Category Archives: Chinese Restaurants for the budget minded

Saks Fifth Avenue boarded up

Day One Hundred and Sixty-Six: “Another City, Not My Own”: Manhattan reopens under Phase One-The Fifth Anniversary of MywalkinManhattan.com’ June 15th, 2020

I never thought I would see the day that Manhattan would look like Beirut.

Author Dominick Dunne wrote a book years ago entitled “Another City, Not My Own” about his return to Los Angeles after years of being away. It has been four months since  the Membership Night at the Met Breuer and I swear it was almost surreal going back into New York City for the first time in over four months. I felt like I was in exile.

First barely anyone was on the bus into New York. I was one of about seven people on the bus that had to stop in Union City, NJ first before getting into Manhattan. It was strange to see everyone with masks on. It was a real eye opener. I felt like I was entering a different world and you could feel it when we arrived in Port Authority Bus Terminal.  I had never seen the terminal so quiet in all my years coming into the City. Even late at night when I used to take the 12:20am or 1:20am buses out of Manhattan, there will still people all over the place at night.

When you get into Port Authority Terminal, there is not a lot of people hanging around anymore. All the stores and restaurants are closed except for a few fast food coffee places as not everything has opened up yet.  Coming out of the terminal, there are no longer the crowds hanging out outside the terminal like there used to be. Everyone is on their way to where they have to go.

I started my walk up Eight Avenue past all the bodegas, fast food restaurants and many closed hotels. This stretch of Avenue was very quiet and because of the recent protesting and looting due to the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis, the Theater District was completely fenced off. You could not walk through that section of the neighborhood. There were a few fast food places open for take out and the popular Shake Shack, the upscale hamburger restaurant, was open for take out and going strong with the few tourists and business people in the area.

Some businesses were still closed  and boarded up due to the nights of looting the first week of June during the protests. Plywood covered some of the smaller stores and hotels while most everything else was either starting to open up or opened. This was a very different scene from a week ago.

When I arrived at Columbus Circle, my end point for the project on the West Side, Columbus Circle Park has fencing and guard rails around it. They were trying to protect the statue of Christopher Columbus that stands tall atop a pedestal.

Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle in its better days

All over the county, people are vandalizing statues of what they conceive as ‘controversial’ historical figures and Christopher Columbus seems to now be a major target. The statue, created by artist Gaetano Russo, was donated by Americans of Italian decent and lead by publisher Carlo Barsotti, was dedicated in 1892 on the 400th Anniversary of Columbus arriving in the New World.

Gaetano Russo

Artist Gaetano Russo

https://www.askart.com/artist/artist/11066965/

Now the statue, fountain and park are behind fencing to keep vandal from defacing the statue. It is a sad day in this Country when people try to ‘erase’ history because they do not agree with it. Trust me, the police were all over Columbus Circle.

Christopher Columbus Statue II

The Christopher Columbus Statue at Columbus Circle

It was even stranger as I walked down 59th Street toward Fifth Avenue. All the hotels were boarded up on the lower levels, the apartment buildings had guards inside and out and to see plywood across the Plaza Hotel and the Park Lane Hotel it almost makes me wonder what Leona Hemsley, who once owned the hotel, would say? The guards and the doorman were standing tall in front of the hotels trying to direct people.

Turning the corner to Fifth Avenue was very calming. All over Fifth Avenue merchants were either taking down the plywood or had taken it down by Monday afternoon when I started my walk. Just six days earlier, businesses were scrambling to put the boards up and now they were taking them down. The guards were still there but there was security inside and out in stores up and down Fifth Avenue.

Bergdorf-Goodman Boarded Up

Bergdorf-Goodman with plyboards (has since come down)

The new Nordstrom Department Store that opened on Broadway was just taking the last of their plyboards down when I took a quick on Broadway to see the store. By the time I passed The Plaza Hotel, Bergdorf-Goodman and the Apple Store had either taken their boards down or were just finishing. Walking further down Fifth Avenue, the condition of the shopping area went block by block.

