Tag Archives: Walking Manhattan

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

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

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

The Map of the “Hudson Yards”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

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

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

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

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manhattan West complex (Manhattan West.com)

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

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

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

Elle Street Art explains her mural at the Hudson Yards

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

Artist Elle Street Art in front of her work

https://www.ellestreetart.com/

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

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

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

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

The Vessel at 20 Hudson Yards

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

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

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

Architect Thomas Heatherwick describing “The Vessel”

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

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

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

The Hudson River Railroad Plaque

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

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

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

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

The Shed at 545 West 30th Street

https://theshed.org/

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

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

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

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

https://theshed.org/about/building

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

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

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

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

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

Artist Kelsey Montague (artist website)

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

https://www.facebook.com/kelseymontagueart

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

https://kelseymontagueart.com/

The artist explains and shows her works:

What inspires the artist and her team:

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

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

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

Lucky’s Famous Burgers at 264 West 23rd Street

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

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

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

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

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

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

There will be more changes in the future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These will show you the constant changes in the neighborhood.

Places to Eat:

Lucky’s Famous Burgers

264 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 242-4900

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

http://www.luckysfamousburgers23rdst.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

Stick to my Pot Potstickers

224 West 35th Street

New York, NY 10001

(646) 822-2003

https://www.sticktomypot.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Places to Visit:

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

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

https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30 Hudson Yards in the Hudson Yards complex (Wiki)

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.edgenyc.com/en

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

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

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

‘Untitled’ by Artist Sam Durant is atop the Highline

Artist Sam Durant

https://www.samdurant.net/

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

Artist Sam Durant talks about his sculpture “Untitled”

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

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

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

Elle Street Art explains her mural at the Hudson Yards

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

Artist Elle Street Art in front of her work

https://www.ellestreetart.com/

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

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

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

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

The Vessel at 20 Hudson Yards

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

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

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

Architect Thomas Heatherwick describing “The Vessel”

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

37th Street Food Market at 478 Tenth Avenue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These will show you the constant changes in the neighborhood.

Places to Eat:

37th Street Food Market

478 Tenth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 967-5200

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://holyapostlesnyc.org/

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

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

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

Chelsea Park during the summer months

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

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

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

“The Chelsea Doughboy” Memorial (NYCParks.org)

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

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

The statue was designed by artist Philip Martiny.

Artist Philip Martiny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

520 West 28th

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artist Allen Wexler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hudson Yards development

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

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

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

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

‘The Big Apple” by Artist Felix Marzell

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

Artist Felix Marzell

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

Artist Felix Marzell

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

Please watch his video (in French) about Industrial Design

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

“Art by Ashley” by artist Ashely-Simone McKenzie

https://www.ashleysimone.art/

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

Watch her interview on this interesting piece of art

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

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

https://stmichaelnyc.org/ (Wiki)

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

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

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

The Webster Apartments at 419 West 34th Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manhattan West complex (Manhattan West.com)

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

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

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

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

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

James A. Farley

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

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

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a former politician and diplomat.

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

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

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

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

The portion size of the Chicken Fingers special is large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These will show you the constant changes in the neighborhood.

Places to Eat:

Lucky Burgers

264 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 242-4900

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

http://www.luckysfamousburgers23rdst.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politician and Activist Bella Abzug

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

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

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

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

Bob’s Park next to 454 West 35th Street

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

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

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

Bob’s Park at 454 West 35th Street

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

The Nero Wolfe Plaque at 454 West 35th Street

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

The plaque on the building at 454 West 35th Street

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

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

“Art by Ashley” by artist Ashely-Simone McKenzie

https://www.ashleysimone.art/

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

Watch her interview on this interesting piece of art

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

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

The Canoe Plaza designed by Design Wild

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

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

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

“Ascension” by Artist Jordan Baker-Caldwell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engine 34/Ladder 21 at 440 West 38th Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Untitled

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

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

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

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

https://www.croatianchurchnewyork.org/

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://m.facebook.com/115798258443108

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

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

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

Please read my other Blogs on walking Hudson Yards:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to Eat:

9th Avenue Gourmet Deli

480 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 695-6204

https://m.facebook.com/115798258443108

Open: Sunday-Saturday 24 hours

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Places to Visit:

Bella Abzug Park

542 West 36th Street

New York, NY 10018

(212) 239-1619

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

New York Transit Museum Gallery

89 East 42nd Street

New York, NY 10001

(212) 878-0106

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

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

Day Two Hundred and Fourteen: Walking the Streets of the Garment District from West 41st to 35th from Fifth to Ninth Avenues January 18th and 22nd, 2022

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.

James Gordon Bennett statue

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).

James Gorden Bennett

James Gordon Bennett

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

The statue was designed by Antonin Jean Carles

antonin Carles

Artist Antonin Jean Carles

http://www.artnet.com/artists/jean-antonin-carles/

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

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

The former B. Altman Department Store at 361 Fifth Avenue

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

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-b-atlman-co-bldg-no-361-fifth-avenue.html

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).

488 Seventh Avenue-The York Hotel (Daytonian)

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-1903-hotel-york-no-488-7th-avenue.html

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)

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

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

https://www.hotellesoleil.com/new-york/

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).

Artist Marie Khouri’s “Histoire d’O”

Artist Marie Khouri

https://www.mariekhouri.com/

https://www.facebook.com/marie.khouri.sculpture/

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 Building

390 Fifth Avenue-The Gorham Manufacturing Building

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/390_Fifth_Avenue

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/390-5th-Ave-New-York-NY/17368347/

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.

Stone Bridge Pizza & Salad at 16 East 41st Street

https://www.stonebridgepizzaandsalad.com/

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).

Artist George Segal (Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Segal_(artist)

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)

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

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

https://www.nonsolopiadanyc.com/

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

https://shrineofholyinnocents.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Innocents_Church_(New_York_City)

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.

Encore Pizza at 1369 Broadway

https://www.encorepizzamenu.com/

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.

301 West 37th Street can give you the creeps

https://www.renthop.com/building/301-west-37th-street-new-york-ny-10018

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).

Esposito Meet Market at 500 Ninth Avenue

http://espositomeatmarket.com/

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.

Fu Xing at 273 West 38th Street (Closed in 2020)

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/149

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).

557 Eighth Avenue

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/557-8th-Ave-New-York-NY/21625348/

You have to really look up or you will miss the beauty of the building with its detailed carvings around the windows and the portraits of women carved between the windows.

The details at 557 Eighth Avenue are spectacular

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/07/emery-roths-art-nouveau-no-557-8th.html

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.

Lazzara’s Pizza Cafe at 221 West 38th Street #2

https://lazzaraspizza.com/

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

https://www.facebook.com/benskosherdelifanpage/

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

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/926

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)

https://www.refineryhotelnewyork.com/

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).

424-434 Fifth Avenue-Lord & Taylor

424-434 Fifth Avenue The Lord & Taylor Building

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

Lord & Taylor Department Store

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.

Lord & Taylor 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.

Upside Pizza at 598 Eighth Avenue

https://www.upsidepizza.com/

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 (Wiki)

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

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Claes-Oldenburg

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.

https://prabook.com/web/beatrice.goldfine/772652

Golda Meir, the former Prime Minister of Israel (1969-1974)

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

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).

119 West 40th Street

The details are quite striking

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/11/1913-lewisohn-building-119-west-40th.html

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)

https://www.pcf-p.com/

https://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/bank-of-china-at-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).

80 West 40th Street

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/80-W-40th-St-New-York-NY/18070725/

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-1901-beaux-arts-studios-80-west.html

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)

http://www.bryantparkhotel.com/

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

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).

32 West 40th Street-The Engineers Building (Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineers%27_Club_Building

https://streeteasy.com/building/bryant-park-place

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

452 Fifth Avenue-The Knox Hat Company Building part of the HSBC Building

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/452_Fifth_Avenue

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.

Arnold Constable & Company building

Fifth Avenue at 40th Street-Arnold Constable & Company Department store

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Constable_%26_Company

http://www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org/2011/08/arnold-constable-co-new-york-city-new.html

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).

https://www.frameweb.com/article/the-guardians-hero-and-superhero-by-antonio-pio-saracino

Artist and Architect Antonio Pio Saracino

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

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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).

