Category Archives: Chinese Restaurants for the budget minded

Happy Star Bakery 160 East Broadway New York, NY 10002

Don’t miss the delicious baked goods at Happy Star Bakery.

Happy Star Bakery at 160 East Broadway in Chinatown Manhattan.

Don’t miss their delicious Baked Pork Buns

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

Happy Star Bakery

160 East Broadway

New York, NY 10002

(212) 608-8899

https://zmenu.com/happy-star-bakery-corp-new-york-online-menu/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d24887287-Reviews-Happy_Star_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Happy Bakery at 160 East Broadway

There are a lot of standout bakeries in Chinatown Manhattan that offer a nice selection of baked goods and hot foods at a very reasonable price and Happy Star bakery is one of them. Not only do they have a nice selection of breakfast foods in the morning catering to the large crowd that works around here but an excellent selection of Chinese pastries, buns and twists that are available all day. What is also nice is that the nothing is over $5.00 and you can have a nice meal for under $10.00.

What is also nice about the bakery is that it is right across the street from Seward Park so that after you get your order, you can walk across the park and eat…

View original post 286 more words

Yue Lai Bakery 137 East Broadway New York, NY 10002

The selection of buns and twists at Yue Lai Bakery is terrific.

Yue Lai Bakery at 137 East Broadway

The Roast Pork Buns at Yue Lai Bakery are great!

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

Yue Lai Bakery

137 East Broadway

New York, NY 10002

(917) 257-2263

https://www.menupix.com/nyc/restaurants/250454930/Yue-Lai-Bakery-New-York-NY

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-7:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d24850332-Reviews-Yue_Lai_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Yue Lai Bakery at 137 East Broadway

I have been visiting Yue Lai Bakery for many years but recently I have been exploring the outskirts of Chinatown for my blog, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’ and started to revisit it again. I know that Chinatown is loaded with little bakeries all over the place, but Yue Lai Bakery really stands out for selection, quality and display of their products. Their pastries are always so nicely displayed.

The pork buns are wonderful

What I enjoy is the quality and the selection of their baked goods. There are always a lot of interesting buns and twists to order here. I used to come in for their Baked Pork Buns ($1.50) but the last three times I was in they were sold out. So, I ordered…

View original post 404 more words

King Dumpling 74 Hester Street New York, NY 10002

Don’t miss the delicious dumplings and soups at King Dumpling.

King Dumpling at 74 Hester Street

The dumplings were excellent!

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

King Dumpling

74 Hester Street

New York, NY 10002

(917) 251-1249

https://www.menupix.com/nyc/restaurants/31859492/King-Dumplings-New-York-NY

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d17726251-Reviews-King_Dumpling-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

King Dumpling at 74 Hester Street

There are times you find those little ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants that just standout because of the quality of their food and their prices that make them affordable to everyone. King Dumpling at 74 Hester Street is one of them. Everything that I have tried there has been excellent and the portion sizes are very fair.

I had watched one of the “Cheap Chinatown Eats” videos from the Fung Brothers and they had mentioned the restaurant as a great place to get dumplings (one of my favorite things) and that they were only $3.00 for ten. I had to try it and have to say that it lives up to its reputation.

The logo at King Dumpling

On my first trip…

View original post 409 more words

China North Dumpling 27A Essex Street New York, NY 10002

The food at China North Dumpling is excellent and very reasonable.

China North Dumplings at 27A Essex Street

The Steamed Dumplings are excellent

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

China North Dumpling

27A Essex Street

New York, NY 10002

(646) 421-8823

http://www.china-north-dumpling.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d7608410-Reviews-China_North_Dumpling-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

China North Dumpling at 27A Essex Street

China North Dumpling was another great spot that I have been wanting to try for a long time and finally got over to this part of the neighborhood to sample their dumplings.

I have to admit that the place is tiny and I mean small. This is more of a take out place even though it has a counter and two tables to eat at there are boxes all over the place and there is not much room to walk around. I have managed on my trips here to eat my lunch at the counter without anyone bumping into me.

The dumplings here are fresh and are literally made right in front of you. The ladies are rolling fresh dough and filling…

View original post 305 more words

Day Two Hundred and Forty-Four Walking the Avenues of the Flatiron District Broadway and Fifth Avenue from West/East 25th to West/East 20th Streets (and a trip to Chinatown) August 12th, 2022

The weather finally broke, and it has cooled down to a pleasant 87 degrees. Thank God because it was a nice day in the City walk around and visit the Flatiron District without sweating like crazy. The last few walks I have done in the neighborhood have been in the mid 90’s and that got to be too much.

I had spent the morning working in Social Services at the Soup Kitchen, helping people with things like getting clothes, writing out haircut vouchers and getting them toiletries. It is a lot of running around but the best part was that I really felt that I was helping people in need. The weather cooperated, and it was so nice to be outside enjoying the sunshine. It was a productive afternoon.

After I finished lunch, I was off to walk the Avenues of the Flatiron District. I have to admit that this has been one of the harder neighborhoods to research because there are so many amazing buildings to view, and the architecture is so detailed that it takes time to look up at all the ornamentation on the buildings. As I said in my previous blog on the borders of the neighborhood, these companies built these buildings to impress and last forever.

I started the walk at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue and West 25th Street at the General Worth Memorial, a distinct triangle park right across the street from Madison Square Park. This is the Memorial to and burial site of General William Jenkins Worth.

William Jenkins Worth was a native New Yorker (Hudson, NY) and decorated Army officer who had served our country in the Battles of 1812, The Second Seminole War and the Mexican American War. His series of campaigns shaped this Country to where it is today. He died working for the Department of Texas in 1849 (Wiki).

General William Jenkins Worth

Army General William Jenkins Worth

The General’s remains are buried under the monument at Worth Square at the corner of Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 24th and 25th Street. General Worth was interned here in November of 1857 on the anniversary of the British leaving the colonies (NYCParks.org).

Worth Monument

The Worth Monument between East 24th and East 25th Street at Broadway and Fifth Avenue

The Worth Monument was designed by artist James Goodwin Batterson, whose main profession was one of the founders of the Travelers Insurance Company in Hartford, CT and helped design the Library of Congress Building in Washington DC. He had immersed himself in his father’s quarrying and stone importing business early in his career and traveled extensively to Europe and Egypt for the job. He designed this monument in 1857 (Wiki).

James Batterson artist

Artist and Designer James Goodwin Batterson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_G._Batterson

Turning the corner at East 25th Street and Madison Avenue is Madison Square Park, named after our fourth President of the United States, James Madison. This well landscaped park is the gathering place of the residents of NoMAD and has a wonderful playground that has been busy the whole time I have spent in the neighborhood.

Madison Square Park is an interesting little oasis from all the traffic and office space. It has an interesting history since it was designated a public space in 1686 by British Royal Governor Thomas Dongan. It has served as a potter’s field, an arsenal and a home for delinquents. In 1847, the space was leveled, landscaped and enclosed as a park. It became part of the New York Park system in 1870. There are many historical figures featured in the park (NYCParks.org). The park today is a major meeting spot for residents and tourists alike with a dog track and the original Shake Shack restaurant.

Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park in the Spring when I was walking the length of Broadway

https://madisonsquarepark.org/

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/madison-square-park

When I walked into the park to take a break, it must have been the busiest section of the neighborhood between the playground and the original Shake Shack that were serving food to a crowd clung to their cellphones.

Another sculpture that is in Madison Square Park is the statue of William Henry Stewart, the former Governor of New York State, US Senator and Secretary of State during the Civil War. He also negotiated the Alaskan Purchase in 1867.

William Henry Stewart statue

Governor William Henry Stewart statue in Madison Square Park

William H. Stewart

Governor William Henry Sewart, who negotiated the Alaskan Purchase “Sewart’s Folly”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Seward#:~:text=William%20Henry%20Seward%20(May%2016,as%20a%20United%20States%20Senator.

The statue was designed by artist Randolph Rogers an American born sculptor who studied in Italy. He was a Neoclassical artist known for his famous historical commissions.

Randolph Rogers artist

Artist Randolph Rogers

https://www.shsart.org/randolph-rogers

Madison Square Park is noted for its beautiful plantings, shaded paths and for being home to the first Shake Shack, a Danny Meyers restaurant and popular upscale fast-food restaurant.

Shake Shack Madison Square Park

The very first Shake Shack is in Madison Square Park

https://www.shakeshack.com/location/madison-square-park/

As you look down further on the square, you will see the Flatiron Building one of the most famous and most photographed buildings in New York City. The building was designed by Daniel Burnham as a Renaissance Palazzo with Beaux-Arts style. The original name for the building was the “Fuller Building” for the Company. The name “Flatiron” comes from a cast iron clothes iron from the turn of the last century. (Wiki)

Flatiron Building.jpg

The ‘Flatiron’ Building at 175 Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street

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

As you pass the Flatiron Building and continue the walk south between 23rd and 14th Streets, take a look up to admire the buildings that once help make up the “Ladies Shopping Mile”, once the most fashionable neighborhood after the Civil War for shopping, hotels and entertainment (See my blog in MywalkinManhattan.com “Walking the Ladies Shopping Mile”).

My Christmas Blog on “Victorian Christmas in New York City”: Day One Hundred and Twenty-Eight:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/8117

The buildings that line Broadway from the Flatiron Building until you get to Bowling Green Park at the tip of Manhattan are some of the most beautiful and detailed examples of Victorian architecture and were built between 1870 to about 1915. You really need to put the cellphone down and look up when walking south on both sides or you might miss the details of these buildings.

907 Broadway

907 Broadway-The Warren Building

https://www.cityrealty.com/nyc/bushwick/907-broadway/83372

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-1891-warren-building-nos-903-907.html

The Warren Building is another example of turn on the last century elegance. Designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White in 1896, the building was designed in the Neo-Renaissance style (Daytonian).

One of the most elegant buildings on this part of Broadway is the former “Lord & Taylor” building at 901 Broadway. The building was constructed for the department store in 1870 and was the main store until 1914. Really take time to look at the detail work of the store and step inside. The Mansard Roof is an amazing touch. In 2022, it is now a restaurant on the lower level.

Lord and Taylor Building.jpg

901 Broadway “Lord & Taylor” building from 1870-1914

https://streeteasy.com/building/former-lord-taylor-building

I walked back through Madison Square Park after my walk down Broadway and there were two small jazz concerts that were going on at opposite side of the park. Two three person combos were entertaining people by the fountain and near Shake Shack and on a sunny after there was a pretty big crowd enjoying the park and listening to the music.

Walking down Fifth Avenue was interesting on both sides as you will notice how ornate the buildings are as you travel from West 25th to West 20th Street leading me to believe how important of a shopping and business district this once must have been. Here and there from the Flatiron Building you can see all the elegant and ornate buildings that line the Avenue.

I started my walk south down Fifth Avenue and here and there you need to look up and admire the details of the buildings. On the corner of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street is 186 Fifth Avenue, which was built for the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1883.

186 Fifth Avenue-The Western Union Telegraph Company Building

https://www.cityrealty.com/nyc/flatiron-union-square/186-fifth-avenue/39081

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-1883-western-union-building-186.html

The building was designed by architect Henry J. Hardenberger in the Queen Anne style with its details being in brick and terra cotta (Daytonian in Manhattan). The building just finished a restoration, and you can see the details by the windows and dormers.

At 170 Fifth Avenue and West 22nd Street, you can see the beauty and elegance of the Beaux Art details of the former Sohmer Paino building. The building was built between 1897-88 and designed by architect Robert Maynicke for the owners of the Sohmer Piano Company for their showrooms and offices. The company was known for its introduction of the baby grand piano (Wiki/Daytonian in Manhattan).

