NYC Food

New York City is a great place for food — there’s a broad range of food, and the quality can be excellent. First, New York City food specialties and we don’t eat in California and are therefore more special for us.

On our first day in New York City, we had a pastrami sandwich and matzo ball soup at Katz’s Deli.

After eating at Katz’s, we walked down the block to Russ and Daughters where we bought a bialy, cream cheese, nova lox, and chopped whitefish and baked salmon. Our breakfast the next day: 

bagels, cream cheese, and lox
bagels, cream cheese, and lox

Later in the week we bought lox, cream cheese, and smoked sable from Fairway market. Not as good as Russ and Daughters, but more convenient and less expensive. Note the Starbucks coffee from the shop downstairs.

bagels, lox, and whitefish from Fairway
bagels, lox, and whitefish from Fairway

We had gyros at The Halal Guys after the MOMA.

Here’s food that we get in California.

We joined family for a steak dinner at Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn. Monster dishes — the person ordering for the group did a great job.

steak at Peter Luger's
steak at Peter Luger’s

While walking through Washington Square and Greenwich Village, we had this 13″ artichoke pizza and bigoli with matriciana sauce for $10 each on a lunch special at Susanna Pizzeria.

artichoke and mozzarella pizza
artichoke and mozzarella pizza
bigoli with matriciana sauce
bigoli with matriciana sauce

We returned to Nougatine by Jean-Georges for a wonderful seafood lunch. Their prix-fixe lunch is fabulous and a bargain considering the quality of the food. This shrimp salad with buerre blanc dressing is one of the best salads I’ve had — tasty and rich. The recipe is posted on the Jean-Georges website.

shrimp salad
shrimp salad

The fish entrees were also excellent. Black cod is another name for sable fish, which Jewish delis serve smoked.

black cod with black bean sauce
black cod with black bean sauce
broiled salmon, potatoes, and spinach
broiled salmon, potatoes, and spinach

We had xiao long bao and hand-pulled noodles at Shanghai Heping.

xiao long bao, noodles, and dry fried string beans
xiao long bao, noodles, and dry fried string beans

We returned to Momofuku Noodle Bar for ramen. The shredded pork is bo ssam, a roasted pork shoulder.

ramen
ramen

We returned to three places we visited on prior trips: Katz’s Deli, Nougatine by Jean-Georges, and Momofuku Noodle Bar. We weren’t disappointed.

MOMA Friday Night

During our New York week in October, we went to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) on Friday night, when the admission is free, courtesy of UNIQLO. Free admission starts at 4:00. We arrived at 4:00 and walked half-way around the block to the end of the line.

MOMA has a lot of great art, although I sometimes marvel at what’s considered modern art.

The Starry Night (1898)

The Starry Night is one of Vincent van Gogh’s most striking paintings. showing his fantastic energy and vision. He painted this in June 1989, a month after entering an asylum at Saint Rémy.

The Starry Night
The Starry Night

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)

Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is jarring and helped lead to cubism.

Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

The Persistence of Memory (1931)

The Persistence of Memory is my favorite painting by Salvador Dali. Although I first saw it many years ago, the images are still very strong.

The Persistence of Memory
The Persistence of Memory

Bell Helicopter (1945)

MOMA includes industrial objects considered artful. This helicopter has a  one-piece plastic dome around the pilot. In the background is an courtyard with trees, sculptures, and seating.

Bell helicopter
Bell helicopter

Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962)

When our work group put images from Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum on the web, I visited the museum, so I have a soft spot for Warhol. Here he shows 32 varieties of Campbell’s soup.

Campbell's Soup Cans
Campbell’s Soup Cans

We left the museum at 7:30, and we walked to the street corner to The Halal Guys food carts. They had three carts, including one down the street that heats up food for this cart and another across the street.

The Halal Guys food cart
The Halal Guys food cart

We shared this gyro and chicken plate, which includes flatbread and lettuce. The food is tasty and cheap. Don’t forget the white sauce, and add a bit of red sauce!

lamb and chicken plate
lamb and chicken plate

New York Harbor

On a sunny morning in October, we rode the Staten Island ferry to see the New York Harbor. We caught the ferry at the Manhattan ferry building and rode it to Staten Island and back. I made this map with Google Maps Engine Lite.

