Sandwiched between two of the City's best-known green spaces, the Upper West Side is quite literally surrounded by stunning waterfront views and miles of flora.
Riverside Park, which runs from 72nd Street to 155th Street (the newer Riverside Park South, between 59th and 72nd Streets, sprinkles in some green and public plazas), is part of an extended network of parks and paths that follows the Hudson River all the way downtown. Riverside Park is widely regarded as Manhattan's most spectacular waterfront park providing striking views over New Jersey.
Note: The last scene of the film "You've Got Mail" was shot here in the park.
The scenic stretch holds lots of recreational facilities: running and biking paths (a large portion of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway for bicycles); cafès; public art; playgrounds; basketball, tennis, volleyball and handball courts; soccer and baseball fields and a skate park.
In the warmer months, Manhattan Community Boathouse offers free kayaking from the park's 72nd Street pier.The New York City Marina (a 110-slip public marina) is located at the end of 79th street, an important part of New York State's Water Trail.
Note: This is the marina the Fox family was mooring its boats in the film: You've Got Mail.
General Grant National Memorial.
Recreational facilities in Riverside Park.
In the park itself or on Riverside Drive there are several monuments and historic landmarks: the impressive neoclassical General Grant National Memorial, the massive Riverside Church, the Tomb of the Amiable Child (the only private tomb in a public place), the Nicholas Roerich Museum (just off track, on 107th street), the Firemen’s Memorial, the Joan of Arc statue, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, the Hamilton Fountain and the Eleonor Roosevelt Memorial.
The Firemen’s Memorial (top), the Riverside Church (bottom left) and the Joan of Arc statue (bottom right).
As one of the eight officially designated scenic landmarks in the City of New York, Riverside Park has a long and storied history. Since 1875, the landscapes of Frederick Law Olmsted have offered escape from the city and opportunities for people of all incomes to relax, play, and socialize in tranquil settings. These landscapes contain rocky precipices, sylvan lawns, and groves of mature elm trees.
From Riverside Drive, the land terraces down steeply in three levels to a manmade shoreline and promenade, constructed between 1937 and 1941 under the administration of Robert Moses. The designers, Gilmore Clarke and Clinton Lloyd, added 134 acres to the park and twenty-two modern recreational facilities. They wove, through this extraordinary collection of active recreation and scenic areas, a vital north-south automobile artery and a railroad running in a tunnel under the entire park.
Morningside Park & Morningside Heights
The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (top), the Hamilton Fountain (bottom left) and the Tomb of the amiable Child (bottom right).
Morningside Park is a 30-acre park at the border between Harlem and Morningside Heights, which occupies the area between 110th and 123rd Streets from Morningside Avenue to Morningside Drive. Much of the park is adjacent to Columbia University, which occupies a considerably big space of Morning Heights neighborhood. Because of the University (as well as other institutions like: Barnard College, Union Theological Seminary, New York Theological Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Manhattan School of Music, Teachers College, Bank Street College of Education, etc) the area is considered an upscale neighborhood, which is not the case for the area just on the east of Morningside Park, where Harlem starts (actually that part of Harlem is often called “Manhatanville”, while the Morningside Heights is called the “Academic Acropolis”).
On the Manhattan strip of land where the park is located, Native Americans of the Harlem Plain referred to the land as Muscoota. 17th century Dutch settlers called the land Vredendal (Peaceful Dale), after a Dutch landowner acquired a large portion of the plot in 1738. Colonial forces used a road on the land to retreat during the Revolutionary War's Battle of Harlem Heights on September 16, 1776. Year later, during the War of 1812 three blockhouse fortifications were built on the land.
Lafayette and Washington statue and the Seligman (Bear and Faun) fountain.
Columbia University main buildings.
Morningside Park's natural geography contains a cliff of Manhattan schist rock, with manmade features, such as an ornamental pond and waterfall and monuments like the Lafayette and Washington statue (an exact replica of a statue in the Place des États-Unis, Paris), the Carl Schurz Monument and the Seligman (Bear and Faun) fountain. Actually, when you look from the park the cliffs on its western part, you realize that Manhattan island used to be a place with many hills and rocky areas. Usually, because of the perfect city grid, most people believe the island is flat.
Today the park is a green oasis. It includes playgrounds, basketball courts, softball diamonds and a dog run. You see people jogging or walking their dogs every time of the day.
