Category Archives: Exploring the Garment District

Starr Collective 135 West 28th Street New York, NY 10001

Don’t miss this unique shop in the middle of the Flower District.

The Starr Collective at 135 West 28th Street

Little Shop on Main Street

Starr Collective

135 West 28th Street

New York, NY 10001

(212) 518-1768

https://www.jstarrnyc.com

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

Starr Collective at 135 West 28th Street

I was recently walking around the Flower District when I came across a store in the middle of two flower shops. Their window display was very intriguing and I walked into the Starr Collective, a unique flower shop in its own right. The store specializes in preserving flowers in a special resin and these creative works of art are made by the family who runs the shop. They are made in the back of the store with their special machinery.

The inside of the Starr Collective

As I walked through the store I noticed all the beautiful and interesting works of art that were done with fresh and dried flowers. The owners daughter, who runs the front of the shop, explained to…

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Art & Design Gallery at FIT 227 West 27th Street New York City, NY 10001

Don’t miss this exciting new gallery of art featured at the Art & Design Gallery at FIT.

The new “Art & Design Gallery at FIT” offers revolving shows of contemporary art

Interesting artwork from Alumni, Faculty and Contributors from FIT

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

Art & Design Gallery at FIT

227 West 27th Street

New York City, NY 10001

(212) 217-4683/4570

https://www.fitnyc.edu/life-at-fit/campus/gallery/index.php

https://www.fitnyc.edu/academics/academic-divisions/art-and-design/index.php

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm

Admission: Free Donations Accepted

My review on TripAdvisor:

The entrance to the Art & Design Gallery at FIT at 227 West 27th Street

The exhibition space showcases the work of students, faculty, and distinguished alumni, as well as invited guest artists. This new gallery space is located at the entrance of the Pomerantz main building and the back room exhibition space. This features smallers theme shows and showcases the talents of the FIT professors, professionals and Alumni. The shows are constantly rotating offering a fresh approach to contemporary art.

The Current Exhibition:

Creative Industry:
The Alumni Journey
Lobby and Gallery

Diverse in medium, this exhibition spotlights the career trajectories of several illustrious FIT alumni, highlighting their innovations and interesting journeys through the creative industries. Co-curated by Troy Richards…

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Abracadabra NYC 19 West 21st Street New York, NY 10010

For things that go bump in the night, Abracadabra is the place for you!

The front of the store comes to life with all sorts of things that go bump in the night.

Little Shop on Main Street

Abracadabra NYC

19 West 21st Street

New York, NY 10010

(212) 627-5194

https://abracadabranyc.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AbracadabraNYC

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-7:00pm/Monday-Saturday 11:00am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d15010693-Reviews-Abracadabra_NYC-New_York_City_New_York.html

Abracadabra at 19 West 21st Stree

Abracadabra right before Halloween is an experience into itself

Ghosts and Ghouls greet you when you enter the store

Abracadabra is one of those stores that just stands out when you walk in. Every day is Halloween when you walk in the door and everything is there to shock and amaze you. It is a interesting blend of theater, imagination and creativity that makes the store come to life. Even the staff walk around in masks and costumes showing off the merchandise. Many I am sure are actors and artists using their own sense of style to show the costumes off.

Abracadabra is no ordinary store

There is no lack of interesting costumes to try on or accessories to match them…

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

Summer Fancy Food Show 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vinut Beverages

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

The Passion Fruit Drink by Vinut is wonderful

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

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

Smart Farmer Creator beverages by SFCBio

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

Pobble: Popping Bubble Tea

https://www.myinotea.com/

Inotea’s Pobble Popping Bubble Tea

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

Lorina Artisanal Lemonade Crafters

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

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

Chi Forest Iced Tea and Sparkling Water

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

Chi Forest Ice Teas

Chi Forest Sparkling Drinks

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

Hawaiian Iced Tea

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

https://www.innerlovefoods.com/wholesale

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

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

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

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

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

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

Del’s Dairy Farm

Del’s Packaged Ice Creams

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

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

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

The Gourmet Ice Cream sandwiches

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

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

Toybox Candies

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

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

Noshi for Kids Food Paint

https://noshiforkids.com/

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

The Fruit Pures at Noshi Food Paint

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rule Breaker Bites

https://www.rulebreakersnacks.com/

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

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

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

Honolulu Cookie Company

https://www.honolulucookie.com/

Honolulu Cookie Company products

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

Bisousweet Confections-Doughnut Muffins

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

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

Smiley Cookie.com

https://smileycookie.com/

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

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

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

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

https://www.weichuanusa.com/

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

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

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

https://www.gougerecheesepuffs.com/

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

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

https://holyperogy.info/

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

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

https://www.geefree.com/

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

Rosti Stuft Spuds recently changed their name to Crispy Inc.

