The New Kamboat Bakery & Cafe (or just Kamboat Bakery) is one of the liveliest bakeries in Chinatown. I started visiting the bakery after seeing videos on YouTube mentioning it for a great place to have a snack.
Since then, I have been visiting often after class for their Roast Pork and Cream filled buns, Curried and Pepper Chicken Puffs, Egg Tarts and other bakery delights that I enjoy for lunch and for snacks.
The bakery section at Kamboat Bakery
The selection of baked goods and entrees is extensive and there are all sorts of puffs, tarts and twists filled with sweet and savory fillings including roast pork, hot dogs and even breakfast sandwiches.
Kamboat Bakery also has a selection of rice rolls and entrees over…
I just started Spring Term at both of my colleges and classes are in full swing. Most everything I am able to handle but my Finance class is giving me a little concern. I still have to work on the formulas a bit more. Outside that, it is not the pressure cooker it was last semester. I still don’t know how I pulled off taking four classes, teaching three classes, three major projects in each and then the holidays and working on my blogs. Read “Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Six-Christmas Again” and you will think the same thing:
I never realized how close that Chinatown was to the New York University campus and now that I know, I will be sneaking down there a lot more before and after classes. I need my dumpling fix. Things are getting back to normal in New York City. It is still not the same as 2019 but it has gotten busier. Chinatown has gotten back to its ‘new normal’ with less restaurants and stores.
I have never seen so many ‘For Rent’ signs on buildings and buildings for sale. The outskirts of Chinatown are either being knocked down or gentrified and being replaced by art galleries, fusion restaurants, boutiques and businesses that have nothing to do with Chinatown. It is as if the East Village, SoHo and the Lower East Side are configuring on every corner of Chinatown. It is changing fast.
Chinese New Year is big in Manhattan’s Chinatown and where everyone comes to celebrate. It was too bad that this year the parade was on SuperBowl Sunday. The parade started at one and by three as the parade winded down, people were already leaving to watch the game. As the last of the parade ended with a parade of cars, the lines of people around the barriers were thinning. Even after the parade was over, a lot of restaurants on the fringes of Chinatown were emptying out or empty. I was really surprised by that.
The view of Chinatown before the parade is really spectacular
It was still a nice parade and very lively. I stood further down on the edge of Mott Street and East Broadway where I knew that the crowds would be thinner. We really did not have that big of a crowd by us as it was in the core of Mott Street by Bayard Street. I could see the parade with no problems.
Mott Street in Chinatown about an hour and a half before the parade started
I was starved by the time I got to Chinatown. I was thinking that there would be mobs and crowds so I left early and when I got downtown, it was just an average amount of people running around Chinatown. So I stopped off at Kamboat Bakery at 111 Bowery again on the Bowery for some buns. Now they were busy.
New Kamboat bakery at 111 Bowery
I bought myself a Roast Pork bun, a Cream filled bun and Croissant with a fried egg and sausage (I have been watching too many of those Fung Brothers videos. When I saw it I had to try it). Everything was so good just like the last time I was there.
The Roast pork buns are delicious
The filling is amazing
The food was so reasonable and delicious and the ladies that run the operation are really nice and get you in and out of there. I took my second breakfast to the park with me. The pork bun didn’t even make it there as I ate it along the way.
The Egg and Sausage on a bun at Kamboat Bakery in Chinatown
They doused it with mayo and tucked a little lettuce inside. The perfect breakfast sandwich
The Cream filled Bun was excellent and loaded with sweet cream
While I relaxed and at my second breakfast in Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, I just people watched. Families looked like they were getting ready to watch the parade as the younger generations looked antsy about watching the SuperBowl and the Hipsters were lining up at Wah Fung #1 for their roast meat fixes. I swear the line at the restaurant on Chrystie Street never goes down until they close. I bet the owners can’t figure out why the lines are so long to get in.
After my snack and a quick trip to the restrooms, it was off to watch the parade. Since I know the drill in Chinatown, I saw the parade route online and decided to go to the bend closer to the East Broadway turn where I would be able to see more and there are usually less crowds. Right on both accounts this year. The parade was well attended but not like in previous years. There would be plenty of room to maneuver around.
Mott Street when I got there before the parade started
What has shocked me are the number of businesses that have closed along Mott Street. Even at the end of Mott Street the old Hunan Gardens spot which had turned into a grocery store after it closed years later closed during COVID and now the location and the two businesses near it are now all closed. This was not just on Mott Street but on a lot of sides streets as well. So many grocery stores are gone and have been replaced by art galleries. It will be interesting to see where the future of this parade will go as the neighborhood changes.
The parade was a lot of fun. The NYPD started the parade with the Mounted Police, the NYPD Band and then followed by the Jade Society and the Auxiliary. There has been an increase in New York Police of Asian descendancy and it showed with the amount of officers marching in the parade this year. It was much smaller back in 2019.
The NYPD Mounted Police opened the parade
The parade passes by
The NYPD Band
The NYPD Band
The Jade Society-Organization of Police of Chinese descendancy
A big opening to the parade as the police passed by
The beginning of the Lion Dances
The beginnings of the parade
After the police band and officers passed by State Senator Chuck Schumer walked in the parade greeting the crowd. I swear the man would not stand still for a picture.
Senator Chuck Schumer looking down after addressing the crowd
We were then greeted by the contestants and the winner of the “Miss Chinatown” contest. All the ladies were so nicely dressed and everyone applauded them. They all looked a little cold to me as it was not the sunniest morning. They were all smiles and waves.
“Miss Chinatown” court
“Miss Chinatown” and the First Runner Up
The ladies were all smiles and waves and all the little kids were getting a kick out of it. I never saw so many people getting pictures of beauty queens. They were having fun.
The FDNY marched right behind them
The FDNY got the biggest applause from the crowd. The bagpipers were followed by the members of the Phoenix Society, a organization of fire fighters of Asian descent. Their group was smaller than the police but seemed more popular with the crowd especially to the little kids.
The Honor Guard
The local company of “Dragon Warriors” drove in the parade
The Lion Dancers and Dragons were my favorite part of the parade. The music and the spirit of the dance really got the crowd going. They were all over the place bobbing up and down. The dancers did a really good job of engaging the crowd.
The Lion Dancers
The Lion Dance
The Lion Dance up close
The Lion Dancers were in full force in this part of the parade almost vying for bragging rights of who could do it better. It really energized and engaged the crowds who were really getting into it. The music and the dancing were really fun. The music and drumming was fantastic.
The different clubs were performing their best
Have you come face to face with a Lion?
As the parade progressed, we were treated all all sorts of puppets, floats and dancers that bowed and waved to the music of the many bands in the parade. Everyone was setting off poppers so there were streamers everywhere. The sun was trying to peek out and at least it did not rain.
The procession of cars followed by the fan dancers
The Fan Dancers
The Bands lead the way for most of the floats
The School Associations marched in the parade
The bands really livened up the crowds
The floats were very lively that day
Dancers that day were very active that morning
The Dragon dancers were all over the crowds, waving up and down and engaging the crowds. It was a lively dance and people were popping off streamers.
The dragon was all over Mott Street
The Dancers had the Dragon chasing the ball
The next Dragon was leading the next wave of dancers
The next Dragon was so colorful and beautiful
The Families with Children from China was nice to see
The parade ended with a series of cars in a procession
The parade was a lot of fun and I noticed the crowds were a lot bigger in the center of Chinatown. The cars made a lot of noise and by the time they drove through at the end of the parade the crowds started to thin. People were off to the restaurants and snack shops. The Superbowl was in a couple of hours and I would watch the neighborhood empty out.
For dinner that evening, I went back to E Noodle which I had tried several months earlier for dinner. I was pretty shocked that I was the only one in the restaurant. People left Chinatown and went home to watch the game. This is considering that E Noodle is right off East Broadway where the parade passes by I thought I would be fighting the crowds. All the scaffolding is down from the building now and you can finally see the outside of the restaurant.
After the two other tables left for the afternoon, I was the only one eating there for about a half hour but still the service was wonderful and the gentleman working there could not have been nicer to me. The food was excellent. I had the Pork Soup Dumplings and the Flat Noodles with Chicken. Everything was made there and the Soup Dumplings tasted as if they were made just for me then.
The Soup Dumplings were excellent
The Flat Noodles with Chicken were freshly made at the restaurant
Everything for dinner was delicious. I believe that both the Soup Dumplings and the Flat Noodles were made by the women at the restaurant. They brought the food to my table with such price and everything was excellent. I really enjoyed my meal (See my review on TripAdvisor).
The Fung Brothers video on YouTube on E Noodle and Kamboat Bakery
After dinner was over, it started getting dark and I just walked around the neighborhood one more time before I left the City. It got so quiet in Chinatown. If it had not been the night of the Superbowl I am sure it would have been much busier around the neighborhood. Still some of the restaurants in the core of Chinatown were busy and the drink and pastry shops had their crowds. The side streets were rather quiet. Still it was a wonderful afternoon in Chinatown and it is nice to see people back.
Happy New Year!
The view from Chinatown at night of lower Manhattan is pretty amazing
I do not know where time went. One day I am cutting the lawn in 70-degree weather and the next day it is 32 degrees, and everyone is freezing. The weather has been going up and down like a yoyo and everyone is getting sick right before the holidays. Every other day the weather was changing, and this is the way the temperature would be every day for the month of December. One day it is Spring or Fall and the next everyone is bundling up.
Don’t be fooled by all the pictures and activities. There were a lot of late nights, a lot of driving and a lot of arranging to pull the holidays off this year. Teaching three classes and taking four classes in Grad school on top of volunteer work that I was committed to and getting ready for the holidays and all its expectations I had a lot of nights where I did not go to bed until two in the morning. I would study on busses and in hotel rooms and I never worked like this before in my life. Still it was a Merry Christmas and I consider myself a lucky person to see all these wonderful things.
All I did was run in and out of New York City every week for classes and work. There were so many historical sites that I wanted to visit over the holidays to update previously blogs that every moment of my day was taken up with touring. Still, I enjoyed taking my time to walk to school through Greenwich Village. The residents and merchants here know how to celebrate the holidays.
Christmas in Greenwich Village. I saw this home after class and I knew Santa was on his way
Walking past the train station on the way back to Port Authority was even festive.
With Grad School taking up so much of my time and I just finished all my presentations at Bergen Community College where I work (please see all three Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. projects), it’s now the final project for Grad School and getting ready for the holidays that are taking up my time. It is only two more weeks.
Thanksgiving with my cousins and aunt at the Lambertville Inn
Christmas started for me right after Thanksgiving with my family when the next day we had Christmas Tree delivery for the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association. We had 390 Christmas Trees delivery and we emptied the truck in one hour. By 10:30am, we sold our first Christmas tree and by the end of the first weekend, we sold 134 trees and 8 stands. We just missed last year’s numbers. It had rained most of Sunday so we missed that afternoon and evening of that day.
Christmas Tree drop off is right after Thanksgiving at 8:00am the next morning
The guys on the Men’s Association after we finished tagging and unloading the trees
Friday was a busy day selling. It often amazes me how many trees sell that first weekend. Last year we sold out in 11 days and people were disappointed that they had to wait. Many said that this year, they arrived early to get the tree they wanted. Even with the rain on Sunday, we did very well and were anticipating another get year (we sold out by December 9th on the morning shift).