The Goethe Monument in Bryant Park (NYCParks.org)

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bryant-park/monuments/592

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

Artist Karl Fischer

There was no information on the artist that I can find. I found this very interesting blog documenting the same thing.

http://goethetc.blogspot.com/2009/10/goethe-in-bryant-park.html

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)

https://bryantpark.org/amenities/le-carrousel

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)

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

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bryant-park/monuments/189

The statue sits in the middle of the park just behind the New York Public Library and next to Bryant Park Grille. It guards the park from a distance.

William Cullen Bryant

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

Artist Herbert Adams (Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Adams_(sculptor)

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.

Artist Robert Wyland

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

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.

DiDi Dumpling at 38 Lexington Avenue

https://www.dididumplingny.com/menu

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

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/552

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

https://tengritaguyghurcuisinenyc天山美食.net/

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:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/19670

Day Two Hundred and Twelve: Walking the Avenues of the Garment District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/20968

Places to Visit:

Bryant Park

Fifth Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Avenues at 42nd Street

New York, NY 10018

(212) 768-4242

https://bryantpark.org/

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

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d136347-Reviews-Bryant_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html

My review on VistitingaMuseum.com:

Places to Eat:

Stone Bridge Pizza & Salad

16 East 41st Street

New York, NY 10017

(646) 791-5690

https://www.stonebridgepizzaandsalad.com/

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Wednesday 11:30am-7:30pm/Thursday-Friday 11:30am-8:30pm/Saturday Closed

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d12705923-Reviews-Stone_Bridge_Pizza_Salad-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

9th Avenue Deli Corp.

480 Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 695-6204

Open: 24 Hours

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2039&action=edit&calypsoify=1

Non Solo Piada

302 West 37th Street

New York, NY 10018

(212) 216-0616

https://www.nonsolopiadanyc.com/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 8:00am-3:00pm/Friday 8:00am-4:00pm/Saturday 8:00am-3:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d11916965-Reviews-Non_Solo_Piada-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

Encore Pizza

1369 Broadway

New York, NY 10018

(646) 370-5226

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d23859697-Reviews-Encore_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Marvelous by Fred

1001 Sixth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(646) 590-0263

https://auxmerveilleux.com/en/pastries?city=new-york

Open Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm/Monday-Friday 8:00am-7:00pm/Saturday 9:00am-6:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d23759815-r825633264-Aux_Merveilleux_De_Fred-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Fu Xing (formerly New Li Yuan)(Closed March 2021)

273 West 38th Street

NYC, NY  10018

(212) 575-6978

http://www.fuxingnyc.com/

Hours: 7:00am-5:30pm

My reviews on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d14037661-Reviews-Fu_Xing-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d12562531-Reviews-New_Li_Yuan-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/149

Lazzara’s Pizza Cafe

221 West 38th Street #2

New York, NY 10018

(212) 944-7792

https://lazzaraspizza.com/

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Friday 11:30am-9:00pm/Saturday Closed

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d424527-Reviews-Lazzara_s_Pizza_Cafe-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers

209 West 38th Street

New York, NY 10018

(212) 398-2367

Welcome to Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d493676-Reviews-Ben_s_Kosher_Delicatessen_Restaurant_Caterers-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Empanada Sumprema Cart

On the corner of Broadway & West 38th Street

New York, NY 10011

Open: From Monday-Friday only

My review on TripAdvisor review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d3617697-Reviews-Empanada_Stand-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/926

Upside Pizza

598 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(646) 484-5244

https://www.upsidepizza.com/

Open: Sunday-Wednesday 11:00am-11:00pm/Thursday 11:00am-2:00am/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-3:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d15662360-Reviews-Upside_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Bao Bao Cafe

214 West 39th Street

New York, NY 10018

(917) 965-2214

https://baobaocafe39thstreet.square.site/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-8:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

DiDi Dumpling

38 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY 10010

(212) 466-6618

https://www.dididumplingny.com/menu

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4460001-Reviews-Di_Di_Dumpling-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2461

Uyghur Restaurant Tengri Tagh

144 West 37th Street

New York, NY 10018

(646) 964-5418

https://tengritaguyghurcuisinenyc天山美食.net/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 11:00am-8:00pm/Friday Closed/Saturday 11:00am-8:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d23857736-r825810454-Uyghur_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday Day Dad!

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

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

Imagine doing this in the era of COVID!

Day Two Hundred and Twelve: Walking the Avenues of the Garment District: Eighth, Seventh, Broadway and Sixth Avenues from West 42nd to 34th Streets January 4th and 5th, 2022

After all the running around of the holiday season (and I ran from one part of the state to another), I finally got back into New York City to resume my walk of the Garment District. With a new variant spreading around the City, you would think the Manhattan would be quiet but that did not stop the tourists from coming to the museums and seeing the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree that was still up into the first week of January. It was business as usual just more people wearing masks outside.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was still packing them in after Christmas was over

Manhattan is resilient when it comes time for the pandemic. More restaurants, stores and businesses have opened up and like everyone else, you wear your mask to stay safe. I don’t mind showing my ID and my vaccination card if it means I can still enjoy doing the things I want to do, stay safe and support New York City businesses that desperately need the money.

I have to say one thing, everyone from stores to streets took down their Christmas decorations in record time. When I was in the City at the MoMA for a “The Contender’s Night” movie, I saw department store display windows being changed, the decorations outside Cartier being taken down on Fifth Avenue and most outdoor decorations gone even before the Epiphany. I thought that was strange but I guess it is time to move to Valentine’s Day and to Chinese New Year. Hope fully things will get better as it gets warmer in three months.

When I started my walk of the Avenues of the Garment District, some streets were busier than others. The core of the Garment District is still so quiet with most of the manufacturing that still goes on in the area shut down and even some of the hotels that have now been built in the area had a lack of guests. When I moved to the side streets in the afternoon, talk about no people and this is in the afternoon.

The thing about this part of Manhattan is that these buildings were built in post-war years and replaced most of the turn of the century buildings that I saw when you walk below 34th Street. These were built for the growing clothing businesses for manufacturing and showrooms which are now being refitted for offices of Tech and Advertising firms with most of the manufacturing being zoned out of the area during the Bloomberg Administration.

Even so some of these buildings have been torn down for new office and apartment buildings that are changing the whole Times Square/Garment District area. It is more of an extension of Midtown stretching down to 34th Street and then the historic older Midtown section begins with NoMAD (North of Madison Square Park) and the Flatiron District. Still here and there tucked into corner of the streets and avenues, there are architectural gems and interesting artwork.

Another thing that the Garment District is known for is the bevy of reasonable restaurants that cater to the garment and office workers in the area. This has really been affected by COVID and several have closed for business, while others have finally reopened from their months of slumber. It is nice to see these businesses reopen and bring vibrance back to the area again.

I started my walk on Eighth Avenue exiting the Port Authority onto a crowded street with cars and cabs all over the place. For all the problems with COVID, New York City still seems very alive to me. From walking down Broadway to visiting the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center, there are tourists all over the place.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal is the main artery for people from New Jersey and Pennsylvania at 625 Eighth Avenue

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

As I was exiting the building to West 40th Street, I took a long look at the Ralph Kramden statute that sits just outside the Port Authority. I passed this sculpture many times over the years but when you really stop and admire it, you can see the detail work of the statute. The statue was dedicated in August of 2000 and was a gift from TV Land to the City of New York. It was thought at the time this would be the perfect spot as the character was a bus driver (CBS News 2000).

The “TV Land” sculpture of Jackie Gleason as ‘Ralph Kramden’ by artist Lawrence Nowland

Jackie Gleason

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

Lawrence Nowland is an American born artist from Philadelphia, PA and was a graduate of Millersville University in Pennsylvania and did his graduate work at the New York Academy of Art School of Figurative Art and was known as a Figurative artist.

Artist Lawrence Nowland

http://www.ljnsculpture.com/about

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Nowlan#:~:text=Lawrence%20Joseph%20Nowlan%20Jr.,Harry%20Kalas%20and%20Jackie%20Gleason.