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

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

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

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

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

Milton’s Craft Bakers Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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

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

Nuka Baklava were sampling several products at the show.

https://www.nukadistribution.com/

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

‘Su Borek’, Pastry with Cheese filling

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

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

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

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

https://www.hancockgourmetlobster.com/

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

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

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

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

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

Biens Chocolate Centerpieces

https://www.bienscc.com/

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

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

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

https://maefinefoods.com/

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

The chocolate bon bons look as good as they taste

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

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

Scamps Toffee and Sweets

https://www.scampstoffee.com/

The wonderful candies and toppings from Scamps Toffee

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

https://www.barofchocolates.com/

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

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

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

Karinat Frozen Fruits

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

Parfait Fine Delicacies Peanut Butter Cups

Riddle_UK

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

The Riddle Bars are amazing

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

https://sanderscandy.com/

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

The Dark Chocolate Sea Salt caramels are amazing

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

https://www.kravyfoods.com/

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

Kravy’s Cho-Mallows

Kravy’s Hazelnut Popperz

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

Kravy’s Falafel Bites

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

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

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

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

Home

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

These delightful sharp flavors are the perfect cocktail snack

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

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

Dragon Crisps that give a spicy sensation to your mouth

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

Vegan Rob’s Assorted Puffs delicious flavors

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

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

https://jodyspopcorn.com/

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

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

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

https://www.poptimesnacks.com/

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

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

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

http://snaxsationalbrands.com/

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

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

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

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

https://bellespopcorn.com/

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

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

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

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

https://popzup.com/

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

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

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

https://www.avaorganicsfoods.com/

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

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

John Wm. Macy’s Family Bakery

https://www.johnwmmacys.com/

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

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

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

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

‘Zestos’ Seasoned Tortilla Chips by Koeze Brands

https://koezebrands.com/

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

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

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

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

https://www.herrs.com/

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

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

Good Natured Vegables

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

Good Natured White Cheddar Puffs

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

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

1 in 6 Snacks

https://www.1in6snacks.com/

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

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

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

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

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

Blueberry Patch products

https://www.blackberrypatch.com/

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

The Bone Suckin Sauce

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

Bone Suckin’ Mustard

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

https://eathappykitchen.com/

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

Of all their sauces the Pink Crema Sauce really stood out

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

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

Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company

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

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

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

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

https://littlebigfarmfoods.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Nine Walking the Streets of Northern Chelsea/Flower District from West 27th to 24th Streets from Twelfth to Sixth Avenues June 10th, 2022 (revisited October 20th, 2022)

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

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

9th Avenue Grocery at 350 Ninth Avenue

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

The Breakfast menu at 9th Avenue Grocery (prices have changed)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cobblestone streets of West 27th Street off Twelve Avenue

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

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

“Untitled” by Ami Shamir (Hue Magazine)

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

Artist Ami Shamir

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

The Museum at FIT at 227 West 27th Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Eye of Fashion” by artist Robert Cornbach

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

Artist Robert Cornbach

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

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

109 West 27th Street (Loopnet.com)

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

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

On the walk back, you will start to notice this transition with all the empty ‘For Rent’ signs on the buildings. COVID really affected this part of the neighborhood and just accelerated the gentrification.

The Chelsea School PS 33 artwork on the school

Chelsea School Art

Chelsea School Artwork in the Garden

Just be sure that when you are walking back through Chelsea Park, it is at school time and not after dark. The park can get a little seedy at twilight. Also take time to look at the nice vegetable garden the kids at PS 33 planted behind the school. They did a good job.

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

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

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

art.org/jordan-betten

Jordan Betten artist

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

Video on artist Jordan Betten’s work

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

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

The Elliott-Chelsea Houses on Tenth Avenue

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

Senoria Pastelito at the Chelsea-Elliott Houses

Also, tucked into the side of the building is a beautiful flower garden where dozens a of red rose bushes were in bloom, and someone planted flower beds between the building and the sidewalk.

The Chelsea-Elliott Houses Gardens

The Chelsea-Elliott Houses Gardens

It just shows that there are people in public housing that really do care about their homes and take pride in its appearance. There is also interesting tile art on the side of one of the buildings that is really interesting. I was not sure what it meant though.

The tile art at the Chelsea-Elliott Houses

The tile art at the Chelsea-Elliott Houses

Changes in the neighborhood

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

https://www.wendyshow.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

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

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

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

Reviews on TripAdvisor:

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

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

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

The Jeff Dulleau Intergenerational Garden at 365 West 25th Street

http://jeffdulleagarden.blogspot.com/

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.theorchardtownhouse.com/

Reviews on TripAdvisor:

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

The courtyard of the Orchard Townhouse (Orchard Townhouse)

The courtyard of the Orchard Townhouse (Orchard Townhouse)

The House of Waris at the Old Orchard

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

Chelsea Historic District at West 24th Street

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

Chelsea Historic District at West 24th Street

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

New restaurant opening at West 24th Street

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

Fashion Industries High School at 225 West 24th Street

https://www.hsfi.nyc/

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

The New York City street art by artist Dirt Cobain on the side of The Corner Cafe at 729 Sixth Avenue (painted over December 2022)

Artist Dirt Cobian

https://www.dirtcobain.com/

https://ewkuks.com/dirt-cobain

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

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

This new piece of art appeared in 2022 by artist

The artist Wewer

I could not find any information on the Internet about the artist

This was painted right next to it by artist Lola Lovenotes

https://www.lovenotesnyc.com/press

Artist Lola Lovenotes is a self-taught graffiti artist from New York City who was heavily influenced by growing up in the Bronx. She also works as a teaching artist in Manhattan and the Bronx (Artist Bio).