My blog on Christmas tree drop off for the Men’s Association:
I knew it was Christmas when my neighbors set out all their decorations
The next evening after Thanksgiving was the Annual Parade and Tree Lighting ceremony in Downtown Hasbrouck Heights. Since we were opening the tree stand and I was on leave from the fire department this year, I did not go. Instead I stayed at the tree stand that evening and sold trees on my first split shift. We sold 44 trees on the first day of sales.
The Christmas Tree at the Circle in Downtown Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
The Gazebo at the Firemen’s Circle Memorial in Downtown Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
I have to admit, Thanksgiving weekend and the subsequent week were all about grad school. We would be wrapping up classes in two weeks (classes ended on December 14th) and I had three major papers due, one for each class. With the exception of my Data Analytics class, I had one partner on each paper I really did not know if I could count on so there would be a lot of extra work to do.
Heights Bar & Grill at 163 Boulevard became a place to relax and unwind with a pizza and a drink
Heights Bar & Grill was very festive during the holidays
My post birthday dinner became my pre Christmas/post class dinner
The next weekend was Sinterklaas weekend, and I knew I had to be in Rhinebeck and then Boonton, NJ for the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association Christmas Party that I committed to last month. When you’re on all the Executive Boards of these organizations, you have to be there.
Still on the way back and forth to classes starting from mid-November until classes ended, I enjoyed my walks from the Port Authority to the NYU campus in the Village to admire all the decorations, display windows and Christmas tree setups all over the Village. Even before Christmas started, this section of the City is very traditional ‘Old New York’ and when it is all ready for the holidays it puts you in the Christmas spirit.
Christmas in Greenwich Village really kept my spirits up between classes
Selling Christmas trees in New York City was not difference from us but in prices.
The window displays in the Greenwich Village stores and boutiques were really creative. I loved walking all the side streets to discover what shop owner did that was so different from the others and these are some of my favorites. They really cheered me up as the pressure of the assignments built up.
Window display in the Village after they changed from Halloween to Christmas
Window display in the Village
Window display in the Village
Christmas display inside and outside at Greenwich Village store
More Christmas trees for sale on lower Seventh Avenue
The Washington Square Park Christmas tree was so beautiful both during the day and night. It was so nice to pass every evening I was coming back from class. It really put me in the holiday spirit especially when I was stressed out on my last three research papers of the semester. I took the time to just walk around the park and enjoy the cool air.
The Washington Square Park Christmas tree by day
The Washington Square Park Christmas tree at night
In between classes and work, I had to decorate and get my own house ready for the holidays. I have never worked so hard trying to pull off the holidays with so much going on in my life. Still I thought the house looked very nice. I decorated both the living room and dining room and it looked really festive. It was too bad there was no time for entertaining. That and the fact that everyone else was so busy, it made it impossible to do anything.
I keep it simple but elegant in my house
For years, I used to have a Christmas dinner but with everyone’s schedules and COVID still around, I am finding more and more people don’t want to get together. Again my schedule was no better this December. Still I worked my own “Santa” magic with other things I did for friends, neighbors and family.
From December 1st to the 31st, my feet never touched the ground. From unloading trees for the Men’s Association to watching the ball drop to completing three major projects for my job at Bergen Community College to the three major papers at school, my laptop followed me everywhere and was prominent in each of my hotel rooms as a worked on every business trip for my work with this blog. Who says that life is boring? The fun began as it does every year with Sinterklaas weekend in Rhinebeck.
My blog on Sinterklaas/ The Snowflake Festival weekend in Rhinebeck Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Six:
I had to plan Sinterklaas weekend like D-Day. I had a major presentation on the Metaverse when I returned back on the next Monday night so I had to finish the framework for the paper the Friday night before the parade. I was visiting the Culinary Institute of American to interview one of my old chefs at the college but I was not able to get in touch with him.
Still I was able to leave a message for an appointment and then tour the campus. I forgot how beautiful the campus is and I never saw it during Christmas time. I had been on my Externship my first year at the CIA so I never experienced the holidays at the CIA.
Roth Hall decorated for Christmas
The Christmas tree in the outside courtyard
I did not have any plans that Friday evening and I looked at the papers and saw that there was a Snowflake Festival in Downtown Kingston, NY. So that evening after a nice nap at the hotel, I headed there for the evening. It was just what the doctor ordered. It was a cool but not cold evening full of activities and lots of Christmas decorations and a festive environment.
Downtown Kingston, NY the night of the Snowflake Festival
It was a nice evening of Christmas activities, horse drawn carriage rides, visiting the firehouse, beautifully decorated windows of the local merchants and people just having a good time amidst COVID problems and a bad economy. People ‘needed a little Christmas now’ (Please read the blog below on the Snowflake Festival and the Sinterklaas Parade).
The line to see Santa was impossibly long. I think everyone needed him this year.
The Christmas tree in Downtown Kingston, NY
My homebase for the weekend was the Quality Inn Hotel in Hyde Park, which is becoming a tradition with me. I love the location and the comfortable beds. If you get a room facing the field to the right, you can see the stonewall that lines the property. Plus, they have the best fresh waffle station every morning.
The Quality Inn Hyde Park at 4142 Albany Post Road
Sinterklaas morning was a really gloomy day. Even if the weather outside that morning was gloomy, the spirit of Sinterklaas was in full swing inside the Beekman Arms Hotel for the Opening Ceremony.
The Opening Ceremony at Sinterklaas with Founder Jeanne Fleming and the Pocket Lady
The animal being celebrated this year was the porcupine and this was his home in the courtyard in Downtown Rhinebeck. This wise woman told us his tale.
The “Into the Light” show at the local church
The parade is the highlight of the evening and we lucked out that night as the weather broke by the afternoon. The sun started to come out and it was a much nicer evening with a cool but not cold feel and you could see the stars out on this clear evening. The parade is always exciting especially as we walk down the hill into Downtown Rhinebeck.
The parade begins at the Starr Library
The serpents are always a big hit at the parade
The stars always lead the parade down the hill
I marched at the end of the parade so all I saw was everyone’s backs. The crowds were not the same because of the weather that morning but they were still pretty large once we got into the core of downtown. Because of the weather earlier in the day, I could tell we had a more local crowd which was nice because Downtown Rhinebeck can only handle so many people.
All the characters come together at the closing ceremony
I swear that this parade like selling Christmas trees goes by faster and faster every year. I come to Rhinebeck in the Spring and the Summer and it just seems like I am counting the weeks until it starts all over again. After the parade was over, I stopped at Village Pizza for a few slices with the last of the parade stragglers. There were maybe three families eating a late dinner. By the time I warmed up and finished my pizza I walked around the downtown one more time. It was so quiet and peaceful with the exception of the saxaphone player who plays downtown at night. You would have never known there was a parade that night.
My review on TripAdvisor on Village Pizza in Rhinebeck, NY:
After a very sound sleep, I ate breakfast and enjoyed the waffle bar. Then I headed down to Boonton, NJ for the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association Christmas Party that we were hosting at the home. Again, the year seems to go by fast.
The Executive Board the day of the party (I’m third to the right)
Because of COVID, the party is more subdued and families are still not allowed back with any great crowds. Still we had a DJ and Jerry Naylis’s daughter and granddaughters entertained the residents of the home. We really had a nice afternoon.
The Naylis family entertaining the residents
After the party was over, a few of us went the Columbia Inn for dinner. There was only a small group of us this year because again many of the guys were worried about COVID and large crowds. Still we toasted in the holiday season and after dinner, it was right back home to do my homework for school and classwork for my students. It would be never ending for the next three weeks.
The week between Sinterklaas and the next weekend of the Mills Mansion Party and exploring the decorated mansions to update my blogs for work, classes in both schools took a frenzy of activity on. I had to finish papers on the Metaverse and complete my White Paper on the Travel Industry and we started our paper on Mapping the Rockaways. I don’t think I ever went to bed before 2:00am every night for the next three weeks.
The “Dining on the Metaverse” paper required me to run around and interview chefs on the what their thoughts were on the Metaverse. I first went to the Ivy Inn in Hasbrouck Heights and talked with the Chef/Owner Jack. His thoughts on the Metaverse in dining were pretty strong and I needed a second interview so back to the Culinary Institute of America I went to talk to my former Chef at the college. He just happened to reach out to me that week so I stopped in to see him late on Friday.
The Ivy Inn at 268 Terrace Avenue in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ decorated for the holidays
I had an offer to revisit the Brinckerhoff Homestead the next afternoon before they ran a Afternoon Tea fundraiser to take pictures of the home decorated for Christmas for work and was able to get a last minute invitation acceptance for the Mills Mansion fundraiser, I decided to spend the night again at the Marriott in Fishkill, NY. It would be another long weekend of running around. So I booked a room at the Marriott Courtyard Fishkill, where I had stayed twice before and it would be close to all the sites and headed Upstate.
The Marriott Courtyard Fishkill at 17 Westage Drive & Route 9
I got up to the CIA before 4:30pm and walked around campus and enjoyed the Christmas lights again. The campus was starting to wind down for the holidays as the students would be leaving for break in a week and a half but the restaurants were busy with weekend reservations and by 4:30pm, I stated my interview on “Dining on the Metaverse” with the last chef I had before I graduated in 1998. I had not seen the guy in almost 25 years. Still he was just as nice as he was when I had him as an instructor and we had a good interview for almost two hours.
The campus was at twilight and it showed its true beauty next to the Hudson River.
The Culinary Institute of America at sunset
The Christmas tree lit at the Culinary Institute of America
We had our interview and it was nice talking with a Instructor that I had a lot of respect for years ago. It was nice of him to meet me after almost 25 years.
My TripAdvisor review on my lunch at the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe:
We bullshitted for the first hour and knowing that I had to be at the Mills Mansion by 6:30pm (the party was only going to 8:30pm), we had to get down to business. We spent the next hour talking about the effects of dining on the Metaverse and what it could do to the business in the future. His thoughts were pretty much the same as the Ivy Inn but it was an engaging conversation and I was able to take notes and write that section of the paper before I left for the weekend. Then it was off to the Mills Mansion for the Masquerade Cocktail Party fundraiser. That got my mind off a lot.
I had not been to a fundraiser here for the holidays since 2018 (COVID and work stopped me from going in the past) and it was a last minute thing I was able to attend. The President of the Friends of the Mills Mansion graciously let me come since it was sold out. I did not get there until almost 7:15pm by the time I left the CIA and got to Staatsburg and then had to park all the way down the hill.
The entrance to Staatsburgh, The Mills Mansion at 75 Mills Mansion Drive the night of the party
I was not too keen on wearing a mask since I had to wear glasses but I still had a nice time. The band was excellent and the singer wore an outfit that looked like it was from the early 1920’s. The food was wonderful and they had nice passed appetizers and wine and champagne to drink. The mansion’s Dining Room was decked out with masks and everyone was dressed to the nines. I had not seen people so dressed up in years. It was so impressive to see how elegant the evening was like something out of the mid-1980’s. No one had dressed up this much in years and it made the whole event feel so festive and special.