170 Fifth Avenue-The Sohmer Piano Building

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

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/06/1898-sohmer-piano-co-building-170-fifth.html

At 166 Fifth Avenue, the building has almost a confectionary look of a wedding cake. This commercial building was constructed in 1900 by the architectural firm of the Parfitt Brothers in the Northern Rennaissance Revival style with all sorts of embellishments around the windows and doors with an elaborate roof design. In the beginning it housed art galleries and upscale retailers until the area became manufacturing at the turn of the last century. It has made a full swing again as a luxury retailer building on street level (Daytonian in Manhattan/Streeteasy/LoopNet.com).

166 Fifth Avenue

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/07/parfitt-brothers-no-166-fifth-avenue.html

https://streeteasy.com/building/166-5-avenue-new_york

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/166-Fifth-Ave-New-York-NY/25113417/

On the corner of West 21st Street and Fifth Avenue is 162 Fifth Avenue, another impressive building with interesting details. This office building was built in 1930 and is still used for commercial purposes.

162 Fifth Avenue and West 21st Street

https://streeteasy.com/building/162-5-avenue-new_york

https://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/united-states/properties/for-lease/retail/ny/new-york/162-fifth-avenue/s120974483s120974559-l

At the edge of the neighborhood standing guard in the Flatiron District is 156 Fifth Avenue, the Presbyterian Building. This building has an interesting past being built for the Presbyterian Church for offices for missionary work when the neighborhood housed many religious institutions (Daytonian in Manhattan/LoopNet.com).

156 Fifth Avenue and West 20th Street

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/02/presbyterian-building-156-fifth-avenue.html

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/156-Fifth-Ave-New-York-NY/14050649/

It was designed by architect James B. Baker in the French Gothic style, and you have to admire the roof for its unique details.

As I rounded the corner of the neighborhood at West 20th Street another building caught my eye at 150 Fifth Avenue, the former Methodist Book Concern. The building was built between 1888-90 and designed by architect Edward Hale Kendall in the Romanesque Revival style. It had originally held the offices, printing and a chapel for the church. This was the section of Fifth Avenue that housed many religious offices and headquarters (Wiki).

150 Fifth Avenue-The Methodist Book Concern

https://www.150fifthave.com/

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/02/methodist-book-concern-150-5th-avenue.html

Walking north back up Fifth Avenue is 141 Fifth Avenue another confection of architecture. This gorgeous building was built in 1897 by architect Robert Maynicke, who had also designed Sohmer Piano Building at 170 Fifth Avenue, in the Beaux Arts style for the Merchant Bank of New York (Flatironnomade.nyc/fsiarchitecture.com).

141 Fifth Avenue-The Merchants Bank of New York Building

http://www.fsi-architecture.com/building-renovations/141-fifth-avenue-new-york-ny

https://streeteasy.com/building/141-fifth-avenue-new_york

This impressive bank has recently been converted to luxury apartments with a current one sold at over three million dollars.

I made my way back up Fifth Avenue and admired all these buildings once again. Each has their own style and design and since the time of their construction continue to live on in different forms for various companies. Since many were built at the turn of the last century it also proved to me how well constructed and designed these buildings are and how desirable they are in the marketplace as you will not see this construction again. These were made to last and give this section of Manhattan its unique appearance and its own sense of character.

I found myself hungry again and took the subway back down to Chinatown to visit many of the takeout places and bakeries that were on my list to visit. I have been building up my blog, DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com and wanted to see how many of them had stayed open post pandemic. Many of these little ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants are going strong as Chinatown is continuing to come back to life.

My blog “DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/

I started my walk in Chinatown at China North Dumpling at 27A Essex Street across from Sewart Park for some fried dumplings and spring rolls. For ten large fried dumplings that were really juicy and well cooked, four spring rolls and a Coke it was $7.00. Everything was so well made, and you can watch from the counter the ladies making the fresh dumplings right in front of you. The place is real bare bones, but the food and the service are amazing. Try to eat at the counter and watch everything get prepared.

China North Dumpling at 27A Essex Street located in the Lower East Side

http://www.china-north-dumpling.com/

In needed something sweet after all the fried foods so I headed back to Yue Lai Bakery at 137 East Broadway to look for a baked pork bun. They had none left at that time of the day, but they were having a special on their baked goods three for $2.00 and I picked out a Coconut Bun, a Cream filled Bun and a Plain Bun.

They bagged it all up for me and I walked over to Sewart Park across the street and sat on the benches and ate them one by one. The Cream and Plain buns were really good and very sweet, and everything was so soft and well baked. I ended up sharing the Coconut Bun with the little birds in the park who surrounded me looking for a handout.

Yue Lai Bakery at 137 East Broadway

https://www.menupix.com/nyc/restaurants/250454930/Yue-Lai-Bakery-New-York-NY

After a nice rest in the park and enjoying the sunshine and watching families play with their kids, I found myself still hungry. So, I walked down Hester Street from the park and made my way to King Dumpling this time for some steamed Pork and Chive Dumplings. For ten dumplings and a Coke it was only $5.00. The Steamed Pork & Chive Dumplings were excellent and again were freshly made right in front of us. They are large and well-cooked and burst with juiciness when you bite into them.

King Dumpling at 74 Hester Street

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Chinese-Restaurant/King-Dumplings-358670851431724/

https://www.menupix.com/nyc/restaurants/31859492/King-Dumplings-New-York-NY

The place was packed with customers and people getting takeout. It is amazing to me how many people write about both King Dumpling and China North Dumpling and I had never really noticed them before. I saw them on a Fung Brothers “Cheap Chinatown Eats” video and then wanted to try them.

My last stop on the eating tour because even after twenty dumplings, four spring rolls, three pastries and three Cokes, I was still hungry and needed that baked pork bun. I found it at Happy Star Bakery at 160 East Broadway and it was just $1.75. Not the $3.50 in Midtown as I recently found at Dim Sum Sam in the Theater District. It was soft and chewy and filled with the most amazing, chopped pork and baked into a sweet dough. I barely made it out the door and I was finished with it.

Happy Star Bakery at 160 East Broadway

https://zmenu.com/happy-star-bakery-corp-new-york-online-menu/

After all the munching on snacks throughout the afternoon, I needed a good walk so I double backed and walked around the Twin Bridges section of the neighborhood walking down Henry, Madison, Rutgers and Clinton Streets around the public housing projects looking at all the small businesses that still catered to the people in the projects.

It is really a funny section of the City in that in-between the cut rate stores, and discount pizzerias are tiny gourmet restaurants, coffee bars and art galleries. It is really a case of extremes all over this section of the neighborhood and shows that both Twin Bridges and Chinatown south are going through a change in both residents and the businesses that cater to them.

With Little Italy slowly fading away (down to just four blocks now from forty at the turn of the last century), I can see the same changes happening in Chinatown as well. It is just another sign of Manhattan going through a metamorphosis.

It will be interesting to see what I will find when I reach this section of Manhattan in the near future.

Places to Eat:

China North Dumpling

27A Essex Street

New York, NY 10002

http://www.china-north-dumpling.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-11:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d7608410-Reviews-China_North_Dumpling-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Yue Lai Bakery

137 East Broadway

New York, NY 10002

(917) 257-2263

https://www.menupix.com/nyc/restaurants/250454930/Yue-Lai-Bakery-New-York-NY

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-7:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d24850332-Reviews-Yue_Lai_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

King Dumpling

74 Hester Street

New York, NY 10002

(917) 251-1249

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Chinese-Restaurant/King-Dumplings-358670851431724/

https://www.restaurantji.com/ny/new-york/king-dumpling-/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d17726251-Reviews-King_Dumpling-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Happy Star Bakery

160 East Broadway

New York, NY 10002

(212) 608-8899

https://zmenu.com/happy-star-bakery-corp-new-york-online-menu/

Open: Sunday 6:30am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Places to Visit:

Madison Square Park

11 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10010

(212) 520-7600

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/madisonsquarepark/

https://madisonsquarepark.org/

https://www.facebook.com/madisonsquarepark

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d501513-Reviews-Madison_Square_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

Sewart Park

Canal and Essex Streets

New York, NY 10002

(212) 639-9675

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

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

Open: Sunday-Saturday 7:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

Dim Sum Station 366 River Street Hackensack, NJ 07601

Don’t miss the variety of dishes at Dim Sum Station. Everything is so reasonably priced.

Don’t miss the delicious dishes at Dim Sum Station at 366 River Road

Don’t miss the wonderful Baked Pork Buns

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

Dim Sum Station

366 River Street

Hackensack, NJ 07601

(201) 742-5454/(201) 840-8688

https://www.dimsumstations.com/location

My review on TripAdvisor:

Dim Sum Station at 366 River Street

I passed Dim Sum Station many times on my way to work and I noticed it had finally opened. I was in the area on business and stopped for lunch. The food and the service were really nice.

The restaurant has the look of a fast-food restaurant and is served cafeteria style. You order your food at the counter, and you pick it up when the order is ready. All the items are pictured on the menu, so you have an idea of what you are ordering.

You order at the counter of the restaurant and pick up your food

I just picked up a couple of dishes of Dim Sum for a light lunch. I started with the Pork Soup Dumplings ($6.95). They were really…

View original post 230 more words

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Nine Walking the Streets of Northern Chelsea/Flower District from West 27th to 24th Streets from Twelfth to Sixth Avenues June 10th, 2022

The weather finally broke and it was goreous today. It was a crazy morning before I left for the City and I got in early before I had to work at the Soup Kitchen. The numbers keep growing and we are getting busier and busier. We are now packing a thousand bags of food for the growing number of people visiting Holy Apostles.

I needed some extra energy before I got to the church and decided to stop at 9th Avenue Grocery, a tiny deli a block from the church for a Bacon, Egg and Cheese sandwich. I must have passed this place a hundred times over the last twenty years but never stopped in. With all the construction going on in the neighborhood, I have noticed more signs outside for the deli with their specials to bring these guys in.

9th Avenue Grocery at 350 Ninth Avenue

https://www.seamless.com/menu/9th-ave-gourmet-deli-480-9th-ave-new-york/291251

I have to tell you the Bacon, Egg and Cheese on a soft roll ($4.50) was not only was reasonable but delicious. The roll was so fresh and chewy but they gave you a nice portion of eggs to bacon which must have been two or three per order. What I liked about their menu was that almost all their hot foods were under $10.00.

The Bacon, Egg and Cheese at 9th Avenue Grocery is worth the trip dodging construction workers

When I finished breakfast, it was time to go to work and we spent the rest of the morning packing food bags to go with the hot food lunch we were serving that morning. We worked in coordination and packed 800 bags this morning so that the Monday staff had something to work with that day. Five of us got this done in two and a half hours.

After we finished, it was time to to explore the Streets of the Chelsea neighborhood. I lucked out and it was a beautiful sunny afternoon with blue skys and about 82 degrees. That’s when these walks are fun.

I have to tell you that this, Chelsea in this section of the neighborhood is a juxtapose of different styles of architecture and reflects how the area is reinventing itself from an old shipping and receiving/distribution business to the modern-day tech companies. Not only has there been a reuse of these buildings, but the historical brick townhouses have been brought back to their glory with extensive renovations. With every block it just keeps changing with a new business filling the stores that once had ‘For Rent’ signs.

