Category Archives: Exploring the Ladies Shopping Mile

Day Two Hundred and Forty-Four Walking the Avenues of the Flatiron District Broadway and Fifth Avenue from West/East 25th to West/East 20th Streets (and a trip to Chinatown) August 12th, 2022

The weather finally broke, and it has cooled down to a pleasant 87 degrees. Thank God because it was a nice day in the City walk around and visit the Flatiron District without sweating like crazy. The last few walks I have done in the neighborhood have been in the mid 90’s and that got to be too much.

I had spent the morning working in Social Services at the Soup Kitchen, helping people with things like getting clothes, writing out haircut vouchers and getting them toiletries. It is a lot of running around but the best part was that I really felt that I was helping people in need. The weather cooperated, and it was so nice to be outside enjoying the sunshine. It was a productive afternoon.

After I finished lunch, I was off to walk the Avenues of the Flatiron District. I have to admit that this has been one of the harder neighborhoods to research because there are so many amazing buildings to view, and the architecture is so detailed that it takes time to look up at all the ornamentation on the buildings. As I said in my previous blog on the borders of the neighborhood, these companies built these buildings to impress and last forever.

I started the walk at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue and West 25th Street at the General Worth Memorial, a distinct triangle park right across the street from Madison Square Park. This is the Memorial to and burial site of General William Jenkins Worth.

William Jenkins Worth was a native New Yorker (Hudson, NY) and decorated Army officer who had served our country in the Battles of 1812, The Second Seminole War and the Mexican American War. His series of campaigns shaped this Country to where it is today. He died working for the Department of Texas in 1849 (Wiki).

General William Jenkins Worth

Army General William Jenkins Worth

The General’s remains are buried under the monument at Worth Square at the corner of Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 24th and 25th Street. General Worth was interned here in November of 1857 on the anniversary of the British leaving the colonies (NYCParks.org).

Worth Monument

The Worth Monument between East 24th and East 25th Street at Broadway and Fifth Avenue

The Worth Monument was designed by artist James Goodwin Batterson, whose main profession was one of the founders of the Travelers Insurance Company in Hartford, CT and helped design the Library of Congress Building in Washington DC. He had immersed himself in his father’s quarrying and stone importing business early in his career and traveled extensively to Europe and Egypt for the job. He designed this monument in 1857 (Wiki).

James Batterson artist

Artist and Designer James Goodwin Batterson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_G._Batterson

Turning the corner at East 25th Street and Madison Avenue is Madison Square Park, named after our fourth President of the United States, James Madison. This well landscaped park is the gathering place of the residents of NoMAD and has a wonderful playground that has been busy the whole time I have spent in the neighborhood.

Madison Square Park is an interesting little oasis from all the traffic and office space. It has an interesting history since it was designated a public space in 1686 by British Royal Governor Thomas Dongan. It has served as a potter’s field, an arsenal and a home for delinquents. In 1847, the space was leveled, landscaped and enclosed as a park. It became part of the New York Park system in 1870. There are many historical figures featured in the park (NYCParks.org). The park today is a major meeting spot for residents and tourists alike with a dog track and the original Shake Shack restaurant.

Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park in the Spring when I was walking the length of Broadway

https://madisonsquarepark.org/

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

When I walked into the park to take a break, it must have been the busiest section of the neighborhood between the playground and the original Shake Shack that were serving food to a crowd clung to their cellphones.

Another sculpture that is in Madison Square Park is the statue of William Henry Stewart, the former Governor of New York State, US Senator and Secretary of State during the Civil War. He also negotiated the Alaskan Purchase in 1867.

William Henry Stewart statue

Governor William Henry Stewart statue in Madison Square Park

William H. Stewart

Governor William Henry Sewart, who negotiated the Alaskan Purchase “Sewart’s Folly”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Seward#:~:text=William%20Henry%20Seward%20(May%2016,as%20a%20United%20States%20Senator.

The statue was designed by artist Randolph Rogers an American born sculptor who studied in Italy. He was a Neoclassical artist known for his famous historical commissions.

Randolph Rogers artist

Artist Randolph Rogers

https://www.shsart.org/randolph-rogers

Madison Square Park is noted for its beautiful plantings, shaded paths and for being home to the first Shake Shack, a Danny Meyers restaurant and popular upscale fast-food restaurant.

Shake Shack Madison Square Park

The very first Shake Shack is in Madison Square Park

https://www.shakeshack.com/location/madison-square-park/

As you look down further on the square, you will see the Flatiron Building one of the most famous and most photographed buildings in New York City. The building was designed by Daniel Burnham as a Renaissance Palazzo with Beaux-Arts style. The original name for the building was the “Fuller Building” for the Company. The name “Flatiron” comes from a cast iron clothes iron from the turn of the last century. (Wiki)

Flatiron Building.jpg

The ‘Flatiron’ Building at 175 Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street

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

As you pass the Flatiron Building and continue the walk south between 23rd and 14th Streets, take a look up to admire the buildings that once help make up the “Ladies Shopping Mile”, once the most fashionable neighborhood after the Civil War for shopping, hotels and entertainment (See my blog in MywalkinManhattan.com “Walking the Ladies Shopping Mile”).

My Christmas Blog on “Victorian Christmas in New York City”: Day One Hundred and Twenty-Eight:

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

The buildings that line Broadway from the Flatiron Building until you get to Bowling Green Park at the tip of Manhattan are some of the most beautiful and detailed examples of Victorian architecture and were built between 1870 to about 1915. You really need to put the cellphone down and look up when walking south on both sides or you might miss the details of these buildings.

907 Broadway

907 Broadway-The Warren Building

https://www.cityrealty.com/nyc/bushwick/907-broadway/83372

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-1891-warren-building-nos-903-907.html

The Warren Building is another example of turn on the last century elegance. Designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White in 1896, the building was designed in the Neo-Renaissance style (Daytonian).

One of the most elegant buildings on this part of Broadway is the former “Lord & Taylor” building at 901 Broadway. The building was constructed for the department store in 1870 and was the main store until 1914. Really take time to look at the detail work of the store and step inside. The Mansard Roof is an amazing touch. In 2022, it is now a restaurant on the lower level.

Lord and Taylor Building.jpg

901 Broadway “Lord & Taylor” building from 1870-1914

https://streeteasy.com/building/former-lord-taylor-building

I walked back through Madison Square Park after my walk down Broadway and there were two small jazz concerts that were going on at opposite side of the park. Two three person combos were entertaining people by the fountain and near Shake Shack and on a sunny after there was a pretty big crowd enjoying the park and listening to the music.

Walking down Fifth Avenue was interesting on both sides as you will notice how ornate the buildings are as you travel from West 25th to West 20th Street leading me to believe how important of a shopping and business district this once must have been. Here and there from the Flatiron Building you can see all the elegant and ornate buildings that line the Avenue.

I started my walk south down Fifth Avenue and here and there you need to look up and admire the details of the buildings. On the corner of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street is 186 Fifth Avenue, which was built for the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1883.

186 Fifth Avenue-The Western Union Telegraph Company Building

https://www.cityrealty.com/nyc/flatiron-union-square/186-fifth-avenue/39081

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-1883-western-union-building-186.html

The building was designed by architect Henry J. Hardenberger in the Queen Anne style with its details being in brick and terra cotta (Daytonian in Manhattan). The building just finished a restoration, and you can see the details by the windows and dormers.

At 170 Fifth Avenue and West 22nd Street, you can see the beauty and elegance of the Beaux Art details of the former Sohmer Paino building. The building was built between 1897-88 and designed by architect Robert Maynicke for the owners of the Sohmer Piano Company for their showrooms and offices. The company was known for its introduction of the baby grand piano (Wiki/Daytonian in Manhattan).

170 Fifth Avenue-The Sohmer Piano Building

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

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/06/1898-sohmer-piano-co-building-170-fifth.html

At 166 Fifth Avenue, the building has almost a confectionary look of a wedding cake. This commercial building was constructed in 1900 by the architectural firm of the Parfitt Brothers in the Northern Rennaissance Revival style with all sorts of embellishments around the windows and doors with an elaborate roof design. In the beginning it housed art galleries and upscale retailers until the area became manufacturing at the turn of the last century. It has made a full swing again as a luxury retailer building on street level (Daytonian in Manhattan/Streeteasy/LoopNet.com).

166 Fifth Avenue

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/07/parfitt-brothers-no-166-fifth-avenue.html

https://streeteasy.com/building/166-5-avenue-new_york

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/166-Fifth-Ave-New-York-NY/25113417/

On the corner of West 21st Street and Fifth Avenue is 162 Fifth Avenue, another impressive building with interesting details. This office building was built in 1930 and is still used for commercial purposes.

162 Fifth Avenue and West 21st Street

https://streeteasy.com/building/162-5-avenue-new_york

https://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/united-states/properties/for-lease/retail/ny/new-york/162-fifth-avenue/s120974483s120974559-l

At the edge of the neighborhood standing guard in the Flatiron District is 156 Fifth Avenue, the Presbyterian Building. This building has an interesting past being built for the Presbyterian Church for offices for missionary work when the neighborhood housed many religious institutions (Daytonian in Manhattan/LoopNet.com).

156 Fifth Avenue and West 20th Street

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/02/presbyterian-building-156-fifth-avenue.html

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/156-Fifth-Ave-New-York-NY/14050649/

It was designed by architect James B. Baker in the French Gothic style, and you have to admire the roof for its unique details.

As I rounded the corner of the neighborhood at West 20th Street another building caught my eye at 150 Fifth Avenue, the former Methodist Book Concern. The building was built between 1888-90 and designed by architect Edward Hale Kendall in the Romanesque Revival style. It had originally held the offices, printing and a chapel for the church. This was the section of Fifth Avenue that housed many religious offices and headquarters (Wiki).

150 Fifth Avenue-The Methodist Book Concern

https://www.150fifthave.com/

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/02/methodist-book-concern-150-5th-avenue.html

Walking north back up Fifth Avenue is 141 Fifth Avenue another confection of architecture. This gorgeous building was built in 1897 by architect Robert Maynicke, who had also designed Sohmer Piano Building at 170 Fifth Avenue, in the Beaux Arts style for the Merchant Bank of New York (Flatironnomade.nyc/fsiarchitecture.com).

141 Fifth Avenue-The Merchants Bank of New York Building

http://www.fsi-architecture.com/building-renovations/141-fifth-avenue-new-york-ny

https://streeteasy.com/building/141-fifth-avenue-new_york

This impressive bank has recently been converted to luxury apartments with a current one sold at over three million dollars.

