This was the first year that “The Great Saunter Walk”, the 32-mile perimeter walk around the entire island took place since 2019. Since I had done the walk twice on my own, actually doing more of the walk than was required. This year I wanted to make it official.
I officially finished “The Great Saunter Walk” in May of 2022
The problem was by the time I wanted to sign up for the walk, it was completely sold out. So, I was put on a waiting list. With a prediction of rain all day (and it did rain all day!), many people dropped out before the event occurred, so I got to sign up. On a very gloomy Saturday morning, I got to the Frances Tavern at 7:30am to register and start the walk by the entrance of the Staten Island ferry.
Rather than rewrite the whole day, I updated the blog that I have written over the last two years and added to it. I hope you all enjoy my journey around the most famous island on earth on the gloomiest and rainy day ever. I hope you enjoy the journey!
My story of my walk around Manhattan island:
“The Great Saunter Walk”:
July 15th Walk:
I wanted to complete the walk again in the Summer to look at if from another perspective and walked the island perimeter again on July 15th. It took another three and a half hours to do the walk. This is due to meal breaks and just exhaustion due to the heat.
Normally I walk “The Great Saunter” in June around the time of either Father’s Day or the Summer Solstice, so that I have plenty of light. The problem was I was so busy in June that I had to push it back to July and the biggest problem was the heat. In the morning when I started the walk, it was cool and in the high 70’s due to the clouds. When they broke around 10:00am, it started to get hotter and went to the mid 80’s. It would not have been so bad, but the humidity plays a role in the walk. When I did the official walk in May, it was so cold and wet we never stopped for a long break as we all just wanted to get it done and go home.
In the warmer months, I like to stop and relax at various parks like Jefferson Park in East Harlem or Carl Schulz Park on the Upper East Side and let my legs relax. The reason why we finished the walk in May quicker is because the businessman who I was walking with in the last leg of the walk around Stuyvesant Cove just wanted to finish as well so we never stopped.
There were a lot more people in the parks that day, so it made maneuvering a bit harder and, in some cases, like in Jefferson Park, people were all over one another. I have noticed one thing and it is not just in New York City, people’s courtesy has gone way down. People were riding their electric bikes and motorcycles in the paths of the park and on the sidewalks practically knocking people down. One very over-weight woman rode a moped through the main path of Jefferson Park chasing her dog and nearly ran over two little girls who had just finished swimming. That was something!
The nice part of the walk in July was the clear sunny day it had been and being able to enjoy the breezes and the sunshine. It is much nicer to do the walk on a pleasant day than in the rain.
*I wanted to let readers know that this blog is a combination of all four of my walks around the perimeter of the Island of Manhattan and I have kept it in order by section of the island. This way you can experience all the wonderful things to see, do and eat at along the way. Never do this walk in the rain! That was tough.
As New York City is just beginning to reopen during the COVID-19 Pandemic and trying to return to normal, I have been wondering Manhattan to see what changes have happened in those three months. It is still incredible how much of the City is beginning to remind me of the mid-1970’s.
My trip in 2020 into lower Manhattan revealed a City looking circa 1980 with boarded up stores and graffiti all over the place. Walking around the neighborhoods in Midtown and Downtown last week were a real eye-opener on how pent-up frustration can almost destroy the fabric of a City and the underpinnings of human nature. It really showed just how frustrated everyone is with being sick, unemployed and broke.
Fifth Avenue boarded up on June 15th, 2020
Even when the stores windows get fixed and the stores restocked, I don’t think people will forget that quickly. When you finally let people ‘out of their cages’ (i.e. their apartments) though you can see that compassion come back. This is what I saw on my thirty-two mile walk around the Island of Manhattan.
On my walk in 2021, the weather was just as spectacular as it was in 2020 but the mood of the City was different as things in Manhattan had been opened now for a year and the mask mandates were giving way to better days ahead. I saw so much interesting ‘public art’ all along my walk and ate at restaurants new and revisited from other blogs in the past six years. I felt like I was seeing old friends. I also took more time to look over artworks, explore parks and admire the views more on this beautiful day. There are better days ahead for New York City as it continues to morph and change.
In May of 2022, I did the official walk with the Shorewalkers Inc., the people that run the walk every year. This was the first time since 2019 that the group held the walk and I wanted to be part of it with all the other walkers. Initially the walk was sold out three weeks before the day of the walk, but I got on the waitlist and when the weather report said rain all day, a lot of people dropped out. It ended up raining (and I mean raining) the whole time of the walk with just a few lulls and the sun did peak out for about five minutes up by the Carl Schulz Park. I wish it had been longer. I was drenched by the time it was over.
We started the morning of 2022 with an early report to the Frances Tavern at 54 Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan, the start and finish of the walk. I had not been there in years and missed the beauty of the building and its historical value. Since I signed up for the walk at the last minute, I did not want to be late. I had started at West 23rd and West 42nd Street in the past so I knew how to pace myself and once I was all signed in at 7:30am, I started the walk. Many others had started before me so I passed many people along the way, wondering how many of us would finish.
The Frances Tavern at 54 Pearl Street is the official start point for the Great Saunter in May every year
The “Great Saunter” was done exclusively in the rain this year. Usually, I pick a sunny day during the Summer Solstice which honors my dad on Father’s Day but since the official walk is the first Saturday in May, off I went. It poured and was gloomy the whole time of the walk. I endured it in good spirits meeting others along the way that kept me going.
In July of 2022, I decided to do the perimeter walk one more time because the weather had been so horrible in May of 2022 that I wanted to see the whole island again when the weather was nice. The walk had started out nicely with it being overcast and in the 70’s but once the clouds broke and it cleared up, it was in the 80’s and got humid. Still it was a beautiful day for walking.
Walking around the Island of Manhattan is no easy task. In 2020, I had planned this since last year and made it my goal to do the walk on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. The problem was I had a ton of yard work to do on the first day of the summer and I had to get it done knowing that I would be tired after a walk like this. So, after a day of trimming bushes and weeding the lawn, I put my game plan together for the next morning.
Since it was Father’s Day Sunday, I wanted to do something different and special to honor my father more than just sitting at a cemetery looking at an inscription. This is not something my father would want me to do. So my honoring him was to remind myself of all the wonderful Father’s Day’s we spent in Manhattan visiting museums, parks and going to see independent movies at the MoMA and the Angelica. After which we would dine at whatever restaurant I had seen in the Village Voice. Those were the days I wanted to remember.
My inspiration “The Great Saunter” by Cy V. Adler
‘The Great Saunter Walk’ had been cancelled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and would be held at a later date. The walk was started in 1984 by Mr. Cy A. Adler, who founded The Shorewalkers Inc., a non-profit environmental and walking group whose group was fighting for a public walkway since 1982. The first Saturday in May was designated as ‘Great Saunter Day’ (Wiki and Company founding) and has been recognized by most current Mayors of New York City.
Cy V. Adler
I got the map of the walk off the internet and tried to figure out where to start. The walk starts at Frances Tavern in Lower Manhattan, but I thought that was too far away. I thought of starting at 110th Street so I could get through Harlem faster but then I would be travelling back to 110 Street late at night, so I nixed that. Then I thought, I have to get off at 42nd Street for the Port Authority anyway and that is where I am at now with my walking project plus when I finish, I will only be a few blocks away from the bus station so why not start there?
So, in 2020 for my first walk, I started my walk around the Island of Manhattan at the Circle Line Boat Pier where I celebrated last year’s birthday. In 2022, this is where I started again. It made it easier for when I needed to get back to Port Authority.
The Circle Line is where I spent 2019’s birthday touring Manhattan by rivers
I took the 6:35am bus into New York to start early. During the week, the first bus comes at 5:30am and I would have liked to get more of head start but I wanted to do the walk on Father’s Day so into the City I went that morning. I got to the Pier by 7:07am and started the walk around the island. It was the same in 2022.
The Circle Line was closed also because of COVID-19 so the Pier was quiet that morning. I looked over my map of Manhattan and started the walk along the pathways along the Hudson River going up the Joe DiMaggio Highway to the Henry Hudson Highway. I had not been to this part of the Manhattan in about two years.
In 2022, the Circle Line had opened for business, but the first ride was not until around 10:00am so the area was quiet as well. When I finished the walk at 8:55pm, fourteen hours after I had started, the Circle Line had just returned from a ride around the island and people were flowing off the boat. Talk about a huge change in just two years.
When I decided to do the walk for a second time on June 25th, 2021, I put together a different game plan. With all the problems happening all over the City (shootings and harassments had been going up all over the City), I decided that I wanted to start earlier then I had the previous year and decided to spend the night before in Manhattan so I could get an earlier start.
I stayed at the Moxy Hotel in Chelsea at 105 West 28th Street in the heart of the Flower District and I have to say that the hotel has excellent views of the City. I received a room on the tenth floor facing Sixth Avenue and at night I have to say it was one hell of a view. When the lights came on in the evening, the whole neighborhood twinkled.
I got up at 5:00am that morning as the sun shined through the floor to ceiling windows (I wanted to get up early so I pulled the curtains back to see the sun) and got ready then checked the luggage, checked out and started my walk the second time at 6:15am.
The mood of the City was much different from the previous year with more businesses opening up and more people milling around the parks. Still the City was pretty quiet for most of the day especially as I reached uptown.
In 2022, I signed up for the official walk a few days before the walk started knowing that it was going to rain all day that year. That’s why I was able to join in because so many people dropped out (and kept dropping out along the route with all that rain).
I started the walk in 2021 with a good breakfast at Chelsea Papaya at 171 West 23rd Street #1. I have passed this small hole in the wall restaurant for years on my walks around the neighborhood but had never eaten there. I had passed it the night before on my way back to the hotel and thought it would be a good to have breakfast before I started the walk in Riverside Park.
It was an amazing and filling breakfast of three pancakes, two scrambled eggs and three slices of bacon with a medium papaya drink for $11.00. The food was excellent and the guys working they’re at 6:15am could not have been nicer. The seating was not so hot with two small tables outside the restaurant where the tables and street could have used a good cleaning. Still, it was a carb laden meal that prepared me for the long walk.
Don’t miss the wonderful and filling breakfasts at Chelsea Papaya
I started the walk in 2021 on West 23rd Street, so I got to visit this side of the park during the day with it sweeping views of Jersey City and the Hudson River. When I started walking in the park at 6:30am, it was a beautiful sunny day but as the morning grew and I got to around West 42nd Street, the clouds started to roll in and it got cooler.
That did not last long. In 2022, I was not so lucky as it was a misty rain when I started the walk at 7:30am in the morning but it was bearable. I started at Staten Island Ferry terminal and then off I went with the other walkers who were up for the challenge.
The first thing you will see when entering the park is the Monarch Waystation Garden that is one of many that have been planted around the rim of Manhattan. I have seen this also in east side parks as well.
The Monarch Waystation Garden is as you enter Riverside Park
As I entered Hudson River Park, I noticed many works of art displayed on the fences and walls of the surrounding buildings. The 2021 NY Salt Exhibition was being displayed and I took some time to look over the works while walking through the park. I made may way from West 23rd Street and proceeded north walking near the river.
The NY Salt Exhibition at Hudson River Park in 2021
When you walk up past the Piers along Riverside Park in the 40’s, the first thing you will see in the next Pier over is the Intrepid Sea-Air Space Museum which was closed for the COVID-19 pandemic. Pier 86 where the ship was docked was really quiet that morning with only two people eating their breakfast on one of the tables in the little park near the ship. There were sweeping views of New Jersey across the river of Weehawken and West New York.
The Intrepid Sea-Air Museum is just reopened after being closed for almost a year
Most of the West Side is pathways along the river with views of New Jersey until you hit about West 50th Street when you get to the lower part of the new Hudson River Park that has been built on fill to create a new riverfront.
In May of 2022, as I walked around the southern tip of the island, I could not believe how many works of art in the parks that I missed on the previous two walks. I guess I just wanted to finish the walk by that point. During the July 2022 walk, I started at the same point as 2020 and when I saw my first piece of artwork, it was like seeing an old friend.
When I reached the park by Pier 96, I came across Malcolm Cochran’s artwork “Private Passage” again. I came across this sculpture when visiting the park two years earlier. The piece is a giant bottle and when you look in the port hole you will see a state room of the former Queen Mary. It is an interesting piece of artwork that is not hard to miss and take time to look in the port holes.
The artist is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and is graduate of Wesleyan College who specializes in large sculptures.
Further up the park, I came across the old New York Transfer Station piece in Riverside Park. This is a relic of the old West Side Railroad tracks that were once part of the New York Central Railroad that the park and buildings behind it are built on. This transfer bridge once was used to attach railroad cars to the freight tracks that once ran up and down this part of the island (Forgotten New York).
The New York Central Transfer Station
It is interesting to see this now as a piece of art instead of a functioning part of the railroad but it is fascinating to see how we use the parts of the past as a piece of art in the present. This shows the current park visitor how we have made new uses of the riverfront for recreation and pleasure which was not true during the early parts of the last century.
As I was walking up through Riverside Park, I noticed a lot of artworks displayed in Riverside Park that were part of the ‘Summer 2021-Re: Growth’ art display that stretched from the West 40’s to 100’s at various points in the park. Some were interesting in design, and it was nice to see a lot were from local New York Artists.
These lined the length of Riverside Park and you had to really look for them. These were the works of art I viewed on the way up Riverside Park. I included the work and a short biography on each artist that I saw:
Ms. Amezkua is American born New York City based artist living in Bronx. A graduate of Cal State Fresno with a BA and also attended the Academia de belle Arte in Florence she is formally trained as a painter (Artist Bio).
Ms. Letven is an American born artist raised in Philadelphia with a BFA from the Tyler School of Art and a MFA from Hunter College and currently teaches at Parsons School of Design and Art and Design at New York University. She is a multidisciplinary artist in sculpture, installation and painting (Artist Bio).
Ms. Mattingly is an American born artist currently living in New York City. She has a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art from Portland, OR and attended Parsons School of Design. She is known for creating photos and sculptures representing futuristic and obscure landscapes (Wiki).
Mr. Goode is an American born artist from Texas. He has a MFA from Boston University and has worked as an archaeologist on several digs Artsy Bio).
These works are on display until August 2021 and try not to miss this interesting display of art in this ‘open air museum’.
Hudson River Park and Riverside Park South blend into one another with the housing complexes behind them are a shining example of the uses of urban renewal and reclaiming our riverfront for pleasure and conservation. It is also one of the nicest new complexes built in Manhattan in recent years.
What I love about this park is the nice pathways and lawns just to sit back and relax and enjoy the views. There are a lot of places to stop and rest. Since I had been to this side of the island two years ago, I continued my walk up to West 72nd Street when I got to the southern border of Riverside Park which runs much of this side of Manhattan.
I made it up to West Harlem Piers Park by 8:46am (7:43am in 2021) and made my first stop of the morning. The park was a mess. People must have been having parties in the park the night before and did not clean up after themselves because I could see a NYC Parks worker in the picking up the garbage and she did not look happy about the mess. Usually, this park is pristine, and I was not used to seeing it such a mess. I guess these are the things you see in New York City parks early in the morning. The efforts to keep them clean.
The park is down the road from the new extension of the Columbia University campus extension, so this park gets a lot of use during the school year. This early in the morning there were just a few joggers and one homeless guy who was throwing more garbage around. I did not want to be near the Parks worker when she had to deal with that.
What I had not noticed on my trips to the park in the past were some unusual sculptures by artist Nari Ward, a New York based artist who likes to use objects found in his own neighborhood (artist website).
These unusual silver sculptures I almost interpreted as people trying to speak and it was interesting that the sculptures were called Voice I and Voice II. I was not sure of what the artist was trying to communicate with his artwork, but it does stand out in the park. The unfortunate part of it was that there was so much garbage in the park you could not get up close to see them.
I really enjoy this park. It has wonderful breezes and excellent views and plenty of places to sit down and relax. It offers such nice views of the river and as the morning progressed, I started to see more sailboats and water boats out cruising up and down the Hudson River.
I reached the bottom of the George Washington Bridge by 9:36am and watched an artist putting a display of layered rocks along the Hudson River shore. Uliks Gryka the artist behind the “Sisyphus Stones” that line this part of the park was carefully layering stones one on top of another and fixing and creating new formations. It was interesting to watch how he balanced each of the stones into a new work. The artist is originally from Albania and has no formal art training (Artist website).
The work reminded me of the Moai on Easter Island, the famous statues that faced the sea. It made me think how the artwork looks to the river and how maybe it is nature communicating with land and sea. I was not sure the message the artist was trying to portray, and he looked too busy working to ask him. The artwork was still there in 2021 and it looked like the artist was still updating it.
I continued on into Fort Washington Park to see the Little Red Lighthouse, which I had not visited in almost three years since my last walk in the neighborhood. Many tourists were by the site just under the George Washington Bridge, taking pictures by the lighthouse and enjoying the sunny weather.
The Little Red Lighthouse had been constructed in 1889 and moved from Sandy Hook, New Jersey in 1917 and moved here in 1921. It was decommissioned in 1948 after the construction of the George Washington Bridge in 1931. What had saved the lighthouse from destruction was the book “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge” by author Hildegarde Swift in 1942 (Wiki).
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde Swift
I didn’t stay long by the lighthouse because it was loaded with tourists taking pictures, but I did stay by the tables and enjoy the view of the George Washington Bridge. It was making quite the racket as more cars are travelling over it again and on a sunny day offered some dazzling views. The breezes were amazing! In both 2021and July 2022, the lighthouse and the park were really quiet, so I got to enjoy the views on my own this time.
In 2022, the rain had turned to mist, and it was not so bad by the time I got to the lighthouse. I noticed that most people did not stop to look at the lighthouse. They just passed it to keep walking. I stopped because I love seeing this interesting landmark.
Walking up the stairs to get to the upper level of the park is not for the faint hearted and I saw many people much younger than me get out of breath on their way up. One guy had to be about twenty and he looked like he needed oxygen. To me it was just a walk up and I continued to walk through the lower part of Fort Washington Park. In 2021, I could not believe how in much better shape I was that I handled it better.
This part of the park faces Englewood Cliffs, NJ and the Palisades Park Highway on the other side of the river. There is no construction on that park of the river, so it offers views on the cliffs and the woods that line it.
The view of Englewood Cliffs, NJ
As I walked further up into the park, it was mostly wooded highway and further up the hill was Fort Tyron Park and the home of The Cloister Museum which is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum has been closed since March, but I had taken one of the last of the guided tours on religious flora in art of the Middle Ages before it closed on March 13th. The museum reopened in July of 2020.
Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters Museum in the park
When you reach Fort Tyron Park by foot along the Henry Hudson Parkway, you will see two large stone columns that look like the entrance to an estate and then across the street there is a pillared overlook to the Hudson River. These are remnants of the former C.K.G. Billings estate, “Tryon Hall”.
The old entrance to the estate is covered with brush
Mr. Billings, the Chairman of Union Carbide, owned most land of which the park is located and theses small relics are the remains of the great estate. I had never been in this part of the park before and thought it interesting that these pieces of the estate were left.
The archway and drive are still part of the park, and you can see them closer to The Cloisters Museum. The old driveway to the estate is still used inside the park.
I travelled up further and arrived at the Dyckman Beach Park located at the end of Dyckman Avenue in Inwood. This tiny little beach is hidden from the road and is located next to the pier. Every time I have visited the park, this little section is in high demand for picnickers, and you have to get there early. The pier is a nice place to relax and soak of the sun and admire the view.
Don’t miss this tiny beach and the pier. It is so relaxing!
In 2021, the beach area was busy with a local high school graduation going on in the restaurant right next to the beach. There was much cheering and celebrating going on and it was good to see that. All along the harbor deck, people were relaxing and fishing. In July of 2022, it was quiet with a few people fishing so I had the whole place to myself. This was when I took my first break. The heat was starting to get to me.
In 2020, I walked around one side of the park that contains the soccer field where a very heated match between two teams was taking place. I could tell there was a heated discussion in Spanish that these two teams were in major competition. While the men were playing soccer, the ladies were cooking up a storm, making skewers of meat, cutting fresh fruit and stirring lemonade for a makeshift concession stand. This was a very organized league.
I walked around the field and watched the game as the families settled in for a long afternoon. These guys really took the game seriously and were going back and forth side to side for the twenty minutes I watched the game. The pathway to the park ends in a semi-circle and on the side is a walkway bridge over the railroad tracks which will take you around Inwood Hill Park to the lower pathways that overlook the Hudson River and to the Henry Hudson Bridge that leads to the Bronx.
In 2021, the fields were very quiet which I was surprised by. Usually, this area is very crowded with people even when COVID was at its height. It was better to be outside than inside. It was earlier in the morning.
When you follow the path, it leads to the Spuyten Duyvil, a man-made canal that was created during the Dutch era for shipping and trade. It cuts off a small section of Manhattan that is now on the Bronx side of the City. Here you will see the giant blue “C” for Columbia University, whose stadium is on the other end of the park.
The Columbia “C” from Inwood Hill Park
The paths lead down wooded areas that are some of the last of the ‘virgin’ forest left on the island of Manhattan and one of the few true wooded areas.
When you exit the pathways into the lawn area of the park, you are greeted by a giant boulder which is one of the most historic objects on the Island of Manhattan, the Shorakkopoch Rock. The rock is the legendary location of where Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from the Reckgawawang Indians for what is today $24.00 of household goods and trinkets.
