Category Archives: Exploring the Rim of the Island of Manhattan

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

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

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

The Map of the “Hudson Yards”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

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

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

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

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manhattan West complex (Manhattan West.com)

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

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

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

Elle Street Art explains her mural at the Hudson Yards

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

Artist Elle Street Art in front of her work

https://www.ellestreetart.com/

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

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

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

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

The Vessel at 20 Hudson Yards

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

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

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

Architect Thomas Heatherwick describing “The Vessel”

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

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

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

The Hudson River Railroad Plaque

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

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

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

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

The Shed at 545 West 30th Street

https://theshed.org/

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

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

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

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

https://theshed.org/about/building

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

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

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

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

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

Artist Kelsey Montague (artist website)

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

https://www.facebook.com/kelseymontagueart

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

https://kelseymontagueart.com/

The artist explains and shows her works:

What inspires the artist and her team:

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

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

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

Lucky’s Famous Burgers at 264 West 23rd Street

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

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

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

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

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

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

There will be more changes in the future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These will show you the constant changes in the neighborhood.

Places to Eat:

Lucky’s Famous Burgers

264 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 242-4900

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

http://www.luckysfamousburgers23rdst.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

Stick to my Pot Potstickers

224 West 35th Street

New York, NY 10001

(646) 822-2003

https://www.sticktomypot.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Places to Visit:

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

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

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/

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

This was the first year that “The Great Saunter Walk”, the 32-mile perimeter walk around the entire island took place since 2019. Since I had done the walk twice on my own, actually doing more of the walk than was required. This year I wanted to make it official.

I officially finished “The Great Saunter Walk” in May of 2022

The problem was by the time I wanted to sign up for the walk, it was completely sold out. So, I was put on a waiting list. With a prediction of rain all day (and it did rain all day!), many people dropped out before the event occurred, so I got to sign up. On a very gloomy Saturday morning, I got to the Frances Tavern at 7:30am to register and start the walk by the entrance of the Staten Island ferry.

Rather than rewrite the whole day, I updated the blog that I have written over the last two years and added to it. I hope you all enjoy my journey around the most famous island on earth on the gloomiest and rainy day ever. I hope you enjoy the journey!

My story of my walk around Manhattan island:

“The Great Saunter Walk”:

Day Two Hundred and Thirty: Walking the Avenues of the lower Hudson Yards/West Chelsea Tenth and Eleventh Avenues from West 34th to West 28th Streets April 11th, 2022

The weather finally broke today, and the sun came out and it warmed up. Now it feels like Spring even with the threat of a snowstorm in a few days. I am just hoping that all we get is rain. The thought of snow with all my daffodils and tulips coming up is too depressing. I figure the weather is getting warmer on the East Coast and we will not have to worry about this.

I was finally able to volunteer in the Soup Kitchen after two years. The days of the buffet lunches is over with COVID going on and we have now switched to a bagged grab and go meal with a to go hot entrée and bagged snacks to go with it. We had to bag over 500 pieces not just for the day but for the next day as well. Five of us got the work done with an hour to spare and we were able to finish by 11:30am.

I had time to visit the Avenues of the Hudson Yards and because there were only two Avenues to visit, it did not take too much time. I spent most of my time avoiding construction sites and dodging vehicles. As I have said in previous blogs in this neighborhood, these blocks are rising like the ‘Land of Oz’ and as each is finished adds to the simmering look of a modern neighborhood encased by the rest of Manhattan. The Hudson Yards is a city amongst itself.

The modern day architecture adds a totally new look to Midtown Manhattan and you should see the views from New Jersey as you exit the Lincoln Tunnel. It looks like a glittering picture with the buildings lit. It reminds me of when I worked in Manhattan before 9/11 and looking at the magnificence of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers at night. This always showed the power of New York City.

As I finished my day at the Soup Kitchen, I made my way across West 28th Street passing Chelsea Park. The playground was busy with school children on their recess and parents and guardians watching them. The benches was filled with homeless people who were starting to eat their lunches that we had just served them and talking among themselves. It is sad that this is still a state of affairs in the twenty-first century but I am not sure what the solution is in the era of COVID. I just try to do my part to give people their dignity back.

Still when you reach the edge of the park on Tenth Avenue, it is like walking into another world. Tenth Avenue is lined with art galleries, high end restaurants and luxury homes that are mentioned in the documentary “Class Divide”. Two worlds that co-exist next to one another on the edge of the public housing projects.

“Class Divide” on HBO on West Chelsea/Hudson Yards

Since it was such a beautiful sunny day, I started walking up Eighth Avenue, watching the crowds grow near the new shopping center and make their way to “The Edge” on the top of 30 Hudson Yards. The views from the top must have been thrilling on such a clear sunny day.

The building 30 Hudson Yards was designed by architect Bill Pederson of the firm Kohn Pederson Fox and Associates and is the new home for the WarnerMedia Company and is located at the corner of Tenth Avenue and West 33rd Street. The building is the second tallest building in New York City behind One World Trade Center and has the highest outdoor Observation Deck in the City. The building is taller than the Empire State Building located further down the road at Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street (Related Oxford website).

30 Hudson Yards in the Hudson Yards complex (Wiki)

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/work/30-hudson-yards

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/30_Hudson_Yards

The observation deck, “The Edge” is located on the 100th floor of the building and offers spectacular views of New York City and New Jersey. It is the highest outdoor observation deck in the City and showcases the innovation in design (Related Oxford/Wiki).

“The Edge” at the top of 30 Hudson Yards (The Edge)

https://www.edgenyc.com/en

I could see that tourists were finally coming back to Manhattan as the lines are starting to get longer at the site. It is nice to see people visiting New York City again. As I walked past the Hudson Yards Mall, I realized that this was where the Highline started and I made the trip up the stairs to see where this amazing park began.

When I reached the top of the stairs at the platform that covered Tenth Avenue and saw the most unusual sculpture in the middle of the platform. This unique work called “Untitled” looked like an airplane flying over the platform and come to find out it was based on a drone. The work is the artist’s reaction to Drone warfare the US conducts aboard (Wiki/Artist Bio/NY Times).

Artist Sam Durant is an American born multimedia artist whose works deal with social and cultural issues. He has his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.

‘Untitled’ by Artist Sam Durant is atop the Highline

Artist Sam Durant

https://www.samdurant.net/

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

Artist Sam Durant talks about his sculpture “Untitled”

I walked the Highline from Tenth Avenue down West 30th Street, enjoying the views of the Hudson River ahead of me and the plantings that adorned the sides of the walk. Being such a beautiful sunny day the walkway park was extremely crowded so I just walked closer to the river to enjoy the breezes and then walked back and people watched. The seats above the Tenth Avenue entrance are the perfect place to work on a tan on a sunny day.

I rounded around West 28th Street again dodging all the construction and the construction workers who had stopped to eat their lunches and spread out all over the sidewalks. The one nice thing is that the area is loaded with breakfast and lunch carts offering all sorts of cuisine. The aromas near the construction sites smell of hot chilis, cumin and curry.

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

Elle Street Art explains her mural at the Hudson Yards

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

Artist Elle Street Art in front of her work

https://www.ellestreetart.com/

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

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

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

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

The Vessel at 20 Hudson Yards

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

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

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

Architect Thomas Heatherwick describing “The Vessel”

After I left the core of the Hudson Yards complex, I visited the 37th Street Food Market for lunch. What I liked about this deli was the outdoor dining tables which are nice to eat at on a sunny day. They are located on the side of the building in a small area of the sidewalk surrounded by plants and lighting. It is a very pleasant place to eat meals.

37th Street Food Market at 478 Tenth Avenue

https://www.restaurantji.com/ny/new-york/37th-street-deli-/

I ordered a Chicken Parmesan Panini that was pretty good. The sandwich was filled with chopped chicken cutlets and topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella. The sandwich was then pressed, and it served with a side of sauce. It was delicious.

The Food Market also has a nice selection of groceries and snacks and it’s a big place for the local residents to meet and one of the few places in the neighborhood to get these items until you walk over to Eighth Avenue.

I finished the walk walking around up Eighth Avenue and the Upper Part of the Hudson Yards around West 40th Street revisiting some of the streets I had seen in twilight just a week earlier. They seemed less ominous on a sunny day and did not have the shady characters standing around under the underpasses to the Port Authority. Just watch yourself at night walking around this part of the neighborhood.

As I have said before, the Hudson Yards is a neighborhood in transition, and it will be several years before all of these buildings are finished. The effect will be amazing in that they are building a City within a City and it will change this part of Manhattan in the future.

New York City just keeps morphing even in the Pandemic years!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These will show you the constant changes in the neighborhood.

Places to Eat:

37th Street Food Market

478 Tenth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 967-5200

https://www.restaurantji.com/ny/new-york/37th-street-deli-/

Open: Sunday 8:30am-12:00pm/Monday-Saturday 8:30am-5:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d23993332-r834203532-37th_Street_Food_Market-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://holyapostlesnyc.org/

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

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

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

Chelsea Park during the summer months

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

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

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

“The Chelsea Doughboy” Memorial (NYCParks.org)

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

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

The statue was designed by artist Philip Martiny.

Artist Philip Martiny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

520 West 28th

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artist Allen Wexler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hudson Yards development

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

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

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

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

‘The Big Apple” by Artist Felix Marzell

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

Artist Felix Marzell

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

Artist Felix Marzell

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

Please watch his video (in French) about Industrial Design

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

“Art by Ashley” by artist Ashely-Simone McKenzie

https://www.ashleysimone.art/

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

Watch her interview on this interesting piece of art

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

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

https://stmichaelnyc.org/ (Wiki)

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

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

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

The Webster Apartments at 419 West 34th Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manhattan West complex (Manhattan West.com)

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

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

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

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

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

James A. Farley

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

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

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a former politician and diplomat.

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

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

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

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

The portion size of the Chicken Fingers special is large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These will show you the constant changes in the neighborhood.

Places to Eat:

Lucky Burgers

264 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 242-4900

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

http://www.luckysfamousburgers23rdst.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

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

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

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

Bob’s Park next to 454 West 35th Street

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

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

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

Bob’s Park at 454 West 35th Street

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

The Nero Wolfe Plaque at 454 West 35th Street

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

The plaque on the building at 454 West 35th Street

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

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

“Art by Ashley” by artist Ashely-Simone McKenzie

https://www.ashleysimone.art/

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

Watch her interview on this interesting piece of art

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

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

The Canoe Plaza designed by Design Wild

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

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

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

“Ascension” by Artist Jordan Baker-Caldwell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engine 34/Ladder 21 at 440 West 38th Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Untitled

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

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

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

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

https://www.croatianchurchnewyork.org/

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://m.facebook.com/115798258443108

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

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

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

Please read my other Blogs on walking Hudson Yards:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to Eat:

9th Avenue Gourmet Deli

480 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 695-6204

https://m.facebook.com/115798258443108

Open: Sunday-Saturday 24 hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Places to Visit:

Bella Abzug Park

542 West 36th Street

New York, NY 10018

(212) 239-1619

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

New York Transit Museum Gallery

89 East 42nd Street

New York, NY 10001

(212) 878-0106

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

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

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Three Walking the Avenues of Hudson Yards from Eleventh to Tenth Avenues from West 42nd to West 34th Streets March 15th, 2022

Daylight Savings time has finally arrived and the warm weather and sunshine have come with it. The nice weather has finally broke and it was 63 degrees today. For some reason it felt like a Saturday with so many people walking around outside and not looking like anyone was in the office.

