Following up on yesterday's post about President Chester A. Arthur, I wanted to spell out some of the attractions of the neighborhood in the form of a walk. There's not a specific itinerary, just a map. I recommend knocking around this part of south Midtown/Murray Hill/Madison Square Park to check out the many restaurants and interesting buildings.
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As I suggested, please stop into Kalustyan's to shop for exotic spices or to grab a bite to eat. Bring a shopping list, because when I visited I wish I had already prepared a grocery list for some spice-heavy dishes. Several of the nearby restaurants have garnered many loyal fans, and I can imagine that students, faculty, and staff at nearby Baruch College must feel lucky to have so many choices of Hyderabad biryani, masala, tandoori and curry. I like the looks of the Afghan restaurant, Bamiyan, at the corner of 26th and 3rd Avenue (pictured, above, exterior painted in orange and purple), and I hear that the food is good, too. La Delice Pastry Shop on 3rd Ave. and 27th. is quite sweet.
DUALITIES: I write a lot about history on this website, because I think that walking around the city becomes a richer experience when one knows the stories behind some of the buildings. Being aware of the fact that Kalustyan's and Chester Arthur's house occupies the same location at 123 Lexington does not make you a better person, just a deeper one, the kind with a soul. That said, this site is geared toward people making their own fun in the present, and in that spirit, I encourage people to walk wherever they want and with whatever amount of historical knowledge they choose to carry around in their heads. BUT, you have to know that the 69th Regiment Armory, the massive medieval-looking fortress in this neighborhood, the one you can't miss that takes up much of the space between 25th and 26th Streets and Lexington and Park, still functions as a training center for the National Guard AND is the very same armory of the famed Armory Show in 1913 that introduced modern art to the country.
More about the Armory Show in this related WOTBA post.
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