9.24.2016

A Culinary Stroll on Arthur Avenue

If you want to cultivate the pleasures of discovering real food in New York, plan on repeat visits to Arthur Avenue, a culinary destination in the Bronx. Located within a geographical crescent that encompasses E. 187th Street and other nearby thoroughfares, Arthur Avenue increasingly represents one of the last vestiges of an authentic Italian New York neighborhood. And even if the old neighborhood, known as Belmont, is increasingly graced with non-Italian food establishments, more power to it. It's all about sharing good food here, enjoyed in the company of friends and family and locals.

A window at Tino's Delicatessen, 2410 Arthur Ave

With the rise of a new wave of food halls in the city, especially those revolving around celebrity chefs, Arthur Avenue can still be enjoyed as an Old World market shopping street experience. For mozzarella, you want to go to one favorite place, and for cannoli, you may like another. Friends and family will state opinions and make arguments about which is best. This is as it should be, and for every topic of importance  - the best production of a favorite opera, the best mozzarella, the best pignoli cookies, and so forth. Any discussion of Arthur Avenue and vicinity elicits this kind of give-and-take argumentation.

9.17.2016

A Walk on City Island Avenue

The summer seemed long and hot at the time, but now that it's nearly over, the season flew by too fast. The carefree days spent away from the city's steamy thoroughfares - at Coney Island in Brooklyn, Rockaway Beach in Queens, or City Island in the Bronx - have come and gone like waves upon the water. The memory of the lingering pace remains, as well as the long watery vistas with the city skyline moved to the background.

View of Johnny's Reef, a popular seafood restaurant on City Island.

For New Yorkers not altogether ready for the city's busy months, a weekend afternoon on City Island should be added to a repertory of personal escapes. The sight of yachts in the harbor and seagulls diving at scraps of food at the island's many seafood restaurants serve as a necessary break from the mad crowded avenues and the cacophony of jackhammers in the big city. Visiting in autumn would be even better, as the island is normally overrun with traffic on a summer weekend. It's not like City Island is any secret.

The view from City Island. Manhattan is far away in the distance. Click to enlarge.

7.18.2016

Pokémon Goes to the Hallett Nature Sanctuary in Central Park

Last Wednesday, on a pleasantly warm afternoon with increasing clouds, I set out to explore the Hallett Nature Sanctuary, a densely wooded area in the southeast section of Central Park near the Pond. Recently opened to the public after decades of being off limits, the area once known as “the Promontory” features a waterfall, scenic views, and thick woods inhabited by many birds. I also thought I would use the occasion of visiting the wild and unfamiliar landscape as a good place to try out Pokémon Go.

The rustic gates at the entrance to Hallett Nature Sanctuary in Central Park

Let me explain. Sharing my field notes of a relatively unknown section of Central Park seemed perfectly in tune with the mission of this website - to inspire people to connect with their city through walking and to explore new places. Pokémon Go, a wildly popular app-based game that overlays the natural landscape with a chase involving virtual cartoon monsters, is also said to inspire people to connect with their city through walking and to discover new things. At one point this past week, thousands of enthusiasts of the game rushed en masse to Central Park in order to capture a rare Pokémon, an incident characterized in media outlets as a “stampede.”