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Showing posts from August, 2018

A Walk from Orchard Street to Tompkins Square Park

Before the mid-1960s, the neighborhoods we now call the Lower East Side and the East Village were essentially the same thing. During the 1960s, many artists in the northern section of the Lower East Side started calling the area “East Village” to recognize the rise of a new culture in the neighborhood. The label was used to make a distinction between the older bohemian Greenwich Village to the west as well as to the Lower East Side on the south.


At some point the Lower East Side started being abbreviated as LES. As a friend likes to remind me of the era before the 1960s, “Once upon a time, it was just ‘uptown’ and ‘downtown.’”


The Lower East Side and the East Village have long been associated with a diversity of immigrants from many nations settling the area in sequential waves. Beginning in the late 19th century and continuing into the early 20th century, the Lower East Side was a central location for Jewish migration to New York. Living in crowded tenement buildings, with very few g…

In the Unruffled Waters at the Top of Manhattan

While activity in the waters off of Lower Manhattan is almost always busy, the waters at the top of Manhattan, by contrast, are often quite placid, even serene. In the land where the Harlem River meets the Hudson River, the tides gently come and go, and with the ebb and flow a variety for shorebirds and the occasional visitor arrive for a little fishing and some rest.


The weather has been warm and muggy these past few weeks, so going for a walk has been challenging. This morning, though, the weather seemed fine for a stroll, so it was a good time to see what was happening at the park and the shoreline.


Everyone was there, and by everyone, I mean the Great Egret and the Great Blue Heron, a modest flock of ducks, and a small colony of herring gulls. They were in the bay of Inwood Hill Park, a scenic area popular with locals for walks, picnics, sports, and other activities. The Henry Hudson Bridge can be seen in the distance, and beyond, the Palisades of New Jersey. Walking to the end of…

Strange Days: A Walk in Murray Hill

This 1.5-mile self-guided walk in Murray Hill, beginning and ending at Grand Central Terminal, includes a handful of interesting places in a small geographical area. Nestled between Bryant Park to the west and FDR Drive at the East River, the eclectic neighborhood includes a mishmash of architectural styles from the Gilded Age to the modern. Popular with young people beginning in the 1990s, especially in the more modern sections near the river, the area has mostly kept a low profile.   

A recent walk from The Morgan Library and Museum to a nearby diner (Sarge’s, as it turned out) turned up an assortment of architectural gems, including a small private court that was used for the cover of a classic rock album. Not every worthy facade or alleyway is mentioned here, so be on the lookout for additional treasures.


1. Consulate General of Poland, 233 Madison Ave. Originally Joseph R. De Lamar House, 1905-1906. Opulent mansion built for social aspirations, now home of the consulate. Out fron…