I walked around the block from Holy Apostles Church to start the walk from Twelve Avenue and then continued down West 27th Street. You are going to find that most of the buildings between Twelfth and Tenth Avenues which were probably once garages and car washes have now been refitted into art galleries. You can see the art peering out from the glass windows. You will also notice that it is one of the few streets in the City with cobblestones. It is rare to see this anymore.

The cobblestone streets of West 27th Street off Twelve Avenue

From Tenth to Ninth Avenues, you pass Chelsea Park, which looked like it was busy on the soccer field with a gym class from the Avenues World School on one side, the kids screaming and yelling all over the playground equipment from P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep and the homeless who just finished their lunch from Holy Apostles lying around the benches in the middle of the park. It is never a dull moment in that park and it has become very much alive with the warmer weather and probably the anticipation of school ending.

For security reasons, you will have to walk around the Penn South Complex down West 26th Street and around to reach Ninth Avenue and the entrance to the Fashion Institute of Technology campus at West 27th Street.

“Untitled” by Ami Shamir (Hue Magazine)

The campus was really quiet as summer classes were probably going on right now. I noticed tucked in front of the Dubinsky Building is the sculpture “Untitled” by artist Ami Shamir. This work appears to represent a figure group of fashion industry-related tools (Hue Magazine). The piece dates back to the 1970’s.

Artist Ami Shamir

Ami Shamir is an Israeli American born artist was a noted sculpture and stained-glass artist whose works were related to Jewish themes and the Holocaust. The work was part of the Public Art Movement of its time (Hue Magazine).

The Museum at FIT at 227 West 27th Street

https://www.fitnyc.edu/museum/index.php

On the corner of West 27th Street and Seventh Avenue is the Museum of FIT at 227 West 27th Street. This wonderful and unique museum showcases the clothing, shoes and accessories of the Fashion Institute of Technology collection. I stopped in earlier to see the new exhibition “Dior + Balenciaga-Kings of Couture and their Legacies” which was the current show.

The “Dior + Balenciaga: Kings of Couture and their Legacies” show

https://www.fitnyc.edu/museum/exhibitions/dior-balenciaga.php

The show compares and contrasts both designers both on how their work was perceived and how it compares to the fashion represented in their ‘Houses’ today. The museum does a wonderful job mounting a show and it should not be missed. It is also open free to the public.

When you arrive at the corner of campus at Sixth Avenue, you are greeted by one of the most iconic sculptures in the City, The ‘Eye of Fashion’ by artist Robert Cornbach. This was designed by the artist in 1976 and just returned to the campus after a major renovation.

“The Eye of Fashion” by artist Robert Cornbach

Robert Cornbach was an American born artist from St. Louis, who was educated at the St. Louis Academy of Fine Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was known for his large abstract artworks that includes sculptures and fountains (NYTimes.com/Obituary). He also created works for the WPA for the Government’s Federal Art Project (Wiki).

Artist Robert Cornbach

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

When you cross Seventh towards Sixth Avenue, you see the last traces of the old Garment/Wholesale District with many of those old wholesale businesses being replaced by trendy stores and hotels. The area is shared with the very desirable NoMAD (North of Madison Park) neighborhood that is slowly expanding to this neighborhood. Reaching Sixth Avenue, it was like revisiting an old friend since I had not visited NoMAD/Koreatown in a few months.

109 West 27th Street (Loopnet.com)

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/109-W-27th-St-New-York-NY/11330188/

As you are walking back down the street, you will notice the beauty of 109 West 27th Street amongst the smaller buildings in the old Wholesale District. Some relators will say this is NoMAD and some will say the Garment District. The building was built in 1908 and you really have to look at the upper floors to see the detailed stone carvings and embellishments that adorn the buildings.

On the walk back, you will start to notice this transition with all the empty ‘For Rent’ signs on the buildings. COVID really affected this part of the neighborhood and just accelerated the gentrification. Just be sure that when you are walking back through Chelsea Park, it is at school time and not after dark. The park can get a little seedy at twilight. Also take time to look at the nice vegetable garden the kids at PS 33 planted behind the school. They did a good job.

I found this cute production of “Singing in the Rain” that the students of P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep performed

As you are walking back towards Twelvth Avenue, you will be greeted by the most unusual women faces and creatures the move and swirl. These are the works of artist Jordan Betten that line the door fronts of the building facing West 27th Street.

Artist Jordan Betten’s artwork on West 27th Street entitled “Sleep No More” is located on the south side of the street

art.org/jordan-betten

Jordan Betten artist

Artist Jordan Bennen is a Miami based American born artist who works include painting, sculpture and design. With unique application and use of colors, his art captures a feeling of freedom and strength. He shows his love of the streets with sophistication and modernism (Artist Bio).

Video on artist Jordan Betten’s work

West 26th Street has a similar feel for the first two blocks as well with many of the building housing art galleries. A crew was filming a movie, so I had to move around the street as I was walking through it and there is a lot of construction on the street with renovations of these old buildings so be careful.

When crossing the street at Tenth Avenue, you will be walking through the middle of the Chelsea-Elliott Houses so please be aware of who is around you. My advice is to walk through this area when either school is out for a break or just after school. It can get a little shady in the early evenings. Some of the residents will really look you over if they feel you don’t belong, and this is on the sidewalk that rims the complex.

The Elliott-Chelsea Houses on Tenth Avenue

Still there are a few bright points when you walk through the projects. Senoria Pastilito, a woman who sells freshly fried chicken and beef pastilitos, a Dominican empanada and icy sodas. This little stand is open around the time school lets out. Do not miss these delicious pastilitos, filled with chopped and well spiced meats that she fries fresh in front of you. I ate them right by the little park where her stand is located, and she is busy when school lets out.

Also, tucked into the side of the building is a beautiful flower garden where dozens a of red rose bushes were in bloom, and someone planted flower beds between the building and the sidewalk. It just shows that there are people in public housing that really do care about their homes and take pride in its appearance.

Changes in the neighborhood

Further down the road towards the southern part of the Fashion Institute of Technology campus is the studio for the Wendy Williams Show, where my best friend, Maricel and I attended the show back in March. The theater is at 221 West 26th Street and when I passed it I could not believe so much time had gone by. The worst part is I heard on the Internet that the show is closing after 13 seasons.

https://www.wendyshow.com/

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Two: Going to the Wendy Williams Show:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/22279

My best friend Maricel and I at the ‘Wendy Williams Show’

As you travel to the other side of Seventh Avenue, you will see the constant change over of the neighborhood from the old Garment District to the fashionable NoMAD with small restaurants and shops tucked into former wholesale shops. COVID closed a lot of the older businesses that used to be on the block.

West 25th Street is very similar to the other blocks with lots of art galleries on the first two blocks from Twelve to Tenth Avenues taking space that was formerly used for shipping or car repair. When you crossover to Seventh Avenue, I was bummed to see that Milanes at 168 West 25th Street closed for business. That’s where Maricel and I ate after attending the Wendy Williams Show and I ate when I was in the neighborhood. It was funny in that it was always busy when I ate there.

Milanes at 168 West 25th Street closed for business in June 2022

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d1902938-Reviews-Milanes_Spanish_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2076

The COVID economy takes another victim. Its too bad as this restaurant had quite the following. Their business seems to be have been taken up by Johny’s Lunchonette at 124 West 25th Street, a small lunch counter business a few doors down.

Johny’s Grill and Lunchonette at 124 West 25th Street

https://www.facebook.com/johnysluncheonettenyc/

Reviews on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d2460876-Reviews-Johny_s_Luncheonette-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

This looks like another winner that I will have to try in the future.

On the way back from Sixth Avenue and tucked into the southern part of the Penn South complex is the Jeff Dulleau Generational Garden at 365 West 25th Street just before your get to Ninth Avenue. This tiny garden was locked but in full bloom with vegetable beds and wild flowers growing all over garden. Mr. Dulleau had been a founding member of the Green Guerillas.

The Jeff Dulleau Intergenerational Garden at 365 West 25th Street

http://jeffdulleagarden.blogspot.com/

The ‘Green Guerillas’ are a group that uses education, organizing and advocacy to to help people cultivate community gardens, sustain grassroots groups, grow food, engage youth and address critical issues of food justice and urban agriculture (Green Guerillas).

When turned the corner and started my walk down West 24th Street from Twelveth Avenue, I noticed all the former shipping buildings have all been converted to art galleries. Each building had its own look with the artwork shining from the large glass windows where you can peer in.

When you reach Tenth Avenue, you reach the historical district of the neighborhood which lines Tenth Avenue from West 25th to West 24th and the from Tenth to Ninth Avenues. These blocks are lined with late 19th century townhouses with detailed grillwork and small front gardens. This is one of the nicest sections of the neighborhood to walk.

On the corner of Tenth Avenue and West 24th Street is Orchard Townhouse, a small restaurant and inn. Talk about quaint. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor dining with a small garden that flows to the sidewalk. It has that historic ‘inn’ look about it and an interesting menu for lunch. A mostly American and Continental menu and something to try in the future.

The Orchard Townhouse at twilight (Orchard Townhouse) at 242 Tenth Avenue at West 24th Street

https://www.theorchardtownhouse.com/

Reviews on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60763-d1783732-Reviews-Orchard_Guesthouse-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The courtyard of the Orchard Townhouse (Orchard Townhouse)

This historic district extends from the southern side of West 25th Street and the northern side of West 24th and offers a glimpse at early 1880-90’s architecture at its finest. Back then, this was meant to be upper class housing but ended up being for a middle class resident. Today, you can’t buy one of these townhouses for under two million dollars. It would be interesting to know the builders perspective on that a hundred and thirty years later.

West 24th Street offers a juxtaposed mix of architectural designs of buildings depending on the block. From Twelveth Avenue to Tenth Avenue it is a combination of old shipping and garage buidings that have now been converted like the rest of the neighborhood into art galleries, the historic district stretches from Tenth to Ninth Avenues and from Ninth to Sixth Avenues there is a mixture of the old residential district mixed into the commercial district that it has become.

Here and there small brick townhouses mix in with larger commercial businesses that themselves have transformed from manufacturing to digital and tech companies and a growing number of restaurants. Businesses are closing and opening all over the street but it does look like the worst of the COVID problems are behind us (for now).

One stand out was the Fashion Industries High School at 225 West 24th Street where the windows were decorated with the students fashion ideas and I was figuring their final projects of the semester. They had some interesting looks pictured in the windows.

Fashion Industries High School at 225 West 24th Street

https://www.hsfi.nyc/

The one thing that did stick out at the very edge of the neighborhood on the wall of The Corner Cafe at the corner of 729 Sixth Avenue was the New York City painting by artist Dirt Cobain.

The New York City street art by artist Dirt Cobain on the side of The Corner Cafe at 729 Sixth Avenue

Artist Dirt Cobian

https://www.dirtcobain.com/

https://ewkuks.com/dirt-cobain

Artist Dirt Cobian is an American born artist who started started with a spray can when he was a teenager. He creates the most interesting and eye opening street art. He currently lives in Brooklyn (Artist bio).

A video on who the artist is and what he represents.

I finished the walk back at Twelve Avenue admiring the art from the windows of the galleries and then relaxed in Hudson River Park and admired the view across the river. New Jersey looks very different on this side of the Hudson River. More intriguing.

I finished the afternoon with lunch at the Grand Sichuan Restaurant at 229 Ninth Avenue. I had passed the restaurant many times when walking around the neighborhood and they have some interesting (and very reasonable) lunch specials that I wanted to try. Walking this whole neighborhood I began to notice that there was not too many reasonable (i.e. cheap) places to eat in Chelsea and thought this would be a nice place.