I got into Hudson Yards by the early afternoon and it was a quick walk being that the neighborhood is in a complete state of flux. Most of the blocks along Eleventh and Tenth Avenues are being knocked down and rebuilt. Old parking garages, stables and car repair businesses are slowly being closed and shiny new office and apartment towers are springing up all over the neighborhood.

When walking down Eleventh Avenue from West 42nd to West 34th Streets every lock facing the Javits Center was like this. The old parking lots and garages have been knocked down and cleared away. All these new dark colored glass buildings are starting to replace them and change the context of the area. This had always been a shipping area with the piers, but the piers now are used for recreation.

The Jacob Javits Center at 655 West 34th Street

https://javitscenter.com/

The Javits Center pretty much casts its shadow along the entire part of Eleventh Avenue on one side of the road and a mix of buildings rising from the other. It will be interesting to see what happens in about five years when the entire area is built out. Pretty much everything in-between Eleventh and Tenth Avenues looks like it will change.

I had just visited the Javits Center for the International Restuarant Show the week before and the day I passed it they were having the Cosmetologists convention that was just letting out. The facility can be all encompassing when it is full and empty when the show is small like the Restaurant Show was this year.

My blog on walking the International Restaurant Show-Day One Hundred and Thirty-Three:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/8712

Tenth Avenue has a few traces of the old neighborhood in the way of tenement brownstones here and there along the avenue but again I do not think it will last with the real estate in this area in such high demand. Some of the old brownstones are currently housing delis and bars that cater to the new techies that are dominating the area. It seemed like such a young crowd of people milling around that afternoon. Again, I think people are still working from home and come out on a break to have lunch and enjoy the sunshine.

You really have to dodge the construction sites along Tenth Avenue until you reach about West 35th Street where most of the buildings have been completed. There are new hotels and a wonderful luxury mall on the southern part of West 35th Street with all sorts of wonderful stores and restaurants to explore. The best attribute is the clean public bathrooms on the second floor which is nice when you are visiting the neighborhood.

One small patch of green is located in the neighborhood surprisingly is Astro’s Dog Run, a tiny little park that is members only near the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel at Tenth Avenue and West 39th Street. This tiny stretch of property offers a safe place for neighborhood pooches and their masters a place to stretch out and run around. Years ago, I have known it as a Community Garden, but things change over the years.

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

http://astrosdogrun.com/

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

The scariest part of the walk is walking on both parts of Dyer Avenue which has all the entrance and exit roads to the Lincoln Tunnel. There is no way to cross the complete street and please don’t attempt to go any further than the side walks. The traffic cops at the West 34th Street entrance gave me the strangest looks as I started walking down it having to stop and walk back at the West 36th entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel with its large amount of traffic early in the afternoon.

It was the same when walking down Dyer Avenue from the West 42nd Street entrance. You can only walk down to West 39th Street before you have to turn around. I do know that the drivers will give you a very mean stare as they see you walking around as they speed by honking. This part of the neighborhood is not for walking purposes and if you like to see the underside of a road or bridge, this is the experience for you.

I finished this part of the walk in the neighborhood in less than two hours, so it gave me a chance to walk around the new Hudson Yards Mall and check out all the shops. There is a nice selection of stores that I think will eventually settle in and cater more to the neighborhoods needs instead of such expensive stores such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. This is nice for the tourists but right now with the exception of the weekends, all these stores seemed very quiet to me. It’s a pretty mall but with the closing of the Neiman Marcus, I think the mall owner has misread the neighborhood at least for now.

The Hudson Yards in all its glory

When the entire neighborhood is built out and inhabited by more people and everyone is back to work in their offices in Manhattan, I think the mall will be a huge success not just on the weekends.

For lunch that afternoon, I went back to a favorite Dim Sum restaurant in closer to Macy’s on West 35th Street Stick to My Pot Potstickers at 224 West 35th Street. This tiny little Chinese restaurant has a small bar area to sit down and the most amazing smells when you enter the restaurant of pork dumplings sizzling in the wok.

I had the Classic four Pork and Chive Dumplings pan-fried which I believe are freshly made to order. I also had an order of their delicious Spring Rolls (two per order) that were lightly fried and crisp on the outside with crunchy vegetables on the inside. For dessert, they added a new item to the menu, a Cake Mochi.

The dumplings at Stick to My Pot Potstickers at 224 West 35th Street

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

This delightful little cake made with a fresh batter per order was filled with crushed pineapple in the middle so that it was chewy and crisp on the outside and sweet and moist on the inside. A wonderful addition to the menu and a great way to end the meal.

Finishing the neighborhood early, I had a chance to just walk around Midtown and enjoy the sunshine and look at all the changes with the addition of new restaurants and shops in the Garment District. I don’t see New York City as dying or rotten to the core as some naysayers will say. I see a City that is transitioning again in the hopefully Post-COVID period and adapting to the changes in the make-up of the City until the office workers and tourists return.

With the warmer weather coming and a few more smiles on people’s faces, I hope we are seeing a light at the end of this two-year dark tunnel.

Please read my other Blogs on walking Hudson Yards:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to Eat:

Stick to my Pot Potstickers

224 West 35th Street

New York, NY 10001

(646) 822-2003

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-One: Walking the Borders of the Hudson Yards from Ninth to Twelve Avenues from West 42nd to West 34th Streets February 26, 2022

After two days of miserable weather and freezing rain, the storm finally passed, and we had blue skies and sunny weather all day. It was still cold at 38 degrees, but it felt warmer in the sun. Manhattan really does sparkle when the sun is out.

I started my afternoon with a trip up to Blondies Sports Bar at 212 West 79th Street on the Upper West Side. I swear just trying to catch a subway is next to impossible with all the work that is going on with the tracks. I got to the bar in time to watch the last two minutes of the Michigan State versus Purdue game that had started at noon. I thought the game would go on for more time but there we were with 1:15 minutes left and we were ahead by two points. Talk about a nail biter.

We sealed the game with a three-point shot and won the game with 34 seconds left. The time did run out and we won the game at home 68-65. Too close for comfort but still an exciting win for us. This means we have a good shot at making the NCAA tournament. The Alumni that were there were going nuts. It was an exciting end of the game.

Highlights from the Purdue versus Michigan State Game We won 68-65!

After the game was over, I decided that it was such a nice day that I would walk back to the Hudson Yards to start my walk. Still, I needed a snack, so I made a detour when walked through the Upper West Side to Epices Bakery at 104 West 70th Street which is right next door to Icon Style by Lara Kornbluh 104 West 70th Street, an exquisite jewelry store that I have visited many times.

Epices Bakery is like a little bit of Paris on the Upper West Side. This wonderful little French bakery has the most delicious pastries and savories. They had just taken the most wonderful looking Broccoli and Cheese Quiche out of the oven and put them into the cases, but I had my eye on the Ham and Cheese Croissant ($5.50), that was loaded with Gruyere Cheese and chopped ham that was baked onto the top. I could taste the sharp cheese with the buttery dough and how the filling oozed out with each bite.

Epices Bakery at 104 West 70th Street

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

For dessert, I had the Paris Brest ($6.00), a type of puff pastry that was filled with a Hazel Nut cream filling. It was delicious but suffered from too much refrigeration. The cream center was a little hard.

I took my purchases and ate them by the benches across from Lincoln Center. I could see in the corner of my eye that the birds were eyeing every crumb that I dropped and they did not wait for me to leave. I never saw so many birds in this City that have such good taste in pastries.

I walked down Columbus Avenue from the Upper West Side until it hit Ninth Avenue at West 57th Street and continued until I got to West 42nd Street and then walked around to Eighth Avenue and then walked the length of West 34th Street, visiting parks and artwork that I had seen last summer when I finished the Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton neighborhood that borders north of the Hudson Yards.

The Hudson Yards neighborhood like the rest of the areas around West 42nd Street are changing fast with new construction of office and apartment buildings. The area around Twelve Avenue on West 42nd Street is now built up with gleaming new apartment buildings with all sorts of new amenities or so their signs say as you pass them.

I reached the end of West 42nd Street to see the Hudson River gleaming in front of me and the Circle Line Cruise Line at 83 North River Piers sitting idle waiting for the weather to get nice enough again for the cruises around the island to start up again. Pier 84 where the boats are located was really quiet with the exception of a few joggers.

This is where I had spent my birthday cruising around Manhattan for my birthday in 2019 and when it cleared by the time we got to Inwood in the most northern part of the island, the weather broke, and it was the most breathtaking trip around the island.

My blog on the Circle Line Cruise for my birthday:

My blog from “Day One Hundred and Forty Seven: Cruising around Manhattan on the Circle Line”:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/10649

It was also the site of the first time I did “The Great Saunter Walk” walk around the perimeter of Manhattan in May 2020 as the City was just reopening from the clutches of COVID. It is the starting point for so many of my projects.

My blog from “Day One Hundred and Sixty-Seven: The Great Saunter Walk”:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/13811

When I walked down West 42nd Street, I revisited many of the buildings and outside art pieces that I had admired before. The buildings River Place at 650 West 42nd Street and Silver Towers at 620 West 42nd Street gleamed in the sunlight as I passed them. These large apartment complexes do break up the once warehouses and office buildings that had dominated the area since WWII. It really shows that a City can reinvent itself in a fifty year period.

What stood out to me was right smack in the middle of these two complexes and that was Tom Otterness Playground at 630 West 42nd Street. This space of green reminded me of the creativity in playground design that I had seen earlier in Waterline Square Park. Combining small space with creative design to produce a whimsical park for families. It was such a nicely landscaped park and a relief from the heat. I loved the beautiful and artsy playground which is a testament to Tom Otterness’s approach to playground design.

Tom Otterness Playground jungle gym structure is whimsical

Artist Tom Otterness

http://www.tomotterness.net/

Tom Otterness is an American artist who studied at the Art Student League in New York. His work is known as ‘whimsical and fun’ but also sends a message and tells a story. I just hope that one day he sells this creative playground equipment commercially as I can see this as an addition to many people’s backyard.

Please watch the video on Tom Otterness

The Silver Towers is a twin residential set of towers that stand tall in the neighborhood and set the tone for the new residential section of this side of the West Side. Their brilliance in design and reception of sun light is interesting. The buildings were designed by architect Costas Kondylis and were finished in 2009.

Silver Towers at 620 West 42nd Street

https://silvertowers.com/

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

Just a little further and across the street is the sculpture of an unusual polka dot pumpkin in the front of the Sky Building at 605 West 42nd Street by artist Yayoi Kusama. The sculpture sits in front of this elegant glass residential tower in the ever changing neighborhood by the Hudson River. The Sky is a mixed use luxury residential building that was designed by architectural firm Goldstein, Hill & West and was completed in 2016 (Wiki/Moinian Group).

Sky Building

The Sky at 605 West 42nd Street

https://www.moinian.com/sky

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_(skyscraper)

The Sky Building

The polka dot pumpkin in front of The Sky building is by artist Yayoi Kusama is fun and interesting

Yayoi Kusama artist

Artist Yayoi Kusama

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

http://yayoi-kusama.jp/e/information/

Artist Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese born artist who studied at the Kyoto School of Arts & Crafts and is known for her installments and sculptures but also works in film, performance art and fashion among other mediums and is known for influence in ‘Pop Art’ (Wiki/Artist Bio).

Please watch the video of Yayoi Kusama

When you are making your way down Twelve Avenue, there is not much to see. You see the coastline of New Jersey and many idle boats in the distance. I do not think most of the cruises will reopen until the end of May so there are not too many people walking around this area.

Walking down Twelve Avenue from the street side going south is dominated by the enormous Jacob Javits Center Conventional Hall which covers from West 40th Street at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel (my lifeline travel home after a long day) and West 34th Street where the border of the neighborhood turns. I have been to the Javits Center many times for the Hotel/Motel Shows, The Restaurant Shows and the Fancy Food Shows. I have seen the most amazing equipment and tasted the most wonderful foods at these shows. I share my trips to the Jacob Javits Center over the years:

Javits Center at 429 Eleventh Avenue

https://javitscenter.com/

My blogs on the Hotel/Motel Show at the Javits Center:

Day Twenty-Three:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/221

My blogs on the Restaurant Show at the Javits Center:

Day One Hundred and Thirty-Three:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/12766

Day Seventy:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/3933

Day Thirty-Nine:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/1220

My blogs on the Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center:

Day One Hundred and Forty-One:

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

Day Three-Five:

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

When I returned to walk along the coast line of Twelve Avenue I could not believe that I missed some things on my travels on The Great Saunter Walk. I must have been tired or else the area had not been open at the time.

When travelling past Pier 81 I encountered the most interesting sculpture that had been behind a link fence. It was further in towards the building and the work “Senes” by artist William Crovello really stood out for its twists and turns in stainless steel.

“Senes” by Artist George Crovello is at Pier 81

https://www.askart.com/artist/William_George_Crovello/128287/William_George_Crovello.aspx

Artist William George Crovello is an American born artist who works in New York City. He is known for his Post War Geometric and Contemporary sculptures and public art.

I passed Pier 76 next, and I came across the Propeller from the SS United States. Originally opened in 1964, Pier 76 served as a freighter terminal for United States Lines and was leased from the Department of Marine and Aviation until the 1970’s (SS United States Conservatory).

The Propeller of the S.S. United States

https://www.ssusc.org/news/ss-united-states-propeller-now-the-centerpiece-of-nyc-pier-76

Pier 76

During her service career, the SS United States, which was docked just up the river at Pier 86 for much of its service career was fitted with four propellers, two four-bladed and two five-bladed. All the propellers were manufactured from manganese bronze, and each weighed an astounding 60,000 pounds (SS United States Conservatory).

As I passed the piers, most were behind fences awaiting the warmer months when tourists will visit the boats docked here and have dinner or tour the Hudson River line. For now, the piers were really quiet.

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

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

The Hudson Yards development

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

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

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

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

‘The Big Apple” by Artist Felix Marzell

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

Artist Felix Marzell

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

Artist Felix Marzell

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

Please watch his video (in French) about Industrial Design

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

“Art by Ashley” by artist Ashely-Simone McKenzie

https://www.ashleysimone.art/

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

Watch her interview on this interesting piece of art

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

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

https://stmichaelnyc.org/ (Wiki)

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

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

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

The Webster Apartments at 419 West 34th Street

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

As you turn the corner of West 34th Street to Ninth Avenue, you see the contrasts of the ‘new’ New York City and its ethnic past with all the brownstones and mom and pop stores and restaurants. Here you see the true character of ‘old New York’. Still from block to block on the left side of Ninth Avenue as you walk up to West 42nd Street, the Hudson Yards still has extended to this part of the neighborhood.

At the Hudson Crossing Apartments at 414 Ninth Avenue, there is a very interesting statue by Gillie and Marc entitled ” They were the last”, which has three rhinoceroses stacked one on top of another. This was created to bring awareness to conservation and end rhino trafficking (Artist bio).

https://www.facebook.com/gillieandmarc

Artists Marc and Gillie Schattner

Please watch the video on their artwork and their love of art

The couple have an interesting background with no formal art training with Marc being a graphic artist and working for an advertising agency and Gillie being a former model. The couple is known for their large public artworks. Their works are known for their emphasis on the importance on togetherness and the respect for the natural world (Artist website).

What I have always liked about Ninth Avenue near Midtown is the character of the neighborhood. There are still old tenements and brownstones along the Avenue from 42nd Street down into Chelsea. Here and there old restaurant and provision shops sit alongside newer delis and retail shops that show the change in the make-up of the neighborhood. Still with the rezoning of the area I am not too sure how long this will last.

Ninth Avenue not only offers an array of many interesting ethnic businesses but many reasonable and interesting delis, take-out places and restaurants that won’t break the budget. Many of the dining establishments featured on my DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com site is found in the Garment District on its borders and streets that will save you money and the food is wonderful.

As I passed all the restaurants on the other side of the street, I walked up Ninth Avenue to a small park that I never really noticed before. At least that it was a park. This little park called “The Canoe” Plaza is part of the Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Alliance and is at the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 37th Street. This was the creation of the design team of Design Wild and was convert the block to a flowery heaven right at the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel (Hudson Yards Alliance/Design Wild).

The Canoe Plaza designed by Design Wild

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

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

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

“Ascension” by Artist Jordan Baker-Caldwell

Ascension

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

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

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

Starting right at the border of the neighborhood right across the street from the Port Authority near West 41st Street is Capprizzi Pizza at 547 Ninth Avenue. Their delicious small pizzas are all homemade down to the sausage made for the toppings. When I ate there a few years ago they were noted for their small pepperoni pizza which was excellent. The service was very friendly and very authentic. It can be pricey though, but the quality is excellent.

Capprizzi Pizza at 547 Ninth Avenue

https://capizzinyc.com/

A block down and across the street from the Port Authority is the original Two Brother Pizza at 542 Ninth Avenue. This place has been around for years and has one of the best $1.00 slices of pizza in Manhattan. This is my ‘go to’ place when I need a quick snack and want something substantial. To my knowledge, it is one of the original dollar slice places in the City.

The restaurant is in a rather shady section of the shadow of the Port Authority. During the day it is okay but the later at night you get it does attract some interesting characters especially if you eat outside on one of the cocktail tables. The pizza is really good and is one of the few dollar pizza places where the pizza tastes like something. Most places I find in the City the pizza is just something to fill you up.

Two Brothers Pizza at 542 Ninth Avenue

https://www.2brospizzanewyork.com/

Across the street from Two Brothers Pizza and our ‘go to’ place for breakfast during the Christmas holidays was Hell’s Kitchen Deli, a relatively new place to the neighborhood. This is where I ordered Bacon, Egg and Cheese sandwiches. The place is really clean and has a nice selection of snacks and sandwiches.

Hell’s Kitchen Deli at 535 Ninth Avenue has the best breakfast sandwiches

https://www.seamless.com/menu/hells-kitchen-deli-535-9th-ave-new-york/727443

Though most of the housing in this part of the neighborhood is old tenement housing, you can look up from a distance and see some unusual carvings in the buildings. The building at 510-508 Ninth Avenue has some strange faces staring back at you from above. The building was built in 1920 (Apartments.com/StreetEasy.com).

508-510 Ninth Avenue

https://www.apartments.com/508-ninth-ave-new-york-ny/z9017ex/

When walking down Ninth Avenue, you will see the signs of the past not just in the architecture but in former restaurants and provision stores that used to line the Avenue. First there is Esposito Meat Market at 500 Ninth Avenue which has been in business since 1932. You can see the selection of meats and different cuts from the window. The one time I walked in you could smell the aroma of the freshly cut meats. The store prides itself on always delivering quality (Esposito Meat Market website).

Esposito Meat Market at 500 Ninth Avenue

http://espositomeatmarket.com/

Years ago, I did an article on Manganaro’s Grosseria Italiano at 488 Ninth Avenue when owner Seline Dell’Orto still owned and worked at the store. The famous Italian provision store closed about ten years ago after years of squabbling, but the sign is still there. It is now Tavolo Restaurant.

Manganaro’s Grosseria Italiano at 488 Ninth Avenue in 2011

Enjoy the article I wrote on Manganaro’s years ago:

https://patch.com/new-jersey/hasbrouckheights/a-trip-to-manganaros-in-chelsea-for-a-great-lunch

One of the places that had inspired my dining site, “DiningonaShoeStringinNYC” is the 9th Avenue Gourmet Deli (Formerly the AM/PM & Juniors Deli) at 480 Ninth Avenue. This amazing little deli has it all, a nice grocery department, cold drinks and wonderful hot and cold food section that never ceases to amaze me.

The 9th Avenue Deli at 480 Ninth Avenue

https://m.facebook.com/115798258443108

The breakfast platters here are heaping with eggs, pancakes and sausage and the sandwich platters fill the take out containers. Everything is freshly cooked and delicious. Their burgers are cooked perfectly and they don’t skimp on the fries. The best part is that they are open 24 hours.

Another great place that I love to stop at is Kashmir 9 at 478 Ninth Avenue. The cuisine of the restaurant is traditional Bangladesh and Pakistani food with all sorts of baked goods and entrees. I have had their Lamb Kebobs, Chicken Patties, Potato Cutlets and the Vegetable Samosas are out of this world.

Kashmir 9 at 478 Ninth Avenue

https://www.facebook.com/kashmire9newyork/

When you walk in the whole restaurant has the wonderful smell of curry and spices with the hustle and bustle of many languages being spoken. There is even a prayer rug in the back section of the restaurant for those on their breaks which I thought was a nice touch for their busy customers.

The kebobs here are delicious

As I turned the corner of the border of the neighborhood at West 34th Street, I saw a familiar restaurant from Christmas time, Golden City Chinese Restaurant at 423 Ninth Avenue. This is where we ordered in our Christmas dinner. I have to admit that their fried rice is really good but the rest of the meal was okay.

While attending the International Restaurant Show in March of 2022, I decided to try the restaurant again and eat in. It was an experience to say the least. I wanted to try the Lemon Chicken combination plate again with Pork Fried Rice and an Egg Roll. The taste of the food was much better, and the portion size was extremely generous but again the food was way too over-cooked.

Golden City Chinese Restaurant at 423 Ninth Avenue

http://www.goldencitynyc.com/

The chicken tasted good, but the battered pieces should have been pulled out about a minute earlier and same with the egg roll. Their pork fried rice is always good. The staff could not be nicer but this time I ate in, and the restaurant could use a bit of a renovation. I will have to try it again in the future.

The Lemon Chicken is good but overcooked

When I walked the neighborhood again for the International Restaurant Show on the weekend of March 6th-8th, 2022, I got to walk inside and around the Javits Center. I could not believe what I had missed (I had not walked the Avenues yet). All the old parking lots and garages that used to be along Eleventh Avenue are now becoming glass towers. I am convinced within the next five years this will all be rebuilt.

My blog on the New York Restaurant Show in 2022 from March 6th-8th, 2022 at the Javits Center:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/8712

This area of the Manhattan is one to watch. The buildings from Ninth to Twelve Avenues are going to continue to shape the southern borders of Midtown Manhattan and change the way we shop and dine in the City.

We need some positive things going on right now in Manhattan. The COVID shutdown is showing its after-effects.

The current status of the Hudson Yards.

Please read my other Blogs on walking Hudson Yards:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to Eat:

Blondies Sports Bar

212 West 79th Street

New York, NY 10024

(212) 362-3311

http://blondiessportsny.com/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-11:00pm/Monday-Thursday 3:00pm-11:00pm/Friday and Saturday 12:00pm-11:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d522509-Reviews-Blondies_Sports_Bar-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Epices Bakery

104 West 70th Street

New York, NY 10023

(646) 692-3226

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d23398811-Reviews-Epices_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/1566

Golden City Chinese Restaurant

423 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 643-9232

http://www.goldencitynyc.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d3930125-Reviews-Golden_City_Chinese_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Capprizzi Pizza

547 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(646) 746-5120

https://capizzinyc.com/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm/Monday-Thursday 11:00am-3:30pm-5:00pm-10:00pm/Friday & Saturday 11:00am-3:30pm-5:00pm-11:00pm

My review on Tripadvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d1902953-Reviews-Capizzi-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Two Brothers Pizza

542 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 777-0600

https://www.2brospizzanewyork.com/

Open: Sunday 11:00am-12:00pm/Monday-Wednesday 11:00am-1:00am/Thursday-Saturday 11:00am-4:00am

My review on TripAdvisor.com:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

Hell’s Kitchen Deli

535 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 629-6570

Open: See Website

My review on TripAdvisor.com:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d15167472-Reviews-Hell_s_Kitchen_Deli-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

9th Avenue Deli Foods (formerly AM-PM Deli)

480 9th Avenue@37th Street

New York, NY  10018

(212) 695-6204

Open: Sunday-Saturday 24 Hours

My reviews on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d15162978-Reviews-AM_PM_Deli_Grocery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/762

Kashmir 9

478 9th Avenue

New York, NY  10018

(212) 736-7745

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm

Free Delivery

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4519138-Reviews-Kashmir_9-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/1133

Places to Visit:

Bella Abzug Park

532 West 46th Street

New York, NY 10018

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

(212) 239-1619

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

Day Two Hundred and Thirteen: Happy Birthday Dad! January 5th, 2022

I want to say ‘Happy Birthday’ to my father who this blog is dedicated to and for inspiring such a walk around New York City.

I have completed more than half the Island of Manhattan and I still sometimes catch a glimpse of him in the corner of my eye walking beside me like he did on all those wonderful afternoons we spent in Manhattan for birthdays and Father’s Day’s.

Whenever I visit a place that we used to go on a regular basis like the MoMA, Little Italy or Chinatown or the Met, I still think “How much dad would have liked this”. This is why I love the complexity of New York City. Things just keep changing no matter how much you want them to stay the same and it can still surprise you.

This is my dedication to those wonderful afternoons we spent together!

Happy Birthday Day Dad!

Blogger Justin Watrel with his father, Warren Watrel, at “Tap O Mania” in 1994 outside Macy’s Herald Square. Appropriate while the blogger is exploring the Garment District.

“Tap O Mania” was a huge tap dance that used to happen outside Macy’s in the summer to break the Guiness Book of World Records every year. My father and I did this up from the time I was an executive at the store until I moved in 2000. The company stopped doing this for security reasons.

Imagine doing this in the era of COVID!

Day Two Hundred and Eleven: From the delivery of trees to the Sinterklaas Parade in Rhinebeck, NY and other Christmas activities that changed in the blink of an eye: Welcome to another crazy COVID Christmas! December 1st-31st, 2021

I cannot believe that another Christmas has come and gone and COVID is still raging around. Talk about having to adapt to a new world a lot wiser and more aware. I have just become more careful over the last year and kept my activities to a minimum (yeh right, I still run all over the place for work and keeping people informed about happenings all over the place). I just try to stay safe. I put my walk of the Garment District on hold for the Christmas holidays and all that came with it.

Christmas started right after I came home from Thanksgiving dinner in Lambertville when the next morning, I had to wake up at 6:00am to get ready to go to the Christmas tree lot for the Annual Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Christmas Tree Drop Off of the trees. We had 390 trees being delivered and it was all hands-on deck.

Setting up the Christmas trees

Who knew that the truck would arrive at 8:00am and we got caught off guard. No one expected it to come until at least 10:30am. So, at 9:00am, over thirty members and their children emptied all 390 Christmas trees off the truck (they shorted us ten trees), got them tagged and ready to sell. We had not even finished tagging the trees and our first tree sold at 10:30am.

The Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association at Christmas tree set up 2021

I stayed on the site until 4:30pm and we had already sold the first twenty-one trees. I could not believe how fast the trees sold that day. The only reason why I left is that I had to help with the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department on the town’s Annual Holiday Parade. God did it get cold that night.

The night after Thanksgiving, the Hasbrouck Heights Chamber of Commerce holds the Annual Holiday Parade and the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department is always a participant from helping Santa enter town in the Parade to setting up the sound system for the Tree Lighting Ceremony. I swear it got so cold that night by the time the town lit the tree it must have gone down to 35 degrees. Thank God we bundled up!

The Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department at the Annual Hasbrouck Heights Holiday Parade

After the tree was lit, I never saw a place empty out so fast. People were so cold! Even with all our layers, we were cold too.

I did an about face and the next morning left for Beach Haven, NJ to attend some of Long Beach Island’s Christmas activities. The day ended up being much nicer and was a bit warmer. It is a two-hour trip to the shore and you would think that a beach community is not the place to spend an early Christmas weekend but you would be amazed at the activities they had planned all over the island that day.

I left the house around 8:30am on what started out as a gloomy morning that turned sunny and clear by the time I reached Long Beach Island. I decided to visit the Barnegat Lighthouse first to see if it was decorated with lights like the lighthouse at Montauk Point. That was always impressive the years I went out to visit my friend, Lillian.

The lighthouse was not decorated for the holidays but was finally open to walk in and climb the stairs. It was over a hundred steps up and back down. What a view all the way up. There were small stops on the way up with views on each level landing. By the time I reached the top of the stairs there were only three of us up there and God was it windy. I only lasted at the top of the lighthouse a few minutes before I almost blew off. What views of the waves coming in!

The Barnegat Lighthouse at the tip of Long Beach Island

https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/barnegatlighthousestatepark.html

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46285-d286497-Reviews-Barnegat_Lighthouse_State_Park-Barnegat_Light_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/5345

Before I made the journey to the southern part of the island on my November trip, I stopped by the “Santa’s Viking Christmas Village” to see the arts and crafts festival at Viking Village at 19th and the Bay Barnegat Light. It was a sunny but cool afternoon but the winds had calmed down and I was able to walk the booths with no problems. I was in search of homemade Santa’s for my mother’s upcoming birthday. I found them in two different booths, one made of a conch shell and another made of wood.

The local seafood restaurant was open for takeout and you could smell the fried fish in the distance along with the horrible singing by a guitarist who could not carry a note. Thank God he took a break in time for the Barnegat Light Fire Department to bring Mr. and Mrs. Claus to the Village for a visit to the local children.

Santa’s Viking Christmas Village at dusk at closing

http://www.vikingvillageshows.com/village-info.html

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46285-d2471201-Reviews-Viking_Village-Barnegat_Light_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html

After touring the Village, I made my way back down Long Beach Boulevard to the LBI Foundation of The Arts & Sciences Holiday Market 2021, which was mostly full of more expensive artwork and home decor products. It was not as festive as the Village Market and all our mask wearing steamed up everyone’s glasses which was a big complaint.

My next stop was the Long Beach Island Historical Society which sponsored an “Elves Workshop” for kids and their parents with all sorts of arts and crafts happening at twelve different tables lining the front room of the museum. There was cookie decorating and Christmas tree creation with beads and cloth and gingerbread house making. To end the evening, they had Smores and Marshmallows roasting over open firepits in the park across the street.

The Elves Workshop at the Long Beach Island Historical Society

https://lbihistoricalmuseum.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46292-d11444615-Reviews-Long_Beach_Island_Historical_Museum-Beach_Haven_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3311

The museum knows how to welcome in the holiday season.

The Christmas display at the front of the Long Beach Island Historical Society

After my visit to the Historical Society, I went down the road and revisited the NJ Maritime Museum 528 Dock Road right by the water. I had read so much at the shark attacks in New Jersey back in 1916 and wanted to see the exhibition again. I also wanted to see the exhibition on shipwrecks again so I spent the rest of the afternoon at the museum and then walking down to the harbor to watch the sun set. The sun sets on that island are amazing.

The NJ Maritime Museum at 528 Dock Road

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46292-d1881647-Reviews-Museum_of_NJ_Maritime_History-Beach_Haven_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/5338

For dinner that night, I went back to the Chicken or the Egg at 207 North Bay Avenue in the Beach Haven downtown. The food and the selection here is just excellent and the perfect place for comfort foods on a cool night. My waiter could not have been nicer and recommended the White Clam Chowder, which was so thick and rich and you could taste the cream and fresh clams in every bite. God the seafood was so sweet.