The band with the singer with the 1920’s outfit
I was able to catch up to people I had not seen in two years (since the last Afternoon Tea lecture in February of 2020 right before the shutdown) and we had a nice time talking about what had been happening over the last two years. It was a nice evening to get my mind off school and work. I slept so soundly that night when I got back to the hotel.
It was a very elegant party that night
The Mill’s would have been proud of this party
The day after the interview and the party, off I went early in the morning to visit the decorated mansions and take the tours. The Brinckerhoff House was my first stop and I would not be there long because they had a fundraiser at 1:00pm and I promised to be there, take the pictures and leave because they would be busy for the rest of the afternoon. The house looked just as pleasant as it did when I visited it over the summer but the nice part was the fireplaces were going giving that house that winter smell of firewood and pine.
The Brinckerhoff House at 68 North Kensington Drive at Christmas
The house was set up and decorated for an Afternoon Tea fundraiser
The Christmas tree at the Brinckerhoff house
I only stayed for about an half hour as volunteers were showing up to assist with the event and then I was off to my next house which was the Vanderbilt Mansion. This was a big weekend for the decorated homes and I figured I should visit them since I would not have time in the future.
The Vanderbilt tour was booked solid as people had the same idea that I had. I got on the 1:00pm tour and off we went to tour the mansion. I had been there many times before but never to see the Christmas decorations. When I had visited back in 2019, they were taking the decorations down when I got there. By the time we left, most everything on one side of the house was gone. Today though, the mansion was in its full glory.
The Vanderbilt Mansion at 4097 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park
The house was tastefully but not over-decorated as Fredrick Vanderbilt and his wife never used the home for Christmas. They were in Manhattan for the Christmas and the beginning of the social season that would last from Christmas to about Easter when everyone would head to their Spring homes in the country or in Florida.
The entrance hall to the Vanderbilt Mansion
The Dining Room set for a formal Christmas dinner
The Living Room with the family Christmas tree
The full tour of the mansion was very interesting and you got to hear the stories of Fredrick and the last years of his life. He simplified matters, sold all his other homes and moved here until he passed away. He wife had died and he stopped the social swirl and concentrated on his job with the railroad.
After the tour was over, the tour guide told me that FDR Estate was having a big Open House that day and that I should head over before they closed at 5:00pm. Myself and pretty much everyone on my tour headed over to Springwood, the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Springwood Mansion at 4097 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park, NY
The first floor was decorated as it would have been for FDR and his family’s last Christmas when he was alive. The decorations were taken from old pictures of the house the year that he passed.
The entrance hall of Springwood decorated for Christmas
The library decorated for FDR’s last Christmas
The Dining Room was set for Christmas supper
The mansion again like the Vanderbilt Mansion was tastefully decorated but not overdone. The library had a tree with decorations and the many presents that the large extended family would have opened that day. The Dining Room was set for the family dinner with a children’s table in the back. It would have been a nice family affair.
We got to tour the rest of the house and head back to the Visitors Center for Hot Chocolate and cookies that they set up in the snack shop. That evening around 6:00pm, the Bard College music department was putting on a recital but I had to leave right after the tour as I had a tone of assignments and homework that I had to do for both colleges. At least I was finally able to see both mansions in their full glory at Christmas.
As I left the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt mansions, I passed Downtown Hyde Park, NY which has a small downtown with about two blocks of historical buildings and admired the lights and how the businesses decorated the lights and buildings. I stopped to take a picture of their Christmas tree which was ablaze with lights on this snowy night. It really did look like Christmas.
Downtown Hyde Park, NY
The Hyde Park, NY Christmas tree a block from downtown
I got home early that night to finish my papers on the Metaverse and my White Page on the visitors we had to our Travel Trends class. It was an uphill battle that night and on Monday for both presentations. We got a “B+” on the Metaverse paper and an “A” on the White Page and in both classes I got an “A”. The Mapping project would go on until December 22nd. It would take five revisions and a lot of late nights. We were able to pull out a “B+” on the Mapping paper of the Rockaways right as my own classes were ending.
That last week of school Monday classes ended and after the Tuesday class my classmates wanted to go for an evening of Karaoke. I had papers to grade when I got home so I declined and took a walk up to see the tree and clear my head before heading home.
Christmas in New York City is always a pleasure and with the City opened back up to tourism, it made it exciting again. The anticipation of Christmas in Manhattan is something to experience if you have never done it before. It all started for me when I declined a karaoke night with my classmates and went to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. I just needed a walk after my Data Analytics class. It had been a rough semester. Just seeing the tree put me in the Christmas spirit.
The Tree as we call it in Rockefeller Center December 2022
I walked around Midtown along Fifth Avenue, looking at Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows, admiring the lights and looking at the skyline. I forgot how beautiful this area of the City is at night. It was a mild Tuesday night when I was walking around and there were not too many people around. the tourists had not arrived in full swing yet. Being a Tuesday night, it was relaxing being able to walk around the Rockefeller Center area without the crowds.
The side streets were particularly elegant
West 58th Street in its glory
The Plaza Hotel in all its glory that night
I saw this playful sculpture along with others on Fifth Avenue but it was near my old haunt FAO Schwarz
This was the best display window at Bergdorf-Goodman on Fifth Avenue
Still what stood out to me on that glorious evening was the beauty of Midtown Manhattan at night. Even though it was still early in the evening, it might have well been 11:00pm because the streets were so quiet that evening. This is why I love Manhattan.
The beauty of Midtown Manhattan at night
The Plaza Hotel and Bergdorf-Goodman shined that evening
This little trip to Midtown after class really cheered me up. It had been a long semester and I needed this little Christmas break from school. It really put me into the holiday spirit. On my way back to Port Authority to head home, I passed the New York Public Library on my way through Bryant Park to see the Christmas Village
Outside the New York Public Library where the lions were decorated for the holidays.
As the school year ended at Bergen Community College and classes were wrapping up, I was getting tired of giving the traditional quizzes so for Quiz Four I gave all three classes from Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. The students were asked by Corporate to arrange the company Christmas Party. They were asked to create the Invitation, the menu with an appetizer, main dish, dessert and a signature drink.
Then were asked to create a Christmas Corporate message and two classes were asked to create an original Christmas song. It is amazing what a group of students can accomplish in an hour. Everyone in all three classes got an “A” and I did not have to drag home quizzes to grade. I will remember this quiz in the future.
The Paramus Business 101 Team’s idea for the Corporate Christmas Event
The Marketing 201 Team’s Ideas for the Corporate Christmas Event
The original Christmas song from the Marketing 201 Team for the Corporate Christmas Party
The ideas that the students came up with in ONE HOUR were just fantastic. This is why I love being a College Professor when you can get this type of creativity out of your students.
This Christmas message won the competition from my Business 101 Lyndhurst Team
As we put the revisions to the Mapping paper for my Data Analytics class and I prepared the final exams for my students and graded my other classes work, I planned another trip to the Hudson River Valley to visit the rest of the decorated mansions on my list and update all my blogs for work. This was a long and very productive weekend. It would be capped off with a last minute Historical Christmas concert at the Bergen County Historical Society. I had not been to one of these in three years.
The Marriott Courtyard Fishkill is where the adventure began. I revisited Staatsburgh (The Mills Mansion) and Wilderstein and then on Saturday I went to the Meiser Homestead in Wappinger Falls for their Holiday Open House. I had to time everything perfectly because I had to be in Manhattan for a Christmas concert at Carnegie Hall at 8:00pm. I timed everything perfectly.
The Marriott Courtyard Fishkill was decorated nicely for Christmas
The Marriott did a nice job decorating the hotel for the holidays
I started my trip on a snowy Friday afternoon (it was funny that the weather was just cloudy down by us) and I made it for my 11:00am appointment to see Staatsburgh. I had been to the Mills Mansion fundraiser the week before but the whole house was not open that evening and I had only been there for an hour. Now I was able to tour the house at my leisure. I was even interviewed for the local papers by a woman who was doing an article on the decorated mansions of the area.
I returned to Staatsburgh on snowy cold afternoon so the mansion was pretty quiet for touring. There were only two people on the walking tour of the mansion that afternoon. The roads up to Hyde Park were not the best.
Staatsburgh-The Mills Mansion at 75 Mills Mansion Drive on that snowy afternoon
It was nice to tour the house in peace and quiet. The party the week before had been a lot of fun but you could not see the rest of the house. All the rooms were so beautifully decorated, and the Dining Room was decorated to the hilt with masks, the theme of the party the week before. Since there was only two of us touring around, I got interviewed by the local paper by a reporter doing the same thing I was doing, visiting these beautiful homes. Visit my blog, VisitingaMuseum.com to see all my stories on my visits to these beautiful mansions.
The article on The Mills Mansion:
Then it was off to Wilderstein
Wilderstein at 330 Morton Road in Rhinebeck, NY on that snowy afternoon
My last stop that evening was to Woodstock, NY. I had planned to come this year for the parade but with my brother coming in for Christmas that changed my plans. I figured this was the last time I was going to be able to come up before the holidays. So I braved the slush and snow and drove the long roads up to Woodstock. It never disappoints me.
The Village Square at Woodstock, NY during the holidays
The Woodstock, NY Christmas tree is always interesting
After dinner, I slept so soundly at the hotel again. The Marriott Courtyard in Fishkill, NY is in the perfect location with Route 84 and the mountains right behind it. Easy to get to the highway home but still the best views when you wake up.
The amazing view from my hotel room at the back of the hotel facing the mountains
I had to rush to go on the 10:30am tour of Locust Grove, the former home of Samuel Morse, that I wanted to photograph before I left for the Meiser Homestead. There was not time to eat this morning. Thank God I had some baked goods in the hotel room.
The Christmas tree in the formal Living Room in the Tower section of the home
The Dining Room at Locust Grove at Christmas
The Billiards Room at Locust Grove at Christmas
I toured the whole house in our private tour at 10:30am. There were so many people on the tour, they called a special docent in to run the tour and we had the house to ourselves. Ehtel lead the tour and we took time to enjoy each room. Then it was off the Meiser Homestead for their Open House.
The Mesier Homestead at 2 Spring Street in Wappingers Falls, NY
The Foyer at the Meiser Homestead decked out for the holidays
The Living Room with the Christmas tree
The Dining Room set for Christmas lunch
Downtown Wappingers Falls during Christmas
The Wappingers Falls Christmas tree in the downtown
After I returned home from the Meiser Homestead Open House, it was change clothes again and into the City I went. I did not have much time to do anything in the evenings when classes were going on at NYU so after the semester was over and my third class was finished for the semester at Bergen Community College, I got a last minute ticket to see NY Pops at Carnegie Hall with singer Ingrid Michaelson. What a concert!
I had not been to Carnegie Hall since 2019 in pre-COVID and this always is a tough concert to buy tickets for but I snagged a Saturday night ticket in Row H on the aisle (I have long legs) and it was fate.
The entrance to Carnegie Hall at 57th and Seventh Avenue on the night of the concert. Our concert is to the left.
The inside of Carnegie Hall decorated for the holidays. The crowds were getting settled into the theater.
