I found this wonderful combination bakery and gourmet shop when walking home from school one afternoon and exploring Greenwich Village. All the delicious pizzas and pastries in the window lured me in.
I had just eaten my lunch, so I was not that hungry and just wanted a snack. I saw the small doughnuts in the windows called Bombolones, which are yeast doughnuts filled with chocolate or vanilla cream fillings and then rolled in granulated sugar. The small one is $2.15 and the large one was $5.00. Don’t let the price deter you as it is a sweet and filling little dessert. The fresh vanilla cream played beautifully off the sweet dough and sugary topping. Each bite was wonderful, and it was…
Lucky Wang at 82 Seventh Avenue (Lucky Wang website)
I saw this unusual, patterned dress in the window of Lucky Wang, a delightful children’s store in Greenwich Village and I had to stop in and see it up close. This little dress is just one of the many beautiful and unique pieces of clothing that the store carries. Many of the clothing items have such vibrant colors and patterns.
I love walking around the store and wishing I was still a kid getting to pick out my own clothes for school. This is such a special little shop that dresses children so beautifully and prepares them for their first day at school or for a special holiday. There are so many interesting items to choose from the various tables and shelves.
The colorful and mouthwatering selection of donuts is what lured me into this popular and very special dessert shop in Greenwich Village. Just one look in the window wanted to make me walk inside.
The unique logo
Walking into The Donut Pub is like walking into the donut version of “Willy Wonka’s”. There are just so many choices and all those delicious donuts scream “Buy me”! I have only been in The Donut Pub a few times, but I am hooked already. Just looking in the window makes me hungry.
The first time I passed the shop I was just taking a look at what was on display to see what they carried and this delicious and mouthwatering large…
The Blackwell House on Roosevelt Island finally opened for tours after a major renovation of the house. When I had visited Roosevelt Island the last time in 2017, the house was corded off and was not open for touring. It had looked like it was falling apart from the inside out.
The home has now gone through a major renovation. The grounds outside were beautifully landscaped and gave the house a very warm and welcoming entrance to the property. In the middle of the summer, the flowers and trees were all in bloom and it was a nice view from the street. The house is conveniently located in the middle of the island, so…
I love visiting the Hudson River Valley so any event or tour that I can go on is an excuse to come up here. I had visited all the sites that I wanted to see on a trip two weeks earlier but wanted to see them in more detail plus I wanted to take some pictures. The weather finally broke, and it was a much more pleasant 83 degrees as opposed to the 96 degrees the trip before. That makes the trip much nicer.
I asked my aunt along so that we could share in the experience, and I could use her phone to take pictures of the all the sites. It is a much nicer trip when you have someone along who enjoys these things. The one nice thing about traveling to the Fishkill, New York area is that it is only an hour away and a straight run up the New York Thruway to Route 84 and then to Route 9. Just a couple of quick back streets and you will be there.
On my first trip up, I got there so early that no one was at the first site, The Brinckerhoff Homestead Historical site, the home of the East Fishkill Historical Society at 68 North Kensington Drive in Hopewell Junction, NY. I double back and stopped for a quick snack at G & R Deli Cafe, a small deli at 2003 Route 52 in a strip mall near the old IBM campus. I needed a snack.
Since I already had dinner plans, I ordered a Sausage, Egg and Cheese on a roll ($5.95) which was a bit more expensive than in the City but it was delicious. The sausage had a nice taste of sage and gave it a lot of flavor. I just relaxed outside in the parking lot and ate breakfast.
After my snack, I got back to the Brinckerhoff Homestead at 12:00pm when it was supposed to open but around 12:30pm there was still no one there and I kept knocking on the door. That’s when one of the county members let me know that they did not open until 1:00pm. Since I had a list of places to visit that day and the time had been posted all over the internet, I asked if we could please start early. He agreed and I got a personal tour of the house. When I came back two weeks later, I better timed it for the 1:00pm opening to take pictures.
The Brinckerhoff family is prominent in the Fishkill area and family members still visit the homestead so the house’s history is ongoing. The house is broken down into three sections as you can see by the picture. The original part of the home was built by John G. Brinckerhoff in 1755 and it consisted of the “Everything Room” on the lower floor with the hearth for cooking, a beehive oven and the large room upstairs for family living.
As John Brinckerhoff’s family grew, they moved out of the house and his brother, George G. Brinckerhoff moved into the home with his family. After the Revolutionary War was over and George G.’s assignment was over in the army, he returned to the house and in 1785 added the middle main addition of the house with four additional rooms. The larger rooms and high ceilings showed the family affluence in that they could heat the home.
When George died in 1812, his brother John and his family moved back into the house. In 1814, the family sold the house to the Purdy family. They lived in the house for the next 60 years and added the final addition onto the house to the left with a summer kitchen and an outdoor oven. It remained in the family until 1875 when it was sold to the Palen family who used it again as a farm. It was then again sold to the Moore family in 1926 and lastly sold to East Fishkill Historical Society in 1974 by developer Gustav Fink who was a developer in the area (East Fishkill Historical Society).
The rooms are decorated in period furnishings and when we started the tour, you begin in the oldest section of the home with the original kitchen area.
The “Everything Room” in the Brinckerhoff Homestead
This is where the family would cook, eat, do their work on farm affairs and socialize. There was also a small general store on the property as well. The upstairs was closed to the public.
You next moved into the main rooms of the 1785 addition which brought it the into then modern era with high ceilings and larger rooms so that the family had more living space and could entertain.
The Main Dining Room of the home which was set for Hot Chocolate service which again showed the family’s affluence as chocolate was very expensive then
We also toured the Living Room which was set for socializing and work women did for the home with needlepoint, weaving, and clothes making. There was still room for people to gather and entertain.
The Living Room of the 1785 addition to the home
Along the main corridor of the home in the addition was all sorts of artifacts from the Revolutionary War period and items from the time.
Our last part of the tour was the latest addition by the Purdy family when we toured the ‘Summer Kitchen”, which showed how the home had progressed over the years. Little by little each family brought it into the next ‘modern era’.
Both times I got to tour the grounds and the beautiful gardens that the volunteers maintained. Rock gardens and flower beds line the three acres of land around the house. Along with the flower beds, several historical buildings have been moved to the property including the one room schoolhouse from District 9 in East Fishkill that was built in 1826, the 1870 Icehouse which once supplied another home with its ice for the home to keep food fresh before the advent of refrigeration.
The Schoolhouse and the Icehouse and gardens
Another building that is still in use and is open when the house is open for touring is the John Hyatt Blacksmith shop from 1880. It still has some of the original tools and the blacksmith on duty still works the fire and performs tasks in the building.