The Chicken or the Egg at 207 North Bay Avenue in Beach Haven, NJ

https://www.facebook.com/chegg609/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46292-d438676-Reviews-The_Chicken_or_the_Egg-Beach_Haven_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

For dinner, I started with the New England Clam Chowder and did it hit the spot. Loaded with clams and potatoes in a rich cream soup. It warmed me up inside. I ordered the Chicken Pot Pie for the entree, which was delicious as well. Chunks of chicken and fresh vegetables in a flaky crust and a rich gravy. On a cool night by the shore, there is nothing like it to warm you up. Talk about making the perfect choices for dinner.

The Woo Hoo at 211 South Bay Avenue

https://thewoohoo.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46292-d7646259-Reviews-The_WooHoo-Beach_Haven_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/1244

After dinner on my visit in November of 2021 at the Chicken or the Egg, I finished dessert at The Woo Hoo and walked up through the downtown to see the last of the people roasting marshmallows in the park and walked to Kapler’s Pharmacy at 1 South Bay Street. The drug store was sponsoring horse drawn carriage rides around the neighborhood. I thought what a nice way to end the evening with a twilight view of the sun setting and watching the Christmas lights going on at houses around the neighborhood. The Jersey Shore at Christmas can really surprise you.

Kapler’s Pharmacy event at 1 South Bay Avenue in 2021

https://www.facebook.com/events/kaplers-pharmacy/classis-christmas-soiree/284160150273064/

I thought it was a nice group of visits to get my mind off what is going on in the world. What’s better than the Jersey Shore in warm weather? Visiting at all times of the year in warm weather and then returning for the Christmas holiday events. Who says the Shore closes at Labor Day?

Later that day I found out that Michigan State beat Penn State 30-27. What a way to end the day on my November trip!

After a short trip down to my mom’s for her birthday and two Private Member Nights in New York City at The Met and the Museum of the City of New York (see blog below):

Day Two Hundred and Eight: Private Members Nights in NYC:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/20227

it was back to Rhinebeck, NY for the Sinterklaas Parade and Celebration on Saturday, December 4th. I swear I was running from one place to another the whole week but was looking forward to the parade that had been cancelled last year because of COVID.

I travelled back up to Rhinebeck again for the festivities and got there by 10:00am in time to help unload the truck at the Starr Library. That brought back a lot of memories from parades past and it was so nice to walk around the cool air of Upstate New York. What started off as a very gloomy morning cleared up and it ended up being a clear, sunny and mild day in Rhinebeck.

We unpacked the familiar floats and puppets from years past and put together the bees, owls, geese, knights and dragons, horses that would lead Sinterklaas down his route and Children’s puppets that had children hoping for better times ahead. I always enjoy the comradery of the morning of putting the puppets together for the parade. Our theme this year was “Miss Mouse and Mr. Toad get married” so our events were based on the two characters getting hitched.

(I wanted to thank volunteer Jonathan Green for these pictures)

Me (in the jacket and khakis at the set up for the ‘Sinterklaas Parade’ in Rhinebeck, NY

Setting up the puppets for the parade is interesting

All the latest puppets ready to enter the parade

Mr. Toad preparing for his marriage to Miss Mouse

Miss Mouse preparing for her marriage to Mr. Toad in the Sinterklaas Parade

The Dragon is preparing for his duel with the knights of the parade

The puppets were set up in record time and we were finished by 11:45am

After we were done with the puppets, I drove down to Downtown Rhinebeck and parked a few blocks away and walked over to Main Street and joined in the opening festivities at the Beekman Arms. The restaurant was already packed with customers when I got there and the banquet room was full of visitors at the Opening Ceremony.

I had already checked in to my hotel, so I did not have to come back to the hotel until later that evening. This time I stayed at the Marriott Poughkeepsie which was much closer to Rhinebeck than staying at the one in Fishkill. I have to say that both hotels were wonderful when I was visiting the area.

The Marriott Poughkeepsie at 2641 South Road/Route 9

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pouch-courtyard-poughkeepsie/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g48443-d93719-Reviews-Courtyard_Poughkeepsie-Poughkeepsie_New_York.html?m=19905

The Opening Ceremony at the Beekman Arms is always a lot of fun. All the costumed characters are introduced like the Pocket Lady, Mother Holly (who is always feeling jolly), the Queen Bee and the Snow King and Queen. They also introduced the Mayor of Rhinebeck and his wife, who portrayed Mr. Toad and Miss Mouse and reconfirmed their wedding vows in real life in front of the whole crowd. I thought that was very touching and I told her this later when I ran into her at another event.

After the marriage ceremony and the traditional Polar Bear Dance, Jonathan Kruk, a well-known storyteller, told the story of Sinterklaas. Mr. Kruk is a wonderful speaker and knows how to tell a story. He always captivates a crowd. Even though I have heard the same stories for years, I still enjoy listening to him speak.

No one is better at storytelling then Jonathan Kruk at Sinterklaas

Because I said that I would help with the checking in with the volunteers for the parade, I had to be back to the library by 4:00pm so that only gave me about a little over two and a half hours this time to enjoy the festivities.

What was nice was the policy blocked off the Downtown area so that everyone could walk in the streets and watch the performers do their thing. There were bands on stilts performing rag time music and holiday classics, the Polar Bear danced around and greeted visits with a quick spin on the street and I visited the Toad Stool where Mr. Toad and Miss Mouse greeted each visitor with a bundle of ribbons so that you could give them to strangers for good luck. I had never heard of that tradition before but it was interesting to walk through a giant toadstool.

I also walked around the businesses that were open and admired the store window displays. It was as if each store was trying to outdo the other for creativity and beauty of the Christmas season. My favorite was Samuel’s Sweet Shop at 42 East Market Street in Downtown Rhinebeck.

Samuel’s Sweet Shop at 42 East Market Street

https://www.facebook.com/samuelsofrhinebeck/

I watched the Grumpuses, Sinterklaas’s helpers do their traditional dance, singing groups entertain the outdoor crowds (Keeping COVID safe) and performers with sticks doing their routine. What I liked about Sinterklaas this year is that there were a lot of outdoor venues, so people were not cooped up inside wearing masks.

By 3:00pm I was starved and knowing that I would not be able to eat until way after the parade was over, I stopped at Pete’s Famous at 34 East Market Street. I love dining here and like their generous portions and the friendly service. I had my favorite Turkey Club sandwich with French Fries which is always good. They roast their own fresh turkey every day for their sandwiches.

Pete’s Famous at 34 East Market Street

https://www.petesfamous.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d823142-Reviews-Pete_s_Famous_Restaurant-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

The day started to fall into dusk and the whole town was being lit up. This is when Rhinebeck shows its true beauty as a Christmas village. All the trees in the Downtown are lit with white lights and adorned with paintings of the Sinterklaas Festival and ribbons. Also, all the stores light their windows and it makes the whole town look like a Currier & Ives woodprint.

Downtown Rhinebeck at dusk

Downtown Rhinebeck at night when its magic comes to life

I got back to the library at 4:00pm and assisted the staff in getting everyone ready for the parade, explaining how to work the puppets and hold them and making sure that everyone knew to listen to the marshals who were running the parade when it started.

It had been two years since we had a parade but it felt like time had not even passed by. I love to watch the parade come to life. As everyone lines up, the lights go on at each puppet and the bands get into high gear. Then there is the excitement of walking down the hill into Downtown Rhinebeck to the adoring crowds of the parade.

The crowds have tripled in the decade that I have been volunteering for the parade. The first time that I volunteered it was in 2010 with my father on my first trip up to Rhinebeck since being at the Culinary Institute and then I started volunteering again in 2014 when I started working on the Halloween Parade in the City. Just like that parade, excitement builds as the parade starts.

Walking down that hill is an amazing thing as people get so excited to see the floats and hear the music especially at this time with COVID raging on. Things seemed more festive as this is an outdoor event and it was two weeks before the omicron outbreak raged the country. It was a night of revelry and welcoming in the holiday season.

Sinterklaas is a magically evening in Downtown Rhinebeck

Because the positions in the parade and the puppets were all filling myself and the other person, I worked with on checking people in took the “Follow the Banner in the Parade” banner down the hill to get everyone to the staging area for the conclusion of the parade. We were right behind the drumline of women who concluded the parade and whipped spectators into a dancing frenzy. I watched as people literally danced in the streets happy to be outside enjoying this evening. It was so nice to see families have such a good time.

This wonderful view of the parade that was posted online of ‘Sinterklaas 2021’

The parade ended in the community parking lot with all the characters are introduced and the well wishes to Sinterklaas and his entourage. There was music and the fire eaters showing their talents off to the large crowd who were looking towards a much happier holiday season. It was just nice to see everyone having a festive evening.

After the ceremony was over, I just walked around Downtown Rhinebeck, admiring the beautifully decorated windows and admiring the white lights adorning the trees. I love this downtown at Christmas. I stopped at Village Pizza for dinner and it was nice to just warm up. God is their pizza delicious.

Village Pizza at 19 East Market Street

https://www.facebook.com/RBKVP/

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

After dinner, it was another quiet walk around downtown Rhinebeck to admire the lights and the window displays. I love walking around this town.

Downtown Rhinebeck before nightfall

Downtown Rhinebeck before dusk

The next morning, I was off early to join some of the other members of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association for a modified Christmas hello to all our retired firefighters living in the NJ State Firemen’s Association.

Since our party was cancelled for the residents due to COVID, we gave our gift to the residents the week before (we got each resident a long-sleeved shirt that was monogramed with their name on it which I heard they all loved) and we also had a special Jersey Mike’s lunch for the residents the month before to ring in the holiday season.

Because of COVID regulations, we could only have a few members come but myself and the President of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association talked with our fellow firefighters during ‘Holiday Bingo’ or walked around to greet them and wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’.

Santa greeting guests at the NJ Firemen’s Home in Boonton, NJ in 2019 in better times

It was just for a short time that we were allowed to stay but the members of the home appreciated it. We wanted to let our fellow firefighters know that we did not forget them during the holidays.

Members of the NJ State Firemen’s Home enjoying the Jersey Mike’s dinner we sponsored

Classes took up most of next week for me as we prepared for my Introduction to Business class to make their big presentation to me for their final grade. So, I was running around most of the week working with both my online class and my live class as we were getting ready for final exams.

On Thursday, December 9th, I took a break from all of my grading and went to see the production of “A Christmas Pudding” at Bergen Community College where I work. The students were putting on a Christmas retrospect of songs and readings which was a very nice performance.

The Theater students sang many traditional and contemporary songs from the American songbook with one student singing a very emotional version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from the movie “Meet Me in St. Louis”. Considering everything that was going on with COVID, I thought it was very touching. The students did a good job with the production and it really put me into the Christmas spirit.

The Play “A Christmas Pudding” at Ciccone Theater at Bergen Community College on December 9th

Another thing that put me into the Christmas spirit was all the new songs coming out this year. Did we need some Christmas cheer this year! I wanted to share two of my favorites that came to me via YouTube.

