Category Archives: Exploring Midtown South

Foliage Paradise 113-115 West 28th Street New York, NY 10001

Don’t miss this trip to the tropics in Manhattan.

 

Don’t miss the beautiful orchid display at Foliage Paradise at 113-115 West 28th Street.

Little Shop on Main Street

Foliage Paradise

113-115 West 28th Street

New York, NY 10001

(212) 675-9696/(212) 206-8461

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:30am-5:30pm

http://www.paradiseplantsny.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FoliageParadise/

The Flower District is alive and well in the Chelsea neighborhood although it has gotten a lot smaller in the last twenty years. Rezoned for residential and commercial in a new way, most of the lower part of Sixth Avenue from West 34th to West 23rd Streets has changed dramatically with new residential high rises being built along the avenue. Still on the side streets, small ‘Mom & Pop” businesses still thrive making this area a haven for fresh cut flowers, potted plants, garden equipment & accessories and many floral gifts and arrangements.

Foliage Paradise at 113-115 West 28th Street in the heart of the “Flower District”

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

What I liked about Foliage Paradise is the welcoming you get by just looking in the front window and seeing all the colorful orchids…

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Triad by Irving Maratz

Day One Hundred and Ninety-Three Walking the Avenues of Koreatown/Midtown South/NoNaNe Fifth, Madison and Park Avenues from East 34th to East 30th Streets March 6th 2021

The weather has finally started to break and it is getting warmer out. It has made it better to do my walks in the City. It figured though I would start my walk on the Avenues of Koreatown/Midtown South/NoNaNe on the coldest day of the week. Even though it was a sunny day the wind whipped through the neighborhood. It was Mother Nature letting me know that it was still winter.

The City was quiet on the afternoon that I came in to finish walking the Avenues of Koreatown/Midtown South/NoNaNe. Even Macy’s seemed quiet when I walked through the store to get from Seventh Avenue to Broadway. I needed to warm up before my walk and I wanted to see if the store was going to prepare for the Annual Flower Show during COVID. I am sure that they will cancel it.

I started my day walking Fifth Avenue from East 34th to East 30th Streets. This is where the most elegant of the Beaux Arts buildings are located. In the midst of all this rebuilding in Midtown, it is Fifth Avenue that has kept its historic architecture. Some of the most beautiful buildings in the neighborhood are located on Fifth Avenue.

Walking down from East 34th Street, I looked up and saw the first of several beautiful buildings at 344 Fifth Avenue. This elegant office building was finished in 1907 and was designed by architects Maynicke & Franke in the Beaux Arts style with large display windows on the bottom and details along the middle and edges of the building (Metro Manhattan).

347 Fifth Avenue

344 Fifth Avenue

Next to this building is another interesting building that stands out amongst its taller neighbors at 335-399 Fifth Avenue and East 33rd Street is the former A.T. Demarest & Company building. I could tell by its design that it had more of a purpose at one time than being home to a grouping of fast food restaurants.

335-339 Fifth Avenue

335-339 Fifth Avenue-The A. T. Demarest Building

The building was designed by architects Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell in the Renaissance Revival style with a terra cotta exterior details and large bay windows of a building that showcased the firm’s business in carriages and the dawn of the automotive industry (Daytonian). Look up at the edges of the room for the interesting details of the building.

At the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 32nd Street is 320 Fifth Avenue, the former Reed & Barton Building. Known more now for the CVS at the bottom of the building in the retail space, the former headquarters and showroom of the famous jeweler was built in 1905 by architect Robert Maynicke in the Beaux Art style. You can see by the intricate detail of the top and edges of the building the festoons, wreaths and columns of the building. The company would remain here until 1921 when like the rest of the shopping district moved to upper Fifth Avenue where it remains today (Daytonian/StreetEasy/42 Floors Up).

320 Fifth Avenue

320 Fifth Avenue-The Reed & Barton Building

As I continued my walk down Fifth Avenue, there were several other interesting buildings tucked in between the new construction taking place all over this part of the neighborhood. At 315 Fifth Avenue and East 32nd Street is another intriguing building not just for its beauty but for the shape of the design.

315 Fifth Avenue

315 Fifth Avenue-The Rock Building

The building is known as “The Rock Building” and was built in 1907 for owner Mathias Rock, a local merchant and tailor who made a fortune in his trade and had this building built for his business. The architects for the building were Maynicke & Franke and the building was a hybrid of French Classical and Beaux Arts trim with cast iron show windows and heavy decoration are the room and around the top windows (Daytonian). The beauty of this building is that it is tall and narrow and the way it fits into its space on Fifth Avenue.

I noticed the beauty of 303 Fifth Avenue on the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 31st Street. This interesting building was designed by architect Buchman & Fox in the Beaux Arts style and was built in 1909. Known as the ‘Jewelry Building’, it has been home to many prominent retailers in the past such as FAO Schwarz and now serves as office and retail space (MetroManhattan).

303 Fi

303 Fifth Avenue-The Jewelry Building

On the border of Koreatown/Midtown South with NoMad/Rose Hill is the The Wilbraham Building at 284 Fifth Avenue. Its old charm beauty really stands out. Most of the buildings on 30th Street were non-descriptive. The Wilbraham Building, a beautiful Victorian building built between 1888-90 that was commissioned by jeweler William Moir. The building was designed by architect D. & J. Jardine in the Romanesque Revival style. The building has been home to Shalom Brothers Rugs for many years (StreetEasy.com).

The Wilbraham 284 Fifth Avenue

284 Fifth Avenue at East 30th Street-The Wilbraham

As I made my way back up Fifth Avenue and studying the history of the area, I never realized how this part of Fifth Avenue once mirrored the same shopping district twenty five blocks up the avenue. Since the 1990’s, most of these companies have since gone out of business but remembered by us who used to shop there in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Reaching the border of Koreatown/Midtown East/Murray Hill is the former B. Altman Department Store that closed in 1989 and in the other corner is the Empire State Building, once the tallest building in the world.

B. Altman & Co. II

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

Still the most amazing building in the neighborhood is the Empire State Building on the corner of Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets. It’s the most impressive and well known building in the neighborhood is the former tallest building in the world at 102 floors, the Empire State Building at 2-20 West 34th Street.

The Empire State Building is probably the most famous building in New York City outside of maybe Rockefeller Center and one of the most prominent. The building sits on the side of the former Astor Mansion and the first Waldorf-Astoria Hotel before the current one was built in the 1930’s on Park Avenue. The building was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon in 1930 (Wiki).

The Empire State Building was inspired during the “Race to the Sky” movement in New York City during the 1920’s prosperity with builders vying for the “World’s Tallest Building” title. This was going on in cities all over the US at a time of great innovation in building. The building was conceived in 1929 long before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 as 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building were being constructed (Wiki).

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building at 20 West 34th Street

https://www.esbnyc.com/

As the shopping district left Sixth Avenue below 23rd Street, the former “Ladies Shopping Mile” (read my Victorian Christmas Blog on the shopping district) gave way to stores opening between 34th Street to 42nd Street and eventually to the Fifth Avenue locations between 50th and 60th Streets where what is left of the great stores stand today.

My blog on the Ladies Shopping Mile and a “Victorian Christmas”:

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

Across the street from the old B. Altman’s building is another impressive building also under scaffolding 10 East 34th Street, The Ditson Building. The impressive building with it intricate details was built in 1906 and designed by architects Townsend, Steinle & Haskell in the Beaux-Arts style for Charles H. Ditson. Mr. Ditson ran the New York division of his family’s company, Charles H. Ditson & Company, a publisher and musical concern (Daytonian).

The Ditson Building

10 East 34th Street-The Ditson Building

Madison Avenue below East 34th Street changes from its more ’boutique’ image from above East 42nd Street. Like the rest of the neighborhood, this area is ‘in transition’ during the pandemic. I have never seen so much renovation and building going on in one neighborhood. Still you have your ‘architectural gems’ tucked here and there in the neighborhood.

On of the most beautiful and innovative at the time it was built is 181 Madison Avenue on the corner of Madison Avenue and East 34th Street, the Madison Belmont Building.

181 Madison Avenue-The Madison Belmont Building

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

I walked past the grill work of this interesting office building. The Madison Belmont Building at 181 Madison Avenue was built in 1924 and designed by architects Warren & Wetmore in the Renaissance style with Art Deco details for the Cheney Brothers Silk Company (Wiki/NewYorkArchitecture).

Madison Belmont Building

“The Madison Belmont Building” at 181 Madison Avenue

Madison Belmont Building

Look up at the interesting grill work and details of the building

Further down Madison Avenue hidden under all the scaffolding is the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Building, the former “Colony Club” at Madison Avenue at 120 Madison Avenue. This very ‘Colonial’ building was built in 1907 and designed by architect Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White.

The club had been founded in 1903 by Florence Jaffray Harriman creating a club that would rival private Men’s clubs at that time (Wiki/Daytonian). In 1917 the club relocated to its new home on Park Avenue and in 1963 was bought for the home of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. It is currently going under an extensive renovation (Wiki/Daytonian).

120 Madison Avenue

120 Madison Avenue-The American Academy of Dramatic Arts Building/The Colony Club

Up and down the rest of this part of Madison Avenue is filled with a hodgepodge of new and old architecture as this part of the neighborhood is transforming to newer buildings.

I made my way around to Park Avenue and here like Madison Avenue is made up of many newer buildings and a lot of recent building has been going on. One building did stand out which itself is going through a renovation is 4 Park Avenue. This stately building was once the Vanderbilt Hotel.

4 Park Avenue-The Vanderbilt Hotel

4 Park Avenue-The former Vanderbilt Hotel

The hotel was built in 1912 by Albert Gwynne Vanderbilt and designed by architects Warren & Westmore who had designed Grand Central Terminal for the Vanderbilt family. Mr. Vanderbilt had wanted a luxury hotel built near the terminal and it is located six blocks away. The hotel was designed in the British Adams style with clean lines and a brick face. It remained a hotel until after the 1964 World’s Fair and then was sold and converted into a office building (Daytonian).

Most of the neighborhood was relatively newer buildings either soaring corporate headquarter types or apartment buildings in an ever growing residential neighborhood. It was in front of 475 Park Avenue that I saw a piece of art that just stood out. The piece was “Triad” by artist Irving Marantz. The statue was inspired by Picasso’s “The Three Musicians” (ArtNet).