The last building on the property is the Van Wyck Carriage Barn from 1845. It had been built by Judge Theodorus Van Wyck for his home that was built in East Fishkill that was torn down by the development of the IBM Campus in 1984. IBM paid to have the carriage house dismantled and moved to this property.
The East Fishkill Historical Society with the Brinckerhoff home in the center, the schoolhouse to the right and the blacksmith shop and the carriage house to the left
We took our time to tour the house and the grounds and on my initial visit I got to tour the schoolhouse, the ice house and the blacksmith shop to see the inner workings of these buildings and how they operated.
The docents had told me that they had recently held a ‘Strawberry Festival’ recently promoting the local fruit crops and serving complimentary strawberry shortcake that everyone enjoyed and was gone quickly. There are also Revolutionary War reenactments done on the property and for the holiday season the home will be decorated for the period Christmas holidays with an open house, so there will be things to do and see in the future.
Our next stop on the tour of homes was the Van Wyck Homestead Museum at 504 Route 9, the old Albany Post Road. The house had stood on the main transportation line during the Revolutionary War period and it had served as General George Washington’s northern supply depot during the war because of this location.
Van Wyck Homestead Museum at 504 Route 9 (the Old Albany Post Road)
In 1732, Cornelius Van Wyck bought 959 acres of land from the original Rombout Patent and built the smaller section of the home to the right in 1732. As the family gained affluence in farming and trade, the larger section of the home to the left was built in 1757 with larger rooms and higher ceilings again to show a family’s wealth.
Because of the location of the house in Fishkill on the main road of transportation and the strategic location near the mountains to the south, General George Washington requisitioned the home as the northern supply depot for the Continental Army in October of 1776. Here supplies were run through, army regiments passed and people were buried who died during the war. The house was also used as the headquarters and court marshals and punishments took place on the property (Van Wyck Homestead Museum pamphlet). After the war was over, the house and farm was returned to the family.
The historical marker of the original home
The way the house was furnished was slightly different from the Brinckerhoff Homestead that looked more like you were walking into someone’s actual home. The old Living Room of the Van Wyck Homestead is being used as a meeting room and a place to display items from the Revolutionary War.
The Living Room and Meeting Room at the Van Wyck Homestead
The Revolutionary War Collection at the Van Wyck Homestead
Towards the back of the home is a Library/Research area and we were able to see all the old books and records that are part of the home’s collection. This is where most people do their genealogy work and family research.
The Research Library at the Van Wyck Homestead
What both my aunt and I thought was interesting was when we entered the older part of the house and the old Dining Room area. Many of the artifacts were old Van Wyck family heirlooms that had been donated over the years.
The Dining Room of the Van Wyck Homestead
Some of the recent additions were the crib which had been in the family for five generations and had just been donated to the home as well as the painting over the fireplace had just been collected by the home. Like the Brinckerhoff Homestead, there are many members of the Van Wyck family who come back to visit and still live in the area.
The Colonial kitchen and hearth are in the oldest section of the home from 1732. This is where the “Everything Room” was located. Back when this was the only section of the home, this is where all the cooking, dining, family business and social activities were located. All sorts of kitchen equipment lined the walls and shelves to show life in colonial times. It was funny that much of it has not changed over the years, just modernized.
The original family kitchen in the 1732 section of the Van Wyck Homestead
Outside the home, the organization planted the outside gardens and there is a recreation of the old beehive oven aside the home. It gave you a glimpse of how food came about for these large families before supermarkets.
The Van Wyck Gardens showed how the house was self-sufficient at one time
After touring the grounds, we walked back to see the displays one more time. On my initial trip, the tour guide let me see the upstairs rooms. In the newer part of the home, they had been turned into storage and offices for the docents. In the older part of the home, the old loft area was used for storage, and it was pretty dusty.
After touring these two homes, we were off to Wappinger’s Falls further up Route 9 to visit the Mesier Homestead in Mesier Park just off the beginning of Downtown Wappinger’s Falls. There was a concert going on in the park and my aunt said she needed a break from visiting these old homes. Too many arrowheads and Revolutionary War furniture so she stayed and listened to the concert while I toured the home.
The Mesier Homestead is the home of the Wappinger Falls Historical Society, who maintains the home. The Mesier home is much like the other homes in that it had been added onto as the family grew and became more affluent. The original part of the home is currently going through a renovation and the President of the Wappinger Falls Historical Society explained that they just discovered the old hearth and oven and are currently restoring the historic windows.
The original part of the home is currently under renovation
Starting the tour at the front entrance of the home that leads to the formal Living Room that is decorated with Victorian decor. Again the large rooms and high ceilings showed the family affluence by showing how they could afford to heat their home.
The Living Room at the Mesier Homestead
The copies of the Mesier family portraits in the Mesier Living Room
The Living Room leads to the back Library where many additions of older books are held and where visitors can do research on their family history in the Wappinger Falls. Many are trying to trace their family’s history.
The Mesier Homestead Library and Research Room
The back area of the house is closed for renovations, but you can climb the stairs to the old bedrooms on the second floor. Here is where both the family and the family slaves then servants lived on the same floor.
The Adult’s Bedroom set during Victorian times
A woman’s boudoir during Victorian times
The rooms also showed a child’s place in the family where during Victorian times were treated like ‘little adults’ being trained for their future lives. Toys not just sparked the imagination but also prepared children for domestic life
Children’s playthings during Victorian times spurred imagination
On top of the recreations of the family life in both Colonial and Victorian times that the family lived through, there was an extensive collection of Native American items showing the original settlers of the region when the Lenape Indians lived, fished and hunted in this area before the arrival of the Dutch in the late 1600’s.
The Native American collection on the second floor of the Mesier Homestead
The last part of the tour ended in the formal Dining Room where the entertainment was done and the family took their meals. When I asked why these homes seemed so much smaller than homes like the Vanderbilts and Mills families, it was explained that these families were older more established and did not have to show off their wealth. Since these were God fearing individuals, it was not acceptable to be ‘showy’. People knew they were affluent so they could show off but not flaunt it.
The formal Dining Room at the Mesier Homestead set for dinner
During the Christmas holiday season, the house is beautifully decorated for a Victorian Christmas with garlands and bows and period decorations. Most of these old homes are elegantly decorated as the families once had done during the holidays.
During Colonial times, Christmas meant church services in the morning or afternoon and then a formal dinner in the afternoon. You might have pine, garland and berries decorate the house whereas during Victorian times, it was a much more elaborate affair. There would be a Christmas tree, garland and pine all over the home and gift giving. Christmas cards would have also decorated the home as well.
The Mesier Homestead at Christmas time (Wappinger Falls Historical Society)
After the tour, I took a quick walk into downtown Wappinger Falls which has a great downtown with terrific restaurants and a great view of the river and falls.
Downtown Wappinger Falls has such a unique look to it.