I made my way back up Fifth Avenue and admired all these buildings once again. Each has their own style and design and since the time of their construction continue to live on in different forms for various companies. Since many were built at the turn of the last century it also proved to me how well constructed and designed these buildings are and how desirable they are in the marketplace as you will not see this construction again. These were made to last and give this section of Manhattan its unique appearance and its own sense of character.

I found myself hungry again and took the subway back down to Chinatown to visit many of the takeout places and bakeries that were on my list to visit. I have been building up my blog, DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com and wanted to see how many of them had stayed open post pandemic. Many of these little ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants are going strong as Chinatown is continuing to come back to life.

My blog “DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/

I started my walk in Chinatown at China North Dumpling at 27A Essex Street across from Sewart Park for some fried dumplings and spring rolls. For ten large fried dumplings that were really juicy and well cooked, four spring rolls and a Coke it was $7.00. Everything was so well made, and you can watch from the counter the ladies making the fresh dumplings right in front of you. The place is real bare bones, but the food and the service are amazing. Try to eat at the counter and watch everything get prepared.

China North Dumpling at 27A Essex Street located in the Lower East Side

http://www.china-north-dumpling.com/

In needed something sweet after all the fried foods so I headed back to Yue Lai Bakery at 137 East Broadway to look for a baked pork bun. They had none left at that time of the day, but they were having a special on their baked goods three for $2.00 and I picked out a Coconut Bun, a Cream filled Bun and a Plain Bun.

They bagged it all up for me and I walked over to Sewart Park across the street and sat on the benches and ate them one by one. The Cream and Plain buns were really good and very sweet, and everything was so soft and well baked. I ended up sharing the Coconut Bun with the little birds in the park who surrounded me looking for a handout.

Yue Lai Bakery at 137 East Broadway

https://www.menupix.com/nyc/restaurants/250454930/Yue-Lai-Bakery-New-York-NY

After a nice rest in the park and enjoying the sunshine and watching families play with their kids, I found myself still hungry. So, I walked down Hester Street from the park and made my way to King Dumpling this time for some steamed Pork and Chive Dumplings. For ten dumplings and a Coke it was only $5.00. The Steamed Pork & Chive Dumplings were excellent and again were freshly made right in front of us. They are large and well-cooked and burst with juiciness when you bite into them.

King Dumpling at 74 Hester Street

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Chinese-Restaurant/King-Dumplings-358670851431724/

https://www.menupix.com/nyc/restaurants/31859492/King-Dumplings-New-York-NY

The place was packed with customers and people getting takeout. It is amazing to me how many people write about both King Dumpling and China North Dumpling and I had never really noticed them before. I saw them on a Fung Brothers “Cheap Chinatown Eats” video and then wanted to try them.

My last stop on the eating tour because even after twenty dumplings, four spring rolls, three pastries and three Cokes, I was still hungry and needed that baked pork bun. I found it at Happy Star Bakery at 160 East Broadway and it was just $1.75. Not the $3.50 in Midtown as I recently found at Dim Sum Sam in the Theater District. It was soft and chewy and filled with the most amazing, chopped pork and baked into a sweet dough. I barely made it out the door and I was finished with it.

Happy Star Bakery at 160 East Broadway

https://zmenu.com/happy-star-bakery-corp-new-york-online-menu/

After all the munching on snacks throughout the afternoon, I needed a good walk so I double backed and walked around the Twin Bridges section of the neighborhood walking down Henry, Madison, Rutgers and Clinton Streets around the public housing projects looking at all the small businesses that still catered to the people in the projects.

It is really a funny section of the City in that in-between the cut rate stores, and discount pizzerias are tiny gourmet restaurants, coffee bars and art galleries. It is really a case of extremes all over this section of the neighborhood and shows that both Twin Bridges and Chinatown south are going through a change in both residents and the businesses that cater to them.

With Little Italy slowly fading away (down to just four blocks now from forty at the turn of the last century), I can see the same changes happening in Chinatown as well. It is just another sign of Manhattan going through a metamorphosis.

It will be interesting to see what I will find when I reach this section of Manhattan in the near future.

Places to Eat:

China North Dumpling

27A Essex Street

New York, NY 10002

http://www.china-north-dumpling.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d7608410-Reviews-China_North_Dumpling-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Yue Lai Bakery

137 East Broadway

New York, NY 10002

(917) 257-2263

https://www.menupix.com/nyc/restaurants/250454930/Yue-Lai-Bakery-New-York-NY

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-7:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d24850332-Reviews-Yue_Lai_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

King Dumpling

74 Hester Street

New York, NY 10002

(917) 251-1249

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Chinese-Restaurant/King-Dumplings-358670851431724/

https://www.restaurantji.com/ny/new-york/king-dumpling-/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 9:00am-10:00pm/Friday 9:00am-9:00pm/Saturday 9:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d17726251-Reviews-King_Dumpling-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Happy Star Bakery

160 East Broadway

New York, NY 10002

(212) 608-8899

https://zmenu.com/happy-star-bakery-corp-new-york-online-menu/

Open: Sunday 6:30am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Places to Visit:

Madison Square Park

11 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10010

(212) 520-7600

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/madisonsquarepark/

https://madisonsquarepark.org/

https://www.facebook.com/madisonsquarepark

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d501513-Reviews-Madison_Square_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

Sewart Park

Canal and Essex Streets

New York, NY 10002

(212) 639-9675

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

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

Open: Sunday-Saturday 7:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

Day Two Hundred and Forty-Two Walking the Borders of the Flatiron District from Sixth Avenue to Park Avenue South/Lexington Avenue at East 23rd Street from West/East 25th to West/East 20th Streets July 5th, 2022

There are some neighborhoods in Manhattan that just stand out for their access to parks or to the rivers and others are loaded with historic value who architecture had not changed over the years.

The Flatiron District which was once served as the old Midtown between the Civil War and World War One and “The Ladies Shopping Mile”, where women could shop and engage with one another without a chaperon on Avenues and Streets lined with Department stores, restaurants, movie theaters, tea houses and specialty stores catering to their needs. When you look up at the grand buildings of the district with their large windows and their Beaux-Art designs and decorations, you can see that their purpose was to impress the customers.

I had toured the area around Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street three years earlier for a tour of a “New York Victorian Christmas” and you can see by the architecture that these buildings were meant to last.

These Grand Department Store buildings are the ghosts of their former selves with a shopping district that left them behind and names that have been out of business for over a hundred years (with the exception of B. Altman & Company which closed in 1990). You can still see the beauty and gracefulness that is carved into the stone of these buildings and in some cases still show the name or the initial of the original store owner.

Day One Hundred and Twenty-Eight: ‘Victorian Christmas Tour’

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

As I started my walk on the borders of the Flatiron District at West 25th Street and Sixth Avenue, there was not much to see as it was all new construction. The one thing that I did notice from my last walk in the neighborhood is that the colorful street art piece by was tagged over. It was on 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.

The New York City Street art by artist Dirt Cobain on the side of The Corner Cafe at 729 Sixth Avenue

Artist Dirt Cobian

https://www.dirtcobain.com/

https://ewkuks.com/dirt-cobain

Artist Dirt Cobian is an American born artist who 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.

The colorful piece of street art was painted over by another tagger who did not do the painting justice. That and the fact that the Corner Cafe had closed its doors for business since I walked the northern part of the Chelsea neighborhood in June and now sat empty. It was when you reached West 23rd Street when the true gems of architecture began.

I remembered what the tour guide said this had once been the first real shopping district when shopping was acceptable for the middle to upper middle-class woman to shop and socialize unchaperoned. These were the days before malls when shopping was an experience and not something to be rushed.

You could see it in the size of the buildings that housed everything you needed for your household from furniture and clothing to wines and fine gourmet food. They had something for everyone. I could have only imagined what it must have been like and to go back in time to experience those times.

The shopping district stretched from the border of West 23rd Street to the border of West 14th along the Sixth Avenue corridor from the old shopping district to the new one. Even today when you walk that area of West 14th Street, you can still see traces of the old shopping district in the elaborate buildings that are left that line the street. As I walked the back-and-forth length of Sixth Avenue, I admired the buildings that still line it.

I walked south first down Sixth Avenue so that I could really see the stores for myself on one side and then walked past the storefronts on my way back up. What were once Upper Middle Class clothing emporiums are today ‘Big Box’ stores still catering to the retail trade just in another form on the bottom and offices to the top.

Th shopping district border with the Flatiron District starts at the Simpson-Crawford Department Store at 641 Sixth Avenue between West 19th and 20th Streets, which once catered to the wealthy elite of Manhattan and beyond. The store was established in 1878 by Richard Meares and William Crawford as Richard Meares & Company. Meares left the firm a year later and William Crawford then partnered with Thomas and James Simpson to create Simpson, Crawford and Simpson. When Thomas Simpson died in 1885, the store became known as Simpson-Crawford (Daytonian in Manhattan).

Simpson-Crawford Department Store.jpg

Simpson-Crawford Store today at Sixth Avenue between West 19th and 20th Streets

http://wikimapia.org/16891212/Simpson-Crawford-Simpson-Building

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/12/exclusive-1902-simpson-crawford-dept.html

When James Simpson died in 1894, William Crawford became the sole owner and in 1899 with the rise of the great stores on Sixth Avenue, Crawford designed a new store of marble designed by William H. Hume & Son. The exterior of the store shined with polished marble and granite (Daytonian in Manhattan & the tour guide).

The store had many innovations at the time. It had the first escalator in the city, the first display windows with mannequins and large display windows that had to be created for the store. The store was stocked with the finest imported clothes, furs and laces and on the top floor was a restaurant that catered to 1200 guests (Daytonian in Manhattan & the tour guide).

Before the store opened, William Crawford retired and sold the store to Henry Siegel across the street who kept the tradition of the store going. When Siegel-Cooper Company collapsed in 1914, Simpson-Crawford was kept closed for three weeks and then reopened. Both stores closed one year later, and the store was converted to mail order warehouse. Today it holds various stores (Daytonian in Manhattan).

Our next stop was in front of Hugh O’Neill’s Dry Goods Store at 655 Sixth Avenue between West 20th and 21st Streets. It was built by the firm of Mortimer C. Merritt in the neo-Greco style who built the four stages of the building between 1887-1890 (Wiki & the tour guide).