Triad by Irving Mara

“Triad” by artist Irving Marantz

Mr. Marantz studied at the Art Student League and graduated from the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art. He served at the Director of the Princetown Art Association and Museum and taught at the Brooklyn Museum Art School (ArtNet/American Art).

https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/irving-marantz-8945

The afternoon grew cooler and I finished my walk of the Avenues of Koreatown/Midtown South with lunch with a little hole in the wall dumpling restaurant in the Garment District. Stick to my Pot Potstickers is at 224 West 35th Street. The food is so good here and made nicer by the fact that you can eat inside. I would never thought that eating inside would be such a big deal but in the era of COVID it has become so.

I love the restaurant’s logo

The dumplings here are so good! They are freshly made on premises and are loaded with freshly ground pork, chives and spices and are pan-fried perfectly ($3.99). Crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Dipped in their spicy soy sauce were perfect on a cool afternoon. Their scallion pancakes were delicious as well ($2.99). Just eating at the bar and relaxing after a long walk meant so much. I forgot how much fun it was to eat INSIDE a restaurant again.

Dumplings at Stick to my Potstickers

The dumplings here are excellent

Exploring the neighborhood was interesting and good exercise. Its a nice way to spend the afternoon.

My time walking around the neighborhood of Koreatown/Midtown South/NoNaNe:

Walking the Borders of the Koreatown/Midtown South/NoNaNe:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/16912

Walking the Streets of Koreatown/Midtown South/NoNaNe:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/17125

Places to Eat:

Stick to my Pot Potstickers

224 East 35th Street

New York, NY 10001

(646) 822-2003

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

Open: Sunday Closed/ Monday-Friday 11:00am-8:00pm/Saturday 11:00am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2017

Food Gallery 32

Day One Hundred and Ninety-Two Walking the Streets of Koreatown/Midtown South/ NoNaNe February 28-March 4th 2021

I have experienced many cold but sunny days when I finished walking the Streets of Koreatown/Midtown South/NoNaNe. I have never seen so many named neighborhoods overlap one another in Manhattan. The one major thing I did observe is how the whole neighborhood is going through a rebirth and either being gutted, sandblasted or rebuilt. For a City in the throngs of COVID, I have never seen such building activity. The City continues to roll ahead without the business people and will look different when they return.

I returned to the neighborhood a few days after exploring the borders of the neighborhood on a sunny afternoon. On a cool Sunday Koreatown was in full swing a big difference from the downtown streets of Chinatown which seems to have been forgotten by office workers and tourists. It is the proximity to the southern part of Midtown, the shopping district of 34th Street, the location near Penn Station and location next to Macy’s Herald Square that keeps this area of the City vibrant. Plus a lot of Koreans who live and work near the neighborhood keep the restaurants and shops filled at all time of the day.

My day started with organizing notes in Greeley Square and using one of the few decent public bathrooms in the area where you do not have to eat anything (the other being the lower level Men’s Store at Macy’s). Still I want to let readers know that it closes by 4:30pm. Even in Greeley Square in the cold afternoons that I was there every seat was taken and as the restaurants have started to open indoor dining not every restaurant was doing it so people had to take their lunches outside in 43 degree weather.

I started my walk of the Streets of Koreatown at West 31st Street having walked the borders of West 30th Street so many times that I could start naming the buildings. Being on the cusp of Midtown South, the area transitions from the old Beaux Arts style buildings to the newer Art Deco styles that started to come in the 1930’s. This is as businesses started to move uptown.

As I rounded Sixth Avenue onto West 31st on my way to Lexington Avenue, I passed the beauty of 1234 Broadway again. This amazing Victorian building is currently being renovated back to its original glory.

1234 Broadway on the corner of Broadway and West 31st Street, a elegant Victorian building with a standout mansard roof and elaborate details on the roof and windows. I did not realize that it was the Grand Hotel built in 1868 as a residential hotel. The hotel was commissioned by Elias Higgins, a carpet manufacturer and designed by Henry Engelbert. Currently it is being renovated into apartments (Daytonian). It shows how the City keeps morphing over time as this area has become fashionable again.

1234 Broadway

1234 Broadway in all its elegance, the former Grand Hotel

Walking west to east down 31st Street revealed a treasure trove on interesting buildings and hotels with graceful architecture and richly embellished features. The first building I passed was 38 West 31st Street which I discovered is the back part of the same building. I had read some horrible reviews on TripAdvisor that this was an operating hotel. The reviews were scary to say the least.

38 West 31st Street

38 West 31st Street, the side of former Grand Hotel

Another old hotel with interesting design was at 19 West 31st Street The Luxe Life Hotel New York. This elegant building was originally the Life Magazine Building and was designed by architects Carrere & Hastings in the Beaux Arts style and built in 1895 for the magazine’s offices. The gilded design of the cherub “Winged Life” above the doorway was the symbol of the magazine. The magazine left the building during the Great Depression and was left as a residence hotel. It was renovated in 1988 as the Herald Square Hotel and now serves as the Luxe Life Hotel (Daytonian).

19 West 31st Street

19 West 31st Street-The Luxe Life Hotel New York

https://www.luxehotels.com/hotels/life-new-york

Another hotel stands out down the block with the beautiful and graceful Hotel Wolcott at 4 West 31st Street. This elegant hotel was built in 1904 by architect John H. Duncan in the French Beaux Arts and French Neo-Classical styles and was named after businessman Henry Roger Wolcott. In the beginning of its illustrious history famous guest lived here such a dancer Isadore Duncan and socialite Doris Duke. It also has a reputation of being haunted. Since 2020, it has been turned into a transitory hotel (Wiki).

Hotel Wolcott

The Hotel Wolcott at 4 West 31st Street

https://www.wolcott.com/

Reaching Fifth Avenue I noticed the beauty of 303 Fifth Avenue on the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 31st Street. This interesting building was designed by architect Buchman & Fox in the Beaux Arts style and was built in 1909. Known as the ‘Jewelry Building’, it has been home to many prominent retailers in the past such as FAO Schwarz and now serves as office and retail space (MetroManhattan).

303 Fi

303 Fifth Avenue-The Jewelry Building

Another impressive hotel is the Hotel Chandler at 12 East 31st Street. The hotel was built in 1905 by architects Buchman & Fox as the Hotel Le Marquis. The hotel was designed in the Beaux Arts style and served as a high end hotel going through major renovation in 2012. It now serves as a homeless shelter for City families during the pandemic (Hospitality History).

Chandler Hotel

12 East 31st Street-The Chandler Hotel

http://www.hotelchandler.com/

As I walked back towards the border of the neighborhood with Kips Bay at Lexington Avenue, I passed Hotel 31 at 120 East 31st Street. This recently renovated hotel was built in 1902 and was designed in the Beaux Arts style it had opened as The Dunsbro, a resident hotel. The hotel has had an interesting history until its renovation in 2007 to the Hotel 31 (Daytonian). The hotel is an interesting addition to the block of small brownstones on this tree lined block.

Hotel 31

120 East 31st Street-The Hotel 31

Hotel 31

At the end of the block as you head towards Lexington Avenue that shares the border with Kips Bay are all the old brownstones that line this part of East 31st Street. It is a reminder that it is still a residential neighborhood.

As you back down East 31st Street to Greeley Square, you pass two more impressive buildings. At 35 East 31st Street is a beautiful apartment building that was built in 1914. It looked more like it was once an office building but has been sandblasted back to life as a luxury apartment building. Look at the interesting details of this Neo-Classical Beaux Arts building.

31 East 31st Street

The final building that impressed me in their treasure trove of architectural styles was 35 East 31st Street. Built in 1904, this intricate building now houses renovated apartments.

I needed a break after walking back and forth to Kips Bay again and I stopped by my new favorite restaurant in the neighborhood Fresh Pizza and Deli at 826 Sixth Avenue and ordered an vegetable Samosa (see my review on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com).

Fresh Pizza & Deli

Fresh Pizza and Deli at 826 Sixth Avenue

For a dollar, it made an amazing snack that packed with flavors of the well spiced ingredients. I took my snack and relaxed in Greeley Square watching the people snake in and out of the park, heading for the Korean restaurants that line West 32nd Street. It was nice to just relax and soak up the sunshine.

The Samosas here are really good

I headed down West 32nd Street next following the crowds into the heart of Koreatown. As I walked out of Greeley Square I saw to the left the scaffolding of the old Martinique Hotel. It brought back a floor of memories and not such good ones of the days when this was a welfare hotel and was nothing but problems for the neighborhood. I remember one evening when I was working in Training Squad at Macy’s that there was a line of fire trucks in front of the hotel with people screaming out the windows at them and then all the crime at the store that was talked about. Now it sits idle awaiting it current renovation to be finished.

The former Martinique Hotel is at 49 West 32nd Street (1260-1266 Broadway). This was also built by William R. H. Martin in 1898 with the design by architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in the French Renaissance style. The hotel had a notorious reputation in the 1970’s and 80’s as a welfare hotel that closed in 1988. It is now a Curio Hotel of Hilton Hotels (Wiki).

1260 Broadway

1260 Broadway-49 West 32nd Street-The Martinique Hotel

https://www.themartinique.com/

Next to The Martinique Hotel is the Stanford Hotel with its Beaux Arts design and intricate details. The hotel was built in 1896 by architect Ralph S. Townsend and opened as the Hotel Pierrepont. In 1986, the whole received a gut renovation and opened as the Hotel Stanford (Wiki).

43 West 32nd Street-Hotel Stanford

https://www.hotelstanford.com/

Once you pass the hotels, you are in the heart of Koreatown with all its interesting restaurants and shops. One of my favorite places to go for a snack is the Food Gallery 32 at 11 West 32nd Street.

Food Gallery 32

Food Gallery 32 at 11 West 32nd Street

https://foodgallery32nyc.com/

Ever since the City reopened indoor dining and the weather has gotten nicer, this food court has been very busy. It is so much fun to walk around and see the sites and smells of all the food vendors. You could spend about two hours just watching everyone cook and then observe what people are ordering making it harder to choose.

Many of the booths offer Korean dishes and barbeque but there is also please to buy simple but amusing looking desserts in the shape of fish and the vendor by the front door offers churro desserts and ice cream in whimsical shapes and colors. They are desserts for the senses. I am slowly eating my way through the food court.