Fifth Avenue Boarded up for Business

Fifth Avenue boarded up (still up at the time of this writing)

The exclusive stores on one side of St. Patrick’s Cathedral were still boarded up and Saks Fifth Avenue had taken all the plyboards down but still had guards all around the store. Even Rockefeller Center which just five and a half months ago was mobbed with people for the holidays was fenced off with guards and police all around it. You could only see the fountain in the distance.

Fifth Avenue Boarded up

Fifth Avenue north of St. Patrick’s Cathedral (still up at the time if this writing)

Saks Fifth Avenue had been really closed off with plywood on the doors and windows and barbed wire against the building. Armed guards with watch dogs monitored the store for several days. When I got there on Monday, the guards and dogs were still there but the boards were taken down but the store still looked eerie.

Saks Fifth Avenue boarded up

Saks Fifth Avenue boarded up (has since come down)

The guards did not look like anyone’s fools and I walked by quickly on my way down Fifth Avenue to East 44th Street. The Cornell Club which is where I work when I am in Manhattan working on the blog, was closed tight and would not be opening according to the sign until July 1st. Across the street from the club, the headquarters for Brooks Brothers Men’s store, which just declared bankruptcy, was still boarded up tight like that whole section of Madison Avenue. Madison Avenue also was just opening up the afternoon I was in Manhattan.

From East 44th Street, I walked down Fifth Avenue through the old shopping district below East 42nd Street and it was sad to see the old Lord & Taylor building being torn apart for an office building.  A company that has been in business since 1826 declared bankruptcy and will be liquidated as soon as stores are allowed to fully open. This was a company that was once one of the best women’s stores in the world reduced to closing because of bad management.

Lord and Taylor Building II

Even Lord & Taylor could not get a break from all this

I rounded the corner at West 34th Street to see Macy’s Herald Square, where I had worked for four years back in the 1990’s when the neighborhood was not that great. The store had just taken the plywood off the store and the windows that were damaged on the night of the looting a week ago had been replaced. There was security and guards all around the store and strangely enough people were eating their lunch in the plaza by Herald Square like nothing had happened a few days earlier.

NYC Boarded Up XV

Macy’s Herald Square boarded up ( has since come down)

I could not believe what I saw on TV the night it was being looted and their were small fires outside the store. I had been working at the store during the Rodney King riots, the first attack on the World Trade Center and the problems in Crown Heights but I never thought I would see anything like this as the neighborhood is far better today then it was back then.

NYC Boarded Up XIII

Macy’s the night of the looting a week ago

I never thought I would live to see this at a store I worked at for four years

 

As I walked by the store filled with colorful displays and ‘reopening soon’ signs you would have never known any of this had just happened a week earlier. People were just walking along the sidewalks like it was a regular day.

My walk continued down Seventh Avenue past the Fashion Institute of Technology, which was all boarded up since the campus is closed for classes and guards were all over the place. Here and there small restaurants and shops had now opened for curve side business and deliveries.

I crossed over to West 23rd Street to Ninth Avenue and again small take out places had reopened and drug stores were buzzing with people. There was a lot of people walking around in the neighborhood, taking to one another or walking their dogs. I walked past Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen which was gated at that time as service ended at 1:00pm and there was newsletters and posts on the fence that dated back to March 13th when the Soup Kitchen closed for business.

I walked up Ninth Avenue and crossed over again onto West 38th Street to where all the reasonable restaurants and take out places who cater to the Garment District are located. Most were closed for business but there were still a few Chinese places still open to the workers in the area.

I walked back into Times Square and took the subway to Chinatown. Now that was unusual. The platform had about four other people on it and it was spotless. There were no homeless people hanging around and the everything was very clean. I took the N Subway downtown and the car was spotless as well. I had never seen such a clean subway car. There was only two of us on the car and he was about ten feet away from me. We got to Chinatown the quickest I ever had in all the time I took the subway. Another eerie thing was all the posters on the walls of the subways were dated back from either February or March. By Chinatown, there is still a poster for a failed Christmas film.

Chinatown in lower Manhattan is usually a bustling neighborhood where you can barely walk the streets because there are so many people on the sidewalks. The sidewalks are usually lined on all sides by fruit and vegetable vendors and people selling  prepared foods. I had not seen the neighborhood this quiet ever. Even when I visited Chinatown after 9/11 for my birthday dinner it was not this quiet. Almost all the businesses were still closed.