The stage at Carnegie Hall decorated for Christmas
The excitement built when I entered the hall and it was all decked out for Christmas. It was a site to see. The surprising part was how casual everyone was dressed for the evening. I was really thrown by this especially at the holidays. My seatmate was also dressed to the nines and she made the same comment. She introduced herself and I thought it was funny that a recently married woman would come to the show by herself but there we were acting like two single people.
The beauty of the stage that night just as the NY Pops members started to come on to the stage
Ingrid Michaelson and her fellow singers on stage
The whole concert was amazing and Ingrid Michaelson was fantastic that evening. What I thought was funny was the end of these concerts end with a sing along with Santa on stage and that did not happen this time. She ended the show with one of her signature songs. Maybe her Friday night concert had that. Even though, the concert was excellent and I shared the two songs below that were my favorite from the show.
This was my favorite song from the concert “Christmas Valentine” a new classic. This was written by both Ingrid Michaelson and Jason Mraz who performed it that night on stage.
The other great song from the concert was “Christmas Time is Here”:
“Christmas Time is Here” by Ingrid Michaelson
Even though it was a almost a two hour concert, it just seemed to end very quickly. After the concert was over, I just exploring the area around Lincoln Center. What a beautiful evening it was right before Christmas. People were talking in the local parks, admiring the Christmas lights in trees all over the neighborhood. Christmas tree stands were running in full force as people were decorating their homes on top of the their busy schedules.
Christmas tree sales by Carnegie Hall
For both lunch and dinner I returned to Amore Pizza cafe at 370 West 59th Street, which is down the road from Carnegie Hall. I swear that their food is the best.
I stopped in for a slice of Meat Lovers Pizza which was more than enough before the show and after the show I was still hungry. I went back and had a Chicken Parmesan Hero, which was good but it had been made from chopped fried chicken breasts instead of a freshly fried breast. It was good but not as good as the pizza was that night. After dinner, I just walked around Midtown and down Fifth Avenue admiring the windows.
The Meat Lovers Pizza at Amore Pizza Cafe is excellent
The weekend was not finished yet as I had an early morning walking tour of the Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow and then I had a Christmas concert at the Bergen County Historical Society in River Edge. Since I had to extend my leave with the fire department, I missed the first “Santa Around Town” in eighteen years. This on top of the fact that I was supposed to run it. With my work and college schedule, I had to ‘cry uncle’ and give it up which really disappointed me. I had some really good plans for it. In the end only thirteen guys showed up out of fifty and they had a fire call before the event ended. Thank God it was just a block chimney.
I left for the last day walking tour of the Philipsburg Manor before the house closed for the season. I was on the last walking tour of the house. Since the house was not insulated and the weather gets bad for the winter, the house will not open again until April. So I was hoping to get some picture taking in and see the decorations. The house was not decorated for the holidays but still the tour was interesting.
The Philipsburg Manor house 381 North Broadway in Sleepy Hollow, NY
The tour was about an hour and we had indoor and outdoor activities that we got involved with cooking hardtack, touring the house and grounds and helping in the barn beating out the wheat seed. When the actors who worked at the site (who must have been freezing their butts off because it was cold that morning) told us and demonstrated the work that had been done on the estate, this was hard work! This was a working farm and business transport spot, not where a family lived and entertained. When Mr. Philips was on property, he was here for business and nothing else. The staff ran this farm.
Us making Hardtack at the outdoor oven
Our visit to the barn where were loosening the wheat seeds. This poor woman was out there all morning in the cold!
The tour was about an hour and I thought that the house would have had some Dutch Christmas decorations but again the tour guides and historians said that the house for business and visiting not for the day in day out lives of the family. Still it was interesting. After our tour finished, I toured the gift shop and then headed home to get ready for the concert.
The Bergen County Historical Society at New Bridge Landing brought back their indoor concerts for Christmas including opening the Blackhorse Pub (The Campbell-Christie House) for dinner before and after the concerts. It was so nice to come to this again. The crowds were a little light at the second concert at 7:45pm on a Sunday night but it made it more fun that we could still socially distance from each other and there was plenty of space to spread out.
I started the evening early at the pub eating my dinner before the concert. The pub had a limited but very nice menu based on what foods that may have been served at the time period (with a modern twist of course). There was Shepard’s Pie, a Ploughman’s Plate, Onion Pie, Trifle and Dutch Cookies and desserts on the menu..
The Campbell-Christie House at 1209 Main Street in River Edge, NJ at the Bergen County Historical Society
The Campbell-Christie House was used as the “Blackhorse Tavern” for the evening where pub food could be ordered for dinner. It was really beautiful that night with all the tables a glow from the candles and the room decorated with holly, garland and wreaths for the holidays.
The Blackhorse Tavern for dinner
After dinner was over, I had plenty of time to explore the gift shop and wonder around the property to see the other decorations. The other buildings on the property were closed that evening but still decorated so I followed the lantern filled pathway and looked at the decorations.
Before the second concert that evening that I would be attending at 7:45pm I wondered around the museum part of the Steuben House where the concerts were taking place. The exhibits were set up with a holiday/Christmas theme in mind. One display was on a candy maker who once had a store in Downtown Hackensack.
Bogert’s Candy Shop in Downtown Hackensack closed in 1934
Decorating the house both during the Revolutionary War and during the Victorian Age was a very extensive affair of preparing the house for entertainment. Garland, holly and pine would have been important to decorate with but it was the Christmas ornaments of the Victorian age and trimming trees with ornaments that would have made the tree very festive.
There were also displays on entertaining during that time period and soldiers lives while the war was going on and what would be needed. It could be lonely at the holidays.
We started to settle in as the second concert was about to start. The room was decorated for the holidays with a combination of Victorian and Revolutionary decorations.
The ballroom at the Steuben House
We were then treated to a concert by the great Linda Russell whose interpretations of Revolutionary Christmas songs is well known. We had a hour long concert of favorite songs, talks about the times and a history of the music itself. She shared with us her insights towards the holidays of New Jersey versus New England and their Puritan ways. Thank God we knew how to party then too.
Linda Russell (to the far left) and her group entertained us for the evening with songs, talks, a few jokes and a wonderful night of excellent music.
We were entertained for about an hour and got time during the intermission to talk with the musicians who shared their experiences with us and about the musical equipment that they were using that evening. It was an interesting talk and a wonderful concert. I highly recommend visiting the Bergen County Historical Society during this time of the year. They do a nice job with this concert and the site is so beautifully decorated for the Christmas holiday season.
Before my the last day of classes at Bergen Community College on December 22nd, I made one last trip into the City before I left for my mother’s. The house had to get cleaned and the laundry had to get done and I got all my errands done before I left. I just wanted to walk around and get my mind off both colleges. It had been a long semester and I was burnt out. The City could not have been more beautiful.
Christmas on Park Avenue
Park Avenue was lined with Christmas trees lighting up before it got dark
Homes on the Upper East Side were beautifully decorated for the holidays
Homes on the Upper East Side were decorated so nicely and some blocks there seemed to be a competition for whose house was nicer.
I went to Rockefeller Center one more time to see the tree and it was like a madhouse so I just looked at it from across the street and continued walking around the Upper East Side down to the Cornell Club where I relaxed for a bit before I went home. People would start taking their decorations down after the holidays and I wanted to take one more glimpse of the neighborhoods before that happened.
The Empire State Building from the Flatiron District
Christmas Eve morning, I visit the cemeteries and pay my respects to my family before I leave for my mother’s. I think it’s important to pay your respects. After fighting the crowds at Mills Bakery on Christmas Eve morning to get a Seven Layer Cake and breakfast cakes and doughnuts for the next day, I left for Rehoboth Beach. I swear the roads were really quiet and it was the first time that I got down to my mom’s in three and a half hours.
Mills Bakery at 275 Valley Boulevard in Wood Ridge, NJ had the most festive cakes, pies and cookies for the holidays
I had just seen my mother in September after the Firemen’s Convention but this was the first time since 2019 that we had spent Christmas together. COVID has really wreaked havoc on the holidays.
Christmas Eve and Day were spent at my mom’s which we have not done since the pandemic. It kept us away and it was strange not having a family get together for three years. It was nice to get together as a family again. On Christmas Eve, we went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner and the place was a madhouse.
My review on TripAdvisor of Confucius Chinese Restaurant:
Even with all the crowds, it was nice to just sit back and enjoy the meal and not have to do anything. I slept so soundly that night knowing that I did not have to be anywhere for a month.
My mother really decorated the house beautifully.
The House at Christmas.
Jane set the table so elegantly.
Cooking this year like in 2019 is now a family affair. My Mom relinquish some control of the kitchen over the last couple of years as dinner was getting to be too much for her to do alone so we all help now. My brother and I coordinate the schedules and plan the menu with my mom and we each did part of the meal and cooked it. This is what the Team work produced:
The Appetizers and Desserts being prepped for dinner:
Mom should be hired by Nancy Meyers to do visuals for her films.
The Potato Croquettes that I prepared for dinner, the Broccoli Casserole and the homemade Apple Pie my mother prepared for dinner (my mom makes the best pies).
We were all getting ready to cook our portion of Christmas Dinner.
My mother preparing the Sauteed String Beans
Me preparing the Potato Croquettes (which by the way were a big hit I think I look like a French Chef).
My brother getting the Roast carved before the start of dinner.
My Mother with the final Christmas dinner that was the Team effort
Christmas Dinner 2022 and everyone loved it! The dinner was Roast Fresh Park, Potato Croquettes, Apple Sauce, Broccoli Souffle and Sauteed String Beans.
The Desserts were Homemade Apple Pie and a Seven Layer Cake that I brought from Mills Bakery. My brother also made all the Christmas cookies.
My family on Christmas Day after dinner (minus my younger brother and his kids).
We had such a nice time with my mother and her friends at dinner and it was a nice quiet and mellow Christmas. It was what I needed after a long school year.
The day after Christmas while my brother headed to New York City, I took the ferry from Lewes to Cape May to spend the night and admire all the decorations all over town. I only spent one night in Cape May but with how relaxing, beautiful and quiet it was that evening I felt like I had been there for a week. I always say in my blogs that the only town to rival Rhinebeck, NY at Christmas is Cape May, NJ.
I took the ferry the next day from Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ and thank God the weather was nice. We had really light waves and the trip went by really quick. We got into Cape May in a little over an hour and a half. Since I did not have to check into my hotel and it was getting late, I decided to head over to Sunset Beach and watch the sun set. That really relaxed me. In any weather, I swear the beach is always full of people doing the same thing. It was relatively warm that day and when I got to the park, people were playing miniature golf at the little range they have there. I thought that was amusing.
The sunset was fantastic! The weather had really cleared that evening and the colors were so entrancing.
The sun preparing to set that night
The hues at Sunset Beach make this place very special
I just stayed until it got a bit dark and then I headed to the hotel. I stay at the Chalfonte in the winter time in their Souther Quarters (the regular hotel is not insulted and closed until May) and I always enjoy the rooms with their cheery shabbiness and the way the place is always decorated for the holidays. You have to like these old hotels.
The Southern Quarters at the Chalfonte Hotel at 301 Howard Street
I have been coming to the hotel for Christmas for the last several years and last year when COVID again shut things down for Christmas, I stayed here while visiting my younger brother in Rehoboth Beach when he came for a visit. I love Cape May at Christmastime.
