Category Archives: new york city

PJ Bernstein’s, Pomodoro Rossi, new Q subway, gotham Hall, Central Synagogue– NYC

We love NYC but hope to get home to Des Moines tonight on this dreary rainy day. Our flight is already delayed so we aren’t sure we will make our connection in St. Louis. Other than that, we had a great time. We were surprised to enjoy our two visits to Central Synagogue so much. It turned out to be a spectacular Sephardic temple on 55th and Lexington, run by a smart charismatic group of women rabbis and cantors who we’re warm, friendly, and sing beautifully. The lead rabbi was also Asian. Another surprise.  The party was held at Gotham Hall, an imposing former bank (I’m told) on 36th and Broadway and 6th Avenue, near the original Macy’s. It has a huge domed ceiling below which some 300 or so of us ate, danced and partied until after midnight.

Breakfast at PJ Bernsteins

Last night we had good Italian food at Pomorodo Rossi, a neighborhood place on Columbus and 71st or so, can conveniently located near my relatives apart. Good pasta with seafood and a light red sauce, grilled artichoke and an outdoor table where we had a rare and wonderful dinner with our dear friends Myra and mike who won the good friend award for driving in from Connecticut.

At Pomodoro Rossi, Columbus Avenue

Today, we met my brother at The Whitney Museum, our favorite place to hang out on a rainy Monday. This time we saw the Biennial exhibit which had some challenging stuff, as expected. Lunch was lobster bisque and a shared crab cake sandwich at Lobster Place in Chelsea Market.

Noshing on Schnecken at Greenbergs, Madison Ave. in 80s

at Lobster Place, Chelsea Market

On the east side, we had corned beef and breakfast at PJ Bernsteins on 3rd, morning pastries on Lexington at Corrado Bakery and coffee served by Aussies at Heavenly Rest Stop at 91st and Fifth, in an alcove of a fancy church by the same name.

Heavenly Rest Stop, Upper East Side


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Gansevoort Market, new subway station at northern end of The High Line, Bryant Park holiday fair, subterranean Japanese restaurant

Another cherished post-Thanksgiving adventure with  Myra during which two old friends from college catch up while wandering around a great American city, noshing, window-shopping, people-watching, architecture-admiring, restaurant-searching, laughing, lamenting, reminiscing, dreaming and occasionally searching for a decent public bathroom (Penn Station had to do this time). Among the highlights (beyond the great company):

Bry;ant Park

Bryant Park

Gansevoort Market, a “rustic industrial” food court on 14th street, small, manageable, calm, excellent poke at Gotham Pike.

Dirck and Myra eating Poke at Gansevort Market's Gotham Pike

Dirck and Myra eating Poke at Gansevoort Market’s Gotham Pike

The High Line, which never disappoints, especially on a beautiful afternoon. There are always new art installations when I return, even after just a few months. And more work has been completed since my last visit in September on the retro-looking building with wide oval windows designed by the late Zaha Hadid. This time we found the attractive, European-feeling  new 34 St-Hudson Yards 7 Subway Station, with its cool mosaic tile domed ceiling underground. (Opened in 2015, the station is the first new one in NY in 26 years.)photojavitz

– The crafts at the holiday fair at Bryant Park were generally less impressive than those at the holiday fair at Grand Central Station, but what a lovely scene with the pretty ice skating rink, holiday lights and wreath-festooned stone lions at the foot of the New York Public Library.  Also appreciated the inventiveness of the food vendors including one cooking unlikely creations with matzoh. Yes matzoh.

Myra at Sawagura!

Myra at Sakagura!

Sakagura, a remarkably authentic Japanese restaurant (including classic interactive, water-spraying Japanese toilets) in the basement of a drab building just east of Grand Central. Who knew? Apparently a lot of people, including many people of Japanese descent. The place was packed. I almost felt like I was back in Kyoto, without the around-the-world flight. Instead, we walked down two flights of steps akin to the kind found in an aging middle school basement.

Japanese toilet!

Japanese toilet!

Earlier in the day, my cousin took us on a fascinating tour of the production “commissary” of Juice Press, in a cool Long Island City marketplace.photo1

Juice press tour with the family!

Juice Press tour with the family!


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Kerry James Marshall show at Met Breuer//costume institute at the Met

marshallpix1What better thing to do on a rainy day in NYC than visit old friends and roam around a museum. On the museum front, I went to the old Whitney, now the Met Breuer, to see the fascinating Kerry James Marshall show – and joined an hour-long docent-led tour where I learned things (that I never would have otherwise gleaned) about the powerful giant canvasses portraying contemporary black life and issues.

marshallpix2My one regret is that I didn’t spend more time at the exhibit – the tour covered only a fraction of the two floors of artwork at the retrospective. If you haven’t been, I strongly recommended.

costumepixI also wandered over to the main Met to see the costumes, which I’ve never been to and also enjoyed. The cafe in the basement has a limited menu but the prosciutto cotto sandwich that my pal Merida and I each had did the trick!