Walking down the block from the Port Authority, you will find one of the only branches of the Philipine based Jollibee fast food restaurant at 609 Eighth Avenue, one of five in the tri-state area. You can hooked on their Fried Chicken sandwiches and their peach/mango pie. The place has been crowded since its opening and made one of the quickest comebacks after everything opened up last June.

Jollibee is at 609 Eighth Avenue

https://www.jollibeefoods.com/

Walking down Eighth Avenue is a little gloomy during the week since COVID hit. This used to be such a bustling area with the manufacturers and showrooms in full swing. Now most of the streets are quiet from the offices being closed down. I can see how it is affecting the small clothing and fabric shops that still dot the side streets. Even with Fashion Institute of Technology reopening, it is still quiet.

Although not architecturally exciting, there are still a few gems located in the corners of the block. There are many small buildings in the neighborhood that I have passed for years on my way to work at Macy’s and I never really looked at them closely. You might miss them if you don’t look up and look at the details.

The first one is 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.

301 West 37th Street can give you the creeps

https://www.renthop.com/building/301-west-37th-street-new-york-ny-10018

Just off Eighth Avenue is Non Solo Piado, a wonderful little Italian restaurant that specializes in Roman street food. Every time I have eaten here the food is terrific. The restaurant specializes in a type of calzone/turnover called a “Cassoni” and crisp pizzas called a “Piadizze”. I have tried the Cassoni Napolento filled with sausage and potatoes in a pastry crust and the Piadizze Margherita with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella. The food and service are excellent and so reasonable.

Non Solo Piada at 302 West 37th Street

https://www.nonsolopiadanyc.com/

https://www.facebook.com/nonsolopiadanyc/

The Piadizze here is amazing and so light

The other building that is grand 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 (DaytonianinManhattan.blogspot/Loopnet.com).

557 Eighth Avenue

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/557-8th-Ave-New-York-NY/21625348/

You have to really look up or you will miss the beauty of the building with its detailed carvings around the windows and the portraits of women carved between the windows.

The details at 557 Eighth Avenue are spectacular

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/07/emery-roths-art-nouveau-no-557-8th.html

At the end of the block stands the Hotel New Yorker like a Grande Dame guarding the Garment District. The Hotel New Yorker on the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 34th Street at 481 Eighth Avenue. The hotel was designed by architects Sugarman and Berger and designed in the Art Deco style. The hotel was constructed in 1928 and opened in 1930. The hotel now managed by Wyndam Hotels put the hotel through a full renovation in 2006 to bring it back to its glory years now reflected the resurgence of the neighborhood (Hotel New Yorker History website/Wiki).

The Hotel New Yorker at 481 Eighth Avenue

https://www.newyorkerhotel.com/

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

This is where I am noticing that the neighborhood is changing during COVID. They are knocking down a lot of the West 34th corridor and rebuilding it especially around Madison Square Garden. This area really needed it. When I was working at Macy’s, this was not the safest area to walk around in. This was an area of cut-rate stores and depressing office buildings. It still amazes me how the City reinvents itself and the area is now a desirable for office workers and residential living. Being right near the subways, LIRR and shopping, it is showing the changes in the old Midtown district.

Walking back up Eighth Avenue, the architecture is mostly older loft buildings that are still used for light manufacturing and showrooms but on this avenue is a stretch of great restaurants that cater to the workers that are so reasonable.

Grilled Chicken at 230 West 36th Street is a great little hole in the wall that caters to many of the Garment workers and the delivery guys speeding all over the City with other restaurants orders. The food is plentiful and reasonable. They make the best Fried Shrimp and rice and their Banh Ma sandwiches with Fried Shrimp and Grilled Pork are just excellent. This places really surprises you when you dine here.

Grilled Chicken House at 230 West 36th Street

https://www.allmenus.com/ny/new-york/358002-chicken-house/menu/

Another great place to eat is the original Upside Pizza at 598 Eighth Avenue. On many a cold night I have been warmed up by their Pepperoni Detroit pan pizza and their regular cheese slices are so rich and flavorful. They really loaded on the cheese and the pepperoni on to their slices and then bake them to a gooey delight.

Upside Pizza at 598 Eighth Avenue

https://www.upsidepizza.com/

COVID has really changed this part of Eighth Avenue around where the New York Times building is located and Times Square since the shutdown. Many restaurants and stores have closed but slowly new ones are opening or reopening. Traffic in this area is pretty consistent so businesses change hands a lot now.

As the movie theaters slowly open again and Broadway is opened on a limited basis show by show, the area is beginning to get busy again but not to the levels pre-Pandemic. During the week when I am walking these blocks, I see a difference in the number of tourists and residents walking around the Port Authority area.

Seventh Avenue is still always busy. This area has changed a lot in the twenty-five years since I worked in the area. When I worked on 34th Street, the buildings were filled with showrooms and designer headquarters. It is a more diverse group of businesses today and I swear much better restaurants and stores. It has gotten more upscale.

Sitting at the top of Seventh Avenue like a guardian is the Times Square Building at 1 Times Square or 1475 Broadway. This building is known to many New Year’s Eve revelers as where the ball drops.

One building that stands tall in Times Square is One Times Square known as 1475 Broadway. Once the home headquarters for the New York Times was opened in 1904. The building was designed by architect Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz. The original façade was of stone and terra cotta but this has been mostly stripped and is now home for mostly advertising. The ball still drops from the top of the building every New Year (Wiki).

One Times Square

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

https://www.jamestownlp.com/properties/one-times-square

It is amazing to see the radical changes in this area of Manhattan since I started to work there in 1988. It is almost night and day in its appearance of not just the buildings but the parks and businesses that line Seventh Avenue. When I had worked there twenty-five years ago, you really did not choose to walk on Seventh Avenue after 8:00pm when most office workers went home. It was not the safest or well-lit avenue especially below Times Square. How thirty years and a whole development of the area change things.

When I walked down Seventh Avenue today, it is like walking through a haunted house that is less scary. I remember my years as a young executive in the City trying to maneuver around the area and sometimes feeling safer walking down the old 42nd Street with the porn theaters and head shops. At least I knew there were police milling around. Today, there has been such an improvement in the cleanliness of the area and the more expensive stores and restaurants that has spread to Broadway as well but even this is being upended by COVID. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Again, most of the buildings in this area were built after the WWII for the Garment industry and have that loft-box look to them but like Eighth Avenue, there are still a few standouts that have survived the wrecking ball or renovation. One being the elegant 488 Seventh Avenue.

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).

488 Seventh Avenue-The York Hotel (Daytonian)

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-1903-hotel-york-no-488-7th-avenue.html

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 (Dayton in Manhattan). The Tokian Group now owns the building and it is luxury apartments.

Towards the edge of the neighborhood is one of my favorite deli’s and known to thousands of Macy’s Alumni, Al’s Deli at 458 Seventh Avenue. I have been eating at Al’s Deli since 1988 and only recently in the last two years since exploring this section of Manhattan again have come back.

Al’s Deli at 458 Seventh Avenue is a Macy’s favorite

https://www.alsdelinyc.com/

It still makes some of the best hamburgers and cheeseburgers in the City and their breakfast sandwiches are still oversized and delicious. Their Bacon, Egg and Cheese on a hoagie is still something that warms and fills me up in the mornings. Don’t miss their Chicken Parmesan Sandwich as well.

Across the street from Al’s Deli on the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 34th Street is the Grande Dame of the department store industry and my home away from home for seven years in the beginning of my career, R.H. Macy at 151 West 34th Street. When I started working at the store in 1988 it was funny but the locker rooms and cafeteria featured in the movie “Miracle on 34th Street” had not changed one bit, at least as I remembered it.

Macy’s New York on the Seventh Avenue side of the store in Art Deco Style (Wiki)

https://l.macys.com/new-york-ny

The Seventh Avenue side of the building was added in 1931 making Macy’s the world’s largest store. The building was designed by architect Robert D. Kohn in the Art Deco style that was popular in the day (Wiki). The entrance is still iconic to shopping enthusiasts who are looking for the perfect gift.

Walking up Seventh Avenue, also known as the Fashion Mile to many in the retail industry, is the Fashion Walk of Fame plaques that line the avenue from 35th Street above Macy’s up to 42nd Street. You have to look at the sidewalk to see some 30 plaques honoring some America’s most celebrated designers including Halston, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.

The Fashion Walk of Fame started in 2000

https://garmentdistrict.nyc/

The honor was started by the Fashion Center Business Improvement District and these are chosen by a group of fashion panelist each year since 2000 (The Vintage Traveler.Wordpress.com).

I stopped at Zeppola Bakery at 499 Seventh Avenue for a quick snack. Everything looks so inviting from the fluffy doughnuts to the stuffed sandwiches. The bakery for all its visuals is on the expensive side and a small heart doughnut filled with raspberry jelly cost $3.95. Delicious but a little pricey.

Zeppola Bakery at 499 Seventh Avenue

Home light

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 (Wiki)

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

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Claes-Oldenburg

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).

The other sculpture next to the kiosk is of a garment employee working on a sewing machine. This sculpture by artist Judith Weller was of her father who worked in the Garment Industry entitled “Garment Worker”. The sculpture was created by the artist in honor of her father, a machinist in the garment trade and to Jewish garment workers who were the backbone of the community. It was created in 1984-85 for the Public Art Fund (Public Art Fund).

The “Garment Worker” by artist Judith Weller

The Mission of the Public Art fund that was funded in 1977, is to bring dynamic contemporary art to a broad audience in New York City and offer powerful public experiences in art (Public Art Fund).

https://www.publicartfund.org/exhibitions/view/garment-worker/

https://www.askart.com/artist/Judith_Weller/130231/Judith_Weller.aspx

Artist Judith Weller is an Israel born New York artist who is known for her genre of work dedicated to the laboring people all over the United States (Ask Art.com).

Crossing over to Broadway from the busy 42nd Street Mall I was greeted by the recently reopened Knickerbocker Hotel at 6 Times Square. For most of the recent history of this property it had been falling apart and was offices in the times I worked in Manhattan.

The Knickerbocker Hotel was built by John Jacob Astor IV and it opened in 1906. The hotel was designed by the firm of Marvin & Davis in the Beaux-Arts style. The outside of the hotel was built in red brick with terra cotta details. The hotel was fully renovated in 2015 (Wiki).

The Knickerbocker Hotel at 6 Times Square

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

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.

https://prabook.com/web/beatrice.goldfine/772652

Golda Meir, the former Prime Minister of Israel (1969-1974)

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

Walking down Broadway most of the buildings are relatively new or been built after WWII but two really do stand out. One 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)

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

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).

The other impressive building on this side of Broadway is the Macy’s New York Broadway building facing Herald Square. The store was built between 1901-1902 by architects Theodore de Lemos and A. W. Cordes of the firm of De Lemos & Cordes in the Palladian style a form of classic Roman and Greek temple style (Wiki).

Macy’s New York at 151 West 34th Street on the Broadway side of the building

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macy%27s_Herald_Square

https://l.macys.com/new-york-ny

Herald Square 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.

James Gordon Bennett statue

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).

James Gorden Bennett

James Gordon Bennett

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

The statue was designed by Antonin Jean Carles

antonin Carles

Artist Antonin Jean Carles

http://www.artnet.com/artists/jean-antonin-carles/

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.

Walking back up Broadway, it started to get colder as the afternoon went on but I came across an unusual sculpture that had just been put up entitled “Passage” by artist Serge Maheu. This interesting piece of street art you could actually walk through and as you walked through it, the colors changed.

“Passages” by Artist Serge Maheu (Artist’s bio)

It was like walking through a tunnel of hula hoops. The artist was going for a “transformative, playful experience” during an otherwise gloomy time in winter (Patch.com).

According to the artist, “Passage” explores the emotional connections between light and sound (Serge Maheu bio).

Artist Serge Maheu

Artist Serge Maheu is from Quebec, Canada and graduated with a degree in Computer Engineer, he has taken a path down the creative route to become a multimedia director. He specializes in film, animation, photography, sound and music (Serge Maheu bio).

By the time I reached Bryant Park, the sun started to come out again and it cleared up slightly. The park was filled with people ice skating or eating. The tables were mostly filled on this cool day which I was surprised at considering the weather. It does not take long to see how the changes in the park have led to change in the building here.

Standing guard at the edge of the neighborhood is the new Bank of America building. This innovative building was designed by architect Rick Cook from the firm of Cookfox Adamson Associates. The building was designed with a clear ‘Curtin wall’ and several diagonal planes for wind resistance. The building was also awarded a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for sustainable ‘green’ architecture (Wiki/Durst website).

Bank of America Building at 1111 Sixth Avenue

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

https://www.durst.org/properties/one-bryant-park

Bryant Park is another interesting park. In 1988, you would never go into this park unless you wanted drugs or wanted to get mugged. The park was surrounded by bushes and it was in extremely bad shape. When the New York Public Library was going through a renovation, money was allocated to fix the park. It is night and day from when I passed the park in the early 1990’s. Talk about a difference that twenty-five years makes.

Bryant Park in all its glory

The original park opened in 1870 as Reservoir Square after the Croton Distributing Reservoir that was once located on the eastern side of the park. In 1884, the park was renamed for New York Evening Post Editor William Cullan Bryant (Wiki).

The park has suffered from neglect in the past including times in the 1930’s and the 1960’s and 70’s and had been through past renovations but in 1980 the Bryant Park Restoration Group was founded and took over park services. Since then, the park was fully renovated in 1992 and continues to improve with continued maintenance. Now there are events like ‘Movies in the Park’ and ‘Winter Village’ with a skating rink, rows of boutiques and the Christmas tree (Wiki).

Bryant Park in Christmas past

Lining the park on Sixth Avenue side of the park is a series of interesting statuary that I think most people miss when walking by the park. The first one is the statue called the “Andrada Monument” or also known as the statue of Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva, the Brazilian statesman. Every September, the Consulate General of Brazil commemorates Andrada and Brazilian Independence Day by hosting a small ceremony at the monument (Wiki).

Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva statue

Artist Jose Otavio Correia Lima

https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Ot%C3%A1vio_Correia_Lima

The statue was created by artist Jose Otavio Correia Lima. The artist was born in Brazil and attended the National School of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro. He taught and ran the college until 1930 (Wiki).

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bryant-park/monuments/37

Brazilian Statesman Jose Bonifacio de Andrada

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Bonif%C3%A1cio_de_Andrada

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jose-Bonifacio-de-Andrada-e-Silva

Jose Bonifacio de Andrada was a Brazilian Statesman who was also a college professor and naturalist who was one of the most important mentors of Brazilian independence (Wiki/Britannica).

The other statue on the opposite side of the park is of Benito Juarez, the former President of Mexico and its first indigenous President serving twice. The statue was created by artist Moises Cabrea Orozco and is the first Mexican to be commemorated in the park system.

The Benito Juarez Statue in Bryant Park

Artist Moises Cabrea Orozco

https://es-la.facebook.com/escultormoises.cabreraorozco

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bryant-park/monuments/1969

Artist Moises Cabrea Orozco was born in Mexico and studied at the La Esmeralda School of Painting and Sculpture and San Carlos Academy. He is related to social realist painter Jose Clemente Orozco.

Statesman and President of Mexico Benito Juarez

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Ju%C3%A1rez

Benito Juarez was a lawyer and statesman who served as the President of Mexico twice. He also served on the Mexican Supreme Court.

In between these two statues at the western side of the park as you walk up the steps to enter the park is the Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain, one of the most beautiful pieces of art in Bryant Park. This fountain is one of the nicest places to sit by on a sunny warm day and there is not a time that I do not make a wish in the fountain.

Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain (Wiki)

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bryant-park/monuments/944

Artist Charles A. Platt (Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_A._Platt

https://library.columbia.edu/libraries/avery/da/collections/platt.html

Artist Charles A. Platt was born in New York City and studied at the National Academy of Design and the Students Art League. He was known as a landscape designer, artist and architect of the American Renaissance Movement (Wiki).

