Category Archives: Exploring Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Five Christmas Again? December 1st-31st, 2022

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g46551-d114479-Reviews-Lambertville_Station_Inn_and_Restaurant-Lambertville_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

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:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/27077

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. 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:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/27313

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

https://www.choicehotels.com/new-york/hyde-park/quality-inn-hotels/ny343

My review on TripAdvisor:

http://www.tripadvisor.com//Hotel_Review-g60801-d590312-Reviews-Quality_Inn_Hyde_Park_Poughkeepsie_North-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

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:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d818463-Reviews-Village_Pizza_of_Rhinebeck-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

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.

My review on the Columbia Inn in Montville, NJ:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46639-d639843-Reviews-Columbia_Inn_Restaurant-Montville_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Please read the blog I wrote on the event on “My Life as a Fireman”:

https://wordpress.com/post/tbcfha.wordpress.com/631

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

https://www.instagram.com/ivy_inn_restaurant/?hl=en

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46497-d1368517-Reviews-Ivy_Inn-Hasbrouck_Heights_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

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

https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/fhkny-courtyard-fishkill/rooms/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g47724-d99184-Reviews-Courtyard_by_Marriott_Fishkill-Fishkill_New_York.html?m=19905

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:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60801-d1929618-Reviews-Apple_Pie_Bakery_Cafe-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

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

The Mills Mansion

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48676-d107418-Reviews-Staatsburgh_State_Historic_Site_Mills_Mansion-Staatsburg_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/11366

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

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057186982344

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47922-d24829233-Reviews-Brinckerhoff_House_Historical_Site-Hopewell_Junction_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/25933

My blog about visiting the Historical sites of Fishkill, NY:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/25870

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60801-d105845-Reviews-Vanderbilt_Mansion_National_Historic_Site-Hyde_Park_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/11410

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

https://www.nps.gov/places/springwood.htm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60801-d106611-Reviews-Home_of_Franklin_D_Roosevelt_National_Historic_Site-Hyde_Park_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2676

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.

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.

Link to Quiz Four: The Corporate Christmas Party

One of the invitations to the party

One of the Christmas menus

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

https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/staatsburgh

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48676-d107418-Reviews-Staatsburgh_State_Historic_Site_Mills_Mansion-Staatsburg_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2137

The foyer decorated for Christmas

The Christmas tree in the foyer

The Dining Room decorated with the masks

The Library decorated for the holidays

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

https://dutchesstourism.com/event-view/34952_2022_12_17

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48486-d263984-Reviews-Wilderstein_Historic_Site-Rhinebeck_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1642

The outside of Wilderstein decorated for the holidays

The Dining Room at Wilderstein during the holidays

After the mansion tours, I headed up to Rhinebeck, Red Hook and Woodstock, NY to take pictures of the downtowns decorated at Christmas.

Downtown Rhinebeck, NY

Downtown Rhinebeck, NY at Christmas time

The Christmas tree in Downtown Rhinebeck, NY

Then it was off to Downtown Red Hook, NY. This is such a beautiful, picturesque town at Christmas.

Downtown Red Hook, NY

Downtown Red Hook, NY at Christmas

My blog on Exploring Downtown Red Hook, NY on MywalkinManhattan.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/14144

The Christmas Tree in Downtown Red Hook, NY

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 Locust Grove Mansion at Christmas time

https://www.lgny.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48443-d263920-Reviews-Locust_Grove_Estate-Poughkeepsie_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1691

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

https://www.wappingershistoricalsociety.org/mesier-homestead

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48799-d16919924-Reviews-Mesier_Homestead_and_Museum-Wappingers_Falls_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/4173

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.

https://www.carnegiehall.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d116237-Reviews-Carnegie_Hall-New_York_City_New_York.html

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.

Amore Pizza Cafe at 370 West 59th Street

https://amorepizzacafe.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d23336838-Reviews-Amore_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2214

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

https://www.facebook.com/philipsburgmanor/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48622-d299069-Reviews-Philipsburg_Manor-Sleepy_Hollow_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/5782

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

https://www.bergencountyhistory.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46776-d7603554-Reviews-Historic_New_Bridge_Landing-River_Edge_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://visitingamuseum.com/tag/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.

“I saw Three Ships Sail In” my favorite song from Linda Russell

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.

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46937-d4735011-Reviews-Mills_Bakery-Wood_Ridge_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/1013

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:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34048-d555742-Reviews-Confucius_Chinese_Cuisine-Rehoboth_Beach_Delaware.html?m=19905

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

https://sunsetbeachnj.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g3948623-d103992-Reviews-Sunset_Beach-Lower_Township_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

My review on VistingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2705

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g46341-d79381-Reviews-The_Chalfonte_Hotel-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

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

http://ladystarofthesea.org/olss/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46341-d16846237-Reviews-Our_Lady_Star_of_the_Sea_Church-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

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 Mad Batter at 19 Jackson Street in Cape May

https://www.facebook.com/madbatterrestaurant/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46341-d393838-Reviews-The_Mad_Batter-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

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 Emlen Physick Estate at

https://www.facebook.com/PhysickEstate/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46341-d614851-Reviews-Emlen_Physick_Estate-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

My review on VistingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1756

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 Cape May Lighthouse at 215 Lighthouse Avenue

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46341-d103993-Reviews-Cape_May_Lighthouse-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1763

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1867426-d5866138-Reviews-Beach_Plum_Farm-West_Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

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.

My TripAdvisor review on Brothers Pizza II:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g1867426-d393913-Reviews-Brother_s_Pizza_II-West_Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

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:

https://www.metmuseum.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d105125-Reviews-The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art-New_York_City_New_York.html

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Christmas tree

The display around the tree is amazing

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!

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Nine Walking the Fancy Food Show (three days of testing, tasting and talking) June 12th-14th, 2022

Summer Fancy Food Show 2022

https://www.specialtyfood.com/shows-events/summer-fancy-food-show/

After a two-year hiatus, the Summer Fancy Food Show came back to New York City. It was funny to see it come back the way it did with all the publicly. I even got a special email from one of the women coordinating the event making sure that I am attending the show. They give you such a hassle with the form to sign up for the show. You have to give so much information to get in, but I figure that most people try to get in thinking it is a ‘eat a thon’ event when there is no way of doing that without getting sick.

After coming to this show and many other industry shows like it, you realize that you need to pace yourself when you are sampling items. I learned this since my first show back in 2003 (I can’t believe that I have been coming to this show for almost twenty years) that you need to take your time and come back to the booths for a second time in case you want an extra taste.

If you go down your first aisle and sample everything, you will never make it at this show. You need to look at the booth, see what the vendor is displaying and if it looks interesting and then think about sampling. With the number of cookies, crackers, candy, snack foods, ice cream, pizza and sauces, it can overload your body and you will feel it later in the afternoon. It can be a system overload.

I broke the visit up into the full three days and tried to get to the show all three mornings and afternoons. I found that the show was not as big as the one back in 2019 but things were just getting back up to speed with us trying to put COVID behind us. It was tough because some people still insisted on wearing masks which is tough when you are at a food show. Like everything else, pace yourself.

After three days of sampling and tasting and talking with vendors from all over the world, some looking for distributers and some just looking to get a foothold in the market or just get the word out, there were many food merchants that stood out amongst the others. I wanted to share them with grocery shoppers who will see these products on shelves all over the world.

I was very impressed by the Foreign Pavillon this year. I could not believe that so many people came from abroad for the show because I was not sure what to think after a two-year absence of the show. There was a lot of unique products and some excellent packaging but the one thing that really surprises me is that most of the representatives of these companies are not that social with anyone.

Most sit there and look at their cellphones. In the past if there was a major soccer game going on between two countries represented at the show, you would see a lot of commotion. Since the show was pretty quiet on Sunday and then on Monday morning, the booths were quiet as well. There were still a lot of standouts at the Foreign Pavilions.

In the French Pavillion, some of the best products came from Maison Francis Miot, champion Jam, Candy and Confectionary maker. The products were bar none the best ones I tasted at the show.

Maison Francis Miot products were “Best in Show” to me

https://www.francis-miot.com/

I tried their artisan fruit spreads, strawberry and blueberry jams and the Mystere du Chef, a mixture of different fruits. These jams were just spectacular and what intense flavors. They use only the freshest fruits and mixed with cane sugar and then they are cooked in small batches. Trust me, you can taste the complex flavor of the jams when spread on an English muffin.

Their Strawberry jelly is one of the best I have ever tasted

If you thought the jams were amazing, their candies were just as spectacular. They gave me a small goody bag of mini jars of jam, Coucougnettes, a grilled almond that is made by hand and rolled in an almond paste flavored with raspberry and ginger and Fruit Paste tubes, which are fruits cooked in copper bowls, dried and cut up into cubes and candied with cane sugar. Talk about heavenly candies!

The Raspberry Coucougnettes is to the left and the Fruit Cubes to the right have the most intense fruity flavors

When you bite into the Raspberry Coucougnettes, it is like biting into a piece of heaven. You can taste the fresh raspberry in each bite and the cane sugar really brings out the flavor of the candy. The Fruit Cubes were the perfect bite of sweetness where you really could taste the fruit flavors of each one again accented by high quality sugar. There was a lot of care put into these candies. These were some of the best items that I enjoyed at the show.

Another vendor who products I enjoyed was in the Vietnamese Pavillon. The beverage maker, Vinut, has a delicious line of fruit juice beverages. When chilled, these drinks have an amazing flavor.

Vinut Beverages

I tried both the Passion Fruit and the Mango flavors and was most impressed by the Passion Fruit which was sweet and tart at the same time. I also liked the colorfulness of the packaging. The flavors were very bold and when well chilled, the flavors really come out with each sip.

The Passion Fruit Drink by Vinut is wonderful

Another wonderful beverage came from the Korean Pavillon by GEO Enterprise, a distributer of Korean food products. One of the brands that they distribute to the United States is a line of beverages by Smart Framing Creator (SFCBio). This line of Sparkling Fruit Waters has such a refreshing flavor to them. They taste like a fizzy fruit water that bursts in your mouth when you sip them.

I tried both the Sparkling Melon and Sparkling Plum flavors, and both had very interesting tastes. They were refreshing and light, but you could still taste the fruit flavors with each sip. The plum had a nice sweet and tart taste to the flavor. These would be perfect with any Chinese or Asian food meal to accent the rich flavored sauces.

Smart Farmer Creator beverages by SFCBio

There were many American Beverage companies at the show as well sampling their drinks. Several of them stood out amongst the rest for their unique packaging and interesting flavors. I really enjoyed the Mango and the Green Tea that I tried at the show. It was rather unusual that the pearls stayed in form at the bottom of the drink. I loved the exotic flavors that they offered in their selection.

Pobble: Popping Bubble Tea

https://www.myinotea.com/

Inotea’s Pobble Popping Bubble Tea

The Lorina Artisanal Lemonade Crafters I have had before but some of the flavors I had not sampled. I have bought the Lemonade many times, but Pink Lemonade had a sweeter and tarter flavor to it. I also like the packaging for these drinks.

Lorina Artisanal Lemonade Crafters

https://us.lorina.com/our-products/artisanal-lemonades/

The Chi Forest beverages also have many exotic flavors not known to the American palate, but their flavors cater to the growing population wanting to try something new. The Iced Teas are light and really refreshing and the sparkling drinks have a nice bite to them. The White Peach flavor is just wonderful. It is light, sweet and very zesty. I am surprised that these drinks are not more popular with their interesting combination of flavors.

Chi Forest Iced Tea and Sparkling Water

https://m.yamibuy.com/en/p/chi-forest-ice-tea-450ml/1020066281

Chi Forest Ice Teas

Chi Forest Sparkling Drinks

Of the American beverages, one of the standouts is the Hawaiian Iced Tea by NOH Foods. This delicious and refreshing iced tea is flavored with cane sugar, which is the only way sodas should be flavored. There is a big difference between them, and products flavored with high fructose corn syrup. There is a certain sweetness that cane sugar gives to drinks that make them standout and the Hawaiian Iced Teas just have a better-rounded flavor. That and the founder and his son are both really nice and I can tell take a lot of pride in their product.

Hawaiian Iced Tea

One beverage that stood out for both its taste and its packaging was Inner Love’s Foods Lemonblueade.

https://www.innerlovefoods.com/wholesale

The small bottle of refreshing juice I realized was also a cleansing drink and a real pick me up. An all-natural version of a power beverage, this sweet drink is full of vitamins and nutrients and whose sweet flavor gives you a burst of energy. I was surprised how this one tiny bottle gave me so much energy for the rest of the visit of the food show.

This refreshing drink is a real pick me up in one gulp

I LOVE the logo for Inner Love Foods products. I think this would make a great tee-shirt

In the Ice Cream Category, the one standout and a place that I love to visit when I am in Rhinebeck, NY is Del’s Dairy Barn, who sell Del’s Ice which is made from milk from the cows on the owner’s farm.

This dense and creamy ice cream is now available in pint commercially and should not be missed. The Lemon Curd and Lavendar Blueberry ice creams are the standouts from Del’s. Any flavor from Del’s is a real treat. If you have time, take a trip up Route 9 in the Hudson River Valley and stop and get a couple of scoops if it is not available in your local grocery (See DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com):

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/1832

Del’s Dairy Farm

Del’s Packaged Ice Creams

Del’s Packaged Hard Ice Creams are now available in the grocery stores. Still take time out to visit Rhinebeck, NY to their restaurant on Route 9 in the Hudson River Valley.