Our last part of the tour was visiting the First Reformed Church of Fishkill at 717 Route 9 at the beginning of Downtown Fishkill, NY. This elegant old church with its historic cemetery was built in 1732 on land that had been set aside for the church.
The Fishkill First Reformed Dutch Church at 717 Route 9 with the DuBois House next door
The church was closed for the afternoon as services are at 10:00am on Sundays so I toured around the church and the cemetery. What was interesting about the cemetery is all the family plots and who was intermarried into whose families.
The cemetery behind the church is full of family plots including the Brinckerhoff and Van Wyck families
After touring the church and the cemetery grounds, I took my time and walked Downtown Fishkill which is lined with small but interesting restaurants and stores. The street had been lively the two times that I visited with people enjoying the outdoor dining and the perfect 80-degree weather.
While walking around Downtown Fishkill, I came across the Fishkill Creamery at 1042 Main Street and needed a quick snack on a hot afternoon. The store was really busy with people eating outside on the benches and tables. I stopped in and had a scoop of Strawberry Cheesecake and a scoop of Birthday Cake ice cream. Did it hit the spot! The Strawberry Cheesecake was especially good with chunks of fresh strawberries in it.
The Fishkill Creamery at 1042 Main Street in Downtown Fishkill
After the ice cream, it was time for dinner (I always believe in saving room for dessert). Both times I tried Antonella’s Pizzeria & Restaurant at 738 Route 9 in Fishkill. You really have to search for the restaurant as it is located in the strip mall in the Shoprite Mall.
Antonella’s Pizzeria & Restaurant at 738 Route 9
The food here is really good. When I came up on my own, I just wanted something small, and I ordered the Cheese Calzone ($8.95). The thing was huge! The Calzone was so large that it could have fed two people easily. It was loaded with Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and they make a terrific marinara sauce that accompanied it. By the time I finished devouring the thing, I was stuffed. This after all that ice cream.
We returned to Antonella’s when my aunt and I returned to Fishkill for the touring since I was so impressed with the food and service. My aunt had the Sausage, Pepper & Onion Roll ($8.50) and I had the Stromboli Roll ($8.50) which had ham, salami, pepperoni, Ricotta and Mozzarella cheeses wrapped in a perfectly baked pizza dough. Both were served with their flavorful marinara sauce. After a long day of touring, it was just what we needed. We also took plenty of time to relax and digest on this trip.
The Cheese Calzone’s at Antonella’s are excellent
It was really a nice day and there is so much to see and do in this part of the Hudson River Valley. I had not really explored Fishkill, NY so it was fascinating to see all these old homes and historic sites and know their place in history. Take the time to tour these homes and hear the family stories. Remember to head back during the Christmas holiday season and explore these homes and the downtowns when they are decorated for the season. There is a special magic in the Hudson River Valley during the holiday season. Check their websites for more activities during the year.
(Please read the accompanying reviews on VisitingaMuseum.com to see a full description on these homes).
Places to Visit:
Brinckerhoff House Historic Site/East Fishkill Historical Society
After visiting three historical homes in the Fishkill area covering the towns of Hopewell Junction and Wappingers Falls, my last stop of the day was the First Dutch Reformed Church of Fishkill, NY. The church was closed at this point with services being on Sunday’s only starting at 10:00am. I was able to tour around the church admiring its architecture, looking over the DuBois House which is also owned by the church and exploring the cemetery.
The cemetery was the most interesting being the final resting place of many of the ‘first families’ of the area, including family plots of the Van Wyck and Brinckerhoff families, who also intermarried with each other. There were sections dedicated just to the families…
The Brinckerhoff House Historical Site was built in three different time periods with the oldest part of the house to the right, the main part of the house was built second and the Sun Room and porch to the left was built last. The house opens up in all parts but you can see the distinct different in the style of the design.
The entrance of the original homestead
The entrance of the Homestead has the schoolhouse and icehouse to the left of the entrance and the blacksmith shop and the carriage house to the right. The Blacksmith shop has a real blacksmith on duty working when the house is open for tours.
The Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association 2022 “Man of the Year” Annual Dinner March 25th, 2022
Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association honors their “Men of the Year”
On Friday, March 25th, the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association held their annual dinner for their members and their spouses. We chose Roma’s in North Arlington as it held a lot of good memories for the organization. We had held our 2019 dinner here right before everything closed due to the pandemic which had been another memorable night for the organization. Their food and service are excellent and the membership enjoyed a wonderful dinner.
Before dessert was served, President Steve Palladino gave a warm welcome to everyone. We talked about the successes we had in the previous year with our Golf Outing being one of the most prosperous in recent history and one of the best Christmas tree sales for the association. We sold a record number of trees in eleven days that generated a great profit for our scholarship fund.
The Executive Board presented our awards for “Volunteer of the Year” award for the member whose contributions over the last year made the association flourish. The Executive Board chose Mark Stefanelli, whose fundraising for our Annual Golf Outing made it the success it was this year. He really reached out to the community for sponsorship that raised a lot of money for the event and helped raise some of the biggest donations to make the Golf Outing the huge success that it was last year.
Executive Board Members Lou Verdi, Ken Wheeler, Winner Mark Stefanelli, Steve Palladino, Dennis Colton and Justin Watrel
Our “Man of the Year”, a man that honors the Hasbrouck Heights community with their dedication to the town, was resident and volunteer Tony Bonelli. Mr. Bonelli was an athlete at Hasbrouck Heights High School who not only led the school to many winning seasons but played multiple sports while attending.
Executive Board members Lou Verdi, Ken Wheeler, Steve Paladino, winner Tony Bonelli, Dennis Colton and Justin Watrel
He has for the last forty years helped in the Recreation Department, coaching teams, assisting in the grounds upkeep and when he got older contributed by assisting other coaches and lending his support to many of our town’s youth teams.
“Man of the Year” winner Tony Bonelli with his family at the HHMA Dinner
Both men have contributed a lot not just to making us a better organization but making Hasbrouck Heights the community that it is today.
Thank you to all the members who contribute so much over the previous years.
Members of the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association having dinner
The Garment District is an unusual neighborhood. It is a mixture of manufacturing, tourism from all the hotels that have opened in the last twenty years and office lofts of former manufacturing and showrooms. The Advertising, Marketing and Tech companies that are now quiet due to the pandemic. During the weekends, it is especially quiet in the area due to the lack of tourists after the holiday season. The most amount of people on a warmish day are concentrated around Bryant Park.
It has also been so cold lately that it has been no fun walking around Manhattan. When you have those rare days when there is no wind and it is around 40 to 50 degrees it makes it bearable. I am not much of a winter person but it is only two more months. The weather finally broke one afternoon and I was able to start the lower part of the neighborhood on a 45-degree day that was sunny with no wind. It made for nice walking weather.