On the other side of the small cove is the natural cove, Muscota Marsh where the Columbia Rowing Team has their sheds. The Muscota Marsh was created in a joint partnership between the NYC Parks system and Columbia University. This one-acre marsh is located in the Spuyten Duyvil creek and is part freshwater and part salt-water marsh. It is home to many native birds who use it as a nesting and watering site.
I sat and relaxed while birds flew in and out of the marsh that morning. It was the most beautiful sunny morning, and you could feel the cool breezes coming off the creek while small boats passed by. The Muscota Marsh is one of those hidden treasures in Manhattan that tourists rarely visit. It was nice to just sit and relax. I had reached the northern most part of Manhattan by 11:11am four hours after the start time.
In 2020, I had eaten a light breakfast at the house and had gone through my snacks while walking up to Inwood Hill Park. Most of the places I had gone to in the past while up walking the neighborhood or going to the Columbia/Cornell football games were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic or went out of business. I ordered breakfast from Park Terrace Deli at 510 West 218 Street.
I had the most amazing Bacon, Egg and Cheese on a Hero that hit the spot. I was starved and this large sandwich fit the bill. It was loaded with freshly cooked bacon and the hero roll was toasted and then pressed when the bacon, cheese and eggs were loaded inside. I sat down with a much-needed Coke in the benches by Isham Park further down Broadway. I enjoyed every bite, and the ice-cold Coke gave me the burst of energy I needed to continue the walk down the western part of Manhattan.
This has become a tradition as I came back for the same sandwich in July of 2022 and enjoyed my breakfast on the benches of Muscato Marsh, enjoying the breezes and watching the row teams. It is a great place after you grab a snack to sit and enjoy the views.
The Bacon, Egg and Cheese sandwich at Park Terrace Deli is excellent!
In 2021, I was still full from my breakfast at Chelsea Papaya and stopped in Twin Donut at 5099 Broadway (now closed) for a donut. I have been to this shop many times when walking in the neighborhood and their donuts are delicious. I had one of their Blueberry jelly filled ($1.50) and that hit the spot. The owner said that they were selling the business after sixty years and it would soon be a twelve-story building. In July of 2022, the building still sits empty.
Twin Donut was at 5099 Broadway for almost 60 years
In 2022, I stopped in Inwood Park to meet up with other walkers for snacks and go to the bathroom. The rain stopped for a bit, and we were able to stand and talk to one another. People were playing soccer nearby and residents were shopping at the Farmer’s Market close by. Even though the snacks were nice you can’t make a meal out of Pringles and Goldfish. So, I packed up a few of the snacks to take with me and went on my way.
In 2021, I stopped at G’s Coffee Shop for the same breakfast sandwich and as usual, the food and service was excellent, feeding my weary body. Every meal that I have had at G’s has been good.
My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:
After breakfast, I travelled down 10th Avenue from 218th Street and followed the path of the original footprint of the island until I arrived at the cross streets of Dyckman Street and Harlem River Drive at the beginning of Highbridge Park and Sherman Cove. Even in this busy area of car repair shops, small restaurants and the Dyckman Houses, everyone pretty much ignored me as if I was not there. Not one person looked at me. Many people looked down as I passed which I thought was strange.
In 2020, most of this part of Highbridge Park was still closed off to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic and because it was Father’s Day, people were barbecuing along the thin path and patch of land between the park and the highway. It amazes me how creative these residents are with the use of space.
In 2021, the Sherman Creek part of the park was open for walking through, and I took the time to walk the path to the river through the winding woods and streams. It is a nice break from the busy City and it a very underrated part of Highbridge Park. The views of the East River were spectacular, and the breezes were so nice and cool. It was nice to have the park to myself that morning.
Sherman Creek Park/Swindlers Cove is at 351 West 205th Street
Before I took the long trip down Harlem River Drive along the rim of High Bridge Park, I walked along Dyckman Street, one of the three big retail corridors for the Dominican community in Washington Heights. The other two being 207th Street and the other 181st Street and Broadway.
Dyckman Street on the west side of Broadway is so alive on the weekends with street vendors selling food and wares, music playing and people socializing with their neighbors. I love coming here for the bakeries and to get fresh pastilitoes and freshly squeezed juice from the street vendors who have to listen to my broken Spanish. It was a little tougher to visit the places as social distancing let less people into the stores that were open.
On warm weekends Dyckman Street is alive with shoppers
After I walked a few blocks of Dyckman Street to see what was available, I started the long trek down the path along Harlem River Drive with High Bridge Park across the street. The long curves of the park, the lush woods and rock formations show what was once the former shoreline of this part of the island. From this location it looks alike Inwood Hill Park with clean paths and virgin plantings.
The reality of the park is that if you walk through the park you are faced with the over-grown paths, the graffitied rocks and garbage that parts of the park suffer from. When you walk through the paths on the other side of the park, you see how far the park has gone down and the work that still needs to be done. Abandoned cars and garbage still plaque parts of the park from the park side paths. Still the City is doing a lot to improve the park.
I passed the old High Bridge Water Tower that was being renovated and was covered in scaffolding. The water tower and the bridge are the lasting remnants of the way water used to travel into New York City from upstate in the late 1800’s. The tower was built in 1872 and was part of the old Croton Aqueduct system of moving water into Manhattan. The tower and the surrounding area is currently going under renovation and the pool is closed because of COVID-19.
This part of the park had no activity and, on the path, leading down to the old Polo Grounds there was not much activity. What always makes me nervous is walking around the Polo Ground Houses that run from West 165th Street to about West 155th Street. The complex is a tired looking set up public housing with one building looking exactly like the other and a small patch of green in the middle. I could see from the hill over-looking the lawns that there were some small parties going on.
The Polo Ground Tower Housing Complex
All I kept thinking about is the activities that go on there and I zig-zagged my way down the sidewalk until I hit the part of the fence that was covered with trees and vines. Out of site from the prying windows. Ever since I read about the complex on the internet, I have never felt comfortable in this part of the City. This was before I walked all around the complex four years ago when I walked Harlem and didn’t think much about it. I walk around quickly in this neighborhood.
I crossed the street and walked down Edgecombe Avenue on the upper side of Jackie Robinson Park. On the corner of the edge of the street is the John Hooper Fountain at 155th Street and Edgecombe Avenue. The fountain was designed by architect George Martin Huss and is a ornamental horse fountain and lantern. It was dedicated in 1894 and donated to the park by businessman John Hooper (NYCParks.com/MichaelMinn.net). It was used by the horses for drinking when carriages and horse riding at that time.
The John Hooper Fountain is at the corner of Edgecombe Avenue and 155th Street
As I walked past the fountain and entered the edge of Jackie Robinson Park, I could hear music and kids screaming from the sidewalk. The park was alive with people using the playground or setting up parties for Father’s Day. It was also a mixed crowd of people who were conversing amongst themselves about recent events, and I heard many lively debates. In July of 2022, the pool had opened up again and there were kids screaming and yelling as they played in the pool. This is also a good place for a bathroom break.
The one thing I discovered about this section of the park is that everything across the street or closer to the park is brand new housing, a lot catering to CUNY students. Much of Bradhurst and Fredrick Douglas Boulevard have been knocked down and rebuilt with new housing and much of West 145th Street is new stores and restaurants. It changes as you get closed to Lenox Avenue and Young Park.
I find Jackie Robinson Park very nice. The park has always been well maintained and the place was clean and well-landscaped. During the warmer months of the school year, a lot of CUNY students can be seen on the hill as you enter the park on West 145th Street sunning themselves and studying. Now families were setting up barbecues unfortunately many of them without masks.
The worst thing I found about travelling in these blocks of the City in 2020 is how the Parks system treats the patrons of the parks. There was not one open bathroom in the four parks that I visited. High Bridge Park had no bathrooms on the Harlem River Drive part of the park, both Jackie Robinson Park’s bathrooms were shut tight and Young Park’s were also closed. Thomas Jefferson Park further down only had Porto toilets (and I will not mention in this blog the condition they were in. COVID-19 would not even survive in those). In 2021, there were more bathrooms open but not in great shape. In 2022, I would not have ventured into them.
After a rest in Jackie Robinson Park, I ventured down West 145th Street to Young Park and then crossed down Malcolm X Boulevard to West 143rd Street. There were no open bathrooms here, so I headed down Fifth Avenue before making the connection on to Harlem River Drive.
In 2021, I stopped for a quick lunch at Sweet Mama’s Soul Food Restaurant at 698 Malcolm X Boulevard on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 145th Street. It was a little too hot for such heavy food, but I thought why not? I had not had Southern food in a long time.
I tried the Fried Chicken wings, Mac & Cheese, Sweet Potatoes and a biscuit with a Coke. The food is served buffet style and bought by the pound. My ‘little’ meal with beverage was $9.00 and I thought that was a bargain for all that food. The fried chicken tasted delicious but had been sitting in the steamer too long, but the biscuit, sweet potatoes and mac & cheese were all excellent and full of flavor. Refreshed from my lunch, I carried on down Malcolm X Boulevard (Lexington Avenue). Don’t bother with the public bathrooms at Carl Young Park across the street. They are not clean.
During the walk in May of 2022, to get out of the rain, warm up and get away from these annoying people who started to walk with me from Alabama, I stopped in King Pizza of Harlem at 110 West 145th Street for a snack. I knew that I wanted a chopped cheese for lunch, but I was starved and needed to eat something. I also needed a break from the walking.
For a little hole in the wall pizzeria in not the greatest part of the neighborhood, the cheese pizza is excellent. The sauce is so well spiced and topped with loads of mozzarella cheese. The slice was rather large and made a great snack. It was just pleasant to sit down and relax.
As I made my way down Fifth Avenue from 143rd Street, I stopped for a moment to look at a obelisk that I had not noticed the last time I had visited the area. The obelisk is located on a tiny triangle near the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 142nd Street. The Monument is the 369 Infantry Regiment Memorial dedicated to the all-black unit that fought so valiantly in World War I with the Fourth French Army. It was in such an obscure place that I must have just passed it when I visited Harlem. The drunk homeless guy sitting next to it was a deterrent from really looking at it.
I crossed over the triangle and continued to follow the river to West 135th street (the river walk ends at West 135th Street and continued down Madison Avenue. I had to walk through the Lincoln Houses Public Housing and again pretty much everyone avoided me. I was surprised that there was so much garbage on the lawns and in the parks. I could not believe that none of the residents would have picked this up.
As I walked down Madison Avenue, I noticed another homeless guy trying to solicit money from people coming off the highway and almost getting hit a few times. I was going to yell at him, but I thought I better mind my business walking in this section of the City.
I made a turn into the courtyard of the Lincoln Houses to see the statute of Abraham Lincoln with Child statute at 2120-2122 Madison Avenue. With all the statutes being torn down in 2020, I was surprised that not only was this statute up but in good shape.
Lincoln and Child at 2120-2122 Madison Avenue in the Lincoln Houses
The statue was designed by artist Charles Keck. Mr. Keck was an American born New York artist who studied at the National Academy of Design and the Arts Students League of New York. He was best known for his work on statues and monuments.
In 2022, as I admired the statute for a second time in the rain, some crazy homeless guy got right into my face and started talking about Lincoln and slavery. I walked away as fast as I could. How come I attract all the crazies? Everyone I was walking with walked faster down the street away from me.
I walked south down Madison Avenue until I reached West 128th Street and walked towards the river towards Second Avenue. I stopped in Harlem River Park and Crack is Wack Playground and again no open bathrooms and I passed the Tri-Boro Plaza Park nothing there either, so I just continued down Second Avenue to East 120th Street and walked down Pleasant Avenue towards Thomas Jefferson Park. The park was pretty busy in both 2020 and 2021 with kids playing baseball or running around the park.
While walking around Harlem River Park, I came across the artwork “Dream Fulfilled”, which was unveiled in August of 2011 as a partnership between the Harlem CDC, their State and City Partners, East, Central, and West Harlem Committees and the Creative Arts Workshop for Kids (CAW) (Empire State Development).
The project “Dreams Fulfilled” in 2011
As I walked down Second Avenue from 125th Street, I noticed interesting artwork on the side of the Taino Towers at 221 East 122nd Street. The towers had been going through a major renovation the last time I had visited the neighborhood and parts of the complex were still under scaffolding.
Artist Don Rimx painted a mural of Nuyorocan poet Jesus ‘Tato’ Laviera. The painting had been unveiled in 2017 (long after my visit to the neighborhood) and 123rd Street was renamed after the poet (Street Art NYC).
The mural of Jesus ‘Tato’ Laviera at Taito Towers at 122nd Street and Second Avenue
Mr. Rimx was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and in 2009 moved to Brooklyn and then in 2014 to Florida. He graduated from Central High School of Visual Arts and Escuela Des Arts Plasticas. He is known for his use of styles in art and culture and known for his murals (Artist Bio).
As I passed the towers and its new artwork, I crossed Second Avenue to the Wagner Houses complex. People were having all sorts of picnics and barbecues inside and outside the Wagner Houses and people were celebrating Father’s Day in full force. It was all I could do from walking through the complex again. The last time I did that the residents looked at me like I was a Martian who just set down.
The Wagner Houses
The Robert Wagner Sr. sculpture in the Wagner Playground by artist Georg John Lober
Georg John Lober was an American artist from Chicago who studied at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design and worked for the New York City Municipal Art Commission for seventeen years.
As I walked around the Wagner Complex, little had changed from my various trips in this part of the neighborhood except they finished a lot of the luxury housing across the street. The complexity and diversity of the neighborhood was changing fast right before COVID hit and in the 2021 trip, it is still changing.
Pleasant Avenue was once home to the East Harlem “Little Italy” and the ‘Dance of the Giglio’ takes place here every August outside the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (See Day Eighty-Four The Feast of Our Lady of Carmel and the Dancing of the Giglio). Now it is becoming a gentrified neighborhood and I saw many people eating in outdoor cafes or shopping at the local mall. I stopped at Pleasant Finest Deli at 375 Pleasant Avenue in both 2020 and 2021 for a snack and a Coke. On an 84-degree day there is nothing like an ice-cold Coke. This is my ‘go-to’ place when I am in the neighborhood for snacks.
The ‘Chopped Cheese’ is a cult sandwich made up of two chopped hamburgers topped with American cheese, chopped lettuce and tomato with salt, pepper and spices and then pressed. It is like heaven with every bite. I took my sandwich into Thomas Jefferson Park, which is currently under renovation and ate my sandwich. After I was finished, I had the energy to continue the walk downtown.
In 2021, I wanted to make up for time and ate it when I got to Carl Schulz Park near East 84th Street. I figured I had eaten enough by that point and could save it for later. I had to have a chopped cheese that day.
The Chopped Cheese Sandwich at Blue Sky Deli (Harlem Taste Deli)
In May of 2022, I had to get out of the rain and stopped in the deli for about a half hour while my order was cooking. The rest of the customers at the deli did not know what to make of a six-foot drenched white guy who looked starved and angry. I was just wet and tired. The sandwich was terrific as usual, but I had to eat it quickly in the park again to continue the walk. When I digested it a few blocks later it gave me a lot more energy to walk.
After I finished my lunch, I felt refreshed and ready to go but still had to find a bathroom. Since the park was under renovation, there were only Porto bathrooms and trust me, STAY AWAY! They were so dirty that COVID-19 could not survive these things. After eating a big lunch, I ended up nauseous for the rest of the afternoon and lost my appetite for anything else. I left the park at 3:48pm and thought I was making good time.
When I did the walk in May of 2022, it was pouring rain when I got to the deli and sitting in Blue Sky Deli was the only time that I really warmed up. Because there is no place to sit down in the deli, I had to eat my sandwich in the park during the drizzling rain. Not the best conditions to eat but it really warmed me up and gave me energy to continue the walk down the esplanade from East 110th Street.
Before I left Thomas Jefferson Park, I came across another piece of art that I had not noticed on my many visits to the park. The sculpture located in the middle of the park is entitled “Tomorrow’s Wind” by artist Melvin Edwards. The sculpture is made of welded steel and is tilted so that it reflects the sun. The piece was placed in the park in 1995 (NYCParks.org).
Mr. Edwards is an American born artist from Texas. He is known for his known for his abstract steel sculptures. He graduated with a BFA from University of Southern California and studied at the Los Angeles Art Institute.
I exited the park at West 111th Street and followed the overpass over FDR Drive and walked down the esplanade from West 111th Street to West 60th Street in Sutton Place. The views of the Harlem and East Rivers are ever changing with new construction in Queens and Brooklyn and the developments on Randall’s-Ward and Roosevelt Island. The whole riverfront changes every year.
The Tram to Roosevelt Island
Between the sunny skies and cool river breezes, it is an amazing walk if you take your time like I did and just soak up the sunshine. I never realized how easy this part of the walk would be. I just walked others walk by enjoying their afternoons and looked at all the buildings going up and the boats and jet skiers passing by. It was one busy river.
I relaxed when I arrived at Carl Schurz Park to enjoy the views of Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island and look at the flower beds in the park. Carl Schurz Park has its own Friends group, and they do a great job taking care of the park. The flower beds are so colorful and vibrant, and the playground is full of active screaming kids.
There were finally some decent OPEN bathrooms and the water fountains here work and the water is good. The fountains dispense cold water and New York City water tastes good especially at these water fountains. In all of my trips around the island and even when I was walking around the Upper East Side for this blog, Carl Schulz Park has the best facilities for its visitors.
In 2020, I stayed at the park for about fifteen minutes. Any longer and I would not have left. Carl Schurz Park is one of my favorite parks in Manhattan. I love the views, the sights and sounds of this park and love how lively and calm it is at the same time. It is a true neighborhood park.
In 2021, I just relaxed in the park, ate my chopped cheese sandwich (which I could tell people around me envying) and watched the boats and jet skiers pass by. I also had a direct view of Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island, so I got to watch everyone visit the little lighthouse at the tip of the island. Outside of Bryant Park in Midtown, I find Carl Schulz Park one of the best parks in the City to relax and just people watch and let nature encompass you.
In May of 2022, when I arrived at Carl Schulz Park it was the only time of the day where the sun peaked out giving me hope that the weather would break. It did not happen and that was the joke Mother Nature played on us. It was not raining as badly but it continued to misty and light raining.
In July of 2022, I stayed at the park for a half hour just relaxing and watching the water flow by and looking at the people at the tip of Roosevelt Island across the river. The benches by the water are the best place to relax on a nice day.
I continued down the river front walk until I had to stop at West 60th on the border of the Upper East Side and Sutton Place and proceeded up the ramp. This is where the sculpture by artist Alice Aycock is located and one of my favorite ‘street art’ sculptures ‘East River Roundabout’.
From here I travelled up the ramp which surrounds Twenty-Four Sycamores Park which borders both neighborhoods and is extremely popular with the neighborhood children and their babysitters and parents. The park was closed though because of the COVID-19 pandemic but will be reopened soon. This park was start and stop point when I was visiting this side of town for the blog. I like the shade trees and it has good bathrooms.
In May of 2022, they had finished renovating the bathrooms at the park and they were open. The best part was that they were really clean and were heated. I was able to relax for a minute, go to the bathroom and get warm. I understand the plight of the homeless on a cold night.
I walked down Sutton Place past the old mansions and stately apartment buildings. This area of the City was really quiet as the residents here were probably out of town with all that was going on. The streets were pretty much deserted, and I saw a few people in Sutton Place Park. Please check out my walk of the Sutton Place/Beekman Place neighborhood on my blog:
Day One Hundred and Thirty-Four: Walking Sutton Place
In July of 2022, it had gotten so hot, and the humidity was getting to me that I had to stop for some ice cream, and I remember A la Mode Shoppe at 360 East 55th Street. I had the most amazing ice cream there years ago when I was blogging about Sutton Place and even checked the Internet the day before to make sure that they were open.
My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:
The two flavors that I love are Pink Sprinkles (Strawberry Ice Cream with layers of colorful sprinkles and Cloudy Weather (Blueberry Ice Cream with tiny marshmallows). I was looking forward to going there on this whole trip down this side of the island. I knew I was going to need something to cool myself down. It is such a great little store that also sells gourmet sodas, candy and toys.
A la Mode Shoppe is such a whimsical store
Watch taking the turn on East 53rd Street to First Avenue. The cars and cabs will not stop for you when you try to cross the street so be careful. I always take a mad dash across the road.
From here you have to walk on First Avenue from East 53rd Street until East 37th Street as the United Nations dominates this area. The United Nations looked like it was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic with just a few guards on duty and not much traffic. It also looked to me like they removed a lot of their statuary because of all the vandals destroying artwork all over the country.
The United Nations Complex
The complex was completely quiet on this gloomy day, and I did not see a sole anywhere near the complex. Even the security booths seemed quiet when I passed. You can no longer walk around the on the grounds, so I peered from the gate and admired the statute ” Good defeats Evil” by artist Zurab Tseretelli. This interesting statue I found out later was made of old United States and Russian missiles to commemorate the signing of the ‘Treaty of the Elimination of Intermediate’. The statue was to represent peace (United Nations Gifts).
Good defeats Evil by artist Zurab Tseretelli (United Nations Gifts)
Artist Zurab Tseretelli is a Russian born artist who is noted for his sculptures all over the world. He graduated from Tbilisi State Academy of Arts and was a visiting professor at SUNY in New York State on top of other teaching and academic honors (Wiki).
