you leave Greeley Square and walk south you will be entering what is left of the old Wholesale district where once buyers used to come into these stores to commercially buy goods for their businesses. Slowly all of these businesses as well as most of the Flower District is being gentrified out with new hotels, restaurants and bars replacing the businesses. It seems that most of the district is being rebuilt or renovated or gutted.

The Broadway side of the park opposite the old department stores starts some of the most beautiful architecture in South Midtown. This portion of Broadway until you reach the Battery has the most unique stonework and embellishments on the buildings that show the craftsmanship of another era when companies built headquarters that were meant to last.

One building that faces Greeley Square is 1270 Broadway at the corner of West 33rd Street.

1270 Broadway

1270 Broadway

https://streeteasy.com/building/1270-broadway-new_york

1270 Broadway, known once as the Wilson Building, was built between 1912 and 1913 in the class Beaux Arts style. It now serves as an office building. You have to look up from the square to admire its beauty.

Next to the building is across the street at 1265 Broadway, the former Browning, King & Company building. The building was built in 1910 by developer William R.H. Martin for commercial use. The building was designed by architects Townsend, Steinle & Haskell in brick, stone and terra cotta. The interesting decorative top was designed for the Men’s retail company Browning, King & Company. You have to look up at the detail work and the eagle at the roof of the building (Daytonian).

1265 Broadway Browning, King & Co

1265 Broadway-The Browning, King & Company building

https://therealdeal.com/new-research/topics/property/1265-broadway/

Another building that stands out is the former Martinique Hotel at 49 West 32nd Street (1260-1266 Broadway). This was also built by William R. H. Martin in 1898 with the design by architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in the French Renaissance style. The hotel had a notorious reputation in the 1970’s and 80’s as a welfare hotel that closed in 1988. It is now a Curio Hotel of Hilton Hotels (Wiki). It looks like it recently opened for guests as the lobby was lit and people were milling around.

I remember this hotel well when I worked for Macy’s in the late 1980’s and all the people yelling and screaming outside the hotel with fire trucks all over the place. The hotel had been nothing but a problem for almost twenty years. It had once been one of the most notorious welfare hotels in the 1980’s.

1260 Broadway

1260 Broadway-49 West 32nd Street-The Martinique Hotel

https://www.themartinique.com/

A couple of buildings that stand out when walking down Broadway are 1234 Broadway on the corner of Broadway and West 31st Street, a elegant Victorian building with a standout mansard roof and elaborate details on the roof and windows. I did not realize that it was the Grand Hotel built in 1868 as a residential hotel. The hotel was commissioned by Elias Higgins, a carpet manufacturer and designed by Henry Engelbert. Currently it is being renovated into apartments (Daytonian). It shows how the City keeps morphing over time as this area has become fashionable again.

1234 Broadway

1234 Broadway in all its elegance, the former Grand Hotel

https://www.hotels.com/ho634418464/31-street-broadway-hotel-new-york-united-states-of-america/

After rounding the southern part of Greeley Square, I headed back down Sixth Avenue to West 30th Street, the southern border of the neighborhood with the ever changing NoMAD (North of Madison Square Park). This southern section of South Midtown as I have mentioned in other blogs is being gutted, knocked down and rebuilt into a hip area of the City with trendy hotels, restaurants and stores. Even in the era of COVID, the streets were hopping and most of the hotels were still open. Broadway has even been closed off for outdoor dining.

In the middle of this new ‘hipness’ there is an old standby, Fresh Pizza & Deli at 876 Sixth Avenue (see my review on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com). I needed a slice of pizza and with the budgets being tight, a dollar slice is always nice on a cold day.

Fresh

Fresh Pizza & Deli at 867 Sixth Avenue

https://mywalkinmanhattan.com/tag/fresh-pizza-and-deli/

The pizza here is excellent

After my snack, I walked back down West 34th Street to Ninth Avenue, passing new construction and scaffolding along the way. As I have noted in many of my blogs, West 34th Street from Broadway to Ninth Avenue has changed tremendously in the twenty-five years since I left Macy’s. Blocks that we would have never walked on then are vibrant and full of shoppers and diners now.

I made it back to the Hotel New Yorker by the end of the afternoon. The Hotel New Yorker like a Grande Dame guarding the Garment District. The Hotel New Yorker on the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 34th Street at 481 Eighth Avenue. The hotel was designed by architects Sugarman and Berger and designed in the Art Deco style. The hotel was constructed in 1928 and opened in 1930. The hotel now managed by Wyndam Hotels put the hotel through a full renovation in 2006 to bring it back to its glory years now reflected the resurgence of the neighborhood (Hotel New Yorker History website/Wiki).