I started my walk on a late sunny afternoon. I had tickets for a movie at the MoMA that evening and wanted to walk a few blocks before I left for the museum. I now understand what pandemic has done for small businesses all over Manhattan. It is getting spooky how the domino effect of closed offices has had on restaurants and shops not just in this area of the City. There were so many empty store fronts and, in some cases, open restaurants with staff sitting around on their cellphones. It reminded me of Chinatown in March of 2020.
Walking West 35th Street was like seeing where magic is created as most of the buildings are the backs of hotels and current and former department stores. On the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 35th Street is the most unglamorous part of the Hotel New Yorker with the loading dock and the employee entrance, the loading docks of Macys that stretch from Seventh Avenue to Broadway and the loading docks of the former Orbach’s department store that are now part of the office building that stretch from Broadway to Fifth Avenue. There are lots of delivery trucks going back and forth.
Macy’s facing Broadway and West 35th Street and Herald Square hides it loading dock.
Here and there small hotels have been created in the spaces between the office buildings and these have changed the character and the foot traffic of the neighborhood. They have brought some life to a quiet block. What impressed me was that there are still a lot of fabric and clothing wholesalers left in the neighborhood. Between rezoning and the pandemic, so many of the fabric, button and zipper businesses have closed their doors.
What stands out is the restaurants that dot the street. There are so many reasonable restaurants that are surviving on the garment and the office workers that are still in the area and the shoppers at Macy’s. Some are also really popular on TripAdvisor and Yelp so that helps them as well.
Stick to My Pot Potstickers at 224 West 35th Street has been catering to both the garment and office workers since it opened two years ago. I love coming here for reasonable meals and snacks when I am in the area. The Fried Pork and Chive dumplings and the Roast Pork Bao Buns are just excellent (see my reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com).
Stick to my Pot Potstickers is at 224 West 35th Street
The slow cooked pork is tucked into a rice bun.
A few doors down another reasonable take-out place just opened 99 Cent Delicious Pizza at 460 Seventh Avenue. They have the most amazing cheese pizza at $1.00 a slice. I cannot believe how popular this place has become with both the tourists and local office workers.
99 Cent Delicious Pizza makes an excellent slice
Crossing the street, you will see how the innerworkings of Macy’s loading docks with the street loaded with trucks unloading all sorts of treasures that will be on display in the store in the coming days.
Herald Square was busy the afternoon I was there with shoppers and tourists relaxing on the chairs in the plaza outside the store and in the park. The park has dramatically improved since I worked at Macy’s. When I worked at Macy’s in the early 1990’s, Herald and Greeley Squares were places to avoid until about 1994 when the parks were renovated and new plantings and French metal café tables were added. Now it is hard at lunch time to find a table.
In the process of the renovations, the City also restored the statues dedicated to James Gordon Bennett and Horace Greeley.
The statue dedicated to James Gordon Bennett and his son James Gordon Bennett II
The statue is to Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom and Invention and two blacksmiths who flank a bell that once topped the Herald Building where the New York Herald, which was founded by James Gordon Bennett in 1835. The statue was dedicated in the park in 1895 (NYCParks.org).
Antonin Jean Carles was born in France and was a student of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Toulouse. He was known for his monument sculptures.
Across the park is an impressive mural at the corner of West 35th Street and Sixth Avenue on a building that once housed the Desigual flagship store. The work is by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel and entitled “Multicultural Freedom Statue” and was created in 2019. It is a tribute to multiculturalism in New York City (Artist Bio). The store has since closed.
The painting at Sixth Avenue at West 35th Street by artist Okuda San Miguel
Artist Okuda San Miguel was born in Spain and known for his colorful geometric styles in painting. He graduated from the Complutense University of Madrid with a BFA and has shown his work all over the world (Wiki).
The rest of the block is the northern most edge of Koreatown and has some interesting restaurants that have been here for over thirty years. In between the restaurants there are more small hotels that have been part of the neighborhood for years. Then you reach the border of the neighborhood at Fifth Avenue and you are facing the formerly grand B. Altman & Company on the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 35th Street.
The B. Altman Building at 361 Fifth Avenue was built by Benjamin Altman for the new location for his ‘carriage trade’ store. The store was designed by architects Trowbridge & Livingston in the “Italian Renaissance Style” in 1906. The palatial store was home to couture clothing, fine furniture and expensive art work.
The former B. Altman Department Store at 361 Fifth Avenue
I walked back down West 35th Street towards Ninth Avenue and the only really section of the street that was busy was in front of the Midtown Precinct South. It was going through their shift change in the afternoon. I rounded the corner and made my way down West 36th Street. Again as I was walking down the street it amazed me to see so many clothing and fabric businesses still in business. Here and there are traces of the old neighborhood mixing into what is developing since the rezoning.
West 36th Street is again a mix of the old and the new. Loft office buildings mix in with the new smaller hotels that line the street which surprisingly are all open. On a recent trip down Lexington Avenue in Midtown East, many of the larger grand hotels that line the avenue are still closed but these smaller commuter hotels are still filled with tourists and industry people. It is showing the resilience of the area.
Architecture wise, it is extremely bland with mostly buildings from the post WWII era that catered to the growing Garment industry. There are some conversions to new hotels and office buildings and some residential as well. Still there are some surprises along the walk.
488 Seventh Avenue was built as the Hotel York in 1903 by brothers James and David Todd, who had an interest in building luxury hotels. They commissioned architect Harry B. Mulliken, who had designed the Hotel Aberdeen on West 32nd Street for the brothers, with his new partner, Edger J. Moeller, who formed the firm of Mulliken & Moeller. The York Hotel was their first commission together. The hotel was designed in the Beaux-Arts style with elaborate carved decorations (Daytonian in Manhattan).
The Hotel York was a residential and transient for most of its existence attracting the theater crowd when 34th Street was the Theater District of the time. As this moved uptown, the hotel was bought in 1986 and was renovated for residential and commercial use (Daytonian in Manhattan). The Tokian Group now owns the building and it is luxury apartments.
Walking towards Broadway most of the buildings are relatively new but one does stand out that being the Haier Building at 1356 Broadway. The Haier Building was built by architects from York & Sawyer in the Neo-Classical Revival style. The building was completed in 1924 and was the headquarters for Greenwich Savings Bank. The building is built with limestone and polished granite and features Roman Corinthian Columns (Wiki).
1352 Broadway-The Haier Building (Former Greenwich Savings Bank-Wiki)
The Haier Building stretches from Broadway to Sixth Avenue and is impressive on both sides of the building. The building was used by Greenwich Savings Bank from 1924 until 1981 when the bank went out of business (Wiki).