These two songs appeared on the Internet when I was writing this blog and I thought they were very symbolic of what is going on right now during the holidays as we try to resume to a new normal. I wanted to share them with all of you.

John Legend’s new Christmas song: “You Deserve it All”

Nora Jones new Christmas song: “Christmas Calling”

Kohmi Hirose did this great version of “Sleigh Ride” in English

On December 10th, my students presented their Class Group Project entitled “I’ve got a Golden Ticket to Bergen Community College-Homecoming 2022” and the students did a terrific job with the project.

The students logo to “I’ve got a Golden Ticket to Bergen Community College-Homecoming 2022”.

Here is the presentation with all the commercials:

Day Two Hundred and Nine on my “MywalkinManhattan.com” blog:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/20566

This “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory themed project was inspired by the 50th Anniversary of the film. I had the students watch the film for inspiration and ideas, then put the framework for the project together and they took it from there.

There is a message from me their CEO as well:

A welcome from CEO/Co-Founder of Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc.

I could not have been prouder of my students both in my live class and in my online class who created the individual Class Project, “Market Street Candy & Confections”, reopening a 100-year-old candy store with a modern twist.

Here is the project with all the graphics that the students created:

Day Two Hundred and Ten on “MywalkinManhattan.com”:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/20568

With the major class projects over with, I prepared the students final exams and emailed off my online students their exam first. While they came in, I was able to grade along the way. Taking a break from that over the weekend, I visited Hope, NJ for a Lantern Walking Tour of the town and then a Candlelight Church Service at the Methodist church.

The Hope Annual Moravian Christmas Tour and Church service in Hope, NJ

I discovered this tour when I was traveling out to the Delaware Water Gap when I was updating my blog on “Visiting Budd Lake” and I stopped in Hope before heading to Blairstown, where I had wanted to visit the Blairstown Museum at the end of the day (it had closed by then). I saw this flyer when one of the shopkeepers in town handed it to me and I thought it would be an interesting event. What an eye opener!

I never heard of the history of the Moravian religion before and how they founded the town. We toured all the former factories and homes that had been built around the turn of the last century and then heard actors talk about that time during Christmas. Life just seemed slower then.

This is also where the opening scenes of the cult film “Friday the 13th” were shot. The initial scene where Annie arrives in Crystal Lake for her journey to the camp. I included the clip from the opening scene and the what the current locations look like now.

“Friday the 13th” from 1980 filmed in Hope, NJ

The famous opening scene from the film “Friday the 13th”

Friday the 13th (1980) Filming Locations

This is where Annie entered the diner for the opening of “Friday the 13th”:

Hope Junction Antiques at 331 High Street (where the diner was located at the time of filming)

https://www.hopejunctionantiques.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HopeJunctionAntiques/

The inside of the Hope Junction Antiques with one of kind artwork and antiques.

This unique store carries an array of local and regional artists work, the owner’s personal art pieces and a selection of decorative items and antique pieces. It had an interesting selection of holiday items when I visited the town both on my journey through Budd Lake and Route 46 and when I took the walking tour on December 11th. The store was open still right before the tour.

Burgdorff Realty at 2 Walnut Street where Annie enters the truck

https://www.facebook.com/BurgdorffERA/

Burgdorff Realty is where Annie entered the truck in the scene.

The Moravian Cemetery on High Street just down the road from Downtown Hope, NJ

https://www.facebook.com/HopeMoravianCemetery/

The cemetery is the ‘crossroads’ but is actually right down the block from the antique store and the realty company. This is now part of the St. John’s Methodist Church. This is where the Candlelight Services were held.

But I was not there for a movie tour but a cheerful Christmas tour of Moravian history. I met my tour group at the Hope Community Center which was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Before the tour started, the Hope Historical Society who was running the tour was selling food and Christmas items as a fundraiser. We started the Lantern Tour from this location.

The Hope Community Center at 5 Walnut Street decorated for Christmas

When we finished visiting some of the old factories, we visited ‘Trout Alley’, where people used to travel to get around the toll booth when they arrived in Hope. The path is now used to get to the antique store at the end of the path.

https://www.hopechristmascraftmarket.com/building-info

Trout Alley

Trout Alley is the path to avoid the toll booth in Hope, NJ.

The Hope Historical Society at 323 High Street

https://www.hopenjhistory.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/6341

The Hope Historical Society was the sponsor of this program and was open the evening of the tour. We got to walk inside and look at old pictures of the town, old maps and artifacts that have been donated over the years by local residents that are part of the history of the town. The small one room building also houses vintage furniture and household and dress items. Please look at my blog at VisitingaMuseum.com above.

Looking down the street from Downtown Hope, NJ to the Inn at Millrace Pond where the Festival of Trees was located.

The house on High Street where we heard about Moravian Christmas traditions

Costumed characters sat on the porch that evening and reminisced about life at the turn of the last century as they prepared for the Christmas holidays. They talked about the hours needed to prepare the decorations and food for the legions of relatives and friends that would be visiting.

It was more spectacular at dusk when it was lit for Christmas

The First Hope Bank and Moravian homes that are now private residences

The bank was called the Gemeinhaus, which was the church/community center of the village. It was built in 1781. The house next door which is part of the bank is the Caleb Swayze House that was built in 1832.

Moravian Residences by the bank

The Caleb Swayze is the house towards the right and it was built in 1832. It is now part of the bank.

The homes and the current bank at dusk lit for Christmas

The Toy Chest Toy Store at 335 High Street a former Moravian home

https://www.facebook.com/thehopetoychest/

I have been to the Toy Chest Toy Store many times on my journey to Hope, NJ and it has the most amazing selection of toys, games and collectibles in the area.

Moravian home where the Manger program was performed and after it was over, we visited many local homes of prominent residents from the area. To end the tour, we visited the back of someone’s garage where there was a live nativity scene performed that evening with actors reading from the Bible.

This interesting little barn/garage is across from the church and I thought looked quite festive

St. John’s Methodist Church at 354 High Street and the former Moravian Church where the Candlelight services were held. The service is posted on their Facebook page below.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Methodist-Church/St-Johns-United-Methodist-Church-1406394686297265/

I attended the Candlelight Christmas services at St. John’s Methodist Church which had once served as the Moravian Church and the service was followed as it would have been at the turn of the last century. The visiting priest had once been head of the church here and gave a very inspirational talk on the holidays that was followed by the lights being dimmed and caroling by candlelight which gave the whole church an interesting glow (you can see the whole service on the church’s Facebook page attached).

Afterwards I took one last walk around Hope to admire all the lights and decorations. After a quick slice of pizza at Hope Pizzeria at 435 Hope Blairstown Road, I was on my way home through the darkness. It really does get dark on these back roads until you hit Route 80. The little pizzeria is tucked into a small strip mall on the side of the road and has great pizza. It really was a festive and interesting evening.

Hope Pizza and Catering at 435 Hope Blairstown Road

https://www.hopepizzeria.com/

https://www.facebook.com/hopepizzeria/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46518-d19270906-Reviews-Hope_Pizzeria_Catering-Hope_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

For my Christmas present to myself every year, I go to Carnegie Hall for the NY Pops Christmas Concert but it ended up being on the night of my final exam and there was no way to cancel it, so I had to miss it again this year (COVID cancelled it last year).

When I visited the City the Sunday before for the “Shark” exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History, I walked back to Port Authority through Lincoln Center and I wanted to see what was going on this Holiday season and I saw that Kristin Chenoweth was performing a one woman show to promote her new Christmas album that Monday night. I was on the Internet that night to see if there were tickets left for the show.

The “Shark” exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History at Central Park West at 79th Street

https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/sharks

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d210108-Reviews-American_Museum_of_Natural_History-New_York_City_New_York.html

The next night I had tickets in hand and off I went to Lincoln Center which I had not been to in two years since I had seen “Whipped Cream” in December of 2019 for the holidays. It was so nice be dressed up and going to the Met again. The theater was packed with people with the same idea. The City was ablaze with Christmas colors and lights.

Lincoln Center in all its glory at Lincoln Center Plaza

http://www.lincolncenter.org/

What a concert! Talk about being in sync with the holidays and just what the doctor ordered after a long semester. I needed a good concert and this really put me into the holiday spirit. Ms. Chenoweth was really in great spirits that night and brought the house down with these two songs from her album plus playing from Broadway shows and the Great American Songbook. It was a great Christmas concert and I left humming down Eighth Avenue.

This song opened the show at the Metropolitan Opera House on December 13th, 2021

https://www.metopera.org/season/2021-22-gala/kristin-chenoweth-christmas-at-the-met/

This song brought down the house!

I was starved when I left for the theater since I was in a rush to get into the City that afternoon with enough time to make the concert and still grade quizzes that were coming in from my online class at the Cornell Club.

I had a sudden craving for Linguini in White Clam Sauce so off I went to Amore Pizza Cafe at 370 West 58th Street which I had visited over the summer. I ordered their Linguini in White Clam sauce which ended up being a piping hot almost pound of pasta with a quarter pound of clams on top ($10.95) with a Coke. Talk about excellent and the perfect dinner on a cool night. The sauce was so flavorful and the clams were so sweet and fresh. I ate contently and the manager was so happy when I told her the food was excellent. Talk about an end to a wonderful evening.

The Linguini with White Clam Sauce was just superb that night at Amore Pizza Cafe

https://amorepizzacafe.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

For the rest of the week, I had visited the Met and the Museum of the City of New York for private events and while seeing the new “Shark” exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History, I went to see the “Origami Tree”, that has been a staple of the museum for years. All of these events really put me in the Christmas spirit and put the ghosts of last Christmas behind me. It was not too last.

The Origami Tree at the American Museum of Natural History

I wanted to visit the Hudson River Valley again before the holiday season was over and I saw on the Dutchess County Tourism site that Mount Gulian, a mansion near Beacon, NY was being decorated for the holidays and December 15th was the first day it would be open for touring.

I grabbed my aunt and we decided to spend the day visiting decorated homes and towns for the Christmas season. Our first stop was Beacon, NY to visit some of the stores on my website, LittleShoponMainStreet@wordpress.com, Colorant and Flora a Good Time both located in the downtown area and then off to Mount Gulian, a decorated mansion up Route 9.

Downtown Beacon, NY at Christmas

Mount Gulian was the home of the Verplanck’s for generations, the original house burned to the ground in 1938 and this house is a replica of the original sitting on the original home’s foundation. The house is decorated in many of the Verplanck’s family heirlooms donated by branches of the family over the years.

The main rooms on the first floor of the home including the former living room, dining room, sitting room and library were all decorated for the Victorian Christmas holidays. The hallways and doorways were also adorned with garland and bows and lights giving a festive and warm appearance to the house.