Yes, the dress is made with cloth butterflies. Versace I believe.

Yes, the dress is made with cloth butterflies. Versace I believe.

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Hyde Park diner, walk over the Hudson, train to 125th Street

Walkway over the Hudson

Walkway over the Hudson

Another day of spectacular weather in the Hudson River Valley. After another morning hike around my friend’s beautiful 39-acre spread in Dutchess County, we went for brunch at a classic old diner, the EverReady in Hyde Park (eggs with spinach and feta…my favorite dinner fare, plus delicious grilled potatoes with onions, not your everyday hash browns, and fresh squeezed orange juice.)

I was first introduced to East Coast diners by my college friends, who would take me to their hometown favorites in Forest Hills and Long Island.  And then there is our favorite stop on the way to Ithaca from NYC or Connecticut: the great Roscoe Diner. I love the shiny metal building, the encyclopedic menu, the huge showy cakes on display and all the locals hanging out over endless cups of coffee, not to mention the patient, efficient, seen-it-all waitresses.

imageNear the train station in Poughkeepsie, we walked half way across the footbridge over the Hudson, with spectacular views of bucolic waters in the distance and industrial workaday river scenes just below us. I envied the cyclists biking past us. As promised, the almost 2 hour train ride to 125th street offered great river views most of the way and then boom, I emerged in Harlem. I didn’t have to wait long for the m60 bus to Laguardia, a rare public transportation option to the airport and a much better deal ($2.75) than the ripoff black car I am embarrassed to admit I mistook for an Uber on my arrival at Laguardia. ($71…ouch. Lesson learned. Never get in a car with an uber sign unless you’ve ordered an uber online.)


The bus took about an hour but the first stop, surprisingly, was terminal B where my grubby southwest gate was located. Now here I am at the St. Louis  airport with a 2.5 hour late night layover (again, a big change from my mad dash here a week ago with a 50 minute connection cut in half by delays.)

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The new Whitney Museum — NYC

On a Whitney terrace

On a Whitney terrace with One World Trade Center in the distance

Finally made it to the new location of the Whitney Museum and loved everything about it – the architecture  (Renzo Piano building with great open terraces on the upper floors with dazzling views of the Hudson River, the downtown skyscrapers and the High Line right below the museum), the neighborhood (bustling art and commerce of Chelsea and the meat packing district with designer shops and old crumbling brick streets) and of course the art. The Whitney is big on figurative contemporary art, which happens to be among my favorite.

Inside the Whitney

Inside the Whitney

We saw a really interesting retrospective of photographer Danny Lyons work and thoroughly enjoyed the 7th floor exhibit from the museums’ portrait collection. We ran out of time so couldn’t see the 6th floor of portraits (which oddly wasn’t open because they were rehanging some work). NExt trip! Also enjoyed a light lunch in the top floor cafe, a Danny Meyer restaurant.

Robert Bechtle, 61' Pontiac, 1968-69 oil on canvas

Robert Bechtle, 61′ Pontiac, 1968-69 oil on canvas

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Fall highlights in NYC!

We don’t usually get to NYC until Thanksgiving but this year, we’ll be in the big city in mid-September (thanks to a friend’s wedding we’re attending in Connecticut), so I read with particular interest the Aug. 29 New Yorker’s Fall Previews. And on my list is…

Kerry James Marshall show at Met Breuer (formerly the Whitney on the upper east side) – Opens 0ct. 25 (THANKSGIVING option)

Agnes Martin show at Whitney (downtown) – opens Oct 7

Danny Lyon: Message to the Future – Whitney (through Sept. 25)

New York City Ballet (sept 20- oct. 16)  – female choreographers

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Travel tip for rides in Manhattan and Chicago: VIA

Just when I’ve gotten used to Uber (sort of) my friend Anne raves about her “new favorite NYC find: the VIA app ”  More below:

It’s cheaper than Uber and cabs. I tried it today to get from Upper East side to Penn Station. $3.25. No lie. Talking with the driver who says he used to drive for Uber and switched to Via because the company is better to its drivers. Still, he works really long days to pay his car insurance and make enough money. I tipped him even though you’re not really supposed to because he went out of his way to get me to the right entrance. Quite a contrast to the $70 cab ride from JFK to Manhattan last night! Right now, Via is only in Manhattan and central Chicago.

Here’s a NYTimes story on it:


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