The Hotel New Yorker at 481 Eighth Avenue

https://www.newyorkerhotel.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyndham_New_Yorker_Hotel

I think the lower part of the Garment District like the rest of the area is in a state of transition. There is so much change and building going on you would never have thought that COVID was on the radar.

I think the City is ready for people to come back to work.

Please read my other blogs on walking the Lower Garment District:

Day Two Hundred and Seventeen: Walking the Borders of the Lower Garment District/Flower & Fur Districts:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/21892

Day Two Hundred and Nineteen: Walking the Avenues of the Lower Garment District/Flower & Fur Districts:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/22117

Day Two Hundred and Twenty: Walking the Streets of the Lower Garment District/Flower & Fur Districts:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/22180

Places to Visit:

Patrick Moynihan Train Hall

421 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10199

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moynihan_Train_Hall

Chelsea Park

West 27th Street & Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 639-9675

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park/facilities/playgrounds

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-11:00pm

Foliage Paradise

113-115 West 28th Street

New York, NY 10001

(212) 675-9696/(212) 206-8461

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:30am-5:30pm

http://www.paradiseplantsny.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FoliageParadise/

My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/1235

Mahir Floral & Event Designs

156 West 28th Street

New York, NY  10001

Phone: (212) 686-1999

http://www.mahirfloralevents.com

https://mahirfloralevents.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mahirfloral/

Open: Monday-Saturday-7:00am-6:00pm/Sunday: 8:00am-4:00pm

My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/124

Places to Eat:

Fresh Pizza and Deli (Take-out only now)

876 Sixth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 779-7498

https://www.seamless.com/menu/fresh-pizza–deli-876-6th-ave-new-york/2406485

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-12:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d23125364-Reviews-Fresh_Pizza_And_Deli-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2000

Golden City Chinese Restaurant

423 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 643-9232

http://www.goldencitynyc.com/

Open: Sunday 11:00am-11:00pm/Monday-Friday 10:30am-11:30pm/Saturday 11:00am-11:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d3930125-Reviews-Golden_City_Chinese_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Melster Candies Circus Peanuts by Impact Confections Inc.

This is my favorite candy of all time and another item I pack when I am on my walks around Manhattan.

Circus Peanuts are the best candy!

They were created by the Melster family

Add this to your Grocery List!

Lester Candies/Impact Confections Inc.

4017 Whitney Street

Janesville, WI 53546

(608) 208-1100

Impact Confections Inc.

I have been in love with Circus Peanuts candies since I started eating. When I was little, we used to go to Joe’s Fruit Farm on Washington Valley Road in Bridgewater, NJ for our local fruits and apple cider. In the store front area of the farm (which was still going strong into 2006) used to have the old ‘penny candy’ jars.

When I was in elementary school, I used to go shopping with my mother there and used to beg for three things: red licorice strings, orange slices and Circus Peanuts. I still remember that little white bag I got filled with two of each (if I was good) and saved the Circus Peanuts for last.

Circus Peanuts by Melster Candies

I love the soft marshmallow consistency of these orange treats and…

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Day Two Hundred and Eighteen: ‘Xin Nian Hao’/’Gong Hay fay choy’ or ‘Happy New Year’ in Chinatown February 12th, 2022

‘Gong Hay fay choy’ or Happy New Year!

It is amazing what three years can bring. Chinatown was all but dead over the last two years for the Chinese New Year celebrations and it was nice to see them come back in a vengeance.

It has been a rough time in Chinatown in Manhattan over the last three years. I wrote about going to the Chinese New Year parade in 2020 and it had been nothing like the parade in 2019. It had been freezing in New York City in 2019 but that had not kept the crowds away on a busy parade afternoon. In 2020, the looming crisis with COVID was spreading through China and people were very wary about coming to Chinatown for the parade. In fact, I did not see too many people of Chinese decadency at the parade two years ago. It looked more like tourists lining the streets.

New Year in 2022 was a different story as the streets were lined with people ready and happy to celebrate the New Year. That bottled up enthusiasm was shown on the streets in the core of Chinatown by hundreds of people having a good time. The morning had started out with a nice crowd that grew as the afternoon wore on. It helped that it was 60 degrees and sunny outside. It was the last day of the ‘Spring Thaw’ and the weather really helped (Sunday would bring snowy weather and 38 degrees).