The hotel has that festive home away from home feeling with poinsettias around the hotel, Christmas candies and chocolates at the front door and Christmas lights around the building.
I like the shabby chic of the place
My room was really nice and the bed was so comfortable
The room has just been renovated but still had a water spot on the ceiling. That is the charm of the Chalfonte. It reminds you that it is an old hotel. I ventured out to the downtown and the Washington Mall that evening to see the true magic of what makes Cape May a Christmas town. All the lights, trees and decorations make sure that Santa does not miss this town.
The town square with it’s Christmas tree in the bandstand and white lights all over the little part are whimsical and magically as you walk through them. It always reminds me of “Whoville” in the “Grinch that stole Christmas”.
Cape May Town Square at Christmas
The bandstand and Christmas tree are amazing at night
The Cape May Christmas tree
I spent a good part of the my evening admiring the lights of downtown and of Washington Mall which is the downtown section of Cape May. The whole neighborhood was ablaze with lights, decorations and beautiful Christmas displays in the windows. Cape May knows how to decorate for the holidays.
The Washington Mall at night
The Washington Mall in Cape May decorated for the holidays
Our Lady of the Star Sea Church at 525 Washington Street in Downtown Cape May
After a long walk picture taking everything in the downtown from every angle (I have pictures that I ended up using for other sites), I went back to the room to relax. I just sunk into the pillows and went out like a light. I woke up two hours later and got to bed. I slept so soundly again.
The next morning was rested and ready to go. I had my usual post-Christmas game plan. I started with breakfast at the Mad Batter, a local well known restaurant in Cape May and the food is always excellent. I have eaten here several times and I highly recommend it.
The food and the service are always very good. That morning there seemed to be only one waitress on the floor and I swear that this woman handled the dining room like a pro. The service was flawless and she never panicked.
The Bacon and Cheese Omelet with home fries was outstanding
After breakfast was over, I gathered my things at the hotel and dropped off my keys and then spent the afternoon visiting historical sites. Most everything I was surprised were closed so I took exterior shots to update my blogs.
While walking downtown, I saw that Our Lady of the Star Sea, the Catholic Church in the Washington Mall was having service at 11:00am. Since I did not go to church services on Christmas Eve or Day, I went in for the post-Christmas services. I was surprised how crowded they were that morning. I found out that a young new priest has just come from the seminary and started that day. I found him very inspirational and very enthusiastic.
The church was so beautifully decorated for the holidays
Our Lady Star of the Sea for the Christmas holiday season
After church services were over, I toured around Cape May. I had a noon time appointment at the Physick Mansion to see their Christmas decorations so I stopped at a few of the museum around the downtown area but again all closed.
The Physick Mansion tour at the holidays I have taken many times and it is one of the nicest homes decorated for the holidays. Many people would not have decorated every nook and cranny of the house the way this is but like Locust Grove, it gives you an idea of how the Victorians celebrated the holidays.
The decorations were amazing and the house was decked to the hilt for the Christmas holidays. We got to tour the entire house and every room has such festive garland and Christmas trees. The family seemed to know how to celebrate the holidays.
The Living Room at the Physick Estate
The Dining Room
The Parlor with the ‘Tabletop’ Tree in the corner
We went room by room with the tour guide explaining how the family would prepare for Christmas and the preparations that would have to be done by the staff for guests and for the family dinner. There would be many trips to Philadelphia department stores for gifts for the family. You felt on the tour that the family had just left for the day.
After the tour, I headed over to West Cape May to see the Cape May Lighthouse and was surprised that it was open that day. With everything else being closed, it was a treat to be able to climb it again. The drive in was nice as people decorated their homes nicely and being a warm day around 50 degrees (Christmas just seems to be getting warmer), I drove around for a bit to admire them.
The entrance to the Borough of Cape May Point decked for the holidays
The outdoor Christmas display in West Cape May
The Cape May Lighthouse and grounds were really busy with visitors and being such a warm day many were walking on the beach or admiring the park. Several passed me as I climbed the lighthouse which I had not done in a few years. The view on this clear sunny day was great.
The views from the top were so clear and beautiful and being so clear you could see the entire surrounding community.
The view from the top of the Cape May Lighthouse
After climbing up and back down, I passed more people who I could not believe were complaining on how hard it was to walk it. I got up in about ten minutes with a couple of stops and then was back down again once reaching the top. It is not that hard and is well worth the trip up.
Watching the time, I wanted to visit the farms in the area but Rea Farm was closed for the season so I headed to Beach Plum Farm, which has become quite the tourist stop since my first trip to Cape May. It is such a picturesque farm but it looks very planned. When I first started coming here is was a more local farm. Now it looks like a gourmet shop and it has gotten more expensive.
The entrance to Beach Plum Farm at 140 Stevens Street
I toured around the gift shop and admired the beautiful displays of gourmet foods. The place was almost empty as I could see that they must have had a very good Christmas. There was some serious restocking that needed to be done.
The wonderful gourmet items at Beach Plum Farm
I ended my afternoon feeding the chickens before I left the farm. God they were so excited to see me. I just had a little feed and they ran all around me like groupies. I guess this is how the farm feeds them. It was the best quarter I spent on the trip.
The chickens were a very excited bunch that afternoon
Before I left Cape May that day for home, I visited Sunset Beach one more time to enjoy the weather. The beach was pretty crowded again as everyone waited to see the sun set again on Cape May. Like I said before, you can see this a hundred times but it is never boring.
Sunset Beach on a warmish sunny day attracts a lot of visitors
From Sunset Beach, I headed home. I stopped for a quick slice of pizza on the way and then I had to leave Cape May (until the next time). There was a lot to do and I had places that I wanted to visit before the holidays were over. I could not believe how much work I got done on this two day trip to Cape May. I got to see a lot.
In the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I made another trip around the City. Since I did not have to return to classes until the end of January, I was able to take my time and explore around campus and the Village. Christmas was still in full swing.
Christmas in Greenwich Village
Decorations in one of the pocket parks on Greenwich Street
Homes decked out for the holidays
Townhouses decked out for the holidays
I also made a special trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Christmas tree and decorations before the museum took them down after the Epiphany. I love seeing them every year. It still is a big attraction at the museum and you have to visit it before that first weekend in January is over.
The Metropolitan Museum of at at 1000 Fifth Avenue:
My last holiday event before school started again was Epiphany services at the Reformed Church of Paramus and visiting my father for his birthday. It can be sobering but I try to still celebrate his life and going to this church puts me into the Christmas spirit.
The Paramus Reformed Church in Ridgewood, NJ
Christmas services at the Paramus Reformed Church
The Paramus Reformed Church’s decorations by Route 17 are always tasteful
After services were over, I stayed and joined the other parishioners for Tea and snacks after the service and talked with other parishioners. It was nice to sit back after a long holiday season and just relax. After services were over, I went to pay respects to my father for his birthday (which is the reason why I come here for church as its on the way home). The cemetery was filled to the brim with wreaths and grave blankets so even though it was a cemetery, there was still a festive feel to the fact that so many people paid their respects to their families.
My aunt took me out on the last day of the Epiphany weekend for my combination birthday/Christmas present dinner to the Ivy Inn. What a nice evening we had and it was the perfect way to end the holiday season. The Chef/ Owner was not there that day but we were able to discuss with the staff the paper I wrote on the Metaverse. They seemed amused by it all (see my review on dinner on my TripAdvisor review above by the Metaverse paper story).
The Ivy Inn decorated for Christmas
The beauty of the dining room decorated for the holidays
The delicious salad I started with
The delicious Penne with Sundried Tomatoes and Sweet Sausage that I had that evening
My aunt and I shared this wonderful Zeppoles with Chocolate and Raspberry sauces
It was a magical evening with good food and company in a festive environment. I really needed this with all the running around with school, work, blogging and research that I had done from Thanksgiving to the Epiphany. It was a lot for one person to pull off and somehow I managed it all. I am lucky that I have supportive friends and family.
I had the entire month of January to relax before the whole thing began again for Spring Semester and that is all I wanted to do. It didn’t quite happen that way but I finally got time to myself which I needed.
My work for my blogs took me all over New York and New Jersey, visiting small towns, admiring Christmas decorations and supporting many community events. Please visit my other blogs DiningonaShoeStringin NYC@Wordpress.com, LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com and VisitingaMuseum.com to see all the updates, more detailed stories on the mansions and events and all my updated pictures.
I got my final grades by the end of the semester and it was straight “A”‘s. This was the first time in my life I ever did that! Don’t even ask me how I pulled this all off!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The Empire State Building from the NoMAD section of Manhattan just off 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…
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…
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.
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…
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).
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).
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).
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 in the Spring when I was walking the length of Broadway
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.
Governor William Henry Stewart statue in Madison Square Park
Governor William Henry Sewart, who negotiated the Alaskan Purchase “Sewart’s Folly”
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)
The ‘Flatiron’ Building at 175 Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street
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:
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.
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.
901 Broadway “Lord & Taylor” building from 1870-1914
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
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 Piano 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).
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 Renaissance 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).
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.
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).
It was designed by architect James B. Baker in the French Gothic style, and you have to admire the roof for its unique details.
The detail in the entrance of the building
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).
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
This impressive bank has recently been converted to luxury apartments with a current one sold at over three million dollars.
The entrance to 141 Fifth Avenue
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.
The Flatiron District from Fifth Avenue and East 23rd Street
The beauty of the Flatiron District at night
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.
I started my walk in Chinatown at China North Dumpling at 27A Essex Street across from Seward 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
This was the first year that “The Great Saunter Walk”, the 32-mile perimeter walk around the entire island took place since 2019. Since I had done the walk twice on my own, actually doing more of the walk than was required. This year I wanted to make it official.
I officially finished “The Great Saunter Walk” in May of 2022
The problem was by the time I wanted to sign up for the walk, it was completely sold out. So, I was put on a waiting list. With a prediction of rain all day (and it did rain all day!), many people dropped out before the event occurred, so I got to sign up. On a very gloomy Saturday morning, I got to the Frances Tavern at 7:30am to register and start the walk by the entrance of the Staten Island ferry.
Rather than rewrite the whole day, I updated the blog that I have written over the last two years and added to it. I hope you all enjoy my journey around the most famous island on earth on the gloomiest and rainy day ever. I hope you enjoy the journey!
My story of my walk around Manhattan island:
“The Great Saunter Walk”:
July 15th, 2022, independent walk:
I wanted to complete the walk again in the Summer to look at if from another perspective and walked the island perimeter again on July 15th. It took another three and a half hours to do the walk. This is due to meal breaks and just exhaustion due to the heat.
Normally I walk “The Great Saunter” in June around the time of either Father’s Day or the Summer Solstice, so that I have plenty of light. The problem was I was so busy in June that I had to push it back to July and the biggest problem was the heat. In the morning when I started the walk, it was cool and in the high 70’s due to the clouds. When they broke around 10:00am, it started to get hotter and went to the mid 80’s. It would not have been so bad, but the humidity plays a role in the walk. When I did the official walk in May, it was so cold and wet we never stopped for a long break as we all just wanted to get it done and go home.