Grand Sichuan Restaurant at 229 Ninth Avenue

http://www.grand-sichuan.com/

The Grand Sichuan I have to admit could use a good makeover as it is a little dated and theadbare but the food and the service are really good and are worth the visit. Wanted to try something different I had the Orange Flavored Beef Special with Fried Rice and an Egg Roll. The whole meal was delicious.

The Orange Flavored Beef was wonderful

The one thing I liked about the lunch specials ($9.95) at the Grand Sichuan Restaurant is that the portion sizes are very fair and everything was freshly cooked and spiced extremely well. The beef really loaded with chilis that gave it a good pinch. The egg roll was loaded with shredded cabbage and nice pieces of roast pork.

It really was an interesting walk of the neighborhood. Not just on learning the history of the area but passing the open air museum that the area has become. With the renovation of the local parks and new building going on there is more changes on the way. As we leave enter the hopeful post-COVID era where we enter the new normal you are going to see a lot of development on all sides of this neighborhood.

Just like the rest of Manhattan it just keeps morphing.

See my other blogs on Walking North Chelsea/Flower District:

Day Two Hundred and Thirty Seven: Walking the Borders of North Chelsea/Flower District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24014

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Eight: Walking the Avenues of North Chelsea/Flower District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24140

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Nine: Walking the Streets of North Chelsea/Flower District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24212

Places to Eat:

Grand Sichuan Restaurant

229 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 620-5200

http://www.grand-sichuan.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:30am-11:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d426208-Reviews-Grand_Sichuan_International_Chelsea-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Visit:

Hudson River Park

Extends from West 59th to Battery Park City

New York, NY 10011

Open: Sunday-Saturday: Check the website for hours and events

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Seven Walking the Borders of Northern Chelsea/Flower District from West 28th to West 23rd Street from Sixth to Twelve Avenues May 31st, 2022

After a few weeks of touring around New Jersey for a historical weekend, traveling to see my mother for Mother’s Day and running in and out of the City with me finally returning to Soup Kitchen and posting my grades on my class’s successful group project on “Rocking it in Rutherford”, I was finally able to get in Manhattan and continue my walk around the island. I finally was able to get into the main part of the Chelsea neighborhood.

After a long morning in the Soup Kitchen, I planned the entire day out. We were really busy that day as we have increased the productivity by a hundred bags to give away with the food distributed to the homeless. I was told that the need is getting bigger, and we had to increase the numbers. It is a sad state of this economy right now. These lines are just getting longer. This is the one thing I like about volunteering here is that you are part of a solution rather complaining about the problem.

After I was finished for the day and a little snack to tide me over, I started my walk around the border of the northern part of the Chelsea neighborhood. What was nice was it was right out the door of the church, and I started the walk down West 28th Street which it shares with the border of Hudson Yards/West Chelsea. I got to revisit this part of the neighborhood again.

What I did learn from walking the neighborhood was more about the history of The Church of the Holy Apostles. 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)

It was also convenient in that it was where I needed to start my walk on the edge of West 28th Street where the church is located right across from Chelsea Park south of the northern section of Hudson Yards and right across from the Lower Garment District (please read my blogs on walking these parts of Manhattan as well).

What I never noticed in the almost 17 years that I have been volunteering at the Soup Kitchen was that it was a park. Chelsea Park is located across the street 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. There is a whole separate park behind that corner.

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).

I walked past Chelsea Park on the way to Tenth Avenue and walked all along the borders of the park. The park is becoming a homeless encampment. I have not seen anything like this since Mayor Guiliani closed Thompkins Square Park in the East Village and then fenced it off to the homeless and renovated it. There were people sleeping all over the place even by the small playground that the kids were playing in. It really is beginning to show the state of the City now. The bathrooms were even locked to the patrons.

The track area was pretty much empty and what was really a shocker is how the neighborhood again changes at the Tenth Avenue border. This part of the neighborhood has gotten extremely expensive that was documented in the documentary “Class Divide” on the changes of the neighborhood due to the Highline.

“Class Divide” by HBO. The sound is muted but you can see it with subtitles

On the other side of Chelsea Park is some of the newest and most expensive real estate in Manhattan, a lot due to the Highline. The Highline is an elevated walkway that starts on West 30th Street and extends to West 19th Street and has in recent years set the tone for this part of the neighborhood.

The Highline Park was created from a remnant of the former New York Central railroad spur that was elevated above the roads below. In 2006, there was a neighborhood effort to save it and create an urban park. Now the 1.45-mile park supplies an elevated greenery above the neighborhood which has created expensive real estate on all sides of the park (Wiki).

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/the-high-line

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

The Highline Park was designed by James Corner Field Operations, Piet Oudolf and Diller, Scofidio and Renfro.

As I passed the Highline Park, I passed the most unusually designed building at 520 West 28th Street. The building is a residential complex known as the Zaha Hadid Building after the architect who designed it Zaha Hadid. It was one of her only residential complexes that she designed and one of the last buildings she created before her death. The building is designed with curvilinear geometric motifs (Wiki).

520 West 28th Street-The Zaha Hadid Building (Streeteasy.com)

https://streeteasy.com/building/520-west-28th-by-zaha-hadid

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/520_West_28th_Street

https://www.zaha-hadid.com/design/520-west-28th-street/

You will be passing a lot of construction going on by the time you get to Twelve Avenue. Buildings are being renovated and rebuilt and all new buildings are popping up on the edge of this now very trendy neighborhood. What was once dock yards and parking lots is becoming high end office buildings for “Silicon Alley” as the Tech industry is called in New York City.

At the end of the block is Hudson River Park, a strip of green park created on this side of Manhattan under the Bloomberg Administration (God are we now missing those years!). This little strip of park at the end of West 28th Street has some interesting views of Edgewater, NJ. The afternoon I visited the park, there were a few joggers and dog walkers making their way through the park. The strip gets smaller along Twelve Avenue until you walk to about West 42nd Street by the Circle Line boat ride.

As you enter the park, there is a very unusual set of sculptures entitled ‘Two Too Large Tables’ by artists Allan and Ellen Wexler. Two Too Large Tables consists of two elements. Each is constructed of brushed stainless steel and Ipe wood.

One piece has thirteen chairs extended up to become columns that raise sixteen square feet plane seven feet off the ground. In the second piece, the same chairs act as supporters to lift a sixteen square feet plane 30 inches off the ground. The first functions as a shade pavilion, the second as a community table. As people sit, they become part of the sculpture. People sitting together, forming unusual pairings because of the chair groupings (Artist bio).

Two Too Large Tables in Hudson River Park (Artist bio)

http://www.allanwexlerstudio.com/projects/two-too-large-tables-2006

Artist Allen Wexler

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

Artist Allen Wexler is an American born artist from Connecticut and studied at Rhode Island School of Design where he received his BFA and BS in Architecture. He studied and earned his MS in Architecture from the Pratt Institute. He is known for his multiple disciplines in art (Wiki).

The trip up Twelve Avenue is less than exciting. There is a tiny strip of park along the river that is mostly behind fencing. On the other side of the street is construction holes and fences from all the planned buildings that will start raising along the avenue.

The one place where there was some action was BLADE Operations at the Hudson River Park where helicopters were flying in. It reminded me of the opening scene of the Peter Bogdanovich film “They All Laughed” that I had just seen at the retrospect of the director’s work at the MoMA.

“They All Laughed” trailer by Peter Bogdanovich is a true Manhattan film

I made the turn down Twelve Avenue and here you have to watch because of the all the construction going on. There is so much building going on along the avenue just watch out for scaffolding and unpassable sidewalks along the Hudson River waterfront.

You will pass some very impressive buildings that are part of New York’s “Silicon Valley” including the well-known Starrett-Lehigh Building that has changed the complexity of the businesses in this neighborhood.

The Starrett-Lehigh Building at 601 West 26th Street

https://starrett-lehigh.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starrett%E2%80%93Lehigh_Building

The building was built and finished in 1931 for the Starrett Corporation and the Leigh Valley Railroad as a freight terminal. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Cory & Cory and in 1998 went through a renovation as a office building. It is currently going through another renovation that will be completed in 2023 (Wiki/Starrett-Leigh website).

As I crossed the street from Hudson River Park, I passed the renovations of Chelsea Waterside Park. This is the park where last year I started “The Great Saunter Walk” last year on the Summer Solstice. The park had a ‘Butterfly Garden’ that people were working the morning that I started the walk. The park is going through a full make over and the plans for it look amazing.

Chelsea Waterside Park at 557 West 23rd Street (Hudson River Park Archives)

The renovations are in the works right now

When you walk through Hudson River Park, it is the nicest place to take a rest and sit under a tree to cool off. The park has the most amazing breezes and views of the river and neighboring New Jersey.

As I was walking around one of the wooded piers admiring the view, I came a across a grouping of stones that looked unusual with the way that they were set. The grouping was a sculpture garden by artist Meg Webster entitled “Stonefield”.

“Stonefield” by artist Meg Webster

This landscape sculpture consists of large stones chosen from quarries in New York State and the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. They were selected for their special shapes and unusual sculptural qualities. Some are colorful, some are concave, some craggy, one is very tall. The artist views each stone as special and arranged each to showcase its unique characteristics and individual “being-ness” (Hudson River Park.com).

Artist Meg Webster

http://megwebsterstudio.com/

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

Ms. Webster is an American born artist who has a BA from Old Dominion University and MFA from Yale University. She works with natural materials such as salt, sand and earth known for her Post-Minimalism and the Land Art Movement. She is known for her sculpture and installation work (Wiki).

Artist Meg Webster talks about her artwork

As you pass the fencing of the renovations, watch out for the traffic with its lots of busses, cars and bicyclists. It is almost as if no one sees traffic lights or pedestrians. Look both ways when you cross from the park to West 23rd Street.

West 23rd Street is a combination of new construction and historic buildings showing how the neighborhood is transitioning but with a historic element. Not only a residential but interesting commercial strip with engaging shops and very reasonable restaurants and take-out places. It is a real New York neighborhood.

Between Twelve and Eleventh Avenues, you are seeing the development around the High Line Park. All the new modern structures are being built around the pathway park which is influencing this part of the neighborhood.

When you reach between Tenth and Ninth Avenues, you arrive at the brownstones of the Chelsea Historic District, which was once part of the Captain Thomas Clarke estate that was separated into townhouse lots that have been changed and altered since the original parcels were created in 1835. His descendant, Clement Clarke Moore, created the neighborhood plots for the townhouses.

The creation of the neighborhood of “Chelsea” from the Captain Thomas Clarke Estate

The official Historic District

Author Clement Clarke Moore

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

You can read about this more on my blog ‘Day One Hundred and Thirty-Four: Victorian Christmas Tour Walking the Ladies Shopping Mile’:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/8713

This block of the neighborhood is a combination of interesting stone townhouses on one side of West 23rd Street and the other side of the street is turn of the last century apartment buildings. When you are walking west towards the Hudson River, take the time to admire these last 19th Century buildings. The official historic district does start one block below on West 22nd Street.

Once you cross over Eighth Avenue, the rest of the street is a combination of commercial businesses with a mixture of residential either on top or to the side of these establishments. What I love about Chelsea is that it is a treasure trove of reasonable restaurants that dot the street all the way to Sixth Avenue.

Just off the corner of Eighth Avenue is Lions & Tigers & Squares at 268 West 23rd Street, which has the best Detroit style pizza that I have tasted in New York City. The sauce and cheese are baked into the sides of their pizza, and they really load down on the toppings.