I thought the Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches were also very good and had delicious flavors. The only problem that I had with these wonderful little treats was the sheer cost that they must sell at retail in stores. You are going to have to go to a very high end store to find these. This is the problem I have with gourmet ice cream sandwiches. They taste amazing but with the perceived value and cost, even these unique treats are going to need to find a very well heeled customer.

https://www.nightingaleicecream.com/find-us

The Gourmet Ice Cream sandwiches

There were many standouts in the Candy Category some with packaging and some with taste and some with both. It depended on who the product was trying to cater to and the way it was presented.

Toybox Candies I did not get to try as they were not handing out samples and I could not taste them, but the packaging was really colorful, and I could see this product catering to an eager child or the child within us. The products jumped out at you with bright colors and flashy cartoons, and they were the type of candies that young children could buy for themselves with their allowances or give each other as gifts.

Toybox Candies

http://toybox.com.tr/en/products

Other items for kids that were not in the Candy Category but had creative packaging to make children say “Buy me” was Food Paint. These whimsical packaged toppings are all natural and made with organic fruits and no artificial colors or flavors. Noshi’s Kids Food Paint was one of those items.

Noshi for Kids Food Paint

https://noshiforkids.com/

These small tubes fit into a child’s hands and come in Sketchup (Ketchup for hamburgers and fries), Raspberry, Grape and Mango fruit purees perfect for pancakes, waffles and for toast and fruit flavors strawberry, peach and blueberry toppings for ice cream.

The Fruit Pures at Noshi Food Paint

When I talked with the owner of the company, he said that he created this when his kids did not like the flavors, colors and tastes of the commercial brands plus they did not want to fuss with the adult brands. I found the packaging fun and playful.

In the Baked Cookie Category, there was many different flavors and textures that stood out amongst the rest. There were soft cookies, hard cookies, vegan cookies and gourmet cookies. I ate my way through dozens of vendors trying all sorts of baked treat loaded with butter and sugar and then others that fit the roll with no eggs and flour.

From the Spanish Pavillon on my last day, I was able to take a sleeve of cookies from Gullon, a Spanish baking company and sample them at home.

I munched through a package of the ‘Dueto’, sandwich cookies with chocolate flavored filling which were delightful. More of a tea cookie then soft cookie you would find in the States, these sugary light cookies are filled with a creamy milk chocolate spread. They are simple and sweet and make a perfect accompaniment with coffee and tea or for a great snack.

The ‘Dueto’ cookies with a chocolaty center are a delightful tea biscuit type cookie

One of the standouts of the show in the Cookie Category was Rule Breaker, a vegan cookie brand that used chickpeas as its main ingredient and there was a lot of all natural ingredients as their flavorings. You could tell though that these were not made out of flour and eggs, but the consistency was they were chewy and sweet and their rather unusual flavors.

I got to see them a third time my last day of the show and they gave me all sorts of samples that I was able to try at home. My standouts are the birthday cake with the sweetness of those sprinkles inside and the Chocolate Chunk Blondies with their chocolaty sweetness with pieces of chocolate inside.

Rule Breaker Bites

https://www.rulebreakersnacks.com/

I recommend Rule Breaker for those of you who are gluten intolerant and want a guilty pleasure. These are sweetened with natural ingredients and making treats that don’t leave anyone out. These soft cookies and bites make the perfect treat.

Another product from Hawaii was very impressive as well. The Honolulu Cookie Company. These delicious mini cookie shortbreads are sweet, rich and buttery and have the most amazing snap when you bite into them.

There were two I tried when they were offering me samples, the Pineapple Macadamia made with fresh pineapple juice and the Chocolate Chip Macadamia. Both had the richest flavors and after one or two of them was more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. You could really taste the pineapple flavor in the cookies. The packaging is a gift it itself and would make the nicest host present.

Honolulu Cookie Company

https://www.honolulucookie.com/

Honolulu Cookie Company products

Another delicious baker was Bisousweet Confections who make the most delicious Doughnut Muffins. These wonderful, sweet treats are a hybrid between a muffin and a doughnut and have the most amazing consistency.

Bisousweet Confections-Doughnut Muffins

I sampled both their Maple Apple flavor and their seasonal flavor or Pumpkin both which were soft and chewy and had a nice sugary consistency. The flavors were wonderful. I can see that the pumpkin ones will be very popular going into the fall.

One cheerful standout in the cookie category was Smiley Cookie.com, which were freshly baked, hand-iced sugar cookies. The cookies were made fresh daily in their factory and could be adapted at the holidays.

Smiley Cookie.com

https://smileycookie.com/

These sweet and crunchy cookies can brighten up anyone’s day. If this treat was given up with a restaurant bill or to a guest leaving a restaurant, it would cheer them up immediately. Not only do they look good it is the most optimistic dessert I saw at the show.

There were plenty of entrée, appetizer, pizza and ethnic items to choose from at the show, but you have to face reality that most of the sauces began to blend into one another and there are only so many dumplings you can eat before they all taste alike.

Still there were many that were a step above the others in quality, flavor and how nicely they cooked up at the show. I had several favorites that I went back to their booths more than once or had to try all the other items in their selection.

Wei-Chuan U.S.A. Inc. out of California had some of the best Chinese appetizers at the show. This is one of the booths that I visited three times to try their products. Their Vegetable & Pork Potstickers cooked up nicely and the filling had so much flavor accented by the soy dipping sauce they had on the side.

https://www.weichuanusa.com/

The Chicken Egg Rolls were loaded with fresh vegetables and ground chicken that were nicely spiced and fried to perfection. Their Hong Kong Style Cha Shu Buns were my hands down favorite with the sweet pork filling and the soft outside rice bun. They pulled apart so nicely.

https://www.weichuanusa.com/en/2-60001.html

An American twist to a French appetizer came from a newer vendor at the show Gougeres Artisanal Cheese Puffs. These soft, pillowy puffy little bites light and chewy when you bit into them, and I liked the Classic Gruyere that I sampled.

https://www.gougerecheesepuffs.com/

I had sampled more than a few when visited the booth with enjoying their sharp cheesy flavor. The owner told me that he made these all the time and that they had been popular at parties, and he decided to open it as a business. He made a good choice.

Holy Perogy offered delicious and perfectly cooked potato dumplings that had been lightly fried out.

https://holyperogy.info/

They were the perfect size to be eaten as an appetizer or as a side dish. I had sampled the Fried Onion and they had such a nice flavor of the well-spiced potato mix accented by the onions. Needless to say, their booth was very busy and did not get to try the others.

Geefree offered a selection gluten free appetizer that were really wonderful. The mini quiches I sampled were well cooked and had a nice buttery taste to them. The Rice Balls were wonderful and were crisp on the outside and moist and tasty inside.

https://www.geefree.com/

The last standout appetizer that really impressed me was the Cheese Fundy Crispy filled cheese bites.

Rosti Stuft Spuds recently changed their name to Crispy Inc.

https://urosti.com/products/stuffed-baked-potato/

These delightful little fried circles of Ham & Swiss Cheese deserved a second sampling. They were crispy on the outside and soft and stringy on the inside with the nicest combination of cheese and spices. They tasted like a combination of potato coquette and a stuffed potato patty. It was another very popular booth.

The old packaging for the product that stood out so much at the show

https://urosti.com/our-flavors/

One of the standouts in the Pizza Category was Milton’s Craft Bakers Cauliflower Crust Pizza. There is no other word to describe their pizzas but delicious. I never thought that I would like a crust made out of cauliflower, but it is light and crisp, and the sauce has so much flavor to it. It has the most amazing consistency when baked and has a nice selection of toppings. It was a pizza product that stood out at the show.

Milton’s Craft Bakers Cauliflower Crust Pizza

https://www.miltonscraftbakers.com/cauliflower-crust-pizza-vegetable

For slightly heavier appetizers and entrees, there were many different and interesting vendors at the show but two really stood out to me.

Nuka Baklava were sampling several products at the show.

https://www.nukadistribution.com/

This Los Angelos based American company has a complete line of Greek savories and sweets with Baklavas, Rolls and Turkish Bagels. The one product that I sampled and enjoyed was their Pastry with Cheese Filling (The Su Borek). This entree was filled with a tasty cheese filling between the layers of buttery pastry. Each bite has a nice crispiness from the layers of crisp pastry and the light flavor of the cheese filling that bakes up golden brown.

‘Su Borek’, Pastry with Cheese filling

One American favorite, the Hot Dog, was showcased perfectly by the Tandem Foods.

https://www.tandem.bg/eng/products/krenvirshi

Their hot dogs have a combination of pork, beef, lard and spices where the quality is so different from the average hot dog in size and flavor. I sampled both the plain frankfurters and the Pork and Cheese, and quality of the meat mixture and spiciness showed in the flavor of each bite.

My standout show favorite was the lobster products from Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company, an American company based in Maine. The company uses a combination of fresh sweet lobster and traditional family recipes to create their appetizers, soups, Lobster Sandwiches and pasta entrees.

https://www.hancockgourmetlobster.com/

The vendors were really nice and let me sample their Lobster Grilled Cheese, small bite sized sandwiches filled with chopped lobster and mixed with Cream, Parmesan, Swiss and Romano cheeses tucked into slices of sourdough bread. They were cooked in butter producing a mouthwatering crisp appetizer where you could taste the sweetness of the lobster, the crunchiness of the buttery bread and the combination of cheeses accenting the lobster meat. it was the best appetizer at the show.

The Mini Lobster Grilled Cheese is the perfect treat for a holiday party

They also have an impressive line of products that include Lobster Sandwiches, Lobster Bisque, Lobster Mac & Cheese and Lobster Ravioli each dish filled with locally caught lobster meat.

The standouts in the Candy Division of the show were many. There were so many wonderful candy makers and chocolatiers that were featured at the show. They came from all over the country and the world.

One vendor stood out for both taste, design and packaging were from American made from New Jersey was Biens Chocolate Centerpieces. These are more than just a gift of candy but a work of art and a very special gift to someone.

Biens Chocolate Centerpieces

https://www.bienscc.com/

The centerpiece designs on display were elegant and richly decorated. The chocolate was nicely decorated, and each bite was like heaven. The truffle chocolates had a soft filling and topped with stripes of chocolate.

The Biens Chocolate Centerpieces are just as wonderful to look as to taste.

Another decorative Chocolatier is Mae Fine Foods whose chocolate truffles look almost like jewels in a presentation box. These flavored truffles are a sweet delight inside and out.

https://maefinefoods.com/

I had sampled the Passion Fruit Mango and the White Chocolate Lemon and offered contrasting flavors of both white and milk chocolate. The Passion Fruit and Mango offer a sweet fruity flavor inside each bite of the chocolate. You can taste the tartness of the lemon in the white chocolate.

The chocolate bon bons look as good as they taste

The beauty of the chocolates is in their appearance and packaging. Each of the candies are handmade and individually decorated. The outside looks like a surrealist painting that has been air brushed on. They glow beautifully in the packaging.

Scamps Toffee is a small batch company of delicious toffee products, toppings, chocolate barks and a toffee popcorn that is out of this world. The ladies that run the company gave me all sorts of samples to take home including the Milk Chocolate Toffee, the Dark Chocolate Toffee, the Milk Chocolate Bark and the Toffee Popcorn.

Scamps Toffee and Sweets

https://www.scampstoffee.com/

The wonderful candies and toppings from Scamps Toffee

The toffees have such a rich and crunchy texture with the tastes of coffee and caramel with a delicious chocolate topping. I sampled the toppings, and they had such a nice flavor that accented the pretzels that they were sampled with at the booth. The popcorn is topped with a combination of chocolates and caramel that gives it a sweet and crunchy feel and a very nice complexity with each bite. It puts a new spin on traditional caramel corn.

https://www.barofchocolates.com/

Miss Maude’s Theater Bar was chocolate bar with unique flavors such as Butter Popcorn, Raisins and Chewy Caramel. I was able to sample a few of the flavors and thought it was such a nice concept.

The Miss Maude’s Theater Bars are a real treat for any movie

Another fun treat with the guilty pleasure of fresh fruit and chocolate was Karinat Frozen Fruits from Argentina distributed by Heinlein Foods. These fresh frozen strawberries and raspberries have a wonderful crunch to them and burst with the fruit flavors and semi-sweet chocolate.

Karinat Frozen Fruits

Food stuffs with peanut butter seemed to be very popular at the show this year and I sampled some unique and tasty candy from Parfait Fine Delicacies.

Parfait Fine Delicacies Peanut Butter Cups

Riddle_UK

Their peanut butter cups rivaled anything from Reese’s and put a new spin on them but their Riddle Bars with wafers layered with peanut butter and then enrobed in milk chocolate had a nice snap to them when you bit into them.

The Riddle Bars are amazing

Sanders Candy is a very old-line American firm from Michigan whose chocolate, hot fudge and caramel toppings I have tried many times at the food show or have been given as gifts. When I was at the show this year, I was able to sample some of their chocolates.

https://sanderscandy.com/

My fan favorite was the Small Batch Sea Salt Caramels with their rich taste from the dark chocolate and the complex mix of the salt and caramel giving a sweet and savory flavor. Each bite has a nice snap of the chocolate and gooiness of the filling.

The Dark Chocolate Sea Salt caramels are amazing

Kravy Foods “The Good Stuff” was an impressive vendor with lines of candies and snack foods that not only tasted good but had eye-packaging. I was really impressed with this New York City based company with their extensive line of sweets and snacks. Before I left the show on Tuesday, they loaded me down with samples that I could try on my own and I will tell you I impressed by both the quality and taste.

https://www.kravyfoods.com/

I was munching on the vanilla Choc-Mallows while I was walking around Manhattan and talk about an energy boost. These sweet little marshmallows are dipped in white chocolate and then dipped in colorful sprinkles with a crunchy outside and soft chewy inside. They hold up well in the hot weather and make the perfect pick me up snack.

Kravy’s Cho-Mallows

Kravy’s Hazelnut Popperz

The Hazelnut Popperz are these puffy and crunchy snacks have the taste of milk chocolate enrobed in the savory hazelnuts that tasted like they had been roasted to a crunchy consistency. They are quite addictive.

Kravy’s Falafel Bites

I saved the best for last as these Falafel Bites are salty and garlicy and have such a wonderful crunch that these chips become addictive. I was not able to try all the flavors, but they make a wonderful dipping snack or just enjoy a bag on the go. One thing I can say about Kravy’s products is that they are not boring. Rich flavors and nice packaging are the perfect snack every day.

I never miss a chance to visit the Italian Pavillon to see what was being imported from my ‘Mother Country’ and see the innovations have been created in Europe.

The Granarolo Company has the sharpest line of Cheese Crisps that I tasted at the show.

https://www.granarolo.com/product/cheese-snack

Home

These circular snacks were extremely pronounced in flavor (they were too sharp to be eaten alone) and would a great snack with wine or a cocktail. I tried both the Classic Cheese and the Pizza flavored, and both could be paired with a red or white wine.

These delightful sharp flavors are the perfect cocktail snack

Another snack with intense flavors was the lines of puffs and crisps were Vegan Rob’s.

The assortment of snacks and the quality are fantastic. Their spicy products the Dragon Puffs and the Dragon Chips had a nice kick to them with a combination of garlic and onion power with sea salt accented them. With each bite, you could experience the spicy flavor and feel the burning sensation in your mouth.

Dragon Crisps that give a spicy sensation to your mouth

The Cheddar Puffs had a nice bite to them and a crisp crackle. The sharpness of the Cheddar Cheese could be tasted as I ate the whole bag at one sitting (small bag). These addictive little puffs are made with Sorghum Grain Meat and Sunflower oil giving them a slightly different consistency than a traditional doodle.

Vegan Rob’s Assorted Puffs delicious flavors

The great flavoring will have you eating the whole bag at one sitting too.

One of my favorite gourmet vendors of the Fancy Food Show is Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn.

https://jodyspopcorn.com/

I have watched this company grow over the last fifteen years and have been sampling Jody and her husband’s popcorn for years. Their caramel corn, double Cheddar and the Funetti with the festive colors are some of the most delicious popcorns at the show every year.

The secret of Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn is the kernels they use. Each of the pieces have the same appearance to them and the same size. It is the variety of popcorn kernels they use keep it looking consistent with the packaging and the eating. You won’t see small, popped kernels in the bags. Don’t miss their holiday flavor like the Halloween Funetti and the Christmas Candy Corn.

A local popcorn vendor from New Jersey that I enjoyed was Pop Time Popcorn whose flavors are interesting as well.

https://www.poptimesnacks.com/

I really enjoyed the Spicy Dill Pickle with the flavors of dill, vinegar and onion powder to accent the fresh popcorn. Another standout was their White Cheddar with the sharp taste from the cheese. I also like their cheery packaging.

Don’t miss Pop Times wonderful, flavored popcorns especially the Spicy Dill Pickle

One popcorn vendor took flavoring to a new level with the Cookie Pop and Candy Pop Popcorn from Snax-Sational Brands, who use name brand treats to flavor their popcorn.

http://snaxsationalbrands.com/

When the vendor closed on Tuesday for the show, they let us take all the samples we wanted to try at home, and this gave me a chance to really taste their products. Talk about interesting mixes! I sampled the Sour Patch Kids with its super sweet taste with the chewiness of the popcorn, the M & M Minis with the colorful chocolaty M & M flavors, the Twix Bar with the light peanut butter and chocolaty flavor and the Orea Cookie where you could taste the creamy filling.

Don’t miss these interesting flavors at Cookie & Candy Pop

Talk about innovative flavors, engaging packaging and an overall sweet tasting popcorn that is truly melt in your mouth good!

I love Cheese Popcorn and it is always my hands down favorite to order when out and sample when at the shows. It takes a real art to get that sharp cheese flavor right.

https://bellespopcorn.com/

Belle’s Gourmet Popcorn did an excellent job with their Extra Cheddar popcorn.

The Belle’s Extra Cheddar was one of the best in the show

Talk about a nice cheesy flavor in each bite and heavy enough coating to lick off your fingers. That is the sign of a good cheese popcorn. Their Extra Buttery and White Cheddar are just as good as well.

One of the closest to homemade popcorns that I tasted at the show was from Pop Zup, who packaged their popcorn like you were going to the movies.

https://popzup.com/

I enjoyed their Butter me Up Popcorn and the Maple Cinnamon Toast Popcorn had a marvelous, sweet flavor. You could really taste the Maple Syrup which was a nice twist in lieu of a caramel corn.

Don’t miss the sweet and savory Maple Cinnamon Toast Popcorn from Pop Zup

Another savory product I enjoyed was the Friendly Grain Crisps from Ava Organics.

https://www.avaorganicsfoods.com/

These crisp little circles were crunchy and delicious. I enjoyed the Vegan Cheddar, and the Bacon Habanero crisps the best.

Like Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn, another show favorite of mine that I have followed for years is John Wm. Macy Snacks.

John Wm. Macy’s Family Bakery

https://www.johnwmmacys.com/

This New Jersey based company has a selection of crisp crackers, bites and breadsticks have an amazing crunch to them and come in various cheese flavors and sweet flavors accented with cinnamon. These crackers and twists are perfect as a snack or with cocktails. My favorites have always been the Sharp Cheddar twists and the Asiago & Cheddar Crisps.

The Asiago & Cheddar Crisps are delicious and have a nice bite to them

When the show was over, I stopped by the booth and Mr. Macy was cleaning up and left a lot of bags of his products out for people to take which they were by the handful. Having met him at the shows since the early 2000’s, I asked if I could take one of the big bags left which he was happy to do. That is a good businessman, and I enjoyed the whole bag on my own. I loved munching through the bag while working at the computer. I love to hear the loud sounds of the crunching.

Koeze Brands has a wonderful product called “Zestos” which are a seasoned tortilla chip with a sweet, salty and spicy taste.

‘Zestos’ Seasoned Tortilla Chips by Koeze Brands

https://koezebrands.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Zestoschips/

These flavorful chips are great on their own or with a dip. Right out of the bag, the have a unique flavor from the combination of flavors and a fantastic crunch.

‘Zestos’ seasoned tortilla chips have the most amazing crunchy flavor

Even the bigger companies are coming out with more specialty lines when Herr Foods introduced the ‘Good Natured’ line of snacks.

https://www.herrs.com/

https://www.facebook.com/herrs/

This selection of various flavored snack foods is a wonderful and diverse selection of tastes and shapes. The two that stood out for me at the show were the ‘Vegables’, which are small crispy triangles with the flavor of spinach, carrots and tomatoes with a slight saltiness and a fantastic crunch.

Good Natured Vegables

The other is their ‘White Cheddar Puffs’ that have a sharp cheesy flavor and a nice bite to them. I was able to bring samples home so that I could taste them a second time and the product is delicious.

Good Natured White Cheddar Puffs

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Herr-Foods-Good-Natured-Selects-White-Cheddar-Puffs-2-375-Ounce-6-per-case/238844612

I sampled a whole bag of 1 in 6 Snacks ‘Carolina Kettle BeeSting Honey Sriracha Kettle Chips’ in one sitting when I took the sample home with me from the show.

1 in 6 Snacks

https://www.1in6snacks.com/

These sweet and salty chips tasted like they were fresh out of the fryer and then doused with the spices and a bit of honey. They had the most amazing crunch to them that make you want to finish the bag.

The Carolina Ketter Bee Sting Honey Sriracha chips are sweet and savory in flavor

https://www.carolinakettle.com/about-1in6-snacks

In the Jellies, Jams and Sauces Category, there were many to choose from when I walked the aisles of the show with many standouts both in the sweet and savory areas.

Blueberry Patch out of Georgia sampled their delicious small batch jelly, Blueberry Lemon & Thyme, which the jar said to serve with cheese, but I put it on an English Muffin when I got home and sampled it on toast. The flavor blended together so nicely, and the combination of the blueberries and lemon brought out the sweet tartness of the fruit. I enjoyed the small jar that they gave me every morning. I also recommend it for waffles.

Blueberry Patch products

https://www.blackberrypatch.com/

I have been writing about “Bone Suckin’ Sauce” for many years now and their Barbecue sauces are the best. Rich and smokey and come in various degrees and flavors.

The Bone Suckin Sauce

Their mustard has a nice spicy consistency as well and is perfect on hot dogs and hot pretzels. Each of their sauces has a unique flavor to it.

Bone Suckin’ Mustard

Of the pasta sauces that I tried at the show one really stood out. It was the Pink Crema Sauce from Eat Happy Kitchen by Anna Vocino.

https://eathappykitchen.com/

When I tasted this tomato sauce with some ziti, it tasted like a cross between a Vodka Sauce and a Pink Sauce with a combination of organic ingredients. This light tomato sauce has mixture of freshly chopped tomatoes, heavy cream and parmesan cheese with fresh basil and garlic. These small batch sauces taste homemade and not from a jar.

Of all their sauces the Pink Crema Sauce really stood out

Cakes and Cake Mixes were a big part of the show and of the many that I sampled a few stood out. It was not just on taste but on appearance and packaging as well. Just like the cookie and candy category, there are a lot of wonderful products that taste wonderful but to separate yourself out from the rest of the vendors you need to grab the customers attention to get them to buy it.

The German Crumb Cake from Hahn’s Bakery was out of this world.

Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company

https://www.facebook.com/HahnsOldFashionedCakeCompany/

This buttery soft cake loaded with large crumbs on the top is perfect for breakfast or dessert. It tasted like it had been just made for the show and had cooled from coming out of the oven. I had to try to piece, and they were more than generous with the samples.

The German Crumb Cake at Hahn’s Old-Fashioned Cake Company is delicious

Little Big Farm Foods had several cakes mixes that I tried at the show and there was no one standout in that I enjoyed them all. The consistency and taste of their products was fantastic, and they bake up nicely.

https://littlebigfarmfoods.com/

The four that I was most impressed with was the White Chocolate Coconut Brownie Mix, the Lemon Square Mix, the Organic Selections Lemon Square Mix and the one I sampled most was the Apple Cider Doughnut Mix. They had a delicious sweet and sugary flavor to them.

The Apple Cider Doughnut Mix was the best of the four I tried

The last booth on the last day of the show I visited was the Cornell AgriTech booth, which was a display of all the products that came out of the Cornell University Incubator, part of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.

https://cals.cornell.edu/cornell-agritech

They were helping small businesses get their ideas into fruition and then getting them to market so I got to see new products and the people who created them. The one stand out here was a whipped cream with a colored syrup already in the can giving a Sunday a colorful look every time it was squirted out of the can.

It also gave me a chance to talk to other Cornell University Alumni about the show and reminisce about our time on campus. It is funny how when Alumni get together how they talked about freezing their asses off at college. Cornell University is on the snow belt in New York State in a major way.

It was an eye-opening show this year with lots of new products to sample and many old vendors it was nice to see again. The show may not have been as big as the show in 2019 when it seemed endless. After two years of not having a show, it was nice to see what is happening in the industry and the world of Gourmet Foods. It is interesting to see many new products have come out with their creative packaging, wonderful flavors and putting a spin on classics. wonderful foods. It was a pleasure to taste high quality foods made with pride.

Good luck to all the vendors mentioned in this blog and to the hundreds of others I visited in those three days.

Please check out my other blogs on the Intenational Fancy Food Show in New York City:

Day One Hundred and Forty-One: Walking the Fancy Food Show 2019:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/9543

Day Thirty-Five: Walking the Fancy Food Show 2015:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/28

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Six: Attending the performance of “Romeo & Bernadette” and Q & A with the author and creator, Mark Saltzman with the Cornell Club May 6th, 2022

I have been a member of the Cornell Club for over a decade and enjoy all the special programs that the Club sponsors. There are so many interesting Alumni to meet along the way and many of them go out of their way to socialize and engage with other Alumni.

Having finally put my major Marketing project with my class behind me and having given the Final Exam the night before, I was able to join other Club members for an evening out to see “Romeo & Bernadette” that was to be followed by a Q & A with the author of the Book and Lyrics, Mark Saltzman.

Romeo & Bernadette at Theater 555 in Manhattan

The production like most on Broadway was in previews right before COVID hit and was just about ready to open when New York City closed on March 13th, 2020. This shut down everything in New York City. We went to see the production as it had reopened again and the week before the reviewers came out to see it.

It was a cute little production Off-Broadway that told the story of Romeo who was wooing his beloved Juliet, and both were drinking sleeping potions and then poison. Somehow Romeo got these mixed up and woke up in modern times. It kept in character of that time in modern Bensonhurst (I must have dozed off for a minute because it took some time to get the connection).

Talking about the Production

The Penza family travels to Verona with Bernadette traveling with her parents, Sal and Camille (Camille’s family is originally from Verona). Romeo sees Bernadette and mistakes her for Juliet and then the rest of the story moves to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. With a lot of twists and turns, Romeo charms Bernadette and love conquers all.

The only problem I had with the production is that I am getting tired of stereotypes people have of Italians in New York City. With everything going on in the world right now I thought they could have modernized the story a bit more. Still, I keep a good personally and enjoyed the show. The cast could really sing, and it was a very upbeat production.

The funny part was that because we got to pick our seats and I ordered the tickets immediately when the program came up, I picked a seat in the front so that I would have leg room. I ended up sitting next to the brother-in-law of the actress who played Bernadette, Anna Kostakis.

He spent the rest of the production when we had a free moment talking about her career starting with high school productions right up to making candy and working in the family restaurant in Rochester, NY. He then told me the family history of the restaurant. It was interesting how actors kept busy during the lockdown. I had to ask what his opinion was of the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. I was only kidding but he was serious of his thoughts of the film.

Still, it was nice to see how proud he and the rest of her family were of her to make it to Broadway. She had gone from starring in her high school plays to make it all the way to an Off-Broadway production is quite an accomplishment.

The audience reaction to the show before its release

I really enjoyed the performance, and it is a fun show to go see. All the actors can really belt a tune and the songs really played on the neighborhood situations that bring the story of Romeo and Juliet into modern times with a good twist to it.

After the show was over, I said goodbye to my seatmate and waited with other club members to talk with Mark Saltzman. Because of the COVID restrictions and wearing masks in the theater, we had to keep the Q & A short. We asked where the inspiration came from and how he built on the story. Many of the members asked about his experiences up in Ithaca and that is when the answers got fun. Everyone always likes to look back. It was a consensus amongst the Alumni that we enjoyed the show and we wished him luck in bringing it to Broadway.

Author and Cornell Alumnus Mark Saltzman

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

After the show was over, the heavens opened up outside the theater and the rain that was predicted arrived in Manhattan. People left the theater with umbrellas out and sloshed along the streets. Everyone started to make their way down West 42nd Street very quickly.

I just had to walk back in the slushy rainstorm that would not let up until Sunday afternoon. I wanted to get to bed as soon I as I got home. The next morning, I had to be on the first bus into Manhattan to start “The Great Saunter Walk”, the 32-mile perimeter walk of Manhattan.

Read my blog on “The Great Saunter Walk” the next morning:

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Six: Completing the Official “Great Saunter Walk” May 7th, 2022:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/23485

I was hungry but not starved so I stopped at my favorite ‘Dollar Slice’ place, 2 Brothers Pizza at 542 9th Avenue right behind the Port Authority for a quick snack. This has always been my ‘go-to’ place for a quick bite since they opened up about fifteen years ago and their pizza is consistently good.

I am always amazed by the characters that eat at this place late at night. That’s the neighborhood for you. It makes it more interesting when you are all dressed up and eating there. I can only imagine what the other customers thought of me.

I just wanted to get back on the bus and get ready for the next day’s walk.

Things to Do:

Romeo & Bernadette

Theater 555

555 West 42nd Street

New York, NY 10036

(646) 410-2277

https://www.theater555.com/

https://playbill.com/article/romeo-bernadette-says-its-eyeing-a-broadway-bow-in-2022

Places to Eat:

2 Brothers Pizza

542 9th Avenue

Between 39th & 40th Street

New York City, NY  10018

(212) 777-0600

https://www.2brospizza.com/location/542-9th-ave-new-york-ny-10018/

https://www.2brospizza.com/Locations2/

Open: Monday-Friday-10:00am-1:00pm/Saturday-Sunday-10:30am-3:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d2200990-Reviews-2_Bros_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/356

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Six: Completing “The Great Saunter Walk” officially: 32 miles in the rain! May 7th, 2022 (Again on July 15th, 2022)

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 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.

Until next year!

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Four Walking the Streets of the Hudson Yards From West 41st to West 35th Streets from Ninth to Twelve Avenues March 18th, 2022

This is one difficult neighborhood to walk around in. Most of the upper part of the neighborhood is covered with unpassable roads and sidewalks leading into the Lincoln Tunnel. And just to remind you that you are entering the tunnel and to be careful, there are plenty of traffic cops from the NYPD watching your every move. There are unpassable sidewalks closer to the tunnel that will have them wondering what you are up to. I realized that when I was walking around from West 40th to West 41st by Eleventh Avenue. Be careful.

Friday afternoon was one of the nicest days of the week with the sun shining and clear skies. The weather really broke, and I could walk around and catch some sunshine while I was walking. The convention that was going on at the Javits Center was on its last afternoon and there were not a lot of people milling around Eleventh and Twelve Avenues. Closer to West 34th Street it was mostly construction workers attending to the new buildings, tourists and locals shopping at Hudson Yards Mall and taking selfies in the park and people rushing to take the subways. For the most part the rest of the streets were quiet.

As I said before, Dyer Avenue leads to the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey starting at the entrance of West 34th Street near the Webster Apartments and when walking down West 35th Street from Twelve Avenue you will see cars whizzing by at crazy speeds who stop suddenly when they realize that they can’t go faster.

Unless you have a reason to walk around this neighborhood in that you live there, this is not the most walkable part of the City. You will be dodging a lot of traffic especially at rush hour and this can start as early as 5:00pm.

I got off to a late start this afternoon after a morning of running errands, so I got into Manhattan at 3:00pm. Since I had wanted to visit the New York Transit Museum at Grand Central Terminal for my blog, VisitingaMuseum.com, first (see link to blog below), I did not start the walk until 4:00pm. I pretty much had the streets to myself, and each street had its own unique aspects.

The New York Transit Museum Gallery at 89 East 42nd Street

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/6925

Walking down West 35th Street, you have to start the walk along Eleventh Avenue in front of the Javits Center. The center pretty much was quiet that afternoon with mostly security wrapping up whatever convention finished that day. Bella Abzug Park was still being finished in some parts of the neighborhood and the construction workers were taking a break in groups when I walked around the park.

Bella Abzug Park is still not totally finished but has become a meeting place for residents, tourists and workers for this area and has some interesting playgrounds for kids and plantings with seating for everyone else to sit and relax. It is one of the only green areas in the neighborhood.

The Bella Abzug Park, which was being finished at the time, I walked through the three sections from block to block. Part of the park is being renovated but the other parts look like they are ready to open in the warmer weather with cafes and seating. The park spreads over three blocks that are fully landscaped.

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

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

Mostly still under construction, Hudson Yards buildings are still rising and not yet finished so there are cars and trucks and scaffolding everywhere so be careful when you are walking around the streets of the complex. It is rising like the magically land of Oz and when Hudson Yards is finished, it is going to be quite a site. A series of office buildings and apartments with a beautiful shopping complex that will rival anything in Midtown.

Be careful though as you are walking towards Ninth Avenue as this is the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel entry ramps and the traffic is crazy all day long and the drivers are not watching what they are doing most of the time.

Walking back from Ninth Avenue I came across a tiny park behind a fence and was able to peer inside this small playground. ‘Bob’s Park’ is a tiny spot of refuge on this busy street with a small fenced in playground and park. The park was developed by the Clinton Housing Development Company (Clinton Housing Development Company).

Bob’s Park next to 454 West 35th Street

https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=175353

https://www.clintonhousing.org/what-we-do/building-profile.php?id=77

The park is named after Robert Kennedy, a third-generation resident of the community who was very active in the neighborhood affairs. The park is located next to 454 West 35th Street where his grandmother lived. The park is very popular with the neighborhood (HMDB.org).

Bob’s Park at 454 West 35th Street

Right down the block is the Nero Wolfe Plaque, based on the mythical private detective Nero Wolfe by author Rex Stout. The mythical author’s home was supposed to be located on West 35th Street near Ninth Avenue and in the middle by the Hudson River (The Wolfe Pack).

The Nero Wolfe Plaque at 454 West 35th Street

https://www.nerowolfe.org/htm/about_us/454_W_35.htm

The plaque on the building at 454 West 35th Street

All along the cement barriers that lead to the Lincoln Tunnel from West 34th through West 36th Streets is the colorful and creative art of artist Ashley-Simone McKenzie. This really is the bright spot of being stuck in traffic as you enter the tunnel.

Where bridge covers the highway and down Dryer Avenue, there is an interesting art entitled “Art by Ashley”, which is a colorful display on the cement barriers protecting the road. The work was done by New York based artist Ashley-Simone McKenzie.

“Art by Ashley” by artist Ashely-Simone McKenzie

https://www.ashleysimone.art/

The work was created by Queens based artist Ashley-Simone McKenzie who is an educator and multidisciplined in paintings, illustration and animation.

Watch her interview on this interesting piece of art

Rounding the corner at West 36th Street, you will pass the main artery of the Lincoln Tunnel so be very careful but like many blocks there is a little gem of a park as you get closer to Ninth Avenue.

I walked down West 36th Street to Ninth Avenue to a small park that I passed when walking the borders of the Garment District a few months earlier. This little park called “The Canoe” Plaza is part of the Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Alliance and is at the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 37th Street. This was the creation of the design team of Design Wild and was convert the block to a flowery heaven right at the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel (Hudson Yards Alliance/Design Wild).

The Canoe Plaza designed by Design Wild

http://www.designwildny.com/canoe-plaza

https://www.hyhkalliance.org/about-the-bid

The unique statue that graces the garden is by artist Jordan Baker- Caldwell called “Ascension”.

“Ascension” by Artist Jordan Baker-Caldwell

Jordan Baker-Caldwell is an American born artist from New York City and is the youngest artist in the history of New York to have a permanent public sculpture. The artist’s work has been noted as evoking questions about gravity, structure, balance and the human body in relation to space (Artist’s bio).

Please watch the video of the artist describing his work in the park

https://m.facebook.com/mrjordanbc/posts

This little park defines how small spaces are being used in Manhattan for the pleasure of the residents of that neighborhood. It shows what a little creativity can create in a tiny area right next to an extremely street.

West 37th Street was mostly dodging cars as the afternoon got busier and the traffic around the arteries to the tunnel got busier. I have noticed that people have gone back to honing their horns for no reason again. That had disappeared for almost twenty years. Probably the result of COVID frustration.

When walking down West 38th Street, you will be walking over an elevated walkway over all the entrances to the tunnel. In the midst of all the building and the new neighborhood rising around it, is the firehouse Engine 34/ Ladder 21 which sits like a holdover to another era of the neighborhood. Its solid brick building is surrounded by the encroaching Hudson Yards development with its shiny towers and office complexes that it protects. Here is a section of the City that has changed night and day in twenty-five years.

Ladder 21 was founded in 1890 and when the Lincoln Tunnel was built the original building was knocked down and the new building with Engine 34 was built in 1939. It is one of the busiest houses in Manhattan (9/11 Lesson). I stopped to admire the memorial that the house created in honor of the members lost on 9/11. As a fellow fire fighter, it really touched me.

Engine 34/Ladder 21 at 440 West 38th Street

https://nyfd.com/manhattan_ladders/ladder_21_history.html

http://wikimapia.org/21954112/FDNY-Engine-34-Ladder-21

A reflection of 9/11 from Engine 34/Ladder 21

Watch where you are walking when travelling down West 39th Street from Ninth to Twelve Avenues because like the rest of the neighborhood, the roads got busier during the rush hour. It got harder to walk around this part of the neighborhood.

One small patch of green is located in the neighborhood surprisingly is Astro’s Dog Run, a tiny little park that is members only near the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel at Tenth Avenue and West 39th Street. This tiny stretch of property offers a safe place for neighborhood pooches and their masters a place to stretch out and run around.

Years ago, I have known it as a Community Garden, but things change over the years. Still, it is one of the only patches of green in this part of the neighborhood and a gathering place for dog lovers from the community. They have extended the green down the block as well.

The Astro Dog Run at West 39th Street was a community garden at one time

Untitled

https://m.facebook.com/ManhattanBoard4/posts/3999500046801880

Be careful when walking under Dyer Avenue at the West 40th Street overpass as there were some not too legal activities going on under the streets after dark. Just walk fast and ignore everyone. Be careful when crossing the street as traffic is coming in all directions. Walking down the street towards Twelve Avenue, there are parts of the sidewalk you will not be able walk. That and the traffic cops will stop you from walk around the street. There are cars everywhere.

The most interesting part of walking down West 41st Street is the St. Raphel’s Catholic Church Croation Parish at 502 West 41st Street. The church is the last of the holdovers of the old neighborhood as the area quickly changes around it.

St. Raphael’s Catholic Church Croation Parish at 502 West 41st Street

https://www.croatianchurchnewyork.org/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/74380157302/

St. Raphel’s Catholic Church was founded in 1886 and the church started construction in 1901. The church was designed by architect George H. Streeton in the French Gothic style. The church has been the seat of the Croatian parish since 1974 and services are performed in both English and Croatian Wiki).

The church is one of the most beautiful buildings left as a reminder of this neighborhood is reinventing itself for the modern era. Detailed and gorgeous architecture like this is a testament to a time when craftsmanship was part of the building process and that these buildings were meant to last. Take time to admire the detail work from across the street.

I spent the last part of the afternoon as I finished my walk watching the traffic cops’ direct traffic out of Manhattan and back to New Jersey. It fascinated me that all the years that I have come in and out of the City, I never walked around the very neighborhood that houses the building that thousands of New Jerseyan’s travel through everyday. Now that I have walked all around it, I will look at it differently every time I travel in and out of the Manhattan knowing all its secrets. It is a unique neighborhood that will keep changing over the next ten years.

I stopped at 9th Avenue Gourmet Deli at 480 Ninth Avenue for a sandwich (See my review on TripAdvisor) that evening. The food here is wonderful and very reasonable. I had one of their Chicken Salad Club Sandwiches ($10.95) and it was delicious. Layers of chunky chicken salad with crisp bacon on toasted bread hit the spot after a long walk around the neighborhood.

9th Avenue Gourmet Deli at 480 Ninth Avenue should not be missed

https://m.facebook.com/115798258443108

https://menupages.com/9th-ave-gourmet-deli/480-9th-ave-new-york

I watched from the window bar seat six police cars stop right outside the window. I thought they saw what I saw under the overpass, but it was just another drunk person causing problems.

That’s New York City for you. Always jumping!

Please read my other Blogs on walking Hudson Yards:

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-One-Walking the Borders of the Hudson Yards:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/22253

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Three-Walking the Avenues of the Hudson Yards:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/22609

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Four-Walking the Streets of Hudson Yards:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/22698

Places to Eat:

9th Avenue Gourmet Deli

480 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 695-6204

https://m.facebook.com/115798258443108

Open: Sunday-Saturday 24 hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4758581-Reviews-9th_Ave_Deli_Corp-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Places to Visit:

Bella Abzug Park

542 West 36th Street

New York, NY 10018

(212) 239-1619

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d19593720-Reviews-Bella_Abzug_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html

New York Transit Museum Gallery

89 East 42nd Street

New York, NY 10001

(212) 878-0106

Open: Sunday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Friday 11:30am-6:00pm/Saturday Closed

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d9873833-Reviews-New_York_Transit_Museum-New_York_City_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/6925

Day Two Hundred and Nineteen: Walking the Avenues of the Lower Garment District/Flower & Fur Districts Seventh and Eighth Avenues between West 34th and 28th Streets February 6th, 2020

I had to pick one of the coldest days of the year to come into New York City. Since it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I decided to finally visit the Museum of Mathematics on East 26th Street. The museum has been closed for most of the pandemic and finally reopened for people to visit. I decided to endure the cold weather and visit the museum I had passed so many times on my walks in the Rose Hill and NoMAD neighborhoods.

Since the museum and NoMAD (North of Madison Square Park) are the next neighborhood over from the Lower Garment District, I decided to walk the avenues as well to see what changes have taken place in the last twenty years as well.

With the renovations of the post office to the new train station and the development of the Hudson Yards, this neighborhood is quickly being changed from small office buildings to an extension of Midtown with shiny new office buildings and apartment buildings. New parks and malls are being developed for the residents moving in and in the over seventeen years that I have been volunteering at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen on West 28th Street, I have watched the entire neighborhood gentrify. I have never seen a neighborhood be knocked down or sandblasted since my walks in Harlem.

I started my morning walking down to Madison Square Park, which has been my headquarters since visiting these neighborhoods. The dog walkers were in full swing as well as parents strolling around with their children both in carriages and the playgrounds. Even though it was about 30 degrees at the time, it looked like people just wanted to get out of the house.

Madison Square Park in its glory over the summer

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

The first Shake Shack is located in the southern part of the park, and I could not believe the lines and the people dining outside. I guess people really did have cabin fever. Wanting a snack before I visited the museum, I bypassed the restaurants that I had seen earlier in the year and headed to a new takeout restaurant whose flags indicated that it had just opened. I went to Dim Sum Sam at 28 East 23rd Street.

Dim Sum Sam at 28 East 23rd Street

https://www.facebook.com/dimsumsam/menu

https://www.zmenu.com/dim-sum-sam-new-york-online-menu/

The restaurant looked like it had just opened that day (I read that it had opened the week before) and the case lines when you walk in are filled with all sorts of buns and egg custards. The prices were a bit higher than Chinatown, but the food was a welcome on a cold day. I just had a quick Roast Pork Bun and an Egg Custard which were both delicious. I ate them as a crossed the park and finished before I got to the front door of the museum (see my review on TripAdvisor).

The Roast Pork Buns are amazing

The National Museum of Mathematics is a great little museum for families with small children. The museum has two full floors of exhibitions with a spiral staircase separating the floors and a gift shop at the entrance. On the main floor there are interesting interactive exhibitions such as the Shapes of Space that show how different shapes fit together on a curved surface. I was not too sure what the point of it was, but the kids seemed to enjoy it and it was interesting to see how they connected. The Square wheeled Trike was interesting as you rode a square wheeled type of bike on a bumpy surface to check velocity. The kids and young parents really liked this.

The “Shapes of Space” exhibition

The displays I enjoyed on the main floor were Motionscape, where you had to walk as fast as you could on the track to check the relationship between velocity, your position and acceleration. It was interesting to see how your body movements when walking affects the way you react. The other display that was really popular was Hoop Curves which was always busy. The exhibit used statistics and a robot arm to shoot the basketball. The kids got a real kick out of this when trying to make a basket.

On the lower level, there were more interactive displays along with an explanation of the math along with the creators of the theory. I found that interesting because you could see who all the mathematicians were who the projects were based on or who had contributed to them.

One of the interactive displays that I enjoyed was the Tessellation Station, where you could create displays with magnetic tiles on a large board. Later I learned about Tessellation as a form of making shapes fit together in a pattern and then the theory behind that. It was a fun way to use your creativity.

The “Tessellation Station” exhibition is a lot of fun

Another was the Tree of Life, where the computer copied the movements of myself and then used them to show the how I moved my arms and legs in a pattern. It was funny to see myself repeated over and over again like a tree with branches. It really did measure the movement of my body.

The Twist and Roll display showed how to put different shapes and sizes together and show their movement on the board. The one display that all the kids got a kick out of was the Math Board, where the colors and shapes of the section of the floor lit up when you walked on them and was controlled by the way you walked on them.

The “Math Board”

The Museum of Mathematics is a great museum for younger children who want to get physical and have a good time and like the interaction. I learned a few things too about the fundamentals of math and some of its background theories.

Still, it is a great museum for kids under the age of twelve and their younger parents. I think anything over that age would warrant a trip to the American Museum of Natural History or the Liberty Science Center with more exhibits that are age appropriate. It is a museum you should visit once or twice with small children who are at the learning stage and just want to have fun.

After I left the museum, I decided to walk the two avenues in the neighborhood of the Lower Garment District and see how things have changed over the years. There has been tremendous growth and building in the twenty-five years since I worked here and for the better. Most of the older buildings and cut-rate businesses are gone being replaced by a vibrant commercial district that was desperately needed in this part of the City.

Ever since the City reopened last June and even before, this area of Midtown has been changing at breakneck speed. The blocks around Eight Avenue has been under construction for about three years with one small building blocking a bigger one from being built on the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 34th Street. Madison Square Garden on the corner of Eighth Avenue between West 33rd and 32nd Streets is under construction for renovations and additions and much of lower Eighth Avenue the smaller businesses have emptied out due to lack of business with the pandemic.

Madison Square Garden is one of the most controversial buildings in the City when it replaced the old Penn Station. The majestic building that was designed by McKim, Mead & White in the Beaux-Arts style and opened in 1910 was closed in 1963 and knocked down for the current building.

The outcry from this started the Historic Preservation Movement in the City and prevented future buildings from demolition. These types of buildings are now protected under New York City’s Landmark Preservation Act. The biggest problem cited at the time was that the rail service was declining, and the building was getting too expensive to maintain (Wiki).

The old Penn Station that was knocked down in the 1960’s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_Station_(New_York_City)

With the reconfiguration of these grand train depots today not just at Grand Central Station (see my blogs on Midtown East and Murray Hill) as well as Penn Stations in Philadelphia and Washington DC, I could only imagine what it would be like today. We are now seeing it in the new Moynihan Train Hall in the former James A. Farley Post Office building.

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

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

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

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

James A. Farley

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

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

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a former politician and diplomat.

The train station is now open but not yet finished but the first restaurants have opened and there is good traffic flow through the former post office. I could not believe what a five-year renovation and millions of dollars can produce. When the new train station opens fully with shops and restaurants, it will rival anything all the other stations.

Down the block from the station, there are two restaurants that do stand out amongst the closed establishments and the fast-food restaurants. One is New York Pizza Suprema at 413 Eighth Avenue. The pizza here is amazing but a bit pricer than most of the pizza places in the Garment District but the quality more than makes up for it. Every time I have eaten here the food has been terrific.

Pizza Suprema at 413 Eighth Avenue

http://nypizzasuprema.com/

The other restaurant that I enjoy when I am in the area is New Dynasty Inc. Chinese Food at 393 Eighth Avenue in a store whose sign still advertises videos and games. Don’t miss this excellent and very underrated Chinese takeout establishment. I love their Orange Chicken and Roast Pork Lo Mien when I eat there. They also have excellent eggrolls.

New Dynasty Inc at 393 Eighth Avenue

https://www.newdynastyny.com/

When I walked back around Eighth Avenue and down West 34th Street to Seventh Avenue, there is construction all along West 34th Street so don’t be surprised if this is all new businesses and shops and dining in the next year. Madison Square Garden is going through a major renovation and rebuilt on this side of the property.

Like the Grande Dame of the neighborhood, the Seventh Avenue entrance of Macy’s greets you on the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 34th Street. This entrance leads to the Men’s Store where you have really nice public bathrooms in the basement level if you need them.

R.H. Macy Inc. at 151 West 34th Street

https://l.macys.com/new-york-ny

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macy%27s_Herald_Square

Walking down Seventh Avenue from West 34th Street brought back a flood of memories for me of lunch breaks from work and a lot of late night walks from the Fashion Institute of Technology when I was attending graduate school there. There still is a lot of silence as Madison Square Garden is active but not as much as it was before COVID. Even Penn Station is not as busy even though Manhattan is opened up. Many people are not back to work yet in the office buildings.

The creepy part is passing the Hotel Pennsylvania, one of the most famous hotels in New York City (Pennsylvania 6-5000 as the song goes) at 401 Seventh Avenue right across from Madison Square Garden. The hotel had been closed since the pandemic started but even when I worked at Macy’s the hotel always seemed run down. It was not a place many Macy’s executives wanted to stay at when they were doing business at the store.

The Hotel Pennsylvania was built in 1919 by the Pennsylvania Railroad and was designed by architect William Symmes Richardson from McKim, Mead & White. It was designed by the firm who designed Penn Station across the street and the limestone facade mirrored that of the station. The hotel has gone through many ownerships over the last one hundred years and returned to the name Hotel Pennsylvania in 1991. The hotel closed for business in April 2020 and is in the process of being demolished. There will be a new series of office buildings built in the area (Wiki).

The Hotel Pennsylvania at 401 Seventh Avenue (Wiki)

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

We will always have Glenn Miller though. Pennsylvania 6-5000.

At the edge of the neighborhood lies the back of the campus of The Fashion Institute of Technology which just reopened to students earlier this year. It is nice to see the campus finally back in session again.

There are a few interesting restaurants that I have eaten at over the years along the way. Mustang Harry’s at 352 Seventh Avenue I had just eaten at earlier in the year for the Michigan State University versus University of Kansas Champions Tournament basketball game. The food is good, but it is very expensive for what you get (see the review on TripAdvisor).

Mustang Harry’s at 352 Seventh Avenue is a good place to watch the games

Home Page

https://www.facebook.com/mustangharrysnyc/

As I made my way back up Seventh Avenue, I stopped at Rony’s Fresh Pizza at 355 Seventh Avenue for a quick slice for a snack. This little hole in the wall pizzeria near FIT was really good. For a dollar, the pizza had amazing flavor and the sauce was delicious. Sometimes these places surprise you.

Rony’s Fresh Pizza at 355 Seventh Avenue is terrific

https://www.zmenu.com/ronys-fresh-pizza-new-york-online-menu/

After I finished my walk of the Avenues, I took a detour up Sixth Avenue back to Bryant Park and stopped at Krispie Kreme at 994 Sixth Avenue for a doughnut. All this walking put me in the mood for something sweet and I had not been there in a while.

I had a Lemon Filled Glaze doughnut ($2.00) and I swear, it was the best two dollars I ever spent. I had not had one of these doughnuts in over a year and it always tastes so good. The best part it was still warm, and you could taste the glaze over the sweet filling (see my review on TripAdvisor).

I walked all over Bryant Park just admiring the crowds in the park on such a cold day and decided to take a walk-up Times Square and watch the crowds. I could not believe on such a cold day lots of people were milling around.

I ended the evening back in Hell’s Kitchen at Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen at 811 Eighth Avenue. I had not been there in almost three years since before the pandemic. It had not been open for the longest time and before the pandemic, it was always packed during Christmas of 2019. I swear I have been coming to this restaurant since its opening.

Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen at 811 Eighth Avenue

https://www.kungfulittlesteamedbunsramen.com/

The food here is excellent and what a meal on a cool night. I started with an order of Fried Bread, which tastes like a churro without the sweet filling. That really warmed me up with the crisp soft bread at every bite. I had an order of their Soup Dumplings and I love to slurp these things with every mouthful bursting with every bite in your mouth.

The order of Wonton Soup was perfect on a cold night with the rich broth and soft meaty wontons and Bok choy is almost a meal onto itself. I really missed the food here.

Walking around the neighborhood brought back so many memories of my years of working at Macy’s and for that has changed in the neighborhood it feels like little has as things still do look the same. They just look better and more vibrant.

That’s what can happen in twenty-five years in a City that just keeps morphing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to Eat:

New Dynasty Inc. (Takeout and Delivery only in 2022)

393 8th Avenue

New York, NY  10001

https://www.newdynastyny.com/

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/911

NY Pizza Suprema

413 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 594-8939

http://nypizzasuprema.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:30am-12:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d2409563-Reviews-NY_Pizza_Suprema-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Mustang Harry’s

352 Seventh Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 268-8930

Home Page

https://www.facebook.com/mustangharrysnyc/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:30am-12:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d478290-Reviews-Mustang_Harry_s-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Rony’s Fresh Pizza

355 Seventh Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(917) 338-2392

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-3:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d23885403-Reviews-Rony_s_Fresh_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Krispie Kreme

964 Sixth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 776-8176

https://site.krispykreme.com/ny/new-york/994-6th-ave

Open: Sunday-Wednesday 6:00am-10:00pm/Thursday 6:00am-11:00pm/Friday-Saturday 6:00am-12:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d19600256-Reviews-Krispy_Kreme-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Bun Ramen

811 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019

(917) 338-2555

https://www.kungfulittlesteamedbunsramen.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-8:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d6872074-Reviews-Kung_Fu_Little_Steamed_Buns_Ramen-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Day Two Hundred and Fourteen: Walking the Streets of the Garment District from West 41st to 35th from Fifth to Ninth Avenues January 18th and 22nd, 2022 (Revisited December 11th, 2022)

The Garment District is an unusual neighborhood. It is a mixture of manufacturing, tourism from all the hotels that have opened in the last twenty years and office lofts of former manufacturing and showrooms. The Advertising, Marketing and Tech companies that are now quiet due to the pandemic. During the weekends, it is especially quiet in the area due to the lack of tourists after the holiday season. The most amount of people on a warmish day are concentrated around Bryant Park.

It has also been so cold lately that it has been no fun walking around Manhattan. When you have those rare days when there is no wind and it is around 40 to 50 degrees it makes it bearable. I am not much of a winter person but it is only two more months. The weather finally broke one afternoon and I was able to start the lower part of the neighborhood on a 45-degree day that was sunny with no wind. It made for nice walking weather.

I started my walk on a late sunny afternoon. I had tickets for a movie at the MoMA that evening and wanted to walk a few blocks before I left for the museum. I now understand what pandemic has done for small businesses all over Manhattan. It is getting spooky how the domino effect of closed offices has had on restaurants and shops not just in this area of the City. There were so many empty store fronts and, in some cases, open restaurants with staff sitting around on their cellphones. It reminded me of Chinatown in March of 2020.

Walking West 35th Street was like seeing where magic is created as most of the buildings are the backs of hotels and current and former department stores. On the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 35th Street is the most unglamorous part of the Hotel New Yorker with the loading dock and the employee entrance, the loading docks of Macy’s that stretch from Seventh Avenue to Broadway and the loading docks of the former Ohrbach’s department store that are now part of the office building that stretch from Broadway to Fifth Avenue. There are lots of delivery trucks going back and forth.

Macy’s facing Broadway and West 35th Street and Herald Square hides it loading dock.

Here and there small hotels have been created in the spaces between the office buildings and these have changed the character and the foot traffic of the neighborhood. They have brought some life to a quiet block. What impressed me was that there are still a lot of fabric and clothing wholesalers left in the neighborhood. Between rezoning and the pandemic, so many of the fabric, button and zipper businesses have closed their doors.

What stands out is the restaurants that dot the street. There are so many reasonable restaurants that are surviving on the garment and the office workers that are still in the area and the shoppers at Macy’s. Some are also really popular on TripAdvisor and Yelp so that helps them as well.

Stick to My Pot Potstickers at 224 West 35th Street has been catering to both the garment and office workers since it opened two years ago. I love coming here for reasonable meals and snacks when I am in the area. The Fried Pork and Chive dumplings and the Roast Pork Bao Buns are just excellent (see my reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com).

Stick to my Pot Potstickers is at 224 West 35th Street

The slow cooked pork is tucked into a rice bun.

A few doors down another reasonable take-out place just opened 99 Cent Delicious Pizza at 460 Seventh Avenue. They have the most amazing cheese pizza at $1.00 a slice. I cannot believe how popular this place has become with both the tourists and local office workers.

99 Cent Delicious Pizza makes an excellent slice

Crossing the street, you will see how the innerworkings of Macy’s loading docks with the street loaded with trucks unloading all sorts of treasures that will be on display in the store in the coming days.

Herald Square was busy the afternoon I was there with shoppers and tourists relaxing on the chairs in the plaza outside the store and in the park. The park has dramatically improved since I worked at Macy’s. When I worked at Macy’s in the early 1990’s, Herald and Greeley Squares were places to avoid until about 1994 when the parks were renovated and new plantings and French metal café tables were added. Now it is hard at lunch time to find a table.

In the process of the renovations, the City also restored the statues dedicated to James Gordon Bennett and Horace Greeley.

James Gordon Bennett statue

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

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

James Gorden Bennett

James Gordon Bennett

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

The statue was designed by Antonin Jean Carles

antonin Carles

Artist Antonin Jean Carles

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

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

Across the park is an impressive mural at the corner of West 35th Street and Sixth Avenue on a building that once housed the Desigual flagship store. The work is by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel and entitled “Multicultural Freedom Statue” and was created in 2019. It is a tribute to multiculturalism in New York City (Artist Bio). The store has since closed.

The painting at Sixth Avenue at West 35th Street by artist Okuda San Miguel (now painted over in 2023)

Artist Okuda San Miguel

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

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

The rest of the block is the northern most edge of Koreatown and has some interesting restaurants that have been here for over thirty years. In between the restaurants there are more small hotels that have been part of the neighborhood for years. Then you reach the border of the neighborhood at Fifth Avenue and you are facing the formerly grand B. Altman & Company on the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 35th Street.

The B. Altman Building at 361 Fifth Avenue was built by Benjamin Altman for the new location for his ‘carriage trade’ store. The store was designed by architects Trowbridge & Livingston in the “Italian Renaissance Style” in 1906. The palatial store was home to couture clothing, fine furniture and expensive art work.

The B. ALt

The former B. Altman Department Store at 361 Fifth Avenue

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._Altman_and_Company

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-b-atlman-co-bldg-no-361-fifth-avenue.html

I walked back down West 35th Street towards Ninth Avenue and the only really section of the street that was busy was in front of the Midtown Precinct South. It was going through their shift change in the afternoon. I rounded the corner and made my way down West 36th Street. Again as I was walking down the street it amazed me to see so many clothing and fabric businesses still in business. Here and there are traces of the old neighborhood mixing into what is developing since the rezoning.

West 36th Street is again a mix of the old and the new. Loft office buildings mix in with the new smaller hotels that line the street which surprisingly are all open. On a recent trip down Lexington Avenue in Midtown East, many of the larger grand hotels that line the avenue are still closed but these smaller commuter hotels are still filled with tourists and industry people. It is showing the resilience of the area.

Architecture wise, it is extremely bland with mostly buildings from the post WWII era that catered to the growing Garment industry. There are some conversions to new hotels and office buildings and some residential as well. Still there are some surprises along the walk.

488 Seventh Avenue was built as the Hotel York in 1903 by brothers James and David Todd, who had an interest in building luxury hotels. They commissioned architect Harry B. Mulliken, who had designed the Hotel Aberdeen on West 32nd Street for the brothers, with his new partner, Edger J. Moeller, who formed the firm of Mulliken & Moeller. The York Hotel was their first commission together. The hotel was designed in the Beaux-Arts style with elaborate carved decorations (Daytonian in Manhattan).

488 Seventh Avenue-The York Hotel (Daytonian)

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-1903-hotel-york-no-488-7th-avenue.html

The Hotel York was a residential and transient for most of its existence attracting the theater crowd when 34th Street was the Theater District of the time. As this moved uptown, the hotel was bought in 1986 and was renovated for residential and commercial use (Daytonian in Manhattan). The Tokian Group now owns the building and it is luxury apartments.

Walking towards Broadway most of the buildings are relatively new but one does stand out that being the Haier Building at 1356 Broadway. The Haier Building was built by architects from York & Sawyer in the Neo-Classical Revival style. The building was completed in 1924 and was the headquarters for Greenwich Savings Bank. The building is built with limestone and polished granite and features Roman Corinthian Columns (Wiki).

1352 Broadway-The Haier Building (Former Greenwich Savings Bank-Wiki)

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

The Haier Building stretches from Broadway to Sixth Avenue and is impressive on both sides of the building. The building was used by Greenwich Savings Bank from 1924 until 1981 when the bank went out of business (Wiki).

In front of the Executive Hotel Le Soleil New York at 38 West 36th Street, there is an interesting sculpture on the front terrace by artist Marie Khouri that looks like a tear drop. The sculpture. “Histoire d’O”, was created in 2016 and there are many different versions of it all over the world, this one prominently sitting in front of the hotel. Its beauty is in its curvature.

The Executive Hotel Le Soleil New York at 38 West 36th Street

https://www.hotellesoleil.com/new-york/

Artist Marie Khouri was born in Egypt and raised in Lebanon and through a series of moves around the world is now based in Vancouver. She was classically trained in sculpture at L’Ecole du Louvre in Paris and has developed a vast range of cultural and historical influences within her practice. Her sculptures blend and extend metaphors of language, form and the body to propose an inextricable link to a life deeply affected by the complex history of the Middle East (Artist’s Bio).

Artist Marie Khouri’s “Histoire d’O”

Artist Marie Khouri

https://www.mariekhouri.com/

https://www.facebook.com/marie.khouri.sculpture/

When I reached the edge of West 36th Street, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 36th Street is 390 Fifth Avenue that was designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White for the Gorham Manufacturing Company of fine silver products in 1903. It was designed in the “Italian Renaissance Style” and was used for manufacturing and their showroom. It later became Russeks Department store and has now found other uses.

390 Fifth Avenue The Gorham Building

390 Fifth Avenue-The Gorham Manufacturing Building

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/390_Fifth_Avenue

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/390-5th-Ave-New-York-NY/17368347/

It was getting dark when I arrived back at Ninth Avenue and I decided to call it a night. Before I left for the MoMA to see my film, I went to Stone Bridge Pizza at 16 East 41st Street for dinner. I have to say that their personal Cheese Pizza ($10.95) is excellent and very simple. The sauce is fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil topped with fresh mozzarella and baked until crisp (See review on TripAdvisor). With an unlimited soda fountain dispenser of Boylan’s sodas, it makes for the perfect meal on a cool night.

Stone Bridge Pizza & Salad at 16 East 41st Street (now closed 2022)

https://www.stonebridgepizzaandsalad.com/

I made a second trip into Manhattan that Saturday. My plan was to walk the rest of the neighborhood, then go to the Met for the afternoon to see the Surrealist exhibition and then visit a few of the stores and restaurants that the internet had said had closed.

Walking the Garment District took longer than I thought walking back and forth between West 37th to West 41st Streets from Ninth to Fifth Avenues. It did not help that it was 28 degrees outside. Still, it was sunny with no wind and I found the crisp winter day the perfect time to walk the empty streets of the Garment District.

While buying my ticket for the return trip home, I passed a sculpture of passengers getting on a bus that before I had never given a second thought to and took a moment to look it over. It is the sculpture “The Commuters” by artist George Segal.

It really does depict what it is like to wait for a bus at the Port Authority after a long day at work. You are exhausted and worn out from work and then have to wait in a long line of other tired people while traffic backs up in the Lincoln Tunnel to leave Manhattan. The sculpture is true to form.

“The Commuters” by Artist George Segal (Wiki) in the Port Authority Bus Terminal

George Segal is an American born Native New Yorker who was raised in New Jersey and lived his whole life. He attended the Pratt Institute, Cooper-Union and graduated with a degree in teaching from New York University. Known mostly for being a painter, the artist gained fame with his realistic sculptures. “The Commuters” was installed in 1982 (Wiki).

Artist George Segal (Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Segal_(artist)

I rewalked West 36th Street to be sure that I had not missed anything as the other day it started to get dark early and I rushed walking the street. I thought the side streets of the Garment District were quiet during the week. Try walking in the neighborhood on a weekend day when most of the businesses are closed. Most of the streets with the exception of around Herald Square and Bryant Park were desolate. I saw mostly bored shop keepers in the fabric stores and empty hotel lobbies.

One piece of art I missed on my first part of the walk down West 36th Street was just outside Vito’s Pizzeria at 464 Ninth Avenue. Just around the corner is an interesting painting on the wall on the side of the business by artist Chem Dogg Millionaire. The creative geometrics on the mural brighten up the side of the building.

Painting by artist Chem Dogg Millionaire (no bio on artist)

It was so quiet when I walked down West 37th Street from Ninth Avenue. The cold was keeping people inside but there were still the adventurous ones walking their dogs and just wanting some fresh air.

I passed M & T Pretzels at 349 West 37th Street which distributes vending and concession products all over the City and you can see all their carts that are the fabric of the food service industry. Their pretzels are a New York institution.

West 37th Street in not known for its architectural creativity or street art but where it lacks in these it makes up in reasonable places to eat and some great restaurants. The Garment District has some of the best places to eat when you are on a budget.

9th Avenue Gourmet Deli at West 37th Street

On the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 37th Street is 9th Avenue Deli (the former AM-PM Deli), which I think is one of the best delis in Manhattan. I have stopped by for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the food has always been consistently delicious.

9th Avenue Deli at 480 Nineth Avenue (formerly AM-PM Deli)

https://menupages.com/9th-ave-gourmet-deli/480-9th-ave-new-york

I have mentioned this deli many times on my walks. It is where I have had breakfast to fill up with carbs before my thirteen-mile Broadway walks and have stopped here when walking the “Great Saunter Walk” around the perimeter of the island. Their ‘Meat Lovers” breakfast sandwich with bacon, sausage, and ham with three eggs helps carry me through one side of the island and their bacon cheeseburgers are the best.

Non Solo Piada at 302 West 37th Street just off Eighth Avenue is another wonderful place to dine. This tiny store front specializes in Roman street food with dishes such as Piadizze, which is a crispy thin pizza with multiple toppings and Cassoni, which is a smaller version of a Calzone, which is filled with cheeses and meats. They have wonderful desserts and when the weather is warmer, they have tables and a counter outside the store and it is nice to eat outside on this quiet block.

Non Solo Piada at 302 West 37th Street off Eighth Avenue

https://www.nonsolopiadanyc.com/

Amongst all the large office buildings and manufacturing companies is a tiny church tucked in the middle of all this commerce. The Shrine and Parish Church of Holy Innocents is at 128 West 37th Street and stands out for its beauty in design and the fact that it was still decorated for Christmas.

The Shrine and Parish of Holy Innocents at 128 West 37th Street

https://shrineofholyinnocents.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Innocents_Church_(New_York_City)

The church was built in 1870 when the area around Herald Square was still rural and the church was designed by architect Patrick C. Keely in the Gothic-Revival style. The fresco inside the church was designed by noted artist Constantino Brumidi, who later painted the rotunda at the U.S. Capital (Wiki).

As the area has changed over the last hundred and fifty years, the congregation has changed with it from the rural farmers then to the tenement dwellers, the theater and hotel crowd and now to office workers and shoppers who dominate the area during the week. The church still has its challenges with the poor but is optimistic in serving the community (Church history).

Just off West 37th Street on Broadway is an interesting little pizzeria Encore Pizza at 1369 Broadway. I have eaten here many times on my walk down Broadway and they make a nice pizza. Try to get there though when a fresh pie comes out of the oven.

Encore Pizza at 1369 Broadway

https://www.encorepizzamenu.com/

A new and very impressive addition to the neighborhood, Marvelous by Fred (Aux Merveilleux de Fred), opened a gluten free meringue bakery at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 37th Street at 1001 Sixth Avenue. Not only are the pastries mind-blowingly good but the just watching the bakers prepare them in the open kitchen window make you want to walk inside (especially with how cold it has been).

I have to admit that the bakery is not cheap especially for this section of the City and during COVID but it is a welcome addition in high quality pastries and when you need a guilty pleasure, trust me it is helpful and so enjoyable.

I had a Brioche with a sugary filling that was still warm when I bought it and each bite was a treat with a rich buttery. The sugary filling bursting in my mouth and on a cool afternoon, really warmed me up. I also ordered a mini Merveilleux, called a ‘L’Exentrique’, which is two small meringues filled with a creamy mixture and then rolled in cherry crunchies. This sweet creamy pastry melts in your mouth when you bite into it and you have to eat it quickly when walking or otherwise it is a gooey mess. Both pastries were well worth the money and put a big smile on my face.

I was a very happy traveler when I reached Fifth Avenue to see the warm sunshine covering the block. Fifth Avenue has changed since my walk around Murray Hill in 2020. A lot of the buildings are either being renovated or have ‘For Rent’ signs in the windows as small businesses in the area have suffered from lack of office workers and tourists.

Across the street is 401 Fifth Avenue, the former home to Tiffany & Company before the operations moved to East 59th Street. The impressive building stands guard still on lower Fifth Avenue as a testament to when the shopping district was below 42nd Street.

401 Fifth Avenue-The former Tiffany & Company building (Wiki)

The building was designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White and was completed in 1905 as the company headquarters and stayed here until the move uptown in 1940. The design was based on the Palazzo Grimani de San Luca in Venice, Italy (Wiki).

On the way back down West 37th Street, I passed another restaurant on the other side of the street that I really had not noticed and crossed to take a look at it. Tengri Tagh Uyghur Restaurant is at 144 West 37th Street. The cuisine was Uyghur, which is an interior section of China that most of the residents were being interred by the Chinese. I remember reading that the food has more Turkish and Indian influences and the smells coming out the restaurant were amazing. You could almost taste the spices in the air. I knew where I was eating dinner that night.

One of the architectural gems of the neighborhood is covered with demon-looking faces. It sits at 301 West 37th Street, which has the most unusual carvings of gargoyles all over the sides and inside the window ledges. It gives the building almost a creepy, demonist look to it. The building was built in 1915 and is currently going under a gut renovation.

301 West 37th Street can give you the creeps

https://www.renthop.com/building/301-west-37th-street-new-york-ny-10018

As I walked around to West 38th Street, I was greeted by an old friend in the family business of Esposito Meats at the corner of West 38th and Ninth Avenue at 500 Ninth Avenue. Esposito Meat Market has been in business since 1932. You can see the selection of meats and different cuts from the window. The one time I walked in you could smell the aroma of the freshly cut meats. The store prides itself on always delivering quality (Esposito Meat Market website).

Esposito Meet Market at 500 Ninth Avenue

http://espositomeatmarket.com/

West 38th Street to me is the Garment District’s ‘Restaurant Row’.

Just off the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 38th Street is the now closed (and hopefully to be opened soon again) Fu Xing at 273 West 38th Street. The restaurant was my go-to place for Roast Pork, Custard, Pineapple and Cream buns ($1.25) when I volunteered at the Soup Kitchen or when I needed a quick lunch and was in the area (see my reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com).

The roast pork buns here were the best

This little hole in the wall catered to the Asian garment workers but somehow found its way to tourists and office workers all over the area.

Fu Xing at 273 West 38th Street (Closed in 2020)

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/149

On the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 38th is another building beautiful in detail but has been sadly neglected over the years is 557 Eighth Avenue. The Beaux-arts’ designed building was built in 1903 by architect Emery Roth who was part of Stein, Cohen & Roth. It was run as a residential hotel for most of its history and now houses commercial space in the upper floors and fast-food restaurants on the bottom (Daytonian in Manhattan.blogspot/Loopnet.com).

557 Eighth Avenue

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/557-8th-Ave-New-York-NY/21625348/

You have to really look up or you will miss the beauty of the building with its detailed carvings around the windows and the portraits of women carved between the windows.

The details at 557 Eighth Avenue are spectacular

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/07/emery-roths-art-nouveau-no-557-8th.html

Further down the street towards Seventh Avenue is Lazzara’s Pizza Cafe at 221 West 38th Street #2, which is known for their lasagna pizza (see my review on TripAdvisor) which was lunch for us many an afternoon when I was a in the Buying line at Macy’s. These deep-dish pizzas are wonderful and the service has always been so friendly over the years.

Lazzara’s Pizza Cafe at 221 West 38th Street #2

https://lazzaraspizza.com/

A few doors down is Ben’s Kosher Restaurant, the former Lou G. Siegel’s, that is known throughout the Garment industry as the place for piled high pastrami sandwiches and matzo ball soup. The original restaurant had been in business for over 79 years before being bought out by Ben’s in 1996 (Ben’s Kosher History).

Ben’s Kosher Restaurant Manhattan at 209 West 38th Street

https://www.facebook.com/benskosherdelifanpage/

The interesting family fact is that both myself and my grandfather both ate at Lou G. Siegel’s when it was open thirty years apart. My grandfather had worked as an officer in the Ladies Garment Union and this is where they used to have lunch back in the 1950’s. I still love to dine there, always ordering the Double Dip ($16.99), a Pastrami on Rye with a side of Matzo Ball soup and a Potato pancake. There is nothing like it (see my review on TripAdvisor).

Don’t miss the Double Dip at Ben’s Kosher Restaurant

During the week, there is a tiny cart right off Broadway, Empanada Suprema, with the little empanada with a cape as its symbol. This little cart makes the freshest empanadas in Mid-Town with cheese, chicken and beef fillings made right in front of you and fried fresh at the cart. With a little hot sauce, two of these make the perfect lunch and I love munching on them on a cold day.

The Empanada Suprema cart at West 38th Street. Look for the capped empanada

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/926

Walking towards Fifth Avenue, the architecture starts getting interesting and at 63 West 38th Street is the Refinery Hotel. This beautiful and interesting looking hotel was built in 1912 and was the former Colony Arcade Building. It had been home to a 19-century milliner and a tearoom (Refinery Hotel history). The hotel has two excellent restaurants one being on the roof top looking over the Bryant Park neighborhood.

The Refinery Hotel at 63 West 38th Street (The Refinery Hotel)

https://www.refineryhotelnewyork.com/

Arriving finally at Fifth Avenue is the famous former department store Lord & Taylor, once a New York institution in women’s high fashion. The former Lord & Taylor headquarters store that opened in 1914 just recently closed with a sale to the now imploded WeWorks company and was just sold to Amazon for 985 million dollars.

This former ‘grand carriage trade’ store replaced the former headquarters store at Broadway and 20th Street by Union Square and opened at this location at 424-434 Fifth Avenue. The 11-story building was designed by architects Starrett & Van Vleck in the ‘Italian Renaissance Revival’. The store closed for business in January of 2019 after over one hundred years in the location (and a recent store renovation).

424-434 Fifth Avenue-Lord & Taylor

424-434 Fifth Avenue The Lord & Taylor Building

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_%26_Taylor_Building

Lord & Taylor Department Store

Lord & Taylor was founded in New York City in 1826 and has moved around the City several times in its long history. I will miss walking around the store and wondering through the store at Christmas time which was always magical in the store’s heyday. I like everyone in the City will miss their Christmas windows.

Lord & Taylor Christmas Windows

I’m not sure if Amazon will continue this tradition at the holidays

As I made my way back down West 38th Street, I finally saw a bit more foot traffic off Fifth and Sixth Avenues as the afternoon crowds went to lunch or were heading in the direction of Macy’s. There was another one of their big sales and it was attracting late shoppers.

On the corner of West 39th Street is one of the best places for deep-dish pizza in Manhattan at the ever-growing Upside Pizza (which now has two more locations) at 598 Eighth Avenue. The pizzeria makes delicious deep-dish cheese and pepperoni pizza and their regular cheese pies are terrific too. The Sicilian pies are a cross between traditional Sicilian and Detroit deep-dish.

Upside Pizza at 598 Eighth Avenue

https://www.upsidepizza.com/

As I made my way down West 39th Street, I passed more fabric and small wholesale stores proving that the Garment District businesses are alive and well, maybe not in the numbers as in the past but still going strong. Tucked in between buildings are more national chain hotels and restaurants that keep opening and closing with the traffic of the area. There are a lot of empty store fronts as you get to Seventh Avenue. Business from the surrounding office buildings has indeed slowed down.

When arriving at the corner of West 39th Street and Seventh Avenue in front of the Chase Bank at 551 Seventh Avenue is the very iconic sculpture of the Needle Threading the Button that is part of the Welcome Booth on Seventh Avenue.

The Button and Needle Sculpture is actually part of the information booth (NYPL.org)

According to the New York Public Library, the sculpture of the needle and button is actually part of the Fashion Center Information Kiosk that has been closed for a few years. The sculpture was designed by Pentagram Architectural Services in 1996 and was inspired by artist Claes Oldenburg’s sculptures. The district is currently looking into replacing this kiosk (New York Public Library Research Department).

Artist Claes Oldenburg (Wiki)

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

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Claes-Oldenburg

Artist Claes Oldenburg was a Swedish born American artist. He was born in Stockholm and moved to the United States with his parents. His father was a Swedish Diplomat who was stationed in Chicago and he studied art at Yale University and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was known for his large art installments. Even though this was not designed by him, the work was inspired by his sculptures (Wiki).

In front of the Chase Bank at 1411 Broadway is Golda Meir Square with an open plaza. Tucked into a garden almost hidden from view by the plants is a bust of Golda Meir by artist Beatrice Goldfine. It looked like from old pictures the original pedestal is now beneath the planter. It was unveiled in 1984 (Wiki).

The bust of Golda Meir by artist Beatrice Goldfine in Golda Meir Square is now hidden in a garden.

Artist Beatrice Goldfine is an American artist born in Philadelphia and studied at the Barnes Foundation and the Pennsylvania Institute of Fine Arts.

https://prabook.com/web/beatrice.goldfine/772652

Golda Meir, the former Prime Minister of Israel (1969-1974)

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

When walking back down West 39th Street, I noticed another small Chinese restaurant named Bao Bao Cafe at 214 West 39th Street that has an interesting menu. This is one to check out in the future.

On West 40th Street is where you really start to see interesting architecture on the fringe of the old shopping district. The buildings on the southern edge of Bryant Park, which had once a upon a time had been just ‘old buildings’, now have become the symbol of the park and some of the most classic examples of Beaux Arts and Art Deco architecture.

The walk from the Port Authority on Ninth Avenue is remnants of the ‘bad old days’ of Times Square that have not been torn down yet. This area was in the process change before COVID and is still being developed.

As you cross Sixth Avenue with Bryant Park on one side, there is a line of beautiful buildings between Broadway and Fifth Avenue that make it quite an impression. The enormous detail to these structures is evident along the sides and top of the buildings.

The details on 119 West 40th Street (the other side of the building is 114 West 41st Street) are unique. The building was built in 1913 by Philip Lewisohn with the architectural firm of Manike & Franke with the purpose of designing a loft type building. What makes the building so unique is the Gothic figures above the curved windows (Daytonian in Manhattan/Emporis).

119 West 40th Street

The details are quite striking

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/11/1913-lewisohn-building-119-west-40th.html

The second is 110 West 40th Street. The building was designed by architect Edward S. Browning of the firm of Buchman & Fox and was built in 1914. It was known as the World Building. Browning has designed the building so that all four sides were equally detailed (MetroManhattan.com).

110 West 40th Street

110 West 40th Street Office Space for Lease

On the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 40th Street I saw the green and red lights still blinking of the new Bank of China building at 1045 Sixth Avenue (or 7 Bryant Park). This building is interesting for its shape and its ongoing light show. The second day of visiting the neighborhood, the lights of the holidays were gone.

The building was completed in 2016 and was designed by architects Henry N. Cobb and Yvonne Szeto from the firm of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and it was interesting on why they designed the building in an ‘hourglass’ design. The firm stated that “they wanted to enrich the experience of the park while at the same time make its relationship to the park a clear expression of its identity (Pei Cobb Freed & Partners). The building is the New York home of the Bank of China.

Bank of China Building at 1045 Sixth Avenue (7 Bryant Park)

https://www.pcf-p.com/

https://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/bank-of-china-at-7-bryant-park

Across from Bryant Park to its south are a grouping of beautifully designed buildings. On the corner of West 40th Street and Sixth Avenue is 80 West 40th Street, ‘The Bryant Park Studios’. The building was built in 1910 as showrooms for artists. The building was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by architect Charles A. Rich (Daytonian in Manhattan).

80 West 40th Street

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/80-W-40th-St-New-York-NY/18070725/

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-1901-beaux-arts-studios-80-west.html

The Bryant Park Hotel at 40 West 40th Street is another standout that sits on the edge of the park. The hotel was built in 1924 for the American Radiator Company and known as the American Radiator Building (it was renamed the American Standard Building).

It was designed by architects John Howells and Raymond Hood who designed it in a Gothic Modern style with black and gold bricks, the black bricks symbolizing coal and the gold bricks symbolizing fire. The style of the building is a combination of Neo-Gothic and Art Deco. In 1988, the building was sold and the Bryant Park Hotel was born (Bryant Park Hotel History).

The Bryant Park Hotel at 40 West 40th Street (Bryant Park Hotel)

http://www.bryantparkhotel.com/

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

A few doors down from the hotel is 32 West 40th Street, the former Engineers Club Building. The building was designed by architects Henry D. Whitfield and Beverly S. King of the firm of Whitfield & King and was built in 1907. The building was designed in the neo-Renaissance style with Corinthian style capitals. The building was partially funded by Andrew Carnegie for a new club house for the Engineers Society that had been founded in 1888 (Wiki).

32 West 40th Street-The Engineers Building (Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineers%27_Club_Building

https://streeteasy.com/building/bryant-park-place

Making my way back to the border of Garment District at Fifth Avenue sit two impressive buildings of the bygone era from this was a major shopping district, the Knox Building and the Arnold Constable Building.

The building at 452 Fifth Avenue, the former home to Knox Hat Company, was incorporated into the HSBC Tower in 1984. The glass tower was built around the Beaux Arts building for the HSBC and it was considered an architectural marvel when it opened. The Knox Building was built in 1902 and is considered one of the finest examples of ‘Beaux Arts style’ in Manhattan.

452 Fifth Avenue-The Knox Hat Company Building

452 Fifth Avenue-The Knox Hat Company Building part of the HSBC Building

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/452_Fifth_Avenue

The Knox Hat Company was considered one of the finest hat companies for men when it was founded in 1838. It once had 62 retail stores and was sold in all the finest stores. It did not survive the Great Depression and was merged with three other companies in 1932 to form Hat Corporation of American (Hat Co) (Bernard Hats history).

The last interesting building I saw before returning to Bryant Park to relax by the fountains was 454 Fifth Avenue at 40th Street, the old Arnold Constable & Company department store.

Arnold Constable & Company building

Fifth Avenue at 40th Street-Arnold Constable & Company Department store

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Constable_%26_Company

http://www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org/2011/08/arnold-constable-co-new-york-city-new.html

The building opened in 1915 and closed when the company went out of business in 1975. It is now part of the New York Public Library. Arnold Constable & Company was founded in 1825 and was considered one of the oldest stores in New York City. The building was created as the shopping district moved further uptown. The company closed for business in the 1990’s.

As I finished the edge of the neighborhood walking West 41st Street, most of the buildings were either the front or back of old theaters or large new office buildings that were the result of the final demolishment of the blocks around Times Square (which was much needed at the time).

As a result of these large buildings compacted into one area, there needed to be setbacks for the public in the way of small parks and one of them is just behind the new Whole Foods at 1095 Sixth Avenue (Three Bryant Park). Inside the park near the stone benches, I admired a rather strange statue entitled “The Guardian-Superhero” by artist Antonia Pio Saracino.

Guardian-Superhero at Three Bryant Park (Antonio Pio Saracino)

The statute was created by the artist in mirrored stainless steel. The artist uses a digitally generated architectural composition (Frameweb.com).

https://www.frameweb.com/article/the-guardians-hero-and-superhero-by-antonio-pio-saracino

Artist and Architect Antonio Pio Saracino

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

Home

Artist Antonio Pio Saracino is an Italian born artist based in New York City. He is a graduate of the La Sapienza University of Architecture with a master’s degree. The artist is multi-talented in sculpture, building and furniture design (Wiki).

I finally was able to relax in Bryant Park for a bit before I continued the walk to Kips Bay. I had read online that DiDi Dumpling in Kips Bay had closed, and I wanted to check it out for my blog. I walked through the side of Bryant Park that faced West 40th Street and admired some of the statuary and the tiny Merry go Round that was closed for the season.

The first statue that I admired was Goethe Monument inside the path. The Gothe statue is of author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and is a replica of a copy by artist Karl Fisher. It was presented to the park by The Goethe Society of America in 1876 and it was moved to Bryant Park in 1932 (NYCParks.org).

The Goethe Monument in Bryant Park (NYCParks.org)

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bryant-park/monuments/592

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

Artist Karl Fischer

There was no information on the artist that I can find. I found this very interesting blog documenting the same thing.

http://goethetc.blogspot.com/2009/10/goethe-in-bryant-park.html

I passed the tiny French Merry go Round, Le Carrousel, that brought into the park after the renovation to give the park the Parisian feel that it had. It was created for the park by the Fabricon Carousel Company of Brooklyn, NY and many interesting creatures for children and adults (I did ride it once when it first came to the park. I am too big for this thing).

The Bryant Park Carrousel on the south side of the park (NYCParks.org)

https://bryantpark.org/amenities/le-carrousel

The last statue that I admired in the park was of the park’s namesake, William Cullen Bryant, from artist Herbert Adams and designed by Thomas Hastings of the architectural firm of Carrere & Hastings in 1911 (The firm that designed the New York Public Library). The statue was of poet, journalist and editor of The New York Evening Post Willaim Cullen Bryant (NYCParks.org).

The statute of William Cullen Bryant (NYCParks.org)

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

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bryant-park/monuments/189

The statue sits in the middle of the park just behind the New York Public Library and next to Bryant Park Grille. It guards the park from a distance.

William Cullen Bryant

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

Artist Herbert Adams (Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Adams_(sculptor)

Herbert Adams was an American born artist. Born in Vermont, he was raised in Massachusetts, He studied art at the Massachusetts Normal Art School. He opened a studio in New York City and in his time, he created over 200 public works of art and is considered one of America’s best sculpturers (Wiki).

As the last traces of the Winter Villages Christmas decorations have disappeared, I walked all around the skating rink and the open restaurants. I could not believe how busy the park was at this time of day and was not sure if it was all tourists or just locals having a good time. With all the gloom and doom in the news lately, these people deserved it!

On the way back towards Broadway I came across an interesting set of artwork by artist Santi Flores that lined the Broadway Mall. These interesting works reached for the sky. These interesting little sculptures looked like they were raising their hands for attention (“Here” ended October 22nd, 2022).

The Broadway pop-up of Artist Santi Flores display “Here”

https://www.santiflores.net/

Artist Santi Flores “Here”

Artist Santi Flores “Here”

Artist Santi Flores “Here”

Artist Santi Flores at the street exhibition “Here”

Artist Santi Flores is a Spanish artist who is also a musician and visual artist. His creativity shows no limits (Artist Bio).

As I walked back down West 41st Street towards the Port Authority, I walked in between the terminals on my way back and forth from Ninth to Eighth Avenues and rediscovered the Robert Wyland paintings that had been done in the 1990’s. It was ironic that he had painted them because I had just visited his galleries in both Waikiki and in Maui.

The Robert Wyland mural “Inner City Whales” on the side of the Port Authority wall at Eighth Avenue and West 41st Street in 1993 (Part of his “Whaling Walls” series across the United States)

The Robert Wyland Mural on the inside wall of the Port Authority at West 41st Street is easy to miss with all the traffic and noise. I was not sure why he would place this wonderful piece of art in such an odd place that most people miss.

Artist Robert Wyland

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

The Artist

Mr. Wyland is an American born from Detroit. His works have been inspired by nature when he visited the ocean for his first and his love of diving. In 1993, he started his foundation, and started to paint murals in major cities. He is known for his conservation as well as his art(Artist bio).

I finished the streets of the Garment District in the early afternoon, and it was still light out, so it was time to travel to other parts of Manhattan to check other businesses from my blogs to see if they were still opened. This meant a trip down Lexington Avenue to DiDi Dumplings at 38 Lexington Avenue.

DiDi Dumpling is one of my go-to places on my blog, DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com for delicious meals of steamed dumplings and fried potstickers. Google had posted that they closed but I had to check this out for myself. Not only were they still open but really busy. So, I stayed for some Steamed Shrimp Dumplings ($5.75) with a Coke. After all that walking, I felt I earned it.

DiDi Dumpling at 38 Lexington Avenue

https://www.dididumplingny.com/menu

Now that I was rested and well fed (God those dumplings hit the spot on a cold day), I walked to my next location, La Crosta Pizza on East 72nd Street and First Avenue. I took Lexington Avenue and walked up a combination of that and Madison Avenue. On my way up to the Upper East Side, it was shocking to see how many businesses were shut and all the empty storefronts. These being victim to the economy and COVID.

I made it to 436 East 72nd Street and indeed La Crosta Pizza is now closed. I was really bummed in that they had wonderful lunch specials, excellent food (their pizza and calzones were the best) and the guys that worked there could not have been nicer. It was a big place to eat with the people at the hospital. The sign says that it is being replaced by York Pizzeria. I will have to revisit when they open.

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/552 (Closed in 2022)

As I walked back down from the Upper East Side to the Garment District again, I crisscrossed the avenues going from First to Second then walking down Lexington to Park Avenues looking at store fronts and dark apartment buildings and hotels and wondered how many of these people have come back to the City. It still seemed quiet after the holidays.

I ended the walk that evening back at the Uyghur Restaurant Tengri Tagh at 144 West 37th Street. I kept watching from the window all the interesting dishes coming to the tables and it fascinated me that this tiny hole in the wall restaurant was so busy. I later found out when I got home that they just had three back-to-back excellent reviews on the internet.