The fountain was designed by architect Charles A. Platt in granite and bronze and has the most interesting details to it. It is the first major memorial dedicated to a woman in New York City. The fountain was dedicated to activist Josephine Shaw Lowell (Wiki).

Josephine Shaw Lowell

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

Josephine Shaw Lowell was born in Massachusetts and moved to New York with her family in the 1840’s. She was committed to social charities and was named the Commissioner of New York State Board of Charities, the first woman to hold the position. She also founded many charities (Wiki).

This time of the year Bryant Park is taken up by the skating rink and the restaurants that surround it. Most of the Christmas Village was closed and it looked they were going to take it down. The Christmas tree was surprisingly still up and lit and at night makes the park festive.

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).

80 West 40th Street

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/80-W-40th-St-New-York-NY/18070725/

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-1901-beaux-arts-studios-80-west.html

Further down Sixth Avenue is where one of the first Chick-fil-A in Manhattan opened at 1000 Sixth Avenue in 2015. It was also their largest outlet at the time with three floors. The place had lines wrapped around the block during its first several months until more outlets opened around the City. I hate to say it but for all the controversy about the restaurant, I really do love their chicken sandwiches.

Chick-fil-A at 1000 Sixth Avenue

https://www.chick-fil-a.com/

https://www.facebook.com/cfa37thand6th/

Another interesting building that stands out is an old home at 966 Sixth Avenue which is the former J. E. Winterbottom Funeral Home. The business moved in 1885. Before that the post-Civil War house was constructed in the Second Empire style with a Mansard roof. It was once a private home before the business moved in (Daytonian in Manhattan). According to current records, it is going to be Manhattan’s first Sonic restaurant. It will be the first urban Sonic to open outside the one on Staten Island (Patch.com).

966 Sixth Avenue

https://www.loopnet.com/property/966-6th-ave-new-york-ny-10018/36061-08370004/

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-j-e-winterbottom-funeral-parlor-966.html

At the very edge of the neighborhood on the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 35th Street is the most interesting piece of artwork 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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 last building I noticed for its beauty was on the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 34th Street, 47 West 34th Street (1378 Broadway or 2 Herald Square) the Marbridge Building. The Marbridge Building was by architects Townsend, Steinle & Haskell in 1909 in the Classical Beaux Arts style and has been used as an office building since its opening (Wiki/Photo/Street).

47 West 34th Street-The Marbridge Building

https://streeteasy.com/building/28_47-34-street-astoria

For dinner on the way back up Sixth Avenue, I ate at the Kyoto Spot Mochinut at 1011 Sixth Avenue. They had the most unusual combination of a Potato Half and Half ($7.95), which was half a hot dog and half a mozzarella stick rolled in rice flour and chopped potatoes and then deep fried and they served it with a spicy type of duck sauce. I also had one of their Ume Mochinut doughnuts which were made out of rice flour but tasted like a funnel cake. It was utterly amazing.

The hot dogs at Mochinut are amazing

https://www.mochinut.com/

On my second trip exploring the avenues, I had dinner at Main Noodle House at 1011 Sixth Avenue. The food and the service were excellent. I had a traditional eggroll and it was one of the best I have had in a long time. For the entree, I had the Cantonese Wonton Soup ($10.95) with roast pork, wontons and lo mien noodles. It was the perfect meal on a cool winter night. It was a meal within itself.

Main Noodle House at 1011 Sixth Avenue

https://mainnoodlehouse.com/

It was late when I finally arrived back at Bryant Park in time to see the Christmas tree in full blaze and hear the music and laughter of the skating rink. Across the street I saw the green and red lights 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 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)

https://www.pcf-p.com/

https://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/bank-of-china-at-7-bryant-park

Being right across the street from the Bryant Park Studios at 80 West 40th Street shows the contrast that this neighborhood is going through now with a combination of the old and the new and showcasing its beauty. These buildings are adding character to an area of Manhattan that was not so nice just twenty years ago.

This part of the Garment District is the reason why we are seeing less of a Garment District but more of a commercial core that surrounds Times Square and promotes how a City can change for the better with a game plan. All around the core of a park that you would not dare set foot in for almost thirty years.

Talk about transformation!

Check out my other blogs on the Garment District:

Day Two Hundred and Three: Walking the Borders of the Garment District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/19670

Day Two Hundred and Fourteen: Walking the Streets of the Garment District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/21352

Places to visit:

Bryant Park

Between Fifth & Sixth Avenues and West 42nd and 40th Streets

New York, NY 10018

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

Open: Sunday-Saturday 7:00am-11:30pm

https://bryantpark.org/

https://www.facebook.com/bryantparknyc/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d136347-Reviews-Bryant_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

Places to Eat:

Jollibee

609 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 994-2711

https://www.jollibeefoods.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d15421001-Reviews-Jollibee-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Non Solo Piada

302 West 37th Street

New York, NY 10018

(212) 216-0616

Open: Sunday 8:00am-3:00pm/Monday-Friday 8:00am-6:00pm/Saturday 8:00am-3:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d11916965-Reviews-Non_Solo_Piada-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/668

Grilled Chicken House

270 West 36th Street

New York, NY 10018

(212) 695-3493

https://www.allmenus.com/ny/new-york/358002-chicken-house/menu/

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Friday 8:30am-6:00pm/Saturday 10:00am-3:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d3601233-Reviews-Grilled_Chicken_House-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/736

Upside Pizza

598 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(646) 484-5244

https://www.upsidepizza.com/

Open: Sunday-Wednesday 11:00am-11:00pm/Thursday 11:00am-2:00am/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-3:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d15662360-Reviews-Upside_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Zeppola Bakery

499 Seventh Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(464) 734-0303

Home light

Open: Sunday 8:30am-7:30pm/Monday-Friday 7:30am-7:00pm/Saturday 9:30am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d20267391-Reviews-Zeppola_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Al’s Deli

458 Seventh Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 594-5682

https://www.alsdelinyc.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d2256292-Reviews-Al_s_Deli-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2039

Chick-fil-A

1000 Sixth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

https://www.chick-fil-a.com/locations/ny/37th-6th-inline

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Saturday 8:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d8728336-Reviews-Chick_fil_A-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Mochinut/Kyoto Soto

1011 Sixth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

https://www.mochinut.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 12:00pm-10:00pm (please check their website)

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d23837573-Reviews-Kyoto_Spot-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Main Noodle House

1011 Sixth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

(212) 869-0888

https://mainnoodlehouse.com/

Open: Sunday 11:30-9:00pm/Monday-Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d1172720-Reviews-Main_Noodle_House-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Epices Bakery 104 West 70th Street New York, NY 10023

Don’t miss this wonderful little French Bakery on the Upper West Side.

Epices Bakery at 104 West 70th Street

Little Shop on Main Street

Epices Bakery

104 West 70th Street

New York, NY 10023

(646) 692-3226

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

Epices Bakery at 104 West 70th Street

Sometimes you walk through a neighborhood and you come across a little shop that is just so cute and interesting that you have to stop in to see what they carry. This is the attraction of Epices Bakery on West 70th Street, a small French pastry shop with beautiful and delicious desserts. Not only is the selection nice but the sights and smells when you enter of freshly made coffee and buttery baked goods greet you when you walk in.

There is a nice variety of baked goods in the glass cases to choose from. One side of the store is dedicated to pastries like eclairs, cream puffs and fruit tarts and the other has savory breakfast items like ham and cheese croissants, small quiches…

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Day Two Hundred and Eight: Private Members Museum nights at the Met and the Museum of the City of New York and American Museum of Natural History November 29th, December 2nd and 12th, 2021

I put my walk of the Garment District on hold as many of the museums are having their Private Members nights before the holidays get into the full swing. It gives the members a chance to really enjoy the museums before the City gets crazy with tourists and people are beginning to return to the City.

Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue

https://www.metmuseum.org/

My first event that I attended was “The Met After Hours” event. It was a well-attended event that members were able to explore the first floor at their own leisure for three hours.