My first visit to the Food Gallery, I made an exploration trip just to see what was available and took some mental notes and then on the second trip I knew where my first stop would be and I chose MaMa K-food, a stall that sells buns, croissants, Matcha Taiyaki a type of fish shaped waffle that is filled with either red bean paste, custard, cream cheese or Nutella chocolate and Delimanjoo which is a smaller version of the fish shaped treat in original or chocolate filled. I chose the Matcha Taiyaki filled with custard ($6.50-see review on TripAdvisor).The waffle was good but it was not as creamy as I thought it would be. Still it warmed me up on a cool afternoon.

MaMa

MaMa K Food at Food Gallery 32

My third trip to the food court I visited Sweet Churro for their specialty the Churro Dog ($6.50-see review on TripAdvisor). I have never had something so simple and so mind blowingly good. The stall takes a hot dog, cooks it and then wraps it in sweet churro batter and then deep fries it. When it comes out, the churro is crisp and golden brown and the hot dog crackles. Then they dip the churro in cinnamon sugar and tops it with a honey mustard glaze. I took it into Greeley Square to eat and I swear that people were observing me have a good time untangling it and happily chomping it down. It is a great combination of sweet and savory flavors.

Sweet Churros

Sweet Churros is located to the left as you walk into the Food Gallery 32

The Sweet Churro dog

Don’t miss the Sweet Churro Dog with its sweet and savory flavors

After eating my lunch that warmed me up, I continued walking down West 32nd Street past all the busy restaurants and people happily eating both outside and inside on this cool day. As I made my way to Fifth Avenue that splits the neighborhood from west to east, I passed the elegant 315 Fifth Avenue.

The Rock Building

315 Fifth Avenue-The Rock Building

The building is known as “The Rock Building” and was built in 1907 for owner Mathias Rock, a local merchant and tailor who made a fortune in his trade and had this building built for his business. The architects for the building were Maynicke & Franke and the building was a hybrid of French Classical and Beaux Arts trim with cast iron show windows and heavy decoration are the room and around the top windows (Daytonian). The beauty of this building is that it is tall and narrow and the way it fits into its space on Fifth Avenue.

Sitting at the end of the block between East 32st and East 33nd is the Design Building on Lexington Avenue at 200 Lexington Avenue on the border with Kips Bay. You have to walk the width of this building to appreciate its beauty.

The New York Design Center Building at 200 Lexington Avenue stands out for its detailed beauty and its embellishments that accent the outside of the building. It was built in 1926 and designed by architect Ely Jacques Khan as the New York Furniture Exchange. The building was to cater to furniture and department store buyers. It now caters to the full interior design experience with furniture, lighting and textiles.

200 Lexington Avenue

200 Lexington Avenue-The New York Design Center

What I love about this building is the beautiful merchandise you can see in its windows and the displays of furniture. The upper part of this neighborhood has a lot of design and home furnishings stores on the side streets.

On the way back down the block I passed the the HG Hotel at 34 East 32nd Street, one of the Small Luxury Hotels in the World. The hotel was built in 1920 as the St. Louis Hotel and was designed in the Beaux Arts style (HGU Hotel History and StreetEasy).

The HGU Hotel-34 East

34 East 32nd Street-The HG Hotel

https://www.hgunyc.com/

As I walked further down the street, I peeked over some of the scaffolding to see another interesting building being renovated at 29 East 32nd Street, The Grolier Club building. This was the second home of this private club now located at 87 East 60th Street. This building was the second home for the club and was built in 1890 and designed by architect Charles W Romeyn in the Romanesque Revival design. The club left this building in 1917 for its new home uptown (Wiki and Daytonian).

29 East 32nd Street

29 East 32nd Street-The old Grolier Club buildings

Two other hotel buildings stood out on the walk back down to the west side of 32nd Street. The first one being at 15 West 32nd Street, The Hotel at Fifth Avenue. This was the former Aberdeen Hotel. This beautiful hotel was designed by architect Harry B. Mulliken in the Beaux Arts style with immense detail and opened in 1904 as an ‘apartment hotel’ (Daytonian).

15 West 32nd Street-The Hotel at Fifth Avenue

https://www.hotelatfifthavenuenyc.com/

Crossing the street, I took a detour back to Keki Modern Cakes at 315 Fifth Avenue, a small Korean bakery that sells cream puffs and fluffy cheese cakes. I had to try one of their Milk flavored cream puffs.

The Ube Cream Puff at Keki Modern Cakes is amazing

At $4.00, these were a little pricey but the quality is excellent. The outside is crisp and sweet and the inside is a silky creamy filling. I was so impressed that I came back at second time to try the Ube version of the cream puff and was told that it is a type of sweet potato. This version had a sweet purple cream inside.

Keki Modern Cakes

Keki Modern Cakes at 315 Fifth Avenue

Having a little sugar inside me gave me that extra boost of energy and turned the corner to walk down West 33rd Street. Here’s where the architecture starts to change from the beautiful Beaux Arts buildings of the lower 30’s to the more Art Deco style and contemporary designs of the progress of the neighborhood.

There were still the holdouts with the Herald Towers, the old Hotel McAlpin, 1282-1300 Broadway once the largest hotel in the world. The hotel was built in 1912 by architect Frank Mills Andrews for hotelier General Edwin A. Alpin. The hotel had the most modern touches of its era and remained a hotel until it was converted into apartments in the 1980’s (Wiki).

McAlpin Hotel

1282-1300 Broadway-The Herald Towers/McAlpin Hotel

Across the street is 1270 Broadway

1270 Broadway

1270 Broadway, known once as the Wilson Building, was built between 1912 and 1913 in the class Beaux Arts style. It now serves as an office building. You have to look up from the square to admire its beauty.

Still the most amazing building in the neighborhood is the Empire State Building on the corner of Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets. It’s the most impressive and well known building in the neighborhood is the former tallest building in the world at 102 floors, the Empire State Building at 2-20 West 34th Street.

The Empire State Building is probably the most famous building in New York City outside of maybe Rockefeller Center and one of the most prominent. The building sits on the side of the former Astor Mansion and the first Waldorf-Astoria Hotel before the current one was built in the 1930’s on Park Avenue.

The Empire State Building was inspired during the “Race to the Sky” movement in New York City during the 1920’s prosperity with builders vying for the “World’s Tallest Building” title. This was going on in cities all over the US at a time of great innovation in building. The building was conceived in 1929 long before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 as 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building were being constructed (Wiki).

Empire State Building

The Empire State building at 20 West 34th Street

https://www.esbnyc.com/

The building is known just by its appearance and is probably best known for the movie “King Kong” back in the 1930’s and most recently “Sleepless in Seattle” in the 1990’s. The movies don’t do the building justice from its sky decks with views of Manhattan and beautiful Art Deco details on the elevators and in the lobby. The 102 story building is one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Modern World’ and was the tallest building in the world until the World Trade Center opened in 1970 (Wiki). It is now the second tallest building in New York City.

The famous clip of the original “King Kong”

The security has gotten tighter around the building lately so you have to move quickly if you are going to take pictures. The Skydeck and the Museum at the Empire State Building just reopened and is opened with timed tickets.

I ended back at Lexington Avenue on the other side of the Design Building and then turned around as it started to get dark that evening. This is where the neighborhood starts to modernize with newer buildings along Park and Madison Avenue and the parts in between East 33rd Street.

I got back to Greeley Square as the sun started to go down. On my first night in the neighborhood before indoor dining opened, I stopped at BBQ Chicken Ktown at 25 West 32nd Street for dinner.

BBQ Chicken Ktown

BBQ Chicken Ktown at 25 West 32nd Street

They have a nice assortment of to go dinners and I grabbed a box of their Honey Garlic Glazed Chicken ($6.50). It was delicious and on a cold night was the perfect dinner. The only problem was I had to eat it on stone barrier in Greeley Square and it must have been 32 degrees and windy that night. Still the sticky sweetness of the chicken pieces warmed me up as the wind whipped by.

Honey Garlic Glazed Chicken

The Honey Garlic Glazed Chicken is delicious

On another trip to finish the neighborhood, I stopped at Teso Life at 1265 Broadway just off Greeley Square. This small but unique Japanese department store carries all sorts of cosmetic and care products on the first and second floor. On the second floor, it has a snack and small grocery department where they have the best assortment of unusual bagged snacks. I grabbed two bags of snacks, Wagaya Corn Hot & Salty puffs ($1.39) and Sanko Karikari Twist Cheese Swirls ($1.99). They were salty and savory and I devoured both bags in record time. I love it when you find such unique places to shop.

Teso Life Department Store

The Snack department at Teso Life Department store

When visiting Koreatown/Midtown South it offers such a distinct amount of experiences. You are seeing the old mix with the new in this ever changing neighborhood. Koreatown has expanded its original borders from West 32nd and 33rd Streets from Sixth to Fifth Avenues to almost Park Avenue with some new restaurants bordering Lexington Avenue.

NoMAD (North of Madison Square Park) is expanding as well to what was once called Herald Square and Greeley Square with the ongoing renovation of the older buildings for newer businesses. The neighborhood is coming full circle again as the center for the Tech and Media industries and the expansion of the City’s colleges.

The old is becoming new again!

Read my other blogs on Exploring Koreatown/Midtown South/NoNaNe:

The Borders of the Neighborhood:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/16912

The Avenues of the Neighborhood:

Places to visit:

Greeley Square

Between 33rd and 32nd Streets/Broadway to Sixth Avenue

New York , NY 10001

(212) 639-9675

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

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/greeley-square-park/history

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d3529407-Reviews-Greeley_Square_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The Empire State Building/Skydeck and Museum

20 West 34th Street

New York, NY 10001

(212) 736-3100

https://www.esbnyc.com/

https://www.esbnyc.com/buy-tickets

Open: Sunday-Saturday 1:00pm-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d104365-Reviews-Empire_State_Building-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Teso Life Department Store

1265 Broadway

New York, NY 10001

https://www.tesolife.com/en/local-stores

(917)409-0462

Open: Sunday-Saturday 12:00pm-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

Places to Eat:

Fresh Pizza & Deli

876 Sixth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 779-7498

https://99centsfreshpizzaanddelinewyork.mybistro.online/

Open: Sunday-Friday 6:00am-12:00am/Saturday 24 hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d23125364-Reviews-Fresh_Pizza_And_Deli-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2000

Food Gallery 32

11 West 32nd Street

New York, NY 10001

(718) 210-6577

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

https://foodgallery32nyc.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d2306797-r783758087-Food_Gallery_32-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Sweet Churro

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d15173948-r784500382-Sweet_Churros-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

MaMa K Food

My review on TripAdvisor:

Keki Modern Cakes

315 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10016

(212) 889-0251

https://www.kekimoderncakes.com/locations

Open: Sunday-Thursday 12:00pm-7:00pm/Friday and Saturday 12:00pm-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d14208455-Reviews-Keki_Modern_Cakes-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

BBQ Chicken KTown

25 West 32nd Street

New York, NY 10001

https://bbqktownnyc.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d14990480-r782553557-BB_Q-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Al’s Deli 458 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10123

Don’t miss this Garment Industry favorite for large portions and reasonable prices.