I stopped in Ralph Bunche Park at First Avenue between East 42nd and 43rd Street. I just needed to sit for a bit, and I admired a sculpture that I had not noticed before when walking the park.
Ralph Bunche Park at First Avenue between East 42nd and 43rd Streets
Mr. Johnson was an American born artist from California. He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute and then studied in Paris. He was known for his abstract paintings and steel sculptures.
Another interesting piece of art was on the wall of 777 First Avenue, the Church Center for the United Nations. The work was created by artist Benoit Gilsoul and is entitled “Man’s Search for Peace” (Wiki).
The Church Center for the United Nations at 777 First Avenue
Mr. Gilsoul was a Belgium born artist who immigrated to the United States in 1967 and became an American citizen. He studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux Arts in Belgium. He was noted for his abstract works (IstDibs.com).
I then exited East 37th Street and continued to walk down the esplanade along the East River. I had never travelled to this section of the City before (I have currently not passed 42nd Street on my current walk of Manhattan in 2020) so it was an adventure to see new views of the island. I stayed on this pathway until I got to the Battery.
In May of 2022, the rain began to let up when I got to the esplanade, and it was just a light mist. I was just hoping that it would stop soon. While everyone else was racing down the walkway to finish the walk, I took the time and admired the buildings on the Brooklyn waterfront. It is getting more impressive every year.
Along the way between East 37th Street and East 11th Streets, you tend to see the backs of a lot of buildings on the Manhattan side life Bellevue and the Tisch Hospital. You then pass Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and then the Con Ed Power Plant so there is not much to see on this side but from the other side you will see the skyline of Long Island City and Downtown Brooklyn.
Downtown Long Island City keeps changing
On the turn before you get to the larger East River Park is the smaller Stuyvesant Cove Park which was once the site of an old cement plant and has now been reclaimed for a riverfront park. The park runs from about East 22nd Street to East 18th Street. The park is planted with native plants of New York City and has become a haven for birds and butterflies (Stuyvesant Cove Park Association). I left Stuyvesant Cove by 5:45pm in 2020, 6:30pm in 2021 and 4:30pm in 2022. I took more time to explore the parks and artwork in 2021 and was walking slower because of the rain in 2022.
Around East 12th Street its best to the follow the path signs to John V. Lindsay East River Park. The park was created in 1939 by then Parks Director Robert Moses on reclaimed land from the waterfront and piers and is a 57.5 acre point of relief to the residents of the Lower East Side (Wiki).
The park has many recreational facilities and the afternoon I was walking through countless parties and barbecues were going on. With meats sizzling on the grills and water gun fights and the sound of music throughout the park, people were enjoying their Father’s Day celebrations in every corner of the park. I found open bathrooms that were clean and a water fountain that worked and I was happy. Don’t miss the giant anchor facing the river near the entrance to the park.
Don’t miss the “Anchors Away” sculpture in John Lindsey Park
Once I left the park in 2020 and 2021, I was on my way to South Street Seaport. This part of the walk meant walking under overhangs, bridge over-passes and the housing was a combination of new and old construction. On the other side of the river, there is a difference on the riverfront on the Brooklyn side. The growth of DUMBO and Downtown Brooklyn has changed the whole look from this side of the river.
Downtown Brooklyn from the Brooklyn Bridge
In May of 2022, the rain was really getting to me, and I was not sure if I could keep going. My muscles in my legs were really getting to me because of the cold. It went from 54 to 45 degrees by the time I got to Lower Manhattan. I just happened to meet up with a businessman from Fort Lee, NJ who I had seen hours earlier on the other side of the island. He asked if he could walk the rest of the way with me and I said yes. It was nice to have someone to talk with for the rest of the trip.
This is now becoming some of the most expensive housing in New York City with warehouses and old factories becoming expensive lofts. Things just changing on that side of the river and the riverfront even this far down keeps changing. I passed the Peck Slip Park at 6:30pm on my way to the South Street Seaport.
South Street Seaport is some of the original structures of Lower Manhattan many dating back to the Civil War when this was a major shipping area. The home of the Dutch West Indies Company in the early 1600’s, this port area has seen many changes. The most modern ones when the Rouse Corporation turned this into a dining and shopping entertainment area setting up concept for many downtowns in city’s that needed revitalizing. Since its development, South Street Seaport was their most successful venture.
I had never seen it so quiet in the time of COVID-19. There was no one walking around this busy area but a few tourists and residents. In 2021, the mood had changed, and it was much busier. I passed through the Seaport by 6:48pm.
As I was leaving the South Street Seaport in 2021, I was watching fire trucks leave in a hurry from one of the local firehouses. It caught my attention so much that I lost my footing for some reason and fell flat on my face. It was almost as if someone had tripped me. In May of 2022, the only thing we did was race by the place because of the weather but in July of 2022, the Seaport was alive with people having dinner and drinks.
From here it was again more overhangs from the highway until I got to the Ferry stations for Staten Island and Governors Island and then rounding the corner to make it to Battery Park where the sites of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island loomed in the distance. All over the harbor were sailboats and motorboats enjoying the early evening. It was now 7:15pm and I had been travelling since noon.
In 2020 and 2021, I spent about a half hour relaxing and enjoying the views on a sunny early evening. Being the day after the Summer Solstice it was one of the longest days of the year and I got to enjoy the extra sunshine. I needed to cool down and this was the place to do it. It still is one of the most picturesque places in New York City.
In May of 2022, the rain and clouds got so bad that I could barely see things in the harbor. It looked like it was trying to clear and by 5:00pm it finally stopped raining. We had been walking under the highway underpass by South Street Seaport and the two of us started to dry out.
In July of 2022, this is where I took my longest break of forty-five minutes. I just needed to relax before I made the last leg of the journey back to West 34th Street. Similar to the walk I did in 2020, it took a lot of effort to complete this part of the journey and I wanted to build my strength.
I have to say that I never get tired of seeing Lady Liberty. I still can’t believe that I am seeing the same statute that both of my grandfathers’ saw when they arrived in this country. It puts it all into perspective to me how powerful of a symbol it is to this country as a way of welcoming people to the United States.
When finishing ‘The Great Saunter’ in 2022, this was our last stop before heading back to Frances Tavern. Myself and my walking partner for the last four miles of the trip had talked most of the time about our careers and families and about why we took the walk. The time just flew from there. I learned that his wife and her friend had made it all the way to Inwood Park before they took the subway back downtown and then home.
Justin Watrel completing “The Great Saunter” officially in May of 2022
We walked to the registration desk in front of the Frances Tavern and collected our certificates that we completed the walk. We then took our picture with our certificates and then said our goodbyes. He then told me that probably could not have finished the walk without me and I felt the same way. I need someone to keep pace with me and help me finish this difficult day. I warmed up in the restaurant for a bit and then took the subway back uptown and then the bus home. Everything had to go in the dryer when I got home and air out. I finished the walk by 5:45pm taking me almost eleven hours to finish, a personal best.
In 2020 and July of 2022, I had just walked the entire east side of Manhattan and I have to tell you I was stiff by this point. I was ready to throw in the towel here and rest, but I pressed on wanting to get home at a decent time. I really misjudged how long it would take to get from the Battery to West 42nd Street. It is a decent amount of time even though it doesn’t look it on the map. You just have to distract yourself by looking at the coves and the artwork along the way.
In 2022, I walked past Fort Clinton, also known as Castle Clinton, where you buy tickets for the Statue of Liberty. The fort has had an interesting history. Built between 1809 to 1811, it has served as a fort in the early wars of the country, then an entertainment spot, an immigration outpost before Ellis Island was built, then the home of the New York Aquarium and now home to the start off point and history discussion on the Statue of Liberty (Wiki).
In 2021, I was much better prepared and had more walking time under my belt. I was in much better shape, so it did not tire me so much at this point of the walk. I was rearing to go after a half hour break.
I left Battery Park at 7:30pm and followed a crowd of people out of the park. Before I left the park for Battery Park City and its beautiful parks, I came across the sculpture “American Merchant Marines Memorial” at the edge of the Battery. The statue commemorates the thousands of merchant ships and crews that fought since the Revolutionary War (NYCParks.org).
The “American Merchant Marines Memorial” by artist Marisol Escobar
Ms. Escobar was born in Paris and raised in Venezuela and moved to New York in the 1950’s. She is known for her highly stylized boxy sculptures (NYCParks.org). She studied art at the Jepson Art Institute, the Ecole des Beaux Arts and Art Students League of New York (Wiki).
Another sculpture I missed on my first two walks around the island was the New York Korean Memorial by artist Mac Adams.
The statue is one of the first monuments to the Korean conflict built in the United States and the void in the sculpture represents the absence and loss of the war and a metaphor for death (NYCParks.org).
Artist Mac Adams is a British born artist who now lives in the New York area. He holds an MFA from Rutgers University. He is known for his large public works and for the use of ‘space between images’ (Wiki/Artist Bio).
I left Battery Park and entered into the newer extension of Robert Wagner Jr. Park next to Battery Park City. In the front part of the park, I came across these unusual musical instrument sculptures that graced the entrance of the park.
The art entitled “Resonating Bodies” were created by British born artist Tony Cragg, whose work I had seen uptown many times. The sculptures resemble a lute and a tuba. The work is based on the concept that all physical bodies including ourselves are constantly enveloped by various energy forms (NYCParks.org).
“Resonating Bodies” at Robert Wagner Jr. Park in Battery Park City
Mr. Cragg is a British born artist from Liverpool and studied at the Gloucestershire School of Art, received his BA from the Wimbledon School of Art and his MA from the Royal School of Art. He has been showing his works since 1977. He is best know for his contemporary sculptures (Artist Bio/Wiki).
I walked behind them as I travelled through the South Cove of Battery Park City. Not a lot of tourists know that this whole area is fill in of old piers on the fillers from the building of the original World Trade Center. Now the area sits apartment buildings with breathtaking views and well-landscaped parts. The South Cove was filled with small groups of people who were also not social distancing and very few masks. I think people were just throwing caution to the wind.
Don’t miss the twists and turns of the South Cove of Battery Park City
Another piece of art that I missed and saw in 2022 was ‘Ape and Cat at the Dance’ by artist Jim Dine. The sculpture of a cat and ape dancing cheek to cheek like humans had been inspired by the Henry James story of “The Madonna of the Future”. The Parks Department describes it as a ‘human like and asks us to reflect on ourselves”. (NYCParks.org/Downtown Alliance).
“The Ape and the Cat at the Dance” in Battery Park
Artist Jim Dine is an American born artist who studied at the University of Cincinnati, School of Fine Arts in Boston and graduated with a BFA from Ohio University. He is known for his many different mediums of sculpture, printmaking and drawing (Wiki).
Mother Cabrini was born in Italy as Maria Francesca Cabrini in 1850. She took her vows and founded the Missionary of the Sacred Heart. She immigrated to the United States in 1889 and continued her charity work, founding organizations and was the first naturalized citizen to be canonized (NYCbio/MotherCabrini.org/Wiki).
The work was created by artists Jill Burkee and Giancarlo Baigi.
Jill Burkee is a sculpture and draftswoman who studied at the Arts Students League of New York and the University of Washington and has studied in Italy. Giancarlo Baigi is a sculptor and multi-media artist. He also studied at the Arts Students League of New York and has a MA from Stagio Stagi in Peitrasanta in Italy (Arts Students League bio).
Another piece of art that I came across that I missed in the last two trips is “Apple” by artist Stephen Weiss. The piece was part of the ‘Larger than Life” series of the artist and symbolized the heart and core of life in New York City (Hudson River Park)
“The Apple” by artist Stephen Weiss in Hudson River Park
Artist Stephen Weiss was a New York born artist who had attended the Pratt Institute. He had worked for his family company and was the husband of designer, Donna Karan. He was known for his sculpture works (RoGallery).
When I walked the parks both North and South Coves in 2021, people were still having Graduation parties, small picnics and the restaurants had reopened both indoors and outdoors without masks. The parks, restaurants and lawns were really hopping that night.
From here it was following the path up to the North Cove of Battery Park City and the views of Jersey City. Each of the parks had unique landscaping and walkways that accented the buildings of the World Financial Center. It is hard to believe how damaged these were after the long days after 9/11. You would have never known with boats docked for dinner and people having picnics and wine in the shadows of these buildings.
I was pretty surprised as I walked through the park with more daylight time to spare that I came across what looked like an Egyptian Temple sitting in Battery Park. The sculpture building is entitled “The Upper Room” designed by artist Ned Smyth. This self-contained sculptural environment suggests a contemporary reimagining of an Egyptian temple offering a stylized sanctuary from the surrounding city (BPCA-NYC).
Mr. Smyth is an American born artist who born in NYC and works in NY. He has a BA from Kenyon College in Ohio. He is part of the Pattern and Design Movement of the 1970’s and known for his large-scale public works (Artist Bio/Artist Profile Bio).
As I started to pass some of the open air restaurants, I saw another piece of art that stood out which was a series of colored rings but could not get close enough to see the artist who created it. For another trip to the park.
The last piece of art that stood out to me on this trip through Battery Park was entitled “Days End” by artist David Hammons. It looked like the shell of an empty building and struck a nerve as the sun started to set on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. It is an ‘Open Air’ sculpture that explores the history of the neighborhood (Whitney Museum).
Mr. Hammons is an American born artist who studied at the Chouinard Art Institute (CalArts) and at Otis Art Institute. He is known for his Body Prints and sculpture work (Wiki/Artnet.com).
As the light started to fade in the evening as the sunset over Jersey City across the river, I started to fade too. I just singing to myself and kept encouraging myself to keep moving. I really wanted to finish even though my thighs were getting stiff, and my fingers looked like sausages. I was determined even though I wanted to stop. Every time I asked that question of myself I then said, ‘then why did I start the walk if I was not going to finish it?’
I stopped for a second to look at the sun setting in the backdrop of Jersey City and watched in wonder the beauty of it all. It is almost a reminder how much bigger the world is than us.
The Jersey City Waterfront at sunset
While I was walking through the parks, a few pieces of park sculpture stood out to me as I reached Hudson River Park in Chelsea. The long trek up Joe DiMaggio Highway made me more aware of my surroundings as I had to stop again. I came across the ‘Serpentine Sculptures’, these large twisting metal concoctions that graced the riverfront walkway.
These interesting, twisted sculptures are by American artist Mark Gabian who holds a BA in Art History and BFA in Sculpture from Cornell University (my Alma Mater!). Mr. Gabian’s sculptures can be seen all over the world. The artist has been quoted as saying he created monumental site-specific commissions in two or three dimensions’ (the artist’s website).
The last leg of the journey loomed in the distance as I saw the lights of the Hudson Yards in the distance like a mythical ‘Oz’ waiting for me. I saw the heliport and observation deck glittering in the distance and knew I had to reach it.
The Observation Deck and the glittering buildings are just a few blocks from the Port Authority Bus Terminal where my journey started, and I knew I was there. In 2020, I reached the Circle Line Pier again at 9:11pm in the evening and I celebrated by sitting on a boulder outside the ticket booth for fifteen minutes watching the security guard play on his cellphone. I did the same thing on the walk in July of 2022, but this time I made it at 8:55pm exactly fourteen hours after I stated.
I was not tired Per Se, but I was stiff all over. I could feel my thighs tighten up and my fingers and hands I had to shake several times to get proper circulation back into them. Still, I was not out of breath and was able to walk back to the Port Authority and make the 9:50pm bus out of New York City for home. I got home by 10:10pm almost sixteen hours later.
In 2020 and July of 2022, I walked the entire rim of Manhattan from top to bottom in fourteen hours. Not the twelve hours the Great Saunter Walk guide says but there is a lot more to it than just walking. You will need many bathroom, water and rest breaks along the way. Drink lots of water too. Still, it was a great walk and one for the blog!
In 2021, I arrived back at Hudson River Park at West 23rd Street just as the sun started to set over New Jersey and got to see the multi colors that were created in the sky. Mother Nature’s work of art for everyone to see.
I was not as tired on this trip as I had the year before. All that walking and training in Midtown Manhattan neighborhoods plus an overnight stay in the City to get an earlier start helped out tremendously. I finished the perimeter walk of the island in exactly fourteen hours, one hour more than 2020 but I stopped more times to admire public artworks, snack at restaurants and snack shops and walk through more parks and neighborhoods to see what was there. It was a more interesting trip where I did not rush it. I finished at 8:20pm in 2021.
For dinner that night, I stopped at Lions & Tigers & Squares at 268 West 23rd Street, where I had eaten many times for lunch after working at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen (which I had mentioned many times in this blog). The restaurant features Detroit style pizza where the cheese and sauce are baked into the sides of the pizza and there is no crust. It is a type of Sicilian pizza with a twist to it.
I treated myself to a sausage pizza which was loaded with fried sweet sausage, caramelized onions and they put a dash of maple syrup on top to add to the complexity. God was that delicious! There is so much flavor in each bite. I was not even planning on eating there but the pizza cook waved me inside and then sold me on it. I was lucky that he did!
Do not miss the Sausage Slice at Lions & Tigers & Squares
It was another great trip around the Island of Manhattan trying new restaurants and visiting old ones, viewing wonderful public art in the open-air art museum that New York City is, touring interesting parks and feeling like part of the neighborhood.
In both 2020 and July of 2022 because I had to start at West 42nd Street and it was so late, I just dragged myself home. Even going from the Circle Line to the Port Authority took its efforts. I was so stiff both times that it took some effort just to walk those blocks. In May of 2021 since we started at the Frances Tavern, I took the subway back to Port Authority and dragged my wet body home. In 2021, I had a lot more spring to my step and walked to the Port Authority.
I think spending the night in the City and starting at West 23rd Street was the best way of doing the walk. You are in the City to start and do not have to start so far uptown. It seems that the walk goes quicker when you start further downtown. You have a lot more energy in the morning and get the West Side done when you have the energy to finish it. You are not exhausted by the time you reach Battery Park.
For people who say that New York City is going downhill during COVID, I say to you walk the whole island and you will see the heart of the City is in the people who live here and the contributions they make to keep the City as great as it is. Remember there is more to Manhattan than just Midtown and Times Square. There is so much more to see!
For all its troubles, in 2022 I can see that the City is slowly starting to come back and there are more tourists visiting than before. Will it ever get back to 2019? Yes, but it will take some time. We will just have to learn to accept that COVID will be part of our lives and we will have to adapt to it. I am not going to let it dictate my life.
I dedicate these walks to my father, Warren Watrel, as my Father’s Day Gift of Remembrance. To my dad for all the wonderful afternoons we spent in New York City on Father’s Day. I felt you by my side that afternoon.
It took several weeks to cover the lower part of the Upper East Side. The weather has started to get hotter and now with the Summer here, you have to deal with more humidity. That’s why I like to discover where all the public bathrooms are located in the City. When you drink as much water as I do on these trips, it can become the most important part of the walk (outside the great restaurant find or interesting historic site). You need to know your priorities when you walk the City especially when the temperature hits in the mid 90’s.
Walking the Upper East Side has its extremes in housing and architecture as it moves east from Central Park to the river. Here and there are little ‘treasures’ of buildings and places of business that pop up from block to block. As the weather has gotten hotter and more humid, I have taken my time to really walk the streets of the neighborhood and explore it properly. That is why it has taken so long to finish. There are a lot of great things to see on the lower part of the Upper East Side.
My walk took me to East 59th Street starting at Grand Army Plaza at the statue of General Sherman, which is a big meeting and tourist site right off the edge of Midtown near the Plaza and Pierre Hotels. Many tourists meet their buses here and it is the southern entrance to the Central Park Zoo and then onto Central Park. On a hot day, many people were sitting on the benches in the shade.
The Statue of General Sherman was created by American and New York artist Augustus St. Gaudens in 1892 and finished it in 1903. He modeled the bust after the General who lived in New York City at that time after the Civil War. Mr. Saint-Gaudens was an American artist who specialized in American Renaissance and Beaux-Arts design whose concentration was in monument sculpture. He studied as an apprentice under artists while at Cooper Union and National Academy of Design and continuing at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.
General Sherman distinguished himself during the Civil War with his army taking Atlanta and then marched to the Atlantic to cut off the South (Central Park Conservatory).
The Statue of General Sherman at the edge of Central Park
In 2015, the Northern part of the Grand Army Plaza was restored by the Central Park Conservatory which included cleaning the statue and applying a layer of gold leaf covered with wax on the outside. The rest of the plaza was landscaped with new trees and is now ADA accessible (Central Park Conservatory).
This gilded statue now serves as a welcome to the southern part of the park as well as a focal point to the plaza. It sits majestically almost guarding the park from intruders. The interesting part of its placement here is that the Sherman family wanted it placed here after they rejected Riverside Drive near Grant’s Tomb (See VistingaMuseum@Wordpress.com)(Central Park Conservatory).
East 59th Street is a busy part of the neighborhood with a bevy of upscale stores, restaurants and hotel plus a meeting point for buses loaded with tourists and the carriage trade around the park. Central Park is a huge draw to people sunning themselves on the lawns and going to the zoo, playgrounds and the carousel.
I love walking around this area looking at the luxury stores and walking around the Pierre and Plaza hotels, especially around the holidays. Unfortunately because of recent occurrences, the security at the hotels becomes a point of harassment where you can’t even walk around to look at the displays in public areas anymore.