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

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

Grand Sichuan Restaurant at 229 Ninth Avenue

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

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

The Orange Flavored Beef was wonderful

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

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

Just like the rest of Manhattan it just keeps morphing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to Eat:

Grand Sichuan Restaurant

229 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 620-5200

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

Places to Visit:

Hudson River Park

Extends from West 59th to Battery Park City

New York, NY 10011

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

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Eight Walking the Avenues of Northern Chelsea/Flower District from Eleventh to Seventh Avenues from West 28th to West 23rd Streets June 6th, 2022 (revisited October 20th, 2022)

The weather finally started to cooperate, and it was a beautiful day today. I started my day at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, helping pack a thousand bags of snacks to serve with the meals to our guests and then worked in Social Services helping people with their mail and getting them toiletries. Everyone had me running in the morning.

After lunch with the other volunteers, I set off to walk the Avenues of the Chelsea neighborhood and explore the neighborhood more in depth. Since I have been working for the Soup Kitchen all these years, I know most of the neighborhood from walking the streets in the past. In all the years that I worked at Macy’s and did my graduate work at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I knew the Sixth and Seventh Avenue areas quite well.

I have noted the changes many times to the Flower District which was much bigger and much different before all the apartment buildings went up along Sixth Avenue. There is a small section still left between Sixth and Seventh Avenues along West 28th Street. Even the Garment District has been shrinking with the rezoning of the neighborhood. New hotels and apartment complexes have replaced the commercial businesses of the neighborhood and with that changing the complexity of the neighborhood to a more residential area.

I started my walk strolling down Eleventh Avenue from the edge of the Hudson Yards neighborhood to the border of Chelsea at West 23rd Street. As I have said in previous blogs, everything between Twelveth and Eleventh Avenues is being knocked down and rebuilt as well as parks are being renovated. These city blocks are becoming the new ‘Gold Coast’ being so close to companies like Google’s New York City campus.

There has been a renaissance of the buildings along this part of the Hudson River. Old storage facilities and shipping buildings are being or have been renovated for office and hospitality use along with former garages becoming art galleries.

The first building that I passed was the Terminal Warehouse at 261 Eleventh Avenue. The Terminal was built in 1891 and designed by architect George Mallory. It has been used in the past as a train terminal and distribution center for the New York Central Railroad . In the 1980’s and early 90’s, it was used as the famous nightclub “Tunnel” and then use as self-storage facility. The Terminal Warehouse is now going through a multi-billion dollar renovation to convert the warehouse from a distribution center to a modern office complex (Columbia Property Trust/69th Street).

The Terminal Warehouse at 261 Eleventh Avenue

https://www.ll-holding.com/

https://columbia.reit/

When it is finished, the building will house multi-office space, retail and restaurants all while bordering the Hudson River and the Highline Park.

Next to the Terminal Warehouse is the Starrett-Leigh Building at 601 West 26th Street. This interesting complex was built in 1931 by architectural firm of Cory & Cory. It had been originally used as a freight transportation center. Since the creation of the Highline Park and the demand for office space in this area, it has been a leader in the creation of the Tech Center “Silicon Alley”.

The Starrett-Leigh Building at 601 West 26th Street

https://starrett-lehigh.com/

https://rxr.com/

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

The building was a partnership between the Starrett Corporation and the Leigh Valley Railroad when it was built. By 1944, the Leigh Valley Railroad had pulled operations out of the building and by 1966, the last of the rail lines were pulled out. The building is currently going through another major renovation to convert it into first class office space (RXR).

The desirability of working and living in this once shipping and rail area of the neighborhood keeps changing the complexity of area between the Hudson River, Twelveth and Eleventh Avenues. It is becoming the center of the tech and creative industries of New York City. As you walk up Eleventh Avenue, you will observe large buildings whose future might change.

Tenth Avenue starts the more residential part of Chelsea and where you can see the transition of the neighborhood from the old commercial area to an upscale residential place with new restaurants, galleries and shops.

As you walk down Tenth Avenue from the kids playing soccer on the fields of Chelsea Park, on one side of the Avenue is the combination of the Chelsea-Elliott Public Housing project and on the other side is the Avenues School, an innovative private school for kids all over New York City. This was the subject of an HBO Documentary “Class Divide”, on the changes of demographics and economics in New York City.