Mott Street which is the heart of Chinatown was deserted. Most of the popular restaurants and take out places were closed. Wonton Noodle Garden, my go to place for Cantonese Wonton Soup, was just doing take out and delivery. It is hard to believe the last time I had eaten there was March 9th and it was almost empty then.

Chinatown Closed

Most of Mott Street and the side streets were closed for business.

It was strange to walk down a street of closed restaurants and stores. Unlike Little Italy located across Canal Street, they have never closed Mott Street down for outside dining. There were a few restaurants opened here and there and I was surprised that Chinatown Ice Cream Factory on Bayard Street was open that afternoon and they looked busy.

I walked all over the neighborhood and one after one of my favorite spots to eat where either closed down or were in the process of opening up again. There were not too many choices to eat at in the late afternoon. Still I walked to Chrystie Street and my old standby, Chi Dumpling House at 77 Chrystie Street A, for some fried pork and chive dumplings ($2.00). I swear that just cheered my up after everything I saw.

Chi Dumpling House

Chi Dumpling House at 77 Chrystie Street

I sat in Sara Delano Roosevelt Park and just enjoyed the warm sunny day. The food at Chi Dumping House could put a smile on anyone’s face. These plump pork and chive dumplings are perfectly fried and crisp and crackle when you bite into them. With a little hot sauce, it was the perfect meal.

Chi Dumpling House

The dumplings here are so good

The people who were walking around seemed happy to be outside and that there was calm in the air. It was a beautiful sunny day and people were sitting and talking, jogging around the park and talking to their kids. There was some normalcy in the world that afternoon.

As I traveled back down Canal Street, I needed something sweet to finish off the meal and everyone one of my favorite bakeries was closed so I tried New Cameron Bakery at 242 Canal Street.

New Cameron Bakery

New Cameron Bakery at 242 Canal Street

The selection was pretty small that afternoon and I chose one of their Sweet Topped Buns ($1.35). A couple of bites of that and it really made the afternoon.

Sweet Topped Bun

 

The sweet topped bun

Before I took the E Subway back up town to leave the Manhattan, I took a quick stroll through SoHo (South of Houston), which once upon a time when I was growing up was a manufacturing district and then was an artist enclave in the late 70’s and through the 80’s. By the 2000’s, it had become an extremely expensive and exclusive neighborhood. After a night of looting and stealing, the whole neighborhood boarded up.

SoHo boarded up

SoHo boarded up

I had not seen the neighborhood look like this since the 1970’s and I can’t believe it looked the same when I was a kid. I have to admit the graffiti on the plywood was interesting but not something I really wanted to see here now.

NYC Boarded Up VIIII

This was truly pathetic

It is a sad day when you see human nature at its worst but I am still convinced that there are more good people in this world then bad and I still think we are winning!

 

Places to eat (that are open):

 

Chi Dumpling House

77 Chrystie Street A

New York, NY  10002

(212) 219-8850

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chi-Dumpling-House/659479701195439

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

 

New Cameron Bakery

242 Canal Street

New York, NY  10013

(212) 660-9889

Open: Call the bakery at this time

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d21014810-Reviews-New_Cameron_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Videos from that night you would not believe:

 

Human Nature at its worst

People destroying their own city

 

Human Nature at its best:

Thank you for speaking for all of us! God Bless you!

 

 

Fu Xing 273 West 38th Street New York, NY 10018

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful reasonable restaurants in New York City. Don’t miss the Roast Pork and Cream buns at this Garment District gem.

Fried Dumping III

Delicious Dumplings

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

New Li Yuan (now Fu Xing)

273 West 38th Street

NYC, NY  10018

(212) 575-6978

Hours: 7:00am-5:30pm

My reviews on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d14037661-Reviews-Fu_Xing-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d12562531-Reviews-New_Li_Yuan-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

I discovered New Li Yuan (Fu Xing) one day after passing it a million times on my way up Seventh Avenue. The restaurant caters mostly to the workers from the surrounding ( and what’s left of) the Garment District. It’s a restaurant that is Chinese for the Chinese workers. Over the last couple of months that I have been eating there, I have noticed that the customers have been diversifying. I see a lot of the young workers from the office buildings near by venturing in for take out and are in search of a reasonable meal.