In the warmer months, I like to stop and relax at various parks like Jefferson Park in East Harlem or Carl Schulz Park on the Upper East Side and let my legs relax. The reason why we finished the walk in May quicker is because the businessman who I was walking with in the last leg of the walk around Stuyvesant Cove just wanted to finish as well so we never stopped.
There were a lot more people in the parks that day, so it made maneuvering a bit harder and, in some cases, like in Jefferson Park, people were all over one another. I have noticed one thing and it is not just in New York City, people’s courtesy has gone way down. People were riding their electric bikes and motorcycles in the paths of the park and on the sidewalks practically knocking people down. One very over-weight woman rode a moped through the main path of Jefferson Park chasing her dog and nearly ran over two little girls who had just finished swimming. That was something!
The nice part of the walk in July was the clear sunny day it had been and being able to enjoy the breezes and the sunshine. It is much nicer to do the walk on a pleasant day than in the rain.
My first ‘Selfie” of myself at the start of “The Great Saunter” in May of 2023. I for the life of me can’t understand the thrill people have of doing this. I now know why people think I’m a Fed all the time!
The Second Official walk of “The Great Saunter” on May 6th, 2023:
I have to admit that I thought walking in the rain was an interesting way to do “The Great Saunter”. This year I had to add in a three-hour class that I had to take for my NYU graduate program for my upcoming trip for a class in Paris.
To make the walk easier this year, I decided to stay in the City so that I could get a good night’s sleep and be closer to the start point so that I could walk as much of the West Side of the Island before I had to leave for class at 9:00am.
I was in the middle of final exams for both my college and my graduate work at NYU so Friday night before the walk, I had to write my section of a research paper on tourism between Philadelphia and Boston, grade my students end of the semester papers, update some blogs that I was working on and work on other projects.
We had just finished my Business Communications class final at NYU and after lunch with my classmates and Professor, I headed downtown to get checked in at the Residence Inn in Lower Manhattan. The hotel is just a few blocks from Fraunces Tavern, which is the starting point for “The Great Saunter”. It would be an easier start for me since I had to stop and leave for class. I spent the rest of the afternoon at the hotel doing homework, reading and grading papers and working on updating my blogs. I ended up taking a long nap after all the work was done.
The Residence Inn Downtown Manhattan was our base for “The Great Saunter”:
Later that evening while I waited for my friend, Maricel to join me after work, I went to the Shake Shack in the Fulton Mall off Broadway for some dinner. I could not believe that a Shake Shack was so filthy, and the staff looked like they could care less about the food or decor. I could not believe how this restaurant was being run like there was no manager there. The Dining Room and tables needed a good cleaning and sweeping and the guy working there spent most of his time on his cell phone. I ate my dinner and left. Even though the food tasted good, visually speaking it was not up to the standards that I have seen at every other Shake Shack that I have eaten at over the years (See review on TripAdvisor).
The Chicken sandwich and French Fries at Shake Shack at the Fulton Mall
When Maricel arrived from work, we talked for about an hour and caught up. It had been a while since we could spend some time with each other. I think I lasted about an hour and then fell asleep. Later she told me that she was in the middle of talking to me and I went out like a light.
The next morning, I woke up and I had one of the best night’s sleeps in a long time. I had not felt that refreshed in a long time. I swear that the Marriott mattresses are worth their weight in gold. I had to get dressed and ready to go for the all day walk. Since I knew that I had to stop around 8:45am, I wanted to get started exactly at 7:00am.
While Maricel slept, I got shaved, showered and on my way. I stopped at Traders Express Deli at 22 Beaver Street which was the only place open at that time to get breakfast. All the fast food places were still closed, the hotel breakfast did not open until 7:00am on the weekends and all the coffee places just served coffee. This was an opportunity that Fraunces Tavern is losing to serve breakfast to a large crowd.
Trader’s Express Deli at 22 Beaver Street in Lower Manhattan
I ordered a Sausage, Egg and Cheese that I highly recommend. What I liked about the place was the friendliness of the staff and the fact that everyone seemed to be regulars. The sandwich was excellent and was the perfect breakfast to start the walk.
Eating my breakfast sandwich across from the start point
The Sausage, Egg and Cheese was yum!
After breakfast I got in the already growing line of about a hundred people and we got ready to go. At exactly 7:00am, off we went. We collected our hats and pins and were on our way up through Battery Park along the Hudson River West Side of the island. We lucked out this year as the weather was sunny, warm and just crisp enough in the morning to walk comfortably.
The start of “The Great Saunter” Fraunces Tavern in May 6th, 2023
Us lining up for “The Great Saunter” on May 6th, 2023
We lucked out this year versus last year when it rained all day. I had never been so drenched. This year it was so nice. It was bright, sunny and crisp in the morning, perfect to start the walk. When we began at 7:00am, I got my hat, pin and off I went. Since I had the new iPhone to take pictures, I was stopping by all the statuary so that I could update my older blogs on “The Great Saunter” and on walks in those neighborhoods. I got some really great shots in of sculptures along the West Side of the Island of Manhattan.
The start of “The Great Saunter” on May 6th, 2023
It was funny that another blogger said he recognized me on the walk from a previous walk and he sent me a copy of the video. It was me walking around Lower Manhattan.
Angel sent me this video of myself starting the walk right in front of him until I stopped to take a picture of lower Manhattan.
I was making excellent timing getting through the Battery, but I kept stopping to take pictures of all the sculptures that I had passed on previous walks, and I wanted better pictures this time. The day was sunny and blue, so it was perfect for taking pictures around the city. I could not believe the beautiful views that I saw of Liberty Island, Jersey City and Hoboken. Even the shots of lower Manhattan were amazing and so vivid.
Lower Manhattan that morning when I stopped to take a picture.
Passing Lady Liberty in the harbor that morning
For most of the walk until I hit 60th Street, I stopped every ten minutes to take pictures. At 8:45am though, I had to head back down to the NYU Campus to present my walking tour in Paris in three weeks (be on the lookout for “My walk in Paris” segment of this blog) and it went by really well. So well, that the professor wanted more from me so there will be some adjustments.
The view from the Battery at the riverfront of Jersey City, NJ in the background
I kept on track for walk through the Battery and kept pace with everyone else mostly passing people on my way up through Battery Park. I was making good time enjoying the warm weather and the beautiful sites that was a pleasure from the cold miserable weather from last year.
As I walked through Battery Park, I had to stop at each of the sculptures that I admired so much in all the walks that I have done in the past. It is an open-air museum in that part of the City. The first thing I passed was Castle Clinton, which once upon a time was the place immigrants registered when they came to this country before they went to Ellis Island. It also was once home to the New York Aquarium until Robert Moses dismantled it. Now it is used as a museum and a place where you buy your tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to the museums.
As we rounded the park in the Battery Park City, I saw a series of statues that I had seen many times on the walk. The first was the American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial. This is kind of a creepy statue as it stares at you from the bay. This was based on an incident from WWII.
The American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial at Battery Park
Ms. Escobar was born in Paris and raised in Venezuela and moved to New York in the 1950’s. She is known for her highly stylized boxy sculptures (NYCParks.org). She studied art at the Jepson Art Institute, the Ecole des Beaux Arts and Art Students League of New York (Wiki).
The signage for the statue
The next statue I remembered was the NY
Another sculpture I missed on my first two walks around the island was the New York Korean Memorial by artist Mac Adams.
The statue is one of the first monuments to the Korean conflict built in the United States and the void in the sculpture represents the absence and loss of the war and a metaphor for death (NYCParks.org).
Artist Mac Adams is a British born artist who now lives in the New York area. He holds an MFA from Rutgers University. He is known for his large public works and for the use of ‘space between images’ (Wiki/Artist Bio).
I left Battery Park and entered into the newer extension of Robert Wagner Jr. Park next to Battery Park City. In the front part of the park, I came across these unusual musical instrument sculptures that graced the entrance of the park.
The art entitled “Resonating Bodies” were created by British born artist Tony Cragg, whose work I had seen uptown many times. The sculptures resemble a lute and a tuba. The work is based on the concept that all physical bodies including we are constantly enveloped by various energy forms (NYCParks.org).
“Resonating Bodies” at Robert Wagner Jr. Park in Battery Park City
Mr. Cragg is a British born artist from Liverpool and studied at the Gloucestershire School of Art, received his BA from the Wimbledon School of Art and his MA from the Royal School of Art. He has been showing his works since 1977. He is best known for his contemporary sculptures (Artist Bio/Wiki).
Once I passed through Robert Wagner Jr. Park at Battery Park City, I continued up the West Side Promenade on my way up the west side of Manhattan making great time. I got a better view of downtown Jersey City, NJ and could not believe how beautiful the skyline is at that time of the day.
Downtown Jersey City, NJ in all its glory
Manhattan looks so vibrant at this time of the morning. There is not a lot of action at 7:30am in the morning so you can see the City at its best. As we walked though Battery Park City and the park on our way up the West Side, I had to keep taking shots of familiar sites and the famous skyline.
Battery Park City in all it “Oz” glory at 8:00am in the morning
Another piece of art that I came across that I missed in the last two trips is “Apple” by artist Stephen Weiss. The piece was part of the ‘Larger than Life” series of the artist and symbolized the heart and core of life in New York City (Hudson River Park).
“The Apple” by artist Stephen Weiss in Hudson River Park
Artist Stephen Weiss was a New York born artist who had attended the Pratt Institute. He had worked for his family company and was the husband of designer, Donna Karan. He was known for his family company and was the husband of designer, Donna Karan. He was known for his sculpture works (RoGallery).
As we were heading up the west side, I never noticed a sign that says “I want to Thank You” on the pier. I thought that was interesting in that I never noticed it before on my walks through Hudson River Park. I did not know if this was a piece of art work or just a message to someone.
The “I want to Thank You” sign in Hudson River Park
The last piece of art that stood out to me on this trip through Battery Park was entitled “Days End” by artist David Hammons. It looked like the shell of an empty building and struck a nerve as the sun started to set on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. It is an ‘Open Air’ sculpture that explores the history of the neighborhood (Whitney Museum).
Mr. Hammons is an American born artist who studied at the Chouinard Art Institute (CalArts) and at Otis Art Institute. He is known for his Body Prints and sculpture work (Wiki/Artnet.com).
I headed up the thin stretch of park along Hudson River Park, I passed all the piers again that had become such a familiar site for me for not just The Great Saunter but for the neighborhood walks. I was able to judge where I was by the artwork and by the part of the park I had walked through. Since I have covered the whole island to 23rd Street, many of these sites I had remembered at previous times.
While I was walking through the parks, a few pieces of park sculpture stood out to me as I reached Hudson River Park in Chelsea. The long trek up Joe DiMaggio Highway made me more aware of my surroundings as I had to stop again. I came across the ‘Serpentine Sculptures’, these large twisting metal concoctions that graced the riverfront walkway.
These interesting, twisted sculptures are by American artist Mark Gabian who holds a BA in Art History and BFA in Sculpture from Cornell University (my Alma Mater!). Mr. Gabian’s sculptures can be seen all over the world. The artist has been quoted as saying he created monumental site-specific commissions in two or three dimensions’ (the artist’s website).