Lions & Tigers & Squares at 268 West 23rd Street

https://www.lionsandtigersandsquares.com/

Don’t miss their sausage or pepperoni pizza which has a heavy covering of spicy sliced pepperoni and the sweet sausage that is topped with maple syrup. Their pizza has a crisp outside and a pillowy inside.

The Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza here is just excellent

Just next to Lions & Tigers & Squares is Lucky’s Famous Burgers at 264 West 23rd Street. This amazing little restaurant serves the best burgers and chicken fingers. Their French Fries come in a little sack that can serve two people.

Lucky’s Famous Burgers at 264 West 23rd Street

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

When I had lunch there recently when I was finishing my walk around West Chelsea/Hudson Yards, I had the juiciest twin Cheeseburgers and a bag of fries. Their burgers are so fresh and well-cooked and topped with lots of fresh vegetables. They are so well caramelized on the outside that the burgers have such a good flavor when combined with the toppings.

The Mini Cheeseburgers with fries are excellent at Lucky’s Famous Burgers

In between the blocks there was some unique buildings that stood out amongst the more modern apartment and post WWII buildings. Tucked in here and there are traces of the Victorian past of the neighborhood.

At 244 West 23rd Street is a beautifully embellished building in brick and cream colors was built in 1900 by developer Isidor Hoffstadt. Decorations of garlands adorn the windows and top of the building and some of the upper floor windows are surrounded by archways. It now contains twelve lofts with multiple bedrooms (Daytonian in Manhattan).

244 West 23rd Street is amazingly detailed

https://streeteasy.com/building/244-west-23-street-new_york

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2012/05/sports-film-history-and-modeled-clay.html

A few doors down are one of the most famous hotels still under scaffolding after a few years of renovations. The Chelsea Hotel at 222 West 23rd Street was built between 1883 and 1885 and was designed by architect Philip Hubert from the firm of Hubert, Pirrson & Company. The hotel is designed in the Queen Anne Revival with a combination of American Gothic (Wiki).

The hotel had originally opened as a cooperative and a home to artists and members of the theater community, but the concept changed in 1905 when it reopened as a hotel. The hotel has gone through several management changes over the years. In early 2022, the Chelsea Hotel reopened again as a hotel when the interior renovations were finished.

Hotel Chelsea at 222 West 23rd Street (Wiki)

https://hotelchelsea.com/

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

What has made the Hotel Chelsea so famous over the years are the artists and theater people who have lived at the hotel over the years and have used the hotel for their own creativity. Music, books, movies and story lines have been written here over the years by some of the most creative minds in history.

The hotel was a catalyst for the creative set. Notable famous residents included Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsberg, and Joseph O’ Neil, who when living here with his family was influenced by the hotel when he wrote ‘Neverland’. Film stars including Dennis Hopper, Elliot Gould and Warhol star Edie Sedwick had stayed at the hotel at various times. Musicians and singers Madonna and Janis Joplin both resided in the hotel and Sid Vicious’s girlfriend, Nancy Spungen was found stabbed (Wiki).

On the corner of Eighth Avenue are three restaurants I have noted many times in this blog for either their creative cooking or their cheap eats. These are real neighborhood restaurants.

The first one being Chelsea Papaya at 171 West 23rd Street, which was the starting point when I had breakfast last summer when I started “The Great Saunter” walk on Father’s Day. The breakfasts here are just amazing. The pancake platter was out of this world and their breakfast sandwich Bacon Egg and Cheese was delicious.

Chelsea Papaya at 171 West 23rd Street is great for all meals

https://www.chelseapapayany.com/

Next door to it is Pizza Gaga at 171 West 23rd Street for $1.50 slices and $1.00 cans of soda. This is my ‘go-to’ place when I need a quick snack and then need to dash on the subway to go somewhere else.

The cheese pizza at Pizza Gaga at 171 West 23rd Street is really good

https://www.pizzagagamenu.com/

A few doors down is Excellent Dumpling House at 165 West 23rd Street. I have only eaten there once but the food was pretty good that evening, but it still warrants a second trip because the raving that it got online did not live up to the hype of the food. The Soup Dumplings I had that night were large but did not have that much flavor.

Excellent Dumpling House at 165 West 23rd Street

https://excellentdumpling.nyc/

At the corner of the neighborhood on Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street at 100 West 23rd Street is the second Macy’s Department Store building. This was on the very edge of the Ladies Shopping Mile that once stretched along Sixth Avenue.

The building was built in 1871 and you can see all the elaborate embellishments on it with interesting stone carvings and elegant window design and some wrought iron details on different parts of the building. It was the last location of the store before it moved to its current location at 151 West 34th Street.

100 West 23rd Street (Renthop.com) is an old Macy’s

https://www.renthop.com/building/100-west-23rd-street-new-york-ny-10011

At almost the very corner of the block and hidden behind some scaffolding at 119 West 23rd Street is the Poster House Museum. This interesting museum I had never noticed before on my many trips walking down West 23rd Street.

The Poster House at 119 West 23rd Street

The Poster House is a small museum dedicated to the impact, culture and design of the poster (Museum website) and the first museum in the United States that focuses on posters. I recently attended three exhibitions at the museum including “The Utopian Avante-Guard: Soviet Film Posters of the 1920’s” that included many Silent Film posters.

The “Utopian Avante-Guard: Soviet Film Posters of the 1920’s” exhibition

When you walk up Sixth Avenue, which Chelsea shares with the border of NoMAD (North of Madison Sqaure Park) was once the Flower District. This part of Manhattan used to be lined with whole vendors up and down the Avenue. When I was working at Macy’s in the early 1990’s, most of this neighborhood was rezoned for residential. Practically every block from West 35th to West 23rd Street was knocked down and rebuilt with new apartment buildings. So, the character of the neighborhood changes until you walk the side streets.

The edges of Chelsea share the border of what’s left of the Flower District, NoMad and Koreatown so when you turn the corner of Sixth Avenue to walk down West 28th Street, you walk right into what is left of the old Flower District. I walked from one side of West 28th to the other and made it back to Holy Apostles to go to the bathroom and then headed back down West 28th Street to sees sites and stores that I had visited when walking the neighborhood when exploring NoMad.

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. Since my initial trip almost two years ago, the entire block between Eighth and Seventh Avenue has been rebuilt with new buildings and the few remaining older buildings have been renovated for business offices.

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 (See my review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com). 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.

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.

When I finished the walking the borders of the neighborhood, I doubled back to outside the Fashion Institute of Technology and took the subway to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden to see the Crawford Rose Garden which was in full bloom. All the flowers have been blooming two weeks in advance and with a series of rainstorms on the way I wanted to see the roses before the knocked all the petals off like it did with the Cherry Blossoms.

I took the 45-minute trip to the Gardens and walked around the rose garden, admiring the flowers colors and smells. The Cranford Rose Garden is one of the oldest sections of the Gardens and when they are in full bloom, they are just amazing to look at and wonder around. This is why you have to see them before the rains come. Roses have about a two-week blooming cycle.

The Cranford Rose Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

https://www.bbg.org/collections/gardens/rose_garden

After walking all over the rose garden, I explored the rest of gardens, admiring the Children’s Garden with all its plantings and the beauty of the Japanese Gardens even after the Cherry Blossoms were gone. You never tire of these gardens.

The heat had been getting to me all day and it was 93 degrees when I got to the gardens. When I reached the Cherry Blossom Tree lawn, I just stopped and laid down on the grass and just relaxed. I ended up falling asleep under one of the trees and just relaxed for an hour. I was exhausted from a long week.

After I left the gardens for the afternoon, I headed to Chinatown for a quick dinner. I have been watching all thirteen episodes of the Fung Brothers “Cheap Chinatown Eats” videos and I remembered this restaurant their friend mentioned on Catherine Street on the outskirts of Chinatown, more in the Three Bridges neighborhood, Shun Wei at 45 Catherine Street. So, I decided to go there.

Cheap Chinatown Eats Part 9 that mentions Shun Wei

By the time I got to Chinatown from Brooklyn, it was rather late in the day, so I ordered my meal and ate it in the park across the street. Sounds innocent enough but I could see the underlining stares that I got from the restaurant owners, patrons and patrons in the park.

I went to Shun Wei which had been mentioned in the “Chinatown Cheap Eats” video and I thought why not give it a try? I had passed the place many times when I was eating at Catherine Deli right next door (See review on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com), so I gave it a try.

New Shun Wei at 45 Catherine Street

https://www.shunweinyc.com/

I did not want to order Chicken Wings but when I walked in there was a picture in the front window of a Boneless Roast Pork with Roast Pork Fried Rice and an Egg Roll for $9.95 and it looked really good. I also ordered a side of Fried Dumplings. So, I ordered that and waited for my order. The one thing about the restaurant is that it is located across the street from the Alfred E. Smith Houses and the Hamilton-Madison Houses and caters to the people who live there.

The Roast Pork with Pork Fried Rice was delicious

As I waited for my order to come out, I could see slight stares from the cooks making my food and from the other customers who walked in to get their orders. I guess people had not seen a 6:3 guy before. I just ignored it all and went to Alfred E Smith Park across the street from the restaurant to eat my meal. I figured with all the families in the playground and people sitting on the benches, there would not be any problems.

I noticed the same thing again. It was like I could see out of the corner of my eye people were doing their best in the park not to look at me, but I could see the subtle stares. I just enjoyed my dinner and watched it get darker in the park. I have to tell you that I really enjoyed the food, and they gave you plenty of it. I was stuffed when I was finished and even had to bring the egg roll home with me.

After dinner, I left the park and toured around Chinatown and its fringes. It is really getting scary that even before I went to Shun Wei most of the restaurants were half full or the ones on the fringes were almost empty on a Tuesday night. As I passed through East Broadway, Henry Street, Division Street and then walked up Elridge Street and then crossed onto Canal Street and walked back into Chinatown. At 9:00pm, everything was shutting down for the evening. I can see what the pandemic has done to this neighborhood.

Some of these restaurants used to closed at 11:00pm and some to even 2:00am to cater to the restaurant workers getting off. With more restaurants closing and “For Rent” signs in the windows, I can see the trickle-down effect of all of this. That and all the galleries moving into former restaurant and market spots, I have a feeling it will be in the near future we will be calling this “NoLoChi”, No Longer Chinatown.

As I said before, Manhattan just keeps morphing.