 

New York harbor
New York harbor

Seeing Manhattan from the water is a wonderful way to see the skyline and buildings. On the left is One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the western hemisphere at 1776 feet.

south tip of Manhattan
south tip of Manhattan

Ellis Island is a former immigration station where 12 million immigrants entered the US. Now an immigration museum, Ellis Island was still closed in early October due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.

Ellis Island
Ellis Island

The Statue of Liberty was a gift of the people of France. Located on Liberty Island, ships coming to New York would steam past.

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty

Here’s another Staten Island ferry boat with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

Staten Island ferry boat
Staten Island ferry boat

On our return to Manhattan, we saw air, ground, and water transportation: a helicopter pad, the Brooklyn Bridge, and boats in the harbor.

air, land, and sea transportation
air, land, and sea transportation

The Staten Island ferry is free, and you get a great view of Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. To see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, sit or stand on the left side of the ferry when leaving Manhattan, and the right side when returning.

NYC Architecture: Seagram Building

The beaux arts and art deco architectural styles were succeeded after World War II by a functional style that revolutionized skyscrapers for the balance of the century. Completed in 1958, the Seagram Building, architected by Mies van der Rohe, led this revolution.

Seagram Building
Seagram Building

Van der Rohe said “less is more”. The more I’ve heard this maxim, the less understood it, but seeing the Seagram Building helped. The Seagram Building is notable for the public plaza created by a small building footprint and a simple building without decoration.

Public plaza

The above photo, taken from the sidewalk, shows the expansive pool and plaza formed by setting back the building from the sidewalk. In contrast, the other buildings we saw were built out to the sidewalk and then stepped back by making the building progressively narrower. Except for the Rockefeller Center, a collection of buildings, no other New York City buildings provided a public space in 1958. We sat by the pool, had some water and a snack, and enjoyed the open space. Less footprint means more public open space.

Simple building

Van der Rohe recovered space for the plaza by designing the building without step backs, so that the building is shaped like a rectangular slab and the each floor has the same area. The more open space is recovered by less (no) step backs, maximizing office space without making the building taller.

Without decoration

The Seagram Building is constructed of the metal and glass, without extraneous ornamentation. The clean lines and rhythm of windows has its own beauty.

Design is deciding what is important and trading the less important for more of what’s important. Less is more.

NYC Architecture: Beaux Arts

New York City has no end of buildings so we decided to look at notable buildings there. US architecture at the beginning of the 20th century was influenced by the beaux arts style, named for the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris that taught neoclassical architecture. We visited three beaux-arts building in NYC.

Fuller Building (Flatiron)

When completed in 1903, the Fuller Building was the tallest building in the world, at 21 stories. Today it is more noted for its long, triangular shape as the building’s footprint fills a narrow block formed by Broadway cutting across Fifth Avenue at a sharp diagonal.

Flatiron Building from Madison Square Park
Flatiron Building from Madison Square Park

This photo below shows the north end of the building, with statues on the roof and decorations on the top floor.

top of Flatiron Building
top of Flatiron Building

Here’s the south end, the wide end of the Flatiron Building. The decorations on each story are the same on all three sides of the building.

wide end of the Flatiron Building
wide end of the Flatiron Building
decorations on Flatiron Building
neoclassical decorations on the fourth floor of the Flatiron Building

New York Public Library

The main branch of the New York Public Library was completed in 1911. The entrance is flanked by a pair of marble lion statues. The columns and robe-clad statues above the columns are part of the beaux-arts style.

entrance of New York Public Library
entrance of New York Public Library

The  Rose Main Reading Room is 297′ long and 78′ wide, with an ornate ceiling with murals.