It also gave me a chance to not just tour the neighborhood to see of any changes in stores and restaurants but sample foods at many of them. I came in with an appetite! There were places that I wanted to revisit but find new ones to try along the way. I arrived at noon time and needed a snack before I started my day.

The Lion Dances outside businesses all over the core of Chinatown were in full swing when I got there with groups of people following the troupes around Mott, Bayard, Canal, Pell, Elizabeth and Mulberry Streets south of Canal Street. Some of the troupes did go north of Canal Street but most businesses are in the core of the neighborhood.

The Lion Dance helps bring good luck in the coming year

Things were just really getting started on Mott Street, the main corridor of Chinatown so I walked down the street to the Bowery to see what was going on. When I arrived at the Bowery, I headed north on the Bowery on the edge of the original Chinatown. This is where I found Bowery Inn Bakery at Bowery. This must be a new bakery because I could not find it on any map.

The Bowery Inn Bakery has a wonderful selection of hot and cold baked goods, and the best part was that they did not take the pastries from the case. They were hot from the warmers behind the case lines. I ordered a Roast Pork Bun ($1.75) and an Almond Bun ($1.50) to get me through the walking around the neighborhood. The staff is really nice there and seemed happy when I wished them a Happy New Year.

I walked all the streets in the neighborhood watching the various clubs wishing all the businesses a Happy New Year. Colorful lions bowed and shook and raised up and down wishing stores and restaurants as prosperous New Year in a city environment that desperately needed it. I have been to Chinatown many times since the holidays, and it has been very quiet down here since the beginning of 2020. All the festivities had been cancelled last year and it had been tough on these businesses. Now it looks like better times will be ahead of us.

Here is a little history of the Lion Dance from when I ran the Chinese New Year celebrations at the Asian Grille back in 2011:

The Lion Dance

The Lion Dance has a very interesting history in Chinese culture. The story is that a monk had a dream which there were many sorrows and evils plaguing the land. The monk prayed and asked the gods how he could prevent these evils from occurring. The gods told him that a lion would protect them and fight back the evils. The Chinese people having never seen a lion, but had heard stories that the lion was the king of all beasts. So the monk combined all the lucky or magical animals he could think of and so made the lion.

The Southern Lion dance is very symbolic. It is usually performed as a ceremony to scare away evil spirits and to summon luck and fortune. The Chinese southern lion exhibits as wide variety of color and has a distinctive head with large eyes (of an eagle), a mirror on the forehead (demons are supposedly scared of their own reflection) and a single horn at the center of the head (the horn of a unicorn mentioned earlier). Lion dance costumes are considered to be spiritually protective when used as they are traditionally blessed before usage.

The Southern Lion Dance was originated from Guangdong, the homeland of the Chinese southern style lion. The Chinese southern horned lions are believed to be Nians (which are a mythical beast). There are many different styles of dance as well as different styles of lion’s heads depending on the region that the group comes from (Wiki).

It was fun following these colorful beasts all along the streets and listen to the drumming of the groups who I am sure had been practicing. While all that was going on, people were letting off New Year’s poppers and the whole street was filled with streamers and confetti and glittering paper. It was so nice to see people having such a good time.

This video from YouTube really captures the festivities in 2022

I started to explore the back streets to see if there were any changes to the fringes of the neighborhood. I have to say that more galleries and stores are starting to open where old warehouses and restaurants used to be as you can see the hipsters moving over here from the East Village, Alphabet City and the Lower East Side. Little by little I am seeing the changes in the neighborhood.

When I walked over to Chrystie Street, and I stopped at Chi Dumpling House for some lunch and then to Tao Hong Bakery for dessert. This little stretch of Chrystie Street by Sara Delano Roosevelt Park has three of the best and most reasonable take-out restaurants in the neighborhood, the other being Wah Fung #1 Fast Food.

Wah Fung #1 Fast Food at 79 Chrystie Street has long lines

https://www.facebook.com/WahFungNo1/

The lines for Wah Fung #1 Fast Food at 79 Chrystie Street was about thirty deep when I arrived and is always busy. People are always lined up for their containers of roast pork and duck with white rice and cabbage. You can get a delicious lunch here for around $5.00. It has been on more food blogs than I can name, and I have been here several times for their excellent roast pork and rice (see my reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com).

The roast pork and roast duck at Wah Fung #1 Fast Food has them lining up everyday

I bypassed the lines at Wah Fung and went to Chi Dumpling House (sometimes called ‘C & L Dumpling House) at 77 Chrystie Street. I was in the mood for steamed dumplings and scallion pancakes.

Chi Dumpling House at 77 Chrystie Street still has the old sign

https://www.facebook.com/77dumplinghouse/

Even though I was not that hungry I always have room for more dumplings. Both the fried dumplings and steamed pork and chive dumplings ($4.00 now) are worth the wait. These large doughy delights are served with soy and hot oil sauces that bring out their flavor. The Scallion Pancakes are pan-fried to a crisp and are fun to dip into the sauces as well.

The steamed pork and chive dumplings here are excellent!

I took these little delights into the park and enjoyed them along with my scallion pancake while I was watching all these little kids climb over the jungle gym while yelling at one another. It was so nice to see all these families out and about on such a warm afternoon. By the time I finished my lunch, it must have hit 60 degrees and it was a perfectly blue sky.

For dessert, I went to Tao Hong Bakery at 79 Chrystie Street. They have the most reasonable baked goods and drinks and the best place to go when you have eaten at the other two restaurants.

Tao Hong Bakery at 79 Chrystie Street

I love coming here for their egg custards, raisin twists and their cream buns. When they have their lemon pastries, I try to get those too. This time I settled for a raisin twist ($1.25) because there was not much left. People really bought them out. These twists are loaded with butter and juicy raisins and are fun to pull apart.

The Raisin Buns here are the best

After I devoured my lunch, I needed a long walk to digest, and I walked down Chrystie Street and strolled through the park. The one bad thing about Sara Delano Park is that the bathrooms are really disgusting. They really need to clean them better.

I made my way back down Grand Street and walked to the Museum of Chinese in America at 215 Centre Street. The museum had finally reopened after almost two years and a very devastating fire in their storehouse in 2020. They almost lost their collection.

The Museum of Chinese in America at 215 Centre Street

https://www.facebook.com/mocanyc/

What I enjoy about this museum is the sheer history of the Chinese immigration to the United States and overt racism that has been felt by the culture since the beginning. I walked through the current exhibition “Responses: Asian American voices in the Tides of Racism” and it is heartbreaking to see what an entire society of Americans are enduring. This pandemic as one scholar noted has brought out the worst in people that has been bubbling up for a long time.

The permanent collection showed the strides though as a culture and the contributions of prominent Americans of Chinese decadency have made to the country. It was interesting to look at pictures over the years of the development of Chinatowns in cities all over the country and the progress in business and the arts that have been made.

The “Responses” exhibition

I took my time and read through the exhibitions, and it was an interesting timeline of history. It showed how generations of hard work and assimilation into the larger culture still holds dialogue. Nothing is clear cut in society. I ended up being there more almost two hours.

After I left the museum, I followed the music back to Mott Street and saw some of the more elaborate dances and saw several clubs competing with one another. There were large crowds all over Mott and Bayard Streets and since the heart of Chinatown was closed to traffic (finally people can walk around the restaurant district), there was plenty of room for people to enjoy the festivities and let off poppers in celebration of the performances.

By 6:00pm though most of the performances were slowing down and all the restaurants on Mott Street and the surrounding side streets were full of people sitting down to dinner. That was so nice to see at a time when so many of these restaurants were struggling over the last two years. It is good that they were packed the way they were pre-pandemic.

For dinner that evening I was not too hungry but when I was walking around following the lion dancers, I looked at the menu and the pictures of the dishes at Shanghai Heping Restaurant at 104 Mott Street on the other side of Canal Street from Chinatown in what had once been Little Italy. There was a picture by the front door of a Fried Duck dish and I had to go to try it.

Shanghai Heping Restaurant at 104 Mott Street

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Chinese-Restaurant/Shanghai-Heping-Restaurant-354325664598797/

The food lived up to the picture. The Fried Duck ($23.00) was excellent. The duck was boneless and marinated in soy and what tasted like Peking sauce and then the duck was breaded and pan-fried so that it was crisp on the outside and moist and succulent on the inside. The duck had such a rich taste to it from the flavor of the meat and so moist that it pulled apart.

Don’t miss the Fried Duck at Shanghai Heping Restaurant

Their Shanghai Fried Rice (Sum Gum Fried Rice) was excellent as well

The one thing I liked about Shanghai Heping Restaurant (see my review on TripAdvisor) was that they do not rush you. The restaurant started to fill up again after I got there and since the duck dish took some time to cook, I started to watch other patrons’ food come out and all the dishes looked so interesting and well-prepared, and people took their time to enjoy them. Since the restaurant was not on the other side of Mott Street, there were no hordes of crowds running around the street.