The tour took about an hour (see my blog on VisitingaMuseum.com) and the history of the house was discussed at various times and how family members called it home. Our tour guide also gave us interesting facts on the family and their connection with the house today. It is so nice to hear that various members of the Verplanck family still take an interest in the home.

Mount Gulian at 145 Sterling Place in Beacon, NY

https://www.facebook.com/mountgulian/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47291-d10701912-Reviews-Mount_Gulian_Society-Beacon_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/4103

Mount Gulian decorated in the foyer

Mount Gulian’s Dining Room decorated for Christmas Dinner

The sitting room at Mount Gulian

After the tour was over, the tour guide invited us to enjoy refreshments of hot cider and home baked goodies. Since there were only three of us on our tour, it gave us a chance to discuss the history of the families in the Hudson River Valley, the status of these famous homes and the future of historic sites of the region. It was really an engaging and interesting afternoon and the tour guide could not have been nicer. The whole event really represented what the Christmas experience is in the Hudson River Valley.

Between the Sinterklaas Parade in the beginning of the month, visiting the decorated homes of the region and walking the festive downtowns of the area giving them a “Currier & Ives” look about them. Dutchess, Ulster, Greene and Columbia counties really know how to convey the holiday spirit.

Downtown Rhinebeck, NY at Christmas

Our next stop was visiting Rhinebeck, NY which we arrived before dusk. The town was just lighting the trees and all the storefront windows were beautifully decorated for the holidays as they were on the night of the Sinterklaas Parade. The only town I know that can compete with Rhinebeck for the title of ‘Christmas Village’ is Cape May, NJ.

Rhinebeck has a magical look at nightfall

Samuel’s Sweet Shop at 42 East Market Street gets into that spirit every year

I love the way they merchandise the store for the holidays and their prices are very fair on their candies and desserts. You have to try their doughnuts.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d3641613-Reviews-Samuel_s-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/187

Our next stop after leaving Rhinebeck was downtown Red Hook, NY which to me represents the best in small towns in the Hudson River Valley with excellent reasonable restaurants, creative store owners and a blend of old and new in architecture. Plus, everyone is so friendly when you shop and dine there.

Downtown Red Hook, NY

I have written about my many trips to Red Hook in my blog “MywalkinManhattan.com” and discussed visiting the downtown and its proprietors.

Exploring Red Hook, NY:

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

The Red Hook town Christmas tree is such a great addition to the downtown and it more amazing at night as is the rest of the town when it is lit. When it gets dark in town, Red Hook gets that classic Americana feel to it.

Downtown Red Hook’s Christmas Tree

Downtown Red Hook, NY at dusk is so beautiful

After the walk around Red Hook (most of the stores closed early that night), my aunt and I crossed the Kingston Bridge and visited the ‘Stockage District”, the historical and shopping district of Downtown Kingston, to see how the town prepared itself for the holidays. It really was beautiful even with the light rain.

Downtown Kingston, NY at Christmas

The businesses had garland and beautiful white lights adorning them and the windows were very festive as in the other towns. Large snowflakes decorated the main streets which were lit brillantly.

Downtown Kingston, NY Christmas tree

The Kingston, NY Christmas tree is right in the middle of the downtown shopping district and gives off such a holiday vibe. It is also so beautifully decorated. It really brightens up this stretch of the street.

Our last stop that evening was visiting Woodstock, NY, where I had spent three wonderful Christmases and is a place that I highly recommend spending the holidays. The Christmas Parade every year is so festive and well organized. The town is also so nicely decorated for Christmas and the square always has the most unconventional Christmas tree. They are usually oddly shaped and decorated and that’s their charm.

By the time we got to town that evening, all the stores were closed for the night and we dined for our early Christmas dinner at Shindig at 1 Tinker Street.

The love the Christmas tree in Downtown Woodstock, NY. It always looks so unusual.

Downtown Woodstock, NY square and Christmas tree

My visits to Woodstock, NY during Christmas meant a lot to me and I always loved going to the town’s Christmas Parade on Christmas Eve night. Santa always makes such interesting entrances.

Christmas in Woodstock in 2015:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/662

Christmas in Woodstock in 2016:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/3408

Shindig has the best hamburgers and some of the most delicious mac & cheese. Talk about great comfort food on a cool misty night in the Catskills. We were the last customers to dine there that night, so they did not rush us as they were cleaning up for the night. Don’t miss their Cowboy burger. I highly recommend it.

Shindig at 1 Tinker Street in Woodstock, NY

http://www.woodstockshindig.com/

https://www.facebook.com/shindigwoodstock/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48915-d7376319-Reviews-Shindig-Woodstock_Catskill_Region_New_York.html?m=19905

We had such a wonderful time visiting all the towns with their Christmas decorations and beautiful window displays. The Hudson River Valley is a wonderful place to get into the Christmas spirit. Who knew with all this Christmas cheer that all hell would break loose two days later.

Thank God I did all these events when I did because by Friday, December 17th, the night of my final exam, there was panic all over the country with the spread of a new variant of COVID, Omicron. All of a sudden, this new variant from South Africa started to move like wildfire all over the country and New York City was inundated by it.

I had to stay home all weekend and grade final exams because grades had to be posted by Tuesday. All I heard on the Internet and on TV was the rapid spread and the almost panic mode that everyone went into. I hauled up in the house and concentrated on school and getting the students emailed with their grades so that they could relax and enjoy their Christmas break.

I posted all my grades by Monday night and had to drop off all the paperwork on Tuesday at the college. I was just glad that they had not cancelled classes on Friday night when I was giving my exam. That would have been too much on me scrambling to get the exams done. Since I was the only one teaching on a Friday night, I was hoping they just forgot about me and the class would just happen which it did. Thank God!

Tuesday afternoon, we had a sparsely attended Faculty Party which I thought was very nice considering what was going on all over the country. We kept our masks on while we were walking around the room and enjoyed a lot of finger foods made by our Culinary Department and soft drinks. It was nice to just talk to people through our masks and catch up with people I had not seen all semester.

On the Sunday, December 19th, the Sunday before Christmas, the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department held its Annual “Santa Around Town”, one of the highlights of the holiday season for both the town and the department. Last year because of COVID rules, we could only drive down each street slowly waving at residents.

This year we were able to go back to making stops and greeting each resident and taking pictures with children and their families. Even a family dog decked out in its Christmas jacket joined in the fun. It was nice to see people outside and engaging with their neighbors.

The Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department’s ‘Annual Santa Around Town’

The Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department’s “Santa Around Town” 2021

By Monday, December 20th, it seemed that the whole country was going crazy with the new COVID variant. Flights were being cancelled, people were putting get togethers on hold and families were abandoning their plans for the holidays. Our family seemed fine until one by one, things kept happening the whole week and everything was derailed by Christmas Eve.

First my brother’s flight was cancelled and he could not get another flight until late Christmas Day so he nixed coming to Delaware for Christmas. Then a family member got sick so my mother cancelled all Christmas plans including our family dinner. She did not want anyone at the house who was not vaccinated. This derailed the plans even more as family members and friends were not vaccinated so no one was going to visit her house that day.

So when my mother called me to tell me that everything was being cancelled, I immediately looked into going back to Woodstock, NY where I had spent many happy Christmases. These plans were abandoned when my other brother’s flight was fine and he was coming for Christmas and he did not want to spend it alone in Rehoboth Beach.

So, I changed my plans again and booked a room at the Chalfonte Hotel’s Southern Annex and Thank God was able to book the last room at the resort. The main hotel was closed for the season but the Southern Quarters is the small B & B concept they have next door, which serves guests all throughout the winter months (the main hotel will not reopen until May).

The Chalfonte Hotel at 301 Howard Street

https://www.chalfonte.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

This was the weird part about the eve before Christmas Eve, it snowed overnight which it was not in the forecast and it looked like we would have a white Christmas. Since it was supposed to rain all day on Christmas, I looked at the weather and thought ‘great having to walk around with wet weather on Christmas’ but like the rest of the holiday season, Christmas Day brought its own surprises. After paying my respects at the cemeteries, it was off to Cape May to start the holidays.

My Christmas Eve was spent as it had three years earlier, going to dinner at the Boiler Room at The Congress Hotel for dinner. I love their coal-burning oven pizzas and their fresh salads. The dinner was really amazing and the restaurant was pretty busy all things considered. I guess some people were not going to be spooked by everything going on around us, myself included. I figured I was fully vaccinated and if I wore my mask every place, I needed to I would be fine.

The Boiler Room Pizzeria at The Congress Hotel in Cape May, NJ at 200 Congress Place

https://www.caperesorts.com/congress-hall/boiler-room

https://www.facebook.com/boileroom/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46341-d10289837-Reviews-Boiler_Room-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I had the most wonderful dinner. I started with a Mixed Green salad with Balsamic dressing and chopped strawberries which had the most complex flavor with the sweetness of the strawberries playing off the Balsamic vinegar. The greens were so fresh that they crunched when I bit into them. For the entree, I had the Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza with fresh mozzarella. Talk about a crisp pizza and the sauce could not have been more delicious with the fresh tomatoes and olive oil.

After dinner was over, I walked all over The Congress Hotel which is always so beautifully decorated for the Christmas holidays. The halls are lined with white lights and garlands and a fire roaring in the fireplace in the main hall. Outside on the lawn, there a colorfully decorated tree and decorated tables with pool heaters for people to sit under.

Seeing the casual and engaging conversations the other guests were having you would have never known that there was a major outbreak going on. Most people walking around the hotel were not even wearing masks.

The Congress Hall Hotel at Christmas

https://www.caperesorts.com/congress-hall

https://www.facebook.com/congresshall/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g46341-d92337-Reviews-Congress_Hall-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

After walking through the grounds and through all the gift shops to see what was for sale (their gift shops are really nice and they have an interesting bakery), I walked the Washington Mall which serves as the Cape May downtown. All the stores were closed by this point but I got to admire all the beautiful window displays and the white lights adorning the trees. The only town that can rival Cape May at Christmas is Rhinebeck, NY. Both have that Christmas feel to them.

The Gazebo in Downtown Cape May

After my walk around Downtown Cape May, I went to 9:00pm Christmas Eve mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Downtown Cape May at 525 Washington Street. I needed some spiritual guidance at this time of the year as well as the rest of the congregation did as well. What really surprise me again was that 95% of the parishioners did not wear masks. I guess people in Cape May thought they were away from the danger (I wore mine through the whole service, hey you never know).

Our Lady Star of the Sea Church at 525 Washington Street in Cape May, NJ

http://ladystarofthesea.org/

My TripAdvisor:

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

It was a beautiful service with the choir singing and a very inspirational Christmas talk from the priest. The service could not have been more perfect and the church was so beautifully decorated with Christmas trees with white lights and poinsettias all over the place. Very secular but still in the spirit of the holidays.