Hugh O'Neill II.jpg

The Hugh O’Neill Store when it opened in 1890

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Neill_Building

Hugh O’Neill had started a small dry goods business right after the Civil War in 1865 with a small store around Union Square. In 1870, he decided to build a trade on the middle market customer and offered discounts on goods. The four floors of merchandise contained laces, ribbons, clocks and on the upper floors women’s and children’s clothing (Wiki).

When O’Neill died in 1902, the shopping area had just begun its decline and in 1906 it merged with Adams Dry Goods up the block.  A year later they both went out of business as the area gave way to manufacturing. The building today has been converted into condos.

Hugh O'Neill.jpg

The Hugh O’Neill store today

Next door to it we looked at and discussed was the former Adams Dry Goods Store at 675 Sixth Avenue between West 21st and 22nd Street.

Samuel Adams, a merchant who had been selling upscale clothing and furnishing to customers in the area decided to open a store on Sixth Avenue. He used the architectural firm of DeLemos & Cordes, who had designed the Seigel-Cooper Department Store and the six-story building opened in 1902. The store was the first in New York City to use the new Pneumatic tubes to transport money and messages throughout the store (Wiki).

Adams Dry Goods Store II.jpg

Adam’s Dry Goods Store when it opened in 1902

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2010/10/1900-adams-co-building-675-sixth-avenue.html

http://wikimapia.org/16882716/Adams-Dry-Goods-Store-Building

The problem with the store was its location. He built the store at the very edge of the neighborhood as the business changed. As the shopping area started to decline in the early 1900’s, Adams sold the store to Hugh O’Neill Dry Goods Store and they merged the two companies together, converting three floors of the Adams Dry Goods store to furniture. This concept was not popular as well and the businesses failed, and the store closed in 1913 (Wiki & the tour guide).

Adams Dry Goods Store.jpg

Adams Dry Goods Store today at Sixth Avenue between West 21st and 22nd Streets

The store has gone through a manufacturing stage and in the 80’s became part of the change to large box retailing. The building now houses eBay and several stores including Trader Joe’s and Michael’s. As we could see on the tour, the old department stores are finding new life in retailing.

Between West 22nd and West 23rd Streets located between the old Adams Dry Goods and next to the former Macy’s store was Ehrich Brothers Department Store at 701 Broadway. The building was constructed in 1889 by architect William Schickel & Company with additions by Buchman & Deisler and Buchman & Fox in 1889 (Wiki).

Ehrich Brothers Department Store building at 701 Sixth Avenue (Wiki)

http://wikimapia.org/8876315/Ehrich-Brothers-Co-Department-Store-Building

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/06/1889-ehrich-brothers-dry-goods-store.html

Another addition was added by Taylor & Levi in 1911 when the store was leased to J.L. Kesner. They added the terra cotta “K”s that can still be seen from the top of the storefront. The store folded in 1913 and then was used for manufacturing and offices as the shopping district moved to 34th Street and the Fifth Avenue area (Wiki).

At the corner of the neighborhood on Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street at 100 West 23rd Street is the second Macy’s Department Store building. This was on the very edge of the Ladies Shopping Mile that once stretched along Sixth Avenue.

The building was built in 1871 and you can see all the elaborate embellishments on it with interesting stone carvings and elegant window design and some wrought iron details on different parts of the building. It was the last location of the store before it moved to its current location at 151 West 34th Street.

100 West 23rd Street (Renthop.com) is an old Macy’s

https://www.renthop.com/building/100-west-23rd-street-new-york-ny-10011

At the edge of the shopping district on the corner of West 20th Street and Sixth Avenue is the old Church of the Holy Communion, which recently housed the Limelight Night Club and now the Limelight Shops at 47 West 20th Street.

The former Church of the Holy Communion at 47 West 20th Street (now the Limelight Shops)

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

The church was designed by architect Richard Upjohn and was built between 1844-45 and was consecrated in 1846. It was designed in the ‘Gothic Revival’ style and according to the church’s founder, Reverend William Muhlenberg “was the true architectural expression of Christianity” (Wiki). The church closed in 1975 due to declining membership. It had many uses until 1983 when it opened as the Limelight Nightclub. Today it houses the Limelight shops.

As I turned the corner onto West 20th Street, there was a lot of commotion across the street and there were police cars everywhere. I did not see what exactly happened, but it made me walk faster down West 20th Street.

West 20th Street is officially the southern border of the Flatiron District, but I have found that the district overlaps with NoMad, Rose Hill, Kips Bay and Chelsea so much of the neighborhood has two or sometimes three community names. The borders begin to blur here. You can see though that this was once a very important business district with buildings that were designed with distinction.

I was admiring 27 West 20th Street on my walk down West 20th Street to Park Avenue South. This detailed twelve story office building was built in 1908 and now offers loft style offices. the details of the building include elaborate stonework both around the doorways and lower windows and the top floors.

27 West 20th Street was built in 1913

What I liked about the side streets as well as the avenues as I walked the neighborhood was that it kept its character and that these buildings had not been knocked down for the modern skyscraper. They were finding new use like the buildings in Midtown South and in NoMAD and become very desirable.

There was true beauty in the details of 20 West 20th Street that was built in 1906. The Beaux Art style details around the windows and doors accent the elegant building.

20 West 20th Street

https://www.squarefoot.com/building/ny/new-york/20-west-20th-street

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/20-W-20th-St-New-York-NY/17521377/

This is also the details you see in the office building of 10 West 20th Street built in 1903 with Beaux Art style details along the lower windows and doors and the upper floors of the building.

10 West 20th Street

https://www.emporis.com/buildings/151673/10-west-20th-street-new-york-city-ny-usa

I passed 156 Fifth Avenue as I crossed the border from west to east in this part of the neighborhood and admired it for its detailed stonework carving and unusual styled roof. The Presbyterian Building was built in 1893 and was designed by architect James B. Baker and was designed in the French Gothic style. It was to be used by the Presbyterian Church as their base for domestic and foreign missions and used as office space. The Panic of 1893 changed that, and they had to lease the space out (Daytonian in Manhattan).

156 Fifth Avenue

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/156-Fifth-Ave-New-York-NY/14050649/

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/02/presbyterian-building-156-fifth-avenue.html

I reached Broadway and to what was once heart of the elegant shopping district of the old Midtown Manhattan before it moved up to the 34th Street area at the turn of the 20th Century. At 901 Broadway at East 20th Street is the old Lord & Taylor Building before its final move to Fifth Avenue in 1915 (they closed in 2020).

901 Broadway at West 20th Street-The Lord & Taylor Building

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

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2010/04/surviving-sliver-of-old-lord-taylor.html

https://streeteasy.com/building/former-lord-taylor-building

The building was designed by New York architect James H. Giles and was designed in the innovative cast iron style of the time that resembled stone. After the store closed in 1915 when it moved business uptown, the Broadway side of the store was resurfaced in stone which is why only a sliver of the old store design is intact (Daytonian in Manhattan/New York Public Library).

The original look of the Lord & Taylor Store at 901 Broadway (New York Public Library)

Across the street from the old Lord & Taylor Building is 903 Broadway, the former Warren Building. It was designed in 1891 by Stamford White for the Goelet family for their new commercial holding company. The Goelet family had owned all the land around this area and as it moved from residential to commercial, the family developed the neighborhood around them. The building was named after Robert Goelet’s wife, Harriette Louise Warren (Daytonian in Manhattan).

903 Broadway at West 20th Street-The Warren Building

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-1891-warren-building-nos-903-907.html

https://www.commercialcafe.com/commercial-property/us/ny/new-york/903-911-broadway/

Moving further down East 20th Street is the recreation of the childhood home of Theodore Roosevelt and the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Museum at 28 East 20th Street.

28 East 20th Street-Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Museum

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

The museum is currently closed for renovations, but you are able to admire the house from the outside and the grounds. I found out that this was not the original house of the president but on the grounds where it once stood. The family moved out as the area became more commercial to East 57th Street and the home was knocked down for a retail establishment. After the President died, the house was rebuilt on the same spot by family members, and they recreated the home from memory. It will be open to the public in the future.

The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Museum at 28 East 20th Street

https://www.nps.gov/thrb/

The small gardens outside the house were in full greenery when I visited.

Towards the corner of East 20th Street and Park Avenue South near the border of the neighborhood is 42 East 20th Street, the current home of the Gramercy Tavern, The Bullmoose building. This loft style store building was built between 1898-1899 and was designed by architects Neville & Bagge. The building was converted into lofts and the restaurant below.

42 East 20th Street-The Bullmoose

https://streeteasy.com/building/the-bullmoose

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2015/01/neville-bagges-nos-42-48-east-20th.html

Turning the corner to Park Avenue South, you can see Gramercy Park in the distance which shares it border with the Flatiron District. This is where the lines get blurred between the Flatiron District and Gramercy Park, which share the same border.

As you walk up Park Avenue South, the first building that makes an impression is 251 Park Avenue South. This elegant office building with its large display windows and clean lines shows of the store inside. The office building was built in 1910 and has large windows both on the ground level and towards the top of building.

251 Park Avenue South

https://moovitapp.com/index/en/public_transit-251_Park_Avenue_South-NYCNJ-site_22867315-121

One building that does standout from the others on Park Avenue South is the Calvery Church at 277 Park Avenue. The church was established in 1832 and moved to its current location in 1842. The current church was designed in the Gothic Revival style by James Renwick Jr., who designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

277 Park Avenue South-Church of the Calvery

https://www.calvarystgeorges.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvary-St._George%27s_Parish

Another interesting building, I looked up and admired while walking up Park Avenue South was 281 Park Avenue South, the former Church Mission House. The building was designed by architects Robert W. Gibson and Edward J. Neville in the Medieval style and was built between 1892 and 1894. It was built for the Episcopal Church’s Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (Wiki). It now houses the photography museum The Fotografista Museum.

281 Park Avenue South-The Fotografiska Museum (The Church Mission House)

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

https://www.fotografiska.com/nyc/

Another impressive building, I passed before East 23rd Street is 105 East 22nd Street the former United Charities Building. This is the final building in what was once known as “Charity Row” (Wiki). The building was designed by architect R. H. Robertson and the firm of Rowe & Baker. It was built by John Stewart Kennedy in 1893 for the ‘Charity Organization Society’ (Wiki).