Rose Main Reading Room
Rose Main Reading Room

The wooden help desk across the middle of the room is decorated with carvings and this clock.

clock at help desk
clock at help desk of Rose Main Reading Room

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal, completed in 1913, is a train station with 44 platforms. Below, the usual neoclassic ornamentation with an eagle, the symbol of the US.

neoclassic decorations for Grand Central Terminal
neoclassic decorations for Grand Central Terminal

An eagle decoration from the previous building, the Grand Central Station, has been retained.

eagle decoration from previous building
eagle decoration retained from Grand Central Station

The Main Concourse is 275′ (84 m) long, 120′ (37 m) wide and 125′ (38 m) high. As indicated by the far windows, this is the 100th anniversary.

main concourse of Grand Central Terminal
main concourse of Grand Central Terminal

The high ceiling shows constellations.

constellation ceiling of Grand Central Terminal
constellation ceiling of Grand Central Terminal

First Day in NYC: Food and Views

We arrived in New York City in the morning on a redeye flight. For the rest of the day we focused on local food and views.

A New York specialty is Jewish deli food. We ate lunch at Katz’s Deli. They hand carve the pastrami from steaming briskets as you watch. The pastrami is moist and tender. We planned to order only one bowl of matzo ball soup, so we had leftovers. After lunch, we bought bagel fixings from Russ and Daughters, down the block from Katz’s. And $3 donuts from Donut Plant.

pastrami sandwich, matzo ball soup, and knish
pastrami sandwich, matzo ball soup,  knish, and pickles at Katz’s Deli

We bought food at the Whole Foods grocery store, which has 40 checkout stations!

40 checkout lines at Whole Foods market
40 checkout lines at Whole Foods market

At sunset I went upstairs to take pictures. Columbus Circle is at the bottom of the photo — the traffic circle with a statue of Christopher Columbus. This is the southern end of Central Park, with the Metropolitan Museum in the distance on the far side of the park.

Columbus Circle and Central Park
Columbus Circle and Central Park

Looking east from Manhattan, New Jersey is across the Hudson River. A cruise ship and an aircraft carrier are docked on the Manhattan side.

sunset from NYC
sunset from NYC

For dessert we had a blackout donut from Donut Plant. We also had a raised pistachio donut earlier. We’ve never bought $3 donuts before, but we had to see if they were that good. They’re fine as a very occasional treat, but we wouldn’t do this very often. In the background are Cherokee purple tomatoes from our yard in California.

$3 blackout donut from Donut Plant
$3 blackout donut from Donut Plant

A Walk in the Park to the Met

After visiting The Cloisters we walked through Central Park to visit the Metropolitan Museum, since our admission for The Cloisters is valid for the Met on the same day.

We took the subway down Manhattan, bought lunch, and walked across Central Park to the Met. Our walk across Central Park was anything but a walk in the park, an English expression that means something easy and pleasant. We got lost several times on the roads and paths that twist and turn through Central Park.

We watched turtles swimming. The water looks milky, but it’s the reflection of white clouds and blue sky in the water.  The reflections of tree branches are in the right-hand corners.

swimming turtle

The water is actually green from algae, as you’ll see in the next picture.

The Lake provides a calm spot in the middle of the bustling metropolis. The surrounding buildings provide great views of the green space. The far side of the lake has a granite outcropping, one of many left from glaciers in the last ice age. The granite bedrock is shallow here and at the southern tip of Manhattan, which is why skyscrapers are built in both areas but not between the two areas, where the bedrock is deeper. Long Island was formed from the debris scraped off by glaciers and left behind when they receded.

boating on The Lake at Central Park
boating on The Lake at Central Park

When we arrived at the Met, we had less than two hours before the 5:15 closing time. We’d have to be very selective.

We started with the Islamic collection, to follow up on seeing the Alhambra and Shangri La this year. The Alhambra and Beijing’s Forbidden City are palaces stripped of the royal furnishings and articles that once filled them.

This reception room from Damascus, Syria, has a fountain and wood paneling decorated with calligraphy and intricate patterns.

18th C reception room from Damascus, Syria
18th C reception room from Damascus, Syria

This walnut chest has ivory inlays.

16th C Spanish chest of walnut and ivory
16th C Spanish chest of walnut and ivory

The Met has five Vermeers, more than any other museum.

Allegory of the Catholic Faith
Allegory of the Catholic Faith, by Johannes Vermeer

Finally, one of our favorites is this bronze by Edgar Degas.

The Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer
The Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer