Category Archives: Cheap Spanish Restaurant for Budget Minded

Day One Hundred and Thirty-Nine: Walking the entire length of Broadway from 242nd Street Van Cortlandt Park to the Bowling Green Park on the West side of the road June 14th and on the East side of the road, July 2nd, a third time August 10th, 2019 and a forth time July 31st, 2020

Please check out my updates in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and see how Manhattan keeps on changing.

Bowling Green Park

You will end the walk at Bowling Green Park! It’s a treat!

mywalkinmanhattan

When I finally finished walking Sutton and Beekman Places, I finally decided to take the long walk down Broadway that I had planned for two years. As you can see by the blog, I like to take one neighborhood or section of the City at a time and concentrate on getting to know it. What is the history of the neighborhood? What is there now? Who are the shop keepers and the restaurant owners? What is the neighborhood association doing to improve the area? I like to become part of the neighborhood when I walk around it.

But recently I have noticed people on the Internet have been posting that they walked the entire length of Broadway and bragged about it like they were ‘performing brain surgery’. So I put aside my next walk and decided to see what the fuss was about walking up and down Broadway. I am…

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5 Star Estrella Bakery Corporation 3861 Broadway New York, NY 10032

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful reasonable restaurants in New York City. Don’t miss the delicious baked goods and empanadas at this bakery! It’s worth the trip uptown.

5 star estrella bakery

The selection of baked goods at 5 Star Estrella Bakery is extensive.

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

5 Star Estrella Bakery Corporation

3861 Broadway

New York, NY  10032

(212) 795-5000

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4416394-Reviews-5_Estrella_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

I have been to 5 Star Estrella Bakery Corporation about ten times since my project, “MywalkinManhattan” has taken me to this part of the city. Washington Heights has all sorts of bodega’s and deli’s on every corner of the neighborhood but this one stands out. Everything here is very reasonable and delicious (See my reviews on TripAdvisor).

I have to admit that the baked goods can be a little hard later in the afternoon but the taste is still wonderful. I have had their vanilla and chocolate doughnuts and they are big, puffy rings with a thick layer of icing ($1.25). In the early morning, they have a soft pillowy consistency and in the afternoon, they can be a little harder but still good.

They have wonderful Pastellitos (similar to empanadas) filled…

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Dining on a Budget

Dining on a Shoe String in New York City and Beyond: Finding reasonable meals and snacks for around $10.00 and under

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring all the small individually owned restaurants on my blog, DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com. These reasonable places won’t ‘break the bank’ when visiting New York City.

Barcelona's IV

Barcelona’s in Garfield, NJ.

G' Coffee Shop

G’s Coffee Shop in Inwood, NY

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

Hello everyone!

My name is Justin Watrel and I created ‘Dining on a Shoe String in New York City’ (DiningonShoeStringinNYC.wordpress.com) as an extension to the blogs: ‘MywalkinManhattan’ (MywalkinManhattan.com) along with ‘VisitingaMuseum’ (VisitingaMuseum.com) and “LittleShoponMainStreet” (“LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com), in search of a delicious meal for $10.00 and under. It is difficult in an area as expensive as Metropolitan New York but many restaurant owners are paving the way with small, innovative menus at a fair price.

Lung Moon Bakery II

Lung Moon Bakery in Chinatown, NY

I created this blog when I discovered all these wonderful small restaurants, bodegas and bakeries that were fantastic both in that the quality of their food and the prices that they cost. I also looked at atmosphere and cleanliness of the establishment. Most cost under $10.00 (USA) for their main food items and provide small places to sit down and eat.

With everyone on a budget, I thought this would cater nicely to…

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Author Justin Watral

Day Ninety One: New Blog Sites: VisitingaMuseum.com and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@WordPress.com by Blogger Justin Watrel.

To all of my readers and fellow bloggers following my blog, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’. I created two more blog sites to accompany the main site.

I created ‘VisitingaMuseum.com’ and ‘DiningonaShoeStringinNYC.Wordpress.com’ to take what I have discovered on the walk around the city and put it into more detail.

I created ‘VisitingaMuseum.com’ to feature all the small and medium museums, pocket parks, community gardens and historical sites that I have found along the way in my walking the streets of the island and in the outlining areas of Manhattan. There are loads of sites you can easily miss either by not visiting the neighborhoods by foot or not consulting a guidebook. Most of the these places are not visited by most residents of the City and should not be missed.

I never realized how many small museums exist in New York City, let alone the outer boroughs and in New Jersey. I have discovered so many wonderful and interesting artifacts in these museums that not only have so much historical value but they also deal with local history.

Gallery Bergen II.jpg

Gallery Bergen at Bergen Community College

There are so many pocket parks, community gardens and historical sites that you would miss if you did not walk the neighborhoods. What has also been fascinating about it is the people you meet along the way that volunteer in these facilities. There is so much pride to be had by these local residents dedicating their time to make these places successful.

‘DiningonaShoeStringinNYC.Wordpress.com’ is my latest site:

https://diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/

I am featuring and promoting wonderful local restaurants that I have found along the way when doing the walk as well as places I have recently visited outside the city for $10.00 and below. I am not just featuring them for their price but for the quality of the food, the selection and the portion size.

Dumplings II.jpg

Delicious Dumplings at ‘Dumplings’ on Henry Street

These little ‘hole in the wall’ dining establishments offer a good meal at a fair price as well as supporting the local economy. I have a very limited budget for meals and thought this blog site would help all of you economize when touring New York City and the outlying regions. I cross reference my reviews on TripAdvisor.com.

For anyone thinking of doing a similar project like ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’, I want to let you know how expensive it is to do. I have to pay not just for bus tickets, subway passes, meals, donations to museums and historical sites but the general wear and tear on my clothes. I am on my third pair of sneakers due to this walk. This is why you need to set a budget for it:

https://mywalkinmanhattan.com/

Beekman Place.jpg

Beekman Place

So I hope you enjoy ‘VisitingaMuseum.com’ and ‘DiningonaShoeStringinNYC.Wordpress.com when coming to Manhattan. Please check all of this places out online for a change of hours and exhibits and menus.

Check out the newest site, “LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com” for small boutiques and specialty shops that are unique and quirky.

Cute Downtown.jpg

Little Shop on Main Street:

https://littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/

Please check out my fire fighting blog sites, ‘The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association’, ‘tbcfma.Wordpress.com’, where I am blogging about the activities of the association that I am volunteering for at the home on a quarterly basis and the support that the organization gives to The New Jersey Firemen’s Home in Boonton, New Jersey. Firemen for all over Bergen County, where I live, volunteer their time up at the nursing home with activities to engage and cheer up our fellow fire fighters.

New Jersey Firemen's Home Museum

The New Jersey Firemen’s Home in Boonton, NJ

https://tbcfha.wordpress.com/

The second site about fire fighting I blog about is ‘The Brothers of Engine One Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department”, ‘EngineOneHasbrouckHeightsFireDepartmentNJ.Wordpress.com’, where I blog about the activities of  Engine Company One, in which I am a member, as part of the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department. We do a lot of volunteer work for the department and many of our members are very active and hold a lot of positions on the department.

Brother's of Engine One with their bell

The Brothers of Engine One HHFD (site now closed-Blogs moved to section of MywalkinManhattan.com called “My life as a Fireman”):

https://engineonehasbrouckheightsfiredepartmentnj.wordpress.com/tag/engine-one-hhfd/

The most frequented of my blogs is “BergenCountyCaregiver.com’, a caregivers blog site to help adult caregivers take care of their loved ones. This helps caregivers navigate a very broken system and put all sorts of programs that might help them all in one place to read and chose what might help them. This deals with county, state and federal programs that most social workers miss because there are so many of them that don’t get a lot of attention. It is by far the most popular site.

BCFHA Barbecue 2019 V

The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association

I wanted to share these with my readers and thank you for following my main blog, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’. Please also share this with your friends who are visiting New York City to really tour the city by foot and see it for its own beauty and uniqueness.

Happy Reading!

My Blogs:

MywalkinManhattan.com

https://mywalkinmanhattan.com/

BergenCountyCaregiver.com

https://wwwbergencountycaregiver.com/

VisitingaMuseum.com

https://visitingamuseum.com/

DiningonaShoeStringinNYC.Wordpress.com

https://diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/

TheBrothersofEngineOneHasbrouckHeightsFireDepartment@Wordpress.com

https://engineonehasbrouckheightsfiredepartmentnj.wordpress.com/

TBCFMA@Wordpress.com

https://tbcfha.wordpress.com/

Also visit my past blog on Patch.com: The Merchant Series

https://patch.com/users/justin-watrel

https://patch.com/new-jersey/hasbrouckheights/friends-merchant-series-young-fashions

https://patch.com/new-jersey/hasbrouckheights/friends-merchant-series-young-fashions

I did this for the Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library from 2009-2014.

Carl Schurz Park

Day Eighty-Eight: Walking the Border of Yorkville/Carnegie Hill: East 96th Street to East 84th Street and from Central Park West to FDR Drive August 25th, 2017

I finally got out of Harlem and into the Upper East Side. This area is the border neighborhood between East Harlem and the Upper East Side (or as people used to say before gentrification of the Island of Manhattan, the Upper Upper East Side). Most people consider anything below 98th Street on the East Side of Manhattan and East of Central Park as the Upper East Side. However you call it, you are now out of Harlem.

The mood of the area is even different. It was like when I was crossing 155th Street from Washington Heights to Harlem months before. The mood of the area and its residents starts to change. It becomes the Woody Allen Upper East Side. Again just like Manhattan Valley on the West Side, there is still a very 70’s and 80’s feel to the neighborhood. Its got a more a middle class vibe to it and watching the kids at play you can still see that independent streak in them.

There are none of the expensive restaurants and boutiques that you see below 80th Street. The feel of the businesses is more local. Even the Isaacs Housing complex looks more upscale then the projects a few blocks up and their residents have their own security watch (the guy asked me what I was doing there and no one ever asked me anything when I walked through the projects before).

Isaacs Houses

The Isaacs Houses

The walk along FDR Drive esplanade has some view.  The shore line of Queens is really changing. There is a lot of development around the East River and what a beautiful view of the river and the rising skyline in the background. The esplanade stops around 90th Street for renovation and then continues once you pass Gracie Mansion.

Carl Schurz Park (See review on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com), where Gracie Mansion is located is a nice place to just relax and watch the boats pass by. You get the nicest views of Ward-Randall Island and of Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island (I never knew there was a lighthouse over here). The developers are creating a new ‘Gold Coast’ along the Queens-Brooklyn riverfront.

Carl Schurz Park IV

Carl Schurz Park in the Spring

Carl Schurz

Carl Schurz, a statesman during the Civil War

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Carl-Schurz

It was nice to just relax and watch the water. The kids are in full force at this park like many parks around the city and it looks like they are trying to enjoy their last days of freedom before the school years starts in two weeks. Kids were playing basketball, Frisbee, roller skating and just chasing one another. It was nice to see kids not using cellphones.

The homes along this part of Manhattan were a combination of brownstones and prewar apartments but all along the Avenues, you are seeing more and more new construction. All sorts of new apartment and office buildings are being built along First, Second and Third Avenues. The businesses are more local than chains,  giving you a peak at time before the late 90’s exploded with the chain stores all over Manhattan. It is funny that I remember a time everyone in the city complained that the chains would not even come to the city now in 2017 they complain that they are taking over the city.

The border of Yorkville, 84th Street, is lined with many brownstone type buildings and private homes along with a series of small restaurants and shops worth exploring. Many are businesses that have been open for years such as Dorrian’s Red Hand Restaurant at 1616 Second Avenue since 1960. It harks back to when the Upper East Side was the land of preppies.

Dorrian's Red Hand

Dorrian’s Red Hand Restaurant at 1616 Second Avenue

When you reach Fifth Avenue, the area between 84th Street and 96th Street is lined with museums giving name to ‘Museum Row’ starting with the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the corner of 84th Street passing the Jewish Museum, Guggenheim Museum, The Ukraine Institute of America and the Neue Museum, which will be fun to explore. Many of the smaller museums of the city line this area as well so I passed names I had never heard of before considering my many trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (I discuss all these museums in later blogs and in VisitingaMuseum.com).

Museum Mile.jpg

The ‘Museum Mile’ Museums in Yorkville/Upper East Side

Cooper Hewitt Museum

The Cooper-Hewitt Museum at 2 East 91st Street

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum at 1109 Fifth Avenue

Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum at 1071 Fifth Avenue

Neue Gallery

The Neue Gallery of Art at 1048 Fifth Avenue

Ukranian Institute of America

The Ukraine Institute of America at 2 East 79th Street

At 91st and 5th Avenue along the wall of Central Park is a memorial to W.T. Stead, a journalist who died in the Titanic. He was a English journalist best known for being an investigative journalist, better known as a gossip columnist. The funny part of his going down in the Titanic is that he had written that he might die in a drowning and wrote two fictional articles before the tragedy about ships colliding at sea and another about a ship that sinks without enough life boats to save everyone. Maybe he just saw his fate. He was into spiritualism, which was fashionable at the time and maybe someone hinted to him.

W.T. Stead.jpg

W.T. Stead Memorial

https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Thomas-Stead

Mr. Stead’s memorial is one of many that line Central Park that most people don’t even notice.  The park is loaded with statues and memorials that most New Yorkers just pass by without a moments notice. It makes one wonder why they would put this here.

There are glorious views of the reservoir at 90th Street and 5th Avenue that you should not miss. Just walking in the park to see the gardens is worth the trip inside Central Park. Most of the gardens are still in bloom and the park is loaded with tourists milling around the waterfront. The views of the reservoir are breathtaking and it is hard to believe this is right off Fifth Avenue.

Central Park Resevoir.jpg

Central Park Reservoir

Walking up 5th Avenue along the park at 96th and 5th Avenue, there is a statue of Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen in a small enclosure on the edge of the park before you enter it. This bronze, life-sized sculpture is a self-portrait of the esteemed Danish sculptor and was dedicated in Central Park in 1894. It is the only statue of an artist displayed in the parks of New York City and honors a titan in his field who had broad influence in sustaining the classical tradition in art (NYC Parks Department-Central Park).

Albert Bertel

Albert Bertel Thorvaldesen statue

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/central-park/monuments/1543

https://biography.yourdictionary.com/bertel-thorvaldsen

As I was walking across 96th Street to finish the upper part of the neighborhood, I had a sudden craving for a sandwich and walked up to Moe’s Grocery Inc. at 1968 3rd Avenue, which I had eaten in before (See review on TripAdvisor & my blog, ‘DiningonaShoeStringinNYC’). They have the best special, a chopped cheese on a hoagie roll and a Coke for $3.00. Ever on the budget, their chopped cheese rivals Haiji’s (Blue Sky Deli) up on 110th Street.

Moe's Grocery Inc.

Moe’s Grocery in East Harlem, the best lunch specials

I thought I had asked for lettuce and tomato on the sandwich so add another $1.50 to it but when I sat down to eat it at the park at 96th Street, they were not on it. I was a little pissed at paying for something I did not get but the sandwich was so good, I did not mind. It is worth the walk up a few extra blocks to 108th Street for the sandwich. You will also see the distinction of the neighborhoods just by crossing 98th Street (See the previous walk in East Harlem). The sandwich is so loaded with beef and gooey cheese that it makes the nicest meal during this long walk and nothing is better than a Coke on a hot day.

I ended this part of the walk by rounding East End Avenue and relaxing at Carl Schurz Park, which is a true delight. What a beautifully landscaped park with paths of picturesque gardens and statues and active playgrounds with screaming children. The nice part is the bathrooms here are decent and you have a working water fountain, with lots of cold water. It was fun to explore the paths going up and down the landscaped paths.

Carl Schurz Park III

Carl Schulz Park

Security is heavy at the northern part of the park where Gracie Mansion is located, the Mayor’s residence. There are NYPD cars all over the place so try not to dwell too long in this area not to get the attention of the police officers. You can’t even see the mansion any more because of the fencing around the house. This was the former summer residence of Archibald Gracie, a well-known Scottish born, American merchant, who was partners with Alexander Hamilton.

Gracie mansion

Gracie Mansion

He built the house in 1798 as a summer home and entertained the elite at that time in Manhattan, including John Quincy Adams. Gracie’s daughter Eliza Gracie-King was one of the great social leaders at the time until Mrs. Astor took the throne during the ‘Gilded Age’. The house was sold in 1823 to pay off debts owed by Mr. Gracie and it was bought by New York City in 1896 due to back taxes by the then owners. It has been used as a concession stand for the park as well as the first home of the Museum of the City of New York. In 1942, the house was renovated and became the residence of Florio LaGuardia, the Mayor of New York and thus became the residence of future New York City mayors NYC Parks Department).

Archiebald Gracie

Archibald Gracie

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

I had taken a tour of the mansion years earlier with the Cornell and Harvard Clubs when we had a historical tea at the house. Mayor Bloomberg did not live in the house at the time so it was used primarily for entertaining. We had a wonderful afternoon tea at the at the house and then a formal tour of the public rooms and gardens. It has the most amazing views of ‘Hell Gate’, a bend in the river along the esplanade, that has some of the roughest waters in the East River. The house does get a nice breeze.

After a long rest on the benches outside the park, I walked over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to spend the rest of the evening. The Met, as its called, is open until 9:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays, so you get to listen to the music in ‘The Balcony’ restaurant or just tour the galleries.

Metropolitan Museum of Art II

The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue

It gave me a chance to see the Greek Galleries again and walk around the Central American exhibitions. It is so nice to walk in the galleries when it is not busy. It was a nice way to end the evening.

Greek Galleries.jpg

The Greek Galleries at the Met

There is a lot to see and do in Yorkville/Upper East Side

Places to Visit:

Gracie Mansion

East 88th and East End Avenue

New York, NY  10028

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/gracie/about/about.page

(212) 570-4773

Open: Mondays only: 10:00am, 11:00am and 5:00pm for tours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d136688-Reviews-Gracie_Mansion-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2182

Carl Schulz Park

East 84th to East 90th Avenues & East End Avenue

New York, NY  10028

https://www.carlschurzparknyc.org/

Open: 6:00am-12:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d312015-Reviews-Carl_Schurz_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2714

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10028

1-800-622-3397

https://www.metmuseum.org/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 10:00am-5:30pm/Friday & Saturday 10:00am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d105125-Reviews-The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Central Park Reservoir

86th- 96th Streets in Central Park

Open: When the park is open

http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/reservoir.html

Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

2 East 91st Street

New York, NY  10128

(212) 849-8400

Home

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm

Fee: Adults $18.00/People with Disabilities & Seniors $10.00/Children Under 18 Free/Students $9.00. Check the prices online as they change.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d106188-Reviews-Cooper_Hewitt_Smithsonian_Design_Museum-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3246

Jewish Museum

1109 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY   10128

(212) 423-3200

https://thejewishmuseum.org/

Open: Monday-Tuesday 11:00am-5:45pm/Wednesday Closed/Thursday 11:00am-8:00pm/Saturday & Sunday 10:00am-5:45pm

Fee: Adults $18.00/Seniors (over 65) $12.00/Students $8.00/Children under 18 Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d106187-Reviews-The_Jewish_Museum-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3252

The Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY  10128

(212) 423-3500

The Guggenheim Museums and Foundation

Open: Sunday-Monday 10:00am-5:30pm/Tuesday 10:00am-8:00pm/Wednesday-Friday 10:00am-5:30pm/Saturday 10:00am-5:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d108687-Reviews-Solomon_R_Guggenheim_Museum-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Neue Galerie New York

1048 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY  10028

(212) 628-6200

neuegalerie.org

@neugalerieny

Open: Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm/Monday 11:00am-6:00pm/ Tuesday and Wednesday Closed/Thursday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm

Café and Shops have various hours. Please check the website for these.

Fee: General $22.00/Seniors (65 and Older) $16.00/Students and Educators $12.00/Children under 12 are not admitted and Children under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. The museum is open on First Fridays from 6:00pm-9:00pm. Please visit the website for more information.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d258699-Reviews-Neue_Galerie-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3063

Ukrainian Institute of America

2 East 79th Street

New York, NY  10021

(212) 288-8660

Welcome to the UIA

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-6:00pm/Monday Closed/ Tuesday-Saturday 12:00pm-6:00pm

Fee: Adults $8.00/ Seniors $6.00/ Students with current ID $4.00/Children under 12 Free/ Members Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d5953575-Reviews-Ukrainian_Institute_of_America-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3048

Places to Eat:

Moe’s Grocery

1968 Third Avenue

New York, NY   10029

(212) 289-0999

Open: 12:00pm-11:59pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d12845802-Reviews-Moe_s_Grocery_Inc-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/324

Dorrian’s Red Hat

1616 Second Avenue

New York, NY  10028

(212) 772-6660

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-3:45am

https://www.dorrians-nyc.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d5021112-Reviews-Dorrians_Red_Hand_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Budd Lake, NJ in the Fall

Day Fifty-Eight: Touring the Route 46 Corridor from Budd Lake to the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey’s Fall Season November 6th, 2016

As the leaves started to change colors and wanting to see the foliage around the state before all the leaves fall (they have since), I decided to revisit a place that I was exploring over the summer.

As I have said in previous blogs, I have never really gotten to know my own state and I was born and raised in New Jersey. I have wanted to see some of the far corners of the state and explore the back highways and roads and see some of the parks, beaches and historical sites that I have only read about but never visited.

Along the way, I have visited many beautiful parts of the state and formed my own opinion of the ‘Garden State’. There is much more to see of the state than what is on the opening of ‘The Soprano’s” and the description of the state in most TV sitcoms.

Budd Lake and the surrounding areas are off Route 80 and in a section of the state near the Delaware Water Gap, a scenic section of the Delaware River surrounding a mountain pass. During the summer, it is lush with trees but in the fall is when it show its true beauty. The leaves change colors at different times due to the species of tree. The effect is trees at various hues of green, yellow, gold and red at different points during the months of September, October and early November. By the second week of November, the show is over for New Jersey as the leaves have fallen.

I had never explored Budd Lake before and took a sunny, warm November afternoon after I had finished everything I needed to do at the house and took a road trip to the area. This is a section off the highway that most people do not venture unless they really want to see this section of the state or live or work here.

Budd Lake II

Budd Lake is small but breathtaking in the Fall

The road that lines the lake, Sand Shore Road, only takes you to a portion of the lake front, which is lined with beautiful homes and spectacular views. A lot of the homes looked liked former summer homes that had been winterized while others were new and much more elaborate reflected the money that is moving into the area.

It was a sunny day that reflected off the lake, which looks more like a catch bastion than a true lake. There were not the boat slips or yacht clubs that normally would line a lake but still there were some smaller boats lining the shoreline. There were small parks with views of the lake and as you entered the Budd Lake State Wildlife Management Area and Bog, the road moved away from the lake and it was mostly homes and woods and not much more to see unless you went into the park. Upon exiting, you are back on Route 46 West.

Route 46 West (I live off Route 46 East) is the highway that time forgot. It goes through many small towns being the main artery of the state until Route 80 was built many years later. It takes you though quaint small towns that have seen better days or long stretches of woods.

The first time I visited Budd Lake, I ate at a terrific pizzeria named Enzo’s Ristorante & Pizza at 382 Route 46 West, which I highly recommend (see review on TripAdvisor). The pizza there amazing and the service is excellent. They are very friendly and the pizza is just wonderful. Their sauce is full of flavor and is cooked perfectly. They also have a nice lunch dinner menu. I passed it on this trip unfortunately wanting to try another place.

Enzo's

Enzo’s Ristorante & Pizza at 382 Route 46 West

After my tour up the lake, I doubled back to a small shore line on Budd Lake off Route 46 East and stopped and sat on a bench and just watched the day develop in the afternoon. It was something to just relax and look at the colors of the trees surrounding the lake. In the summer, this little park was filled with sun-bathers finishing their day but today I had it all to myself along with the birds who were looking for a handout.

I continued down Route 46 West and made a stop in the historical town of Hackettstown, the home of M & M/Mars. You would never know this was a corporate town of anything as the downtown seemed somewhat depressed. A lot of the stores were empty or filled with some not great shops. There were two terrific places that I found walking around.

One was Tracey’s Candy Shoppe at 210 Main Street (see TripAdvisor review), where the owners mother and talked when I walked in. They had set the shop up in one of the older buildings in town and the affect made it look like an old-fashioned shop from the turn of the last century. They had all sorts of candy from the 60’s and 70’s at not such 60’s and 70’s prices. They also had a selection of penny candies that were more than a penny. I found a Charleston Chew, that are still the most amazing candy. More of nougat than a bar.

Tracey's Candy Shoppe

Tracey’s Candy Shoppe at 210 Main Street

The owner’s mother explained how they are trying to bring the downtown back with concerts and farmer’s markets. In its day, it must have been a nice downtown but some of these small towns off the beaten track have been affected by malls and the rerouting of the major highways. Still a classic little place like this, set up to look 1930’s has a place in the books. It had an interesting selection of candies and a very warm, welcoming feel to it and you should visit it when you are in the area.

Tracey's Candy Shoppe II

Tracey’s Candy Shoppe selection is wonderful

Down the block, I found a Colombian bakery, Pan Rico Bakery at 183 Main Street,  for a quick snack. They have the best version of an empanada that they serve with a chili hot sauce and for a $1.30 each, they are a steal.

Pan Rico Bakery

Pan Rico Bakery

I ordered one of the beef ones which I ate going back to the car and it was well worth the trip inside as the sauce had some kick to it.

Pan Rico Bakery II

The bakery selection at Ran Rico Bakery

I continued my trip out of Hackettstown and passed the rest of the downtown and the surrounding neighborhood that had many beautiful Victorian homes that lined the streets as you exited town. It showed the money that once was in this town and the influence it once had in the area. Unfortunately unless you work for one of the major firms out here it must be a hard place to live.

Downtown Hackettstown

Downtown Hackettstown, NJ

I followed Route 46 West along the section that lined the Pequest River, a tributary of the Delaware River, to my true lunch destination, Hot Dog Johnny’s. Hot Dog Johnny’s, located at 333 Route 46 West (see TripAdvisor review) is like Rutt’s Hutt in Clifton. It is an old roadside stand that people used to stop at on the way to view the Delaware Water Gap or needed to get into Pennsylvania. It must have been there since the 30’s and I had not eaten there since I was about ten when my parents took us kids there when viewing the Gap in the 70’s. The food has not changed.

Hot Dog Johnny's II

Hot Dog Johnny’s at 333 Route 46 West

Everyone must have had the same idea that I had because there was a line 20 deep after I got my food and sat at the outdoor picnic bench. What a view! The restaurant sits on the bank above the Pequest River and has the most beautiful view of the surrounding mountains where the foliage was a golden hue. The hot dogs have not changed in years.

Hot Dog Johnny's

Hot Dog Johnny’s had not changed my last visit in 1974

They are still deep fried in peanut oil and are every bit the crunch they were when I was a kid. Still crisp and full of flavor and still delicious with lots of mustard and pickles on them. The fries are still crisp and well cooked and the birch beer is still ice cold. On a beautiful fall day overlooking the river and mountains, there is no place better to be. It was one of those relaxing afternoons to watch the view and listen to the locals talk about the upcoming election (Yes, Trump did win). I still could not believe the number of Trump signs on the lawns in this area. Totally different from Bergen County.

Hot Dog Johnny's III

The hot dogs and fries have not changed one bit

After a lunch down memory lane,  I continued on my trip down Route 46 West and I made a few stops at some of the farm side stands. Talk about a step back in time when you could find fresh cider and doughnuts and freshly picked apples by the side of the road and not worry about germs. I stopped at Marshall’s Farm Stand at 114 Route 46 (see review on TripAdvisor) for fresh cider and cider doughnuts.

Marshall's Farm Stand

Marshall’s Farm Stand 114 Route 46 West

Talk about a step back in time. It reminded me of places I used to go to as a kid that have since disappeared with suburban sprawl. I toured around the stands with shelves of fresh jellies and honey, sauces and salsa and arts and crafts. I found a nearly empty shelf of pies and doughnuts and not a sweet roll in site. The girl working the register told me that everything sells out so quickly and they had baked a second batch of everything.

Marshall's Farm Stand II

Marshall’s Farm Stand in the Fall

I did grab one of the last bags of cider doughnuts for the trip home and freshly made cider that you rarely see any more. Most of it is processed in big facilities now not at farms. Their doughnuts were outstanding. All but two got home with me as I munched on them on the trip through the Delaware Water Gap. I had a lively conversation about the upcoming election and trust me, this woman said a mouthful as most people were right before the election.  I said my good byes as quickly as possible.

My last part of the trip was Route 46 along the Delaware River which was still a blaze with color. The leaves were still in the process of changing and it was awash with yellows, oranges, reds and gold. It was quite the site. As much as I wanted to venture further into the Gap, there was really no time to walk around as you seriously need time to walk the trails. Still the afternoon of foliage was impressive.

Delaware Water Gap II

The Delaware Water Gap

I did take one more stop through Hope and Blairstown. I wanted to visit The Toy Chest at 335 High Street, a toy store that is in the small downtown section of Hope. Plus I wanted to see what the cemetery in Hope looked like this time of year. It is where the opening scene of the movie, “Friday the 13th” was shot. It looks more like the movie this time of year.

Moravian Cemetery

The Moravian Cemetery in Hope, NJ where “Friday the 13th” was shot in 1979.

The Toy Chest was still open at 4:00pm and I had a lively conversation with the owner, who funny enough was from Little Ferry and had moved down to this section of New Jersey to be closer to his wife’s family. It is a great little store loaded with all sorts of games, plastic toys and action figures.

The Toy Chest II

The Toy Chest has an interesting selection

There are a few more unique little stores along the strip but otherwise I just walked around a little and then got to Blairstown down the road for a quick drive through the downtown at twilight. It was a nice little tour.

The Toy Chest

The Toy Chest at 335 High Street in Hope, NJ

The afternoon was a step back to a quieter time where people are not on top of each other and there is a slower pace. It really is another part of New Jersey not touched by time as the other parts of the state have become. It still is the New Jersey of my childhood.