As I walked up Hudson River Park, I kept passing group after group of people on my way through the park. Everyone was pacing themselves but there are always those people that start jogging which I do not understand. They act like this is a contest and it is not the New York Marathon where we get judged for the time we keep. We just make it back to Fraunces Tavern and get our certificate.
When I reached West 13th Street near Pier 53, I passed the latest attraction in Manhattan, “Little Island”, a whimsical park that had just opened the year before and I still have not visited. I was going to take a detour for a bit and walk inside the park but I wanted to make it as far as I could up the West Side that morning. Still, it is place that I want to visit and is on my bucket list.
The “Little Island” looks like visiting “Whoville” in the “Grinch who stole Christmas” in the summertime. This well landscaped park is now two years old, and I still can’t believe that I have not visited it. For another day I told myself and made a mental note of it.
As I passed West 23rd Street, there were more pieces of art that I remembered from when I was walking these neighborhoods. When you enter Hudson River Park from West 23rd Street, 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)
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
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
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).
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 I passed the Hudson Yards complex at West 30th Street, it gleamed like “Oz” in the distance. This complex has now opened in full force since the Pandemic and the mall and all the parks have large crowds that I have not seen since most of it had been finished. I could tell the tourists have come back to the City.
The Hudson Yards complex in all its glory that morning
From West 23rd Street to West 57th Street I accelerated my walking as I wanted to get to my goal of West 60th Street before 9:00am. I passed many familiar sites from previous walks including the Circle Line at West 42nd Street where I started my first walk in 2020 and where I had spent my birthday pre-pandemic wanting to see the exterior of Manhattan, which was a real eye opener. The Intrepid Museum had just reopened a year and a half before and I made another mental note that I wanted to see that too (see my previous blog above on “The Great Saunter”).
Another familiar piece of art that I stopped to admire by Pier 96 was Malcolm Cochran’s artwork “Private Passage” again. I came across this sculpture when visiting the park two years earlier. The piece is a giant bottle and when you look in the port hole you will see a state room of the former Queen Mary. It is an interesting piece of artwork that is not hard to miss and take time to look in the port holes.
The artist is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and is graduate of Wesleyan College who specializes in large sculptures.
Further up the park, I saw the old New York Transfer Station piece in Riverside Park. This is a relic of the old West Side Railroad tracks that were once part of the New York Central Railroad that the park and buildings behind it are built on. This transfer bridge once was used to attach railroad cars to the freight tracks that once ran up and down this part of the island (Forgotten New York).
The New York Central Transfer Station
It is interesting to see this now as a piece of art instead of a functioning part of the railroad, but it is fascinating to see how we use the parts of the past as a piece of art in the present. This shows the current park visitor how we have made new uses of the riverfront for recreation and pleasure which was not true during the early parts of the last century.
What was nice about having the new iPhone was that I was able to take much better pictures of all these wonderful sites and record them for the blogs. When I got home, I updated all the pictures on previous blogs, and they really showcase all these wonderful works in the West Side parks.
Hudson River Park was getting crowded with dog walkers and joggers by 8:30am and people were really out and about. We had to share a thin strip of walkway with everyone including the bikers who kept yelling at us to get out of the way. There are just too many people enjoying these parks at once. Still, I got some great shots in and made excellent time. By 8:45am, I made it to West 60th Street and stopped to head back to the hotel and get to class. I had to present my proposal for my NYU class to Paris this summer and did not want to go all sweaty and needed my computer as well.
So, I went to the Columbus Circle stop and headed back down to lower Manhattan where Maricel was still asleep. As I walked through the subway terminal, I passed the Underground Market, which is the food court that was so popular pre-COVID. After the City opened up, this food court was practically dead as most of the restaurants had closed due to the lack of people visiting and working in the area. It looked like it had finally started to come back (another mental note to visit it).
The Turnstyle Underground Market has reopened and filling up again at the West 60th Columbus Circle subway stop.
I ran back to the hotel, changed my clothes and went to class at West 12th Street. i presented my walking project for the Left Bank of Paris, explained what we were doing and then listened to my classmate’s presentations. We finished by 1:00pm and I ran back to the hotel, changed back into my clothes, said goodbye to Maricel and checked my luggage and took the subway back to Columbus Circle. By the time I got up to the station, walked down West 59th Street and got back to Hudson River Park, it was past 2:00pm.
I resumed the walk at 2:30pm on the dot back on West 60th Street. The weather was still amazing, and I was convinced that I could finish the walk around 10:00pm. Oh, the day I had ahead of me was going to be a long one. The weather was utterly amazing so walking up the west side of the island was not so bad. It was not that hot, so it made walking pleasant in the later afternoon. I just don’t remember it taking that long to get to Inwood Park, which I would not get to until 5:00pm.
Along the way as I walked up Hudson River Park to Riverside Park at West 72nd Street, I saw a couple of people who had quit the walk. A couple with their baby must have gotten as far as Inwood Park and then made their way back down the West Side. They just smiled at me as I passed them.
Then at the extension of Dyckman Avenue by West 207th, I saw a group of four people who looked like they had just finished lunch and by their body language I could tell were done for the day. I passed them too. After that I did not see anyone on the walk until I got to Jefferson Park on the other side of the island in East Harlem as I was eating my dinner.
Not only was the weather very pleasant for the walk, so was walking through the parks. Everything was either in full bloom or had buds out and the parks looked really green. It was so beautiful to walk through them on this warm sunny day.
I made it up to West Harlem Piers Park 3:30pm and it was pretty busy on the sunny day. People were out walking their dogs, fishing on the pier or reading books at the benches. The park was not as messy as it normally is but the parks department people were out in full force the entire time I walked on the West Side so the parks were really clean. I stopped to take more pictures.
I passed the unusual sculptures, Voice One and Voice Two by artist Nari Ward, a New York based artist who likes to use objects found in his own neighborhood (artist website). They have become a marker for this walk on how far I have traveled. They are quite unique.
These unusual silver sculptures I almost interpreted as people trying to speak and it was interesting that the sculptures were called Voice I and Voice II. I was not sure of what the artist was trying to communicate with his artwork, but it does stand out in the park. The unfortunate part of it was that there was so much garbage in the park you could not get up close to see them.
I really enjoy this park. It has wonderful breezes and excellent views and plenty of places to sit down and relax. It offers such nice views of the river and as the morning progressed, I started to see more sailboats and water boats out cruising up and down the Hudson River.
While walking down the walkway to Fort Washington Park in 2023, I noticed these flock of seagulls in the cement barrier that I had noticed many times before. I did not realize how detailed they were until I really looked at them. This is what happens when you take your time to observe everything on this walk and not just rush by.
The seagulls wall
The seagulls wall
Passing this part of the park leads to the underpass that you have to walk through to get to Fort Washington Park, so you have a rather strange part of the walk near the treatment plant. If you can travel up to the sports facility, it is worth the trip. It really provides the neighborhood with all sorts of things to do. It also has a great snack shop, and their burgers are really good. When I entered Fort Washington Park, it was in full swing with barbecues and parties going on that afternoon. It is very different in the morning hours when the parks people are there cleaning up from the parties the night before.
Walking through Fort Washington Park during the walk in 2023
The George Washington Bridge in the distance when walking Fort Washington Park
Making my way to the George Washington Bridge
I got to Fort Washington Park around 4:00pm and was able to visit the Little Red Lighthouse which I had visited many times on my trips to the park. With everyone else being on the other side of the island at this point, the park was relatively quiet, and I got to take lots of pictures.
The George Washington Bridge with the Little Red Lighthouse below it. It inspired the children’s book, “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge” by author Hildegarde Swift.
The Little Red Lighthouse at Fort Washington Park
I continued on into Fort Washington Park to see the Little Red Lighthouse, which I had not visited in almost three years since my last walk in the neighborhood. Many tourists were by the site just under the George Washington Bridge, taking pictures by the lighthouse and enjoying the sunny weather.
The Little Red Lighthouse had been constructed in 1889 and moved from Sandy Hook, New Jersey in 1917 and moved here in 1921. It was decommissioned in 1948 after the construction of the George Washington Bridge in 1931. What had saved the lighthouse from destruction was the book “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge” by author Hildegarde Swift in 1942 (Wiki).
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde Swift
The park was really quiet, so I got to enjoy the views on my own this time. I was able to finally take the pictures that I wanted and take my time exploring the park. It also has one of the few decent bathrooms in this area of the City. I looked downtown the area I had covered and was making very good time on this side of the island.
The view from under the George Washington Bridge from the Little Red Lighthouse to Lower Manhattan
On the way to Inwood Park from Fort Tyron Park, I passed the remnants of the old Tyron Hall estate. There is not much left but the entrance ways across the street and this balcony that looks over the river. You could tell at one time this must have been a very grand estate. It now makes up the framework for Fort Tryon Park where The Cloisters Museum is now located.
The Balcony of the old “Tryon Hall”
When you reach Fort Tyron Park by foot along the Henry Hudson Parkway, you will see two large stone columns that look like the entrance to an estate and then across the street there is a pillared overlook to the Hudson River. These are remnants of the former C.K.G. Billings estate, “Tryon Hall”.
The old entrance to the estate is covered with brush
Mr. Billings, the Chairman of Union Carbide, owned most land of which the park is located and theses small relics are the remains of the great estate. I had never been in this part of the park before and thought it interesting that these pieces of the estate were left.
The archway and drive are still part of the park, and you can see them closer to The Cloisters Museum. The old driveway to the estate is still used inside the park.
The entrance to the old “Tryon Hall” estate in Inwood Park in 2023
I made the long trip up the hill from the park to enter the beginnings of Inwood Park and walked down to Dyckman Street to the Dyckman Street Beach and harbor area. People were out washing their cars and blasting music, and, in the distance, you could hear the yells of the baseball and softball games going on. I walked up the pier to take a better look at the beach and at least this time there was no garbage on it.
The Dyckman Street Beach is a small street of land on the Hudson River. I would not swim in it.
As I made my way through the bottom of Inwood Park, I stopped to take in the view of the Hudson River. I don’t think too many people know of the views from these parks on this part of the island, but they are really amazing.
The beauty of the Hudson River from Inwood Park
I made my way over the foot bridge in Inwood Park to the main part of the path and could not believe how beautiful the views were from the hills. When it rained last year, you could not enjoy it. All everyone wanted to do was get to the pavilion in Inwood Park so that we could dry off a bit and have something to eat and drink. Since I did not get there until 5:00pm, everyone was long gone (they closed this area down by 2:30pm).
I took my time snapping pictures, enjoying the view and admiring the Hudson River and the trees as they swayed by. The park was at its best at this time with the sun right above us. The paths and the lookouts were so picturesque.
The view from the top of the hill at Inwood Park
As I walked up and down the paths of Inwood Park, I took time to enjoy the views that Mother Nature offered me. I figured I was not racing with anyone to the finish line and would have plenty of time to get down to Fraunces Tavern.
Another view from the top of the hill path at Inwood Park
Heading down the pathway
The rock formations that make up the mountain stream
Following the path to the bottom of the hill
When I got to the bottom of the pathways and exited into the lawn area of the park, I saw a familiar giant boulder which is one of the most historic objects on the Island of Manhattan, the Shorakkopoch Rock.