In front of the Executive Hotel Le Soleil New York at 38 West 36th Street, there is an interesting sculpture on the front terrace by artist Marie Khouri that looks like a tear drop. The sculpture. “Histoire d’O”, was created in 2016 and there are many different versions of it all over the world, this one prominently sitting in front of the hotel. Its beauty is in its curvature.
The Executive Hotel Le Soleil New York at 38 West 36th Street
Artist Marie Khouri was born in Egypt and raised in Lebanon and through a series of moves around the world is now based in Vancouver. She was classically trained in sculpture at L’Ecole du Louvre in Paris and has developed a vast range of cultural and historical influences within her practice. Her sculptures blend and extend metaphors of language, form and the body to propose an inextricable link to a life deeply affected by the complex history of the Middle East (Artist’s Bio).
When I reached the edge of West 36th Street, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 36th Street is 390 Fifth Avenue that was designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White for the Gorham Manufacturing Company of fine silver products in 1903. It was designed in the “Italian Renaissance Style” and was used for manufacturing and their showroom. It later became Russeks Department store and has now found other uses.
390 Fifth Avenue-The Gorham Manufacturing Building
It was getting dark when I arrived back at Ninth Avenue and I decided to call it a night. Before I left for the MoMA to see my film, I went to Stone Bridge Pizza at 16 East 41st Street for dinner. I have to say that their personal Cheese Pizza ($10.95) is excellent and very simple. The sauce is fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil topped with fresh mozzarella and baked until crisp (See review on TripAdvisor). With an unlimited soda fountain dispenser of Boylan’s sodas, it makes for the perfect meal on a cool night.
I made a second trip into Manhattan that Saturday. My plan was to walk the rest of the neighborhood, then go to the Met for the afternoon to see the Surrealist exhibition and then visit a few of the stores and restaurants that the internet had said had closed.
Walking the Garment District took longer than I thought walking back and forth between West 37th to West 41st Streets from Ninth to Fifth Avenues. It did not help that it was 28 degrees outside. Still, it was sunny with no wind and I found the crisp winter day the perfect time to walk the empty streets of the Garment District.
While buying my ticket for the return trip home, I passed a sculpture of passengers getting on a bus that before I had never given a second thought to and took a moment to look it over. It is the sculpture “The Commuters” by artist George Segal.
It really does depict what it is like to wait for a bus at the Port Authority after a long day at work. You are exhausted and worn out from work and then have to wait in a long line of other tired people while traffic backs up in the Lincoln Tunnel to leave Manhattan. The sculpture is true to form.
“The Commuters” by Artist George Segal (Wiki) in the Port Authority Bus Terminal
George Segal is an American born Native New Yorker who was raised in New Jersey and lived his whole life. He attended the Pratt Institute, Cooper-Union and graduated with a degree in teaching from New York University. Known mostly for being a painter, the artist gained fame with his realistic sculptures. “The Commuters” was installed in 1982 (Wiki).
I rewalked West 36th Street to be sure that I had not missed anything as the other day it started to get dark early and I rushed walking the street. I thought the side streets of the Garment District were quiet during the week. Try walking in the neighborhood on a weekend day when most of the businesses are closed. Most of the streets with the exception of around Herald Square and Bryant Park were desolate. I saw mostly bored shop keepers in the fabric stores and empty hotel lobbies.
One piece of art I missed on my first part of the walk down West 36th Street was just outside Vito’s Pizzeria at 464 Ninth Avenue. Just around the corner is an interesting painting on the wall on the side of the business by artist Chem Dogg Millionaire. The creative geometrics on the mural brighten up the side of the building.
It was so quiet when I walked down West 37th Street from Nineth Avenue. The cold was keeping people inside but there were still the adventurous ones walking their dogs and just wanting some fresh air.
I passed M & T Pretzels at 349 West 37th Street which distributes vending and concession products all over the City and you can see all their carts that are the fabric of the food service industry. Their pretzels are a New York institution.
West 37th Street in not known for its architectural creativity or street art but where it lacks in these it makes up in reasonable places to eat and some great restaurants. The Garment District has some of the best places to eat when you are on a budget.
On the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 37th Street is 9th Avenue Deli (the former AM-PM Deli), which I think is one of the best delis in Manhattan. I have stopped by for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the food has always been consistently delicious.
9th Avenue Deli at 480 Nineth Avenue (formerly AM-PM Deli)
I have mentioned this deli many times on my walks. It is where I have had breakfast to fill up with carbs before my thirteen-mile Broadway walks and have stopped here when walking the “Great Saunter Walk” around the perimeter of the island. Their ‘Meat Lovers” breakfast sandwich with bacon, sausage, and ham with three eggs helps carry me through one side of the island and their bacon cheeseburgers are the best.
Non Solo Piada at 302 West 37th Street just off Eighth Avenue is another wonderful place to dine. This tiny store front specializes in Roman street food with dishes such as Piadizze, which is a crispy thin pizza with multiple toppings and Cassoni, which is a smaller version of a Calzone, which is filled with cheeses and meats. They have wonderful desserts and when the weather is warmer, they have tables and a counter outside the store and it is nice to eat outside on this quiet block.
Non Solo Piada at 302 West 37th Street off Eighth Avenue
Amongst all the large office buildings and manufacturing companies is a tiny church tucked in the middle of all this commerce. The Shrine and Parish Church of Holy Innocents is at 128 West 37th Street and stands out for its beauty in design and the fact that it was still decorated for Christmas.
The Shrine and Parish of Holy Innocents at 128 West 37th Street
The church was built in 1870 when the area around Herald Square was still rural and the church was designed by architect Patrick C. Keely in the Gothic-Revival style. The fresco inside the church was designed by noted artist Constantino Brumidi, who later painted the rotunda at the U.S. Capital (Wiki).
As the area has changed over the last hundred and fifty years, the congregation has changed with it from the rural farmers then to the tenement dwellers, the theater and hotel crowd and now to office workers and shoppers who dominate the area during the week. The church still has its challenges with the poor but is optimistic in serving the community (Church history).
Just off West 37th Street on Broadway is an interesting little pizzeria Encore Pizza at 1369 Broadway. I have eaten here many times on my walk down Broadway and they make a nice pizza. Try to get there though when a fresh pie comes out of the oven.
A new and very impressive addition to the neighborhood, Marvelous by Fred (Aux Merveilleux de Fred), opened a gluten free meringue bakery at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 37th Street at 1001 Sixth Avenue. Not only are the pastries mind-blowingly good but the just watching the bakers prepare them in the open kitchen window make you want to walk inside (especially with how cold it has been).
I have to admit that the bakery is not cheap especially for this section of the City and during COVID but it is a welcome addition in high quality pastries and when you need a guilty pleasure, trust me it is helpful and so enjoyable.