Pierre Hotel at 2 East 61st Street of Fifth Avenue
Also, the economy and rent increases have hit this area just as hard as the rest of the City and even the upscale stores of Fifth, Madison and Park Avenues have moved to either less choicer areas or have taken root on Lexington or Third Avenues, making them now more expensive. The old brownstone homes and businesses that used to line the Avenues (See the Avenue walks of the Upper East Side on previous ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’ entries) have given way to modern office and apartment buildings with not as much character and space. They rent mostly to the chain stores that can afford it.
I started my first day after a long day in the Soup Kitchen. They put me on the busy Bread Station where we could barely keep up with demand. Sometimes I feel the homeless and the working poor are acting entitled, like the Bread Station is some sort of Starbucks and we should have exactly what they want to eat. When one guy came down hard on us one afternoon I kindly reminded him that the food here is donated and distribute out what we get. It’s not like we order the bread. It is very generously donated by Amy’s Bread and Rockland Bakery. That’s why I like walking around so much, it gets that irritation out of my system as I realize that it is not there fault.
After Soup Kitchen, I decided on eating a few snacks before I came uptown. Before I got to Soup Kitchen, I stopped at Shamas Deli, a tiny little hole in the wall deli at 150 West 38th Street (See review on TripAdvisor). I had passed this place a million times over the years and decided that I needed an bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. It was okay but for $3.25, I thought it was fair. Not the prettiest place but it serves its customers well.
Shamus Deli in the Garment District at 150 West 38th Street
After Soup Kitchen, I like to go to Fu Xing at 273 West 38th Street (See reviews on TripAdvisor.com and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com) for cream and roast pork buns ($1.25) for a quick snack and then for lunch at Non Solo Piada at 302 West 37th Street for lunch. They specialize in Roman street food and make an egg, Italian sausage and cheese wrap called a Cassoni, which is almost like a calzone. Their prices are very reasonable (See reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com)and their selection of tiny pizzas and calzone like sandwiches are not just delicious but reasonable. These two restaurants cater to the Garment Industry crowd who look for a reasonable lunch and thank God, I found them as well. I highly recommend them.
I walked up to East 59th Street via Fifth Avenue and even in the Herald Square area you can see that it is quickly gentrifying. All these old buildings that were once whole-sellers for the Garment Industry have made way for hotels and fancy condos.
Even Fifth Avenue changes from the New York Library on up. It used to be that from East 34th Street to East 59th Streets, there were all of these exclusive stores starting with B. Altman’s at Fifth and East 34th Street ending with the Pierre Hotel at East 60th Street.
Now it looks like a cross between North Michigan Avenue in Chicago and the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus. The stores and restaurants are more moderate as well as there are many empty store fronts which you would not have seen pre-2008. Now prime upscale real estate sits empty.
Things are changing as you get to the Upper East Side border as well. The stores are still nice but not as exclusive as in the past. I still take a short cut through Bloomingdale’s at 1000 Third Avenue at East 59th Street.
It is fun to look at the displays or have lunch at Flip, on the bottom level or 40 Carrots for frozen yogurt (See reviews on TripAdvisor). When the humidity starts, this is where I like to go to cool off and they have nice bathrooms on the bottom level and on the Forth Floor.
Bloomingdale’s has some great restaurants. I have been to Flip on the lower level of the Men’s Department twice for lunch when walking in the neighborhood. Their Heritage Burger and fries ($19.00) is delicious. The burger was perfectly cooked and topped with onions and cheese. The second time I ate there, I tried their Flip Signature Grilled Cheese, which was a combination of three cheeses, bacon, jalapenos peppers (which it could have done without) served with shoe string fries ($16.00). This was a nice combination of flavors and with the fried egg added it gave it a nice complexity of flavors. It would make a nice brunch item.
I have written many times on 40 Carrots on Eighth Floor for their frozen yogurt and on a humid day, which there were many of during this part of the walk, it made going to the Eight floor of Bloomingdale’s well worth it (See all reviews on TripAdvisor).
As I walk past the store fronts and apartment buildings, I am greeted at the end of East 59th Street at Andrew Haswell Green Park by the Queensboro Bridge to look at the sculpture, the East River Roundabout by Alice Aycock again (See Walking the Avenues of the Upper East Side on ‘MywalkinManhattan.com). It is a nice place to just relax and watch the East River go by. There are nice seats to sit down and relax in.
Below the bridge, there is 24 Sycamores Park between East 61st and 60th Streets. It is a nice place on a hot day to sit under a tree and cool off. They also have nice bathrooms and a great water fountain with cool NYC tap water to fill the water bottles up with on a humid day. It is a very popular park for the neighborhood children and their babysitters so that means a lot of noise. It is a real family environment.
Twenty-Four Sycamores Park at 501 East 60th Street
Since I was meeting a good friend later that evening for dinner and a stay in Long Island City, I decided to walk the length of the Queensboro Bridge to Long Island City neighborhood in Queens, NY. That was interesting. The walk over the bridge led me to downtown Long Island City but along the way I passed over Roosevelt Island, the projects that face the park in Long Island City and then into a very gentrifying Long Island City. I swear the entire neighborhood is being knocked down and rebuilt from ground up. All over the place there are apartment and office buildings.
The Queensboro Bridge on the border of The Upper East Side and Sutton Place at East 59th Street
I spent most of my time walking over the bridge dodging joggers and bicyclist while watching what I was seeing in front of me. What a view of the City! The Manhattan skyline is just breathtaking from the bridge and you get a perfect view of the Upper East Side. I am convinced it is better to live in Roosevelt Island than on the Manhattan itself just for the view. I still can’t believe they built projects with a view of the river and the Upper East Side skyline. That’s the progress of the 60’s.
When I got to the other side, I walked around the area to see a rapidly changing environment. Bike paths were all over the place and smaller buildings were giving way to what looks like another city. I was floored with all this progress and square footage in such a small period of time. Even the next morning when I walked around, I could not believe how much of the neighborhood was being leveled giving way to Long Island City becoming almost a new city on its own. It seems to be happening overnight.
When I walked back over the bridge I walked directly back to the other side of East 59th Street and walked to the theater district to join my friend, Maricel and her friends for dinner at Viv Thai at 717 Ninth Avenue between West 48th and 49th Streets (See review on TripAdvisor). It is the most beautifully designed restaurant with interesting lighting and an enormous dragon to greet you at the door.
The food here is excellent! We shared a Fried Calamari with sweet sauce that was perfectly cooked and I had the Pad Thai with chicken which was flavorful with a generous portion of chicken and noodles.
After a quick drink, Maricel and I went to the Fairfield Inn in Long Island City at 2927 40th Road (See review on TripAdvisor), right near where I had taken the walk at the Queensboro Bridge. I was so exhausted from all the walking over the bridge and the rest of the neighborhood, that I went out like a light as soon as I hit the pillow. So much for engaging in conversation.
The Fairfield Inn in Long Island City at 2927 40th Street
The irony was that I had just explored the area just a few hours before. While Maricel slept in the next morning, I explored the area in more detail and the whole neighborhood it seems is being torn down and rebuilt as almost a second city. After the hotel’s buffet breakfast (pretty good), I checked out and took the bus home. Enough walking for those two days.
The Breakfast Room inside the Fairfield Inn in Long Island City
I resumed my walk around the Streets of the neighborhood two days later starting on East 60th Street and then I worked my way up through the neighborhood. There is a lot to see and do in these many blocks. The neighborhood is rapidly changing and in the short time since I have walked the Upper and Middle parts of the Upper East Side many businesses have closed their doors and the store front remains empty.
The ever changing skyline of Long Island City
East 60th Street with its juxtaposed architecture offers a few gems amongst the newer construction. You just have to look up. When rounding 5th Avenue and East 60th Street take time to look at the architecture of the Metropolitan Club, one of the oldest and most exclusive private clubs in the city. The marble work on the club’s exterior has an elegant, polished look to it. The building was designed by Stanford White for the club which was founded in 1891 (Wiki).
Metropolitan Club on Fifth Avenue at One East 60th Street
Between Lexington and Third Avenues on East 60th Street, look to your left as you are approaching Third Avenue and you will see the original entrance to Bloomingdale’s Department Store. This entrance has been incorporated into the current store and notice the mansard roof which was part of the original design of the store when it was founded in the late 1880’s.
The original entrance to Bloomingdale’s on East 60th Street
On the corner of Lexington Avenue and 60th Street, there is a small brownstone attached to a modern building. This was the home of an old woman who owned the last apartment in the building and had lived there for years. She was the reason why the building is still there as they had to build the current building around her.
The Brownstone the lady would not move out of for the building behind it.
She was quoted as saying she would not move for any price as it gave her proximity to Bloomingdale’s. When she died when the current building was finished, the owners simply padlocked the brownstone and there is still stands as a symbol of corporate defiance.
On the corner of 2nd Avenue and 60th Street is Tony and Joe’s Pizza at 1097 First Avenue near East 60th Street (See review on TripAdvisor), an old line neighborhood establishment. I stopped in for a snack and had a slice of pizza and a coke ($4.95). The pizza is pretty good and the staff had their eyes glued to the soccer game that was on TV. It’s a nice place for lunch.
I took another break in the 24 Sycamore Trees Park and need a rest in the shade because of the heat. The humidity was really getting to me. The one thing I like about this park is that there is plenty of places to sit under the trees, they have decent public bathrooms that they keep clean and are open until 5:00pm and they have a great water fountain that spurts out cool, New York tap water which is great when filling your water bottle. Its just nice to relax here.
When making your way to East 61st Street, you will pass the decorative structure of the Queensboro Bridge, with all its geometric designs on the exterior. This is where you can enter the walkway to walk or bike to Long Island City. If you have a chance to do this, take in the beautiful views of the river and the Upper East Side skyline and at the end of the walkway, walk around Long Island City to see the creation of a new city from the ground up.
Right near the entrance to the Bridge is the Mount Vernon Hotel & Garden at 421 East 61st Street (See TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum@Wordpress.com), a much-overlooked historic home/hotel built in 1799. The museum is run and owned by the Colonial Dames of America. This very overlooked historic building and museum was once the home to Abigail Adams Smith, the daughter of the President John Adams. There is a very interesting one-hour tour ($8.00) of the museum.
The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum was a ‘day hotel’ which meant that City dwellers, mostly the growing middle class, would come up to the hotel for the day for lunch or tea and recreational pursuits. You would spend the afternoon in the formal parlors for games, music and readings. The tour takes you through all the rooms, dining rooms and kitchen. It is an interesting tour if you like historical buildings. Don’t miss the beautiful gardens in the back of the building (See review on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com).
Mount Vernon Hotel & Gardens at 421 East 61st Street
There is an interesting waterfall that lines the building on the corner of Third Avenue and East 61st Street. You tend to miss these public spaces if you are not looking at them. As you walk from Second Avenue to Park Avenue, you enter the Treadwell Farm Historic District.
The Treadwell Farm Historic District was founded in 1967, making it one of the oldest in the City. The district extends from Second to Third Avenues between East 61st to East 62nd Street. This had been once part of the Treadwell family farm which was bought by Adam Treadwell in 1815 from the Van Zandt and Beekman families, who had owned the land previously. In 1854, the family sold the land for development. This happened between 1868-1875 and the they were building Italianate row houses, some still standing today (Wiki).
Treadwell Farm Historic District on the Upper West Side
You will notice that on the side streets from Third Avenue to Fifth Avenue and from East 59th Street to East 79th Street are part of the East Side Historic District which was founded in 1981. According to their Friends Group, it is one of the largest Historic Districts in New York City. This area cover a whole array of architectural types from the grand mansions near Fifth and Park Avenues to the limestone, brownstone and detailed apartment buildings that line block after block of the district (Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District).
When exploring and admiring these buildings in both historic districts, really look up to see the details to these homes. Here and there residents have added plantings and artwork to the fronts of their homes. The growth of vines up the walls and statuary really adds to the detail of these buildings.
When rounding East 62nd Street, I came across the beauty of 36 East 62nd Street with it’s gorgeous stone work, interesting keystones over the windows in the form of faces staring at the street and intricate iron work. This interesting building was designed in 1917 for the Links Club, a golfing club, by the firm of Cross & Cross for the club. The faces really do stare at you when you pass the building but remember to look up and take time to look at the details.
Another historical building is the Cumberland House at 30 East 62nd Street on was once of the home of President Teddy Roosevelt as the plaque states on the building. This luxury apartment building offers many luxury features and stands guard in this historical neighborhood.
I stopped for lunch at the Ritz Diner at 1133 First Avenue #1 and the corner of East 62nd Street. The food was so-so. I was surprised for the reviews it has gotten online. I had one of their lunch specials ($12.95) for a bowl of Matzo Ball soup and a Gyro wrap sandwich. The soup was delicious, rich in flavor and the matzo ball was light as a feather.
Their gyro wrap I would avoid. It was a large soggy mess with too much iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. The sauce in it made it even soggier than the cut tomatoes and the whole thing fell apart. I checked the reviews online and it seems that the restaurant does breakfast best.
As I rounded East 63rd Street, I finished for the day. Between the heat, the walking and the afternoon at the Soup Kitchen, I had enough for the afternoon. This more time to explore the neighborhood with a fresh mind.
On my third day in the Upper East Side, I started my day with another long day putting my culinary skills together to work in the Prep Kitchen. We had loads of vegetables to prep for lunch for the next two days so we were all kept busy that afternoon. Surprisingly, I had the energy to walk up to East 63rd Street to continue the walk.
The first thing to check out is the Lowell Hotel at 28 East 63rd Street at Madison Avenue. This elegant little hotel is one of the ‘Leading Hotel’s of the World’ and whose architecture is elegant and inviting. The potted plants and well appointed doorman really give it that European looking touch.
Along the way while walking down East 63rd Street, look up and admire the buildings that line the area from Fifth Avenue to Lexington Avenue. The historic district offers all sorts of interesting townhouses to admire.
At the very end of East 63rd Street you will reach the bottom of Rockefeller University and the entrance to the ramp that leads to the walkway that lines the East River. Take time to walk up the ramp and walk up and down the Riverwalk. The views of Roosevelt Island on a beautiful day are just breathtaking.
Rockefeller University (you have to be checked in to get on campus)
At 101 East 63rd Street, you will see a modern slick brownstone looking glass building named ‘The Halston House’, which was once the home of the New York designer, Halston. Many of the designers legendary parties and get togethers of the Studio 54 crowd took place here according to local legend (Wiki).
I visited the Society of Illustrators at 128 East 63rd, a small museum dedicated to the art of comics and illustrations both the whimsical and serious. I had never heard of the museum before, so I toured the whole museum. I got to see the “Kent State” shooting exhibition of the 1970’s and the “Eric Godal: Fighting for Human Rights” exhibition (See Reviews on VisitingaMusuem.com).
Society of Illustrators at 128 East 63rd Street
Walking on East 64th Street was routine until you arrive at the edge of York Avenue and you start to peak into the Rockefeller University campus. Unlike the other blocks, it just seemed like a row of buildings and stores. This is when newer architecture shows its lack of character of the ‘brownstone blocks’.
Crossing over to East 65th Street, you will notice the historic signs of the twin Roosevelt Houses at 47-49 East 65th Street. This is the New York home of Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt and their children and Franklin’s mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt. The home was finished in 1908 and the President and Eleanor moved into #49 while Mrs. Roosevelt moved into the adjoining #47 house.
The house was their city residence while Springwood in the Hudson River Valley served as their country estate. This is where Franklin started his political run and Eleanor got more involved in her own career in public life entertaining many famous political and foreign visitors. The house remained in the family’s hands until the death of Sara Delano Roosevelt in 1941 and the house was bought by Hunter College where it is now part of the Public Policy Institute of Hunter College. There are tours of the house during the schools year on Saturdays.
As you head towards Fifth Avenue, you will find the Kosciuszko Foundation at 15 East 65th Street. The interesting part of this Foundation is that it was named in honor of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish general and patriot who migrated to the United States and fought in the Revolutionary War. The one time Polish American Scholarship Committee was established in 1923 to bring students to the United States. The building was designed by Harry Allan Jacobs for James J. Van Alen, who was a member of the Astor family (Wiki).
Kosciuszko Foundation Building at 15 East 65th Street
When rounding onto East 66th Street, there are many interesting stone townhouses that line both sides of the street. One of them being the home of artist Andy Warhol at 57 East 66th Street, where the artist lived with his mother from 1974 until his death in 1987. The Historical Landmark Preservation Center erected the plaque in honor of the artist in 1998. It is the first memorial to the artist in New York City.
Toward Fifth Avenue at 6 East 66th Street is the home of the Lotus Club, one of the oldest Literary Clubs in the United States founded in 1870. The French Renaissance style building was built in 1900 by Richard Howland Hunt for the home of Maria Shepard, a granddaughter of William H. Vanderbilt. Notice all the detail work on the outside of the old mansion, which was going through a cleaning when I passed it.
At 3 East 66th Street, there is a plaque dedicated to President Ulysses S. Grant as the site of the house where the President wrote his memoirs. It has since been replaced by a stone apartment building. I stopped here for the day as I was pooped from this part of the walk of the neighborhood.
My last full trip of the neighborhood took me from the top portion of East 66th Street to the bottom of East 72nd Street. I had had a long day working the Bread Station at the Soup Kitchen and walked from West 27th Street to East 66th Street via Fifth Avenue so I got to see more of the City as planned.
I walked East 66th Street again and there is more interesting architecture to see along the street. At 45 East 66th Street, look up to see the detailed Gothic architecture and details toward the top of the building. You see more of this type of Gothic architecture at the Park Avenue Armory which stretches from Park Avenue to Lexington Avenue the former home of the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard and was designed by Charles W. Clinton, a former regiment member. It is now used for entertainment.
There is a lot of beauty to the old carriage houses from 110-112 East 66th Street and were probably the carriage houses and stables to the old Fifth Avenue mansions. These brick buildings with their arched fronts and key stones have since been converted into private homes.
At 122-124 East 66th Street look up to admire the interesting iron grilling work with its almost southern looking accents at the top. The design is done in graceful ovals along the grill work. The building is home to the Cosmopolitan Club that was founded in 1909.
On the corner of East 66th Street and Second Avenue in the courtyard of the Sloan-Kettering entrance to the hospital there is an interesting sculpture by artist Barbara Pepper called “MSKCC Twist” that the artist created in 2017.
Ms. Pepper was born in Brooklyn, NY and had studied at Pratt Institute, the Art Student’s League in New York and Brooklyn College and had studied aboard in Paris. She started to specialize in metal work in the 1960’s and her works were known to be outdoor sculptures (Wiki).
When rounding East 67th Street, stop at the New York Blood Center to visit their memorial to the victims of 9/11 just outside the building. The little metal footsteps by the wall are pretty touching and show that the tragedy is not forgotten in any part of New York City.
When walking further down the street, you will reach the twisted statue by artist Tony Cragg, Runner 2017, a creative twisted sculpture that sits on the Park Avenue island surrounded by flowers.
Tony Cragg is from England and studied art at the Gloucestershire College of Art. He uses a combination of synthetic and natural elements to this art and it show in this twisted beauty of a sculpture that looks almost like a moving tornado.
His work is part of the NYC Parks ‘Art in the Parks Program’, bringing temporary contemporary art to the parks (NYC Parks.org). Mr. Cragg’s works appear in five different locations on Park Avenue.
Tony Cragg Sculpture
Another interesting piece of sculpture is on Fifth Avenue and East 67th Street on the edge of Central Park. It is the statue of Seventh Regiment of New York 107th US Infantry’, whose building on Park Avenue I passed many times when crisscrossing the neighborhood.
It was designed by member of the Regiment, sculpture Karl Illava in 1927. Mr. Illava it was said drew from his experience from serving in the field of the Regiment and used his own hands as the model for the ‘doughboys’ he depicted (NYC Parks.org). I find it fascinating how many times we pass these sculptures in Central Park without ever stopping to notice them.
Walking past the New York Police Department Precinct 19 and Fire Department of New York Ladder 16 and Engine 28 and admire the beauty of the buildings that they are housed in and the surprise of the buildings are that they are part of Hunter College.
Police Sergeant Nathaniel Bush, who was responsible for designing the force’s new station houses from 1862-1895, laid out the plans for the station. It was a four-story Italian edifice of red brick with bluestone copings and Terra cotta trimmings and used the combined styles of Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Neo-Greco and Renaissance Revival.
The FDNY building, which was designed in 1886 by architect Napoleon LeBrun, was originally the FDNY Department Headquarters until it moved down to Centre Street, now it just houses the companies. (Ladder 16 history). In 1980, the buildings were declared by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark status (Daytonian New York)
In 1986, when Hunter College wanted to expand the college, there was an agreement to preserve the façade of both buildings and renovate them. A new building was built in the back and the facade’s of the front buildings were preserved to landmark status. The renovations were complete in 1992 with the Hunter portion separate from the civic buildings and the police station uses the the upper floors of the old fire station. These buildings were re-designed as a landmark in 1998 (Daytonian New York).
When walking back to the East River on East 67th Street, take a break in St. Catherine’s Park between East 67th and 68th Streets off First Avenue. It is nice place to take a break and sit down but by no means quiet especially in the summer months that I was walking the neighborhood. Children were running all over the park, chasing one another while parents and nannies traded stories on the benches and under the trees trying to escape the afternoon sun. It has a very nice playground and loads of benches to sit back and relax on.