The spot where Manhattan was bought by the Dutch
The rock is the legendary location of where Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from the Reckgawawang Indians for what is today $24.00 of household goods and trinkets.
I bypassed the rest of the park and made my way past all the basketball and softball games and went to the pavilion to see if anyone was left there and everyone was gone. When I looked at the schedule of the map, they had closed up at 2:30pm and it was now 5:00pm. I knew it would be getting dark by 7:45pm and I did not want to be walking through Harlem at night, so I made my way through Inwood and Washington Heights following the path set by the map. I stopped for a quick Coke and made my way down 10th Avenue to Dyckman Street.
All the street vendors were in full swing, selling everything on a busy weekend. I was going to stop at one of the bakeries, but I did not want to sway too far off the path, so I decided to stop at my favorite pizzeria on East 145th Street so I decided to wait to eat lunch there.
On the way down 10th Street, I saw a lot of interesting street art. I don’t know who the taggers were, but their work was very creative.
This was just off 10th Avenue near 203rd Street
I thought this was really creative in the right corner of the painting
I saw this on the side of condo and thought someone was really talented
I made my way past Dyckman Houses, which are always interesting because I keep thinking that someone is watching me from there. I always get that sinking feeling, so I make my way fast this development and get to the park to walk down the path along the East River. I got here by 5:30pm so I was making good progress.
As I walked down the Harlem River Drive pathway in Highbridge Park, the traffic was still really packed as people looked like they were still trying to leave the City for the weekend. At the beginning of the park, many people were having barbecues and birthday parties. All the tables were with families enjoying themselves. Once I passed all of them, the park was quiet. I noticed across the river in the Bronx how much of the waterfront had been built up with new condos and apartment buildings. I could not believe how much the developers were changing the waterfront.
The long curves of the park, the lush woods and rock formations show what was once the former shoreline of this part of the island. From this location it looks alike Inwood Hill Park with clean paths and virgin plantings. From a distance it looks really pretty.
The reality of the park is that if you walk through the park you are faced with the over-grown paths, the graffitied rocks and garbage that parts of the park suffer from. When you walk through the paths on the other side of the park, you see how far the park has gone down and the work that still needs to be done. Abandoned cars and garbage still plaque parts of the park from the park side paths. Still the City is doing a lot to improve the park blocking off parts of te park to renovate it with seedings and new plantings.
The approach to the High Bridge Water Tower in High Bridge Park in 2023
I passed the old High Bridge Water Tower that I heard has finally reopened. The water tower and the bridge are the lasting remnants of the way water used to travel into New York City from upstate in the late 1800’s. The tower was built in 1872 and was part of the old Croton Aqueduct system of moving water into Manhattan.
This part of the park had no activity and, on the path, leading down to the old Polo Grounds there was not much activity. What always makes me nervous is walking around the Polo Ground Houses that run from West 165th Street to about West 155th Street. The complex is a tired looking set up public housing with one building looking exactly like the other and a small patch of green in the middle.
The Polo Ground Tower Housing Complex
All I kept thinking about is the activities that go on there and I zig-zagged my way down the sidewalk until I hit the part of the fence that was covered with trees and vines. Out of site from the prying windows. Ever since I read about the complex on the internet, I have never felt comfortable in this part of the City. This was before I walked all around the complex four years ago when I walked Harlem and didn’t think much about it. I walk around quickly in this neighborhood. Before I crossed the street, I looked at the John T. Brush staircase that used to bring people from the subway to stadium. I thought no one today except a few older New Yorkers would know the significance of this.
The John T. Brush Staircase that used to lead to the Polo Grounds
I crossed the street and walked down Edgecombe Avenue on the upper side of Jackie Robinson Park. On the corner of the edge of the street is the John Hooper Fountain at 155th Street and Edgecombe Avenue. The fountain was designed by architect George Martin Huss and is a ornamental horse fountain and lantern. It was dedicated in 1894 and donated to the park by businessman John Hooper (NYCParks.com/MichaelMinn.net). It was used by the horses for drinking when carriages and horse riding at that time.
The John Hooper Fountain is at the corner of Edgecombe Avenue and 155th Street in 2022
I finally got down to the Polo Grounds Public Housing and was able to get through that area pretty quickly. Hearing rumors about this place as well, I wanted to get past it and get to Edgecombe Avenue as soon as possible. The funny part about this area was pre-Pandemic this neighborhood was really gentrifying with many of the CUNY students moving into this area. It looked to me like it has retrenched a bit for now.
As I passed the benches by Jackie Robinson Park down the steps from this road, I saw small groups of people who made it their business to ignore me or were smoking pot and finding ways to try to hide it. It has been made legal, so I did not care. I finally made it to East 145th Street and made the turn and walked down the street.
East 145th Street has shown some real changes. Pre-Pandemic this was one of the fastest gentrifying areas of the neighborhood with new buildings going up, lots of new and more expensive restaurants and renovations of the old townhouses and brownstones. Having the students go virtual really put an end to it and the neighborhood has retrenched for now. There is still renovations going on but not like before where I would see CUNY students on their blankets in Jackie Robinson Park. That must have freaked out the neighborhood. CUNY will soon dominate this neighborhood again with a new apartment complex they want to build on the corner of East 145th Street and Sixth Avenue (Malcolm X Boulevard).
I stopped for a quick lunch at King Pizza of Harlem at 110 West 145th Street for a snack. I knew that I wanted a chopped cheese for dinner as I had for the last two years but again, I was starved. When I walked in, there was the same owner in the same place where I ordered my lunch. I just sat and relaxed.
The cheese pizza is excellent. The sauce is so well spiced and topped with loads of mozzarella cheese. The slice was rather large and made a great snack. It was just pleasant to sit down and relax.
The slices at King Pizza are excellent! Don’t miss their delicious Cheese Pizza
The relaxation did not last very long as there was some big commotion outside the restaurant and I saw about four police cars surround this group of kids who started to run in every direction. There were kids of all ages yelling and running across the street in front of the restaurant. No one in the restaurant flinched at the whole thing so I figured the owner had seen all this before and was prepared if someone came into the pizzeria to cause problems. It was like watching a movie as the police cars pulled up in front of the pizzeria and groups of kids screaming at one another as they passed the window. That was my excitement for the afternoon.
As I made my way down Fifth Avenue from 143rd Street, I stopped again to look at the obelisk that is located on a tiny triangle near the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 142nd Street. The Monument is the 369 Infantry Regiment Memorial dedicated to the all-black unit that fought so valiantly in World War I with the Fourth French Army. It sits on a small triangle as you are crossing the bridge to get to the riverfront promenade. I don’t think many people even notice it.
I passed the memorial and walked across the street to the bridge that led to Harlem River Park, a small stretch of river promenade that goes to East 135th Street. Since the park looked like it was getting a small renovation, I got off earlier at East 138th Street and walked down Madison Avenue to East 135th Street where I saw the same homeless guy from last year panhandling people coming off FDR Drive. He was still standing in the same dangerous location where he could be hit by a car at any time. I could not believe he was still in the same spot at the same time as last year. Things don’t change.
The Street Art at Harlem River Park that I admired the year before
Words of Wisdom on the wall in Harlem River Park
The paintings on the wall at Harlem River Park
The close up shot of the paintings
I made a turn into the courtyard of the Lincoln Houses to see the statute of Abraham Lincoln with Child statute at 2120-2122 Madison Avenue. No one was around so I was able to take some good pictures of the statue. The last time I had stopped to see it a group of kids just gave me a funny look when I entered the public housings walkway, so I did not venture in. This time around there was no one there and I got this excellent picture of the statue.
Lincoln and Child at 2120-2122 Madison Avenue in the Lincoln Houses in 2023
The statue was designed by artist Charles Keck. Mr. Keck was an American born New York artist who studied at the National Academy of Design and the Arts Students League of New York. He was best known for his work on statues and monuments.
I got down Fifth Avenue rather quickly and made my way to East 128th Street where I walked to Second Avenue. It was funny how everyone did everything they could to ignore me. It was really funny. All the people on the street watched me through the corner of their eyes but did everything they could to turn away from me. It was very subtle.
On the way down the street, I passed P.S. 30 and its wonderful painting on the side of the school. I thought the kids were really creative. The schools were all closed today, and the area was really quiet. When I walked this neighborhood about five years ago during the school year this place is bustling with kids and parents especially with after school programs.
The painting on the side PS 30
As I turned the corner and made my way down Second Avenue, I passed the Taino Towers which look like they are still under a renovation of the complex. Still, you can see this wonderful mural from a distance on the side of the building.
Artist Don Rimx painted a mural of Nuyorocan poet Jesus ‘Tato’ Laviera. The painting had been unveiled in 2017 (long after my visit to the neighborhood) and 123rd Street was renamed after the poet (Street Art NYC).
The mural of Jesus ‘Tato’ Laviera at Taito Towers at 122nd Street and Second Avenue
Mr. Rimx was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and in 2009 moved to Brooklyn and then in 2014 to Florida. He graduated from Central High School of Visual Arts and Escuela Des Arts Plasticas. He is known for his use of styles in art and culture and known for his murals (Artist Bio).
I crossed Second Avenue to the Wagner Houses complex. People were having all sorts of picnics and barbecues inside and outside the Wagner Houses. The lawns of this complex are always busy. The funny part of this neighborhood again like other sections of Harlem before the Pandemic was in full gentrification mode.
All the brownstones were under scaffolding when I passed the last time, and they were still there. All the new buildings around the Wagner Houses started look old and it was getting seedy again. It did not look like that before the Pandemic.
The Wagner Houses
I passed the monument to Robert Wagner Sr. which had not been damaged during the riots in 2020. I guess people had other things to worry about at the time. It still stands like a guard on the complex.
The Robert Wagner Sr. sculpture in the Wagner Playground by artist Georg John Lober
Georg John Lober was an American artist from Chicago who studied at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design and worked for the New York City Municipal Art Commission for seventeen years.
Pleasant Avenue was once home to the East Harlem “Little Italy” and the ‘Dance of the Giglio’ takes place here every August outside the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (See Day Eighty-Four The Feast of Our Lady of Carmel and the Dancing of the Giglio). Now it is becoming a gentrified neighborhood and I saw many people eating in outdoor cafes or shopping at the local mall.
I stopped for lunch in both 2020, 2021,2022 and 2023 at Blue Sky Deli (now Chopped Cheese Delicious) at 2135 First Avenue for a Chopped Cheese. I swear I make any excuse to come up here and have that sandwich.
The Chopped Cheese Delicious (Blue Sky Deli) has a cult following
The ‘Chopped Cheese’ is a cult sandwich made up of two chopped hamburgers topped with American cheese, chopped lettuce and tomato with salt, pepper and spices and then pressed. It is like heaven with every bite. I took my sandwich into Thomas Jefferson Park, which is currently under renovation and ate my sandwich. After I was finished, I had the energy to continue the walk downtown.
I stopped in Thomas Jefferson Park to have my dinner and people watch. There were parties all over the park at this time. It was just about 6:45pm when I sat down for dinner and could see the sun patterns changing. I took my time to eat but I wanted to get on my way. I wanted to be at Midtown before it got dark. I enjoyed every bite of my sandwich.