On the western rocky side of the park stands the massive Cathedral Church of Saint John the Devine, the fifth largest Christian church in the world.There is a dispute about whether this cathedral or Liverpool Cathedral is the world's largest Anglican cathedral and church. Designed in 1888 and the construction begun in 1892, but it is still unfinished: as a result, it is often nicknamed St. John the Unfinished.
In 1867, the Central Park Commissioners proposed that a park be built in Morningside Heights to avoid the expense of expanding the Manhattan street grid across difficult terrain. Construction of the park was completed in 1895, after several drawbacks.
By the early 20th century, the park was perceived as extremely dangerous. Crime in Morningside Park, because of its proximity to Harlem, was often reported as a racial matter. By the '70s, Morningside Park had a bad reputation and had degraded with years of neglect. In 1981 a group of Columbia undergraduates founded the Friends of Morningside Park, which advocated returning the park to its original design, start an extensive regeneration and give the park back to residents and students to enjoy.
Morningside park pond.
The Cathedral of Saint John the Devine, seen from the park.
The facade of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Devine, on Amsterdam Avenue.
My favorite pastry shop and cafe in the area. The Hungarian pastry shop is located just opposite the Cathedral, on Amsterdam Ave.
The Columbia University mascot
Cityline seen from the southern Central Park.
Central Park is probably the most famous park on Earth, and certainly the heart of Manhattan. Thousands of pages have been written for Central Park and it is one of the most filmed locations in the world.
Maybe Central park is the only place on Earth, for which people in far faraway places (and who have never visited NYC) know every single part of it!
The park was established in 1857 and has gone through many restorations, renovations and declining periods. Once a very dangerous place, today a place of leisure, sports, recreations, entertainment and dining.
The blue Jay a frequent habitant of Central Park.
A map of Central Park from 1875.
Bethesda Terrace is the heart of Central Park. Bethesda Arcade (bottom) and Bethesda Fountain (top). Here takes place the last seen of the award-winning play and film "Angels in America".
Alice in Wonderland sculpture.
Countless monuments, buildings, sculptures, cafes, hiking paths, recreation facilities and geographical features, like lakes and huge rock formations, are spread all over the park.
Flora and fauna abounds and brings thousands of wildlife buffs inside its boundaries.
Some world-class museums are located around its perimetry: The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, the Guggenheim Museum, the Frick Collection, the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Historical Society Museum, the Museum of the City of New York and El Museo del Barrio.
The eastern skyline seen from Central Park.
A cute Central Park resident.
The last grid bolt
NYC would not be the metropolis it is without its unique grid.
John Randel Jr was the chief surveyor and brains behind the Manhattan Grid. He was only 20 years old.
In 1808 he was commissioned the task of planning and commencing the project of transforming NYC (which those days was just the small, rather chaotic city we see even today in lower Manhattan, bellow 14th street) into the modern gridded metropolis we know today. His plan was to turn the rolling hills of Manhattan (actually, Manhattan means "island of hills) into a rigid grid of rectangles.
He surveyed and mapped his vision for the new city by stubbornly roaming the city and attempting to put long metal bolts (or monuments-marble slabs) into nearly 1,000 future intersections. These markers were the necessary precursor to actually building the future streets. Finally, in 1811 he submitted his designs to the city of New York: a grid of 12 avenues and 200 cross streets.
The work was painstaking and fatiguing, and Randel encountered numerous setbacks and problems. The obsessive man tried to ensure all of his measures for future city blocks were flawless and envisaged a perfect grid with building blocks of the same size to the extent possible (e.g. all north-south blocks were to be 260 feet long). This exhausting work went on for years, before any demolition was accomplished. Manhattanites were not at all happy with Randel. Though the idea of a new and modern city may sound great to us today, and we all admire the city plan of today’s NYC, people’s livelihoods were at stake with these changes. Houses, farms and estates were built in uncharted Manhattan and many of them were in the middle of Randel’s future streets. New Yorkers protested, and we even have records of people throwing tomatoes at him. Though the city was supposedly compensating the citizens, the ultimate outcome was their land being demolished. Finally, the plan materialized to a good extend.
On Cats rock, Central Park.
The location (red arrow) of the last bolt.
