This is New York (with Ralph & Lori!!) - UPDATED ON 09/03/16
UPDATE AS OF 09/03/16: Rather than start a new trip report I thought that I would continue to add on to this one, featuring excursions into the different boroughs and neighborhoods of New York City that I have the pleasure of taking with family, friends and fellow Roadfooders. Enjoy!!
The title for this report came from having read the wonderful children's book, "This is New York", by Miroslav Sasek. In it, visitors to the Big Apple take in the sights, both big and small and find the joys in the everyday things that New Yorkers sometimes overlook. It's a lovely, colorful book and one of my favorites about New York City.
Link: http://www.miroslavsasek....ks/thisis/newyork.html Sunday June 28th, 2015
- Fellow Roadfooders Ralph Melton
and his wife, Lori (aka icecreamchick
) included a visit to the Big Apple as part of their summer road trip. My girlfriend Dayna and I were very happy to be able to show them around the city (especially as we had not seen them since we last met up in New Mexico in July 2013 for the Ayersians' wedding) as we took in some of our favorite sights and indulged in some classic NYC eats. I started out at the Brooklyn Bridge subway station (the station logo is pictured below) and experienced a long delay getting to Grand Central Terminal
to meet them which wasn't too bad as the parking at the New Rochelle Metro North station wasn't great and they had a small delay getting into the city.
We agreed to meet up at the Information booth at the center of the Main Concourse.
It's a pretty well-known point in the station and the globe-shaped, four-faced clock atop really makes it stand out.
After catching up for a few minutes and watching the throngs of rainbow bedecked people pass through on their way to the Pride Parade, we made our way to the Whispering Corridor in the lower level just outside of the RF-reviewed Oyster Bar
. Ralph is standing in their left corner facing the wall and Lori is on the far right. Because of the way the ceiling is curved, when one whispers into the wall, the sound travels to the opposite corner and a couple can have a conversation without anyone else hearing it. Pretty cool!
Next, we were off to the subway and a one stop on the 6 train along the Lexington Avenue one to 51st Street and a short walk to Ess-A-Bagel
on 51st Street & 3rd Avenue, a perennial favorite to get a good bagel in NYC.
The forecast said the rain was supposed to have let up by now but it was still drizzling a bit. This is the biggest line I have ever seen here and it was twice as packed inside!
Luckily for us, the staff had developed a good system whereby customers who were only getting bagels (unsliced) with cream cheese (on the side only) could move to another, much shorter line. Pretty straightforward bagel choices and I love that bagel "suit" being modeled by the headless mannequin on the left. I'd sashay down the runway sporting that any day!
We sent Lori to scope out a place to sit but no tables were available so I went to my Plan B. We walked up a couple of blocks until I realized I had forgotten where Greenacre Park
is located, just one block north of Ess-A-Bagel. My friend, Brooke, had told me about this place and today there was hardly anyone in here. We found a small table underneath the canopy barely visible on the left and the waterfall truly does provide a welcome relief from the noise of the city and the crowded scene at the bagel shop. It also has a small cafe where they sell snacks and drinks. FYI: I'm sure many of you noticed the NO PHOTOGRAPHS PLEASE sign and perhaps it is splitting hairs but I took this shot after we left the park and used my zoom function.
Ralph and Lori, ready for their first bite. I'm not sure which bagels and cream cheese flavors they chose but I do remember that they liked them very much.
I went with my old standby, an everything bagel with cinnamon-raisin walnut cream cheese. These bagels were still very warm to the touch and just perfect. It was really nice to relax in this tiny oasis and spend some time chatting with Ralph and Lori. A great start to the day.
We walked back to the subway and along the way I was able to get a nice shot of the Chrysler Building and its lovely art deco top, partially obscured by the misty skies.
Our subway ride was again on the 6 train, all the way to the last stop at Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall. However, we stayed on the train despite the automated announcement telling everyone to exit the train. You see, there is an old abandoned subway station at City Hall that has some really cool architecture and when the downtown train leaves the Brooklyn Bridge station it passes through the old City Hall station and turns around to head back on the uptown track. We weren't able to get a great view as the lights were off but here is how it looks lit up:
We met up with Dayna outside of the Brooklyn Bridge station and began our walk over the Brooklyn Bridge
(BB). I'm still trying to figure out what the wraparound banner on this water tower is supposed to mean. I may never know.