The documentary “Class Divide” by HBO

The Chelsea-Elliott Houses are located between West 25th and 27th Streets between Ninth and Tenth Avenues (but not the full block) and were designed by architect William Lescaze. They were the first houses to be designed in the high rise with a park concept (Wiki).

Chelsea-Elliott Houses between West 25th and 27th Streets off Tenth Avenue (Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelsea-Elliott_Houses

On the opposite side of Tenth Avenue sits the Avenues The World School, one of the most innovative and progressive new schools in New York City. Branches of the school have already opened in South America and China. They will also be opening branches in Miami and Silicon Valley.

An education at Avenues concentrates on a global outlook with courses being taught in English, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese starting in nursury school. The school believes in technology and a group approach to learning. It is also almost $40,000 a year (Avenues.com).

Avenues The World School at 259 Tenth Avenue

https://www.avenues.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avenues:_The_World_School

With these changes in education and in the whole makeup up of this part of the neighborhood, you can see why the documentary was made in its context. A whole section of society is advancing towards the future and another is being left behind.

I thought about all this as I passed the projects on my way back up Tenth Avenue from West 23rd Street, observing the kids who were going from Avenues into the playground at the Chelsea-Elliott Houses playground to play. The documentary really stuck home.

Tenth Avenue does have its contrasts on the other side of the avenue as well as from West 25th to 24th Streets still have the historical character of the old neighborhood with the old brownstones and townhouses on one side of the avenue. It just shows how Manhattan keeps reinventing itself and you can see this block by block in Manhattan.

Chelsea Historic District at West 24th Street

Ninth Avenue is where my start off point was from the entrance of Holy Apostles Church. What I did learn from walking the neighborhood was more about the history of The Church of the Holy Apostles. The Church of the Holy Apostles was built between 1845 to 1848 and was designed by architect Minard Lafever with the stained-glass windows designed by William Jay Bolton (Wiki).

The church has always been progressive, and it was rumored to be part of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. The church had been an extension of the Trinity Church downtown for the working-class people in the area. Now it also runs the second largest Soup Kitchen in the United States. The biggest is in San Franciso (Wiki).

The Church of the Holy Apostles at 296 Ninth Avenue feels like a second home to me

https://holyapostlesnyc.org/

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

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

What I never noticed in the almost 17 years that I have been volunteering at the Soup Kitchen was that it was a park. Chelsea Park is located across the street at the corner of Ninth Avenue and between West 28th and 27th Streets. I had always thought this was part of P.S. 33, the elementary school next door complex. There is a whole separate park behind that corner.

Chelsea Park during the summer months

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park/facilities/playgrounds

Chelsea Park extends all the way to Tenth Avenue with soccer and basketball courts and places for people to not just run but relax under the blanket of trees in the summer. Facing Ninth Avenue in a small courtyard is the statue of the ‘Chelsea Doughboy’.

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

“The Chelsea Doughboy” Memorial (NYCParks.org)

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park/monuments/232

The statute was designed to honor the war veterans of WWI. The term “Doughboy” no one is too sure where it originated. Some think from the fried dough dumplings that the soldiers eat or maybe from the way their uniforms looked which were a little baggy or from the dough clay that they used to clean their uniforms (NYCParks.org).

The statue was designed by artist Philip Martiny.

Artist Philip Martiny

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

Artist Philip Martiny was a French born American artist who settled in New York when he immigrated here in 1878. He was a contemporary of artist August Saint-Gaudens and known for his decorative styles in the Beaux-Arts fashion. He created many sculptures for buildings in New York City and Washington DC (Wiki).

As I continued my walk down Ninth Avenue, I could see that the Chelsea Prep School was out for a break and the kids were screaming and yelling all over the playground. I have to say that the playground could use some work and the amount of homeless guys hanging out around the kids I don’t think is the smartest thing as well.

The interesting paintings at the Chelsea School PS 33

When passing West 25th to 23rd Streets on the right side, you will see the fringes of the historic district mixed in with the commercial area with shops and restaurants. Really look up and admire the architecture of the old townhouses and apartment buildings before they start to disappear.

The West Chelsea Historic District

Eighth Avenue is an unusual mix of residential buildings with the Penn South complex on one side of avenue and the Fashion Institute of Technology campus on the other side. Penn South was built for the workers of the International Ladies Garment Union and were designed by architect Herman Jessor (Wiki). The buildings are surrounded by series of parks and paths.

Penn South at 334 West 24th Street

https://www.pennsouth.coop/

The rest of the block is a commercial district of stores and restaurants. There are a few standouts when you reach the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 23rd Street. What I love about Chelsea is that it is a treasure trove of reasonable restaurants that dot the street all the way to Sixth Avenue.

Right in the center of the avenue, across from the Fashion Institute of Technology at 335 Eighth Avenue is the McDonald’s. I spent many a afternoon and evening at both when I was attending school here and after Soup Kitchen when I did not want to eat the lunch. I still love their McDoubles and the breakfasts. Right next door is Taco Bandito at 325 Eighth Avenue for authentic and very cheap Mexican food (See my reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com).