105 East 22nd Street-United Charities Building

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

When you turn the corner down East 23rd Street, you are heading back up to the border that the Flatiron District shares with the Kips Bay, Rose Hill and NoMAD neighborhoods. I had walked these district two years earlier when I explored these neighborhoods. I walked north first to the Infantry Regiment building and then walked south again to East 23rd Street to see if there were any changes. With the exception of DiDi Dumpling moving to 34 Lexington from 38 Lexington, it looked pretty much the same.

I walked to the front of the 69th Regiment Building at 68th Lexington Avenue. The scaffolding was finally down, and you could see the whole building now. This beautiful building is the home to the New York Army National Guard’s 69th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Fighting Irish” since the Civil War (Wiki).

69

69th Regiment Building at 68 Lexington Avenue

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/69th_Regiment_Armory

The building was designed by architects Hunt & Hunt in the Beaux Arts style and was completed in 1906. It has been home to many events and show including the controversial 1913 Armory Show of contemporary art (Wiki). You really have to walk around the building to admire its beauty and history.

Just across the street is another beautiful building covered with snakes, skulls and dragons carved along the side of it at 130 East 25th Street.

130 East 25th Stree

Someone had a warped sense of humor

The former B. W. Mayer Building which now houses the Friends House in Rosehall was built in 1916 by architect Herman Lee Meader (Wiki). You really have to walk around the building to see all the unusual carvings that line the building.

130 East 25th Street

130 East 25th Street, the former B. W. Mayer Building

https://www.realtyhop.com/building/130-east-25th-street-new-york-ny-10010

130

The doorway arch really stands out

The street art is also interesting on this part of Lexington Avenue. One the corner of East 24th Street & Lexington Avenue is the Friends House New York, a housing unit. Painted on the wall is a very unique painting by Italian street artist, Jacopo Ceccarelli.

Jacopo Ceccarelli

Painting by artist Jacopo Ceccarelli

Jacopo Ceccarelli

The mural is on the corner of East 24th & Lexington Avenue-The St. Francis Residence Building

https://stfrancisfriends.org/

Jacopo Ceccarelli

Artist Jacopo Ceccarelli

http://doartfoundation.org/index.html@p=3375.html

The Milan born street artist, who goes by the name “Never 2501” hones his skills after moving to San Paolo, painting murals with an edge that got global recognition. He uses geometric forms in his work with circles and lines creating the abstract (Do Art Foundation).

I was getting hungry again with all this criss crossing across Lexington Avenue and I had two choices for a snack, DiDi Dumpling at 38 Lexington Avenue or Pick & Pay Pizza at 30 Lexington Avenue both having reasonable snacks. Since I would be stopping for Dim Sum later that afternoon, I chose the pizza. For a $1.25 a slice, the pizza was not bad in this tiny little hole in the wall that also served Indian food as well. The sauce had a lot of flavor and that is what makes the pizza.

Pick & Pay Pizza

Pick & Pay Pizza at 30 Lexington Avenue

http://picknpaypizza.com/

DiDi Dumpling

DiDi Dumpling at 34 Lexington Avenue (formerly 38 Lexington on the corner)

https://www.dididumplingny.com/menu

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Fast-food-restaurant/DiDi-Dumpling-451227748598302/

I noticed on the wall right near the doorway near the Starbucks was another wall mural “Urban Ocean” by artist Yuki Abe that is off to the side of the building on the corner of Lexington & 25th, Look at the interesting color and design of the work.

Surrounding this area of Lexington & 25th Street starts the campus of Baruch College which is part of the SUNY system, and I could see students who were taking live classes walking around enjoying the day. I am sure it is much different when classes were in full swing, and the students were hanging around the restaurants and coffee shops in the area.

The Baruch College Student Plaza at East 25th Street is a nice place to relax

https://www.alumni.baruch.cuny.edu/bcf/givingopps/plazaupdates

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dep/news/21-037/city-baruch-college-elected-officials-celebrate-opening-the-clivner-field-plaza

Another building that stands out in its beauty and design is on the corner of the neighborhood on Lexington Avenue between 24th and 23rd Streets, the Freehand Hotel at 23 Lexington Avenue. The hotel was originally built as the Hotel George Washington in 1928 and designed by architect Frank Mills Andrews in the French Renaissance style.

Freehand Hotel

The Freehand Hotel (the former George Washington Hotel) at 23 Lexington Avenue

While still a apartment building and a dorm in the 1990’s, several famous New Yorkers lived at the hotel including artist Keith Haring and musician Dee Dee Ramone. Playwright Jeffery Stanley also lived at the hotel for a period of time.

Freeland Hotel

The entrance to the Freehand Hotel is very elegant

After the north south trip around the boundaries of Lexington Avenue, I turned at East 25th Street to head back to Sixth Avenue. The border of the Flatiron District is also part of the Rose Hill and NoMAD neighborhoods and shares the border with Kips Bay.

Walking down East 25th Street, you realize as you start to border the Midtown area that the buildings take up more of the blocks and there are less smaller brownstones and tenements in the area. The dominate building on the block by Madison Square Park is 11-25 Madison Avenue, the Metropolitan Life Buildings. The building that lines this part of East 25th Street is the Metropolitan Life North Building (or 11 Madison Avenue).

Metropolitan Life Building

Metropolitan Life North Building at 25 Madison Avenue

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

This beautiful building was the extension of the main headquarters next door on Madison Avenue. The building was designed by the architectural team of Harvey Wiley Corbett and D. Everett Waid in the Art Deco style in the late 1920’s as the tallest building in the world but the Great Depression changed the plans and it was built in three stages. The first finished in 1932, the second in 1940 and the third in 1950 (Wiki).

The loggia

The archways ‘Loggias’ on each side of the building

What stands out about the building is the arched vaults on each corner of the structure called ‘loggias’ and the features were made in limestone and pink marble. When you stand under them you can see the colors and details of the marble carvings (Wiki). Just walking around the building the features are impressive and standout.

Across the street from the Metropolitan Life North Building at 27 Madison Avenue is the Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State and one of the most beautiful and detailed buildings I have seen on my walks. The building was designed by architect James Lord Brown in 1896 in the Beaux Arts Style and is adorned heavily in sculpture (Wiki). You really have to step back and walk across the street to see the details on the building.

27 Madison Avenue

27 Madison Avenue The Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State

https://streeteasy.com/building/appellate-division-courthouse-new

Looking up close, you can see that the building resembles a Greek Temple and was considered one of the best examples of the “City Beautiful Movement” that occurred during the 1890’s and 1900’s to enhance cities with monumental grandeur and beauty (Wiki).

The historical beauty of the architecture continued up the border of the neighborhood as I walked up Madison Avenue towards East 30th Street. You have to walk both sides of Madison Avenue to appreciate the designs and details of the buildings that line the avenue.

You have to look close to the building or you will miss it is the sculpture by artist Harriet Feigenbaum. It is a memorial to victims of the Holocaust and is very powerful in its work showing the concentration camps.

Harriet Feigenbaum artist

“The Memorial to the Injustice of the Victims of the Holocaust”-“Indifference to Justice is the Road to Hell”

Harriet Feigenbaum Artist

https://www.harrietfeigenbaum.com/home.html

Harriet Feigenbaum is an American sculptor and environmentalist. Her works cover sculpture, film and drawings that are seen all over the world (Wiki and artist bio).

I passed 50 Madison Avenue and noticed how the buildings blended in design. The bottom level of the building was built in 1896 as the headquarters of the ASPCA (American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals). The building was designed by architects Renwick, Aspinwell & Owen and had a classic ‘club like’ design to it. The building was refitted and added to in 2005 by the firm of Samson Management with a six story addition to luxury condos (CityRealty.com).

50 Madison Avenue-The former ASPCA headquarters

https://streeteasy.com/building/50-madison-avenue-new_york

Another ornamental building that stands out in the neighborhood is 51 Madison Avenue which is the home of New York Life Insurance Building. The building was designed by architect Cass Gilbert in 1926 in the Art Deco style with Gothic Revival details along the sides and was finished in 1928. The structure is topped with a gilded roof (Wiki & New York Life Insurance history). This is another building that you have to see from all sides.

51 Madison Avenue

51 Madison Avenue-The New York Life Insurance Building

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

Continuing my walk up Madison Avenue while admiring the architecture of the neighborhood is The James NoMAD Hotel, the former Seville Hotel, on the corner of East 29th Street at 88 Madison Avenue. This interesting hotel has gone through several name changes and renovations since it was built in 1904. The hotel was designed by architect Harry Alan Jacobs in the Beaux Arts style and the annex to the hotel was designed by Charles T. Mott in 1906 (Wiki).

The James NoMAD Hotel

88 Madison Avenue-The James NoMAD Hotel (formerly The Seville)

https://www.realtyhop.com/building/88-madison-avenue-new-york-ny-10016

The outdoor dining was open for the restaurant the first afternoon I had visited the neighborhood even though I thought it was a little cool to eat outside. Even though you can’t go inside unless you are a guest, I could see the lights stung from the street, and it looked very elegant in the outside dining area. It was noted in the paper that they will be keep the tradition of closing Broadway from West 25th to West 28th for the summer.

Across the street from this elegant hotel is 95 Madison Avenue the former Emmett Building. The structure was designed by architects John Stewart Barney and Stockton B. Colt of Barney & Colt for Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet in 1912 when the area was a wholesale district. The building is designed in the French Neo-Renaissance with Gothic style ornamentation (New York Landmark Preservation Commission and Wiki).

95 Madison Avenue Emmet Building

95 Madison Avenue-The Emmet Building

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

Heading straight ahead at East 25th Street and Madison Avenue is Madison Square Park, named after our fourth President of the United States, James Madison. This well landscaped park is the gathering place of the residents of NoMAD and has a wonderful playground that has been busy the whole time I have spent in the neighborhood.

Madison Square Park is an interesting little oasis from all the traffic and office space. It has an interesting history since it was designated a public space in 1686 by British Royal Governor Thomas Dongan. It has served as a potters field, an arsenal and a home for delinquents. In 1847, the space was leveled, landscaped and enclosed as a park. It became part of the New York Park system in 1870. There are many historical figures featured in the park (NYCParks.org).

The park today is a major meeting spot for residents and tourists alike with a dog track and the original Shake Shack restaurant.

Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park in the Spring when I was walking the length of Broadway

https://madisonsquarepark.org/

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

When I walked into the park to take a break, it must have been the busiest section of the neighborhood between the playground and the original Shake Shack that were serving food to a crowd clung to their cellphones.