See my other blogs on Walking North Chelsea/Flower District:

Day Two Hundred and Thirty Seven: Walking the Borders of North Chelsea/Flower District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24014

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Eight: Walking the Avenues of North Chelsea/Flower District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24140

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Nine: Walking the Streets of North Chelsea/Flower District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24212

Places to Visit:

Hudson River Park

Runs Along the Hudson River from West 72nd to West 23rd Streets

New York, NY 10001

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

https://www.facebook.com/HudsonRiverPark

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d4545669-Reviews-Hudson_River_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

990 Washington Avenue

Brooklyn, NY  11225

(718) 623-7210

http://www.bbg.org

Open:  Sunday and Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Friday 8:00am-6:00pm

Admission: Depending on the time of year/please check the website

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60827-d103900-Reviews-Brooklyn_Botanic_Garden-Brooklyn_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2785

Places to Eat:

Lucky’s Famous Burgers

370 West 52nd Street/264 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10019/10011

(212) 247-6717/(212) 242-4900

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

https://www.facebook.com/luckysfamousburgers/

Open: Sunday-Wednesday 11:00am-1:00am/Thursday 11:00am-3:00am/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-4:30am

My review on TripAdvisor for West 52nd Street:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d946855-Reviews-Lucky_s_Famous_Burgers-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2471

Lions & Tigers & Squares

268 West 23rd Street

New York, NY  10011

(917) 271-6772

http://www.lionsandtigersandsquares.com

Open: Sunday-Saturday-11:00am-4:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d14124878-Reviews-Lions_Tigers_Squares_Detroit_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com”

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/766

Chelsea Papaya

171 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 352-9060

https://www.chelseapapayany.com/

Open: Sunday 10:30am-11:00pm/Monday-Wednesday 10:15am-11:00pm/Thursday-Saturday 10:15am-4:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4812637-Reviews-Chelsea_Papaya-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2267

Pizza Gaga

171 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 937-0358

https://www.pizzagagamenu.com/

https://www.pizzagagamanhattan.com/

Open: Sunday 12:30pm-7:30pm/Monday-Wednesday 10:30am-8:30pm/Thursday-Saturday 10:30am-4:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d4870097-r841023222-Pizza_Gaga-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Excellent Dumpling House

165 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 989-8885

https://excellentdumpling.nyc/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-9:45pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d13007843-Reviews-Excellent_Dumpling_House-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

New Shun Wei Chinese Restaurant

45 Catherine Street

New York, NY 10038

(212) 964-7590

https://www.shunweinyc.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d4277286-r841015410-Shun_Wei_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Three Walking the Streets of the Lower Part of the Hudson Yards/West Chelsea from West 33rd to West 29th Streets between Ninth and Twelve Avenues April 18th, 2022

I have never dodged so much construction before. There are so many streets that you cannot walk down, or you were crossing streets with traffic going to the Lincoln Tunnel buzzing at you. As I have mentioned in many of my blogs, walking through this part of the Hudson Yards/West Chelsea is not for the faint hearted.

If you do walk through this neighborhood, you will be surprised by all the beautiful shiny, new and innovative buildings that you will see, new parks developing, interesting street art and of course the Highline. They are a lot of things to see and do that is tucked in new buildings and the brand-new Hudson Yards mall. That itself is fun to explore. The problem with walking the streets is that the place is one giant construction site, or you are walking through “The Shops at Hudson Yards” to get from one side of the site to the other. This is definitely a neighborhood of the future that will not be finished for a while.

The Map of the “Hudson Yards”

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/directory-map

I started my walk after a long morning at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen where I have been volunteering now for almost twenty years (has it been that long?). I took almost two years off as the buffet concept is now gone and we are now packing 750 snack packs to go along with the takeout hot meals we serve. It has amazed me how we have gone from serving about 1300 meals a day to now over 2000 meals. The need has gotten bigger in New York City as it is still struggling from the pandemic.

Walking down West 33rd Street from Ninth to Twelve Avenues was the easiest part of the journey. This part of the Hudson Yards has been completed but there is still some work being done of buildings on both sides so watch the equipment and the construction workers walking around.

To one side of West 33rd is Bella Abzug Park, where there was a festival and food trucks and carts all around for workers and tourists. I walked through Bella Abzug Park, which was being partially renovated at the time and walked through the three sections from block to block. Part of the park is being renovated but the other parts look like they are ready to open in the warmer weather with cafes and seating. The park spreads over three blocks that are fully landscaped.

Bella Abzug Park with the Hudson Yards rising like Oz in the background during the summer months (NYCParks.org). The park was named after famous activist and politician Bella Abzug.

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

To other side is the entrance to “The Shops at Hudson Yards”, an upscale shopping mall with high end stores and restaurants. On the weekends, the mall is mobbed with tourists and locals enjoying the shopping experience and dining in the restaurants. During the week on a gloomy day, the place was practically empty with bored salespeople looking out the glass partitions of the stores. I never saw a mall so empty.

During the week when I was walking around the complex, there was a lot going on. On a sunny weekend afternoon, the Vessel Park area is packed with people taking pictures and milling around the mall but when it rains during the week, the area is like a ghost town. The Hudson Yards neighborhood is still developing and trying to find its identity. Once people really start moving into this neighborhood, it will start to develop its character and not just be a ‘tourist destination.

The Shops at the Hudson Yards (The Shops at Hudson Yards)

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/shop

I walked all around the first floor of the mall and admired all the upscale stores in the area like Cartier, Tiffany and Louis Vuitton. The security is heavy at these stores with all the recent robberies of merchants like this all over the country. I have not seen as much of this to that scale since the riots in June of 2020. Still security watches everyone.

Walking back around the site, you will be dodging more construction and scaffolding then you are used to in a neighborhood but the results are all these gleaming new innovative looking buildings. It is nice to see so much interesting and unusual architecture in one spot. On a nice sunny afternoon, its nice to walk along the paths of flowers but on a rainy day it loses its appeal.

Walking down West 32nd Street poses many difficulties considering that it pretty much disappears after Seventh Avenue. Now you will walk through courtyards and buildings and pass stores and restaurants in the new Hudson Yards complex. Detouring off Ninth Avenue, you will walk through One Manhattan West building complex and the elaborate Citrovia complex

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” or “Wonderland” 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)

I walked through the complex as people were coming and going into the local Whole Foods that is located inside. I have to say that I am very impressed by this store. It is so nicely set up and the front section has a whole prepared food section with soups, salads and entrees and baked goods to the side. There are places to sit down both inside and out and on a nice day there is quite a few by the Highline.

Throughout the complex there are a series of expensive sit-down restaurants that were busy during lunch hour and there were tourists milling around taking pictures with the giant lemons. It was an interesting mix of people. You have to cut through the complex to get back The Shoppes at the Hudson Yards before you come out at the entrance of Hudson Boulevard where the Vessel is located and the gardens and benches that surround it.

I passed the Equinox Hotel at 33 Hudson Yards and was faced with the most colorful and creative mural that looked like it was expressing groups of people and the way they live. You really have to walk around the hotel to see the whole work, but the affect is amazing. I found out later this painting was American artist Elle Street Art called “HYxOffTheWall”.

Elle Street Art explains her mural at the Hudson Yards

She wanted to reflect the neighborhood and the diversity of the City. She really wanted to show the positive part of the heart of New York City.

Artist Elle Street Art in front of her work

https://www.ellestreetart.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ELLEStreetArt/

Elle is a New York based Street/Graffiti artist known for her bold statements. She started out as an illegal graffiti artist and over time has built a reputation as one of the top touring street artists which has led to commercial works seen all over the world (Artist bio).

Next to the hotel in the same courtyard where the rest of the Hudson Yards surrounds is the impressive “Vessel” work, one of the cornerstone designs of the Hudson Yards and a signature building. It sits like an impressive statue in the middle of a group of skyscrapers.

The Vessel was designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick in a honeycomb like structure that consists of sixteen stories, a hundred and fifty-four flights of stairs, twenty-five hundred steps and eighty landings to stop at and observe the view. It is known as TKA (Temporarily Known As) for the structure’s name (Wiki). The structure was opened in 2016 and has recently closed for viewing because of visitor issues.

The Vessel at 20 Hudson Yards

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/discover/vessel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vessel_(structure)

I walked around the complex to admire the structure and look at its beauty. It has such unusual look to it almost like a puzzle that is opening up to the sky. It looks like it shot up from the ground which is what makes it so unique.

Architect Thomas Heatherwick describing “The Vessel”

When returning to Ninth Avenue and walking back down West 31st Street, you pass all these complexes again from the outside. You have to walk around the complex again, walking down West 30th Street to Eleventh Avenue where the West Side Yard is located with trains awaiting their next trip. The yard spreads from Eleventh to Twelve Avenues and trust me, when you walk along Twelve Avenue all you will see is parking lots and fencing protecting the yards. Not the most exciting site.

West 30th Street offers it share of challenges being the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel. You can’t just walk down this street without being hit by a car. I dodged everything from cars to bicycles to buses making a dash down the street. The right side is all construction and parked cars and the tunnel itself and PLEASE don’t attempt to walk down this street.

As you pass under all the scaffolding of the post office between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, there is an interesting plaque that could be easily missed as marking the spot of the Hudson River Railroad Station where President Lincoln left as the first passenger on his way to his inauguration. He left here in his funeral train four years later back to Springfield, Illinois. I thought it interesting but spooky at the same time. Life offers such strange situations.

The Hudson River Railroad Plaque

I think this plaque is almost symbolic to how dangerous this section of the neighborhood is with it dangerous streets and comings and goings. This changes though as you come to Tenth Avenue.

Under the underpass, you will a well landscaped garden that leads to the entrance of the Highline Park walkway. This beautiful path leads under the overpass to West 29th Street is lined with colorful flowers and bushes. It is a nice place to take a break from all the craziness of construction and traffic.

As I walked into the Hudson Yards complex again, I stopped through “The Shed” building to see what was inside. It looked like an interesting present that had been wrapped from the outside. Inside was a small restaurant and a bookstore.

The security guard gave me a strange look as I asked for directions to get to the other side, and I walked up a staircase to the other side of the building. This lead back to the Hudson Yards courtyard with the Vessel in front of me. Right now, there was not much inside, but this will become a premier arts center in the future.

The Shed at 545 West 30th Street

https://theshed.org/

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/discover/shed

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shed_(arts_center)

The building was designed by architects Diller Scofidio+Renfro and the Rockwell group. It is such an interesting piece of architecture with its unique and challenging design and its beauty as you walk around it. You would never know all this from what I saw in two hallways and a staircase. It will be thrilling to see a performance here.

https://dsrny.com/project/the-shed

https://theshed.org/about/building

Once you cross onto Eleventh Avenue again, you face the Westside Yards and a lot of fencing. I wonder if the complex is going to cover this up as well to build more buildings. It is amazing what is being built on top of railyards. It just goes to show in the ingenuity that can be created by a group of architects and engineers.

Walking back and down West 29th Street is an adventure into itself as you walk under the building that holds a branch of the post office and this place is always busy. You are dodging trucks leaving and security that is all over the place. There is a lot of action between Ninth and Tenth Avenues so again watch yourself as you are crossing the street.

On top of all the construction going on the street, there are a few small gems hidden in the corners that you have to admire. The little garden under overpass of the Highline is a painting by artist Kelsey Montague entitled “What lifts you” that is painted on the side of the building next to the Highline pathway. It is easier to view when you walk the Highline from above.

Kelsey Montague’s “What Lifts You” on the Highline is so spellbinding (Kelsey Montague website)

Her works are really uplifting and show the spirit of the City. She puts all sorts of symbols that are unique to New York City (artist video). I find the work to be whimsical and fun. It is hard to see has there was scaffolding in front of the work and had to visit the internet to find a full version of it.

Artist Kelsey Montague (artist website)

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

https://www.facebook.com/kelseymontagueart

Kelsey Montague is an American born artist known for interactive art and illustrations. She studied art in Florence and graduated from Richmond University in London with a degree in Art, Design & Media.

https://kelseymontagueart.com/

The artist explains and shows her works:

What inspires the artist and her team:

After admiring the art from the street, I decided to take the stairs up to the Highline and see it from the top. From what I could see, it looked like a fun piece of art and showed the artist’s personality of bringing people together.

I travelled down the Highline for a few blocks and then exited around West 23rd Street and decided I was hungry. It was getting later in the afternoon, and I was not sure what I was in the mood for lunch.

Tiring of pizza, I stopped at Lucky’s Famous Burgers at 264 West 23rd Street for lunch. The place was full of delivery guys who were talking amongst themselves in Spanish when I walked in and then they went quiet. I ordered from the front and sat near the TV.

Lucky’s Famous Burgers at 264 West 23rd Street

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

I thought I was more in the mood for a snack and ordered the two-cheeseburger meal with fries and it was lunch for two people. Each cheeseburger was topped with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and was the size of most places’ normal burgers. They give you a bag of fries that is almost a half-pound of freshly cooked fries and then I go for the constant refills of the delicious Boyland sodas.