Taco Bandito at 325 Eighth Avenue

Taco Bandito and McDonalds are right around the corner from The Fashion Institute of Technology at 325 and 355 Eighth Avenue respectively (McDonalds closed in January 2023).

https://www.tacobanditochelsea.com/

https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/location/ny/manhattan/335-8th-ave/3653.html

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

Lions & Tigers & Squares at 268 West 23rd Street

https://www.lionsandtigersandsquares.com/

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

The Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza here is just excellent

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

Lucky’s Famous Burgers at 264 West 23rd Street

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

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

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

Seventh Avenue is mostly commercial with a smattering of residential here and there above the businesses and some of the newer apartment buildings that are going up. The Garment District as I had mentioned in previous blogs has been slowly disappearing and being replaced by a combination of new office space and hotels.

In the years since I worked on Seventh Avenue, I have seen some major changes in the neighborhood with older commercial buildings coming down for new office space. Then there is the disappearance of the Flower District for new apartments and what is left is concentrated between Sixth and Seventh Avenues on West 28th Street.

Seventh Avenue’s businesses were also hit hard by the pandemic, especially surrounding the Fashion Insitute of Technology, which had stopped classes and went virtual by March of 2020. That affected all the restaurants around the college that had once catered to all the students and staff. During 2020 and most of 2021, the area was plaqued with graffitti filled buildings that stood empty for almost two years. Now with the college reopened, businesses have reopened in their place and things are started to look vibrant again.

The Fashion Institute of Technology is on Seventh Avenue between West 28th and 26th Streets and sits in the center of the Garment District. The college is part of the SUNY system of colleges of the State of New York and was founded in 1944. The Colleges emphasis is on Fashion, the Arts, Design and Business and been founded to serve the growing Garment Industry that once surrounded it (Wiki).

The Fashion Institute of Technology at 227 West 27th Street

https://www.fitnyc.edu/

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

“The Eye of Fashion” by artist Robert Cornbach

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

Artist Robert Cornbach

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

Located on the Fashion Institute of Technology campus is one of the most underrated college museums, the Museum of FIT at 227 West 27th Street located right inside the Shirley Goodman Building.

The Museum at FIT at 227 West 27th Street

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d548861-Reviews-The_Museum_at_FIT-New_York_City_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/483

The Museum at FIT (MFIT) was founded in 1969 and is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion. Best known for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions, the museum has a permanent collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the eighteenth century to the present, MFIT is a member of the American Alliance of Museums. Its mission is to educate and inspire diverse audiences with innovative exhibitions and programs that advance knowledge of fashion.

The museum’s current exhibition is ‘Dior + Balenciaga-Kings of Couture and their Legacies’, which studies both designers work after WWII at a time when people wanted luxury and elegance at the end of the war years. They also resurrected the French fashion scene after the war (The Museum at FIT).

The museum was founded in 1969 as a Design Lab and became a full museum in 1994. The museum shows are taken directly from the collection and from pieces borrowed.

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

After you pass the campus and continue walking south towards West 23rd Street, there are three wonderful restaurants side by side. All of them very reasonable and the food is delicious.

On the corner of Eighth Avenue are three restaurants I have noted many times in this blog for either their creative cooking or their cheap eats. These are real neighborhood restaurants. The first one being Chelsea Papaya at 171 West 23rd Street, which was the starting point when I had breakfast last summer when I started “The Great Saunter” walk on Father’s Day. The breakfasts here are just amazing. The pancake platter was out of this world and their breakfast sandwich Bacon Egg and Cheese was delicious.

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

https://www.chelseapapayany.com/

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

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

https://www.pizzagagamenu.com/

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

Excellent Dumpling House at 165 West 23rd Street

https://excellentdumpling.nyc/

On my way back up Seventh Avenue, I noticed the vibe that was returning to the area with students returning to the campus and workers to the offices and garment manufacturers back to the showrooms. This area looked like a graffiti ghost town for too long. There are still traces of it here and there but with all the scaffolding on Seventh Avenue I can see that something new will arise from the ashes.

Chelsea and its overlapping with both the ever shrinking Garment District and the ever growing Hudson Yards is bursting with new construction and new businesses ready for the next stage post-COVID.

Before I left the City that night, I took a quick walk up Ninth Avenue and stopped for a slice at Two Brothers Pizza at 542 Ninth Avenue. It is my ‘go-to’ spot on my way home when I want a quick snack. As usual, it was packed with people who like their ‘dollar’ slices as well.

Two Brothers Pizza at 542 Ninth Avenue

https://www.2brospizzanewyork.com/

Even now as I was eating my slice, I could see the changes with all the new hotels surrounding Port Authority that the neighborhood was changing and getting better. This is all within the last ten years.