The end of the block by York Avenue houses the hospitals of Sloan-Kettering and Cornell-Weill and this complex covers from First Avenue to FDR Drive from East 67th Street to East 71st Street. This is a busy area around York Street with ambulances and cars all over the place and security is high. The Cornell-Weill building still is something to see with its large cathedral looking exterior and gardens for guests to relax in the front. Don’t think of lingering as security is all over the place. The same goes for Rockefeller University at the end of York Avenue. You need a pass to go through the gates to walk on their landscaped campus.
As you turn the corner to East 68th Street, head back to the Hunter College campus between Park and Lexington Avenues and stop in the Karl & Bertha Leubsdorf Gallery at 132 East 68th Street (See TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum@Wordpress.com), one of several art galleries that are part of the Hunter College campus.
The Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery-The Hunter Art Gallery at 132 East 68th Street
There was a very interesting exhibition of West Coast LGBT art from the 70’s on display at this small but edgy gallery on the main campus. The best part is that the gallery is free to the public and the gallery takes less than an hour to view so it’s not over whelming.
Hunter College Gallery at 132 East 68th Street
If you are hungry, there are all sorts of food trucks parked outside the main entrance to the building of Hunter College. Their selection of all sorts of foods cater to the student palate and include hot dogs, Halal foods, hamburgers and fries. All of this for under $10.00.
As you head back to Central Park between Park and Fifth Avenues, you will notice that this area is under all sorts of scaffolding and there is a lot of renovation work on the buildings going on here. A lot of the stone work is being sandblasted back to its original beauty and the homes are getting gutted for present or new owners.
Heading back to Fifth Avenue admire the almost confection of a marble townhouse at 35 East 68th Street with its curbed windows, grill iron work and Queen-Anne decorations. A similar home is at 40 East 68th Street. This large mansion by the park has ornate details and lavish decorations around the windows and roof.
When making the turn around Central Park, stop for a rest under the trees on one of the many benches that line the path on Fifth Avenue. Its nice to stop and people watch in this area.
When walking down East 69th Street, there are a series of stables from 147-161 East 69th Street that have now been converted into homes. These rare structures are a holdover similar to other blocks off Fifth Avenue that used to cater to the elite mansion dwellers. These small buildings were located close enough to their owners but far enough away to not bother them (NY Times 2014). These small structures have now been converted into homes and studios. The stable at 159 East 69th Street was owned by John Sloane of the Sloane Department Store family and the stable at 157 East 69th Street was owned by artist Mark Rothko, who took his life there in 1970.
Carriage Houses on the Upper East Side
The most picturesque part of the of East 69th Street is when you walk between First and Second Avenues on a beautiful tree-lined block of homes full of character and many styles. It is full of marble and brownstone townhouses which have been restored by their owners. It just looks like a neighborhood. I stopped here for the day and relaxed at St. Catherine’s Park. Between all the walking and the heat I was exhausted.
Before I walked the rest of the neighborhood a few days later, I decided to double back to the upper part of the Upper East Side and take a free tour of Gracie Mansion, the home of the Mayor of New York City and his family (See review on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum@Wordpress.com). On a beautiful day being next to the river, there is nothing like this tour.
The house is now located in Carl Schurz Park but originally it was part of the estate of Archibald Gracie, a prosperous merchant, who used this as his country home (See write up on VisitingaMuseum.com). The house was built in the Federalist style in 1799. The house was in the family’s hands until 1823 when Archibald Gracie had to see the house to pay off debts. The house had many uses over the years and became the Mayor’s residence in 1942.
The tour was really interesting and the best part is the tour is free. You have to go to the Gracie Mansion website at www1.nyc.gov/site/gracie/visit to set up a time and tickets. The tour meets only on Monday’s at 10:00am, 11:00am and 5:00pm and lasts one hour.
It is an interesting tour that takes you through the Susan Wagner addition toward the back of the mansion when the former Mayor’s wife added the ballroom, receiving room and the library. The front of the house that we toured was the original part that included the living room, dining room and foyer and the formal stairs to the second floor. We were able to peak outside into the gardens that were in full bloom to see where they were setting up for a luncheon. Our tour went through some of the historical furnishings of the home and the fact that art work from museums in the City were borrowed to decorate the house. It was interesting to listen to the history of the house and its current use and I highly recommend the tour.
After the tour was over, I walked from East 84th Street back to York Avenue and East 69th Street to continue my walk of the neighborhood. I started at the hustle and bustle of hospital zone by Cornell-Weill. I walked the campus from East 68th Street to East 70th Streets to see the hospital. The main building is the most interesting and when you walk into the lobby (hopefully as a visitor), it is quite beautiful for a hospital. Security is running around all over the place so don’t linger long here but take time to walk the garden in the front.
I walked past the hospital zone and walked down East 70th Street towards the park. Around this part of the neighborhood, more college campuses seem to pop of with the New York School of Design and Marymount College having branches here. There are also a lot of small art galleries and museums to choose from and take time to visit them (See my reviews and write ups on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum@Wordpress.com).
The first gallery I visited was the New York School of Interior Design Gallery at 170 East 70th Street. The gallery is open when the school is open and is free to the public. It had the ‘Senior BFA Thesis Projects’ of the graduate students on display. The seniors were reusing historical buildings for modern use and not only had the full design but all the materials that would be used for the interior.
New York School of Design Galleries at 170 East 70th Street
Technology has changed since we did these projects in the 80’s and 90’s and they are able to make 3D designs that show the finished product. I was floored by the creativity but realized that we had to do more with less twenty years ago. If you get a chance to see the gallery when it is open, take about an hour out to visit it. The show was a treat. Try to visit the gallery when it is open.
For lunch that afternoon, I tried New Shanghai Restaurant at 1388 Second Avenue between East 71st and East 72nd Streets (See reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com). The food here was excellent and attracts quite the crowd at lunchtime.
One afternoon I had the General Tso’s Chicken with egg fried rice and an egg roll with a Coke ($10.44) and the other afternoon I tried the Orange Chicken with egg fried rice and a egg roll with a Coke ($10.44). Both were wonderful and the portion sizes were huge. You will not need dinner after eating here. Both had a sweet and spicy flavor to them and served with steamed broccoli.
On the corner of Lexington Avenue & East 70th Street are two establishment’s you should not miss that are housed in one of the most picturesque brownstone’s covered with ivy that I have seen in New York City. On the corner at 960 Lexington Avenue is Corrado Bread & Pastry (See reviews on TripAdvisor & DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com). The food here is wonderful, very reasonable and if you can nab one of the seats outside, a true New York experience.
The seats overlook this part of the neighborhood and being around the corner from Hunter College, it attracts a mix of students, tourists and Upper East Side socialites. Their sandwiches are unusual with items like Ham with tomato and truffle butter ($3.50) and Brie and Tomato with truffle butter on a French Baguette ($6.50). The two times I went their for dessert after a meal elsewhere, I tried the Apple Turnover ($4.00), which is loaded with sweet apples in cinnamon in a flaky pastry and one of the their Cheese Puffs ($1.75) which are a type of chewy, cheesy popover. A real treat is their Chocolate Porcupine ($7.00), which is made of layers of chocolate cake and mousse than covered in a chocolate ganache. The dessert is decorated with a face that smiles at you.
Next door and interesting to visit is Creel & Gow at 131 East 70th (See LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com) for the most unique gifts and decorative objects. They have all sorts of items from all over the globe with bowls from India, throws and pillows from Asia, taxidermy of exotic birds and all sorts of shells layered with silver. I have not seen merchandise like this since my travels abroad. Its a real treat.
From Lexington to Park Avenues on East 70th Street take time to admire the tree lined street with its interesting mix of brownstones and stone townhouses. These blocks in the historic district are what make Manhattan Manhattan. This stretches from East 70th Street to East 71st Street in this side of the neighborhood.
As you walk past Park Avenue, notice the Explorer’s Club building at 46 East 70th Street with its Gothic looking entrance. This is the home of the Explorer’s Club, which was founded in 1904 and is headquarters in New York City. The club promotes which bonds explorers in good fellowship and promote the work of exploration (The Explorer’s Club history). Membership is by application and invitation only but they do have a Friends group and the club is open once a week on Monday’s Public Lecture Day for touring. Take time though to look at the outside architecture of the building.
One block down at 725 Park Avenue at East 70th Street is the Asia Society Museum which I visited for a second time. I tried to visit their restaurant but for the second time it was already closed for the day. Since I had seen the upstairs galleries early in the walk of the neighborhood, I toured the gift shop. There are a lot of interesting things to buy at the shop.
At the end of the block on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 1 East 70th Street is the Frick Collection Museum, who was showing the ‘George Washington’ exhibition. The nicest part of visiting the collection is just walking around the private home of the Frick Family (See reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum@Wordpress.com).
The Frick Collection is housed in the former residence of Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), which was designed by Thomas Hastings and constructed in 1913-14. After Mrs. Frick’s death in 1931, changes and additions to the building were made by the architect John Russell Pope and in 1935 the Collection was opened to the public (Frick Collection pamphlet).
(The Collection preserves the ambiance of Mr. Frick’s private home and visitors are therefore asked to observe regulations necessary for protecting the works of art and their domestic setting: See regulations on site-Frick Collection Pamphlet).
Rounding East 71st Street the next day, I was determined to finish the neighborhood. With so much to do and see you will miss a lot if you keep your eyes glued to a cell phone.
This includes admiring the tree lined blocks between Fifth and Lexington Avenues with the interesting brownstones, stone townhouses and beautiful apartment buildings. When walking down block don’t miss some of the unique little shops that line East 71st Street.
Folly, a gift and decorative shop, at 157 East 71st Street is one store to stop by (See LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com). The shop is tucked into the bottom of a brownstone and has the most welcoming entrance. The owner, Emily Hottensen, could not have been more welcoming to me and her little dog knows his customer service as he will charm you to death.
Folly gift store at 157 East 71st Street (Closed 2020)
The shelves are lined with stenciled boxes of candy, decorative pillows and lamps, stationary and all sorts of items that would make the perfect host gifts. All I did was rub her dog’s stomach while I was there as he wanted a lot of attention.
Another nice shop is Cotelac at 983 Lexington Avenue for the latest in French fashions (See LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com). This small chain of French designer clothing has the most interesting designs in coats, dresses and tops all beautifully displayed. They also have nice accessories on the tables toward the middle of the store.
I stopped at the Hewitt Gallery of Art on the main campus of Marymount Manhattan College at 221 East 71st Street (See VisitingaMuseum@Wordpress.com) to see the ‘Senior Solo Show’ of the MFA students. They displayed their final projects and there was a collection of prints, pictures and oils to view and buy. All the art was on sale, which I had never seen before. The video art by student Corinne Grahn on emotions and the Plus size prints of Brianna Fazio should be seen and these artists watched. The art was very interesting.
Don’t miss the elegant headquarter of the National Society of Colonial Dames of the State of New York at 215-217 East 71st Street. The building was constructed in 1927 and looks like an old mansion. The club runs the Van Cortlandt House in the Bronx for touring.
215-217 East 71st Street The National Society of Colonial Dames
At the Belaire Building at 525 East 71st Street they have a nice sitting area in front of the building with gardens and a fountain that I see the doctors in the hospital use for breaks. It is a nice place to just sit and relax on a hot day, especially one with a lot of walking around.
On my last day in the neighborhood, I went museum hopping. I first started at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue (See reviews on TripAdvisor) and did a walking tour of the ‘California Contemporary Artists of the 1970-80’s’ with a long time docent of the museum, Judy. She was explaining the art and how the artists wanted to forge their own path away from the New York artists. She mentioned the video “Whatever happened to my Future” by video artist, Ilene Segalove and I found it very profound, especially to anyone over the age of 35. I have it below to share with the readers.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue
I also stopped at the Met Breuer (the old Whitney Museum) at 945 Madison Avenue (See review on TripAdvisor) for the last day of the “Like Life Sculpture, Color and the Body” exhibition. The exhibition was described as ‘Seven hundred years of sculpture practice, from the 14th century Europe to the global present that explores the narratives of sculpture in which the artists have sought to replicate the literal, living presence of the human body’. I found some of the funeral looking works to be creepy and some the contemporary statues to be unusual. This exhibition (now closed) was not for everyone.
The last part of the touring took place at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden at 421 East 61st Street (See reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com). This historic building is one of the last links to 19th century New York and should not be missed.
As I rounded East 72nd Street, my final destination, I stopped at La Crosta Restaurant & Pizzeria at 436 East 72nd Street for lunch (See reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com). They have the best lunch specials for $7.00 and their pizza is excellent. I had the penne with Bolognese sauce ( a meat sauce) and the meal was wonderful as usual. They give a very generous portion size, and the sauce is packed with flavor from the rich ground meats they use in their sauce.
La Crosta Pizza at 426 East 72nd Street (Closed June 2021)
When walking some the blocks again up by the Met on another day, I tried Tri Dim Shanghai at 1378 Third Avenue between East 78th and 79th Streets for their lunch specials (See review on TripAdvisor). There lunch specials are wonderful and very reasonable as well. I had their specialty, Slippery Chicken which is prepared with thinly sliced chicken cooked with ginger, hot pepper and garlic in a brown sauce with spinach. The dish was rich with flavor and the spinach really brought out the flavor of the meat. Their hot & sour soup was really good and make sure to order a side of their Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings $8.00). They are the best!
As you can see there is a lot to see and do in this part of the Upper East Side and it will take you several days to explore the area thoroughly. You can’t do this neighborhood in just a day but pick out the blocks you want to visit and check out all the sites mentioned in the blog. You are going to be glad you took the time out to research first.
See read my other Blogs on walking the Lower Part of the Upper East Side:
Day One Hundred and Sixteen: Walking the Streets of the Lower Upper East Side:
I started walking the streets of the Upper East Side on the gloomiest misty day. After a long day at the Soup Kitchen taking tickets, I wanted to break out and do some walking. This was not the day to do it. I only got through three blocks. I was able to get through East 72nd Street after lunch, then East 73rd, 74th and 75th Streets before I called it quits. It just got so misty and then really rained. Nothing is worse than New York City in the rain when you need to be outside.
I started my after another day at Holy Apostle’s Soup Kitchen working taking tickets from the guests. I swear I think that sometimes they think it is a restaurant. Some of them get a little entitled but I understand. When you have nothing you want to have some say in something you are involved with on a daily basis. Being near the end of the month, many of them were running out of money and it got very busy. What I really like about being a part of the Soup Kitchen is not only am I giving back to the city but that in some small way I am helping deal with the homeless problem in NYC. It may not be the solution but it gives the homeless and working poor help through the process.
I started my walk with lunch at La Crosta Restaurant & Pizzeria at 436 East 72nd Street (See review on TripAdvisor & DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com). They have wonderful lunch specials and for $7.00, I ordered Spaghetti and Meatballs. It was enough to feed two people. I got what looked like almost a pound of pasta and three large meatballs and a side of bread. More than enough food for the rest of the day. Add in a meat pinwheel (made with sausage, ground meat and pepperoni $2.50), it was some meal. I have to admit though they do throw in the spices. I highly recommend the restaurant.
La Crosta Restaurant & Pizzeria at 436 East 72nd Street (Closed January 2022)
In the gloom of the walk, I have to admit that the side streets of the Upper East Side are far different of the Avenues. Most of the streets have not been plowed over for new office and apartment buildings although on some blocks it is slowly happening. The real character of the neighbors of the Upper East Side is in the side streets. Here there is still a combination of brownstones, small stone apartment buildings and on some streets wooden homes and stone carriage houses, reminiscent of and ‘Old New York’, when the wealthy used this a summer retreat and later the outer blocks from their Fifth Avenue homes to house their horses and carriages. Its ironic today how valuable and desirable these buildings are now.
The carriage houses along East 72nd Street
Walking along East 73rd Street between Madison and Lexington Avenues you can see the carriage houses of the wealthy that have now been converted into homes. These beautiful stone structures sit gracefully, still awaiting the carriages return. I was surprised to see so many left noting most of these structures from the old Fifth Avenue mansions have been torn down.
Rounding Fifth Avenue going on to East 74th Street and Fifth Avenue, I needed to make a bathroom pit stop and walked into Central Park to the Kerbs Boathouse. This is located by the entrance near East 72nd Street and when the bathrooms are open, it has a clean, well-maintained place to do your business. The Kerbs Boathouse was built in 1954 on the site of a former wooden structure and during the summer months the pond in front of it is loaded with kids sailing motorized boats.
Kerbs Boathouse Central Park near the East 72nd Street entrance
Some of the statues that surround the Conservatory Pond are the famous ‘Alice in Wonderland’ located in the Margaret Delacourt Memorial that was built in 1959 by Spanish born American artist Jose de Creeft. The artist studied at the Academie Julian in Paris and studied under artist Mariano Benlliure at the Artistic Foundry of Masriera Campins.
It was commissioned by George Delacourt for his wife, Margarita, who loved to read the book to her children. It is one of the most popular statues in Central Park (Central Park Conservatory).
Alice in Wonderland Statue
‘Hans Christian Anderson’ statue that faces the other side of the pond. This statute was created in 1958 by artist Georg John Lober for the 150th Anniversary of the author’s birth. It had been commissioned by the Danish American Women’s Association in his honor. Georg John Lober was born in Chicago and was based later on out of New York City. He studied at the Beaux Arts Institute of Design and National Academy of Design working under artist Gutzon Borgium. In his later years, he worked for the New York Municipal Art Commission (Wiki).
You should take some time to walk around the pond and see both statues especially the detail work of the ‘Alice in Wonderland’. These are the favorite of many adults and children alike (Central Park Conservatory).
Hans Christian Anderson Statue
Before you exit the park at East 72nd Street, take a moment to look at the Waldo Hutchins Memorial as you are exiting the path up the hill. It was named after the State Representative and Central Park Commissioner Waldo Hutchins.
Here in certain times of the year, you can follow the shadows of the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter Equinox and follow the shadow to the exact line that follows when the Equinox hits New York City. I am sure this is something most people miss.
By the time I rounded East 74th Street, I had had enough. The rain and mist were getting to me and I was getting tired. I doubled back to the subway and headed home. I would start the walk again later in the week.
My second day in the Upper East Side was much nicer on a sunny day and the weather was about 51 degrees F. It was perfect to walk around. I had spent the morning in Newark, NJ at the Newark Museum for the reopening of the entrance of the museum on Washington Street. It had not been opened since the early 90’s (At least as long as I have been a member and I just celebrated by 25th year. I was honored as a Museum Fellow the night before at the Annual Meeting of the Newark Museum).
It was a big to-do with high school marching bands, politicians including the Mayor of Newark and many council people and all sorts of city and museum officials. The museum put its best foot forward with reopening the museum to the city. After a few speeches, there was an official ribbon cutting ceremony and then everyone entered the museum. Since I had been here the night before for the Annual Museum Membership meeting, I had toured the whole museum including the new Mediterranean and African exhibition’s (which you should not miss). After the museum opening, I just hopped the train over to Manhattan.
Newark Museum front entrance Grand Opening
The Celebration at the Newark Museum for the entrance reopening
I took the Q train back up to the Upper East Side and walked to Fifth Avenue and continued the walk starting at the top of East 74th Street and Fifth Avenue. I wanted to see the street again without all the gloom and rain. The park still does not have that touch of Spring yet but you can see by the buds on the trees that its coming.
I passed the old carriage houses again to get a better look at the doors they use as an entrance and think what a creative layout for a house now. I bet those owners didn’t realize how trendy they would be eighty years later or that some family would be living where their horse and carriage had once been.
As I crossed onto East 75th Street, I noticed there were more carriage houses between Lexington and Madison Avenues. These must have been back-to-back stables for the wealthy. Outside these two rows of carriage houses and the one closer to the East River, all the rest must have been knocked down over the years.
I stopped again as I rounded East 76th Street as it was getting dark and threatening rain again. The weather has been such a mixed bag in the month of March and I didn’t want to risk it.
I doubled back up Lexington Avenue to the Burger One Coffee Shop at 1150 Lexington Avenue (See review on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com). I had passed the restaurant as I crisscrossed the neighborhood and watched how the cook was making everything through the window. I had a cheeseburger with fries ($8.00) that was one of the best burgers I had had in a long time. Freshly scooped from fresh ground meat and cooked on the grill right in front of me. The right amount of caramelization and perfectly cooked. Everything on the menu is below $10.00.
The next day I spent the morning in Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen again working in the prep kitchen. There was a lot of bonding while I cut up eight boxes of chicken breasts and helped prepare some frozen vegetables. I swear we are always busy there, but the numbers never seem to reflex it. We only did 875 lunches for guests.
I headed uptown on the Q subway and made from the 72nd Street stop and walked up to East 76th Street. This area of the neighborhood is dominated by the hospitals. Lenox Hill Hospital sits at the head of the neighborhood starting at Park Avenue and I swear it is always busy here. As you head further down East 76th Street, it is a sea of graceful brownstones and marble homes. Take time to look at the detail work on the buildings and you will see the craftsmanship of a different era when time was spent making these masterpieces.
One of the more interesting buildings on 77th Street is at 459 East 77th Street. It is a home with the accents of a former church. You can see how they redesigned it keeping the detail work as part of the home. As you head toward John Jay Park at the end of the block note that the bathrooms are open until 5:00pm. By the early afternoon, school let out and the park was dominated by kids, nannies and parents just trying to relax. On a clear day, the view to Roosevelt Island is dominate and take time to really see what the island has to offer.