Don’t miss Al’s Deli a staple in NYC’s Garment District at 458 Seventh Avenue right across from Macy’s Herald Square.

The breakfast sandwiches here are amazing

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

Al’s Deli

458 Seventh (Fashion) Avenue

New York, NY 10123

(212) 594-5682

https://www.alsdelinyc.com/

https://www.allmenus.com/ny/new-york/352502-als-delicatessen/menu/

Open Sunday-Saturday 24 Hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d2256292-Reviews-Al_s_Deli-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

It’s funny to return to a restaurant that had been part of your career twenty years earlier. In my years in the Macy’s Buying offices, Al’s Deli is entrenched in the memories of many Macy executives with early morning breakfasts before we had to be at the desk at 9:00am or in those late nights preparing for the holiday season after 8:00pm. Plus all those lunches being delivered when we were chained to our desks as the phones were ringing off the hook. Even when I visited the restaurant recently I still see their delivery people racing across the street delivering salads and sandwiches thinking nothing has changed over the years.

Al’s Deli has been serving the Garment District crowds since 1976 and its popularity is its…

View original post 391 more words

1270 Broadway

Day One Hundred and Ninety One: Walking the Borders of Koreatown and Midtown South/NoNaNe from West/East 34th to West/East 30th Streets from Sixth to Lexington Avenues February 8th-21st, 2012

I finally finished walking the NoMAD neighborhood the other day and it is getting confusing keeping up with all these neighborhood names. The Flatiron District, NoMAD (North of Madison Square Park), Kips Bay and Rose Hill (which crosses boundaries with Kips Bay at Lexington Avenue) all claim the same small section of neighborhood. It makes it confusing to know what neighborhood association to join.

I then discovered a nine block section of Midtown South that has no name to it. It is squeezed between Kips Bay and Koreatown from Fifth Avenue to Lexington Avenue from East 34th to East 30th Street. Technically it can be considered part of Koreatown since it has stretched from it’s traditional borders but the maps say differently.

In my research of the neighborhood maps of Manhattan, I discovered that this section of the island has no name to the neighborhood because it is not part of Kips Bay or Koreatown and saying Midtown South for this nine block region does not sound glamorous enough.  So in the tradition of the realtors in Manhattan, I named it NoNaNe, No Name Neighborhood. I wonder if it will catch on?

This is a nine block section of Midtown South that borders Lexington Avenue to the East, Fifth Avenue to the West and from East 34th to 30th Streets. It lies next to Koreatown, which itself has grown from its traditional borders of 33rd to 31st Streets from Sixth Avenue to Fifth Avenue.  Koreatown now stretches to East 35th Street  to the north and to Park Avenue to the east. The restaurants and stores are pushing out even further from the core of the original neighborhood.

So after a wonderful afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art visiting the new “Goya” exhibition, I took the subway to Midtown at 34th Street just outside Macy’s Herald Square to start my walk. It got dark early the first day so I did not get the time in I thought I would.

Goya Exhibition at the Met

The Goya Exhibition at the Met

The YouTube video on the Exhibition

The weather has also gotten so cold. From the mild December and January weeks that we had it has lead to one of the coldest February’s since the great Arctic Vortex that we had two years ago. I am still thawing out from the Marcal Factory fire of 2019 (see my blog from My Life as a Fireman on this blog).

My blog on the Marcal fire:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/14887

It seems that the Vortex is back again and it will be just as cold. It is predicted to be 0 in New Orleans which must be some sort of record. Trust me it got cold when the sun went down around 5:15pm.

I started my walk this afternoon by looking at Macy’s window displays along Broadway to see if much had changed since Christmas. They never were the most exciting displays even when I was working there. Lord & Taylor and B. Altman’s had better windows. Long gone now. I am amazed at the change of the department store scene in New York City since I worked there in the 1990’s. I could see it from the corner of West 34th and Broadway.

I started my walk from the front door of Macy’s and walked down Sixth Avenue from West 34th  to West 30th Street. Things have changed so much in thirty years. The whole area has gotten so much better. It was so run down when I worked there. Also the retail scene was so much different. Where the H & M is now used to be Herald Center, an upscale mall that never did well and the concept closed two years later when I returned to work in the buying offices. The only thing that survived was the food court on the top floor.

Macy's

My starting point Macy’s at 151 West 34th Street

A Fascinating History Of Macy’s Department Store in Herald Square

Before 1965, this was home to Saks 34th Street before its move to its current Fifth Avenue location. The store was founded by Andrew Saks and opened its doors in Herald Square in 1902 just five weeks before Macy’s opened their doors. The store was designed by architects Buchman & Fox in the Classical style. The store was bought by the Gimbel family in 1923 and that is when it was moved to its current location at 511 Fifth Avenue. The original store is now covered with new siding to give it its modern look for H & M (NYC Circa). The building stretches from West 34th to West 33rd Street along the Broadway corridor.

Saks 34th

The Saks 34th Street Building on the corner of West 34th Street and Broadway

https://en.wikipedia-on-ipfs.org/wiki/Saks-34th_Street.html

Next door to that was the old Gimbel’s Department Store building that closed in 1986, a year and a half before I started at Macy’s. Gimbel’s had always been considered our rival for years but I think because of the sheer size of Macy’s I have a feeling that we beat them in sales. Gimbel’s had come to New York City by way of Philadelphia by the Gimbel’s family. It was founded by Adam Gimbel in 1887. The store in Herald Square opened in 1910 in the classical style by architect Daniel Burnham (Wiki). The store stretches from West 33rd to West 32nd Streets along Broadway.

Gimbels Department Store

Gimbel’s Department Store at Sixth Avenue and 33rd Street

https://ghosts-of-retailers-past.fandom.com/wiki/Gimbels

When the store closed in 1986,  it was renovated and was called A & S Plaza when that store moved into the space. When A & S closed in the mid 1990’s when it merged with Macy’s, the store was renovated again and now is called Manhattan Mall. It is mostly office space now (Wiki).

In the middle of this former shopping district and just south of Herald Square is Greeley Square named after Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune. The square was acquired by New York City in 1846 and turned into the park. The statue that dominates the southern end of the park was designed by sculptor Alexander Doyle in 1890 (NYCParks.org).

Greeley Square was named after Horace Greeley, who published the first issue of The New Yorker magazine and established the New York Tribune. He was also a member of the Liberal Republican Party where he was a Congressman and ran for President of the United States after the Civil War.

Horace Greeley

Publisher and Politician Horace Greeley famous for his quote “Go West, young man, Go West”

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Horace-Greeley

Horace Greeley Statue

The Horace Greeley statue is located in the park just south of Herald Square in Greeley Square.

The statue was created by artist Alexander Doyle. Alexander Doyle was an American born artist who studied in Italy with several artists. He is best known for his marbles and bronze sculptures of famous Americans including many famous Confederate figures that have come under fire recently.

http://www.askart.com/artist/Alexander_Doyle/61138/Alexander_Doyle.aspx

Once you leave Greeley Square and walk south you will be entering what is left of the old Wholesale district where once buyers used to come into these stores to commercially buy goods for their businesses. Slowly all of these businesses as well as most of the Flower District is being gentrified out with new hotels, restaurants and bars replacing the businesses. It seems that most of the district is being rebuilt or renovated or gutted.

The Broadway side of the park opposite the old department stores starts some of the most beautiful architecture in South Midtown. This portion of Broadway until you reach the Battery has the most unique stonework and embellishments on the buildings that show the craftsmanship of another era when companies built headquarters that were meant to last.

One building that faces Greeley Square is 1270 Broadway at the corner of West 33rd Street.

1270 Broadway

1270 Broadway

1270 Broadway, known once as the Wilson Building, was built between 1912 and 1913 in the class Beaux Arts style. It now serves as an office building. You have to look up from the square to admire its beauty.

Next to the building is across the street at 1265 Broadway, the former Browning, King & Company building. The building was built in 1910 by developer William R.H. Martin for commercial use. The building was designed by architects Townsend, Steinle & Haskell in brick, stone and terra cotta. The interesting decorative top was designed for the Men’s retail company Browning, King & Company. You have to look up at the detail work and the eagle at the roof of the building (Daytonian).

1265 Broadway Browning, King & Co

1265 Broadway-The Browning, King & Company building

Another building that stands out and sadly boarded up at this time is the former Martinique Hotel at 49 West 32nd Street (1260-1266 Broadway). This was also built by William R. H. Martin in 1898 with the design by architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in the French Renaissance style. The hotel had a notorious reputation in the 1970’s and 80’s as a welfare hotel that closed in 1988. It is now a Curio Hotel of Hilton Hotels (Wiki).

I remember this hotel well when I worked for Macy’s in the late 1980’s and all the people yelling and screaming outside the hotel with fire trucks all over the place. The hotel had been nothing but a problem for almost twenty years. It has since been bought by the Hilton Group and is now a historical luxury hotel.

1260 Broadway

1260 Broadway-49 West 32nd Street-The Martinique Hotel

https://www.themartinique.com/

A couple of buildings that stand out when walking down Broadway are 1234 Broadway on the corner of Broadway and West 31st Street, a elegant Victorian building with a standout mansard roof and elaborate details on the roof and windows. I did not realize that it was the Grand Hotel built in 1868 as a residential hotel. The hotel was commissioned by Elias Higgins, a carpet manufacturer and designed by Henry Engelbert. Currently it is being renovated into apartments (Daytonian). It shows how the City keeps morphing over time as this area has become fashionable again.