The next morning, I had to be on the Cape May ferry at 10:15am and there was literally nothing open for breakfast without going to one of the hotels and there was no time for that. There was no food service at the ferry and the woman at the ferry was unsure if food was going to be available on the boat (it was we both found out later), so I left the ferry and had to go to the local WaWa around the corner at 3719 Bayshore Road.

If there was ever a meeting place on Christmas Day that everyone congregated at it was the local Wawa. The place was mobbed with people socializing with one another and wishing everyone else a Merry Christmas. You would have thought I was at City Hall or a Town Square. Everyone knew everyone else in the store and they were all ordering their breakfasts, getting coffee or their takeout orders or filling up on gas for a trip somewhere. I felt like I was in Mayberry.

https://www.mystore411.com/store/view/24532701/Wawa-Convience-Store-North-Cape-May

My review on TripAdvisor:

WaWa really does have a good breakfast!

The surprising part was I ordered a Bacon, Egg and Cheese omelet on a fresh hoagie and it was really good! I was amazed. The All-Berry Smoothie that I ordered with it was also terrific. I was blown away on my Christmas breakfast which I ate on the back of my car since there was no place to sit down.

After breakfast, I noticed the gloomy morning was starting to clear up and by the time the ferry left Cape May for Lewes, DE, it was becoming sunny and bright. When we got to Lewis by noon, it was sunny, clear and going up into the 60’s. It ended up being 65 degrees and sunny the whole day. God answered my prayers for a warm Christmas!

By the time I got off the ferry at noon in Lewes, De, it was a bright sunny and warm day. This is when the forecasters predicted rain all day. The entire afternoon was in the high 60’s, sunny and clear. It was the perfect day to be at the shore.

After dropping some presents off at my mom’s and wishing her a Merry Christmas, my brother, niece, my brother’s girlfriend and I went to Dos Locos in Downtown Rehoboth Beach for Christmas lunch. Unusual choice but it was the only place open. I had the most delicious Shrimp Quesadilla for lunch and that was more than enough after the big breakfast I had two hours earlier.

Dos Locos at 208 Rehoboth Avenue

https://www.doslocos.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Restaurant/DOS-LOCOS-78133849014/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34048-d396081-Reviews-Dos_Locos-Rehoboth_Beach_Delaware.html?m=19905

Before we left the restaurant, we took a memorable group shot in front of their Christmas tree. As we were leaving, I was amazed by how many people had the same idea we had and the restaurant really started to fill up.

My family at Dos Locos for our Christmas Dinner

To work off lunch (and my earlier breakfast), we walked all over the boardwalk that afternoon. Being such a nice day, again everyone had the same idea and we were wishing other families a “Merry Christmas” as they walked on the beach and walked their dogs around the downtown area. It was also ideal to go window shopping. By 3:30pm, it had reached almost 67 degrees and we walked along the beach and watched as one brave soul took a Christmas swim in the ocean. I know it was warm but it was not that warm outside.

My family by Santa’s House on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk

We took a lot of family shots around the Rehoboth beach Christmas Tree and at Santa’s House. He had left for the North Pole, so he was not around at this point. Still, everyone on the boardwalk was taking pictures by the tree.

My brother and I by the Christmas tree in Downtown Rehoboth

My brother and I in the bandstand in Downtown Rehoboth Beach

Me at the holiday displays in the Bandstand in Rehoboth Beach

The Manger at the bandstand in Rehoboth Beach with Santa’s House in the background

It started to get dark by 5:45pm at that point (the days are starting to get longer) and we headed back to my brother’s hotel as they prepared for dinner and I had to head back to the ferry to go back to Cape May.

I was surprised on how well Christmas had turned out. For a day that started off as the original ‘Clusterfuck’, it is amazing how plans change and the day can still turn out to be pretty good. I got on the 7:45pm ferry back to Cape May and we were in by 9:00pm. Again, not much was open on Christmas Day for dinner and I refused to have dinner at WaWa.

When I got back into town, the only two restaurants were the Chinese restaurant in the mall but they were closing for the night. So, I went to the Ugly Mug at 426 Washington Street in the Washington Mall for a snack. It was the only place open besides going back to Congress Hall.

The Ugly Mug at 426 Washington Street

https://www.facebook.com/uglymugcm/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46341-d393818-Reviews-Ugly_Mug-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Talk about crowded for a Christmas night! All the locals either had tired from their families, tourists need to get out of their hotels or people had just gotten off their shifts from work, people lined the bar having a good time eating, drinking and laughing. The Christmas games were going on and the bar was in full swing.

With only five minutes left to order, the manager of the restaurant who was eating right next to me was eating a cheesesteak and highly recommended it. So, it was a cheesesteak and a Coke for me on Christmas night. It was nice to sit back and talk with the other patrons and bartenders in a relaxed environment.

The Cheesesteaks at The Ugly Mug are fantastic. Just like Philly!

I spent the rest of Christmas night walking along the shore, listening to the waves hoping to get a glimpse of Santa on his way back to the North Pole. For the craziest Christmas Day with twists and turns, it ended up being a really great day. Not at all what we had planned but sometimes things work out for a reason. I ended up getting the best night’s sleep.

The day after Christmas my plans changed when a friend of mine who came into town changed the plans again and I decided to go to the theater at the Cape May Stage at 405 Layfette Street. I saw the final show of the season “Adopt a Sailor: The Holiday Edition”, which was performed by the Theater Director and his wife who are professional actors.

The Cape May Stage: Adopt a Sailor: The Holiday Edition

https://capemaystage.showare.com/

https://www.facebook.com/CapeMayStage/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46341-d1582818-Reviews-Cape_May_Stage_Professional_Equity_Theater-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

It was a clever story about a Manhattan couple that ‘adopt’ a sailor from the deep south for Christmas Eve. I thought it was a bit predictable with the stereotype of the uptight Upper West Side couple and the ‘naive’ sailor from the South but it ended up being a very bittersweet story about the couple looking within on their own relationship with this sailor shipping out on Christmas to a dangerous part of the world. It made them think about how small their own problems were and what Christmas was all about.

After the show was over, I decided to spend my last night in Cape May watching the sunset at Sunset Beach in West Cape May at 502 Sunset Boulevard. If you ever want to see the most spectacular sunset in the world and I have literally seen them all over the world, this is the most fantastic location to see the sunset over the Delaware Bay.

I stayed until after 5:00pm to watch the sun dip below the bay in most spectacular fashion. It really does amaze the way it slowly disappears into the bay and then the whole sky is a brilliant variety of colors. People were literally applauding the sun setting. I left Cape May for home after this.

You have to see the sun set at Sunset Beach at least once

https://www.facebook.com/SunsetbeachNJ/

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

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

In the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I spent the night in the City before the Ball dropped museum hopping between the Met and the MoMA trying to see the current exhibitions before they closed and taking the long ride up to Inwood to see the Cloisters decorated for Christmas and the current exhibition “Spain: 1000-1200” and taking a second look at the Christmas decorations all over the City.

The Cloisters at Christmas time

https://www.metmuseum.org/visit/plan-your-visit/met-cloisters

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d106609-Reviews-The_Met_Cloisters-New_York_City_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/680

I wanted to explore the neighborhood for changes since COVID and my last trip to the area since the summer, so I walked from The Cloisters to West 155th stopping for lunch and visiting stores and bakeries that I had written about in the past.

I stopped for lunch at the New Golden Star Chinese Restaurant at 4247 Broadway, a restaurant that I had passed many times on my walks down Broadway and had wanted to try. The food is excellent and the service could not have been nicer. I had a Chicken with Broccoli ($11.95) with Hot & Sour Soup and an eggroll.

New Golden Star Chinese Restaurant at 4247 Broadway

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Chinese-Restaurant/New-Golden-Star-103332598081909/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d10926156-Reviews-Golden_Star-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The Chicken with Broccoli was delicious and the sauce with a combination of Hunan and Soy really made the dish. The Hot & Sour Soup was one of the best I have had recently. The chili peppers added some kick to the soup and it was loaded with vegetables and sliced pork. The service could not have been nicer.

After lunch, I continued my walk down Broadway. I had originally planned had planned to go the Met on Fifth Avenue but it was too late for that and then I decided to walk down Broadway but by the time I got to West 155th Street near the cemetery I was pooped. I needed something sweet, so I stopped at one of my favorite bakeries uptown Five Star Estrella Bakery at 3861 Broadway for a snack.

Five Star Estrella Bakery at 3861 Broadway

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4416394-Reviews-5_Estrella_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

I had the most amazing Vanilla and Strawberry Iced Doughnut ($2.00) and between the sweet thick icing on top and the rich dough, every bite was heaven. I was reenergized but my feet were beginning to kill me. I stopped at Ilka Tanya Payan Park and sat down to finish my doughnut and relax.

I just admired the Christmas tree in the park for a bit before taking the subway back to midtown. I never knew that the park was named after the actress and activist, Ilka Tanya Payan. I thought it was nice of community to set such a beautiful tree up for the holidays and it was nicely decorated. I was finished for the day.

Ilka Tanya Payan Park at Edward Morgan Place & Broadway

https://www.nycgovparks.org/news/media-advisories?id=13217

Actress and Activist Ilka Tanya Payan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilka_Tanya_Pay%C3%A1n

New Year’s Eve this year was a quiet evening at home watching the ball drop on TV. There was no way I was going back to the City with those crowds in that cold. Thank God that 2021 is now over and hopefully better days ahead!

This was not the Christmas I planned but things took so many twists and turns that I just went with the flow. This is why I am fully vaccinated. Life needs to go on as normal in these unnormal times.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

My three favorite Christmas songs: These are the songs that I wait to hear on the radio.

The Ronette’s: Sleigh Ride:

Ray Parker Jr.: Christmas Time is Here

The Waitresses: Christmas Wrapping

I also thought these Christmas songs in Chinese were interesting when I found them on YouTube:

I find it intriguing how other countries see Christmas and interpret it.

Day Two Hundred and Three: Walking the Borders of the Garment District from Fifth to Ninth Avenues from West 42nd to West 34th Streets September 6th, 2021

Walking through the Garment District has less to do with manufacturing these days.

mywalkinmanhattan

I finally felt well enough to continue my walk around Manhattan. I had not been into New York City in six weeks and had really missed my walking around the island. I had finished exploring the Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton neighborhood before I pulled my back and decided to keep my adventures closer to home (Exploring Downtown Boonton-Day One Hundred and Two). I just was not up to coming into the City.

The Garment District once home to many designers and manufacturers in the New York Fashion Industry is not what it was when my Grandfather was an officer in the Ladies Garment Union back in the 1950’s and 60’s. It is not what it once was with the showrooms that were located there when I worked for Macy’s in the 1990’s. Cost of real estate, rezoning for commercial and residential during the Bloomberg Administration and cost of doing business in the…

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