The original Shake Shack is located in Madison Square Park at Park and 23rd Street

https://shakeshack.com/location/madison-square-park-ny

I stopped to look at the statue of our 21st President Chester A. Arthur, who had taken oath just two blocks away in his New York townhouse where the Kalustyan’s Specialty Foods is located at 123 Lexington Avenue (See My Walk in Kips Bay below). I thought about what was going on in our government today and what they must have gone through with this transition.

Chester A. Arthur Statue

The Statue of Chester A. Arthur in Madison Square Park

President Chester A. Arthur

https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/chester-a-arthur/

The statue of our 21st President was designed by artist George Edwin Bissell and the pedestal by architect James Brown Lord.

Artist George Edwin Bissell

https://americanart.si.edu/artist/george-edwin-bissell-430

George Edwin Bissell was an American born artist from Connecticut whose father was a quarry-man and marble carver. He studied sculpture abroad in Paris in the late 1870’s and was known for his historical sculptures of important figures of the time (Wiki).

Admiral Farragut statue

The Admiral David Farragut statue in Madison Square Park by artist Augustus St. Gaudens

Admiral David Farr

Admiral David Farragut

https://www.britannica.com/biography/David-Farragut

Another interesting statue that stands out in Madison Square Park is the of Civil War Navy hero, Admiral David Farragut. Admiral Farragut commanded the Union Blockage of Southern cities and helped capture New Orleans. The statute was designed by sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens. This was the artist’s first major commission when it was dedicated in 1881 (NYCParks.org).

Augustus St. Gaudens

Augustus St. Gaudens

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

Augustus St. Gaudens was an Irish born American artist whose specialty during the Beaux-Arts era was monuments to Civil War heroes. He had created the statue the William Tecumseh Sherman in the Central Park Mall on Fifth Avenue along with this statue of Admiral Farragut. He had studied at the National Academy of Design, apprenticed in Paris and then studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts (Wiki).

Upon leaving Madison Square Park and proceeding across East to West 25th Street (Fifth Avenue separates the East Side from the West Side of Manhattan), I was traveling into what was once part of Midtown between the Civil War until WWI and then after that Midtown moved closer to Central Park during the 1920’s through the 1940’s.

Most of the buildings in this section of NoMAD were built with decorative stonework and elaborate ornamentation. There are so many in this section of Manhattan I will highlight the ones that are the standouts. As I walked the border of the neighborhood, you could see many beautiful buildings lining 25th Street.

When walking down East 25th Street from Madison Square Park, the first interesting site you pass is the historic Worth Square, the Memorial to and burial site of General William Jenkins Worth.

William Jenkins Worth was a native New Yorker (Hudson, NY) and decorated Army officer who had served our country in the Battles of 1812, The Second Seminole War and the Mexican-American War. His series of campaigns shaped this Country to where it is today. He died working for the Department of Texas in 1849 (Wiki).

General William Jenkins Worth

Army General William Jenkins Worth

The General’s remains are buried under the monument at Worth Square at the corner of Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 24th and 25th Street. General Worth was interned here in November of 1857 on the anniversary of the British leaving the colonies (NYCParks.org).

Worth Monument

The Worth Monument between East 24th and East 25th Street at Broadway and Fifth Avenue

The Worth Monument was designed by artist James Goodwin Batterson, whose main profession was one of the founders of the Travelers Insurance Company in Hartford, CT and helped design the Library of Congress Building in Washington DC. He had immersed himself in his father’s quarrying and stone importing business early in his career and traveled extensively to Europe and Egypt for the job. He designed this monument in 1857 (Wiki).

James Batterson artist

Artist and Designer James Goodwin Batterson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_G._Batterson

Passing Worth Square and continuing down West 25th Street, I noticed the impressive architecture that lines the streets of this section of the Broadway part neighborhood.

At 1123 Broadway is the detailed Townsend Building that was built between 1896-97 and was designed by New York architect Cyrus Lazelle Warner Eidlitz in the Classical style. The building is names for Isaac Townsend whose estate the building was built on (Flatiron Partnership).

1123 Broadway The Townsend Building

1123 Broadway-The Townsend Building

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/1123-Broadway-New-York-NY/18855966/

1123 Broadway

The details on 1123 Broadway are amazing

Another beautiful building is the Heritage Hotel at 18-20 West Fifth Avenue. This detailed hotel was designed by the architectural firm of Israels & Harder in 1901 in the Beaux-Arts style.The hotel opened in 1902 as the Arlington Hotel, a residential hotel for well-heeled guests (Daytonian).

18-20 West 25th Street

18-20 West 25th Street-The Heritage Hotel

https://www.heritagehotelnyc.com/

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-1902-arlington-hotel-nos-18-20-west.html

By the time I reached Sixth Avenue again, I could see the reason why most people call the Flatiron District a treasure trove of architecture. Block after block walking the borders of this neighborhood was an experience in the hopes and dreams of so many companies of the turn of the last century. When they built these buildings, they were meant to last, and they believed in what they were creating.

What I love about the Flatiron District is the belief that business had in itself to last, to make an impression on the not just the people that worked there but to the outside world. It showed a world of promise and power and showed New York City’s representation in business and culture. Between the Civil War and WWI, you could see the growth in commerce, marketing, retail and the arts representing in these blocks of Manhattan.

This was meant to show the country where New York City stood and what it represented. These were not just buildings but statements to the optimism that a country that had just been through a Civil War could accomplish. While this trend was followed by cities all over the country growing between the wars, New York stood out by doing it first and doing it bigger.

This is why Manhattan is the capital of the World.

Places to Eat:

Pick & Pay Pizza

30 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY 10010

(212) 387-8200

http://picknpaypizza.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d21402789-Reviews-Pick_Pay_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Visit:

Madison Square Park

11 Madison Avenu

New York, NY 10010

(212) 520-7600

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

https://madisonsquarepark.org/

https://www.facebook.com/madisonsquarepark

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d501513-Reviews-Madison_Square_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-One Lunch with Lucy and walking around Brooklyn April 12th, 2022

*This blog is dedicated to Lucy, whose input and cheerleading for this blog has been much appreciated and to another memorable lunch!

I have been volunteering at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen for almost nineteen years and over the years you become friends with the other volunteers. Lucy and I have gotten to know one another over the years. Last Spring, we had gotten together for an amazing lunch over pizza from Lions & Tigers & Squares on West 23rd Street.

Maybe it was the pizza, maybe it was the weather or maybe it was just the view of the Flatiron Building in the background as we were eating lunch by the plaza next to Madison Square Park or maybe all of the above. It was just an amazing lunch.

Over the Fall and Winter months we had kept in touch and the conversation always went back to that amazing lunch and just the beautiful view of the Flatiron Building in the background while we ate. I had commented to her that all over the world people wished they could be in the very spot that we were in eating lunch and here we were eating there. There is sometimes a moment in time that are just perfect.

When Lucy came in again, I had been through a lot lately losing my friend, Barbara and some family issues. So, it was nice to have someone nonpartial to listen. I was going through a lot at one time.

Having had pizza the night before and for lunch the day before that, I really did not want to go back to Lions & Tigers & Squares at 268 West 23rd Street (See reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com) so we on a whim tried S & A Gourmet Deli at 240 Eighth Avenue (See reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com) for a sandwich.

Lunch with Lucy at Madison Square Park

https://madisonsquarepark.org/

Talk about another excellent lunch. The sandwiches there are excellent. S & A Gourmet Deli does a great job with their food. I ordered Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich ($8.99), which was two freshly fried chicken cutlets topped with Swiss Cheese and Ham topped with spicy mustard on a fresh hoagie roll. Each bit was amazing.

The Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich at S & A Gourmet Deli

https://www.seamless.com/menu/s–a-gourmet-deli-240-8th-ave-new-york/3173004

https://mywalkinmanhattan.com/tag/s-a-gourmet-deli/

The two of us had a nice afternoon talking about what was going on in our lives and just enjoying the warm weather. What was strange was only about an hour before it was pouring down rain and then as we met it cleared up. By the time we finished lunch, it was almost the same weather as the time we had lunch last year, sunny and warm and in the 70’s. I guess God was listening.

Having lunch outside with the Flatiron Building in the background is amazing!

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

After lunch was over, we said our goodbyes and I was off to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to see the Magnolia trees blooming and the breathtaking Daffodil Hill, where thousands of daffodils would be blooming at one time around a 100-year-old Oak Tree.

With everything going on, I am getting a little leery about traveling by subway but off I went. The ironic part is that the trip was smooth and quiet and non-eventful. I found out later on that evening that the N Line earlier the morning had been hit with a smoke bomb and a shooting. Talking about shattering an imagine. Thank God I did not know all this on the trip down to Brooklyn.

The Entrance to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at 990 Washington Avenue

https://www.bbg.org/

The weather was even better when I got up the stairs on the Number 2 line outside the Brooklyn Museum. It had gotten even warmer. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden was the busiest it had been all season with people taking pictures of the now blooming Cherry trees and Japanese Garden coming to life in the early Spring months.

Daffodil Hill was just as spectacular as the many years before. The daffodils were in full bloom and the hill on the other side of the Japanese Garden next to the flowering Magnolia trees which were also in full bloom. The scents were wonderful with scents of sweet jasmine and candy.

Do not miss Daffodil Hill in the Spring

https://www.bbg.org/collections/gardens/daffodil_hill

There are very few places in the world that are perfect but the bench by Daffodil Hill is one of those spots. To sit there and just admire Mother Nature at work at her best is just something. I look forward to this every year and is one of the main reasons why I keep renewing every year. For one afternoon, I just want to sit at that exact bench and admire Mother Nature’s handywork.

The Japanese Gardens are starting to bloom

The Cherry Trees in the Japanese Gardens on the other side of the hill were just coming into bloom as well and the whole effect showed that Spring is here and not a moment too soon. Everyone needed the warm weather to come and relax us. It has been a long Winter.

I ended spending over two hours just walking around the gardens and relaxing under a tree like everyone under the Cherry Tree Esplanade that has not bloomed yet. The soft grass and the relaxing sounds of contemporary music on every half hour was a nice way to spend the late afternoon.

Once left the gardens, I was going to go to the Brooklyn Museum, but it was closed and the weather being so beautiful I decided to walk to Downtown Brooklyn and see how the reconstruction of the Fulton Mall was going. So I took the long walk around the circle and walk down Flatbush Avenue towards Downtown Brooklyn. I made a few detours along the way and explore Brooklyn.