The Brooklyn Bridge is a VERY popular destination for pedestrians, cyclists and tourists just about every day and the weekends are especially crowded. You may notice in the center of the picture a pair of oval-shapes and a rectangular one on the right. We had all tried to figure it out and I think Dayna had the answer. They are to keep non-official people from climbing to the top of the bridge. Ralph is at the lower right of the photo, taking in the bridge.
No matter how many times I walk over this bridge, I am in awe. It was constructed the pre-mechanized era. How much manpower is must have taken to build this. Blows my mind every time.
A recent trend I have noticed is that of people securing padlocks all over the bridge along the pedestrian walkway and the increasing amount of graffitti on the rails. I'm all for public art (the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia comes to mind) but not a fan of people tagging public spaces. I get the sentiment but I figure since Paris cracked down and recently began cutting the "love locks" off of their bridges due to structural issues brought on by the increasing weight, it's only a matter of time before they are removed here too.
It's really these ones that make me nervous. What if someone placing a lock slipped on fell onto the lower deck roadway or the dropped a lock onto a car while trying to secure it in place? Doesn't seem worth it to me. I can understand locks on a fence, just not on one that is part of a bridge.
This wooden number is a cute one though.
A short distance after we passed the second set of pillars we were just feet away from the DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) section of Brooklyn.
(Not quite) private eyes...they're watching you! They see your every move, baby! The placement of this almost makes it possible to imagine the head around these eyes. Love random street art.
Our first food stop in Brooklyn was for lunch at Grimaldi's Pizzeria
. They had been reviewed on Roadfood but have since moved into this new location right next door to the previous one.
And in this picture you can see the old location which is now a coal oven pizzeria named Juliana's (opened in 2011), which is run by Patsy Grimaldi (nephew of the original founder of Patsy's in East Harlem) and his wife, Carol. They ran Grimaldi's for many years when it was at this smaller location until they sold it and the rights to the Grimaldi's name to a longtime customer. It'll be interesting to see how these next door coal oven pizza shops stack up against one another. I think a trip to Juliana's is mandatory in the near future.
One of the pie guys slinging dough.
And the obligatory homages to Frank Sinatra and Don Corleone.
Our lovely pie. Since we had a number of other stops to make we figured splitting a large (8 slice) pie would be a good idea. This is a tomato sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella with coal oven roasted sweet red peppers on half. This was some serious pizza. The sauce was sweet, the mutz was creamy and that crust had lots of flavor (I could have used more basil), a good char and a nice crackle to it at the edges. I could have eaten a bowl of those roasted red peppers with just a crust or two of bread. And despite arriving about an hour after they opened the line was very short and were walked in after less than 5 minutes. The space is much bigger than the previous one with seating on the ground level and the second floor.
When we walked out the skies had cleared and it was very warm and sunny. Time for dessert, which meant ice cream sandwiches at Jacques Torres Chocolate
just a few blocks from Grimaldi's.
And the picture of Roadfooders taking pictures. Ralph, Lori and yours truly, reflected in the glass.
Love those copper pots. I think that watching chocolate cooking and being mixed in one of those would just be the most hypnotic thing ever.
I picked up a peanut butter cookie with dark chocolate chunks to share. This had some serious peanut butter flavor but would crumble whenever we tried to break off pieces, yet it wasn't dry. It would be perfect broken up into a bowl of ice cream.
That dark chocolate was no joke!
I also picked up a "Wicked" chocolate ice cream sandwich. Those cookies with dark chocolate chunks were chewy and intense but that ice cream was fantastic; chocolate, flavored with ancho and chipotle chiles. The heat didn't pop at first but every so often I would get a little "hello" from the chiles and the very last bite had a creeping, lingering heat to it which I loved. Ralph likened it more to a Mexican chocolate with notes of cinnamon. Lori had the sandwich with strawberry ice cream which I've had before and it is some of the best and freshest I've ever tasted. Mr. Chocolate, as he is known, definitely makes quality a top priority.