The Invitation to the Met

https://www.metmuseum.org/

It really was a wonderful night. First it was a warm and clear evening and you could see the stars because it gets dark at 5:00pm. We as members got to the museum before 5:00pm and waited in a long line by the Member’s Entrance on the side of the museum and had to show our COVID vaccine cards and ID. Even though we were all vaccinated, we still had to wear masks the entire time we were in the museum. It was not a problem and did not get in the way of us having a nice time.

For the evening, only the first floor was open and only certain galleries and exhibitions but there was plenty to see and do. In all the galleries, there were docents giving talks on the exhibitions and on the gallery displays that were permanent to the museum.

I started my tour of the museum at the Christmas Tree in the Medieval Galleries. It was decorated for the holidays with full detail but it had been corded off and you could not get as close to it as you once could in the past. They had a very interesting docent who went over the not just the history of the Christmas tree with its German-Pagan roots but how it was decorated by people in different countries at different times of history.

The beautiful Christmas tree is a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art tradition

She talked about how the manager and the more religious aspects of the art came from Naples and then made its way to the United States with immigration. The works around the tree were collected over time.

Later that evening, they had a singing trio entertaining the crowd with festive Christmas songs. The ladies were very friendly and had wonderful voices. They really put everyone in the Christmas spirit.

I next went to the “In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at the Met” exhibition in the Robert Lehman Collection. I was viewing all the works by Rembrandt and Vermeer for most of the evening. It was nice to just take my time and look at the works one by one without rushing like you normally do when the galleries are busy. The gallery was full of portraits and still lives and being a smaller gallery, I was not over-whelmed by the exhibition.

In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at The Met should not be missed.

https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2018/in-praise-of-painting-dutch-masterpieces

I walked through the American Wing to the American Wing Cafe which was mobbed. Every table was taken and what was really annoying is that in some cases, one person took a table and threw all their things on the chairs and were eating by themselves. They should have had a limit on that type of behavior as I could see that patrons were struggling to find a place to sit down. I just decided to eat when I left the museum. A $16.00 sandwich did not interest me. I just could not believe how much the food had gone up at the museum.

I spent the last part of the evening in the Temple of Dendur Wing admiring the building. I looked over all the ancient carvings and symbols and then realizing that this temple was created during the Roman Era. I thought that was interesting. I remember reading in the book “Dancing with Mummies” on the former director of the museum discussing how New York City beat out other cities to get the temple.

Every time I enter the gallery I think of this scene in “When Harry Met Sally”

It represents what is best about the Met

I ended the evening exploring the Greek Galleries since the rest of the Egyptian Galleries were closed for the evening. I really loved looking at the Cycladic Art and the way that the galleries are displayed. Even though I have been touring these galleries since they opened, it is always fun to see something new or a piece that you noticed for the first time again.

There is something unique about Cycladic Art

After I left the Met, I walked along the Upper East Side, walking down both Third and Second Avenues and noticing all the restaurants and stores that have closed since the Pandemic and it was scary to see. I thought that Madison Avenue was bad with all the empty stores and the cops protecting them but the other avenues were just as bad. It will take a long time for this to come back.

When I reached East 72nd Street at Second Avenue, I stopped at one of my favorite Chinese Take-out places where you can sit down and eat, Shanghai Chinese Restaurant at 1388 Second Avenue right near the subway station. I am telling you this is some of the best Chinese food in the City and very reasonable for the portion size they give you (see my reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com).

Don’t miss Shanghai Chinese Restaurant at 1388 Second Avenue

I had the most amazing Shrimp Szechuan with Roast Pork Fried Rice with a side of Hot and Sour soup, the perfect dishes on a cool night. The soup really warmed me up and the shrimp had a nice fiery flavor to it.

I was so content from the wonderful meal that I ended up walking all the way back to the Port Authority. It was such a nice night to walk back and enjoy the cool air. It really a beautiful night to walk around Manhattan.

After I returned from visiting my mother for her 85th birthday, I had another Members Night at the Museum of the City of New York at 1220 Fifth Avenue to attend the gallery talk of the Founders of the Talking Heads singing group, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, talking about their time with the group and their experiences. Then we watched the film documentary “Stop Making Sense”, which was filmed over a series of concerts in 1984. The talk and the film were both amazing. I never knew that much about the group, so it was an eye-opener.

The Museum of the City of New York at 1220 Fifth Avenue

https://www.mcny.org/

Ms. Weymouth and Mr. Frantz had gotten older but really had not changed that much. They were really engaging and such interesting stories about the band and the clubs that they played in the early 1980’s. It was fascinating to hear of the other artists that they knew like Debbie Harry and the Ramones who played the same clubs and the long-closed clubs that they enjoyed like Danceatiria and the Mudd Club.

They also talked about the work they are doing now and the revival of the music that they performed so long ago. It was a real blast from the past and most of the audience like me were either in high school or college when the group was performing so it was a real Gen X crowd that evening. After the talk, they left the stage with a rousing applause from all of us and then we watched the documentary, which really rocked the room. I could almost see people wanted to get up and dance and the applause from the songs after they were finished matched what was going on in the film (I included the link to the film we watched below).

The “Stop Making Sense” talk and showing of the film with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth

The ‘Stop Making Sense’ talk at the Museum of the City of New York: The Concert Film we saw that night.

“Stop Making Sense”

I went home that evening humming all the songs that I remembered from the film. It was such a great evening and I still could not believe that I never saw the film when it came out my freshman year of college.

Still my favorite videos from the early MTV days: “Once in a Lifetime”

The last museum Members afternoons that I attended was the “Sharks” exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History at 200 Central Park West. This exhibition was open to the members first before opening later in December.

The American Museum of Natural History at 200 Central Park West

https://www.amnh.org/

I have to say it was interesting and very scientific and technical. I was floored by the number of kids that knew so much about sharks. I was listening to this kid talk to his mother on which sharks were which and he was about eight years old.

The exhibition was on the history of sharks and their habitats and the benefits that sharks bring to the ocean like being bottom dwellers and how their eating habits affect the rest of the ocean population. It was more than the movie “Jaws”.

The exhibition also discussed how sharks have evolved over the years since the era of the dinosaurs and how their population decrease is affecting the rest of the ocean population and food cycles. After about an hour in the exhibition it got a bit over-whelming with the information and I will have to go back again to see it.

‘Sharks’ at the American Museum of Natural History

The exhibition discussion:

After the visiting other parts of the museum in both the Central American Wing and the new Minerals gallery, I went outside and enjoyed the nice sunny day. I ended up walking all over the Upper West Side. Homes were decorated for the holidays and it was festive to see all the garland and trees in the windows and on the outside of the brownstone homes.

For lunch, I went to Tri Dim West, the sister restaurant to Tri Dim Shanghai on the East side at 467 Columbus Avenue for a Dim Sum lunch. The restaurant is right around the corner from the museum and was a nice alternative to the expensive fare at the museum.

Tri Dim West at 467 Columbus Avenue

https://tridimwest.com/

I had the most wonderful (but pricy) Dim Sum lunch with freshly made Crab & Pork Soup Dumplings, Roast Pork Buns, Chicken Curry Puffs and a Peking Duck Spring Roll. Everything was made fresh to order and one dish was better than the other. The soup dumplings just slurped off the spoon and burst in my mouth with their juiciness. The roast pork buns had their usual sweetness with the combination of roast pork chopped up wrapped in a sweet dough.

The Peking Duck rolls are delicious

The service was so friendly and welcoming. The guy waiting on me kept spooning the dumplings on my plate. I thought that was taking it to the extreme but it was a quiet afternoon.

It is funny for the people who keep saying that New York City is going downhill and Manhattan is falling apart, yet I see that the museums are doing their best to engage with their members and the public in general with taking all sorts of precautions and safety measures. They are doing their best to keep the public informed while still having a good time.

Isn’t this the point of a cultural institution?