1234 Broadway

1234 Broadway in all its elegance, the former Grand Hotel

After rounding the southern part of Greeley Square, I headed back down Sixth Avenue to West 30th Street, the southern border of the neighborhood with the ever changing NoMAD (North of Madison Square Park). This southern section of South Midtown as I have mentioned in other blogs is being gutted, knocked down and rebuilt into a hip area of the City with trendy hotels, restaurants and stores. Even in the era of COVID, the streets were hopping and most of the hotels were still open. Broadway has even been closed off for outdoor dining.

In the middle of this new ‘hipness’ there is an old standby,  Fresh Pizza & Deli at 876 Sixth Avenue (see my review on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com). I had a craving for a late breakfast and they had a $4.95 special for a Bacon, Egg & Cheese sandwich on the sandwich board outside and I ordered it. You have to make a special trip to this little hole in the wall.

Fresh

Fresh Pizza & Deli at 867 Sixth Avenue

Not only is the their pizza really good but the Bacon, Egg & Cheese on a soft roll is outstanding. The way the flavors meshed in the sandwich and the perfect meal on a cool afternoon. After my snack and rounded the corner west down 30th Street. Here you are dodging construction sites and scaffolding in this ever-changing section of the neighborhood.

Bacon, Egg and Cheese sandwich

On a cold day there is nothing like a Bacon, Egg & Cheese on a roll from Fresh Pizza & Deli

Most of the buildings on 30th Street were non-descriptive until I reached the corner of West 30th Street and Fifth Avenue. At 284 Fifth Avenue is The Wilbraham Building, a beautiful Victorian building built between 1888-90 that was commissioned by jeweler William Moir. The building was designed by architect D.J . Jardine in the Romanesque Revival style. The building has been home to Shalom Brothers Rugs for many years (StreetEasy.com).

284 Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue at East 30th Street-The Wilbraham

Another beautiful building that faces East 30th Street but is located on Madison Avenue is 105 Madison Avenue a beautiful former office building that has been converted to  condo’s. The building was built in 1913 in the Gothic Revival style with a terra cotta facade.

105 Madison Avenue

105-117 Madison Avenue

When I reached the corner of East 30th Street and Lexington Avenue I reached the border of the neighborhood which it shares with Kips Bay and it was like visiting an old friend. I have walked this part of the City so many times I feel like I have moved in. I love walking down Lexington Avenue and visiting “Curry Hill” and all the Middle Eastern and Indian restaurants.

I took a little detour from the walk and headed down Lexington Avenue and enjoyed the sites and smells of the neighborhood. I stopped in at one store, Heritage India Fashions at 131 Lexington Avenue after looking over the display window. The window was filled with clothes with vibrant colors and glittering jewels and pictures of models in exotic places.

Heritage India Fashions

Heritage India Fashions at 131 Lexington Avenue

When you walk in the store is piled floor to ceiling with brilliant colors and interesting embellished clothing, shoes and accessories. There were also collections of jewelry and small gifts for the wedding season. The woman working there was very helpful and enthusiastic of explaining the clothes to me. It is worth the trip in.

I traveled back up Lexington Avenue and passed many places that stand out in the neighborhood. Turning the corner onto the bustling Lexington Avenue, you see that the border of the neighborhood is a bustling commercial district with a combination of office buildings and apartments and as you cross East 30th Street a restaurant district with an international flair to it. The avenue is also lined with interesting architecture where many buildings stand out. I walked up and down Lexington Avenue between East 30th Street until I turned the corner at East 34th Street.

The beautiful detail work carved into it is 160-164 Lexington Avenue and East 30th Street, The Dove Street Marketplace, which offers floor after floor of high end goods is just amazing.

160-164 Lexington Avenue

The detail work is amazing on 160-164 Lexington Avenue-The Dove Street Market

The building has the most beautiful detail work on all sides. It was built in 1909 as the New York School for Applied Design for Women. It was designed by one of the school’s instructors, architect Wiley Corbett, to resemble a Greek Temple (Forgotten New York).

160-164 Lexington Avenue

160-164 Lexington Avenue

https://www.doverstreetmarket.com/

Across the street from the Dover Street Market at 154 Lexington Avenue is the First Moravian Church. The building was started in 1849 and finished in 1852 at the Rose Hill Baptist Church designed in the Lombardian Romanesque style. In 1869, the church was sold to the First Moravian Church which had been located at Sixth Avenue and 34th Street (Daytonian in Manhattan).

First Moravian Church

The First Moravian Church at 154 Lexington Avenue was built in 1854

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-First-Moravian-Church/104703772929849

Tucked to the residential side of the avenue is 170 Lexington Avenue an Italianate brownstone building that stands out for it yellow exterior. The brownstone was part of three building complex built in the early 1850’s. The house was owned by George and Elizabeth Youle, a wealthy couple with two married daughters. The address was originally 158 Lexington Avenue and then changed to 170 Lexington Avenue in 1866. Sometime in the 1940’s the yellow clapboard veneer was added in a renovation of the building (Daytonian 2020).

170 Lexington Avenue

170 Lexington Avenue was built in the early 1850’s

The New York Design Center Building at 200 Lexington Avenue stands out for its detailed beauty and its embellishments that accent the outside of the building. It was built in 1926 and designed by architect Ely Jacques Khan as the New York Furniture Exchange. The building was to cater to furniture and department store buyers. It now caters to the full interior design experience with furniture, lighting and textiles.

200 Lexington Avenue

200 Lexington Avenue-The New York Design Center

As I rounded East 34th Street and Lexington Avenue, I saw more life on the streets than I had in a while. The area near the NY Langone Hospital is always busy and when you head back in the other direction back towards Herald Square it always has traffic and people.

On my way down East 34th Street, I passed many of the interesting buildings that share the border with Murray Hill, the neighborhood to the north that I had visited over the summer. I reached Madison Avenue and walked past the grill work of another interesting office building. The Madison Belmont Building at 181 Madison Avenue was built in 1924 and designed by architects Warren & Wetmore in the Renaissance style with Art Deco details for the Cheney Brothers Silk Company.

Madison Belmont Building

“The Madison Belmont Building” at 181 Madison Avenue

Madison Belmont Building

Look up at the interesting grill work and details of the building

Reaching the border of Murray Hill to the south is the former B. Altman Department Store that closed in 1989 and in the other corner is the Empire State Building, once the tallest building in the world.

B. Altman & Co. II

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

As the shopping district left Sixth Avenue below 23rd Street, the former “Ladies Shopping Mile” (read my Victorian Christmas Blog on the shopping district) gave way to stores opening between 34th Street to 42nd Street and eventually to the Fifth Avenue locations between 50th and 60th Streets where what is left of the great stores stand today.

My blog on the Ladies Shopping Mile and a “Victorian Christmas”:

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

Across the street from the old B. Altman’s building is another impressive building also under scaffolding 10 East 34th Street, The Ditson Building. The impressive building with it intricate details was built in 1906 and designed by architects Townsend, Steinle & Haskell in the Beaux-Arts style for Charles H. Ditson. Mr. Ditson ran the New York division of his family’s company, Charles H. Ditson & Company, a publisher and musical concern (Daytonian).

The Ditson Building

10 East 34th Street-The Ditson Building

Crossing Fifth Avenue, I continued to walk down West 34th Street once a major shopping district lined with shops and department stores. The most impressive and well known building in the neighborhood is the former tallest building in the world at 102 floors, the Empire State Building at 2-20 West 34th Street.

The Empire State Building is probably the most famous building in New York City outside of maybe Rockefeller Center and one of the most prominent. The building sits on the side of the former Astor Mansion and the first Waldorf-Astoria Hotel before the current one was built in the 1930’s on Park Avenue.

The Empire State Building was inspired during the “Race to the Sky” movement in New York City during the 1920’s prosperity with builders vying for the “World’s Tallest Building” title. This was going on in cities all over the US at a time of great innovation in building. The building was conceived in 1929 long before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 as 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building were being constructed (Wiki).

Empire State Building

The Empire State building at 20 West 34th Street

https://www.esbnyc.com/

The building is known just by its appearance and is probably best known for the movie “King Kong” back in the 1930’s and most recently “Sleepless in Seattle” in the 1990’s. The movies don’t do the building justice from its sky decks with views of Manhattan and beautiful Art Deco details on the elevators and in the lobby. The 102 story building is one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Modern World’ and was the tallest building in the world until the World Trade Center opened in 1970 (Wiki). It is now the second tallest building in New York City.

The famous Empire State Building scene from “King Kong” in 1933

The building is a major tourist site and it was so strange to see no one in line for the now open sky ride to the sky decks where you can see across the whole City. The lines are usually really long down West 34th Street but there were just a few people talking to the guards the days I passed. If you get a chance to walk around the lobby it really is beautiful but that was pre-COVID. You have to have preassigned tickets to get into the building.

As I continued down West 34th Street, I saw the old Ohrbach’s Department Store building at 7 West 34th Street. The store was still open when I started to work at Macy’s in 1988 but it closed about a year later to be followed by B. Altman & Company in 1990. That left Macy’s alone on West 34th Street until a branch of the A & S opened in the Gimbel’s building in the 1990’s (that would close when A & S merged with Macy’s in 1995).

7 West 34th Street

7 West 34th Street-McCreeyers/Ohrbach’s Department Store

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

What I did not know was the building has an older past by its original owner James McCreeyer & Company, a luxury department store that had started in the 1860’s and had closed this location in 1953 due to changing styles and business. Ohrbach’s bought the store in 1954 and ran it as a moderate department store until it closed in 1988 (Wiki and Defunct Department Stores).

Another impressive building on the this former shopping street is 19 West 34th Street, The Martin Building. The building was built and finished in 1907 for the Revillon Freres, a leading manufacturer of furs and accessories. The building was designed in the Italian Renaissance style with Beaux Arts features. The company moved out of the building and further uptown in 1918 and leased the building out (Daytonian). The building now serves as offices on top and retail on the bottom.

17

17-19 West 34th Street-The Martin Building/Revillon Freres Building

Another standout building I saw was 31 West 34th Street the former Oppenhiem, Collins & Company Department Store building. The store was built in 1907 for the Oppenhiem, Collins & Company wholesalers when they decided to open a retail store in the location. The former department store was designed by architects Buchman & Fox in the Beaux Arts style. The store existed until 1963 when it was merged by the owner of the store with Franklin Simon & Company Department Store and the name disappeared. The store closed in 1977 (Daytonian).

31 West 34th Street

31 West 34th Street-The Oppenhiem, Collins & Company/Franklin Simon & Company building

The last building I noticed for its beauty was on the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 34th Street, 47 West 34th Street (1378 Broadway or 2 Herald Square) the Marbridge Building. The Marbridge Building was by architects Townsend, Steinle & Haskell in 1909 in the Classical Beaux Arts style and has been used as an office building since its opening (Wiki/Photo/Street).

47 West 34th Street

47 West 34th Street-The Marbridge Building

It is funny that in all the years I had worked at Macy’s Herald Square, I either never noticed these buildings on all my walks along 34th Street or never gave them a lot of though. When you realize the rich architectural history of the neighborhood and the role it played in the retail history of New York it really amazed me how prominent a shopping area this once was between 1900-1960. This growth came about as the retail district moved further uptown from the Ladies Shopping Mile district on Sixth Avenue below West 21st Street.

I finished my walk of the borders of this neighborhood with a quick break by relaxing in Greeley Square again and using one of the few public bathrooms in the area (the other being Macy’s lower level Men’s Department) and just sat back and admired the Horace Greeley statue. I wondered how many people passed this statue and never gave it any thought. I wondered what he might of thought of the changes here in the last 100 years. The neighborhood is so rich in history of the development of the business sector in New York City.

I went to dinner that evening at my new favorite Dim Sum restaurant , AweSum Dim Sum at 160 East 23rd Street. I love the selection of items and everything is always so good there. The best part was that the Mayor finally opened the restaurants again for indoor dining on Chinese New Year/ Valentine’s Day weekend on February 12th and we dine inside finally. No more sitting outside in the cold.

Awesum Dim Sum

AweSum Dim Sum at 160 East 23rd Street

I ended my day over small plates of Soup Dumplings, which were hot and juicy and burst in my mouth, crisp Spring Rolls with a nice crunch in every bite and the Baked Pork Buns with their crisp sweet exterior and rich meaty interior. It was just nice to sit back in a warm environment and see people again.

Don’t miss the Baked Pork Buns here

After a nice meal in a warm restaurant, I walked back up Lexington Avenue to admire the lights coming on in the City and the sights and smells of “Curry Hill” as I walked up through Kips Bay back to Port Authority. This is when you really experience New York.

This is when the City comes to life.

Places to Visit:

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10028

(212) 535-7710

https://www.metmuseum.org/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

Macy’s Herald Square

151 West 34th Street

New York, NY 10001

(212) 695-4400

Open: Sunday-Thursday 11:00am-8:00pm/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d208847-Reviews-Macy_s_Herald_Square-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Greeley Square

Between 33rd and 32nd Streets/Broadway to Sixth Avenue

New York , NY 10001

(212) 639-9675

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

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/greeley-square-park/history

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d3529407-Reviews-Greeley_Square_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Heritage India Fashions

131 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY 10016

(212) 481-0325

https://heritageindiafashions.com/

https://www.facebook.com/heritageindiafashions/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 12:00pm-7:30pm

Empire State Building

20 West 34th Street

New York, NY 10001

https://www.esbnyc.com/

(212) 736-3100

Open: Sunday-Saturday 12:00pm-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d104365-Reviews-Empire_State_Building-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Eat:

AweSum Dim Sum

160 East 23rd Street

New York City, NY 10010

(646) 998-3313/3314

http://www.awesumdimsum.us/

Open: Sunday 9:30am-8:00pm/Monday-Thursday 11:00am-8:00pm/Friday 11:00am-9:00pm/Saturday 9:30am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d21335707-Reviews-Awesome_Dim_Sum-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/1898

Fresh Pizza & Deli

876 Sixth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 779-7498

https://99centsfreshpizzaanddelinewyork.mybistro.online/

Open: Sunday-Friday 6:00am-12:00am/Saturday 24 hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d23125364-Reviews-Fresh_Pizza_And_Deli-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2000

Robert Murray Mansion

Day One Hundred and Seventy-One: Walking the Borders of Murray Hill from East 42nd to East 34th Streets from Fifth Avenue to FDR Drive August 13th, 2020

I can’t believe that with all this craziness with COVID-19 I was finally able to get back to walking the neighborhoods of Manhattan. I had not done this since I finished Central Park South before the holidays.

The whole City has morphed since March 13th. It is like a different world. Just like I saw on my recent Broadway walk through neighborhoods that I had seen in the past everything has changed so much. Restaurants and stores that had been part of the City fabric for years have disappeared. Interesting little hole in the wall restaurants that I had enjoyed so much in Turtle Bay and in Midtown are either shut or out of business. I have had to start revisiting neighborhoods just to see if things are still open.

The surprising part of today’s walk is how quiet the City was not just in Murray Hill but all over the place. I did not get into the City until noon and even Times Square at lunch hour was quiet. Port Authority looked like it had less than 50 people in it and it is surreal how quiet most of the restaurants that are open are to customers. This is what happens when there are not tourists. It was like looking at Manhattan through a ‘Twilight Zone’ episode.

Since Murray Hill’s northern border is East 42nd Street, it was an easy walk across town. I had not walked around the neighborhood in about seven months so I revisited a few places on the border of the neighborhood in Turtle Bay and Midtown East.  It was shocking how many places shut their doors for good. It is surreal in that seven months ago these places were going strong. It is almost like Christmas 2019 did not not exist where you could not walk on the sidewalks in Midtown.

I started my morning with a walk through Bryant Park which is right behind the New York Public Library and one of most beautiful small parks in Manhattan. It was one of those really nice Summer mornings and the park was surprisingly busy. The tables and chairs are ‘socially distanced’ and park patrons did their best to stay away from each other. It also has the nicest and cleanest public bathrooms in Manhattan.

Bryant Park in Manhattan

Bryant Park was busy that day

https://bryantpark.org/

Years ago when I worked in Manhattan in the early 90’s, Bryant Park was only used for drug dealing and criminal activity and was best avoided. What twenty years and a major renovation can do to a park. Today you can walk along the flowering paths and think you are in Paris. In the past there have been concerts and movies in the park but because of COVID-19, you can just sit in the park on a chair or bench and enjoy the sunshine and admire the flowers.

Bryant Park Summer II

Just walking along the paths of Bryant Park can make you forget your troubles

I started my walk of the Murray Hill neighborhood at the New York Public Library admiring the stone carvings and statuary that is part of the entrance of the famous library. The library had just had a recent refreshing and looked magnificent with the fountains flowing and patrons filling the tables outside the building.

New York Public Library

The New York Public Guards the borders of Murray Hill from Fifth Avenue

https://www.nypl.org/

This famous iconic building was designed by the firm of Carrere and Hastings in the Beaux-Arts style and opened its doors May 23, 1911. The founding for this important library came from patronage of the wealth members of society who believed in the value education and opened it to the people.

The famous lion statues that grace the entrance of the library were designed by American sculptor Edward Clark Potter and they were carved by the Piccirilli Brothers, American stone carvers whose business was based in the Bronx.

Edward Clark Potter is an American born artist who studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and at the Academie Julian in Paris where he studied ‘animalier’, animal sculpture.

Edward Clark Potter artist

Artist Edward Clark Potter

https://allfamous.org/people/edward-clark-potter-18571126.html

The Piccirilli Brothers were a family of stone carvers and artists in their own right who were from Massa, Italy and owned a business in the Bronx. There were responsible for many famous statues all over the City including the Maine Memorial in Columbus Circle and the Firemen’s Memorial in Riverside Park.

Artist Atillio Piccirilli

Artist Attilio Piccirillo , one of the most famous from the family

http://exquisites.org/exquisite-family/Piccirilli-Brothers-001.html

Another feature of the famous building and I had never noticed before was the elegant fountains that flank the entrance to the library. I did not realize that these fountains had just been restored in 2015 after thirty years of not functioning. They were restored with a grant from the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust (NYPL Site).

New York Public Library II

The fountain “Beauty”

New York Public Library III

The fountain “Truth”

These beautiful fountains were designed by artist Frederick MacMonnies, an American born artist who studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.

Frederick MacMonnies artist

Artist Frederick MacMonnies

https://americanart.si.edu/artist/frederick-macmonnies-3059

After having a snack at the tables in front of the library and throwing a few coins in the fountains for good luck, off I went to explore the borders of Murray Hill.

Enjoy the opening scene of “Ghostbusters” from 1984 shot at the NY Public Library:

Enjoy this scene from “Ghostbusters” from 1984 shot at the NY Public Library

Murray Hill is an interesting neighborhood with a fascinating past. The name “Murray Hill” comes from the Colonial Murray family, who were Quaker merchants and overseas traders. The family was presided by its patriarch, Robert Murray and his wife, Mary Lindley Murray, who raised a family in their home, Inclenberg, which is now the corner of Park Avenue and East 37th Street.

The Murray's home, Inclenberg

The Murray family mansion, Inclenberg, now the corner of Park Avenue and East 37th Street

https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/where-in-colonial-manhattan-was-inclenberg/

Mrs. Murray was credited with delaying General William Howe and his army during General Washington’s retreat from New York following the British landing at Kip’s Bay on September 15,1776. According to the family lore, Mrs. Murray invited the officers to tea, treating them to cakes and wine with singing and poetry readings by her daughters, allowing a successful retreat by the Americans to the other side of the island to meet up with another branch of troops (Wiki and American History).

Murray Hill Mansion V

Mrs. Murray entertaining the British troops and hastening the American retreat

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

The plaque were the spot the house stood sits prominently on the corner of Park Avenue and East 37th Street.

Murray Hill Mansion II

The plaque dedicated to Mary Lindley Murray’s patriotism

I started my trip in exploring the neighborhood walking down East 42nd Street, the northern most border of Murray Hill with the Midtown East and Turtle Bay neighborhoods. East 42nd Street is host to many famous architectural gems of Manhattan starting as you cross Fifth Avenue and head to Grand Central Terminal, the crown jewel of Murray Hill to the north of the neighborhood.