It is going to be interesting to see what arises when the scaffolding comes down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to Visit:

The Museum at FIT on the Fashion Institute of Technology Campus

Seventh Avenue at 27th Street

New York, NY  10001-5992

(212) 217-4558

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

Hours: Tuesday-Friday-12:00pm-8:00pm/Saturday-10:00am-5:00pm/Closed Sunday-Monday and all legal holidays

Fee: Free

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d548861-Reviews-The_Museum_at_FIT-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/483

Places to Eat:

Taco Bandito

325 Eight Avenue (between 26th and 27th Streets in Chelsea)

New York, NY  10001

(212) 989-5518/5571/Fax: (212) 989-5537

http://www.tacobandito.com/

http://www.tacobanditochelsea.com

https://www.tacobanditochelsea.com/

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

Fast Free Delivery (minimum $8.00, minimum credit card charge $8.00)

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4966729-Reviews-Taco_Bandito-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/608

McDonald’s

335 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(929) 370-1174

https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/location/ny/manhattan/335-8th-ave/3653.html

Open: 24 Hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d3717041-Reviews-McDonald_s-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/541

Lucky’s Famous Burgers

370 West 52nd Street/264 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10019/10011

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

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor for West 52nd Street:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

Lions & Tigers & Squares

268 West 23rd Street

New York, NY  10011

(917) 271-6772

http://www.lionsandtigersandsquares.com

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com”

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

Chelsea Papaya

171 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 352-9060

https://www.chelseapapayany.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

Pizza Gaga

171 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 937-0358

https://www.pizzagagamenu.com/

https://www.pizzagagamanhattan.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

Excellent Dumpling House

165 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 989-8885

https://excellentdumpling.nyc/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

2 Brothers Pizza

542 9th Avenue

Between 39th & 40th Street

New York City, NY  10018

(212) 777-0600

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

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

Locations: They also have locations at 549 9th Avenue, 31 West 46th Street and 755 6th Avenue

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

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

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

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

Romeo & Bernadette at Theater 555 in Manhattan

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

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

Talking about the Production

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

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

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

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

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

The audience reaction to the show before its release

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

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

Author and Cornell Alumnus Mark Saltzman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things to Do:

Romeo & Bernadette

Theater 555

555 West 42nd Street

New York, NY 10036

(646) 410-2277

https://www.theater555.com/

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

Places to Eat:

2 Brothers Pizza

542 9th Avenue

Between 39th & 40th Street

New York City, NY  10018

(212) 777-0600

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

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

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

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

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

The Map of the “Hudson Yards”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

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

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

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

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/shop

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

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

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

Between One Manhattan and Two Manhattan West in the Hudson Yards complex between 389 and 395 Ninth Avenue is the Citrovia display. I was trying to figure out if this was a company display or an artist’s display. There were all sorts of lemons all in the trees and in the gardens. During the summer, these must be an amazing place to sit but between the snow and the winds that sunny day, I just walked through the display.

The Citrovia display at One Manhattan West on Ninth Avenue (Manhattan West Website)

Citrovia Landing

Citrovia is a fantastic outdoor interactive outdoor installation that transports the visitor to a sprawling citrus garden of whimsical displays, a sitting area with a lemon tree forest and I swear when you walk through the whole thing you can smell fresh lemon (Manhattan West website). It is almost like the ‘Land of Oz” or “Wonderland” with lemon trees and slices all over the place. It is a whimsical journey through the lemon display.

I walked through the Manhattan West complex, and it really dawned on me how the neighborhood has changed so much in the last decade. They took a run-down neighborhood and made it shine with modern buildings housing new tech companies and a series of restaurants, shops and hotels. It is a neighborhood onto itself.

Manhattan West complex (Manhattan West.com)

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

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

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

Elle Street Art explains her mural at the Hudson Yards

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

Artist Elle Street Art in front of her work

https://www.ellestreetart.com/

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

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

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

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

The Vessel at 20 Hudson Yards

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

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

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

Architect Thomas Heatherwick describing “The Vessel”

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

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

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

The Hudson River Railroad Plaque

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

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

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

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

The Shed at 545 West 30th Street

https://theshed.org/

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

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

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

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

https://theshed.org/about/building

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

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

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

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

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

Artist Kelsey Montague (artist website)

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

https://www.facebook.com/kelseymontagueart

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

https://kelseymontagueart.com/

The artist explains and shows her works:

What inspires the artist and her team:

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

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

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

Lucky’s Famous Burgers at 264 West 23rd Street

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

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

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

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

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

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

There will be more changes in the future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These will show you the constant changes in the neighborhood.

Places to Eat:

Lucky’s Famous Burgers

264 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 242-4900

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

http://www.luckysfamousburgers23rdst.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

Stick to my Pot Potstickers

224 West 35th Street

New York, NY 10001

(646) 822-2003

https://www.sticktomypot.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Places to Visit:

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

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

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/

S & A Gourmet Deli 240 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10011

Don’t miss the delicious sandwiches and meals at S & A Gourmet Deli in Chelsea.

The Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich on a hoagie should not be missed!