When rounding the block onto East 78th Street, you get to see the beauty of the Gilded Age’ mansions starting with the old James Duke mansion on the corner of the block off Fifth Avenue. The home had built in 1912 by architect Horance Trumbauer and had been copied from a French Hotel. It has replaced another mansion on the same site.
I had read online after the death of James B. Duke, both Doris Duke and her mother decided to donate the mansion to New York University in 1954. It now houses the NYU Institute of Arts.
The old Payne Whitney Mansion also on Fifth Avenue serves as the French Consulate. It was built by Stamford White in 1906 for Payne Whitney and his wife, Helen. After their deaths, the home became the consulate.
These mansions are part of the line of ‘Gilded Age’ mansions that line East 79th Street between Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue. Homes like this have disappeared off Fifth Avenue, being knocked down for apartment buildings or have been converted into stores, museums or consulates. Still the workmanship and the stonework on these buildings are impressive and you really need to notice the detail work.
Gilded Age mansions on East 79th Street
There are other beautiful homes to look over are the brownstones that line 210-216 East 78th Street. There is such magnificent detail work to these brick row houses that all sit in a line on the south side of the street between Park and Lexington Avenues. They have a New England feel to them. Most of East 78th Street is line with a juxtapose of different style homes and really shows its uniqueness from block to block on the way to East End Avenue.
There are some interesting stores along East 78th Street, one of them being the Tiny Doll House at 314 East 78th Street. This unique store is the last of its kind in New York City according to the owner. The store is filled to the brim with dollhouses and furniture and accessories for them. There is even handmade items locked behind cases in the store for the collector who knows quality. Even the food for the tables looks real.
Turning the corner at East 80th Street, you really see some impressive old mansions. First there is the Vincent Astor mansion at 130 East 80th Street. The house was built by architect Mott B. Schmidt for Mr. Astor in the early 1900’s and upon his death traded hands until the New York Junior League bought the house in 1947 who owns it now. The house has a graceful elegance to it.
A few doors down is the George and Martha Whitney home at 120 East 80th Street. Built by the firm of Cross & Cross this elegant was built in 1930 but harks back to a time of a more Federalist look with the brick face and portical in the front.
George and Martha Whitney Mansion at 120 East 80th Street
Towards the end of the block, you are treated to Lester’s Department Store at 1534 Second Avenue (See LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com). I walked the whole store and was impressed by their assortment of children’s and teen wear. It reminded me of a ‘preppie’ clothing store of the 70’s and 80’s. They even have a camp registry. I thought about the lucky kids who got to buy their clothes here before spending their summer away from their parents. Who really lucks out in that situation?
I finally had to stop at Lexington and East 81st Street as it was getting dark. I never can believe how long it takes to walk these streets especially on this side of time. I took a second trip to Burger One on Lexington Avenue and had dinner this time trying their turkey club sandwich with fries ($9.50). It was excellent.
The sandwich was made with fresh turkey and the tomatoes were ripe. I could barely finish it. This is when I added to my blog, ‘DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com. This is a place everyone should know about. I just thought it was funny the way they looked at me when I walked in. With all the hundreds of customers they must have one of the owners gave me a happy but suspicious look when I walked in for a second time. I thought how could she remember me.
My last day of walking the neighborhood, I had taken a walking tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue and 79th Street of one of the galleries. I love the Met. You can get lost in it for the entire day and never see everything. We were doing a tour of the American Galleries and looking over some of the famous paintings. After the tour, I just wanted to get some air and finished this part of the neighborhood.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue
I started by double backing on East 84th Street and remembered that I had done most of this area in the Fall. It is amazing how fast time goes. I turned the corner onto East 83rd Street and walked towards Madison Avenue and stopped in Sugarfina at 1100 Madison Avenue (Now closed). This is a whirlwind of sweets with a creative twist to the packaging and a price to match. Everything here is very expensive for a piece of candy. They let me have a sample of the sample of the candy, this is more of a business account store. Still the packaging is great.
Sugarfina Madison Avenue at 1100 Madison Avenue (Closed 2019)
As you walk down East 83rd Street, take a look up and admire 222 East 83rd Street. The brick work and landscaping make this home really stand out among the bigger apartment buildings on this part of the block. This beautiful standout was built in 1901 (Streeteasy).
There are two places you should not miss when walking East 82nd Street. One is the Hungarian House at 213 East 82nd Street. The beauty of this brick building is matched by its mission of being the center point of Hungarian American culture and relations. It really does offer a lot of programming while being a center point of Hungarian culture in New York City.
Around the corner from the Hungarian House is the original Ottomanelli Brothers Butcher Shop at 1549 York Avenue. The store has been a neighborhood staple since 1900 and has all sorts of wonderful meats, pastas and groceries that you might need as well as a hot food section that many patrons were taking advantage of when I was visiting that afternoon.
Another gem of a store I discovered when I was finishing East 81st Street was Art for Eternity at 303 East 81st Street (See LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com). This unique art gallery offers a selection of Pre-Columbian Art of museum quality. I saw many interesting bowls and vases. When talking with gallery Director Howard Nowes, he gave me a detailed tour of the works, showing me the detail work of many pieces and explaining their purpose. It was like being back at the Met.
I ended my last day in the neighborhood at another early morning tour at the Met, seeing the new Pre-Columbian exhibition, “The Art of Luxury”, which showcases the treasures of early American art. My last lunch on the Upper East Side was at Harb’s at 1374 3rd Avenue near 78th Street (See review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com-now closed). It is a cross between an English and Japanese bakery shoppe. They have a wonderful lunch special for $20.00 (See my review on TripAdvisor-Now Closed).
The meal consisted of a large cup of English tea, for lunch a Croque-Monsieur (a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with mustard butter) with a side salad with buttermilk dressing and for dessert, a small slice of Mocha cake which was layered with a rich mocha creme. It was a great meal with excellent service.
Harb’s at 1374 Third Avenue (Closed in 2020)
Not such a bad way to end my walk on the Upper East Side.
How to get there:
The Subways The 6 & Q trains
Check out the other blogs on walking the Upper East Side neighborhood:
Walking the Avenues of the Upper East Side Day One Hundred and Two:
I took some time out after Soup Kitchen to get some exercise and start my walk of the Avenues of the Upper East Side. I spent the whole morning making lasagnas for lunch the next day and I was tired as it was that afternoon. I ended up walking from 9th Avenue and 28th Street to Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street to pick up movie tickets at the MoMA for that afternoon and then walked to Fifth Avenue and East 72nd Street and walked down to East 72nd Street to re-walk York Avenue from East 72nd Street to East 84th Street and then walk the remaining Avenues. It was turning to twilight when I last walked it and I wanted to see it again. The neighborhood like the rest of Manhattan is changing.
You really are seeing an area in its own transition especially along the Avenues. The side streets have kept their character to a certain point but on the Avenues the old brick buildings and brownstones are giving way to large apartment buildings like its neighbor to the north in the Yorkville, Carnegie Hill and even East Harlem. More and more of the main thoroughfares are becoming large residential buildings.
I started the day first having lunch a small pizzeria called La Crosta Restaurant and Gourmet Pizzeria at 436 East 72nd Street (See review on TripAdvisor) for a slice of pizza ($4.00). I needed my carbs for the walk ahead of me. This small pizzeria has a really nice menu with very fair prices. The pizza is really good and they have a good sauce on the pizza which really makes the pie.
La Crosta Restaurant and Gourmet Pizza at 436 East 72nd Street (Closed in January 2022)
I would revisit the restaurant again later the next week to try their meatball sub with mozzarella ($7.95) to see if it would make the cut for my blog, DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com (which it has see the review on the site) and was impressed by the sandwich. They loaded the sandwich with homemade meatballs and then loaded with shredded with cheese and finished off in the oven. It was some sandwich.
The lunch specials at La Crosta Pizza are excellent
After lunch, I walked the length of York Avenue. I had really misjudged this part of the neighborhood when really looking at it. When walking York Avenue, I started to notice a difference in the architecture once you hit about East 80th Street. The lower part of the avenue is being knocked down and rebuilt while up in the 80’s, you still have a fair number of small buildings and businesses.
When I crossed over to John Jay Park again for a bathroom break (note this bathroom when walking around the neighborhood. They keep it really clean). I wanted to take another look at the Douglas Abdell statues in the park. They are off to the side of the park in the pathway leading to East 75th Street from Cherokee Place.
Eaphae-Aekyard #2 by artist Douglas Abdell
Really take time to look at the two sculptures. There is a uniqueness to them. It like the way the artist twisted the work to get the geometric forms that he did giving it a juxtaposed pattern.
Kreyeti-Ackyard #2 by artist Douglas Abdell
Douglas Abdell is an American Artist whose work has been seen all over the world. The two statues, Eaphae-Aekyard #2 and Kreyeti-Ackyard #2 use the artists sense of vertical, diagonal and horizontal patterns to create the works (NY Parks System). You really have to take time when in the park to take a look at these two statues and judge for yourself.
First Avenue has a bevy of interesting local restaurants and stores that are concentrated up in the 80’s and while walking up to the upper 80’s, I had to stop by my standby place, Glaser’s Bake Shop at 1670 First Avenue for dessert. You can’t walk around the Upper East Side without coming to Glaser’s (now closed). I love this place!
The now closed Glaser’s Bake Shop at 1670 First Avenue (Closed in 2019)
I got one of their freshly baked chocolate chip cookie sandwiches, which was filled with a mocha cream ($3.50) that was out of this world! I think I have been concentrating on this part of town just so that I can visit here. Everything always looks so good.
It was so sad when they closed
Second Avenue is very similar in feel to First Avenue. In the 70’s, there is a lot of change in the businesses to more commercial establishments with the 80’s still being dominated by more local restaurants and shops. The buildings above East 80th Street are still the smaller brick and brownstone buildings holding the local businesses. All throughout the Avenue there are pockets of local stores and restaurants.
Park Avenue between East 72nd and 84th Streets still is an Avenue of quiet elegance with beautiful older apartment buildings and co-ops that line the beautifully decorated gardens that line the median and the fronts of several buildings. There is very little commercial businesses on the street less a flower shop here and a dry cleaner there It is a block after block of pre-war buildings that have not changed much except for sandblasting clean the exterior of the outside. In the Spring, Summer and the holiday season, the median is nicely landscaped and decorated.
Madison Avenue is mainly a upscale shopping district that is getting too expensive for its own good. In the lower 70’s, I saw a lot of empty spaces cramped in between the over-priced clothing and jewelry stores. I think the rents are pushing out the first wave of shops that moved here after Fifth Avenue got too expensive. Even the rents here are getting to be too much. I am beginning to see these upscale shops moving to Lexington and even Third Avenues in the 70’s. This is pushing out the mom & pop places that dominate those Avenues. It still is one of the premier shopping districts in Upper Manhattan where many European merchants open.
The stores that are located on the Avenue you still have to be buzzed into and is lined with expensive clothing, jewelry, art and decorative stores with a few boutique hotels and restaurants. In the past few months that I have been walking the neighborhood, I have seen some of them move off and to other locations in the surrounding streets. As the twenty-year rents are up, many of the traditional businesses from the 1970’s, 80’s and even the 90’s are giving way to chains or just empty store fronts.
Madison Avenue Shopping District
Fifth Avenue is always a treat. Most of the buildings in the area have not changed and stayed mostly residential. It is lined with elegant marble apartment buildings and some modern-day structures. The park is still quiet with the last days of winter slowly becoming behind us. Still on a semi-warm day, there are still kids playing in the playgrounds. I swear, nothing stops these kids. It still is part of the “Museum Mile” and there are smaller gallery spaces and museums.
Fifth Avenue on the Museum Mile
On my second day walking the Avenues, I doubled back to FDR Drive to walk along the riverfront. This is a juxtaposed position. There is no one clear walking path on FDR Drive. The cross over pedestrian bridge is at East 78th Street by John Jay Park and you can cross over to walk along the East River. It was 72 degrees the second day on the walk and it just gorgeous outside. Everyone had the same idea that I had and I saw many people walking their dogs or jogging along the water. The walkway is currently being renovated so it stops around 71st Street.
I doubled back to John Jay Park and walked the remainder of FDR Drive by sidewalk around East 79th Street, with many cars driving by at full speed. The sidewalk ends at 72nd Street at the Con Ed building and I don’t suggest walking any further. There is a slim strip of edge of sidewalk and unless you want to be hit by a car, walk back down East 72nd Street. It is full of guys coming and going for work, so it is very busy on this street during the day.
I went back to East 78th Street and went back on the bridge and proceeded to walk up the walkway to East 84th Street to Carl Schurz Park. School had let out by this point and both this park and John Jay Park were loaded with kids for the rest of the afternoon. All of them obviously enjoying the surprisingly warm weather. When walking across East 84th Street, the southern part of the park, I came across a plaque dedicated to Archibald Gracie, whose estate used to be located here and whose family Gracie Mansion is named after (the mayor’s residence).
Gracie Mansion, the home of the Mayor of New York City
Gracie, who was a merchant and shipbuilder and good friend of John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, had bought the land around what was called “Horn’s Hook” in 1798 and built the wooden home as a county estate. The house had been headquarters for many prominent residents of the city as Gracie’s position changed to include insurance and banking. He had to sell the house in 1823 to pay off debts and it was acquired by the city in 1891. After different uses, it was renovated and now serves as the residence of NYC Mayor and his family.
I walked down East End Avenue and walked all the side streets between East 84th to East 79th Streets where East End Avenue ends. Most the streets have a dead end with a beautiful view of the river the most scenic at East 72nd Street, where you can sit on the benches and just watch the river. Here starts the Weill-Cornell Medical Center so you will be sharing space with many of the hospital workers out on a break. It also offers views of Roosevelt Island (see Day Ninety-Five “Walking Roosevelt Island”) especially Lighthouse Park.
Roosevelt Island is wonderful to explore on a warm sunny day
As you walk past buildings along the river, you will see the old sign for the “East Side House Settlement” at East 76th Street, which used to be the home for the establishment which is one of the oldest non-profit social service organizations in New York City. It was founded here in 1891 and moved to the South Bronx in 1962. The building still stands now part of the Town School, but the sign still stands as a testament to where it was founded. You can see the sign carved in the stone from the FDR Walkway.
Walking York Avenue, you will pass the same type of construction along the Avenue as the smaller brownstone buildings give way to the larger apartment complexes. There is a little gem off York Avenue at 502 East 74th Street. This small carriage house seems out of place in the neighborhood but has been around since the Civil War. It had been converted to manufacturing in 1892 and most of its existence had been a place of manufacturing. It now has been restored and is now a private residence.
Another building that is interesting is at 450 East 78th Street, a small wooden structure that houses an antique and a blinds store’s that was built in 1910. This small building is relic of a time when this area must have been filled with homes like this. Martine’s Antiques located in one of the stores is a treasure trove of small items and is worth the trip inside. It really stands alone in a neighborhood in constant change.
I followed York Avenue up to 84th Street and crossed down to Third Avenue. Third and Lexington Avenues are very similar in look and in businesses. Third Avenue and Lexington Avenue in the 70’s are really going through a transition as rents are forcing older businesses out. That classic 90’s look of the Avenues is giving way to either empty store fronts or upscale restaurants and shops that should be on Madison Avenue.
Still there are a lot of those businesses hanging that still give it the neighborhood feel and that is more in the low 80’s. One of those businesses is the Lexington Candy Shop at 1226 Lexington Avenue, where I had lunch (See review on TripAdvisor). Founded in 1925, it is a reminder when these types of stores used to dominate New York City until the arrival of McDonald’s in the 1970’s. Even the automates gave way by the early 80’s.
I had eaten here several times before and I wanted to know if it was still as good as it once was then. Trust me it is still great and it is a real New York experience to sit at the counter. I ordered a regular burger and a strawberry milkshake, both of which were excellent.
The inside of the Lexington Candy Shop is very unique and old fashioned
The burger was perfectly cooked with fresh lettuce and tomato on the side and the milkshake was made with Basset’s of Philadelphia ice cream, which I have mentioned in my blogs to Philly and is one of the best ice creams on the market. Both the food and service make Lexington Candy Shop a ‘must see’ for out of towners.
Third Avenue especially in the low 80’s still holds onto it classic New York look but I am afraid not for long. It looks like the whole Avenue is giving way to larger apartment complexes and office buildings. Even the traditional shopping district on 86th Street is giving way to all new buildings. Once the home of Gimbel’s Uptown, the neighborhood is slowly going upscale with a new Shake Shack and Brooks Brothers.
Still there are many unique stores in the area. Flying Tiger Copenhagen recently opened at 1286 Third Avenue, which has great novelty items for kids and seasonable gift items. The sad part is that everything seems to be made in China, not Copenhagen. If you like unusual novelty items, this is the place.
Another great store for kids and one of the oldest toy stores in the city is Mary Arnold Toys at 1178 Lexington Avenue. They have a nice selection of commercial toys and novelties. Most of the items you can find cheaper in other stores though but still it is a great store to look around.
For many, the Upper East Side still has the feel that it has always had since the 1960’s and admittingly not much has changed in some parts of the neighborhood particularly around the side streets but massive changes on the Avenues are happening as rows of brownstones and small buildings give way to large apartment and building complexes and along the East River, there is a lot of construction along FDR Drive. Pretty soon that will all be luxury buildings as well.
The Upper East Side can be accessed by Subway on the number 6 or the G line. Go to the G line to see all the artwork.
Places to Eat:
La Crosta Restaurant and Gourmet Pizzeria (Closed in 2022)
I finally finished the Avenues of the neighborhood and started walking the streets. It can be a tiring process since it is a nine-block walk in the lower parts of the neighborhood. My first day in the Yorkville/Carnegie Hill section I covered everything from 96th Street to 90th Street. It also rained part of the afternoon which is no fun.
As much as it was a gloomy day, watching the kids let out of school that day boosted my energy. I forgot what it is like when a long day of school is over. These kids come out of the building with so much pent-up energy. All the laughing and yelling brought back a lot of good memories.
I took the Q back up to 96th Street and made a roundabout down FDR Drive to 92nd Street to start the walk. I knew I would not have time to do the whole neighborhood and wanted to break it up into two parts doing the neighborhood above 90th Street first.
As I turned the corner, I could feel the energy from the students who were leaving MS114 on 92nd Street for the afternoon. There was so much noise and excitement after a long day at school. It seems that this neighborhood is loaded with excellent schools both for high school and the lower grades as well.
Yorkville is home to many public and private schools. While walking around between 90th and 92nd Streets, the neighborhood is home to some of the best schools in the city. Hunter High School, The Dalton School, Nightingale-Bramford, Spence School and Chapin School are all located closer to Central Park. All of these schools have had excellent reputations since I was in high school in the eighties. Even the public schools in the neighborhood such as MS-114 have some of the best reputations in the New York City.
No matter the kids, they are still excited and noisy when they leave school and all have their cliques. They fill the smaller neighborhood restaurants and bodegas after school and yell at each other when crossing the street. It is a very lively neighborhood after 2:00pm in the afternoon between the students and the parents picking some of them up. It is nice to see parents who still give that independence to their kids to walk alone in the neighborhood with their friends. They travel in packs anyway. Ten to one these kids know how to handle themselves.
There is a nice pocket park at 92nd Street and Second Avenue to sit and relax. Located between the buildings on 92nd Street, it still has traces of the summer left with flowers blooming and the trees are still green. It’s a nice place to take a breather and watch the neighborhood go by.
This is a neighborhood with a real family feel to it. Something I did not experience in the neighborhood before school started, when the streets were quiet as people were still on vacation but now that school is back in session, it has really changed. I can see by the number of parents, both men and women, talking time out to pick up their children from school and talk with them on the way home that they are very involved in their children’s lives. Some of the conversations I overheard were a little mature for kids that age, but I have always found the city kids to be a little more ‘hip’ to things than their suburban counterparts.
There are some great children’s stores in the area and loads of family friendly restaurants in the neighborhood. One store that I stopped at was La Librairie des Enfants at 163 East 92nd Street. This quirky little bookstore sells the most unique French language children’s picture books with a small selection of American books. It reminded me of ‘Shop Around the Corner’ in the movie, “You got Mail”.
Beautifully decorated with pretty displays and set up for the avid reader. The French salesman was very talkative to me and knows his merchandise. This is the perfect spot for local children and tourists looking for that unusual gift.
La Librairie des Enfants inside play area
Watch this interesting video on this store
Another store that is a neighborhood staple is Children’s General Store at 168 East 91st Street near Second Avenue (Closed as of 2019). This whimsical store is a hark back to when kids actually had an imagination and did not look at a cell phone all day. This is for the creative child who likes board games and arts & crafts, make believe castles and all the great little items that we as adults would call ‘stocking stuffers’. If I was a kid again, this is the first place I would visit. It has a great selection of toys for the young at heart.
As you walk the side streets of the neighborhood, you can see that on the Avenues of the neighborhood, brownstones are giving way to large newer apartment buildings but on the streets in between them are still elegant, graceful brownstones lining the streets of the upper 90’s some of the most beautiful between Lexington and Park Avenues.
There are some beautiful wooden homes lining the streets between Lexington and Park Avenue on 92nd and 91st Streets from a day long ago. To see these buildings still standing and in perfect shape is a testament of the care they receive and how well they were built in the early 1800’s. All four of these homes have special plaques on them and you should take the time to admire the work on them. Their owners have kept them in excellent shape.