The burgers here are so juicy (Lucky’s Famous Burgers)

After lunch, I decided to walk around the Hudson Yards one more time and soak up the architecture of this strange new land developing on the west side of Manhattan and take it all in. Once all the scaffolding is down and the buildings are all finished, this is going to be one special neighborhood that will take its place in the annals of unique Manhattan neighborhoods.

On another trip to revisit the neighborhood, I visited Stick to my Pot Potstickers at 224 West 35th Street for lunch. Don’t miss this little hole in the wall in the Garment District that caters to the garment workers as it does tourists. Their dumplings, scallion pancakes and spring rolls are all terrific. Don’t miss the Mochi cakes for dessert.

Don’t miss the dumplings that are freshly made in front of you at Stick to my Pot Potsticker at 224 West 35th Street

There will be more changes in the future.

Please read my other blogs on walking the Lower Part of the Hudson Yards/West Chelsea:

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Eight-Walking the Borders of the Lower Hudson Yards/West Chelsea:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/22870

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Walking the Avenues of the Lower Hudson Yards/West Chelsea:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/23048

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Three-Walking the Streets of the Lower Hudson Yards/West Chelsea:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/23130

These will show you the constant changes in the neighborhood.

Places to Eat:

Lucky’s Famous Burgers

264 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 242-4900

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

http://www.luckysfamousburgers23rdst.com/

Open: Sunday-Wednesday 11:00am-11:00pm/Thursday-Saturday 11:00am-12:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d946855-Reviews-Lucky_s_Famous_Burgers-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2471

Stick to my Pot Potstickers

224 West 35th Street

New York, NY 10001

(646) 822-2003

https://www.sticktomypot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sticktomypot/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d16882048-Reviews-Stick_To_My_Pot_Potstickers-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Places to Visit:

The Hudson Yards complex (rather than mentioning all the spots individually)

Between West 33rd and West 30th Streets between Ninth and Eleventh Avenues

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/

Day Two-Hundred and Thirty-Two Visiting Washington DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival April 15th and 16th, 2022

Well after seven years of trying to get to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival I finally got down to the city to get to the tidal basin to see the display. It looks like it will be eight years as almost all the cherry blossoms disappeared almost two weeks earlier. All the leaves were long gone and as I overheard another tourist say to a friend that she was disappointed that she had not known and most of the trees were bare.

The festival was in its second week and most of the trees had gone green. I found out later from the Internet that they peaked on March 21st and right after that we had all that rain. It probably knocked the petals off after that.

The festival ran through April 16th, 2022 (the peak of the blooms was March 21st)

It was bummer in that I finally had a free weekend open to visit Washington DC and I had been looking forward to seeing Mother Nature’s show. I even took an early Amtrak train down to DC so that I could spend time in the Basin area when I arrived. The sun does not go down until 7:30pm now (which is a pleasure).

The trip down by train was nice as I love taking my time and just watching everything fly by. The train was packed. I kept forgetting that it was the start of the Easter weekend and people were starting their holiday travel plus for some schools it was Spring Break and college students were coming on the train loaded with luggage. The train was almost completely sold out.

Union Station was a shocker. I had not been in DC since the summer of 2019 when I went down for my Georgetown interview. The station was buzzing with commuters milling around the station and workers coming in during their lunch and dinner hours to enjoy the restaurants and shopping in the terminals. Union Station had a nice selection of restaurants and boutiques to visit, and it was a nice place to spend the afternoon.

Union Station in DC at 50 Massachusetts Avenue

https://www.unionstationdc.com/

The place looked like a ghost town when I arrived. The terminal was busy but not like it used to be and so many businesses closed. The lower-level restaurant food court was practically empty. That was really spooky. There was two people downstairs in the about four restaurants open and one was a homeless guy. I could not believe what COVID did to the station.

Still, it was a beautiful day and I decided to walk up First Street to my hotel. I was staying at the Marriott Courtyard DC in the NoMA section of DC (North of Massachusetts Avenue-Frah Frah) and it was only about a twenty minute walk for me. I could not believe how quiet DC was at the time. It was late afternoon and the only people that I saw on the streets were the security guards guarding the buildings. It looked like everyone had left DC for the holidays.

The Marriott Courtyard DC/Capital Building at 1325 Second Street NE

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/wasus-courtyard-washington-dc-us-capitol/

I was able to check into my room early, unpacked and off I went down New York Avenue to downtown. My first stop was Chinatown because I was starved, and I needed the late lunch. Downtown DC is one of the places in the core of the city that really has kept its architecture intact and has lots of character. On D, F and G Streets lots of older buildings from the post-Civil War era to the end of the Victorian Age and the facades now been incorporated into new buildings.

F Street from the White House to the arena used to be the old shopping district up until the 1990’s and you can still see the ghosts of Garfinckel’s, Woodward & Linthrop and Hecht’s Department stores in the architecture of these former grand department stores.

Garfinckel’s Department Store was the inspiration for my novel “Love Triangles”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garfinckel%27s

http://www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org/2010/05/julius-garfinckel-co.html

Sadly, though when the arena was built, it pretty much knocked down the core of Chinatown and what is left now is about five restaurants, a small grocery store, tea shop and a gift shop that I am not sure whether it is open or not. There are still a few hangers on that give it some character but it’s not like the Chinatown’s in New York or Philadelphia.

There is one restaurant I still love going to when I am in DC, and I always visit it for sentimental reasons and that’s Chinatown Express Restaurant at 746 Sixth Street NW (see my review on TripAdvisor). I discovered the place several years ago when I was on a location search for my novel “Love Triangles” (Day One Hundred and Fifty-Two: Reading the Prologue of the Novel “Love Triangles”):

The entrance to the former Julius Garfinckel & Company: The inspiration for the novel “Love Triangles”. The entrance is on F Street in Downtown DC.

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/10803

What attracted me to Chinatown Express then as now was the cooks are always making homemade dumplings and noodles in the window of the restaurant. One of the owner’s was making pulled noodles on my first trip there and then after that I was always looking for the chef making the pulled noodles.

The last time I saw him was when I went down for my Georgetown interview. On this trip, I saw who I assumed was his kid’s wrapping dumplings in the window and I had to have some of those.

Not really looking at the menu, I ordered Pan-Fried Pork and Chive Dumplings and Fresh Pulled Noodle Soup with Roast Pork, all of which is made inhouse. What a lunch! The dumplings were crisp and tender on the outside and a well-spiced pork mixture on the inside. This was made even better by the soy sauce mixture that I dipped them in.

The Pulled Noodle Soup had a nice rich chicken broth as a base with large slices of roast pork, fresh Bok choy and long strands of freshly made noodles in the soup. The soup was a meal onto itself. I slurped the soup with the noodles being sucked up at the same time. The roast pork had a nice, sweet glaze on top and they gave me a lot of it. The soup warmed me up and filled me up after a long journey.

Chinatown Express at 746 6th Street NW

https://www.chinatownexpressdc.com/

After lunch was over, I had a lot more energy and ready to tour DC. I headed down to the Washington Mall to see the Tidal Basin. What a disappointment! The blossoms were over. There were still some trees around the basin that we a certain species of cherry tree that bloom late (these are the ones we are waiting for to bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden) and these were the ones on the fringes of the basin that everyone was taking pictures of with their families. I guess it is another year before I see them again.

This is what it was supposed to look like but didn’t (Wiki)

https://www.nps.gov/articles/dctidalbasin.htm

All the trees around the basin had flowered and dropped their petals. There were a few bunches of late bloomers here and there in groups that my fellow tourists huddled around to take pictures. It was pretty sad because the DC Cherry Blossom Festival was in its second week and the blossoms had bloomed already. Mother Nature had the last laugh!

Still the trees were bursting with green leaves and the start of summer looked like it was upon us. It seems that everything was growing two weeks in advance even up by me and it looked like late Spring all over the Washington Mall. The paths were full of people looking at the trees making the same comments that I did about the leaves. I have to say that the tourists have come back. I heard many languages being spoken as I walked to the Jefferson Memorial on the other side of the basin and people were taking pictures of everything. It was nice to see DC busy and full of people all over the Mall.

The Jefferson Memorial was being repaired but still impressive and makes a statement when you walk around the structure. You can see all the quotes that spoken carved in the walls and reading them I was wondering how far we have come as a society with everything going on today. I had to dodge construction and people taking pictures in every direction.

The Jefferson Memorial at 16 East Basin Drive

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

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

I walked back to the patches of flowering cherry trees and the groups of people huddled around them desperate to show in picture the beauty of the trees. I have to admit that these patches of trees around the Washington Monument were very impressive.

The Washington Monument at 15th Street NW when I visited in 2007

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

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

I stopped for a while, bought a Coke from a vendor selling beverages all over the Mall and sat on the lawn and just relaxed and watched the sun set. Groups of families were sitting on the lawn, chatting, laughing and taking pictures. It was nice to see people again visiting the country and enjoying the city.

As I left the Mall lawn, I walked back into the downtown area. I stopped by the Portrait Gallery, but they were closed for the evening. Outside the Portrait Gallery, they were having one of the Cherry Blossom Street events with food vendors, musicians, people playing video games on the big screen and then they showed a Japanese cartoon film. There was a food vendor named Miguel’s Miniatures, who made homemade empanadas, churros, mini doughnuts and homemade lemonade. The prices were really reasonable.

I ordered the mini doughnuts that were ten for $5.00. These were freshly fried in front of me and then they had a series of glazes in squeeze bottles and sprinkles and candies to top them. It was a really nice concept and the doughnuts hit the spot after a long walk and a good lunch. It was nice to munch away while listening to the music.

As it got dark, I walked back to the hotel to settle in for the night. I have to say that Washington DC is a great walking city. Unlike Manhattan, the streets were really clean and well-groomed, and I did not see the amount of homeless that I would see in New York City. As I walked back up through downtown and up New York Avenue, I just noticed how organized the city seemed. There were a few tent encampments but again they were under overpasses and kept out of view from the rest of the neighborhood.

I walked through most of the Northeast section of the city, just north of New York Avenue and admired all the old town houses. They all look like they had been sandblasted back to like and the fronts of the homes were covered in flowering plants and there were lots of rainbow flags almost showing me the gentrification of the neighborhood.

When I got to around where the hotel was located, I got a little lost and did not realize that there were two First Streets off New York Avenue. I knew that I had not reached the McDonalds that I had passed or some of the street art that I use as a marker to remember where I walked. So, I walked around the block and down another street. That is when the fun began.

I walked down the first First Street and knew I did not recognize anything, so I just walked through this construction site of two new buildings going up and walking through the alley way between both sites and passed a dark church on the side of these construction sites. I thought that might be a good sign. I got to the other side of the street only to walk up a street between the two First Street and more construction only to have a group of 30 bikers without helmets coming at me in each direction.

I was more perplexed on why they were not wearing helmets and doing dangerous wheelies than coming at me in every direction. Even some of the bikers had strange looks on their faces as they surrounded me and went around me. It just said to me “What was I doing there?” and “Who was I?” and they continued to ride down the street and never looked back.

They never came back around to see what I was doing. I ended up in front of a public housing complex where the residents gave me a strange look walking by. Some were trying to hide that they were smoking substances that are no longer illegal.

I just looked back once and then kept walking and found my way back onto New York Avenue, crossed the bridge on the highway and then recognized a piece of art on the street that gave me back my directional sense. I knew my bearings as I crossed over New York Avenue and walked down North Street NE back towards the hotel. It was like another world from the one I just walked through. There I found Menomale Pizza Napoletana NoMA at 35N Street NE.