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

S & A Gourmet Deli

240 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10011

(646) 755-8822

Open: Sunday-Saturday Open 24 hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d23994792-r834392777-S_A_Gourmet_Deli-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

What I love about New York is that one every corner there seems to be a favorite bodega or deli that sells what you need when you need it. Some also just stand out for the quality of the food and the service and selection. S & A Gourmet Deli is one of those places.

A friend and I had just stopped in to buy sandwiches for lunch that we were going to enjoy a few blocks away in Madison Square Park. They had a large selection of sandwiches and wraps, and I decided on Chicken Cordon Bleu hero sandwich ($8.99) with a Coke ($1.99).

The sandwich contained a fresh fried chicken breast topped with Swiss cheese and ham and then broiled for a few minutes…

View original post 196 more words

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Eight Walking the Borders of lower Hudson Yards/West Chelsea from West 34th to West 28th Streets from Ninth to Twelve Avenues April 1st, 2022

Well, I finally returned to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen after an over two-year absence. The last time I had been there as you may have read from my blogs from 2020 was March 8th, 2020, the week before the country shut down before COVID hit New York City. These were the days when we were serving almost a seven hundred people a day (the numbers today are even higher) a hot sit-down meal. Now everything is to go.

I worked in Social Services, and I helped people with their mail, find clothes, get them hair cut vouchers and give them toiletries. They had me running all morning and I was pooped when I was finished. Still, it was nice to feel needed again and it was such a pleasure to see old familiar faces that I had not seen in two years.

When I started the walk of the lower Hudson Yards, I never thought of the neighborhood changes just on this border. You go from the Lower Garment District to Hudson Yards to Chelsea just in a block. The lines are getting blurred thanks to the real estate agents. This area was once solidly Chelsea now it is becoming part of Hudson Yards as the neighborhood is fast developing.

What I did learn from walking the neighborhood was more about the history of The Church of the Holy Apostles. The Church of the Holy Apostles was built between 1845 to 1848 and was designed by architect Minard Lafever with the stained-glass windows designed by William Jay Bolton (Wiki).

The church has always been progressive, and it was rumored to be part of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. The church had been an extension of the Trinity Church downtown for the working-class people in the area. Now it also runs the second largest Soup Kitchen in the United States. The biggest is in San Franciso (Wiki).

The Church of the Holy Apostles at 296 Ninth Avenue feels like a second home to me

https://holyapostlesnyc.org/

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

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

What I never noticed in the almost 17 years that I have been volunteering at the Soup Kitchen was that it was a park. Chelsea Park is located across the street at the corner of Ninth Avenue and between West 28th and 27th Streets. I had always thought this was part of P.S. 33, the elementary school next door complex. There is a whole separate park behind that corner.

Chelsea Park during the summer months

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park/facilities/playgrounds

Chelsea Park extends all the way to Tenth Avenue with soccer and basketball courts and places for people to not just run but relax under the blanket of trees in the summer. Facing Ninth Avenue in a small courtyard is the statue of the ‘Chelsea Doughboy’.

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

“The Chelsea Doughboy” Memorial (NYCParks.org)

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park/monuments/232

The statute was designed to honor the war veterans of WWI. The term “Doughboy” no one is too sure where it originated. Some think from the fried dough dumplings that the soldiers eat or maybe from the way their uniforms looked which were a little baggy or from the dough clay that they used to clean their uniforms (NYCParks.org).

The statue was designed by artist Philip Martiny.

Artist Philip Martiny

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

Artist Philip Martiny was a French born American artist who settled in New York when he immigrated here in 1878. He was a contemporary of artist August Saint-Gaudens and known for his decorative styles in the Beaux-Arts fashion. He created many sculptures for buildings in New York City and Washington DC (Wiki).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

520 West 28th

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artist Allen Wexler

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

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

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

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

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

I arrived back at Javits Center by the mid-afternoon. As I rounded West 34th Street at Twelve Avenue and passed the empty Javits Center in front of me like the mythical land of Oz was the Hudson Yards, a series of new office and apartment buildings including an upscale mall. It is just breathtaking when the sun hits all the buildings with its brilliance of the reflection of the sun. It also offers really nice public bathrooms that are open throughout the day.

West 34th Street is in the middle of major construction changes as the Hudson Yards complex spills over to almost Seventh Avenue now as old buildings from the Garment District and over the rail yards are being replaced by shiny new office and apartment complexes bringing in new businesses and residents into what was once a barren area after 5:00pm. The whole look of the neighborhood is changing.

The Hudson Yards development

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

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

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

One thing stuck out as I got to the edge of the park and that was a giant red apple with seating in it. What looks like an elaborate bus stop is a work of art done by artist Felix Marzell. It looks like a place to sit and relax while waiting for the next bus.