As I walked around the high 90’s by 1st, 2nd and FDR Drive around the Isaacs Housing, the area is being knocked down and rebuilt with more luxurious apartment buildings and stores to match. Here and there, there is still a sprinkling of stores and restaurants that cater to people in the housing projects but this area around the housing projects just keeps changing and getting more expensive. Like the rest of uptown that I walked, many people don’t seem to have a problem living across the street from the projects.
The new plan for the Isaacs Houses with luxury buildings
What the neighborhood has that caters to everyone is the number of parks in the neighborhood. You have Central Park to the west, Carl Schurz Park to the East, Asphalt Green playground by York Avenue past 92nd Street as well as the Isaacs and the Seaburg playgrounds on 96th Street as well as a few pocket parks in the 90’s. There is plenty of places for kids to play sports or just hang out and enjoy the playgrounds. The public bathrooms do still need to be worked on in these parks.
Stanley Myer Isaacs was one of New York City’s great lawyer’s and civic leaders and was Borough President of Manhattan. He helped Robert Moses; the great Parks Director build East River Drive (now FDR Drive). Judge Seabury was descended from one of the original settlers of New York and the first Bishop of New York, Dr. Samuel Seabury III. As a public servant to the City, he helped fight corruption within Tammany Hall and lead many reforms in New York City (NYCParks.org).
The museum was originally started in 1904 as a gift from Judge Mayer Sulzberger to the Jewish Theological Society and has since moved to the Warburg Mansion in 1944 and the museum was opened in 1947 as The Jewish Museum. I went back into the neighborhood for a visit later in the year to visit the Leonard Cohen exhibition (See reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com).
The Leonard Cohen exhibition at The Jewish Museum
On the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 91st Street is the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum at 2 East 91st Street. This is housed in the old Andrew Carnegie Mansion, one of the few surviving Fifth Avenue mansions from the Gilded Age. The museum was founded in 1896 by granddaughters of Peter Cooper for the college and it fell under the Smithsonian in 1968.
The Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum at 2 East 91st Street
I went in recent to see the ‘Nature-Cooper-Hewitt Triennial’ exhibition and to walk around the grounds. The exhibition was excellent but the house itself is fun to walk around in. Take your time to visit all the floors (See review on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com).
The Triennial was nice, but the house is amazing!
The evening of the first night walking the streets of Yorkville, I ate at Timmy’s Restaurant on 91st and York (See review on TripAdvisor-Closed in 2018). It is a wonderful little neighborhood restaurant with outdoor seating and an extensive American menu across the street from Asphalt Green playground. I could hear the kids across the street playing soccer and screaming as they played.
Timmy’s Restaurant in Yorkville (Closed in 2018)
The weather had finally cleared and it was a nice warm night out, perfect for sitting outside and enjoying the breeze. What had caught my eye on the menu was the fresh soft-shell sandwich that the restaurant was running as a special. It was excellent. A lightly breaded and fried soft-shell crab on a soft brioche roll with lettuce and tomato and fresh French fries and onion rings on the side made the perfect meal.
The crab was sweet with the crunchiness of the perfect sauté. The service is friendly and very welcoming, and I highly recommend the restaurant while it is still warm out. It is nice to just sit outside and watch the world go by.
I started my second day in the neighborhood by walking the streets between 90th and 84th Streets. The weather during these two weeks really changed. One day it was boiling hot at 90 degrees and the last day in the neighborhood, it went down into the 60’s as September moved into October. I have never seen such a drastic change in a week and a half.
After another day of working the Bread station at the Soup Kitchen, it was off to the lower section of Yorkville/Carnegie Hill. I walked the top part of 84th Street between Fifth Avenue and East End Avenue, admiring the brownstones and small parks along the way. It got to be that time of the day and school let out. I have never seen such a swarm of children before.
Walking this part of the neighborhood, I noticed more that there is a large concentration not just of private, public and religious schools but all of the seem to be the best of their categories. These are not just the best in their categories in the city but in the state and country as well. The neighborhood that stretches from 96th to 84th Streets has such a great variety of schools that would make the rest of the country envious.
As I have said on previous walks, the conversations between parents and kids are always interesting to hear. These school kids sound so much more mature than their age. These kids talk politics, sports and current events just as good as any adult.
Between East 89th and 88th Streets is the Guggenheim Museum at 1071 Fifth Avenue. This Frank Lloyd Wright designed building is a treasure trove of contemporary art. The museum has been closed for renovations.
The Solomon Guggenheim Museum at 1071 Fifth Avenue
The lower parts of the streets from about 85th to 87th Streets really show old New York at its best with rows and rows of majestic brownstones and old apartment houses. Some of these are starting to get decorated for the Fall holidays noting the change in weather and October approaching. Pumpkins and haystacks are starting to replace the summer wreaths and pots of flowers.
Brownstoners really decorate their homes nicely at the holidays
I started my tour of the neighborhood with a nice lunch at Arturo’s Pizza on the corner of York Avenue and 85th Street, 1610 York Avenue (See Review on TripAdvisor) for their lunch special. They have three really reasonable lunch specials until 3:30pm, one a meatball sub, another a sausage sub and the last being two slices with a Coke for $5.00. It was quite a deal.
Arturo’s Pizza at 1619 York Street is good for great lunch specials
The food is good but could be better. Yet they give you a nice size sub for $5.00. The meatball sub was loaded with fresh cut meatballs which were a nice size with tomato sauce on excellent fresh chewy bread. As big as it was it just did not have enough flavor. The sauce needed more spice and the meatballs more salt and cheese. It just did not taste like anything. It was the same two days later when finishing the walk of the neighborhood after a disastrous Chinese meal.
I had the two-slice special and found the pizza to have no flavor because there was no zing to the sauce. It was also oily and should have been heated up more. The food here should be better since they seem to take pride in it. It warrants a third trip as the portion is worth the money when you are hungry. They do need to concentrate on their tomato sauce though and add some spice to it.
There are more great stores for kids in the lower part of the neighborhood as well. I passed Baby Bubble at 240 88th Street, which specializes in cleaning anything kid from strollers to clothes. I was impressed by the one stop shopping. Another great little store for young women is Let’s Dress Up at 345 East 85th Street #1. This is a place where you can princess for day and be treated like royalty at your own catered birthday party. Another clear idea for the creative child within.
When walking through the side streets between 85th to 87th Streets between York and Third Avenue, you really see ‘old New York’. Rows and rows of beautiful, graceful brownstones line the street with their small outside gardens and potted plants. It is a step back in time to another era until you hit the Avenues and see the large modern apartment building.
I passed several fire stations along the way in the neighborhood. Engine 22; Ladder 13, Battalion 10 is located on 159 East 85th Street. The plaque on their fire station said that they had lost nine members on 9/11. These brave men sacrificed so much for us and still do every day making their neighborhood safe. Another old-fashioned non-functioning firehouse is Hook & Ladder 13 at 159 East 87th Street.
Founded in 1865 as a ‘suburban’ firehouse, this is no longer the firehouse for the company which has been moved. The company’s fame comes from being involved in the deadly explosion on Park Place in 1891. Kudos to these brave members of the FDNY.
Hook & Ladder 13 in Yorkville at 159 East 87th Street
As you continue down 87th Street, there is a creepy set of brownstones between 337-339 East 87th Street. The motifs on the outside of the building look like devils or ghouls and do give you the chills. It looks like a place where ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ lived when it grew up. I would love to pass these building on Friday the 13th or Halloween night.
This creepy looking brownstone was built between 1886-1887 by architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh for the Rhinelander estate and what is interesting about the story is that the 329-335 were knocked down for the apartment building next store and the motif of this devil looking motif is carved out of 337 East 87th Street (Starts and Fits). Very interesting.
337-339 East 87th Street (The Rosemary’s Baby House)
Don’t miss the ghoul like carving at 439 East 87th Street. I don’t think that one is as old. This menacing face adorns that archway of the brownstone of this two-unit home that was built in 1901.
I had to stop at Milano Market at 1582 Third Avenue on the corner of 87th Street and 3rd Avenue to cool down. The place is so beautifully set up and the prepared food section is picturesque. It is a nice place to just stand and take a breath. The place is heavily air conditioned and on a humid day, it is a great place to just walk around. The online reviews are not too pleasant for as good as their food is most of the reviews talk about rude service. I will have to go back and try it out to be fair on them.
Another place to chill out and relax on a hot day is the Church of the Holy Trinity Garden at 316 East 88th Street near Second Avenue. This beautifully landscaped garden surrounded by shade trees is the perfect place to relax on a long day. It really does offer solitude from the city and is an escape from the rest of the landscape. It was still warm, so the flowers were out and the trees offered a lot of shade.
Ruppert Park is the same located at Second Avenue between 90th and 91st Street. Named after the famous German Brewer Jacob Ruppert, the park is part of the tower complex that surrounds it. Mr. Ruppert was one of the first co-owners of the Yankees and co-owned Yankee Stadium.
This is a wonderful park to watch the dog walkers pass by and converse with one another. This is a true neighborhood park where neighbors talk and swap stories and debate politic, seniors come to relax and watch the neighbors go by and the dogs engage with one another. It is a great park for the dog walking set. I have never seen so many small, pampered dogs walking around one neighborhood.
Another great place to visit is Henderson Place at East End Avenue across from Carl Schurz Park and between 86th and 87th Streets. This is part of the Henderson Place Historical District located facing the park is what is left of the original 32 houses (24 survive today) that were built between 1881-82. They were built for people of ‘moderate means’ meanwhile now these rare little townhouses with their arched hallways and small gardens and rare parking lots are now worth about $4.6 million when one went on sale recently. They were built in the Queen Ann style of architecture and look so elegant at night when walking on the park side of the street.
Henderson Place Historic District at 535 East 86th Street
I stopped at Glaser’s Bakery at 1670 First Avenue (see review on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC-Closed in 2018) and all I have to say is YUM! I love discovering new bakeries around the city especially one that has been around since 1902. Everything here is delicious and very reasonable. In this hyper-gentrifying City, it is nice to see a piece of ‘old New York’ alive and well. Both afternoons I came here the place was mobbed.
Glaser’s Bake Shop (Closed in 2018) at 1670 First Avenue
The pastries are mind blowingly good! The first time I went I had to get one of their black and white cookies ($2.25) are the rage of the internet. Everyone was not kidding. They are excellent. Not the usual fondant icing but more of a butter cream frosting they literally melt in your mouth. They have this Danish called a Crumb Cookie ($3.25) that is loaded on top with sweet cinnamon crumbs and lots of icing on top. It is so big I had to bring the rest home. Their doughnuts ($1.50) are worth the trip alone. The jelly doughnuts are filled with a sweet currant type jelly and their sugar doughnuts are loaded with a layer of cinnamon sugar. Do not miss this bakery when visiting New York City.
On the opposite note, I ate dinner that day at Five Luck Chinese restaurant on 1834 Second Avenue (see review on TripAdvisor-Now Closed) right near the new Q subway line (Closed in January 2020). It was the worst Chinese meal I had ever eaten! I had no idea that food cooked by Chinese could be this bad. First the place is old and depressing to eat in and I have eaten at loads of these little hole in the wall restaurants all over the city. If anyone from China ate here, they would laugh and then cry it is that bad.
I ordered a Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce with fried rice with a pork Egg Roll. Now when I think of Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce, I think of sliced pork loin sautéed with brown Hunan Sauce with garlic and ginger. I got this gloppy roast pork with a pile of uncooked vegetables with a side of yellow rice with a ton of bean sprouts in them. I had no clue what I was eating. I ate the egg roll, and it was barely passable as a frozen egg roll.
The dish was worse than any middle school cafeteria version of Chinese food. I ate three bites on it and handed it back to them and said to the owner that it was inedible. Rather than fight over a dish that cost $4.85 or ask for anything else, I walked out and never looked back. Avoid this place like the plague. I went back to Arturo’s for their pizza.
Rounding the corner at Fifth Avenue and East 86th Street is the Neue Museum at 1048 Fifth Avenue. Neue Galerie New York is a museum devoted to early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design. Located in a landmark mansion built in 1914 by the architectural firm of Carrere & Hastings, the museum offers a diverse program of exhibitions, lectures, films, concerts and other events.
It was that afternoon I finally got to see the famous painting, “The Woman in Gold” made famous by the movie. The museum specializes in German and Austrian art (See reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com).
The famous “Woman in Gold” by Gustav Klimt
Sitting quietly in the middle of East 84th Street is the tiny NYU Institute of Study of Ancient Art at 15 East 84th Street. This branch of the New York University Art Department specializes in Ancient Art and offers a scholarly approach to the ancient arts of European and Middle Eastern Art.
Don’t miss the NYU Institute of Study of Ancient Art at 15 East 84th Street near the Met
When I last visited, they were showing the “A Wonder to Behold: Craftsmanship and Creation of Babylon’s Ishtar Gate” exhibition on Ancient Mesopotamian art.
They were showing Ancient Middle Eastern art when I visited
I finished my last day of my three-day trip relaxing in Carl Schurz Park. Carl Schurz was a very interesting man who did a lot for his country. Born in Prussia, he fought during the Revolution and escaped the country to immigrate to Paris when he was on the losing side. He and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1852. Here he served as a Brigadier General in the Civil War, after the War he served as a U.S. Senator, Secretary of the Interior under President Hayes working to fight corruption in the Office of Indian Affairs and after his stint in the government, went back to his newspaper work (Wiki).
Mayor de Blasio must have been having a party because everyone in the park could hear the band. On this warm night every dog walker and child with a parent must have been in the park. Even at twilight, the place was mobbed as well as the river walk with people admiring the river views. It is still summer and I got a nice taste of it today. The park is beautiful anytime of the year (See review on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com).
Open: Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm/Monday 11:00am-6:00pm/ Tuesday and Wednesday Closed/Thursday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm
Café and Shops have various hours. Please check the website for these.
Fee: General $22.00/Seniors (65 and Older) $16.00/Students and Educators $12.00/Children under 12 are not admitted and Children under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. The museum is open on First Fridays from 6:00pm-9:00pm. Please visit the website for more information.
After a long day in the Soup Kitchen prepping vegetables for future meals, I started my day uptown at the Samuel Seabury Park on 96th Street off the 6 subway line. It is a good place for a bathroom break in the area with the other being the Samuel Isaacs Park on 96th Street and 1st Avenue. There are not too many public bathrooms in this area.
The one thing I might want to mention that I am beginning to notice and it is not just in the poorer areas is that number of empty store fronts as well as the closing of many older businesses that I had seen in the area from the 80’s and 90’s. I guess the 20 year leases are coming up and they are jacking the rents up sky-high in some areas. When Ottomanelli’s Restaurant, which had been in this neighborhood since 1902 closes, you know there is a problem ( I think they may be camping further uptown now).
The businesses again change closer to the housing complexes with smaller more reasonable restaurants around 2nd and 1st Avenues. This is not a section with lots of upscale shops and restaurants though I think some of the prices at the restaurants are due to the ongoing raise in the rents in the area.
The neighborhood is very diverse in its housing stock depending on the block and in its businesses. Being so close to Central Park gives you a sense of green though there are many nice smaller parks in the neighborhood. Though it is an expensive neighborhood I am sure it is not as expensive as its southern neighbors on this side of the park.
The number 6 subway will take you directly to Samuel Seabury Park at 96th Street, the start of many bathroom breaks. When you are walking the Avenues on the East Side, you need to know where the public bathrooms are located. This is a very active park during the school year. I would think that the city would have these bathrooms in better condition though.
The park is named after the late Judge Samuel Seabury who roots laid in Colonial Manhattan and had fought the corruption of Tammany Hall. Who knew a late Judge could still be so helpful many years later.
Madison Avenue has its unique boutique-ness to it especially further downtown. Above 85th Street, it is more localized shops and restaurants. I had discovered that many businesses from the early 90’s like Sarabeth’s Kitchen were still operating (at much higher prices than I remembered). This location closed with the closing of the Hotel Wales in July 2020.
Sarabeth’s Kitchen at 1286 Madison Avenue (Closed in July 2020)
One of the most beautiful and unique buildings on Madison Avenue is the Hunter College building at East 94th Street, which looks like a castle. The building is now used for the Hunter College High School and Elementary School, considered one of the best public schools in the city and you need a special test to get into it.
The Squadron A Armory is now part of the Hunter Campus 1345-1355 Madison Avenue
The building itself, built as the Squadron A Armory in 1896 by New York contractor, John F. Johnson, previously called the Madison Avenue Armory building, resembles a castle. It is constructed out of red bricks and was partially demolished in the 1960’s but bought by Hunter College for the expanding school (Wiki). Take a good look around the grounds, there is a real beauty in this enchanted castle housing some of the brightest kids in New York City.
Madison Avenue from 96th Street to 84th Street houses lots of local boutiques and restaurants and a few smaller hotels tucked here and there. The buildings are mostly prewar apartment buildings with some new construction thrown in here and there. Its the Upper East Side without the pretension.
Park Avenue is what Park Avenue does best below 98th Street, is an elegant enclave of prewar and turn of the last century apartment buildings with very little business or retail outside of the doctors offices. The Avenue is lined with elegant, old-world buildings with the well-manicured gardens of the street ‘mall’ going from the top of the railroad tracks on 98th Street down to the border of the neighborhood on 84th Street. The mall was ablaze with red and white flowers for the late summer blooms. I don’t think this area has changed much since the 1920’s.
The Park Avenue Mall
The Avenue was quiet that afternoon less the preppie teenagers walking with their sports gear and mom’s and nannies wheeling kids around. There is always a certain feel to this part of Park Avenue, quiet, elegant and sedate. I am sure its not that way in real life but that is the way it appears to the average person walking down the sidewalk.
One standout building on Park Avenue amongst all the elegant apartment buildings is the Lewis Gouverneur House at 85th Street. The house was named for its owner, a failed investment banker who was related to a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house was designed by architect Ernest Flagg and designed in red brick neo-Federalist building that was completed in 1914 and it stands out amongst all the apartment buildings in the area (Wiki/Daytonian).
The latest article I read is that the house is up for sale for $8 million dollars, but I swear that I saw a cook and maid looking me over when I looked over the house, so I am sure it has been sold by this point. Someone was even hanging over the windows cleaning them as I passed.
After turning the corner at 84th Street, I walked over to Lexington Avenue, and it is night and day to the enclaves of 5th and Park Avenues. Talk about a busy commercial street. This is where you are seeing changes in the feel of the neighborhood. Many of the retail spaces that I have remembered that were there for years when I moved back to the area in 2001 are long gone.
A lot of the neighborhood has been knocked down and many new residential and office buildings have replaced them. Some of my favorite bakeries and pizzerias are also long gone. Still my favorite Panera on 86th Street is still there for the Asiago and Cinnamon Crunch bagels that I love to snack on while on my way to the Met (Closed in 2018).
Here and Third Avenue is where you start to see the ‘For Rent’ signs. It is sad that so many businesses that have been here for twenty years, the leases are coming up and the rise in rents is just sky high for the new owners. I have read more articles on the prices that they want in rent and there is no way the average business can handle this. Even some of the chain restaurants have left the area. If you do not own the building, forget it. This shopping area is transforming again.
Third Avenue above 90th Street, you will start to see a lot of new construction, as a lot more buildings are going up on both sides of the street. The Upper East Side is slowly crawling into this area and a lot of the older smaller buildings are starting to disappear. The store fronts between 90th and 93rd are starting to empty as all the older restaurants have closed their doors.
Second Avenue is changing as well in the area of 90th Street and above. This has a totally different feel then the neighborhood above in East Harlem. Slowly though, these neighborhoods are starting to merge as new construction on Second and First Avenue below 96th Street changes from housing projects to private apartment buildings. Even the brownstones are giving way to larger apartment buildings, which is starting to change the character of the neighborhood. It’s a lot of sameness.
I ended the second day in the neighborhood having a late lunch at East Garden Chinese Restaurant at 1685 First Avenue & 88th Street (See review on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com). This little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant has lunch specials for $5.95 and a very nice variety of dishes.
Don’t miss East Garden Chinese Restaurant at 1685 First Avenue
I had the General Tso’s chicken combination plate with fried rice and a Coke that cost $7.00 with tax and I just about finished it. The chicken was excellent. It was well cooked and the sauce had some pinch to it. The fried rice was less to be desired but overall the meal was very good for the end of this first long walk of the neighborhood.
Their General Tso’s Chicken is excellent
On the second day of the walk, I revisited Second and First Avenues and covered the rest of the neighborhood that include York, Henderson and East End Avenues as well as walking around Carl Schurz Park for a second time.
Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side is a real treat
I finished up Second Avenue for a second time, looking over the businesses and parks. Slowly I noticed as I looked at menu’s of restaurants and the types of stores opening up that a lot of the mom and pop stores are giving way to more chains and the restaurants are getting awfully expensive even this high up.
There are a few hold outs in way of Chinese restaurants especially closer to the Samuel Isaacs Complex on 96th and First Avenue but even around the projects there soon won’t be too many affordable places to eat. I mean come on, $16.00 for a hamburger? Its a hamburger at the end of the day. For a reasonable meal, you will have to walk up above 100th Street.
There are several little surprises as you walk around the neighborhood. Behind the Ruppert Apartment Buildings on Third Avenue is the Ruppert Park between 90th and 91st Streets, which offered a place of rest after walking around. This block long park must have been a negotiation between the city and the developer to build these huge apartment buildings and the neighborhood really benefited from it. The park was named for Colonel Jacob Ruppert, the first co-owner of the New York Yankees and a brewer and public official.