I had a Brioche with a sugary filling that was still warm when I bought it and each bite was a treat with a rich buttery. The sugary filling bursting in my mouth and on a cool afternoon, really warmed me up. I also ordered a mini Merveilleux, called a ‘L’Exentrique’, which is two small meringues filled with a creamy mixture and then rolled in cherry crunchies. This sweet creamy pastry melts in your mouth when you bite into it and you have to eat it quickly when walking or otherwise it is a gooey mess. Both pastries were well worth the money and put a big smile on my face.
I was a very happy traveler when I reached Fifth Avenue to see the warm sunshine covering the block. Fifth Avenue has changed since my walk around Murray Hill in 2020. A lot of the buildings are either being renovated or have ‘For Rent’ signs in the windows as small businesses in the area have suffered from lack of office workers and tourists.
Across the street is 401 Fifth Avenue, the former home to Tiffany & Company before the operations moved to East 59th Street. The impressive building stands guard still on lower Fifth Avenue as a testament to when the shopping district was below 42nd Street.
401 Fifth Avenue-The former Tiffany & Company building (Wiki)
The building was designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White and was completed in 1905 as the company headquarters and stayed here until the move uptown in 1940. The design was based on the Palazzo Grimani de San Luca in Venice, Italy (Wiki).
On the way back down West 37th Street, I passed another restaurant on the other side of the street that I really had not noticed and crossed to take a look at it. Tengri Tagh Uyghur Restaurant is at 144 West 37th Street. The cuisine was Uyghur, which is an interior section of China that most of the residents were being interred by the Chinese. I remember reading that the food has more Turkish and Indian influences and the smells coming out the restaurant were amazing. You could almost taste the spices in the air. I knew where I was eating dinner that night.
One of the architectural gems of the neighborhood is covered with demon-looking faces. It sits at 301 West 37th Street, which has the most unusual carvings of gargoyles all over the sides and inside the window ledges. It gives the building almost a creepy, demonist look to it. The building was built in 1915 and is currently going under a gut renovation.
As I walked around to West 38th Street, I was greeted by an old friend in the family business of Esposito Meats at the corner of West 38th and Ninth Avenue at 500 Ninth Avenue. Esposito Meat Market has been in business since 1932. You can see the selection of meats and different cuts from the window. The one time I walked in you could smell the aroma of the freshly cut meats. The store prides itself on always delivering quality (Esposito Meat Market website).
West 38th Street to me is the Garment District’s ‘Restaurant Row’.
Just off the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 38th Street is the now closed (and hopefully to be opened soon again) Fu Xing at 273 West 38th Street. The restaurant was my go-to place for Roast Pork, Custard, Pineapple and Cream buns ($1.25) when I volunteered at the Soup Kitchen or when I needed a quick lunch and was in the area (see my reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com).
The roast pork buns here were the best
This little hole in the wall catered to the Asian garment workers but somehow found its way to tourists and office workers all over the area.
On the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 38th is another building beautiful in detail but has been sadly neglected over the years is 557 Eighth Avenue. The Beaux-arts’ designed building was built in 1903 by architect Emery Roth who was part of Stein, Cohen & Roth. It was run as a residential hotel for most of its history and now houses commercial space in the upper floors and fast-food restaurants on the bottom (Daytonian in Manhattan.blogspot/Loopnet.com).
Further down the street towards Seventh Avenue is Lazzara’s Pizza Cafe at 221 West 38th Street #2, which is known for their lasagna pizza (see my review on TripAdvisor) which was lunch for us many an afternoon when I was a in the Buying line at Macy’s. These deep-dish pizzas are wonderful and the service has always been so friendly over the years.
A few doors down is Ben’s Kosher Restaurant, the former Lou G. Siegel’s, that is known throughout the Garment industry as the place for piled high pastrami sandwiches and matzo ball soup. The original restaurant had been in business for over 79 years before being bought out by Ben’s in 1996 (Ben’s Kosher History).
Ben’s Kosher Restaurant Manhattan at 209 West 38th Street
The interesting family fact is that both myself and my grandfather both ate at Lou G. Siegel’s when it was open thirty years apart. My grandfather had worked as an officer in the Ladies Garment Union and this is where they used to have lunch back in the 1950’s. I still love to dine there, always ordering the Double Dip ($16.99), a Pastrami on Rye with a side of Matzo Ball soup and a Potato pancake. There is nothing like it (see my review on TripAdvisor).
Don’t miss the Double Dip at Ben’s Kosher Restaurant
During the week, there is a tiny cart right off Broadway, Empanada Suprema, with the little empanada with a cape as its symbol. This little cart makes the freshest empanadas in Mid-Town with cheese, chicken and beef fillings made right in front of you and fried fresh at the cart. With a little hot sauce, two of these make the perfect lunch and I love munching on them on a cold day.
The Empanada Suprema cart at West 38th Street. Look for the capped empanada
Walking towards Fifth Avenue, the architecture starts getting interesting and at 63 West 38th Street is the Refinery Hotel. This beautiful and interesting looking hotel was built in 1912 and was the former Colony Arcade Building. It had been home to a 19-century milliner and a tearoom (Refinery Hotel history). The hotel has two excellent restaurants one being on the roof top looking over the Bryant Park neighborhood.
The Refinery Hotel at 63 West 38th Street (The Refinery Hotel)
Arriving finally at Fifth Avenue is the famous former department store Lord & Taylor, once a New York institution in women’s high fashion. The former Lord & Taylor headquarters store that opened in 1914 just recently closed with a sale to the now imploded WeWorks company and was just sold to Amazon for 985 million dollars.
This former ‘grand carriage trade’ store replaced the former headquarters store at Broadway and 20th Street by Union Square and opened at this location at 424-434 Fifth Avenue. The 11-story building was designed by architects Starrett & Van Vleck in the ‘Italian Renaissance Revival’. The store closed for business in January of 2019 after over one hundred years in the location (and a recent store renovation).
Lord & Taylor was founded in New York City in 1826 and has moved around the City several times in its long history. I will miss walking around the store and wondering through the store at Christmas time which was always magical in the store’s heyday. I like everyone in the City will miss their Christmas windows.
I’m not sure if Amazon will continue this tradition at the holidays
As I made my way back down West 38th Street, I finally saw a bit more foot traffic off Fifth and Sixth Avenues as the afternoon crowds went to lunch or were heading in the direction of Macy’s. There was another one of their big sales and it was attracting late shoppers.
On the corner of West 39th Street is one of the best places for deep-dish pizza in Manhattan at the ever-growing Upside Pizza (which now has two more locations) at 598 Eighth Avenue. The pizzeria makes delicious deep-dish cheese and pepperoni pizza and their regular cheese pies are terrific too. The Sicilian pies are a cross between traditional Sicilian and Detroit deep-dish.