Walking back down towards the East River waterfront, we discovered that there is an outpost of Shake Shack, Luke's Lobster and No. 7 Sub all within a block of each other. Sounds like a great way to spend a day: kayak in the East River, grab lunch from each place and split it among friends, hang out on a large blanket in Brooklyn Bridge Park catching some rays and then walk home across the Brooklyn Bridge. However, our stop today was at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
The line was a bit long but we picked up a dish of Strawberry and Ralph & Lori had the Peaches & Cream. I'm not as fond of the Peaches & Cream as I once was as the peaches seem to have a somewhat chewy texture that is off-putting to me.
The strawberry was totally on point. I'd say this and the one at Jacques Torres would be neck and neck. Just really fresh strawberry flavor bursting through in each spoonful.
Another shot of the Brooklyn Bridge.
And the Lower Manhattan skyline with the new Freedom Tower (with the spire on top) near the right.
An old building that is now high-priced apartments. Love the entryway.
A bit of history on the building...
...and one of its more well-known employees.
Another old building now converted for residential use. Peaks was the original maker of Dots and Crows candies which is now owned by Tootsie Roll. We passed these buildings on our way to the "A" train...
...which took us to Greenwich Village and then after a transfer to the "F" train we found ourselves standing at Houston & 2nd Avenue and a block away was Russ & Daughters
. Having not grown up with "appetizing" I've never found the aroma, well, appetizing. However, I did want to go in to check things out and to provide some "food porn" shots for my fellow Roadfooders who dig this stuff. Last year, a documentary came about about the daughters of Joel Russ called "The Sturgeon Queens". Check out the preview in the link and if you can find it on PBS (where I saw it) or get a copy of the DVD, check it out. It was very sweet. Link: http://thesturgeonqueens.com
Here you go!!
It's a pretty busy place and most people seem to know exactly what they want when they hit the counter.
Smoked Whitefish or Kippered Salmon, anyone?
I love that they have kept the old signs.
Dayna's favorite: herring, cream sauce and onions.
Say what now? HOUSEMADE BAGEL PUDDING WITH DARK CHOCOLATE?!?! NOW, you have my attention!!
Where are we going next? What could possibly draw in all of these celebrities?
Katz's. That's all.
127 years strong. They must be doing something right.
While we were exchanging emails about this trip, Ralph had mentioned that Katz's Delicatessen
was on his list so could I say no? I don't remember these signs being up during my last visit here with Poverty Pete
in May of 2014. Very glad I had the chance to meet and share a meal with him.
Throwback to a different era.
It was busy but not slammed and I tipped the counter guy a few greenbacks for a taste of corned beef, brisket and pastrami. The gang let me take the lead so I ordered us a corned beef on rye, pastrami on rye and brisket on a club roll (and a side of brown gravy) with a plate of sour pickles, half sours and picked green tomatoes. I washed it down with a Dr. Brown's Black Cherry soda, natch. I also picked up bottled waters for everyone, not realizing that they have free water and glasses at the back of the deli. Note to self:
survey the layout better next time!
We cut the sandwiches into quarters, which worked out just fine. While I liked the corned beef, it just didn't do it for me.
The brisket was fattier than the last time I tried it with The Travelin' Man
but it was still excellent and that fat was meltingly tender. I took one bite au natural and then it was time to get all up in there with that gravy. Truly a combo that can't be beat!
Now, this is MY sandwich! Their pastrami is always juicy, tender and surrounded by a veil of peppery goodness. A squirt of mustard from the bottle on the table and I was good to go. While there certainly are other menu items I am curious to try (the knoblewurst, matzo ball soup and knishes come to mind) it is very hard to resist their pastrami every time I go there.
Love those full sours!
Ralph and I went to the back and behind the beverage cooler to find the restrooms and lo and behold, there was a whole other dining area I didn't know existed and it was fairly empty. Wanderingjew
and The Travelin' Man
, did you know about this seating area? Is it waiter service only? I feel like I want to sit there next time as it looks so much more roomy and comfortable. Happy Anniversary, Katz's! To 125 more!