Places to Eat:

Shanghai Chinese Restaurant

1388 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10021

(212) 288-8066

https://www.allmenus.com/ny/new-york/359936-shanghai/menu/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-10:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d3579862-Reviews-Shanghai_Chinese_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/706

Tri Dim West

467 Columbus Avenue

New York, NY 10024

(212) 585-1398

https://tridimwest.com/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 12:00pm-9:00pm/Friday-Saturday 12:00pm-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d17697126-r821822794-Tri_Dim_West_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Visit:

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10028

(212) 535-7710

https://www.metmuseum.org/

https://www.facebook.com/metmuseum/

Open: Sunday-Tuesday 10:00am-5:00pm/Wednesday Closed/Thursday 10:00am-5:00pm/Friday & Saturday 10:00am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d105125-Reviews-The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art-New_York_City_New_York.html

Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10029

(212) 534-1672

https://www.mcny.org/

https://www.facebook.com/MuseumofCityNY/

Open: Sunday-Wednesday 10:00am-6:00pm/Thursday Closed/Friday & Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d15855802-Reviews-Museum_of_the_City_of_New_York-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

American Museum of Natural History

200 Central Park West

New York, NY 10024

(212) 769-5100

https://www.amnh.org/

https://www.facebook.com/naturalhistory/

Open: Sunday 10:30am-5:00pm/Monday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 10:30am-5:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

Day Two Hundred and Four: Halloween Returns Part I: The Gotham City Ghost Tour/Michigan vs Michigan State Game October 30th, 2021

I can’t believe its Halloween!

I could not believe how fast the summer went. After I threw my back out, I was out of commission for three months and I was finally able to get started again by early September. Then we started classes at the College where I work and that has me running as well. It is nice to be busy.

Halloween was not as busy as it has been in the past because we are still dealing with COVID requirements. Some programs that I attended in the past were either cut or had limited space. Also with classes going on and in the midst of Midterms and quizzes for both classes my time was limited this year with the running around. I just did not want to push it. Still I got to do some new things this year.

Halloween weekend start at Blondies on the Upper West Side at 212 West 79th Street for the much anticipated Michigan-Michigan State football game. This has been much hyped because both of our teams were 7-0 and no matter how we play or what we do, Michigan State is always ranked lower than Michigan. It is just a fact. Until we beat them, for a SECOND YEAR, like we did this year!

Blondies at 212 West 79th Street

https://blondiessportsny.com/

Blondies is such a great place to watch the game. We have the whole back room for Spartan nation and the place was packed with everyone dressed in Green and White. I had gotten up to the bar just as Michigan scored the first touchdown so it was a touch glum but things got right back to cheery as we got the ball back. By the time I settled in it was 10-0 but things livened up again when we scored our first touch down.

By the time I left at half time, we were ahead 14-13 and my best friend kept calling me while I was on a walking tour of New York City filling me in on the updates. I had to keep breaking away from the tour to take the updates and I could see that was frustrating the tour guide out of the corner of my eye.

Michigan State versus Michigan

I took the “Gotham Ghost Tour of Lower Manhattan” on the day before Halloween and we really lucked out with the weather. It kept going from gloomy to sunny for the whole afternoon, so it added a little spookiness to the tour. We started our tour of Haunted Lower Manhattan on Second Avenue and 10th Street right across the street from St. Marks Church.

We started our tour at the side of St. Mark’s Church at 131 East 10th Street. The church has an interesting history starting with being the Chapel of Peter Stuyvesant

St. Mark’s Church at 131 East 10th Street

https://stmarksbowery.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Mark%27s_Church_in-the-Bowery

https://nyghosts.com/st-marks-church-in-the-bowery/

Our first part of the ghost tour was stopping at St. Mark’s Church at 131 East 10th Street. There was a mini-carnival going on in the cemetery portion of the grounds so it took away from the spookiness of the place. That and they made us wear masks outdoors.

The tour guide told us the story of the former Sexton of the Church was in the church alone one night and heard strange sounds coming from the lower floors. When he went to investigate, he found nothing. He then said that strange sounds started again like a scrapping on the floor. It was here that he confronted the ghost of Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch Director General of New Amsterdam.

He ran out of the church and then mysteriously, the bell in the tower of the church started to ring on its own. No one else was in the church at the time. When they went to investigate, they found that the rope had been cut or separated and there was no way someone could have rung the bell.

When they investigated the crypt of ‘Pegleg Peter’ as he was called, legend has it they found the piece of rope in the crypt. The Sexton never returned to the church after that. When I asked when this was, the guide told us about the early 1800’s. I asked has anyone seen the ghost since. The answer was no but people still feel things in the building. I though it strange that a ghost would only appear once in the church.

Still, we visited the tomb of Peter Stuyvesant, who is buried in the wall of the church that once served has his chapel on the Stuyvesant estate, which this area of the City was part of at that time. The grave was hidden by a table and scaffolding but we managed to see it. It did look mysterious located at the bottom of the church foundation.

Peter Stuyvesant, Dutch Director General of New Amsterdam

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

Peter Stuyvesant’s Tomb which was once part of his estate chapel

We walked around the grounds and saw other family crypts around the property that were not covered with tables. Some were family members of the extended Stuyvesant family (those who married into it like most Colonial families of wealth did) and other prominent families of the church like the Fish’s, Winthrop’s and the Tompkins, whose names are known throughout the City and New York State.

Our next stop was the Hamilton-Fish House at 21 Stuyvesant Street, where members of both the descendants Stuyvesant and Fish families lived.

21 Stuyvesant Street-The home of Hamilton Fish

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

The Hamilton Fish is a brick Federal style house was built by Peter Stuyvesant, the great-grandson of Petrus Stuyvesant, the Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam, in 1804. It was a wedding present to his daughter, Elizabeth and his son in law, Nicholas Fish and their future son, Hamilton Fish, the former Governor, Senator of New York State and Secretary of State under the President Grant administration. The house was built on land that had been in the family since the 17th century (Wiki). This union united two famous and influential families and the house stayed in the family until the beginning of the 20th century.

Senator Hamilton Fish

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

Our next stop on the tour was of Astor Place a few blocks away. We visited the outside of the Astor Building at 418 Lafayette Place, Colonnade Row.

418 Lafayette Place-Colonnade Row today

Colonnade Row was built in the 1830’s by contractor Seth Geer as nine private homes on land owned by John Jacob Astor. The architects on the job were Alexander Jackson Davis, Ithiel Town and James Dakin. The building was originally called ‘Lagrange’ or La Grange Terrace after the estate of the Marquis de Layfayette, a hero of the American Revolution (Wiki).

Some of the famous tenants of these homes were John Jacob Astor III, Julia Gardiner, the former first lady and socialite, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Washington Irving. Today they are a mixed-use building and in need of repair (Wiki).

418 Lafayette Place when it was built in the 1830’s

Its relation to haunted happenings was it was claimed that one of the construction workers who was renovating the property said that a ghostly hand came out of one the fireplaces during the renovation of the building. Since then, things have been quiet. Personally, I thought the guy must have been working too hard.

The next stop was across the street at the Astor Library at 425 Lafayette Street.

The Astor Library at 425 Lafayette Street

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

The Astor Library with extensions

The Astor Library was a collaboration effort between John Jacob Astor and New England educator Joseph Cogswell. The library was built to be a research library where the books did not circulate. The library opened in 1854 to the public and in 1895 it was consolidated with the Lenox Library and the Tilden Foundation to become the New York Public Library (Wiki).

John Jacob Astor

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

The library was designed by architect Alexander Saeltzer who designed it in the Rundbogenstil style. The cornerstone was laid in 1850 and the building was finished in 1853. The library opened in January of 1854 and had later extensions to it (Wiki).

The ghost story of the library comes from Joseph Cogswell himself. In April of 1860, Mr. Cogswell was working late in the library when he walked down to the Research area of the library and spotted the ghost of a local physician who had died recently. Upon approaching the ghost and confronting it, the ghost simply disappeared. This happened for three more nights and each night the ghost would disappear. On the third night, the ghost disappeared again and has not been seen since. He also claimed to see the ghosts of Washington Irving and insurance executive Austin Sands (mrsdaffodildigresses.com/thegothiclibrary.com). Needless to say, they gave Mr. Cogswell some time off.