After dinner was over, I walked back into the heart of Chinatown to see the Sanitation Department cleaning the streets of all the confetti and streamers and popper packages. There must have been hundreds of them let off that afternoon to welcome in the New Year. It is so nice to see people back in Chinatown again. Maybe better days are ahead of us.

Gong Hay Fay Choy!

The colorful lanterns add a festive look to the neighborhood

My blogs on Chinese New Year in the past:

Day Two Hundred and Eighteen: Happy New Year 2022

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/21988

Day One Hundred and Three: Happy New Year 2018, 2020 and 2021:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/7280

Day Thirty-Eight: Happy New Year 2016:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/1152

Places to Visit:

Museum of Chinese in America

215 Centre Street

New York, NY 10013

(212) 619-4785

Open: Sunday 11:00am-6:00pm/Monday-Wednesday Closed/Thursday 11:00am-9:00pm/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d136145-Reviews-Museum_of_Chinese_in_America-New_York_City_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1258

Places to Eat:

Bowery Inn Bakery

(No information at this time)

Chi Dumpling House

77 Chrystie Street

New York, NY 10002

(212) 219-8850

https://www.facebook.com/77dumplinghouse/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 10:00am-10:00pm/Friday 10:00am-9:00pm/Saturday 10:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4277315-Reviews-C_L_Dumpling_House-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/727

Wang Fung #1 Fast Food

79 Chrystie Street

New York, NY 10002

(212) 925-5175

https://www.facebook.com/WahFungNo1/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4355773-Reviews-Wah_Fung_Fast_Food-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/745

Tao Hong Bakery

79 Chrystie Street

New York, NY 10002

(212) 219-0981

Open: Sunday-Saturday 8:00am-6:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d15083570-Reviews-Tao_Hung_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/750

Shanghai Heping Restaurant

104 Mott Street

New York, NY 10013

(212) 925-1118

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Chinese-Restaurant/Shanghai-Heping-Restaurant-354325664598797/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:30am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4168501-Reviews-Shanghai_Heping_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Ginseng Museum Cafe by CheongKwanJang 315 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10016

Don’t miss this unique museum/cafe.

The Ginseng Museum Cafe by CheongKwanJang is located in the heart of Koreatown in Manhattan. It is an interesting look at the processing of ginseng tea.

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

Ginseng Museum Cafe by CheongKwanJang

315 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10016

(212) 685-1003

https://kgcus.com/

Open Sunday 12:00pm-6:00pm/Monday-Saturday 11:00am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d6809267-Reviews-Korean_Ginseng_Corp-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The Ginseng Museum Cafe by CheongKwanJang is a combination small museum of the development of the ginseng root for tea and its history, part cafe for tea and part store. This small store front is packed with information on the history and processing of ginseng.

The Ginseng Museum Cafe at 315 Fifth Avenue

To the right of the store, is the video history of the company and how they process and produce their product which is very interesting. The conditions that the ginseng is processed under may have advanced over the years but not by much. There is still a lot of care that is used to make the tea. There is also a display on the extractions.

The museum section of the store describes the…

View original post 153 more words

The National Museum of Mathematics 11 East 26th Street New York, NY 10010

Don’t miss this unique museum that caters to young children and their families.

Don’t miss a fun learning experience at the MoMath.

Playing on the “Math Board” is great for young kids.

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

The National Museum of Mathematics

11 East 26th Street

New York, NY 10010

(212) 542-0566

https://www.facebook.com/MoMath1/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm

Fee: Adults $25.00/Seniors-Children-Students $20.00

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d3726207-Reviews-National_Museum_of_Mathematics-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

COVID had closed this unique little family orientated museum when I visited the NoMAD neighborhood earlier last year and it finally reopened for business right before the holidays. I could see the reasons why in that the museum is very interactive and there are a lot of activities and displays that warrant families touching objects and getting involved with the exhibitions.

Like most museums in Manhattan, the MoMATH or the Museum of Mathematics is quite pricey at $25.00 ($26.00) for an adult and for students, children over 12 and seniors over 60 it is $20.00. While it may be lot for an average family, a trip there is an eye-opening experience at least to me it was that day.

The museum…

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Munch Rights Snacks by Wyandot Inc.

I have to share this new snack I found on the grocery shelf. These puffs are amazing! I love munching on these for my walks.

The Cheddar and Sour Cream puffs are the best!

Don’t miss these treats when shopping for the home. They are gluten free and Kosher for those of you who have dietary restrictions. They also taste so good!