We were pretty stuffed after Katz's but while walking west on Houston Street we passed Yonah Shimmel Knish Bakery
and couldn't resist going in.
There really isn't any place like this.
Savory or sweet?
It really is like traveling back in time here and they have so many news clippings from decades ago. I feel as though every time I come here I learn something new.
Going really old school with the art!
Such a tiny place but sometimes that's all you need.
A collection of old timey soda siphons.
This just great. Charlie Chaplin? The Marx Brothers? I wonder if they came here in their heyday?
While none of us could bring ourselves to order a knish, even just to share, we did get a chocolate egg cream and it was Ralph & Lori's first ever. I think the jury may still be out. I liked it very much but there are better ones around the city. They did a good job mixing it but the foamy head died rather quickly.
On our way to the last stop of the day we passed a very interesting "pile" in a local park. Ralph wondered if it was art and I could see how it was.
Surprise! It was indeed an art installation. I had thought it was materials that a construction crew had piled there for an upcoming job. Art takes on many forms.
And a bit further west on Houston, someone spied this art and I begged to cross the street and get a closer look.
Like a very subversive version of Garbage Pal Kids, I'm sure this piece is meant to provoke, agitate and get discussions going.
Definitely not a Christmas gift for the kids!
Sad, but true.
Walking south on Mulberry Street, we noticed this red brick Victorian house and Ralph saw the letters C.A.S. on it and deduced that it was a Children's Aid Society building. After some online sleuthing, I found a New York Times article that touched upon this and other buildings that were built in the middle and late 19th century to help street kids, newsies, urchins and left them out of poverty in hopes for a better life. Here's the article: http://www.nytimes.com/20...f-the-street.html?_r=0
Our last stop of the day (and one that Lori was really looking forward to trying) was Rice To Riches
on Spring Street.
We all managed to sample a few flavors (Yes, Tony Bad
, I know you must be utterly shocked!) and while there was no seating inside as it was packed, we opted to dine alfresco once again, at a park across the street. There were some stone chess tables available. Dayna is a big fan of fruit and most things fruit flavored so we went with a two flavor bowl of Key Lime Love Letters (left) and It Takes Two To Peach Mango (right). The peach mango was definitely my favorite and both of those fruits really shone through. While I did like the key lime and there was a strong key lime flavor, there was also a bitterness that made me think they made have used some of the pith as well. Very intense.
Ralph & Lori split a "Category 5" Caramel with burst roasted cherries. This was excellent. A strong caramel flavor that wasn't sugary and those cherries really brought something extra in terms of taste and texture.
On the way to the subway we spied this little guy with his backpack, ready to take long walks through the city!
It was truly a wonderful day. The skies started out dark and rainy but it ended up sunny, warm and eventually breezy by the end. I am so glad Ralph & Lori decided to come to NYC and let us show them around the city we call home. It was a pleasure and we really enjoyed spending time with you getting to know you even better. Safe travels and hoping you have many more great days ahead on your summer journey!
That all for now, folks. "Eating is an adventure, enjoy the ride" - billyboy, 2015 The 411:
1.) Grand Central Terminal
89 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017
Ph# Check the website for relevant phone numbers (trains, shops, events, etc...)
831 3rd Avenue @ 51st Street
New York, NY 10022
3.) Greenacre Park
217 East 51st Street
New York, NY 10022
No phone number
4.) Brooklyn Bridge https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooklyn_Bridge
5.) Grimaldi's Pizzeria
1 Front Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
6.) Jacques Torres Chocolate
66 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
RF Review: http://www.roadfood.com/R...cques-torres-chocolate
7.) Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
1 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
RF Review: http://www.roadfood.com/R...klyn-ice-cream-factory
8.) Russ & Daughters
179 East Houston Street
New York, NY 10002
9.) Katz's Delicatessen
205 East Houston Street
New York, NY 10002
RF Review: http://www.roadfood.com/R..urant/Reviews/243/katzs
10.) Yonah Shimmel Knish Bakery
137 East Houston Street
New York, NY 10002
11.) Rice To Riches
37 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
RF Review: http://www.roadfood.com/R...05-5397/rice-to-riches
post edited by billyboy - 2016/09/03 20:56:34