Delaware Water Gap

The Delaware Water Gap

 

 

Places to Visit:

 

Budd Lake

Mount Olive, NJ  07828

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budd_Lake,_New_Jersey

 

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

1978 River Road

Bushkill, PA  18324

(570) 426-2452

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

https://www.nps.gov/dewa/index.htm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g52484-d103619-Reviews-Delaware_Water_Gap_National_Recreation_Area-Delaware_Water_Gap_Pocono_Mountains_Reg.html?m=19905

 

Tracey’s Candy Shoppe

210 Main Street

Hackettstown, NJ 07840

(908) 651-5210

https://www.facebook.com/Traceys-Candy-Shoppe-1594145357531041/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-4:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Wednesday 11:00am-6:00pm/Thursday-Saturday 11:00am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46481-d11801331-Reviews-Tracey_s_Candy_Shoppe-Hackettstown_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

Marshall’s Farm Stand

114 Route 46 West

Delaware, NJ 07833

(908) 475-1989

Open: Sunday 8:00am-6:00pm/Monday-Thursday 8:30am-6:00pm/Friday-Saturday 8:00am-6:00pm

http://www.marshallsfarmmarket.com/

https://www.mapquest.com/us/new-jersey/marshalls-farm-market-363115443

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46387-d3571725-Reviews-Marshall_s_Farm_Market-Delaware_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

The Toy Chest

335 High Street

Hope, NJ 07844

(908) -459-0794

Open: Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm/Monday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 11:00am-5:00pm

https://www.thetoychestllc.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thehopetoychest/

 

Places to Eat:

 

Enzo’s Ristorante & Pizzeria

382 U.S. Highway Route 46

Budd Lake, NJ  07828

(973) 691-1330

Home

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46332-d3678843-Reviews-Enzo_s_Ristorante_Pizzeria-Budd_Lake_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

Pan Rico Bakery

183 Main Street

Hackettstown, NJ 07840

(908) 850-5741

Open: Sunday-Saturday 5:00am-9:00pm

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rico-Pan-Bakery/115651991797247

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46481-d1916895-Reviews-Rico_Pan_Bakery-Hackettstown_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

Hot Dog Johnny’s

333 Route 46 West

Buttzville, NJ  07823

(908) 453-2882

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

Home

History

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46336-d833526-Reviews-Hot_Dog_Johnny_s-Buttzville_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Blogger Justin Watrel in front of street art

My Walk in Manhattan: my walking experience around the whole island. I started this project on Father’s Day, June 2015

Happy Father’s Day!

(This project is dedicated with much love to my father, Warren George Watrel, who still inspires me!)

Hello and Welcome to ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’, an extensive  project to walk the entire island of Manhattan. My name is Justin Watrel and I will be your guide in exploring the island of Manhattan, searching every nook and cranny of the island for the unusual, the usual and the in between.

‘Walking the Island of Manhattan’ may not be terribly original as there are about four other people doing the project at the same time, but this project is different in the way I see the island. Not rushing through to prove I have walked it but to see what these neighborhoods are all about and what is there to discover and enjoy.

For all you ‘Manhattanites’ who think you know your island, I will show you things that you have never seen and places you have never gone, restaurants you have never tried and historical sites and museums you never knew existed. Maybe just a few blocks from where you live. As the son of two “Brooklynites’, I have traveled around the city a lot since 1969, my first time in the City when my parents took me to Chinatown to Hunan Gardens, a Chinese restaurant on Mott Street. I ended up there for eight birthdays until it closed in the early 2000’s.

Chinatown Parade

Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown

“My Walk in Manhattan” is a  project to walk the entire island of Manhattan in New York City from top to bottom from the beginning of the Summer of 2015 until I finish the walk. Manhattan is 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide and covers a total area 23.7 square miles.  Along the way of walking the streets of Manhattan, I will be walking into parks, museums, restaurants and looking at the architecture of the neighborhoods and the buildings in them.

The Island of Manhattan

My soon to be path around the Island of Manhattan

I have found that people miss a lot when they walk with their cellphones and only look down at it. When you look up, you see the true beauty of the City. You see the stone work of old brownstones, you see small boutiques off the beaten track and can indulge in those hole in the wall restaurants that are usually found by foreign tourists. Nothing is more interesting then seeing a stone face on a building staring back at you, a tiny pocket park that residents created out of a garbage dump and that small entrepreneur trying to create a vision.

611 Broadway Cable Building II

The Cable Building at 631 Broadway

This project was inspired by many things. My major inspiration for this project follows the recent passing of my father, Warren George Watrel. My dad and I loved to walk around the city and spend the day at various museums, walking around Central Park and the Conservatory, taking the subway to try new restaurants in Chinatown or Little Italy or any new place I had read about in the Village Voice (my Bible when looking for things to do on weekends).

Columbus Circle.jpg

Columbus Circle on the West Side

My father was a ‘Brooklynite’ from Williamsburg (long before it was ‘Hipster Central’, he would have been amused) and loved the city, so this voyage is dedicated to him. Having watched the movie “The Way” with Martin Sheen, we look for inspiration in our travels  and try to find the answers to why something happens the way it does. Walking to explore does that.

I was my father’s caregiver after his illness hit him and I continued my trips into Manhattan as my father got better. It was the inspiration to this site’s sister site, ‘BergenCountyCaregiver.com’. After he passed in 2014, I wanted to spend Father’s Day doing something different yet do something that we would have done together. Thus started the first walk in Marble Hill.

Marble Hill VI

My first Day in Marble Hill, Manhattan

Another inspiration was a recent article in New York Magazine entitled “Which New York is Yours? A Fierce Preservationist and a Pro-Development Blogger Debate” in which the author Justin Davidson asks about the disappearance of New York’s Character. “What does that character actually consist of? If we did make an all-out effort to preserve it, how would we know what to protect?” How much is the city changing? I have worked off and on in New York City since 1988 and the answer is in some parts of Manhattan it is night and day. Could you imagine walking in Bryant or Tompkins Square Parks in 1990?