Colonel Jacob Ruppert, the first co-owner of the Yankees
It is a nice meeting place for residents to talk and walk their dogs. Many of the neighborhood seniors seem to like to sit on the benches and talk to their friends. The playground is nice for the kids as they were out in full force before the first day of school started a few days later.
Tucked away on a side street on 91st Street across from the park, this is a plaque dedicated to James Cagney, the actor and singer, who later played tough guys in the movies. He must have lived in this area growing up.
First Avenue is starting to give way from brownstones to apartment buildings in the 90’s and up. On the lower part, the chain stores are starting to dominate while the mom and pop stores still are holding on. There still are a few German restaurants in the neighborhood but they seem few and far between on the Avenues. Its mostly small businesses and a few small shops.
York Avenue and East End Avenue are both tucked below the Asphalt Green playground and recreational area below FDR Drive and 92nd Street. The three days that I walked around the neighborhood, Asphalt Green was crowded with kids playing all sorts of sports, basketball, soccer or even playing Frisbee. The shocking part was getting an ice from the lady selling Spanish ices. Below 96th Street, they start charging $2.00 instead of $1.00 like above 100th Street. I guess they see us coming.
The Asphalt Green playing fields on the Upper East Side
York Avenue is one of those places that looks like New York City with the combination of apartment buildings that look like they are out of the 70’s, elegant but not pretentious and the area looked lived in like the residents have lived there for 40 years. There is a mix of building types that gives the Avenue some character and tucked here and there are small apartment buildings and brownstones.
East End Avenue is dominated by Carl Schurz Park where Gracie Mansion is located. Around the park, there are several beautiful brownstones especially between 86th and 87th Street that give the park that extra graciousness. These brick buildings are carefully maintained and beautifully landscaped and mirror the park across the street.
The small side streets south of the park such as the extension of 84th Street (Gracie Place) house old apartment buildings with excellent views of the park and very nosy doorman, who watched me watching them. Sometimes I wonder what impression I give these people that they stare so much at me or maybe after a year in Harlem, I am getting used to the inquisitive looks.
The neighborhood near Carl Schurz Park is very elegant
As I finished up the Avenues in Yorkville/Carnegie Hill, I just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon in Carl Schurz Park, looking at Randalls-Ward Island and Astoria Queens in the distance and admiring the breathtaking view of the river. This section of the park along the river walkway is so picturesque and relaxing. Labor Day had such wonderful weather and it was such a clear sunny day, that is was nice to just sit on a bench and watch the world go by.
All along the river, jet skis zoomed by and an occasional sailboat passed by as well. It was one of those afternoons you see in movies about New York City but sometimes never experience. All I could think about as I was watching the world go by is that this is what people think New York is and they are right. This location on the bend of the river on a nice day you have to experience for yourself to understand how great it is. What was a nice touch was that two people playing the cello and the violin came into the park to perform and collect money. That’s the real New York.
I ended the day eating a late lunch/dinner at a restaurant on Second Avenue named Shorty’s at 1678 First Avenue (See review on TripAdvisor), which is known for their Philly Cheesesteaks. It was pretty good for New York City, where you have to hop the Acela down to Center City for a Cheesesteak at Carmine’s in the Reading Market. Here the bartender told me that they import the hoagie rolls from Philly and cook it on the flat grill and top with Cheese Wiz (God, do I love that on a sandwich).
Shorty’s is at 1678 First Avenue for the best cheesesteaks in NYC (Closed in 2020)
For the $10.00 price and a side of Bay Seasoning fries, it was well-worth the money. It saved the $200.00 trip to Philly I would soon have to make and that chewy cheesy sandwich was a great way to end my trip of the Avenues of the neighborhood. Now the streets await.
Shorty’s has the best cheesesteaks outside of Philly
Please read my other blogs on the Upper East Side/Yorkville/Carnegie Hill walks:
Day Eighty-Eight: Walking the Border of the Upper East Side/Yorkville/Carnegie Hill:
I finally got out of Harlem and into the Upper East Side. This area is the border neighborhood between East Harlem and the Upper East Side (or as people used to say before gentrification of the Island of Manhattan, the Upper Upper East Side). Most people consider anything below 98th Street on the East Side of Manhattan and East of Central Park as the Upper East Side. However, you call it, you are now out of Harlem.
The mood of the area is even different. It was like when I was crossing 155th Street from Washington Heights to Harlem months before. The mood of the area and its residents starts to change. It becomes the Woody Allen Upper East Side. Again just like Manhattan Valley on the West Side, there is still a very 70’s and 80’s feel to the neighborhood. It’s got a more a middle-class vibe to it and watching the kids at play you can still see that independent streak in them.
There are none of the expensive restaurants and boutiques that you see below 80th Street. The feel of the businesses is more local. Even the Isaacs Housing complex looks more upscale then the projects a few blocks up and their residents have their own security watch (the guy asked me what I was doing there and no one ever asked me anything when I walked through the projects before).
The walk along FDR Drive esplanade has some view. The shore line of Queens is really changing. There is a lot of development around the East River and what a beautiful view of the river and the rising skyline in the background. The esplanade stops around 90th Street for renovation and then continues once you pass Gracie Mansion.
Carl Schurz Park (See review on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com), where Gracie Mansion is located is a nice place to just relax and watch the boats pass by. You get the nicest views of Ward-Randall Island and of Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island (I never knew there was a lighthouse over here). The developers are creating a new ‘Gold Coast’ along the Queens-Brooklyn riverfront.
It was nice to just relax and watch the water. The kids are in full force at this park like many parks around the city and it looks like they are trying to enjoy their last days of freedom before the school years starts in two weeks. Kids were playing basketball, Frisbee, roller skating and just chasing one another. It was nice to see kids not using cellphones.
The homes along this part of Manhattan were a combination of brownstones and prewar apartments but all along the Avenues, you are seeing more and more new construction. All sorts of new apartment and office buildings are being built along First, Second and Third Avenues. The businesses are more local than chains, giving you a peak at time before the late 90’s exploded with the chain stores all over Manhattan. It is funny that I remember a time everyone in the city complained that the chains would not even come to the city now in 2017 they complain that they are taking over the city.
The border of Yorkville, 84th Street, is lined with many brownstone type buildings and private homes along with a series of small restaurants and shops worth exploring. Many are businesses that have been open for years such as Dorrian’s Red Hand Restaurant at 1616 Second Avenue since 1960. It harks back to when the Upper East Side was the land of preppies.
Dorrian’s Red Hand Restaurant at 1616 Second Avenue
When you reach Fifth Avenue, the area between 84th Street and 96th Street is lined with museums giving name to ‘Museum Row’ starting with the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the corner of 84th Street passing the Jewish Museum, Guggenheim Museum, The Ukraine Institute of America and the Neue Museum, which will be fun to explore. Many of the smaller museums of the city line this area as well so I passed names I had never heard of before considering my many trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (I discuss all these museums in later blogs and in VisitingaMuseum.com).
The ‘Museum Mile’ Museums in Yorkville/Upper East Side
The Cooper-Hewitt Museum at 2 East 91st Street
The Jewish Museum at 1109 Fifth Avenue
The Guggenheim Museum at 1071 Fifth Avenue
The Neue Gallery of Art at 1048 Fifth Avenue
The Ukraine Institute of America at 2 East 79th Street
At 91st and 5th Avenue along the wall of Central Park is a memorial to W.T. Stead, a journalist who died in the Titanic. He was a English journalist best known for being an investigative journalist, better known as a gossip columnist. The funny part of his going down in the Titanic is that he had written that he might die in a drowning and wrote two fictional articles before the tragedy about ships colliding at sea and another about a ship that sinks without enough life boats to save everyone. Maybe he just saw his fate. He was into spiritualism, which was fashionable at the time and maybe someone hinted to him.
Mr. Stead’s memorial is one of many that line Central Park that most people don’t even notice. The park is loaded with statues and memorials that most New Yorkers just pass by without a moment’s notice. It makes one wonder why they would put this here. The memorial was designed by artist George William Frampton with the marble sculpture designed by architects Carrere & Hastings, a firm known for their Beaux Arts style.
George William Frampton is a British artist who came from a family of stone carvings who studied at the Lambeth School of Art and the Royal Academy of School. He believed in dynamism and physical realism in sculpture. His most famous work was “Peter Pan” in Picadilly Square in London (Royal Academy of Art/Wiki).
There are glorious views of the reservoir at 90th Street and 5th Avenue that you should not miss. Just walking in the park to see the gardens is worth the trip inside Central Park. Most of the gardens are still in bloom and the park is loaded with tourists milling around the waterfront. The views of the reservoir are breathtaking and it is hard to believe this is right off Fifth Avenue.
Central Park Reservoir at Fifth Avenue and East 90th Street
Walking up 5th Avenue along the park at 96th and 5th Avenue, there is a statue of Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen in a small enclosure on the edge of the park before you enter it. This bronze, life-sized sculpture is a self-portrait of the esteemed Danish sculptor and was dedicated in Central Park in 1894. It is the only statue of an artist displayed in the parks of New York City and honors a titan in his field who had broad influence in sustaining the classical tradition in art. This statute is a bronze version of the original that’s located in Copenhagen (NYC Parks Department-Central Park/Wiki).
As I was walking across 96th Street to finish the upper part of the neighborhood, I had a sudden craving for a sandwich and walked up to Moe’s Grocery Inc. at 1968 Third Avenue, which I had eaten in before (See review on TripAdvisor & my blog, ‘DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com’). They have the best special, a chopped cheese on a hoagie roll and a Coke for $3.00. Ever on the budget, their chopped cheese rivals Haiji’s (Blue Sky Deli) up on 110th Street.
Moe’s Grocery at 1968 Third Avenue in East Harlem, the best lunch specials
I thought I had asked for lettuce and tomato on the sandwich so add another $1.50 to it but when I sat down to eat it at the park at 96th Street, they were not on it. I was a little pissed at paying for something I did not get but the sandwich was so good, I did not mind. It is worth the walk up a few extra blocks to 108th Street for the sandwich. You will also see the distinction of the neighborhoods just by crossing 98th Street (See the previous walk in East Harlem). The sandwich is so loaded with beef and gooey cheese that it makes the nicest meal during this long walk and nothing is better than a Coke on a hot day.
I ended this part of the walk by rounding East End Avenue and relaxing at Carl Schurz Park, which is a true delight. What a beautifully landscaped park with paths of picturesque gardens and statues and active playgrounds with screaming children. The nice part is the bathrooms here are decent and you have a working water fountain, with lots of cold water. It was fun to explore the paths going up and down the landscaped paths.
Carl Schulz Park at East 86th Street and East End Avenue
Security is heavy at the northern part of the park where Gracie Mansion is located, the mayor’s residence. There are NYPD cars all over the place so try not to dwell too long in this area not to get the attention of the police officers. You can’t even see the mansion anymore because of the fencing around the house. This was the former summer residence of Archibald Gracie, a well-known Scottish born, American merchant, who was partners with Alexander Hamilton.
He built the house in 1798 as a summer home and entertained the elite at that time in Manhattan, including John Quincy Adams. Gracie’s daughter Eliza Gracie-King was one of the great social leaders at the time until Mrs. Astor took the throne during the ‘Gilded Age’. The house was sold in 1823 to pay off debts owed by Mr. Gracie and it was bought by New York City in 1896 due to back taxes by the then owners. It has been used as a concession stand for the park as well as the first home of the Museum of the City of New York. In 1942, the house was renovated and became the residence of Florio LaGuardia, the Mayor of New York and thus became the residence of future New York City mayors NYC Parks Department).
I had taken a tour of the mansion years earlier with the Cornell and Harvard Clubs when we had a historical tea at the house. Mayor Bloomberg did not live in the house at the time, so it was used primarily for entertaining. We had a wonderful afternoon tea at the at the house and then a formal tour of the public rooms and gardens. It has the most amazing views of ‘Hell Gate’, a bend in the river along the esplanade, that has some of the roughest waters in the East River. The house does get a nice breeze.
After a long rest on the benches outside the park, I walked over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to spend the rest of the evening. The Met, as it’s called, is open until 9:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays, so you get to listen to the music in ‘The Balcony’ restaurant or just tour the galleries.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue
Open: Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm/Monday 11:00am-6:00pm/ Tuesday and Wednesday Closed/Thursday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm
Café and Shops have various hours. Please check the website for these.
Fee: General $22.00/Seniors (65 and Older) $16.00/Students and Educators $12.00/Children under 12 are not admitted and Children under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. The museum is open on First Fridays from 6:00pm-9:00pm. Please visit the website for more information.
(This project is dedicated with much love to my father, Warren George Watrel, who still inspires me!)
Hello and Welcome to ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’, an extensive project to walk the entire island of Manhattan. My name is Justin Watrel and I will be your guide in exploring the island of Manhattan, searching every nook and cranny of the island for the unusual, the usual and the in between.
‘Walking the Island of Manhattan’ may not be terribly original as there are about four other people doing the project at the same time, but this project is different in the way I see the island. Not rushing through to prove I have walked it but to see what these neighborhoods are all about and what is there to discover and enjoy.
For all you ‘Manhattanites’ who think you know your island, I will show you things that you have never seen and places you have never gone, restaurants you have never tried and historical sites and museums you never knew existed. Maybe just a few blocks from where you live. As the son of two “Brooklynites’, I have traveled around the city a lot since 1969, my first time in the City when my parents took me to Chinatown to Hunan Gardens, a Chinese restaurant on Mott Street. I ended up there for eight birthdays until it closed in the early 2000’s.
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown
“My Walk in Manhattan” is a project to walk the entire island of Manhattan in New York City from top to bottom from the beginning of the Summer of 2015 until I finish the walk. Manhattan is 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide and covers a total area 23.7 square miles. Along the way of walking the streets of Manhattan, I will be walking into parks, museums, restaurants and looking at the architecture of the neighborhoods and the buildings in them.
My soon to be path around the Island of Manhattan
I have found that people miss a lot when they walk with their cellphones and only look down at it. When you look up, you see the true beauty of the City. You see the stone work of old brownstones, you see small boutiques off the beaten track and can indulge in those hole in the wall restaurants that are usually found by foreign tourists. Nothing is more interesting then seeing a stone face on a building staring back at you, a tiny pocket park that residents created out of a garbage dump and that small entrepreneur trying to create a vision.
The Cable Building at 631 Broadway
This project was inspired by many things. My major inspiration for this project follows the recent passing of my father, Warren George Watrel. My dad and I loved to walk around the city and spend the day at various museums, walking around Central Park and the Conservatory, taking the subway to try new restaurants in Chinatown or Little Italy or any new place I had read about in the Village Voice (my Bible when looking for things to do on weekends).
Columbus Circle on the West Side
My father was a ‘Brooklynite’ from Williamsburg (long before it was ‘Hipster Central’, he would have been amused) and loved the city, so this voyage is dedicated to him. Having watched the movie “The Way” with Martin Sheen, we look for inspiration in our travels and try to find the answers to why something happens the way it does. Walking to explore does that.
I was my father’s caregiver after his illness hit him and I continued my trips into Manhattan as my father got better. It was the inspiration to this site’s sister site, ‘BergenCountyCaregiver.com’. After he passed in 2014, I wanted to spend Father’s Day doing something different yet do something that we would have done together. Thus started the first walk in Marble Hill.
My first Day in Marble Hill, Manhattan
Another inspiration was a recent article in New York Magazine entitled “Which New York is Yours? A Fierce Preservationist and a Pro-Development Blogger Debate” in which the author Justin Davidson asks about the disappearance of New York’s Character. “What does that character actually consist of? If we did make an all-out effort to preserve it, how would we know what to protect?” How much is the city changing? I have worked off and on in New York City since 1988 and the answer is in some parts of Manhattan it is night and day. Could you imagine walking in Bryant or Tompkins Square Parks in 1990?
I did and they were very different places back then. With the changing Zoning Laws and gentrification of many neighborhoods, its not the city of 1970’s movies. What I am looking for are those unique little pocket parks that we pass, those statues of people we have no clue who they are and those historic plaques of places gone by and people we don’t know.
Astor Row Houses in Harlem
Another are the books, ‘Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost its Soul’ by Jeremiah Moss and ‘The Death and Life of the Great American City’ by Jane Jacobs. How do cities keep progressing and changing? How does change effect a city and what direction are we going in? Does the Island of Manhattan have to be all luxury or can it be mixed to help keep the creativity alive and keep innovation going? Do we want the big bad 70’s again or the luxury brand of the 2010’s and 20’s? How is it impacting and changing the city? How much has Manhattan and the rest of the boroughs changed with the rezoning of the city under the Bloomberg Administration. This can also be looked at in the documentaries “Gut Renovation” and “My Brooklyn”.
The last inspiration was my doctor. He said I have to lose ten pounds. I am hardly over-weight but like many people he feels that I will be healthier if I lose the weight and keep it off. I want to see how a walk like this tones the body.
Bowling Green Park in Lower Manhattan
I know many people before have walked the entire length of Manhattan while others have or are attempting to walk the every block in the city, mine has a more personal reason. To really see the city I love from the ground up and explore parts of the island that I have never ventured to and see what I find there. Along the way, I want to see how the city changes while I am taking the walk. This is not the “Christopher Columbus” attitude most people are taking when exploring the neighborhoods but more honoring those residents who are trying to make the City better.
My project also includes stops at various points of interest and to get a better feel for all the neighborhoods, I am walking both sides of the street to get a better look at the buildings in each neighborhood and what defines the character of a neighborhood. I get the impression from some of the readers of Mr. Davidson’s article and from comments on the Internet that Manhattan is some “playground of the wealthy that is being gentrified to the hilt and soon no one will be able to afford any part of Manhattan”. Like in any place, there are people struggling everyday to survive in New York and like every city in the country, people are moving back in droves and want a quality of life for them and their families.
Delacorte Clock in Central Park
In the Age of COVID, it has been interesting starting the project again. I had been on hold from March 13th, 2020 through June 10th, 2020 when the City was closed for anyone other than First Responder and people who had to work there. I was so happy when I could return and continue walking Manhattan. My walk down Broadway for the forth time was a surprise with all the businesses closed on the Upper West Side and I met the challenge of “The Great Saunter Walk” , the 32 mile walk around the perimeter of the island in 14 hours. There is now more to see and explore and write.
The COVID world though has me facing closed businesses that I have covered over the years. Restaurants and stores that I have mentioned in this blog since 2015 have since closed permanently or closed for the time being, I am not too sure. We also have a walking world of masks that keep us safe. The times in Manhattan are changing from the way we eat in restaurants to the way we shop and visit museums.
SoHo boarded up after the June Riots 2020
Fifth Avenue boarded up after the June Riots 2020
Things are constantly changing in Manhattan since the riots in June and COVID keeps raging in the City with people not wanting to wear masks. I hope that things will get back to normal soon. I still see people out and about doing their thing and enjoying the warm weather so I am optimistic about life. Still though, Manhattan keeps changing with the Theater District boarded up and Chinatown looking like a ghost town. We will see how New York City recovers from COVID like the rest of the country.
I have now expanded this site to three other blogs, ‘VisitingaMuseum’ (VisitingaMuseum.com), which features all the historical sites, community gardens and small museums and galleries I find in not just Manhattan but throughout the rest of the NYC and beyond in the suburbs.
‘DiningonaShoeStringinNYC’ (DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com), where I feature wonderful little restaurants, bodegas and bakeries that I find along the way. The one requirement is that the meal is around $10.00 and under (for us budget minded people).
“LittleShoponMainStreet” (LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com) where I find unique and creative stores in Manhattan and locally whose merchandising, displays, merchandise and service stand out in an age of Amazon. This harks back to a time when shopping was enjoyable and not a chore.
I have also added two new sections to the blog, “My life as a Fireman”, which I have moved from an old site that I had created for my old engine company to describe my experiences on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department over the last 16 years. Also, this is what takes up my time when I am not exploring New York City.
Justin Watrel, Fireman
Another is “A Local Journey” are tours of downtown’s and communities outside the New York City area to travel to when you need to escape the City’s clutches. I have specific guidelines in finding stores, restaurants and museums/cultural sites in the area. This has lead me to really explore my own town of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ and exploring out of town destinations like Red Hook, NY and Beach Haven/Long Beach Island, NJ. You would be amazed on what these small towns offer.
Downtown Red Hook, NY in the Summer months
With COVID still rearing its head when I am in New York City, I do everything to stay safe from being fully vaccinated (I have take both shots and no I have not turned into a ‘Pod Person’) to wearing a mask and keeping hand sanitizer on me. I abide by all NYC Parks rules and try to stay away from people when in museums and restaurants.
Even with all its problems, New York City is still the most exciting City on earth and follow the blog, neighborhood by neighborhood and join me in discovering what makes Manhattan one of the greatest places on Earth!
So to readers who will be following me on the journey walking through Manhattan and beyond, I hope you enjoy trip walking by my side!
Me in Red Hook, Brooklyn discovering my new love in “Street Art”
This project is dedicated to my father, Warren George Watrel, with lots of love and many wonderful adventures and memories to keep me company as I take “My Walk in Manhattan”.
My dad, Warren and I at a Grandparent’s Day Brunch in 2013
‘Break My Stride’ still plays in my mind when I do this walk.
This walking song plays in my mind when I start ‘Walking’. Thank you Mary Mary!