As I got to the turn off to Atlantic Avenue just off Flatbush Avenue near the Barclay’s Center, I decided to make the turn and explore a neighborhood I knew well. This part of Brooklyn I had used for my novel, “Firehouse 101” and I spent many a day exploring the streets of Boreum Hill and Cobble Hill for my book, noting the streets, parks and businesses. There are lot of memories of me walking this neighborhood almost twenty years ago.

My novel “Firehouse 101” set in Boreum Hill and Cobble Hill Brooklyn

https://mywalkinmanhattan.com/tag/firehouse-101/

https://www.iuniverse.com/BookStore/BookDetails/101408-FIREHOUSE-101

I can’t tell you how many times I walked Atlantic Avenue, Flatbush Avenue, Smith Street and Court Street for inspiration. Many of the observations of those afternoons were written into the book as I tried to make it as real as possible.

When I got to the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street, I made the right turn and walked the length of Smith Street in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. It also amazes me how a neighborhood keeps changing as new businesses keep opening and closing changing the complexity of a neighborhood and how the long-time businesses still chug along and watch it all happen. There are those family-owned enterprises that make the City unique.

As I rounded Smith Street, admiring all the new gift boutiques, gourmet shops and small restaurants, I crossed over Degraw Street to walk the ‘border’ of the neighborhood in my novel and walked to Court Street and walked up the street. I needed to stop a few times at some bakeries that I had been to many times on my walks here.

Monteleone’s Bakery at 355 Court Street

https://pasticceriamonteleonebk.com/

As I walked all over Atlantic Avenue, I saw all the new little boutique bakeries with their $5.00 cookies and $7.00-$9.00 pies that looked delicious but were not worth the money. No pie that is about three bites is worth $7.00. When I visited the longtime neighborhood favorite, Monteleone’s Bakery at 355 Court Street the woman at the counter reminded me why this bakery has been around for 100 years. Quality and service.

The pastries at Monteleone’s Bakery are delicious

The prices and selection are also a nice part of the bakery. Their miniature pastries which are nice sized sell for $2.00 a piece and the selection of them is extensive. I bought a pastry stuffed with cannoli cream and a mini cream puff with vanilla cream. I had the woman put them in a bag so that I could eat them along the way. They both lasted barely a block.

When I mentioned to the woman about the $7.00 pies and $5.00 cookies at the bakeries on Atlantic Avenue, she just laughed and said this is the reason why Monteleone’s is so popular and has been around so long. They know their customers. I know that I will be back when I visit the neighborhood again.

I was still hungry as I walked down Court Street to the Fulton Mall and downtown, so I stopped at the Court Pastry Shop at 298 Court Street for another pastry. I love my sweets and had not been there in a few years. It is funny that the Court Pastry Shop was used in a very funny scene in my book “Firehouse 101” so I always remember my trips there in the past when I was doing location spots for my book. Their cream puffs and eclairs are delicious.

Court Pastry Shop at 298 Court Street

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Bakery/Court-Pastry-Shop-104943529548868/

I eyed my favorite eclair in the case and bought one immediately ($3.50). I swear it had been at least three or four years since I had had one and they are still the best. They had such a thick layer of chocolate icing on them and filled with the most delicious vanilla cream.

Now being full of sweet snacks, I continued up Court Street to the Brooklyn Court House and then walked back down Fulton Street to the Fulton Street Mall. At this point most of the Fulton Street Mall has been demolished and replaced with new apartment and office buildings. This was part of the Bloomberg Administration’s plan to revitalize downtown Brooklyn with a broader retail selection and replace many of the older buildings.

It is not quite done yet but within five years most of Downtown Brooklyn should be redeveloped. It looks so much different from even two years ago. This was documented in film “My Brooklyn”.

The film on Downtown Brooklyn “My Brooklyn”

It was such a nice afternoon, and I was enjoying the sunshine so much and I had a lot of energy with all the desserts in me, I decided to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, which I have done many times and never tire of looking at the view.

Talk about the perfect afternoon to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was clear, sunny and about 70 degrees. It really looked like the tourists were back because people were taking pictures all over the bridge from every angle including ready to fall off the bridge because they were leaning so much over the rails. The view of Lower Manhattan was just spectacular.

Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge is fantastic

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

https://www.nycgo.com/attractions/brooklyn-bridge

By the time I got to the Manhattan side of the bridge, I was starved. I decided that I had the energy to walk to Chinatown which is only a few blocks away from the bridge entrance. By the time I got to Chinatown, it was almost seven in the evening and found that most of the smaller places were closed (it was a weekday). So, I walked all over Mott Street, East Broadway, Catherine Street, Henry Street and the Bowery and decided on an old standby which I love Dim Sum Go Go at 5 East Broadway.

Dim Sum Go Go at 5 East Broadway

https://www.dimsumgogonyc.com/

I was hungrier than I thought. I started with Shrimp and Mango Rolls ($5.95), Duck Spring Rolls ($5.95), Pork Soup Dumplings ($6.95) and Steamed Shrimp Dumplings ($5.95). After devouring all of that, I ordered the Pan-Fried Pork and Chive Dumplings ($5.95) and the Steamed Roast Pork Buns ($6.95). Everything was so delicious and fresh and came out steaming hot. Even on a weeknight I was surprised by how full the place was and it seemed that people were ordering more than me.

I especially loved the Shrimp and Mango rolls with the breaded and fried ground shrimp mixture with a piece of fresh mango in the center. It had a nice sweet/savory flavor to it and was fried perfectly golden brown. All of the dumplings were cooked to perfection and the pork and chive dumplings had a nice flavor to them (See review on TripAdvisor).

The Soup Dumplings at Dim Sum Go Go are excellent

By this point it was twilight and just getting dark, but it was still so nice out that I decided I wanted to walk through the East Village to see how busy it was that night and to see how many NYC students were out and about. Plus, I wanted to see if the Anthology Film Center was still open on Second Avenue (it was closed that night). I walked up Second Avenue past all the trendy little restaurants and closed shops which were packed with students. I could not believe how busy the area was this time of night, but it was still in the 60’s and just a nice night to mill around.

By the time I reached 14th Street, I figured I might as well walk back to Port Authority and walked up a combination of Second, Third and then by East 23rd Street, up Lexington Avenue through Kips Bay and ‘Curry Hill’ which I had visited a year ago. All of the Indian restaurants were busy as well and the smells of cumin and curry wafted through the air. I always love walking through this neighborhood.

I walked across East 34th Street and arrived at the doors of Macy’s and Herald Square was just as busy as the rest of Manhattan with people walking around the plazas of Herald and Greeley Squares. Koreatown on West 32nd Street off Broadway was also packed with students and tourists going out to dinner and enjoying the dessert restaurants. The restaurants serving Bubble Teas and Korean Cheesecakes has long lines to them.

I finally arrived at the Port Authority at almost 10:00pm and could not believe how far my journey took me. From the Brooklyn Botanical Garden to the Port Authority. This is the power of wonderful warm weather, a nice evening breeze and good food. It gives you the energy to keep going.

The Port Authority at 625 Eighth Avenue

https://www.panynj.gov/bus-terminals/en/port-authority.html

What a wonderful day out and an energetic walk!

Places to Eat:

Lions & Tigers & Squares

268 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

https://www.lionsandtigersandsquares.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ltspizza/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 11:00am-11:00pm/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-2:00pm

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

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2801

Dim Sum Go Go

5 East Broadway

New York, NY 10038

(212) 732-0797

https://www.dimsumgogonyc.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d484730-Reviews-Dim_Sum_Go_Go-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Court Pastry Shop

298 Court Street

Brooklyn, NY 11231

(718) 875-4820

https://www.facebook.com/Court-Pastry-Shop-104943529548868/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60827-d4982393-Reviews-Court_Pastry_Shop-Brooklyn_New_York.html?m=19905

Monteleone’s Bakery

355 Court Street

Brooklyn, NY 11231

(718) 852-5600

https://pasticceriamonteleonebk.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FMonteleoneBakery/

Open: Sunday-Monday 8:00am-9:00pm/Tuesday-Saturday 7:00am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60827-d923643-Reviews-Monteleone_s-Brooklyn_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Visit:

Madison Square Park

11 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10010

(212) 520-7600

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

https://madisonsquarepark.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d501513-Reviews-Madison_Square_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html

Flatiron Building

175 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10010

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

https://www.nycgo.com/attractions/flatiron-building

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d104363-Reviews-Flatiron_Building-New_York_City_New_York.html

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

990 Washington Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11225

(718) 623-7200

https://www.bbg.org/

https://www.facebook.com/BrooklynBotanic

Open: Sunday 8:00am-6:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday 8:00am-7:45pm/Wednesday-Thursday 8:00am-7:30pm/Friday-Saturday 8:00am-6:00pm (Seasonal hours)

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60827-d103900-Reviews-Brooklyn_Botanic_Garden-Brooklyn_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2785

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn, NY 10038

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

https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/infrastructure/brooklyn-bridge.shtml

https://www.nycgo.com/attractions/brooklyn-bridge

The Ladies Shopping Mile

Day One Hundred and Twenty-Eight-The Victorian Christmas Walking Tour of the Ladies Shopping Mile with the Cornell Club December 15th, 2018

On Saturday, December 15th, I met with other members of the Cornell Club to travel back to the Victorian Era and learn about the traditions of the Christmas past. We explored the Gramercy Park, Union Square and lower Sixth Avenue sections of the City to visit where a New York Victorian Christmas would be celebrated and honored.

We would be walking the old “Ladies Shopping Mile” that had been built up right after the Civil War when the disposable income  for Middle and Upper Middle-Class residents had increased after the Civil War and people wanted to spend their money at the newly built department stores, shops and restaurants.  The Industrial Revolution was in full swing and shopping had changed with the development of the department store.

The tour took us past brownstones, parks, restaurants and old department stores that line the streets of Manhattan between East and West 21st Street to 23rd Street and along that stretch of Sixth Avenue which is lined with the old buildings that once housed some of New York City’s great department stores.

The tour started on a sunny morning in Gramercy Park just off East 21st Street right near the Gramercy Park Hotel at the Cyrus Field House at One Lexington Avenue. The plaque was laid on the side of the old home dedicated to the man who laid out the first Atlantic cable in 1858.  Cyrus West Field was a self-made man who founded his own business and retired at 33 with a fortune of $250,000 (about 6 million today).