The front counter is made up of a large steam table loaded with all sorts of entrée items with white rice and noodles available. It is diverse amount dishes including chopped pork…

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Asian 59 Inc.

Asian 59 Inc. 207 East 59th Street New York, NY 10022

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful reasonable restaurants in New York City. Don’t miss this little gem by Bloomingdale’s.

general tso's chicken

Asian 59 Inc. food is excellent!

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

Asian 59 Inc.

207 59th Street

New York, NY  10022

Phone: (212) 371-4777/1201/8651

Fax: (212) 371-5787

Open: Monday-Saturday-11:00am-10:30pm/Sunday-12:00pm-10:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d3899941-Reviews-Asian_Eatery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

This amazing little hole in the wall restaurant is a the perfect retreat when visiting the Upper East Side shopping district or fighting the crowds at Bloomingdale’s. Like most of the non-descript Chinese restaurants that line the streets and avenues of Manhattan, Asian 59 stands out for its very friendly service, reasonable prices and excellent food.

When I was finishing my blog on walking the Upper East Side for my other blog, “MywalkinManhattan”, I had passed this restaurant several times and saw that it was very busy at lunch time and thought that last day in the neighborhood I would try it. I was very happy with the whole experience.

The first time I ate at Asian 59 was for lunch. Their lunch specials are extremely reasonable…

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East Garden Chinese Restaurant

East Garden Chinese Restaurant 1685 First Avenue New York, NY 10128

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful reasonable restaurants in New York City. The restaurant’s lunch specials are delicious and plentiful.

beef with string beans

The food here is excellent!

 

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

East Garden Chinese Restaurant

1685 First Avenue

New York, NY  10128

Phone: (212) 831-5900

Tele/Fax: (212) 831-6251

Free Delivery: minimum order of $7.00. Place your order by phone and it will be ready when you arrive.

Business hours:

Monday-Friday 11:30am-10:30pm

Saturday & Sunday 12:00pm-10:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d12860202-Reviews-East_Garden_Chinese_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

East Garden Chinese Restaurant is worth the special trip up the Q subway train or if you are going to the Metropolitan Art Museum and want a quick lunch. Their food is wonderful, perfectly cooked and full of flavor. The best part is that they have lunch specials that start at $5.95 that come with fried rice or white rice (you can add for an extra $1.00 Wonton, Egg Drop or Hot & Sour Soup). Their combination plates run between $8.75-$9.25 and include pork fried rice and an egg roll.

My first trip to the restaurant (See TripAdvisor for my review), I…

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Lung Moon Bakery 83 Mulberry Street New York, NY 10013

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful reasonable restaurants in New York City. Don’t miss the egg custards and rainbow cakes at this Chinatown bakery.

 

Lung Moon Bakery II

The selection of baked goods at Lung Moon Bakery.

Lung Moon Bakery IV

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

Lung Moon Bakery

83 Mulberry Street

New York, NY  10013

(212) 349-4645

Open: 7:30am-8:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4829502-Reviews-Lung_Moon_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

When visiting Chinatown in New York City there are many places to get a reasonable snack. This traditional bakery has been around since the 1970’s and before and has been serving Chinese-American sweets to customers for years.

The family that owns the bakery I have found to be very friendly and engaging with their customers as I am sure that they are used to tourists coming in and out of the store. The bakery has seen a lot of competition over the years with a mass opening of Hong Kong style bakeries and bubble tea shops that litter the entire neighborhood with more opening every day selling pretty much the same food items.

What separates Lung Moon Bakery from the other bakeries is their quality and their prices. I have been…

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Tao Hong Bakery 81 Chrystie Street New York, NY 10002

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful reasonable restaurants in New York City.