The “Library Ghost” from the movie “Ghostbusters”

The famous “Library Ghost” scene from the film “Ghostbusters”

After we left the Astor Library, we made our way across Broadway to the New York University campus, where we visited the Brown Building at 23 Washington Place, home to the famous “Triangle Shirtwaist Fire” of 1911. The building is located between 23 Washington Place and Greene Street.

23 Washington Place-The Brown Building

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

The Brown Building is now part of the New York University campus containing the Chemistry Department. When it was built between 1900-01, the iron and steel building was designed by architect John Woolley in the neo-Renaissance style. It was named at that time the Asch Building after its owner, Joseph J. Asch. The building was known for their fireproof rooms which is why many garment makers liked the building including the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, which occupied the top three floors of the building (Wiki).

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory employed many young immigrant women at the factory with terrible wages and almost slave conditions. On March 25th, 1911, the fire started from one of the clothing bins where layers of fabric were stacked and spread quickly through the factory. Between the thick smoke, non-visual rooms and the locked stairwell doors, people died from smoke inhalation, being crushed trying to leave or throwing themselves from the windows. This led to creation of the Ladies Garment Union (Wiki).

The Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire in 1911

https://www.history.com/topics/early-20th-century-us/triangle-shirtwaist-fire

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

According to the tour guide, there have been no sightings of ghosts here but it was a horrific site of tragedy. The site of young women either throwing themselves from the top floors of the buildings or burning to death in the stairwells is hard enough to imagine.

We continued down the block to Washington Square Park, one of the most active parks in Manhattan.

Washington Square Park in Washington Square

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

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

Washington Square Park was its usual active self when we walked into the park for the tour. People were planning a protest in the park on one side, they were sunning themselves in another, some were walking their dogs and others were playing frisbee. Kids were running around and older residents of the neighborhood were sitting on the benches talking to one another.

It was pretty shocking to me to discover that right under us was a massive cemetery. From 1797 until 1825, the area was New York City’s Potter’s Field. Many of the people being indigent or died during the Yellow Fever panic that hit the City. There is an estimated 20,000 people buried below the park.

There are also several church vaults that had been found of churches that when they were repairing the water lines in the area. There are still more vaults below the park as well as tombstones and mass graves. The park became Washington Square Park in the 1850’s. Still as repairs still place around the park, remains are still found.

One of the Church vaults with the mass graves

https://www.nypl.org/blog/2011/03/10/grim-origins-washington-square-park

We then walked past the Washington Arch, one of the most iconic symbols of New York City and used in countless movies and photoshoots. Even the arch has a dark history due to its designer, Stamford White.

The Washington Square Arch in Washington Square Park

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

The Washington Square Arch was designed by architect Stamford White in 1891 for the Centennial Celebration of President George Washington’s 1789 inauguration as President of the United States of America (Wiki).

Architect Stanford White

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

https://avenuemagazine.com/stanford-white-murder-notorious-new-yorker/

It seemed that the married Stanford White had a sexual appetite for young women, many of them being underaged. He had had an affair with actress Evelyn Nesbitt about five years prior to her marriage to Henry Thaw. Mr. Thaw killed Stanford White after a performance claiming that ‘he ruined his wife” in June 1906.

When we reached the other end of the park, we passed a very unassuming but huge Elm Tree at the edge of Washington Square Park. It was known as the “Hangman’s Elm” and is thought to be over 300 years old. The tour guide even called it “The Blood Elm”. It was used for executions by the local Newgate State Prison until the local prominent residents protested. The executions were moved to another location.

The ‘Hangman’s Elm’ in Washington Square Park

https://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/great-trees?id=33

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangman%27s_Elm

As we left the park and its sinister past (I never knew any of the this in all the times I have spent in this park), we passed the Jefferson Market Library at 425 Sixth Avenue. This beautiful turn of the century library was once the ‘Jefferson Market Courtyard” and this is where the Stanford White trail was held. The building was built in 1833 by architect Fredrick Clarke Withers of the firm of Vaux and Withers in the High Victorian Gothic style (Wiki). On Halloween night, it is used as the place where the giant spider puppet descents each Halloween Night before the Halloween Parade starts.

Some visitors claim to see the spirits of females roaming the gardens and some standing on the balcony of the clocktower. All I ever see when I pass it is nothing but the spider puppet that one time (The Gothic Library).

The Jefferson Market Library at 425 Sixth Avenue on Halloween Night

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

Our last stop on the tour was in Waverly Place at the home of Edgar Allen Poe. It seems that Mr. Poe lived in many sections of the City and funny enough ended up in Camden, NJ. The home was at 116 Waverly Place and was supposed to be one of the places that the author had written “The Raven”. Reading an article in the NY Post said that this is a shaky assumption.

137 Waverly Place-rumored to be one of the homes of Edgar Allen Poe

https://nypost.com/2017/03/29/everything-you-know-about-the-village-is-wrong/

https://streeteasy.com/building/137-waverly-place-new_york

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/137-Waverly-Pl_New-York_NY_10014_M95516-07159

A tour of the house and the neighborhood (if you can afford it)

After we passed the house (I swear as an author he must have moved around a lot when he was writing “The Raven” because that book must have been written in at least four places), this ended the tour. It was a lot of walking but I learned much about the history of the City especially in this neighborhood.

When I finished the tour, the game was over and we WON! I could not believe that especially since we were the underdogs going in and no one ever expects to win that game anyway. It will be a fun year and now wait until the basketball season. Kris was really excited but I could tell that her son, who is a big Michigan fan, was not. Go Green Go White!!

We Won 37-34 so the bragging rights are ours for the year!

The Michigan State versus University of Michigan Game 2021 highlights:

The Celebration in East Lansing, MI begins:

The Battle of the Bands at halftime for a “Bootackular” sound:

After the long day of touring, I walked back to the East Village for dinner. I took a chance to see if I could eat at San Marzano at 117 Second Avenue. This tiny Italian restaurant in the East Village is one of the most reasonable restaurants in the City in the way of quality of food and service. There are no dishes over $9.00. This is the reason why the restaurant is always packed and try to get in for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night.

San Marzano at 117 Second Avenue

https://www.sanmarzanonyc.com/

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2551

I was lucky enough to get there at a time right before the dinner rush. I was able to snag a two top table right next to the window just as the restaurant had quieted down. The food and the service are so good here.

I was so tired from all the running around that day that I kept dinner on the lighter side. I had a mixed Green Salad ($7.00), that was so fresh and crisp with a light dressing. The lettuce was so crisp and the tomatoes actually tasted like a tomato for this time of year. The portion sizes here are just right.

For dinner, I had the Paradelle with Meatballs (I eyed the Meatball appetizer on the menu but knew I could not eat both), which was also delicious. The Paradelle is made fresh in the restaurant and could tell by the quality of the pasta. The sauce was rich with the flavor of the pork and veal in the meatballs. Talk about the perfect dinner on a cool early Halloween night.

The Paradelle here is excellent with Meatballs or Bolognese Sauce

The service could have not been nicer and the guy who waited on me could see how much I enjoyed my meal. He even tried to sell me dessert but I was so tired from the walk around the City I did not want to push it.

After dinner, I walked around the East Village and took the subway back uptown. While I was taking the subway uptown, I saw two Wolverine Alumni from University of Michigan come on the subway. Boy, did they avoid me! When they tried to sneak past me at the 42nd Street exit, I just said politely “Better luck next year!”. They just walked out with their heads down.

What an interesting way to spend Halloween weekend.

Boo!

Watch this! It scared the hell out of me! The short “Hello?”

Places to Eat:

Blondies Sports Bar

212 West 79th Street

New York, NY 10024

(212) 362-3311

https://blondiessportsny.com/

Open: Sunday-Tuesday 11:30am-12:00am/Wednesday 11:30am-1:00am/Thursday 11:30am-2:00am/Friday & Saturday 11:30am-3:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

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

San Marzano

117 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10003

(212) 777-3600

https://www.sanmarzanonyc.com/

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d7028366-Reviews-San_Marzano-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2551

Places to Visit:

This list was so extensive that I put all the address and links to other sites at the top.