Till recently, these bolts (as well as Randel’s efforts)had long forgotten, and people walked in the streets he designed without even imagining all the effort put to build this great city.
Central park, was not part of the original plan, which means that Randel’s planned intersections likely were forged into the ground and never materialized. So, in 2004, two specialists decided to look for any forgotten bolts in the park. They spent an entire summer and finally they came upon one such bolt.
Following this discovery, Manhattan history enthusiasts have become increasingly interested in the subject.
Today, the bolt remains unmarked and you have to look carefully to find it.
65th street Transverse.
Before visiting, I had read that the bolt is located at the would-be intersection of 65th street and 6th avenue. I also has seen a picture of the bolt, at the background of which, I could see a building which I assumed (correctly) it was the "Dairy Visitor Center and Gift Shop".
I visited the rock, but I could not find the bolt, mostly because there was a loony dancing on the rock (and he would not allow me any space), but also because I had overestimated the apparent size of it. Therefore, I asked one of the park people who are there to give you information. The first one, had no idea what I was talking about, but the second one pointed towards the rock I had already visited.
So, I went back and eureka (!) …a metal bolt, no more than 5 cm high, sticking out of the rock. I was thrilled. Mission accomplished and pictures were taken, as you can see.
Professional dog-walkers around Central Park's Conservatory Water.
If Downtown is defined by rock 'n' roll and Midtown is all about Broadway’s glitz and glamour, the Upper West Side is where highbrow entertainment hits its highest notes.
Lincoln Center —occupying the block bordered by Amsterdam ave, W 65th st, Columbus ave, and W 62nd st— is a 16.3-acre complex which is home to 11 performing arts organizations: among them the New York Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Ballet.
The lustrous Lincoln Center at night.
The lustrous Lincoln Center conceals meticulously what the neighborhood once was, and most of the older New Yorkers have forgotten, and the younger generations cannot even imagine, the lively San Juan Hill neighborhood that was demolished to make way for the celebrated cultural center.
Any such development dating from the 1960s wouldn’t be without the fingerprints of Robert Moses, who was more than willing to wipe out neighborhoods in the eye of progress.
New York City ballet building at Lincoln Center.
As NYC expanded and industrialized, immigrant communities moved northward. African-Americans were also part of this movement, even pre-Civil War, along with their neighbors the Irish, Italians and Germans. Originally, all groups were mixing and getting in trouble down in Five Points.
Harlem’s reputation as the center of African-American culture wouldn’t exist without the gradual northward movement of their community through the 1800s. After Five Points, the population moved into Greenwich Village, then to the Tenderloin in the streets between the 20s and 30s, then to Hell’s Kitchen.
Poster of the film "West Side Story".
The area that’s now Lincoln Center was the logical next step, originally settled by the Dutch as an enclave by the name of Blooming Dale with its leafy aristocratic country homes. By the end of the 19th century, San Juan Hill was home to the majority of the black population in New York City and also one of the most compactly populated.
Frequent clashes between Irish residents in Hell’s Kitchen and black residents in San Juan Hill inspired the setting of “West Side Story,” and the opening scenes of the film were actually shot there just before the demolition.The movie was released in 1961 and was a very big commercial and artistic success.
Many speculate what the destiny of San Juan Hill would be if the film have premiered some years before the demolitions started. This is just a romantic view: though Lincoln Center was built in the 1960s, demolition of San Juan had already begun shortly after WWII. An area between 10th and 11th Avenues was first to go, becoming public housing project Amsterdam Houses which still exists.
Despite the decadence, the neighborhood also became a place for giving associations like the YMCA, the Colored Freemasons, and the Negro Elks and numerous black churches. Collectively, these institutions served to assist migrants coming from the south.
The Metropolitan Opera building at Lincoln Center.
The New York Philarmonic building at Lincoln Center.
Culturally, the area was booming, becoming the city’s destination for live jazz. Among the clubs was The Jungle’s Casino and it was there where the Charleston born. San Juan Hill was also home to jazz legend Thelonius Monk. Today, Jazz at Lincoln Center continues the neighborhood’s illustrious music heritage.
The initiative for the Lincoln Center arts complex was driven forward by John D. Rockefeller, who also raised more than half of money needed to construct the development.The main buildings stayed as they were built until 2012 when a major redevelopment plan commenced resulting to what we see today.
The Juilliard School at Lincoln Center.
The famous fountain at Josie Robertson Plaza of Lincoln Center.
The Beacon Theater
Further north along Broadway (and 74th street) stands the Beacon Theatre, an art deco music hall designed by Chicago architect Walter Ahlschlager and which opened its doorsin 1929.
The landmark space has hosted such stars as Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones and the Allman Brothers, who played their final shows there in fall 2014.Beacon theater was also the site of the 2011 and 2012 Tony Awards.
The Beacon Theatre on Broadway.
The Symphony Space
Walk some streets uptown and you'll encounter the Symphony Space (Broadway and 95th street)founded by Isaiah Sheffer and Allan Miller.
Symphony Space is a multi-disciplinary performing arts organization. Performances take place in the 760-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theatre or the 160-seat Leonard Nimoy Thalia. Programs include music, dance, comedy, drama, film, and literary readings. In addition, Symphony Space provides literacy programs and the Curriculum Arts Project, which integrates performing arts into social studies curricula in NYC public schools.
The on-site café-bar hosts jazz sessions, cabaret and the occasional literary salon.
The Symphony Space on Broadway.
Mural on Amsterdam Avenue.
Part of the attractiveness of living on the Upper West Side lies in its ability to attract creative minds to roam through its charming streets. Many writers, actors, and artists are proud to call this area their home. The performing arts community is vibrant and their legacy is shared through the world class bookstores and libraries that serve to the neighborhood’s literature lovers: from smaller independent bookstores to national chain shops.
Despite, though, its history as a literary hub, the Upper West Side has lost its share of bookstores. Neighborhood institutions and specialty bookshops like Shakespeare and Company and Murder Ink have closed.
The number of bookstores in Manhattan fell drastically between 2000 and 2015, plummeting by 30%. Even large chains like Barnes & Noble, once painted as the enemy of independent bookstores, have not been immune to the industry’s woes and several of its stores have closed in recent years. Borders, which had five outlets in Manhattan, declared bankruptcy in 2011.
Westsider Rare & Used Books on Broadway (between 80th and 81st streets) is a hidden gem and an Upper West Side historic landmark. It’s one of the few bookstores in NYC to offer their customers an extensive collection of books that have gone out of print. Patrons will be able to find an old leather-bound selection and endless amounts of books shelved all the way up to the ceiling. The customer service is attentive and welcoming and the ambiance is homey with its antique style. The second floor hides a vast collection of old treasures including rare books, old photographs, VCR’s, records, and even vintage postcards and pamphlets from the early 1900’s. Take a break from the frenetic pace of modern life and find a quick escape at one of the last mom and pop shops residing on the Upper West Side!
Barnes & Noble, the giant chain, has a huge location on 82nd and Broadway, where you can find just about anything. A popular west side hang out and venue for important literary events. This location has been open since 1993 and has a coffee shop serving Factory Cheesecake desserts and Starbucks coffee.
Since 1981, West Side Kids has been the neighborhood toy store for Manhattan's Upper West Side (Amsterdam at 84th street), which has also a good collection of children books. Founded by Alice Bergman and now run by Alice and her daughter Jenny, NYC's West Side Kids carries a comprehensive selection of well-chosen toys, books and gifts for children of all ages. Visit the toy experts to have the right assistance for selecting the proper toy for each age and stage of a child's development.
Upper West Side Barnes & Noble store.
West Side Kids on Amsterdam.
Books of Wonder logo.
Books of Wonder is the newest addition on Upper West Side list of children’s bookstores. They opened their second Manhattan store in Broadway (on 84th Street) in late 2017 and offer a wide array of children’s literature including picture books, foreign language books, reference books and more. They also have plenty of valuable collectibles for history buffs, and a huge selection of Oz books.
Books of Wonder first opened its doors in 1980. The tiny, hole-in-the-wall shop in Greenwich Village was barely 200 square feet with bookshelves hand-built by 20-year-old founder, Peter Glassman, and his partner James Carey. The story goes like this: in 1997, longtime customer Nora Ephron and her sister, co-writer Delia Ephron, had Books of Wonder in mind as the model for the children’s bookstore in the movie 'You’ve Got Mail'. Set designers came to photograph, observe, and measure so as to recreate as well as possible the store on a sound stage. Meg Ryan even spent a day working at the shop to prepare for her role in the film. And when it came time to arrange the books on the set, staff members assisted so the film’s store would look authentic. To this day, people visit the store and still ask, “Was this where they filmed You’ve Got Mail?”
Bank Street Bookstore opened its doors in 1970 in a small space in the lobby of bank street College and quickly evolved to become one of the main literary resources in the neighborhood. After 45 years, recently they moved to Broadway on the 107th street. The store specializes in selling children’s books and counts with an incredibly knowledgeable staff ready to help many of those parents and teachers that can frequently be found exploring its many aisles. Bank Street also provides educational materials on the 2nd floor as well as free wrapping which is always a plus. It continues its long tradition of daily story time and occasional celebrity appearances (past guests have included Stephen Colbert, Julianne Moore and Jeff Kinney). During the weekends, a lovely puppet show visits the store.
Book Culture is one of the best independent bookstores in New York City and has two stores in Morningside Heights and recently opened a third one on Columbus (between 81st and 82nd streets), in the same spot that once housed Endicott Booksellers, which closed twenty years ago. A sign in the window of the Columbus store references the space's previous incarnation as a bookstore and evokes the movie “You’ve got mail” (an independent bookshop straggling to stay open, as a big national chain eats up its business).
Book Culture on Columbus.
Book Culture was founded as Labyrinth Books in 1997 on the 112th street. In the fall of 2009 Book Culture opened a second location, Book Culture on Broadway, next to a location where used to be an independent bookstore for over fifty years.
Book Culture on Broadway (on 114th street) is a true community bookstore. Located in the heart of the neighborhood, it is a meeting place, a fun place to stop and above all, a real bookstore. Downstairs is the Children's Reading Room, a whimsical space filled with books, toys, games, puzzles, art supplies and plush toys. It is a fun and cozy place to curl up with a book or meet other families.
Beyond UPPER WEST SIDE
Having been recently in Seoul and spending there 3 very fulfilling weeks, made me rush to Koreatown the very first day of my NYC holidays. I desperately needed some matcha cake!
Koreatown is an ethnic Korean enclave in Midtown Manhattan, centered on West 32nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue, officially nicknamed Korea Way.
KoreaTown. W32nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue.
If you have ever been to Seoul, then certainly these pictures make you wonder if have been taken there.
The neighborhood features over 100 small businesses on multiple stories with independently run establishments reaching up to higher floors, exuding an ambience of Seoul itself. It really feels like being in Seoul: the same Korean cafes, bakeries, restaurants, cosmetics shops and lots of Koreans around. The signage in Hangul is ubiquitous.
Even though the neighborhood is small, for a moment I forgot I am in NYC. Of course, I went to have some matcha cakes in “Tous les jours” bakery and some matcha latte at “Spot Dessert bar”.
Koreatown's central location and high density of crowded restaurants, bars, karaoke clubs, and spas on Korea Way have rendered it a major tourist attraction and a center of nightlife in Manhattan.
Koreatown newspaper dispenser.
Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade.
Manhattan’s Chinatown is the biggest in the United States, and the one with the largest concentration of Chinese in the Western Hemisphere. It is located on the Lower East Side. With an area covering two square miles, Chinatown is home to a resident population estimated at 150,000. Manhattan's Chinatown is loosely bounded by Lafayette, Worth, Grand and East Broadway streets.
The Chinatown firefighting station.
Chinese Lunar New Year parade.
Chinatown has been growing steadily since the elimination of the immigration quota in 1968. Today Chinatown is home to hundreds of garment factories that have an annual payroll bill of over $200 million, a jewelry district that rakes in approximately a $100 million in gold and diamond sales per year and over 200 restaurants that attract thousands of tourists.
The Chinese first arrived in the US in the early 1800s. Many of these new immigrants worked during the gold rush in mining, manufacturing, and building railroads. The Chinese in the US were largely self-supporting, with a growing internal structure of governing associations and businesses that provided jobs, economic aid, social services and protection. Life became more difficult with the enactment of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943), limiting the growth of Chinatown.
Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. The first day of the New Year falls on the new moon between January 21 and February 20. It is the biggest holiday of the year, homes are adorned in red and gold and children are given lai see – red packets filled with money for good luck. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. The Lantern Festival is the day when traditionally Chinese dragon and lion dances are held and lanterns are hung in the streets and in homes. In 2018, the first day of the Lunar New Year was on Friday, 16 February, initiating the year of the Dog.
Every year a big parade takes place in Chinatown celebrating the New Year. This year the parade took place on Sunday the 25th of February...and I was there!
Chinese Lunar New Year parade.
The Jewish quarter (Lower East Side)
The Lower East Side is roughly located between the Bowery and the East River, and Canal Street and Houston Street. Traditionally an immigrant, working class neighborhood, today a very fashionable area.
Since the immigration waves from eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century, the Lower East Side became known as having been a center of Jewish immigrant culture (note: read also about the Bagel story). The Lower East Side is especially remembered as a place of Jewish beginnings for Ashkenazi American Jewish culture. Vestiges of the area's Jewish heritage exist in shops on Hester and Essex Streets, and on Grand Street near Allen Street.
An Orthodox Jewish community is based in the area, operating yeshiva day schools and a mikvah.
Some kosher delis and bakeries, including the famous Katz's Deli, are located in the neighborhood.
Second Avenue in the Lower East Side was home to many Yiddish theatre productions in the Yiddish Theater District during the early part of the 20th century, and Second Avenue came to be known as "Yiddish Broadway," though most of the theaters are gone. Songwriter Irving Berlin, actor John Garfield, and singer Eddie Cantor grew up here.
Lower East Side buildings.
Grafiti in Lower East Side.
Since the mid-20th century, the area has been settled primarily by immigrants, primarily from Latin America, who have established their own groceries and shops, marketing goods from their culture and cuisine. Bodegas have replaced Jewish shops.
Nevertheless, the neighborhood still has many historic synagogues and many American Jews relate to the neighborhood in a strong manner, much as Chinatown in San Francisco holds a special place in the imagination of Chinese Americans, and Astoria in the hearts of Greek Americans. It was a center for the ancestors of many people in the metropolitan area, and it was written about and portrayed in fiction and films. In the late twentieth century, Jewish communities have worked to preserve a number of buildings associated with the Jewish immigrant community.
Most visitors will visit the area because of the Katz's Deli on E Houston and Ludlow streets.
This iconic New York deliserves the best pastrami and roast beef.
The story starts in 1888, when a small deli by the name of Iceland Brothers was established on Ludlow Street by the Iceland brothers. Upon the arrival of Willy Katz in 1903, the name of the store was officially changed to "Iceland & Katz". Willy’s cousin Benny joined him in 1910, buying out the Iceland brothers to officially form Katz’s Delicatessen.
Katz's Deli on E Houston and Ludlow streets.
In 1917, Katz’s Deli was moved across the street, to its present location, during the construction of the subway system. The vacant lot on Houston Street was home to barrels of meat and pickles until the present storefront facade was added between 1946-49.In the early part of the twentieth century, the Lower East Side was home to millions of newly immigrated families. This, along with the lack of public and private transportation, forged a solid community such that Katz’s became a focal point for congregating. On Fridays the neighborhood turned out to enjoy franks and beans, a Katz tradition.
The famous Roast Beef...and Me.
Inside the Katrz’s.
During the peak of the Yiddish theater, the restaurant was forever filled with actors, singers and comedians from the many theaters on 2nd Avenue, as well as the National Theater on Houston Street. Although the age of the Yiddish theater has passed, Katz's is still having its fair share of famous customers, whose photos now line on the walls.
Each week thousands of visitors from around the world flock to Katz's to dine in this legendary deli, and to feast on the most delectable sandwiches, platters and meats. But it's really New Yorkers have made Katz's Delicatessen what it is, making Katz's an inherent part of the city's culture and history. They enthusiastically spread the word, brought their friends in, wrote books, shot films, and kept coming back for a pastrami on rye.
The famous pastrami on rye.
Lots of films shot in the famous deli, that made it a tourist spot in the city: Donnie Brasco, Across the Universe, Enchanted, We own the night, etc.
But, it is the 1989 romantic comedy “When Ηarry Met Sally” that made Katrz’s a worldwide celebrity: it is here where Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) had her fake orgasm. It was one of the most famous scenes in the film and as a tribute, Katz’s Deli had a sign setup saying “Where Harry met Sally… hope you have what she had! Enjoy!” right on top of where Ryan sat in the film.
“When Ηarry Met Sally” in Katrz’s.
Do not leave the area without taking away some knish. A knish is an Eastern European snack food made popular in North America by Jewish immigrants.
A knish consists primarily of potato, onion and seasoning filling wrapped with a thin layer of dough that is baked. In the most traditional versions, the filling is made entirely of mashed potato. Some of the most popular savory knishes include cabbage, kasha (buckwheat grain) or spinach. More modern varieties of fillings feature sweet potatoes, broccoli, jalapenos and more. Real knishes are round, not square and never fried.
Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery.
Inside the Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery.
The best handmade knishes can be purchased at the original Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery. Yonah Schimmel’s is the oldest family owned and operated Knishery in America. It is located at 137 E.Houston St (between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue) and has been selling knishes on the Lower East Side since 1890 from its original location on Houston Street. You can take the knishes away or dine in the small shop, where seems that time has stood still.
As the Lower East Side has changed over the decades and many of its Jewish residents have departed, Yonah Schimmel’s is one of the few distinctly Jewish businesses and restaurants that remain as a fixture of this largely departed culture and cuisine.
Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery on Houston street.
As cited in The Underground Gourmet, a review of Yonah Schimmel’s in a collection of restaurant reviews by Milton Glaser and Jerome Snyder, “No New York politician in the last 50 years has been elected to office without having at least one photograph showing him on the Lower East Side with a knish in his face.”
Yonah’s knishes come also in a sweet version. Sweet cheese knishes consist mostly of cheese coupled with your choice of fruit filling and wrapped in dough.
It’s all about NYC
A NYC rooftop icon
New York City’s skyline for over 100 years is dotted with up to 17,000 wooden water towers that are easy to mistake for vanishing relics of the bygone eras of seltzer bottles and street gas lamps. But what many people (not only visitors but New Yorkers, too) don’t realize is the towers are hardly antiques — in fact, every day most NYC residents drink and bathe from the water stored in them. Some people may not notice the tanks, but after they do, they can’t believe how many there are.
Most buildings in the city taller than six stories need some sort of water tower and pumping system to provide water pressure to tenants.
So why do people think wood water towers are relics of the past? Because they look as though they are.
While these wooden relics look like a thing of the past, the same type of water pumping structure continues to be built today, originating from just three family-run companies, two of which have been operating for nearly this entire century-long history.
But how did this happen? When the Dutch settled New York City they found an island rich with waterways and natural streams. However, as the city’s industrial sector grew, so did its polluted waters. With no proper drainage system, standing pools of grime would form in the streets. The harm of these unsanitary conditions was not revealed until a group of wealthy New Yorkers formed the Citizens Association of New York to focus on public health reform. After the group’s survey revealed dangerously unhygienic conditions, a campaign was launched to improve the quality of water and people’s access to it.
While many are more than 30 years old, even new ones look old because they are made of wood that isn’t painted or chemically treated (so as not to taint drinking water). Though the technology has become more efficient, the concept of gravity delivering water from a wood tank hasn’t changed in decades. And while steel tanks are an option, they are more expensive, don’t provide as much insulation, require more maintenance and take longer to construct.
The Department of Public Works was later founded in 1870 to improve the drainage system and access to water. During the 1880s, indoor plumbing began replacing well-drawn water, and roughly 50 years later, top-floor storage tanks started popping up all over the city. Tanks were placed on rooftops because the local water pressure was too weak to raise water to upper levels. When construction started to grow taller, the city required that buildings with six or more stories be equipped with a rooftop tank with a pump.
NYC in (my) pictures...
Chelsea 21st Street (between 10th and 11th avenues).
At UniQlo store 5th Avenue (on the 53rd street).
McDonald's, Fulton Street.
Overlooking "Brooklyn Heights".
World Trade Center.
The Theodore Roosevelt statue at the American Natural History Museum.
W59th street (view from Central Park).
5th Avenue & 59th street.
"Empire Diner" (10th Avenue on 22nd Street). My favorite Chelsea restaurant.
"Vivere pericolosamente" No1. From my room window at Belleclaire Hotel, Upper West Side.
The Guggenheim people.
Upper West Side.
"Dos Alas"murals. Spanish Harlem (3rd Avenue on E105th street).