Tao Hung Bakery II

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

Tao Hong Bakery

81 Chrystie Street

New York, NY  10002

(212) 219-0987

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

Tao Hong Bakery is a tiny hole in the wall bakery across the street from Sara Delano Roosevelt Park and next to both Chi Dumpling House (79 Chrystie Street) and Wah Fung Number One Fast Food Restaurant (81 Chrystie Street), which makes a nice place for a progressive restaurant experience. You can go to the first two for your appetizer and main dish and then enter Tao Hong Bakery for your dessert. The best part of the experience is that all the desserts are fresh and I watch them bring them out a little at a time (See reviews on TripAdvisor).

The cases are stocked with all sorts of sweet and savory baked items including Hot Dog Buns ($1.00), Pineapple Buns ($1.00) and Raisin Buns ($1.00). All have a distinct sweetness…

View original post 259 more words

Chi Dumpling House 77 Chrystie Street New York, NY 10002

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful reasonable restaurants in New York City. I highly recommend the Dumplings and soups here.

Dumplings II

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

Chi Dumpling House

77 Chrystie Street

New York, NY  10002

Telephone: (212) 219-8850

Open:https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4277315-Reviews-C_L_Dumpling_House-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905 Sunday-Saturday-10:00am-10:00pm

I have been to Chi Dumpling House (formerly the C & L Dumpling-sign still stands out front) several times for meals and have enjoyed the food at the restaurant.

It is truly ‘bare’ bones in its appearance. There are a few small tables in the restaurant but it is not most attractive place to eat at in Chinatown. It is a ‘workers’ type of restaurant where the employees from other restaurants come for a meal after work. The inside is more for take-out and the tables are for a quick meal. Many people taking the bus a few doors down from the restaurant came here the days  I visited for a quick snack or take out food for the ride.

What the restaurant lacks in appearance it makes up in food and in the prices…

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Dining on a Budget

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

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

Barcelona's IV

Barcelona’s in Garfield, NJ.

G' Coffee Shop

G’s Coffee Shop in Inwood, NY

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

Hello everyone!

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

Lung Moon Bakery II

Lung Moon Bakery in Chinatown, NY

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

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

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Shanghai Chinese Cuisine

Shanghai Chinese Restaurant 1388 2nd Street New York, NY 10021

In honor in Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful restaurants that are reasonable in New York City.

Shanghai Chinese Restaurant II

The inside of Shanghai Chinese Cuisine

Sweet & Sour Shrimp

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

Shanghai Chinese Restaurant
1388 2nd Street
New York, NY 10021
Telephone:(212) 288-8066/639-9418

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d3579862-Reviews-Shanghai_Chinese_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

While I was walking for my project, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com”, I came across the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant at 1388 2nd Avenue. It is a non-descriptive restaurant that sits behind some fencing on the road (they are fixing this part of 2nd Avenue) and when you walk in, there is a counter and three small tables to sit and enjoy your lunch. The place is no different from the dozens of other Chinese take out places all over the City. In fact, I almost bypassed it for another restaurant but it always seemed so busy with the hospital around the corner. So I decided to try it (See reviews on TripAdvisor).

The food and service are both wonderful. I could not believe the portion sizes as well. They were huge! I could not believe how large the lunch specials are…

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New Dynasty Inc.

New Dynasty Inc. 393 8th Avenue New York, NY 10001

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful places that are reasonable in New York City.

New Dynasty Chinese Restaurant II

The menu from the restaurant

Sweet & Sour Shrimp

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

New Dynasty Inc.

393 8th Avenue

New York, NY  10001

(212) 594-9734/(212) 594-0548

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d15061363-Reviews-New_Dynasty-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

This surprisingly good Chinese take out hole in the wall restaurant on 8th Avenue has some of the best Chinese food in Midtown Manhattan. In what still advertises video tapes, New Dynasty Inc. is a real find for customers who want a reasonable lunch or dinner that is large in portions and low in prices. Their lunch specials run between $6.60 to $7.20 for a combination platter that could easily feed two people.

The restaurant is bare bones in décor with only the illuminated signs for decoration. What is lacks in atmosphere it makes up in the quality of the food and the friendliness of the service. The family that runs the place have always been very welcoming to me on my few trips here and…

View original post 526 more words