I did and they were very different places back then. With the changing Zoning Laws and gentrification of many neighborhoods, its not the city of 1970’s movies. What I am looking for are those unique little pocket parks that we pass, those statues of people we have no clue who they are and those historic plaques of places gone by and people we don’t know.

Astor Row Houses

Astor Row Houses in Harlem

Another are the books, ‘Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost its Soul’ by Jeremiah Moss and ‘The Death and Life of the Great American City’ by Jane Jacobs. How do cities keep progressing and changing? How does change effect a city and what direction are we going in? Does the Island of Manhattan have to be all luxury or can it be mixed to help keep the creativity alive and keep innovation going? Do we want the big bad 70’s again or the luxury brand of the 2010’s and 20’s? How is it impacting and changing the city? How much has Manhattan and the rest of the boroughs changed with the rezoning of the city under the Bloomberg Administration. This can also be looked at in the documentaries “Gut Renovation” and “My Brooklyn”.

The last inspiration was my doctor. He said I have to lose ten pounds. I am hardly over-weight but like many people he feels that I will be healthier if I lose the weight and keep it off. I want to see how a walk like this tones the body.

Bowling Green Park

Bowling Green Park in Lower Manhattan

I know many people before have walked the entire length of Manhattan while others have or are attempting to walk the every  block in the city, mine has a more personal reason. To really see the city I love from the ground up and explore parts of the island that I have never ventured to and see what I find there. Along the way, I want to see how the city changes while I am taking the walk. This is not the “Christopher Columbus” attitude most people are taking when exploring the neighborhoods but more honoring those residents who are trying to make the City better.

My project also includes stops at various points of interest and to get a better feel for all the neighborhoods, I am walking both sides of the street to get a better look at the buildings in each neighborhood and what defines the character of a neighborhood. I get the impression from some of the readers of Mr. Davidson’s article and from comments on the Internet that Manhattan is some “playground of the wealthy that is being gentrified to the hilt and soon no one will be able to afford any part of Manhattan”. Like in any place, there are people struggling everyday to survive in New York and like every city in the country, people are moving back in droves and want a quality of life for them and their families.

Delacorte Clock.jpg

Delacorte Clock in Central Park

In the Age of COVID, it has been interesting starting the project again. I had been on hold from March 13th, 2020 through June 10th, 2020 when the City was closed for anyone other than First Responder and people who had to work there. I was so happy when I could return and continue walking Manhattan. My walk down Broadway for the forth time was a surprise with all the businesses closed on the Upper West Side and I met the challenge of “The Great Saunter Walk” , the 32 mile walk around the perimeter of the island in 14 hours. There is now more to see and explore and write.

The COVID world though has me facing closed businesses that I have covered over the years. Restaurants and stores that I have mentioned in this blog since 2015 have since closed permanently or closed for the time being, I am not too sure. We also have a walking world of masks that keep us safe. The times in Manhattan are changing from the way we eat in restaurants to the way we shop and visit museums.

SoHo boarded up after the June Riots 2020

Fifth Avenue boarded up after the June Riots 2020

Things are constantly changing in Manhattan since the riots in June and COVID keeps raging in the City with people not wanting to wear masks. I hope that things will get back to normal soon. I still see people out and about doing their thing and enjoying the warm weather so I am optimistic about life. Still though, Manhattan keeps changing with the Theater District boarded up and Chinatown looking like a ghost town. We will see how New York City recovers from COVID like the rest of the country.

I have now expanded this site to three other blogs, ‘VisitingaMuseum’ (VisitingaMuseum.com), which features all the historical sites, community gardens and small museums and galleries I find in not just Manhattan but throughout the rest of the NYC and beyond in the suburbs. 

‘DiningonaShoeStringinNYC’ (DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com), where I feature wonderful little restaurants, bodegas and bakeries that I find along the way. The one requirement is that the meal is around $10.00 and under (for us budget minded people).

“LittleShoponMainStreet” (LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com) where I find unique and creative stores in Manhattan and locally whose merchandising, displays, merchandise and service stand out in an age of Amazon. This harks back to a time when shopping was enjoyable and not a chore.

I have also added two new sections to the blog, “My life as a Fireman”, which I have moved from an old site that I had created for my old engine company to describe my experiences on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department over the last 16 years. Also, this is what takes up my time when I am not exploring New York City.

Justin Watrel Fireman

Justin Watrel, Fireman

Another is “A Local Journey” are tours of downtown’s and communities outside the New York City area to travel to when you need to escape the City’s clutches. I have specific guidelines in finding stores, restaurants and museums/cultural sites in the area. This has lead me to really explore my own town of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ and exploring out of town destinations like Red Hook, NY and Beach Haven/Long Beach Island, NJ. You would be amazed on what these small towns offer.

Downtown Red Hook, NY

Downtown Red Hook, NY in the Summer months

So to readers who will be following me on the journey walking through Manhattan and beyond, I hope you enjoy trip walking by my side!

Red Hook Trip IV

Me in Red Hook, Brooklyn discovering my new love in “Street Art”

This project is dedicated to my father, Warren George Watrel, with lots of love and many wonderful adventures and memories to keep me company as I take “My Walk in Manhattan”.

Dad & I

My dad, Warren and I at a Grandparent’s Day Brunch in 2013