Add this to your Grocery List!

Munch Rights Snacks by Wyandot Inc.

135 Wyandot Avenue

Marion, OH 43302

(740) 383-4031

https://www.facebook.com/WyandotSnacks/

https://www.munchrights.com/

I recently came across Munch Rights snacks on a recent trip to Dollar Tree and have enjoyed the quality and taste of the three flavors that I have tried. Going from bag to bag I wanted to try them more.

First what I like about the Munch Rights snacks is that they have 0 trans fats, very low in saturated fats and low in calories. For people with special dietary concerns, the snacks are gluten free (due to their corn meal base) and Kosher. These guilty pleasures are a welcome to someone who absolutely loves Fried Extra Cheddar Cheetos. The problem I have like most snackers is that once I open the bag, I have to eat the whole thing because they are so addictive. Munch Rights takes that guilt away.

My favorite flavor…

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Mrs. Freshley’s Snackcakes by Flowers Foods Specialty Group LLC

Please check out my new blog, “Add This To Your Grocery List” and then add it to your cart.

I carry Mrs. Freshley’s snack cakes when I walk around Manhattan for MywalkinManhattan.

Mrs. Freshley’s Dreamies snack cakes.

Don’t underestimate the quality and taste of Mrs. Freshley’s products. I pack them for my journeys around Manhattan for my walking project. It brings back that taste of childhood during recess, for a bag lunch dessert or coming home after school. Even as an adult, I love snack cakes.

Add this to your Grocery List!

Mrs. Freshley’s Swiss Rolls/Snack cakes

Flowers Foods Specialty Group LLC.

5087 South Royal Atlanta Drive

Tucker, GA 30084

(770) 723-0173

https://www.flowersfoods.com/

When I roam the aisles of the Dollar Tree, I am always looking for snack foods to bring to work with me to save on the ever rising prices at the vending machines. A snack cake can cost now $1.50 for one piece. When you have a craving for something sweet, you need to bring it from home.

This is when recently, I came across Mrs. Freshley’s Swiss Rolls on the shelve. A box of eight twin packs is a $1.00 instead of the Hostess brands that will run between $3.50 to $4.00 a box. The quality and taste are very similar.

I have only had the Swiss Rolls, which is a thinly rolled chocolate sponge cake with a sweet creamy filling. These light desserts are then dipped in…

View original post 279 more words

Turtle Back Zoo 500 Northfield Avenue West Orange, NJ 07052

Exploring zoos in the wintertime gives a perspective on climate changes on animals and how they have to adapt. It was a fun visit for Groundhogs Day.

Don’t miss visiting Miss “Edwina of Essex” next year at the Groundhog’s Day festivities. She will be the star of the show.

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

Turtle Back Zoo

500 Northfield Avenue

West Orange, NJ 07052

(973) 731-5800

https://www.facebook.com/TurtleBackZoo/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_Back_Zoo

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-3:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60796-d1448643-Reviews-Turtle_Back_Zoo-West_Orange_New_Jersey.html

I have been coming to the Turtle Back Zoo since I was in elementary school when we used to come here on field trips. I remember as a child having lunch on the lawn with my class and feeding the animals. That was back in the 1970’s with the old zoo set up. I had read that the zoo was falling apart by 1995 and they were ready to close it down. Like anything else, these zoos and parks need an update every few years to keep them relevant.

In 2000, as master plan was started in what direction the zoo wanted to go and in the next twenty years, I have seen the results of that hard work. You have many nicer displays, some still being too…

View original post 1,391 more words

Day Two Hundred and Sixteen: Meeting ‘Edwina from Essex’ at the Turtleback Zoo-Happy Groundhog’s Day February 2nd, 2022

Happy Groundhog’s Day!

I know that this is not the traditional American holiday but somehow, I really enjoy Groundhog’s Day. It is a lot of fun to visit the zoos and if you ever can go out to Punxsutawney, PA to see the original festival try to do it. I went to Punxsutawney in 2016 and it really is an experience. It is one of those things you should do once in your life. I have been wanting to go back ever since but one thing after another has kept me from going. From the weather to my work schedule, it is tough to take the eight-and-a-half-hour hike down Route 80 but one day I will do it again.