As I made my way down West 39th Street, I passed more fabric and small wholesale stores proving that the Garment District businesses are alive and well, maybe not in the numbers as in the past but still going strong. Tucked in between buildings are more national chain hotels and restaurants that keep opening and closing with the traffic of the area. There are a lot of empty store fronts as you get to Seventh Avenue. Business from the surrounding office buildings has indeed slowed down.
When arriving at the corner of West 39th Street and Seventh Avenue in front of the Chase Bank at 551 Seventh Avenue is the very iconic sculpture of the Needle Threading the Button that is part of the Welcome Booth on Seventh Avenue.
The Button and Needle Sculpture is actually part of the information booth (NYPL.org)
According to the New York Public Library, the sculpture of the needle and button is actually part of the Fashion Center Information Kiosk that has been closed for a few years. The sculpture was designed by Pentagram Architectural Services in 1996 and was inspired by artist Claes Oldenburg’s sculptures. The district is currently looking into replacing this kiosk (New York Public Library Research Department).
Artist Claes Oldenburg was a Swedish born American artist. He was born in Stockholm and moved to the United States with his parents. His father was a Swedish Diplomat who was stationed in Chicago and he studied art at Yale University and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was known for his large art installments. Even though this was not designed by him, the work was inspired by his sculptures (Wiki).
In front of the Chase Bank at 1411 Broadway is Golda Meir Square with an open plaza. Tucked into a garden almost hidden from view by the plants is a bust of Golda Meir by artist Beatrice Goldfine. It looked like from old pictures the original pedestal is now beneath the planter. It was unveiled in 1984 (Wiki).
The bust of Golda Meir by artist Beatrice Goldfine in Golda Meir Square is now hidden in a garden.
Artist Beatrice Goldfine is an American artist born in Philadelphia and studied at the Barnes Foundation and the Pennsylvania Institute of Fine Arts.
When walking back down West 39th Street, I noticed another small Chinese restaurant named Bao Bao Cafe at 214 West 39th Street that has an interesting menu. This is one to check out in the future.
On West 40th Street is where you really start to see interesting architecture on the fringe of the old shopping district. The buildings on the southern edge of Bryant Park, which had once a upon a time had been just ‘old buildings’, now have become the symbol of the park and some of the most classic examples of Beaux Arts and Art Deco architecture.
The walk from the Port Authority on Ninth Avenue is remnants of the ‘bad old days’ of Times Square that have not been torn down yet. This area was in the process change before COVID and is still being developed.
As you cross Sixth Avenue with Bryant Park on one side, there is a line of beautiful buildings between Broadway and Fifth Avenue that make it quite an impression. The enormous detail to these structures is evident along the sides and top of the buildings.
The details on 119 West 40th Street (the other side of the building is 114 West 41st Street) are unique. The building was built in 1913 by Philip Lewisohn with the architectural firm of Manike & Franke with the purpose of designing a loft type building. What makes the building so unique is the Gothic figures above the curved windows (Daytonian in Manhattan/Emporis).
The second is 110 West 40th Street. The building was designed by architect Edward S. Browning of the firm of Buchman & Fox and was built in 1914. It was known as the World Building. Browning has designed the building so that all four sides were equally detailed (MetroManhattan.com).
110 West 40th Street
On the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 40th Street I saw the green and red lights still blinking of the new Bank of China building at 1045 Sixth Avenue (or 7 Bryant Park). This building is interesting for its shape and its ongoing light show. The second day of visiting the neighborhood, the lights of the holidays were gone.
The building was completed in 2016 and was designed by architects Henry N. Cobb and Yvonne Szeto from the firm of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and it was interesting on why they designed the building in an ‘hourglass’ design. The firm stated that “they wanted to enrich the experience of the park while at the same time make its relationship to the park a clear expression of its identity (Pei Cobb Freed & Partners). The building is the New York home of the Bank of China.
Bank of China Building at 1045 Sixth Avenue (7 Bryant Park)
Across from Bryant Park to its south are a grouping of beautifully designed buildings. On the corner of West 40th Street and Sixth Avenue is 80 West 40th Street, ‘The Bryant Park Studios’. The building was built in 1910 as showrooms for artists. The building was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by architect Charles A. Rich (Daytonian in Manhattan).
The Bryant Park Hotel at 40 West 40th Street is another standout that sits on the edge of the park. The hotel was built in 1924 for the American Radiator Company and known as the American Radiator Building (it was renamed the American Standard Building).
It was designed by architects John Howells and Raymond Hood who designed it in a Gothic Modern style with black and gold bricks, the black bricks symbolizing coal and the gold bricks symbolizing fire. The style of the building is a combination of Neo-Gothic and Art Deco. In 1988, the building was sold and the Bryant Park Hotel was born (Bryant Park Hotel History).
The Bryant Park Hotel at 40 West 40th Street (Bryant Park Hotel)
A few doors down from the hotel is 32 West 40th Street, the former Engineers Club Building. The building was designed by architects Henry D. Whitfield and Beverly S. King of the firm of Whitfield & King and was built in 1907. The building was designed in the neo-Renaissance style with Corinthian style capitals. The building was partially funded by Andrew Carnegie for a new club house for the Engineers Society that had been founded in 1888 (Wiki).
Making my way back to the border of Garment District at Fifth Avenue sit two impressive buildings of the bygone era from this was a major shopping district, the Knox Building and the Arnold Constable Building.
The building at 452 Fifth Avenue, the former home to Knox Hat Company, was incorporated into the HSBC Tower in 1984. The glass tower was built around the Beaux Arts building for the HSBC and it was considered an architectural marvel when it opened. The Knox Building was built in 1902 and is considered one of the finest examples of ‘Beaux Arts style’ in Manhattan.
452 Fifth Avenue-The Knox Hat Company Building part of the HSBC Building
The Knox Hat Company was considered one of the finest hat companies for men when it was founded in 1838. It once had 62 retail stores and was sold in all the finest stores. It did not survive the Great Depression and was merged with three other companies in 1932 to form Hat Corporation of American (Hat Co) (Bernard Hats history).
The last interesting building I saw before returning to Bryant Park to relax by the fountains was 454 Fifth Avenue at 40th Street, the old Arnold Constable & Company department store.
Fifth Avenue at 40th Street-Arnold Constable & Company Department store
The building opened in 1915 and closed when the company went out of business in 1975. It is now part of the New York Public Library. Arnold Constable & Company was founded in 1825 and was considered one of the oldest stores in New York City. The building was created as the shopping district moved further uptown. The company closed for business in the 1990’s.
As I finished the edge of the neighborhood walking West 41st Street, most of the buildings were either the front or back of old theaters or large new office buildings that were the result of the final demolishment of the blocks around Times Square (which was much needed at the time).