Cyrus West Field

Cyrus West Field

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Cyrus-W-Field

He and his brother, David, an attorney had built twin mansions side by side facing Gramercy Park which was then being developed into a private park for the neighborhood in 1844 by Samuel Ruggles.

Samuel Ruggles

Samuel Ruggles, the creator of Gramercy Park

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_B._Ruggles

Cyrus West Field along with Fredrick Newton Gisborne, a Canadian inventor and electrician had laid out the first undersea cables. Partnering up, they laid the first successful cable line to Europe in 1866 after two other failed tries. Even with his successes, when his wife, Mary died in 1891 and his son’s banking business failed and his partner’s daughter in law was his sister, Grace who took ill and died later that year. Cyrus Field was vacationing in his summer home when he died as well (Wiki & the tour guide).

Field Mansion

The Field Mansion before it was torn down

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-lost-cyrus-w-field-mansion-gramercy.html

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

Both his and his brother’s house were purchased by another banker who renovated them into one mansion. His business would later fail and he also was forced into bankruptcy. The houses were part of an ever-changing New York neighborhood and were demolished and replaced by the Italian Renaissance apartment building that sits there today with the plaque neatly presented on the side of the building. A very interesting place for a colorful family history.

After we left the site of the Field Mansion, we toured the sides of Gramercy Park, which was created in 1844 by Samuel Ruggles, who developed the area as an exclusive enclave. The 22-acre site was once a swamp and the farm of James Duane, the son of the Mayor of New York and a direct descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, called ‘Gramercy Farm’.  The park was enclosed by a fence in 1833 and the parcels surrounding it were developed in 1840. The park’s landscaping was done by James Virtue and the park was surrounded by 39 lots whose owners had access to the private park. Today only those people residing in the 39 lots surrounding the park can have a key to it and help in the maintenance of the park (Wiki).

As we passed the park which looked a little sparse due to the time of the year with the exception of the pines and the Christmas Tree in the center of the park. Still, you can see the elegance of the park and the constant upkeep of the landscaping. Behind the locked doors, it is almost a secret garden almost waiting to be discovered. Even today, you still need that key to open the door to the park and you have to live in the area to get in.

Christmas in Gramercy Park

Christmas Tree in Gramercy Park today

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

While we were at the park, the tour guide gave us a little history of a Victorian Christmas and the rules and etiquette of the holidays under the rule of Queen Victoria and her marriage to Prince Albert who was from Germany.

When the marriage took place, Prince Albert had brought many of his traditions with him and introduced the Pagan tradition of bringing evergreen trees into the house. Since it was the only tree that was green during the long winter months, the Pagans brought it into the warmth as a sign of life. It was later decorated with sweets and small gifts then got more elaborate with candles and ornaments. Ornaments started to appear in 1853.

The idea of the Christmas card came in 1843 when Henry Cole created the first card with a simple message. By the 1880’s, the Victorians were sending out the cards in great numbers due to the advancement of the postal services, many of them handmade by the children of the house. Decorating the house got more and more elaborate. What had started with a simple tree and garland to decorate the doors and windows became more detailed with decorations.

Gift giving was once relegated to New Year’s Day but as Christmas became the more predominate holiday, gifts were given either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Initial gifts were things like small handmade trinkets and sweets and then moved to store bought gifts from the developing department stores that could be placed under the tree.

The Christmas Dinner had its roots in Medieval times but became more elaborate after the Civil War. During the Revolutionary War, Christmas Day meal was a family affair after church services but by the 1880’s as the Industrial Revolution started to change the way we lived, it became the feast we celebrate today.

Roasted meats like goose and duck were some of the things served but later turkey became a favorite for dinner. It became predominate on a middle-class family table because the average turkey could feed a family nicely for dinner. Even Christmas crackers, which were invented by Thomas Smith in 1848 on an idea he saw in Paris on the way bon-bons were wrapped. He perfected them to ‘pop’ when they opened and were then filled with candies and small toys. This became part of the place setting.

Since the holiday was now being based around the family, things like parlor games and Christmas carols became family favorites.  Carols had started during Medieval times and had been brought back by the Victorians. The family was the center of the holiday, and a family was only restricted by their budget.

There were also strict rules on visits during the preparation for the holiday. Our guide pointed out that when you visited a home leading up to the holidays, etiquette stated you stayed for about ten minutes and you only partook in the food that was laid out, such as a plate of Christmas cookies and you did not linger. The host had lots to do to prepare for the holiday and she did not want you stay and take up her time.

As we rounded the corner and the tour guide discussed the attributes of the park, he also talked about the history of the architecture that surrounds it. Many structures have a long and very interesting history.

James Harper House

4 Gramercy Park West

https://streeteasy.com/building/4-gramercy-park-new_york/1

At 4 Gramercy Park West is the James Harper House, which almost resembles something you would see in New Orleans with its decorative iron work and graceful porches. The homes were built in 1846 for the James Harper, the Mayor of New York and one of the founders of Harper-Collins Publishing. The house was a Greek Revival design with an iron lace terrace with a mirror image of the home next to it with the exception of the lamps outside the house.

James Harper

James Harper, Mayor and Publisher

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Harper_(publisher)

History has said that the lanterns in front of the home are a throwback to the Dutch era when lantern bearers accustomed to escort the Burgomaster home with the proper dignity from the city tavern or another place of entertainment. The Dutch custom of placing special lamps at the mayor’s door was an aid to finding his house at night but by Harper’s Day, it was just ceremonial. The customer ended with the establishment of Gracie Mansion as the Mayor’s residence (Ephemeral New York).

James Harper House II

3 & 4 Gramercy Park

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2013/12/nos-3-and-4-gramercy-park-west.html

https://streeteasy.com/building/4-gramercy-park-manhattan/1

Harper died in 1869 and the house stayed in the family until 1923. It was known also for being the rumored home townhouse for the book “Stuart Little” and again achieved fame for being on the cover of Bob Dylan’s 1965 album cover for ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ (Ephemeral New York & the tour guide).

From the Harper House, we visited the Samuel Tildon House at 15& 16 Gramercy Park South around the corner from the Harper House.  This historic townhouse was built in 1845 and the home of former New York Governor Samuel J. Tilden who was a fierce opponent of the Tweed Ring and the losing Presidential candidate in the 1876 election. He lived in the house until his death in 1886 (Wiki & tour guide).

Samuel Tilden House

The Samuel Tilden House

Samuel Tilden

Samuel Tilden Politician

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Samuel-J-Tilden

The house was combined and redesigned by Calvert Vaux with the row house next door to make the building it is today. The brownstone was considered the height of Victorian Gothic in residential architecture with Italian Renaissance style elements. Since 1906, it now serves at the National Arts Club (Wiki & tour guide).

Samuel Tilden House II

National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park South

https://www.nationalartsclub.org/

The home at 16 Gramercy Park South, now the home of the Players Club has an interesting past as well. The home was bought by Edwin Booth, one of the great Shakespearean actors of the 19th Century and one of the founders of The Players Club. He was the brother of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. He turned over the deed to the house in 1888 to the club (Wiki & tour guide).

The Players Club.jpg

The Players Club which was owned by Edwin Booth

https://theplayersnyc.org/

From the square of scandals and shame we moved to look inside the park where a statue of Edwin Booth stands. It was an interesting twist of events that he landed in New York City. The whole area was designated as the Gramercy Park Historical District in 1966 (Wiki & the tour guide).

Our next place to visit was the famous Pete’s Tavern at Irving Place at 129 East 18th Street. This famous bar/restaurant has been around since 1864 and has been a major watering hall for the neighborhood.  The building was originally known as the Portman Hotel and was built in 1829. It was known as a ‘grocery & grog” store and may have been serving alcohol since 1852 (Wiki).

Pete's Tavern

Pete’s Tavern is now an Italian restaurant

Welcome to Pete’s Tavern….the Tavern O. Henry made famous!

The writer O. Henry lived down the block at 55 Irving Place from 1903 to 1907 when the place was called Healy’s after Tom and John Healy, who bought the restaurant in 1899. The famous writer included the name of the bar in a short story entitled “The Lost Blend” under the name “Kenealy’s”. It has been rumored that he wrote the well-known story “The Gift of the Magi” in the second booth from the front but it cannot be proved (Wiki & the tour guide).

Washington Irving House III

The Irving House

Around the corner from Pete’s Tavern is 11 Commerce Street, the Irving House, the former home of Washington Irving’s sister. The Federalist style home was built in 1826 and was rumored to be where he wrote part of the book “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. No one was too sure where Washington Irving Jr. came from because Washington Irving did not have any children.

Washington Irving House.jpg

The Irving House at 11 Commerce Street

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-irving-house-new-york-new-york

Washington Irving

Washington Irving Author

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Washington-Irving

We left the Gramercy Park District which is slowly changing on the fringes of the Historic District from residential to modern hotels and apartments refigured into the older buildings of the neighborhood to the very modern and updated and hip Union Square Park.

Union Square Park was once the cross-roads from the old commercial part of Manhattan to the residential part of the island. When Manhattan was surveyed by John Randel for the Commissioner’ Plan of 1811 to create the grid of the island, Broadway angled away from the Bowery that would have been awkward to build on and it was decided to create a square at the union of the two streets. Samuel Ruggles, who had created Gramercy Park renamed the are ‘Union Square’ from its former name, ‘Union Place’. It was Ruggles who developed the area with streets and plantings at the park (Wiki & the tour guide).

At first the area was a fashionable residential area surrounded by brownstones and mansions but after the Civil War, the area gave way to a commercial shopping district that included Tiffany & Company and FAO Schwarz Toy Store. The area is now home to many upscale merchants and restaurants once again. It also has one of the biggest Farmer’s Markets in the City.

Union Square.jpg

Union Square today facing the once fashionable shopping district

https://www.unionsquarenyc.org/

From Union Square, our group walked to Sixth Avenue down West 17th Street to the start of the Ladies Mile Historic Shopping District. Today the area is still going through changes from discount superstores to advertising and communications companies but between the Civil War and World War I, the district was home to some of the most famous department and specialty stores of the time, places of worship and performance venues like the Academy of Music and Steinway Hall (Wiki & the tour guide). It is here where Victorian Christmas roots began.

We started the tour on West 17th Street and walked our way up Sixth Avenue while admiring the old department store buildings. One point that the tour guide wanted us to all note was the big windows on the second and sometimes third floor of the buildings. This was done when the old ‘Sixth Avenue El’ subway line used to travel down the avenue before the war so that people could see the clothes and fashions from the elevated subway cars. We walked up Sixth Avenue, and we noted all the stores we passed and a little on the history of each store.

The old B. Altman & Company building located at 625 Sixth Avenue between West 18th and 19th Streets was once a luxury department store that catered to the strictly ‘carriage trade’ clientele of the time. It had been founded in 1865 by the Altman family on the lower East Side and progressed uptown to this location in 1877. It was originally designed by David and John Jardine, a New York architectural firm.

The store had been known for couture merchandise and fine furniture. As the clientele changed and moved uptown after World War I, the company moved the new store to Fifth Avenue and East 34th Street in 1906. The company went bankrupt in 1990 (Wiki, History of Department Stores & the tour guide).

B. Altman & Co.

B. Altman & Company store at 625 Sixth Avenue & West 18th Street

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

Our next stop was at the old Siegel-Cooper Company Department store at 620 Sixth Avenue at 18th Street. The company was founded in 1887 by Henry Siegel, Frank Cooper and Isaac Keim in Chicago and opened their store on State Street.

Their second store opened in New York City in 1896 at 620 Sixth Avenue between West 18th and West 19th Streets. The store used innovative steel-framing, the first department store in New York to use this construction, to create the world’s largest store at the time (to be surpassed by Macy’s Herald Square). The offered a wide variety of dry-goods and shops including a art gallery, conservatory selling plants, a photo studio and a 350-seat restaurant. The store was designed by the firm of DeLemos & Cordes in the Beaux-Arts style (Wiki & the tour guide).

Seigal-Cooper Department Store

The Siegel-Cooper Company store at 620 Sixth Avenue

http://wikimapia.org/16891212/Simpson-Crawford-Simpson-Building

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2010/08/big-store-1896-siegel-cooper-department.html

The main floor featured a copy of David Chester French’s statue, The Republic inside a marble enclosed fountain on the first floor which the phase “Meet me at the Fountain” became the store slogan (Wiki & the tour guide).

Siegel-Cooper Department Store.jpg

The fountain that was at Siegel-Cooper

Yet by 1902, Henry Siegel sold the store, and the company went bankrupt in 1915 and the store closed in 1917 and became a military hospital during World War I. Today the store is home to Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. Its ornate outside is really hidden now.

We next moved on to the Simpson-Crawford Department Store at 641 Sixth Avenue between West 19th and 20th Streets, which once catered to the wealthy elite of Manhattan and beyond. The store was established in 1878 by Richard Meares and William Crawford as Richard Meares & Company. Meares left the firm a year later and William Crawford then partnered with Thomas and James Simpson to create Simpson, Crawford and Simpson. When Thomas Simpson died in 1885, the store became known as Simpson-Crawford (Daytonian in Manhattan).

Simpson-Crawford Department Store.jpg

Simpson-Crawford Store today at Sixth Avenue between West 19th and 20th Streets

http://wikimapia.org/16891212/Simpson-Crawford-Simpson-Building

When James Simpson died in 1894, William Crawford became the sole owner and in 1899 with the rise of the great stores on Sixth Avenue, Crawford designed a new store of marble designed by William H. Hume & Son. The exterior of the store shined with polished marble and granite (Daytonian in Manhattan & the tour guide).

The store had many innovations at the time. It had the first escalator in the city, the first display windows with mannequins and large display windows that had to be created for the store. The store was stocked with the finest imported clothes, furs and laces and on the top floor was a restaurant that catered to 1200 guests (Daytonian in Manhattan & the tour guide).

Before the store opened, William Crawford retired and sold the store to Henry Siegel across the street who kept the tradition of the store going. When Siegel-Cooper Company collapsed in 1914, Simpson-Crawford was kept closed for three weeks and then reopened. Both stores closed one year later, and the store was converted to mail order warehouse. Today it holds various stores (Daytonian in Manhattan).

Our next stop was in front of Hugh O’Neill’s Dry Goods Store at 655 Sixth Avenue between West 20th and 21st Streets. It was built by the firm of Mortimer C. Merritt in the neo-Greco style who built the four stages of the building between 1887-1890 (Wiki & the tour guide).

Hugh O'Neill II.jpg

The Hugh O’Neill Store when it opened in 1890

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Neill_Building

Hugh O’Neill had started a small dry goods business right after the Civil War in 1865 with a small store around Union Square. In 1870, he decided to build a trade on the middle market customer and offered discounts on goods. The four floors of merchandise contained laces, ribbons, clocks and on the upper floors women’s and children’s clothing (Wiki).

When O’Neill died in 1902, the shopping area had just begun its decline and in 1906 it merged with Adams Dry Goods up the block.  A year later they both went out of business as the area gave way to manufacturing. The building today has been converted into condos.

Hugh O'Neill.jpg

The Hugh O’Neill store today

Our last store that we looked at and discussed was the former Adams Dry Goods Store at 675 Sixth Avenue between West 21st and 22nd Street.

Samuel Adams, a merchant who had been selling upscale clothing and furnishing to customers in the area decided to open a store on Sixth Avenue. He used the architectural firm of DeLemos & Cordes, who had designed the Seigel-Cooper Department Store and the six-story building opened in 1902. The store was the first in New York City to use the new Pneumatic tubes to transport money and messages throughout the store (Wiki).

Adams Dry Goods Store II.jpg

Adam’s Dry Goods Store when it opened in 1902

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2010/10/1900-adams-co-building-675-sixth-avenue.html

http://wikimapia.org/16882716/Adams-Dry-Goods-Store-Building

The problem with the store was its location. He built the store at the very edge of the neighborhood as the business changed. As the shopping area started to decline in the early 1900’s, Adams sold the store to Hugh O’Neill Dry Goods Store and they merged the two companies together, converting three floors of the Adams Dry Goods store to furniture. This concept was not popular as well and the businesses failed, and the store closed in 1913 (Wiki & the tour guide).

Adams Dry Goods Store.jpg

Adams Dry Goods Store today at Sixth Avenue between West 21st and 22nd Streets

The store has gone through a manufacturing stage and in the 80’s became part of the change to large box retailing. The building now houses eBay and several stores including Trader Joe’s and Michael’s. As we could see on the tour, the old department stores are finding new life in retailing.

Between West 22nd and West 23rd Streets located between the old Adams Dry Goods and next to the former Macy’s store was Ehrich Brothers Department Store at 701 Broadway. The building was constructed in 1889 by architect William Schickel & Company with additions by Buchman & Deisler and Buchman & Fox in 1889 (Wiki).

Ehrich Brothers Department Store building at 701 Sixth Avenue (Wiki)

Another addition was added by Taylor & Levi in 1911 when the store was leased to J.L. Kesner. They added the terra cotta “K”s that can still be seen from the top of the storefront. The store folded in 1913 and then was used for manufacturing and offices as the shopping district moved to 34th Street and the Fifth Avenue area (Wiki).

The last part of our tour discussed one of the most famous Christmas poems, “A Visit from St. Nicolas” or known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, which was one of the first mentioning’s of Santa Claus in a modern form, written in 1822 and published in 1823 anonymously. Some saw the poem as a social satire on the ‘Victorianization’ of Christmas (Wiki & the tour guide). Our tour guide said you really have to read into the poem to see what it is really saying about the times that it was written in. He noted really read the line “Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap” as the stress of the holidays and child rearing was even back then.

Twas the night before christmas.jpg

“A visit from St. Nicholas”

https://poets.org/poem/visit-st-nicholas

It was in 1837 that poet Clement Clark Moore claimed to be the author. Even today there is a controversy of who really wrote the poem, Clement Clark Moore or Major Henry James Livingston Jr. This discussion is still being debated today (Wiki).

Clement Clarke Moore.jpg

Clement Clarke Moore poet

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/clement-clarke-moore

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43171/a-visit-from-st-nicholas

Henry Livingston Jr.

Henry James Livingston Jr. Writer

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/henry-livingston

How the poem mixed well into the tour is that Clement Moore’s family owned an estate here on the area on West 23rd Street between Hudson River and Eighth Avenue from West 24th Street to West 19th Street. His home was at 348 West 23rd Street. He developed the area after donating a large portion of the estate to his church and created a residential neighborhood that still stands today.

Clement Moore Estate.jpg

The Clement Clarke Moore estate when he sold it into real estate parcels

https://thegreatestgrid.mcny.org/greatest-grid/selling-lots/87

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-lost-clement-c-moore-chelsea-house.html

I walked the entire neighborhood after we said our goodbyes on Ninth Avenue by the subway and discovered an ever-gentrifying neighborhood of brownstones and small mansions. The one home that stood out amongst the brownstones was the James Wells Mansion at 400-412 West 27th Street.

James Wells Mansion III

The James Wells Mansion in Chelsea one of the most beautiful homes on the block

https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=127242

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/11/james-wells-house-at-no-162-9th-avenue.html

James N. Wells was a real estate broker and built the house in 1835 when Clement Clarke Moore developed this part of his estate. He built the grand house for his family. Sometime in 1866 after the Civil War, the house was renovated, and a mansard roof was added to the house. It must have not stayed in the family too long after this as it was turned into a home for the aged in 1867 (Wiki). Today it has been restored by its owners to its grand glory.

The last part of the tour I visited the only spot that still carries the name of the family to know that the estate was located here, and it was the Clement Moore Park at West 23rd to 22nd Streets on Tenth Avenue. The park was initiated by the West 400 Block Association to turn a neglected lot into a park and in 1965 it was opened to the public. When I visited the park that afternoon and others to complete the walk of the neighborhood, the park was closed for renovations.

Clement Moore Park.jpg

Clement Moore Park before the renovation

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/clement-clarke-moore-park

This is where I ended the tour that day. I walked this part of West 23rd Street from Sixth Avenue to Tenth Avenue on my own to see the development of the estate and how the gentrification of Chelsea was progressing. Let me put it this way, the Clement Clarke Moore brownstone was on the market in 2016 for 8.7 million dollars. I wonder how he would feel about that today.

Check out my Christmas blogs this year (2018) and my busy holiday season that stretched from the Hudson River Valley in New York State to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I swear my feet never touched the ground the whole holiday season.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

I want to add these two new Christmas songs by the late jazz artist Al Jarreau and current up and coming artist Lindsey Webster for you all to enjoy. They got me through my Christmas Holiday season:

Christmas Morning by Al Jarreau:

It’s Gonna Snow on Christmas by Lindsey Webster:

Rather than display each property we visited, I attached the link for further reading.

Again everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!