COVID cancelled everything last year but since this is an outdoor event, it was nice to be celebrating the day being able to breathe again. I also wanted to do something different this year after going to the Staten Island Zoo for two years (2019 and 2020-see my write up on this blog). I had read about other Groundhog’s Day festivals and in 2019 I had heard about ‘Essex Ed’ at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ. The festival at the zoo had been cancelled last year because of the pandemic and when I looked at their website this year and nothing was mentioned. When I called, the woman on the phone said there would be a ceremony at the zoo at 10:00am so I prepared to go to the zoo the next day.

I had planned for what I thought would be an hour trip with traffic going through Newark, NJ and then the turn to Route 280 West. I walked out the door at 8:15am and ended up at the zoo at 9:00am. There was just a bit of traffic when I got into Downtown Newark and it was smooth driving when I got to Exit 10 and then no traffic into West Orange, NJ. This is where Turtle Back Zoo is located.

The Turtle Back Zoo at 560 Northfield Avenue

https://www.facebook.com/TurtleBackZoo/

Read my review on VisitingaMuseum.com on the Turtle Back Zoo:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/6489

What surprised me when I got to the zoo was there was no one waiting to get in, no massive number of cars in the parking lot and when I got to the gate at 9:15am, there was no one there. One of the park employees said that they would be opening the gate at 9:45am and then they would start the program at 10:00am.

Since I had almost 45 minutes before the gates would even open, I decided to take a walk around the reservoir that is part of the South Mountain Reservation Park. It was about a mile around the frozen watershed, and I walked about half before I headed back to buy my ticket. What a cool crisp morning. The sun started to peek out as I walked back to the zoo and the woods looked so beautiful with the snow on the ground and trees.

I got into the zoo at 9:45am and headed to the antitheater and there was a small handful of people. It ended up the only people at the ceremony were the volunteer docents, the staff of the zoo, the local politicians and the press. There were maybe six of us who had come for the event. I remembered that there was nothing on the zoo’s website two days before so how would the public know this would be taking place?

Unlike the pageantry of Punxsutawney with bands and comedians and even the children’s choir like at the Staten Island Zoo, the whole ceremony took ten minutes. The county parks commission said a few words, then the County Executive said a few words and then the zoo events commissioner spoke.

Then they introduced “Edwina from Essex”, who had replaced “Essex Ed” this year upon his retirement. I was not sure if the other groundhog was just too old or something else, but the new groundhog came out and was so cute and innocent. She just walked around the small platform and then looked at all of us. The parks commission read a poem from the groundhog. Then it was announced that she predicted an early spring! Everyone applauded and then that was it. Everyone dispersed.

Edwina of Essex at the Turtle Back Zoo made her appearance today

I was a little surprised that there was not more to the ceremony but later I talked with one of the staff members of the zoo and she told me that there are never that many people who come to this ceremony. I told her that more people would come if they made a bigger deal out of it. There was nothing on the website or on the events calendar leading the to the event and that I had to call in. She just smiled.

I had not been to the zoo in about five years, and I just walked around for the next hour watching the animals. I started at the Reptile House and looked at all the lizards and snakes since they were in season right now. The staff was available to us if there were any questions. It was nicely set up and I have to say that those snakes and lizards really do look you over.

The Turtle Back Zoo is a nice walk in the winter

I made my way past the closed carousel and the restaurant, The Savanna Cafe and looked over the bison display. That was very interesting as it was feeding time for them, so they paid no attention to us. I then went to the flamingo pond and what elegant birds. They were talking to one another like we were not there watching them. They just walked around and talked amongst themselves.

The pink flamingos stood guard that afternoon

The wolves were not out, and the poor cougars looked so cold and bored. They just walked around in the snow. In the Petting Zoo, I watched the chickens and the goats. I have never had animals look me over the way the rams did. They just stared at me like I was an alien from Outerspace.

The otters and seals were outside and were going through their feeding when I walked by, and they seemed very active. They just watched us as they were eating and then swam in the pools but again, I could see how cold they were outside, and they made their way into their burros.

I walked to the Penguin House and that was a lot of fun. They were also going through their feeding and when they were done, they just dove around the small group of us and looking us over with curiosity. They also looked bored and were so happy to have someone to interact with that afternoon. They just swam right up to me and stared at me through the water. I felt like they were trying to tell me something with the way they were splashing around.

My last stop in the zoo was the Sea Turtle Recovery building. It was so nice to see the outreach that the zoo makes to help these animals get better before they are released back into the wild. We have been affecting their habitat so much with over-fishing that they are getting tangled in nets and hit by boats.

The whole tour of the zoo took about an hour and it was a nice walk. The sun had come out by this point and the skies started to clear. After I finished at the zoo, I decided to take a full walk around the reservoir and took a left and walked all around it. What a nice day for a stroll.