It was surreal. I felt like I went from one world to another in just a few feet. The restaurant was just going through it first seating and people were leaving. I looked at the menu and decided that I was hungry. That and I did not want to know if I would have enough energy once I got to the hotel to come back, so I entered and got a table. What a wonderful decision.

The menu had a nice selection of appetizers, pizzas, entrees and desserts and I settled on a simple Pizza Margareta ($14.95) with a Coke. I wanted to keep it simple because it was getting late, and I did not want to have to digest a heavy dinner so late at night.

Menomale NoMA at 35 North Street NE

The pizza was excellent with a topping with a fresh tomato sauce with crushed tomatoes and freshly made mozzarella and basil with a little olive oil on top. The pizza was also the right size for one person about the size of a large dinner plate. Being a thin crusted pizza and the dough was light and chewy, it was not difficult to devour the whole pizza. I thought the service was very professional, friendly and personal. Several waiters stopped by my table to see how I was doing. Between the food, atmosphere and service, it was the perfect meal. It ended a very strange walk back to the hotel.

The one thing I have to credit Marriott with is that their beds are super comfortable. I hit the pillow and slept soundly that evening. When I awoke the next day and opened the blinds and let the sunny morning inside the room. I felt so relaxed and not a bit tired from all the walking that I did the day before.

I had a quick breakfast at the McDonald’s around the corner from the hotel and had my usual Sausage with Egg McMuffin combination breakfast. It always hits the spot, but I will be pretty honest. Maybe it was all the walking or just I was hungry, but I needed more even after I left the restaurant.

As I made my way down to the Mall to visit museums, I needed something else to eat. So I stopped at this small Farmers Market on I Street NW right near Milian Park and saw a woman selling empanadas and stopped for one. She said she made them from her mother’s recipes and her breakfast empanada contained Mexican bacon, chorizo, eggs and Chedder cheese. For $4.00, I thought it was a fair price. The same thing in the Farmers Market in Union Square, they would have charged six or seven dollars for the same thing. It was the perfect breakfast accompaniment.

What I liked about DC was things like this. There were small Farmer’s Markets on the side streets, vendors with all sorts of foods all over the Mall and in front of the Portrait Gallery was the Downtown Cherry Blossom Festival with the movies and food. People have been complaining how bad DC has gotten and maybe it was me but in the two days I spent there, I only saw very positive things to participate in.

I finally got to the Hirshhorn Museum at Independence Avenue and 7th Street to see Yayoi Kusama exhibition that I had seen discussed on ‘CBS This Morning’ a couple of weeks earlier.

The Hirshhorn Museum at Independence Avenue and 7th Street (Hirshhorn Museum)

https://www.si.edu/museums/hirshhorn-museum-and-sculpture-garden

This was one of the reasons I had come to DC on top of seeing cherry blossoms that were not there. To my surprise, the museum had been open since 10:00am (I thought it did not open until 11:30am) and then the guy at the door says I needed timed tickets that were distributed starting at 9:00am that morning. He would not budge!

Artist Yayoi Kusama (Wiki)

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

Ms. Kusama is a Japanese born artist who was trained at the Kyoto City University of Arts and is known for Avant-guard works and her later use of polka dots as her trademark.

Video on Ms. Kusama’s work

I went back upstairs to talk to the ladies at the desk and God must have been listening to me because in front of me were two people who did not want to go see the exhibition and I was able to grab one of their tickets. Talk about luck! I hate to say it but the guy at the desk downstairs looked disappointed that he had to let me in.

I swear that the Yayoi Kusama exhibition was well worth the trip down to DC. What an interesting way not only to display art but to be part of the art exhibition as well. The exhibition started with a few larger pieces of her work with lots of polka dots and pumpkins until you got to move to the private rooms where you got to part of the exhibition. This is where it got interesting.

The curator told me that this pumpkin belonged to the museum

I got to walk into her Mirrored Room with here soft sculptures and was left inside by myself for thirty seconds when the door closed. It was amazing and mind-blowing that you could see the repetitiveness of yourself in the artform and got to experience what she had seen as well. All those little red and white soft sculptures all over the floor made you feel like you were in a surreal ‘Wonderland’.

The Mirrored Room at the Hirshhorn Museum was like being in a surreal ‘Wonderland’

After leaving the mirrored room, I passed a through a small walkway and then when entering the next room of polka dot lanterns, it felt like you were walking through some crazy dream. It was so odd and exciting at the same time. It was so thrilling to be part of the artwork. It was like being in a usual funhouse.

The Polka Dot Lantern Room at the Hirshhorn Museum is a colorful ‘funhouse’

The exhibition is so engaging I wanted to walk through it again but the lines to get in when I left were so long that I knew I would not get tickets again. It is an exhibition that was worth the wait and the trip down to DC and I highly recommend it.

After I left the exhibition, I visited the Laurie Anderson exhibition and was again memorized by the lines of flags going up and down like a surrealist dream. Her videos of people sharpening knives was pretty weird as well.

Artist Laurie Anderson (Wiki)

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

Ms. Anderson’s work was just as wild, and she also makes it fun to walk through an exhibition. You become part of the art and that is just as interesting. Ms. Anderson is an American born artist who graduated with a BA from Barnard College and MFA from Columbia University. She is known for her Avant-guard works that spread across many mediums (Wiki).

The Laurie Anderson exhibition “The Weather” was another unusual journey

After spending most of my morning participating in the art of the Hirshhorn Museum, I wanted to walk through the sculpture garden. It was nice to walk amongst the flowers and all the pieces of art.

I knew I would be heading back to Manhattan after I finished at the museums and I stopped for lunch in the Washington Mall, which was line with food trucks. I stopped by a very busy one I had seen the other day called “Ribeye Philadelphia Steak” for a Cheesesteak. I had not had one since I went down to Philly for the Penn/Cornell game.

For $13.00, I got a large Cheesesteak with Wiz and a Coke and ate it on the lawn of the Mall. God, was I in the mood for that Cheesesteak. I felt like I was back at the Reading Terminal Market again. The roll was really fresh and chewy and the steaks were perfectly cooked. They must have made a mistake in the order because I got Provolone inside the roll and Cheese Wiz on top. I didn’t care. The combination was delicious and I just relaxed on the lawn on a sunny afternoon and enjoyed my lunch. Don’t miss this food truck when looking for a meal in the Washington Mall.

I walked past the White House and talk about security. The whole place was cordoned off and security is extremely tight. I had never seen all of this before. For the last twelve years there has been so much craziness with protests and people trying to get into the White House I do not blame them for the security. I have to say one thing, I saw the real FBI guys protecting the perimeter of the area and now understand why people think I look like I am in law enforcement. These guys looked like a younger version of me.

Me in front of the White House in better days in 2007

I walked back to the Downtown area and went to visit The National Portrait Gallery at Eighth and G Street for the “Watergate: Portraiture and Intrigue” exhibition.

The National Portrait Gallery at Eighth and G Street in Downtown Washington DC

https://npg.si.edu/home/national-portrait-gallery

I still remember the Watergate scandal from when I was a kid. The only importance that it had to the nine-year-old me was that all the cartoons and kids programming was cancelled for the hearings. Learning more about the incident in college and from books was how hard this hit the American public and their trust of the government.

National Portrait Gallery exhibition “Watergate: Portraiture and Intrigue” (Time Magazine Cover)

https://npg.si.edu/exhibition/watergate

The exhibition had all sorts of illustrations of the scandal and the people who were participants of it. It was funny to see the names and faces of the people who were involved in this event and know now that most of them are no longer alive to defend themselves. Even though the scandal was seen in the form of illustration, it did make a point into the ramifications of what happens when you get caught.

It was a low point for our country, between that and the ongoing war in Vietnam and inflation, you have an idea of why the country was so cynical. I am convinced this is why the Disco era happened. When it was all over, people needed to blow off steam and have a good time. Plus, the Baby Boomers were coming of age and needed time for themselves before starting a family.

It was funny to see how the artists depicted these important people or people who thought that they were important. It is amazing how fast the mighty can fall fast. It was not until the Reagan Administration that there was some pride back in the country and in some ways that was all a facade as well. It takes an exhibition like this to point that out.

After I toured the exhibition, I toured the Hall of Presidents and saw all the portraits. I saw the portrait of the recent president and listened to the comments that patrons made. They were not all bad and some were quite complimentary. When you are touring this room, you have to remember that everyone is human, and all of these men have made mistakes in the past. Since many people do not know American history or the backgrounds of most of the people in that room, it is hard to comment on.

Before I headed back to the hotel to head home, I stopped in the Downtown Cherry Blossom event they had in front of the National Portrait Gallery and listened to the music again. The kids were playing a video game on the large screen and parents were swinging in the swings by the tables.

I stopped by Miguel’s Mini’s again and had one of his stuffed Churros with Bavarian cream. If you wanted to ever sink your teeth into something delicious, it was a freshly fried Churro filled with fresh vanilla cream. It was decadent and the perfect snack before my long trip home.

I picked my luggage up and walked back down to the train station and just made the 5:00pm train back to New York City. Talk about luck with the last-minute travel plans.

Even though I got to see just a limited version of the Cherry Blossoms in DC it gives me something to shoot for next year. It was a nice two days in the nation’s capital and told me one thing, not everything in Washington DC is all that bad.

You just have to look for the positives and you will find them!

Places to Stay:

Marriott Courtyard DC/US Capital

1325 Second Street NE

Washington DC, 20001

(202) 898-4000

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/wasus-courtyard-washington-dc-us-capitol/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g28970-d1237013-Reviews-Courtyard_by_Marriott_Washington_DC_U_S_Capitol-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html?m=19905

Places to Eat:

Chinatown Express Restaurant

746 Sixth Street NW

Washington DC 20001

(202) 638-0424/638-0425

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

https://www.chinatownexpressdc.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g28970-d450543-Reviews-Chinatown_Express-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html?m=19905

Menomale Pizza Napoletana NoMA

35 North Street NE

Washington DC 20001

(202) 216-0630

https://www.facebook.com/menomaledc

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g28970-d3626008-Reviews-Menomale-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html?m=19905

McDonald’s

75 New York Avenue NE

Washington DC 20002

(202) 381-0900

https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/location/dc/washington/75-new-york-ave-ne/650.html

Open: Sunday-Saturday 24 Hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g28970-d4348371-Reviews-McDonald_s-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html?m=19905

Ribeye Philadelphia Steak

Food Truck on the Washington Mall

Places to Visit:

The Jefferson Memorial

16 East Basin Drive

Washington DC, 20242

(202) 426-6841

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

Open: Sunday-Saturday 24 Hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28970-d103436-Reviews-Jefferson_Memorial-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Independence Avenue and Seventh Street

Washington DC, 20560

(202) 633-1000

Open: Sunday 10:00am-5:30pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-5:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28970-d14202089-Reviews-Hirshorn_Museum_of_Art-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28970-d107886-Reviews-Hirshhorn_Museum_and_Sculpture_Garden-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html

The National Portrait Gallery

Eight and G Streets NW

Washington DC 20001

(202) 633-8300

https://npg.si.edu/home/national-portrait-gallery

Open: Sunday 11:30am-7:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 11:30am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28970-d108423-Reviews-National_Portrait_Gallery-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html

The Washington Monument & Mall

2 15th Street NW

Washington DC 20024

(202) 426-6841

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28970-d107009-Reviews-Washington_Monument-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html