Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Something I am excited about: Chock Full 'o Nuts has opened a full-service cafe on 23rd Street! This may not seem like much of a big deal, but I have been into Chock ever since I read about its history. You see, having experienced antisemitism, founder William Black was sensitive to discrimination, and he made a point of hiring integrated staff, whom he paid a living wage and benefits. Later, Jackie Robinson was brand spokesman and after his retirement, Vice President of the company. In addition, the chain was known for high quality and uncompromising hygiene.

But I wouldn't be so excited if the menu wasn't totally retro and awesome: chicken croquettes, cream cheese on date-nut, and the "Chock Special" of "nutted cheese" on raisin bread! How I wish I still worked in the Flatiron! What a fab alternative to Eisenberg's Sandwich!

Sweet dreams!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

A NYC Itinerary Suitable For First-Time Visitors

While this plan doesn't incorporate some tourist strongholds, I think -- I hope! -- it gives a good flavor of the city! Everything I list is accessible by subway. It's very walking-heavy, so you may want to ride to some of the stops. In any case, wear good walking shoes. And bring a change if you're going somewhere fancy; New York is big,and and you may not have time to go home and change!

For starters, I'd avoid:

Times Square
Little Italy
South Street Seaport

(Although no one will be mad if you don't!)

Day 1: (Saturday)
Have breakfast somewhere convenient, although if you want ideas, please hit me up! If you're in Brooklyn, stop by the Brooklyn Flea at 10; you can get a bite there, too. But in any case, this itinerary will take you into Manhattan.

Start out at Kalyustan's. Browse the amazing array of spices and have am early lunch in the shop's second-floor cafe: cheap, delicious, and mostly vegetarian! This area is known as "Curry Hill" and you'll see tons of terrific restaurants.

Now you're going to walk south (downtown) until you reach Gramercy Park at E. 21st, the city's last private park, surrounded by some of its prettiest and priciest buildings.
Go to the Manhattan Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park S. and beg the door guy to let you look upstairs. He may have a parrot on his shoulder and will probably let you. It's gorgeous.

Okay, so continue south, through Irving Place (stopping to look at my favorite house on the corner of 17th!)and move onto Union Square. The Greenmarket will be going on, as well as much revolutionary activity and assorted art and happenings. This is, in fact, the traditional political upheaval center of the city.

Go to the Strand. Hang out here for an hour or so, or however long you want.

Now, choose-your-own-adventure-style, you have two options:

East Side:
Wander down to the East Village. Check it out. Hungry? There's a lot to eat. I am partial to Veselka, which is 24-hours and kind of an institution, or the pork buns at Momufuko
On the LES, head down Orchard Street; there are lots of boutiques, good gelato at the Labortorio, and coffee at the Roasters, if you like that sort of thing. I rec a visit to the Tenement Museum Gift Shop, especially if you're souvenir-shopping. And in fact, one of the walking tours or museum tours is really fun and really informative!

West Side:
Take the L from 14th Street to 8th Avenue. You are now on the West Side! Walk still further West; you are going to the High Line at 20th street. Walk the High Line and, if you're feeling peckish, visit the Chelsea Market afterwards. Feeling contemplative? Wander south to the Garden at Saint Lukes to read and sit for a while.

You're also right near Chelsea; you may want to visit a few galleries (all of which are listed in Time Out New York.)

Now, hop back on the A/C and head down town to Broadway/Nassau. I know I said not to go to South Street Seaport, but I take it back: it may be touristy, but it's still old and kind of cool. Walk down Pearl Street, especially. If it tickles your fancy, you're also near the Fed, the Stock Exchange, and Trinity Church -- to say nothing of what's left of Ground Zero.

Now, whether you went east or west, I recommend taking the Staten Island Ferry. The best view of the city -- and the Statue of Liberty! (Also, Free!)

Back in Manhattan, you're now going to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

In Brooklyn, proceed through Brooklyn Heights on Clinton Street. At Atlantic Avenue, cut up to Henry and get a drink at Henry Public. Sit and decompress for a while.

At 6, head further South on Henry until you reach Lucali at Henry and Carroll, making sure to grab a bottle of wine along the way. Hopefully you've beaten the rush; if not, put your names down and wander east a few blocks into Carroll Gardens; walk down Court and take a look at one of the city's Little Italys. Still thirsty? Abilene is always fun.

Don't feel like Brooklyn? Want to go home for a while instead? Eat in Manhattan: I love Tartine and Joseph Leonard.

After dinner, head into the city and grab some culture! The Met or the NY Philharmonic if you can -- or, there are always shows aplenty.

You will probably be tired by now, but if you feel like a cocktail, try Milk and Honey! Or, in BK, Delmano Hotel. If you really feel like a swanky experience, have a cocktail at The Carlyle.

Day 2: Sunday
Uptown: Brunch is a necessity! Go to Barney Greengrass.
Now, weather permitting, you're going to walk across Central Park -- don't rush it, there's a lot to see! (Unless, that is, it's raining. In which case, catch the crosstown bus at 86 Street.)

- Go to a museum! The Met, the Guggenheim, the Museum of the City of New York, the Neue Gallery. Give it a few hours.

- Now, a snack at Cafe Sabarsky!


Downtown: Have brunch at Prune (first choice!) or Freeman's. Or get a bagel with the works at Russ and Daughters and eat it in the little park across teh Street by the handball courts. Maybe do the downtown itinerary you didn't choose yesterday! If you end up at South Street, hit the excellent New Amsterdam Market for provisions.

Now go home.