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal at 89 East 42nd Street

Grand Central Terminal

There are still many tourists around the building taking pictures but not like in pre-COVID-19 years where the place is crowds of people milling around. The look of the building is impressive inside and out. The building was designed by the team of Reed and Stem for the overall design and Warren and Wetmore for interior and exterior designs. The detailed sculptures on the exterior was created by the team of Jules Felix Coutan, Sylvain Salieres and Paul Cesar Helleu including the crown gem of sculpture “Glory of Commerce”.

Grand Central Terminal II

The “Glory of Commerce” sits proud above Park Avenue

Artist Jules-Felix Coutan was born in France and had studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. “The Glory of Commerce” was one of his most famous works.

Jules Coutan

Artist Jules-Felix Coutan

https://www.mutualart.com/Artist/Jules-Felix-Coutan/775AABEC87161551

I was not surprised that most of the buildings were now closed to touring. The Chrysler Building looked closed to walk ins, the Ford Building with its indoor gardens and small gallery was closed and walking around Grand Central Station was like an episode of the “Twilight Zone”. There were maybe hundred people milling around with some tourists taking pictures of the ceiling. The downstairs food court which was always nuts at lunch had about three restaurants open and a very bored police officer looking at either a book or a cell phone.

Grand Central Terminal Food Court

The Grand Central Terminal Food  Court is almost closed

Dining Concourse

The food court on the lower level usually bustling with people have lunch or snacks from the surrounding office buildings is down to about four or five open vendors and even they are no that busy. The only busy place in the food court was the public bathrooms as the few tourists in the City could not find a place to go. When I walked out of the food court to go back to 42nd Street, some guy looked at the famous Oyster Bar restaurant and said to me “I can’t believe this place is closed. It never closes.” The sign on the door of the restaurant said it was closing on March 16th by City order. It is amazing how time still stands still for parts of the City since the reopening. It’s the same in the subway system. There are still posters for things that say “March…”.

Grand Central Terminal IV COVID

The terminal is barely filled these days

Exiting the building’s main entrance, look up closely before you leave and you will see the sculpture of the railroad’s founder, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. I have missed this many times so you have to look on a angle for it. The statue used to sit at the Hudson River Freight Depot which has since been demolished (Wiki and Ernst Plassman bio).

Corne

The statue of Cornelius Vanderbilt the founder of the shipping and railroad empire

The statue was designed by artist Ernst Plassman a German born American artist who moved to New York in 1853. The artist studied under many famous artists in Europe before founding the “Plassman’s School of Art” in New York City in 1854.

Ernst Plassman

Artist Ernst Plassman

https://www.artprice.com/artist/197879/ernst-plassmann/biography

After leaving the surreal Grand Central Terminal with the empty main floor and quiet halls (I can’t wait to see what it looks like again when a vaccine is found), I walked out the main entrance towards East 42nd Street. Pershing Square across the street was busy with what office workers who work in the area and tourists filling the tables of the cafe that was open for business. People really like sitting outside and moving the concept of restaurants to outside dining has made it extremely popular in the nice weather for what restaurants can open under this concept. On a nice day, people don’t mind socially distancing in Murray Hill.

Across the street from Grand Central Station where the now closed Cipriani is the former headquarters of the Bowery Savings Bank. Don’t miss the beautiful details of the bank’s design. This became the new headquarters in 1920 in the move uptown from their former Stanford White designed headquarters in Chinatown. It was designed by York and Sawyer in the ‘Italian Romanesque Style’ with William Lewis Ayres as a partner in the project (Wiki).

Bowery Bank Headquarters Building 110 East 42nd Street

The former Bowery Savings Bank Building at 110 East 42nd Street

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/110_East_42nd_Street

Another very interesting building with amazing details is the Chanin Building at 122 East 42nd Street. The building was named after it’s developer Irwin S. Chanin. You have to look close and then across the street again to see its details. The building was developed between 1927-29 and was designed by Sloan & Robertson in the “Art Deco Style” with a brick and terra cotta frontage.

122 East 42nd Street Chanin Building

The Chanin Building at 122 East 42nd Street

122 East 42nd Street | The Chanin Building

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

I then passed the now closed to tourists Chrysler Building with it Art Deco design and interesting sculptures jutting out. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the building does not encourage people to enter who don’t work there. Still you can read about my earlier visits there last year when walking the Turtle Bay neighborhood.

Chrysler Building in Manhattan

The Chrysler Building at 405 Lexington Avenue

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/405-Lexington-Ave-New-York-NY/4401818/

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

The Chrysler Building was built in the ‘Art Deco’ style by architect William Van Alen for Walter Chrysler, the owner of the company. The building held the title of the “World’s Tallest Building” for 11 months until the completion of the Empire State Building. The building along with 40 Wall Street and the Empire State Building competed for the “Race to the Sky” in 1929 right before the Stock Market Crash of 1929. You really have to look up to see the details to the building and walk its lobby (closed to the public during the pandemic).

Soaring Details of the Chrysler Building

You have to look up high to see this

When the building is open don’t miss the ceiling in the lobby. It is really detailed and the security guards are really cool about letting you take pictures. In Post-COVID they do not want you to enter the building unless you work there. The work shows the ambitions and accomplishments of the business world (The Ornamentalist).

Chrysler Building Lobby

“Transport and Human Endeavor” by artist Edward Turnbull

As you walk down East 42nd Street towards the East River, you will pass The Daily News Building at 220 East 42nd Street. This interesting building was designed by architects Raymond Hood and John Mead Howells in the ‘Art Deco Style’ and built between 1928-1930 to house the Headquarters of the New York Daily News.

Their lobby was open when I was touring the Turtle Bay neighborhood (its now closed to the public) should not be missed with its interesting paintings on the walls and grillwork by the elevators all designed in the ‘Art Deco Style’.

Daily News Building at 220 East 42nd Street

The Daily News Building at 220 East 42nd Street

https://thenewsbuilding.buildingengines.com/

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

220 East 42nd Street Daily News Building

Going into their lobby (now closed Post-COVID) is really interesting to see the globe

The Ford Foundation Building is another interesting piece of architecture. The building was created by architects Kevin Roche and John Dinkleloo in the ‘Late Modernist Style”  and was completed in 1968.

Ford Foundation Building

The Ford Foundation Building at 320 East 43rd Street

https://www.fordfoundation.org/about/the-ford-foundation-center-for-social-justice/visitor-information/

It includes the most beautiful landscaped courtyard and gardens that are nice to sit in on a long day. The building is currently closed.

Fod Foundation Building

The courtyard at the Ford Foundation building is relaxing

It also contains the Ford Foundation Gallery that opened in March 2019 and offers art with a social justice emphasis.

Ford Foundation Gallery IV

The Ford Foundation Gallery has some interesting art

At the very end of East 42nd Street is Tudor City, one of the earliest examples of a planned middle class communities. Built on what was once a combination of manufacturing and residential area surrounding First Avenue and the East River, architect H. Douglas Ives created Tudor City, named after the ‘Tudor Style’ design of the buildings with gardens, paths, bay windows and arches that make up the details of the buildings. It opened in 1926.

Tudor City II

Tudor City is unique in its design

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

Its worth the trip up the stairs to the gardens and paths on both parts of the complex. Not part of the original plan of the complex, they were designed by landscape architect Sheffield A. Arnold designing the North Park (Wiki). These cool refuges from the hot sun are nice on a walk around the complex.

Tudor City Greens

The Tudor City Green spaces are nice on a hot day to relax

I also wanted to check out one of my favorite stores in Manhattan, Azalea & Oak, located at 5 Tudor Place but it was closed because of the COVID pandemic but open by appointment only or by internet. Don’t miss this unique children’s and accessory store. It has such interesting merchandise.

Azalea and Oak

Azalea & Oak at 5 Tudor City

When I finally passed all this creative architecture in the ‘open air museum’ of East 42nd Street I got to First Avenue where the United Nations complex is located to the left and Robert Moses Park to the right.

Ralph Bunche Park

Ralph Bunche Park

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/ralph-bunche-park

Before you cross the street, there is a Ralph Bunche Park & Garden, a small garden on the edge of the park named after the Nobel Prize winner, who played a role in many peacekeeping operations sponsored by the United Nations.

Ralph Bunche

Nobel Prize winner Diplomat Ralph Bunche

https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1950/bunche/biographical/

The gardens have gotten a little over grown since my last visit but still very colorful with flowers and plantings still crowding out all the weeds that are beginning to take over. Tucked in the park is a plaque to Bayard Rustin, a American leader of social movements  and who helped organize the ‘Freedom rides’  of the 1960’s (Wiki).

Bayard Rustin

Activist Bayard Rustin

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

Bayard Rustin Plaque

The Bayard Rustin Plaque in Ralph Bunche Park

As I crossed the street, I walked around the very sterile Robert Moses Park. For one of our great park system builders and who changed the highway system around New York City, they named one of the most unattractive parks after him. Though the man was far from perfect after reading the book “Power Broker” about his life, he changed the whole way New Yorkers lived. The park somewhat personifies him in the end of being sterile and aloof with the public.

Robert Moses

Robert Moses

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

Robert Moses Playground

The Robert Moses Playground is somewhat sterile and aloof

As I toured the parks the worst part is that the bathrooms here are closed to the public so I had to keep walking to find somewhere to go. The border of the East River with FDR Drive I would not suggest walking down. You will walk down a combination of First Avenue and FDR Drive until you get to the East River Esplanade at East 36th Street, then you get the cool breezes of the river and the beautiful views of the Brooklyn coast. Its nice on a hot day to sit back and enjoy the sunshine and cools breezes.

East River Esplanade

The East River Esplanade snakes from East 41st Street to East 34th Street

When I walked to East 34th Street, I came across another plaque that more to do with the history of Murray Hill, the Kips Bay (Keps Bay) landing of the British army to Manhattan. On September 15th, 1776,  the British landed their army here in an ambitious military landing in what the type was a deep water cover surrounded by a meadow. This lead to the retreat of the American militia to another part of the island  (Wiki). Today it is one of the boat landings for the New York ferry system and a start off point to walk the esplanade.

Kip's Bay landing by the British

The Kip’s Bay landing by the British on September 15th, 1776

I walked all along the esplanade, enjoying the views and watching people walk their dogs and jogging like nothing was happening around them. It also offers the most breathtaking views of the Brooklyn skyline that keeps changing.

I give New Yorkers credit for their resilience. There are some people who go about life like nothing is going on around them  but just doing it with a mask on. That does give me faith that things are getting somewhat back to normal.