I started getting hungry and did not know what was around the zoo. I had not noticed the pizzeria or the McDonalds across the street from the zoo when I entered. With the restaurant being closed in the zoo, I stopped at McLoone’s Boathouse at 9 Cherry Lane on the other side of the reservoir from the zoo. It looked closed to me from the walk, but I heard music and decided to investigate. What a nice lunch!

McLoone’s Boathouse is right on the reservoir path located in the park and the bar area has the nicest views of the park. The inside of the restaurant was rustic with a main dining room with a roaring fire going in the fireplace. The large bar area had high-tops where you had views of the reservoir.

McLoone’s Boathouse at 9 Cherry Street

https://www.mcloonesboathouse.com/

My server, Nikki, could not have been nicer. We had such a wonderful conversation, and she was so on top of things. She made some good recommendations for lunch, and I had a Grilled Cheddar Cheese with Short Ribs and a Coke. The sandwich really hit the spot on a cool afternoon. You could taste the red wine that the short ribs had marinated in. It accented the sharp cheese so well and the crisp buttery bread. The side salad was a nice substitute for French fries.

The Grilled Cheese with Short Ribs at McLoone’s Boathouse is excellent!

While I was eating it was a pleasure to watch the people walk by having a nice stroll in the park. I can tell between COVID and the snow, people needed to get out of the house. Smiling faces were the thing that I saw as people passed by.

After I finished lunch, it was home for me. Even though it was a smaller ceremony, it was nice to see the groundhog again. Maybe ‘Edwina from Essex’ will be right, and it will be an early spring. The next six weeks will tell.

Happy Groundhog’s Day!

My other Groundhog’s Day blogs:

Day Thirty-Seven: Happy Groundhog’s Day from Punxsutawney, PA

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/994

Day Forty: Lodi Larry comes to the Lodi Memorial Library for the First Day of Spring

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/1369

Day One Hundred and Thirty-Seven: Meeting Staten Island Chuck at the Staten Island Zoo

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/8121

Places to Visit:

The Turtle Back Zoo

560 Northfield Avenue

West Orange, NJ 07052

(973) 731-5800

https://www.facebook.com/TurtleBackZoo/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_Back_Zoo

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-3:00pm (in season)

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60796-d1448643-Reviews-Turtle_Back_Zoo-West_Orange_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/6489

Places to Eat:

McLoone’s Boathouse

9 Cherry Lane

West Orange, NJ 07052

(862) 252-7108

https://www.mcloonesboathouse.com/

Open: Sunday 10:30am-9:00pm/Monday-Thursday 11:00am-10:00pm/Friday and Saturday 11:00am-11:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60796-d2432829-Reviews-McLoone_s_Boathouse-West_Orange_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Day Two Hundred and Fifteen: The Creation of the blog site, “Add This To Your Grocery List” on WordPress.com

Having been to many food shows over the last few years, I have come across so many new food items that are not seen in the larger supermarkets. You see those niche products that end up either at fancy gourmet stores, specialty grocery stores or you might see at select Whole Foods. Packaging and pricing will depend on what grocery shelves they end up on.

It is nice to see so many vendors that are American made and some made locally in the Tri-State area. Some are priced for the high end, but others are reasonable and will hopefully be found in many outlets.

This site was actually inspired from a trip to my local Dollar Tree. People really underestimate this store. Our local branch in Lodi, NJ is an amazing store. Not only does it have ample parking, always clean, well merchandised and well stocked but has the most diverse selection of smaller food vendors and American made products in their frozen food and grocery sections.

Imperial Garden Egg Rolls

The Dollar Tree buys from vendors that sell in smaller qualities or package their products differently so that it caters to single customer. You won’t find the big box items or a lot of the name brand products here unless they are packaged dissimilarly with smaller portion sizes.

These smaller manufacturers produce a quality item that competes on a lesser scale with the bigger names and since their production levels are smaller, their retail base is not as extensive as the name brands like Coke or Kellogg’s.

Having found products like Mrs. Freshley’s Snack Cakes and Imperial Garden Egg Rolls, I have enjoyed the taste of new companies making their way into the large grocery industry. I will share with you all the grocery items that you will want to add to your grocery list in the future.

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Mrs. Freshley’s Snack Cakes

I will also feature all American made brands to support our manufacturing base in this country. This way we know not only are we supporting products made here in the United States but connecting with local channels of distribution that need support.

So welcome to “Add this to your Grocery List”!