‘The Big Apple” by Artist Felix Marzell

https://www.nycgovparks.org/art/art928

Artist Felix Marzell

https://www.mutualart.com/Artist/Felix-Marzell/9B8CD95D13D0EA9F

Artist Felix Marzell

I was surprised that such a talented artist did not have much written about his early life or schooling, but I can see that he has moved around a lot and has many talents.

Please watch his video (in French) about Industrial Design

As you cross over West 34th Street where bridge covers the highway, there is an interesting piece of art entitled “Art by Ashley”, which is a colorful display on the cement barriers protecting the road. The work was done by New York based artist Ashley-Simone McKenzie. Her works spread to the barriers all around the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.

“Art by Ashley” by artist Ashely-Simone McKenzie

https://www.ashleysimone.art/

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

Watch her interview on this interesting piece of art

I admired the beauty if St. Michael Roman Catholic Church at 424 West 34th Street. I needed to relax and get some time in spiritually during the walk. Seeing all the problems that the City is facing at this time, I needed some time to reflex. It is such a beautiful church inside with the elegant pews and large pipe organ.

The church parish was founded in 1857 and the first building was built between 1861 and finished in 1868. It was destroyed by fire in 1892. A new structure was built but that was torn down in 1904 with the building of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The current structure was designed by architect Napoleon LeBrun & Sons in the Romanesque style using some of the previous buildings artistic details with stonework and the stain glass windows (Wiki).

https://stmichaelnyc.org/ (Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_St.Michael(34th_Street,_Manhattan)

Just after you past the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel on West 34th Street is the Webster Apartments, a residence that was created for women who were entering the retail industry. The apartments were created by Charles and Josiah Webster, who were cousins of Rowland Macy, who owned Macy’s Department store.

The apartment house opened in 1923, offering a room, three meals and other amenities that a young woman could need when entering the workforce. Outside the fact that the rates have risen over the years and the apartments updated, the concept has not changed and still caters to women making under $60,000 a year (Atlas Obscura).

The Webster Apartments at 419 West 34th Street

https://www.facebook.com/websterapts/

Walking down Ninth Avenue, you can see how the neighborhood is transiting from the former working-class neighborhood and docks to the upscale office and apartment buildings of the Hudson Yards to the west. Little by little the small brownstone buildings are disappearing and being replaced by shiny new glass structures.

Between One Manhattan and Two Manhattan West in the Hudson Yards complex between 389 and 395 Ninth Avenue is the Citrovia display. I was trying to figure out if this was a company display or an artist’s display. There were all sorts of lemons all in the trees and in the gardens. During the summer, these must be an amazing place to sit but between the snow and the winds that sunny day, I just walked through the display.

The Citrovia display at One Manhattan West on Ninth Avenue (Manhattan West Website)-Now Closed in 2022

Citrovia Landing

Citrovia is a fantastic outdoor interactive outdoor installation that transports the visitor to a sprawling citrus garden of whimsical displays, a sitting area with a lemon tree forest and I swear when you walk through the whole thing you can smell fresh lemon (Manhattan West website). It is almost like the ‘Land of Oz” or “Wonderland” with lemon trees and slices all over the place. It is a whimsical journey through the lemon display.

I walked through the Manhattan West complex, and it really dawned on me how the neighborhood has changed so much in the last decade. They took a run-down neighborhood and made it shine with modern buildings housing new tech companies and a series of restaurants, shops and hotels. It is a neighborhood onto itself.

Manhattan West complex (Manhattan West.com)

Across the street from the Manhattan West complex old meets new with the former NYC Post Office, which is now finishing its renovation and is now the Patrick Moynihan Train Station, The James A. Farley building.

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

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

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

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

James A. Farley

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

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

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a former politician and diplomat.

I arrived back at West 28th Street at Holy Apostles by the late afternoon. Everything was closed up for the evening. For the next trip soon. I am now going on my nineteenth-year volunteering at the Soup Kitchen and it’s nice to be part of something that is actually helping the homeless situation in New York City without pandering to everyone.

I had lunch in Chelsea at Lucky Burger at 264 West 23rd Street. I had visited their Hell’s Kitchen restaurant when walking that neighborhood and nothing was lost on the food at this location as well. It was an excellent lunch.

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

I had their Chicken Finger Lunch Special which consisted of a large bag of deep-fried chicken fingers, a bag of crinkle cut fries and a Boylan grape soda (See my reviews on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com and TripAdvisor). They give you so much food that I could barely finish it.

The portion size of the Chicken Fingers special is large

They must have given me about a pound of chicken that was nicely breaded and well fried served with a honey mustard and barbecue sauces. They also gave me about a pound of fries. I sweat the meal could have fed two people.

I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Madison Square Park and then back through familiar neighborhoods that I had visited before. It is amazing how things keep opening and closing in Manhattan.

I am more than halfway done now with the walk of the Island of Manhattan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These will show you the constant changes in the neighborhood.

Places to Eat:

Lucky Burgers

264 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 242-4900

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

http://www.luckysfamousburgers23rdst.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4345188-Reviews-Lucky_s_Famous_Burgers-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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