When exiting the Esplanade and walking up the FDR extension, there is an interesting and very relaxing public square at 626 East 36th Street and FDR Drive next to the American Copper Buildings. It is a nice place to relax on the benches and just people come and go.

626 First Avenue Plaza

The little plaza by 626 First Avenue is a nice place to just sit and relax

I finally got to East 34th Street by the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital later that afternoon and was surprised to find such a playful piece of art just outside. “Spot” is a Dalmatian balancing a taxi on his nose is located just outside the Children’s Hospital’s doors. “I wanted to make something so astounding to distract to even those arriving with the most serious procedures” (Artist Bio) the artist was quoted as saying when the piece was unveiled. It sits four stories in front of the hospital. It is a very playful piece of art that stopped me in my tracks.

Dog balancing a taxi on his nose

“Spot” by artist Donald Lipski

Artist Donald Lipski is an American born artist who is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cranbrook Academy of Art. He is best known for his large scale works in public places (Artist’s Bio).

Donald Lipski artist

Artist Donald Lipski

http://www.donaldlipski.net/

I reached East 34th Street by lunch hour and I have to say for around a hospital there is a limited choice of take out places around the facility. Most of the restaurants in the area are still closed or have gone out of business. Even before the pandemic, some parts of the neighborhood are being knocked down for new construction and work continued as I visited taking down many of the smaller buildings that used to house small restaurants.

I had lunch at Pizza & Pita at 344 East 34th Street right across the street from the small park that faces the hospital. I just wanted a slice of pizza and when I walked in a fresh pie had just come out. The pizza looked as good as it tasted.

Pizza & Pita Pizzeria at 344 East 34th Street

Pizza & Pita at 344 East 34th Street

The sauce has an amazing rich flavor and the loaded with cheese for a gooey consistency. I was so impressed by the pizza that I went back later that afternoon for a Chicken Parmesan sandwich that was just as good. Two large freshly fried chicken cutlets loaded with their delicious sauce and loads of cheese on a fresh roll. It was heaven in every bite.

Pizza Town USA III

The pizza here is great!

I just relaxed and ate my lunch in the small public plaza across the street from the hospital and watched as the hospital staff came out from their frustrating days and ate their lunches beside me. It seemed to do them well.

While at lunch I admired another interesting art piece entitled “Stemmer” by New York City born American artist David Fried.

Stemmer

“Stemmer” at the plaza at East 34th Street and First Avenue

The artist grew up in New York City and attended the School of Art & Music and was accepted into the Arts Students League of New York. The “Stemmers” sculptures is one of his trademark pieces.

Artist David Fried

Artist David Fried

http://www.davidfried.com/

After lunch, I continued my walk down East 34th Street to the border of Murray Hill at Fifth Avenue. The neighborhood is very ‘old New York’ especially between First and Madison Avenues with the small buildings and high rises from the 1960’s and 70’s. The area is currently going through a make over with new buildings but it still has that “Woody Allen” feel of New York. Everything is not gleaming and new.

Tucked here and there by buildings and courtyards on East 34th Street is a bevy of interesting street art. The statue “Thinking Big” which was formally in Central Park South on Sixth Avenue last year has found a home in front of 222 East 34th Street.

Thinking Big

“Thinking Big” by artist Jim Rennet

Artist Jim Rennet

Artist Jim Rennert with one of his works

https://www.jimrennert.com/

Jim Rennert is an American born artist known for his large bronze sculptures depicting the everyday man. Mostly self-taught, his works are seen all over the country and really do make a statement.

Walking further down East 34th Street just outside a little courtyard of one of the apartment buildings is artist John Sewart Johnson’s II sculpture “The Right Light”, a bronze sculpture of an artist and his easel. The sculpture is located just outside a building between Third and Lexington Avenues.

The Right Light

‘The Right Light’ by artist John Sewart Johnson II

John Seward Johnson II artist

Artist John Seward Johnson II

https://www.groundsforsculpture.org/artists/j-seward-johnson/

Artist John Seward Johnson II was an American artist who attended the University of Maine and he is known for his ‘familiar man’ sculptures and icons paintings.

I reached Madison Avenue and walked past the grill work of another interesting office building. The Madison Belmont Building at 181 Madison Avenue was built in 1924 and designed by architects Warren & Wetmore in the Renaissance style with Art Deco details for the Cheney Brothers Silk Company.

Madison Belmont Building

“The Madison Belmont Building” at 181 Madison Avenue

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

Madison Belmont Building

Look up at the interesting grill work and details of the building

Reaching the border of Murray Hill to the south is the former B. Altman Department Store that closed in 1989 and in the other corner is the Empire State Building, once the tallest building in the world.

B. Altman & Co. II

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

As the shopping district left Sixth Avenue below 23rd Street, the former “Ladies Shopping Mile” (read my Victorian Christmas Blog on the shopping district) gave way to stores opening between 34th Street to 42nd Street and eventually to the Fifth Avenue locations between 50th and 60th Streets where what is left of the great stores stand today.

My blog on the Ladies Shopping Mile and a “Victorian Christmas”:

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

As I walked up Fifth Avenue, the western border of the neighborhood, I was struck by all the other beautiful buildings that must have housed fine retail stores as the shopping district moved to this area.

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/

Another standout building is 383 Fifth Avenue. These two interesting twin buildings were built in the mid-1800’s as private homes and then converted to office space in the 1890’s.

381-383 Fifth Avenue

381-383 Fifth Avenue

https://www.realtyhop.com/building/381-5th-avenue-new-york-ny-10016

Further up is the dazzling 373 Fifth Avenue which was built in 1800’s for the home of Charles H. Russell when the area was dominated by great mansions. As one by one the mansions were razed for commercial use, the home was razed in 1906 and architects Hunt & Hunt built the current office building in 1906 for  Joseph Fahys & Company and for silversmiths Alvin Manufacturing Company (Daytonian).

373 Fifth Avenue

373 Fifth Avenue-The Alvin Building

https://www.uhotelfifthavenue.com/

Walking further up Fifth Avenue into the 400 block, more unique buildings fascinated me. The first that has always caught my eye is 401 Fifth Avenue, the old Tiffany & Company building. The building was designed for the company by Stamford White of McKim, Mead & White and was completed in 1905. The building was used by the jewelry store until 1940 when it moved to its new location further up Fifth Avenue. The building was inspired by the Palazzo Grimani de San Luca in Venice, Italy (Wiki).

401 Fifth Avenue-The Tiffany Building

401 Fifth Avenue-The Tiffany Building

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

Another standout building further up is 411 Fifth Avenue with its interesting trim and sculpture along the sides and top of the building. This building was built in 1915 again by the architectural firm of Warren & Wetmore with what was considered baroque trim  that included urns, flowers and heads with facial reliefs (Daytonian). The building was used for small luxury manufacturing for things like millinery, lace and silversmiths. Today it is used as an office building.

411 Fifth Avenue

411 Fifth Avenue

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/411-Fifth-Ave-New-York-NY/18139464/

Approaching the New York Public Library again, I passed what were some of the great department stores along the Fifth Avenue retail corridor that once dominated between 34th and 42nd Streets.

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.

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

Another great retailer was at 452 Fifth Avenue, the former home to Knox Hat Company which 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 on 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 the library to relax by the fountains again 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.

I finished my day back at the tables in front of the New York Public Library and then back in Bryant Park to relax under a tree. God did it pour that afternoon as I made my  way around the streets surrounding Murray Hill. I did not realize not just the rich history of the neighborhood and its role in the Revolutionary War but the treasure trove of street art and unique buildings that line its avenues.

You really do learn something new every day!

Check out my other blogs on Murray Hill as well:

Walking the Avenues of Murray Hill on August 14th, 2020:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/14465

Walking the Streets of Murray Hill from September 4th-6th, 2020:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/14568

Don’t Miss my blogs on the Turtle Bay neighborhood just north as well:

Walking the Streets of Turtle Bay-Day One Hundred and Forty:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/9245

Walking the Borders of Turtle Bay-Day one Hundred and Thirty-Eight:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/9125

Places to Eat:

Pizza & Pita Halal Food

344 East 34th Street

New York, NY  10016

(212) 679-6161

https://www.pizzaandpita.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4727274-Reviews-Pizza_Pita-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Places to Visit:

New York Public Library

476 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY  10018

(917) 275-6975

https://www.nypl.org/locations/schwarzman

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d116236-Reviews-New_York_Public_Library-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Bryant Park

Between Fifth and Sixth Avenues on West 42nd and West 40th Streets

New York, NY  10018

Open: Sunday-Saturday 7:00am-9:00pm

https://bryantpark.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d136347-Reviews-Bryant_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Grand Central Terminal/Food Court

89 East 42nd Street

New York, NY  10017

(212) 464-8255 (tours)

Grand Central Terminal

Open: Sunday-Saturday During the hours of service 5:15am-2:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d103371-Reviews-Grand_Central_Terminal-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Ralph Bunche Park

First Avenue & East 42nd Street

New York, NY  10017

(212) 639-9675

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/ralph-bunche-park

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-1:00am

Public Plaza at 626 First Avenue

New York, NY 10016

https://americancopper.nyc/

East River Esplanade

This part of the Esplanade is at East 34th Street

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/east-river-esplanade_36-to-38

Robert Moses Playground

East 42nd Street & First Avenue

New York, NY 10016

(212) 639-9675

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/robert-moses-playground

Open: Sunday-Saturday 7:00am-6:00pm (please check website in Post-COVID times)

Ford Foundation Gallery at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice/Gardens

320 East 43rd Street

New York, NY  10017

(212) 573-5000

https://www.fordfoundation.org/about/the-ford-foundation-center-for-social-justice/ford-foundation-gallery/

Open:  Sunday Closed/Monday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm

Fee: Free to the public

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d615514-Reviews-Ford_Foundation_Building-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/visitingamuseum.com/2986

Places to Shop:

Azalea & Oak (Temporarily closed-please call their number for orders)

5 Tudor City

New York, NY  10017

(212) 922-0700

http://www.azaleaandoak.com

@azaleaoak

https://www.azaleaandoak.com/

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Saturday 11:00am-6:30pm

My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/265

I left the addresses and locations of the buildings and street art that I found in the full body of the blog. Remember don’t miss looking up and admiring the ‘open air’ museum that is free when walking on the sidewalks.