As a result of these large buildings compacted into one area, there needed to be setbacks for the public in the way of small parks and one of them is just behind the new Whole Foods at 1095 Sixth Avenue (Three Bryant Park). Inside the park near the stone benches, I admired a rather strange statue entitled “The Guardian-Superhero” by artist Antonia Pio Saracino.
Guardian-Superhero at Three Bryant Park (Antonio Pio Saracino)
The statute was created by the artist in mirrored stainless steel. The artist uses a digitally generated architectural composition (Frameweb.com).
Artist Antonio Pio Saracino is an Italian born artist based in New York City. He is a graduate of the La Sapienza University of Architecture with a master’s degree. The artist is multi-talented in sculpture, building and furniture design (Wiki).
I finally was able to relax in Bryant Park for a bit before I continued the walk to Kips Bay. I had read online that DiDi Dumpling in Kips Bay had closed, and I wanted to check it out for my blog. I walked through the side of Bryant Park that faced West 40th Street and admired some of the statuary and the tiny Merry go Round that was closed for the season.
The first statue that I admired was Goethe Monument inside the path. The Gothe statue is of author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and is a replica of a copy by artist Karl Fisher. It was presented to the park by The Goethe Society of America in 1876 and it was moved to Bryant Park in 1932 (NYCParks.org).
I passed the tiny French Merry go Round, Le Carrousel, that brought into the park after the renovation to give the park the Parisian feel that it had. It was created for the park by the Fabricon Carousel Company of Brooklyn, NY and many interesting creatures for children and adults (I did ride it once when it first came to the park. I am too big for this thing).
The Bryant Park Carrousel on the south side of the park (NYCParks.org)
The last statue that I admired in the park was of the park’s namesake, William Cullen Bryant, from artist Herbert Adams and designed by Thomas Hastings of the architectural firm of Carrere & Hastings in 1911 (The firm that designed the New York Public Library). The statue was of poet, journalist and editor of The New York Evening Post Willaim Cullen Bryant (NYCParks.org).
The statute of William Cullen Bryant (NYCParks.org)
Herbert Adams was an American born artist. Born in Vermont, he was raised in Massachusetts, He studied art at the Massachusetts Normal Art School. He opened a studio in New York City and in his time, he created over 200 public works of art and is considered one of America’s best sculpturers (Wiki).
As the last traces of the Winter Villages Christmas decorations have disappeared, I walked all around the skating rink and the open restaurants. I could not believe how busy the park was at this time of day and was not sure if it was all tourists or just locals having a good time. With all the gloom and doom in the news lately, these people deserved it!
As I walked back down West 41st Street towards the Port Authority, I walked in between the terminals on my way back and forth from Ninth to Eighth Avenues and rediscovered the Robert Wyland paintings that had been done in the 1990’s. It was ironic that he had painted them because I had just visited his galleries in both Waikiki and in Maui.
The Robert Wyland mural “Inner City Whales” on the side of the Port Authority wall at Eighth Avenue and West 41st Street in 1993 (Part of his “Whaling Walls” series across the United States)
The Robert Wyland Mural on the inside wall of the Port Authority at West 41st Street is easy to miss with all the traffic and noise. I was not sure why he would place this wonderful piece of art in such an odd place that most people miss.
Mr. Wyland is an American born from Detroit. His works have been inspired by nature when he visited the ocean for his first and his love of diving. In 1993, he started his foundation, and started to paint murals in major cities. He is known for his conservation as well as his art(Artist bio).
I finished the streets of the Garment District in the early afternoon, and it was still light out, so it was time to travel to other parts of Manhattan to check other businesses from my blogs to see if they were still opened. This meant a trip down Lexington Avenue to DiDi Dumplings at 38 Lexington Avenue.
DiDi Dumpling is one of my go-to places on my blog, DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com for delicious meals of steamed dumplings and fried potstickers. Google had posted that they closed but I had to check this out for myself. Not only were they still open but really busy. So, I stayed for some Steamed Shrimp Dumplings ($5.75) with a Coke. After all that walking, I felt I earned it.
Now that I was rested and well fed (God those dumplings hit the spot on a cold day), I walked to my next location, La Crosta Pizza on East 72nd Street and First Avenue. I took Lexington Avenue and walked up a combination of that and Madison Avenue. On my way up to the Upper East Side, it was shocking to see how many businesses were shut and all the empty storefronts. These being victim to the economy and COVID.
I made it to 436 East 72nd Street and indeed La Crosta Pizza is now closed. I was really bummed in that they had wonderful lunch specials, excellent food (their pizza and calzones were the best) and the guys that worked there could not have been nicer. It was a big place to eat with the people at the hospital. The sign says that it is being replaced by York Pizzeria. I will have to revisit when they open.
La Crosta Pizzeria at 436 East 72nd Street closed in 2022
As I walked back down from the Upper East Side to the Garment District again, I crisscrossed the avenues going from First to Second then walking down Lexington to Park Avenues looking at store fronts and dark apartment buildings and hotels and wondered how many of these people have come back to the City. It still seemed quiet after the holidays.
I ended the walk that evening back at the Uyghur Restaurant Tengri Tagh at 144 West 37th Street. I kept watching from the window all the interesting dishes coming to the tables and it fascinated me that this tiny hole in the wall restaurant was so busy. I later found out when I got home that they just had three back-to-back excellent reviews on the internet.
Uyghur Restaurant Tengri Tagh at 144 West 37th Street
When I got there at 6:30pm, it was quiet. There were only two other tables full. By the time my dinner started to arrive at the table, the place was packed. I could not believe this small restaurant on a side street and a gloomy one at that was so busy.
I kept it simple and ordered a dish of dumplings, a baked bun and an opened faced meat and vegetable bun. When it all came out, it was more than enough food. The baked bun ($3.95) was filled with a spicy lamb and cumin mixture that with each bite brought warmth inside my body. The food is really spicy here.
The open-faced Lamb and Cumin Bun ($6.95) was filled with a combination of ground lamb and vegetables and a very hot sauce. It really had some kick to it and it did not need any additional sauces. The order of dumplings ($14.95) was almost a double order from the usual Chinese restaurants I go to and are perfect for sharing. They were also filled with a spicy lamb mixture and an extra kick was added with the hot oil that they brought to the table. It was more than enough food for one person. The hot tea that the waiter brought to the table helped cool my stomach down. The waiter could not have been nicer.
The Baked Buns are excellent
After a relaxing dinner and some much needed sitting it was back to the sidewalks and the walk back up Eighth Avenue to Port Authority. Talk about a walk. I must have covered at least five miles. When I finally got on the bus that evening, I could not believe all the changes in the neighborhood since I worked there twenty-seven years ago. It has gotten so much nicer than what it had been even with COVID.
This area may be down a bit, but it is not out!
Please visit my other blogs on the Garment District:
Day Two Hundred and Three: Walking the Borders of the Garment District: