CACTUSPEAR.ORG PRESENTS

a trip to new york


I spent several days in the City in October, 2014.

UPPER WEST SIDE

The Oxford, 265 Central Park West between 86th and 87th Streets. Grandmother Leonida Krajewski and her parents Rose and Thomas moved there in 1907 or '08. Thomas was living at this address when he died in 1913. Grandfather George Fudakowski joined the Krajewski family there in 1918, when he married grandmother.

The family moved to 261 Central Park West, which was also between 86th and 87th Streets, after 265 Central Park West was torn down to make way for the 86th Street subway station.

Dad and Uncle Tom lived there as infants with their mother and grandmother until 1926, when the family moved to Connecticut.

262 Central Park West, a fifteen-story apartment building, now occupies the whole block between 86th and 87th Streets. Completed in 1928, it was known as the White House Apartments because of its white-brick exterior. It became a co-op in 1962.

Grandfather George Fudakowski lived at 111 West 75th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues prior to his marriage to grandmother. A four-story, ten-unit brownstone apartment building, it was built in 1900 and renovated in 1977. Both the building and the block are well kept.

I found a good slice of pizza in the neighborhood at Freddie and Pepper's Pizza, 303 Amsterdam Avenue between 74th and 75th Streets.

The Dakota is an apartment complex at the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West. It's where John Lennon was shot and killed in 1980. On my recent visit, three uniformed guards or doormen were standing behind black sawhorses at the 72nd Street entrance. A photographer was asking them for permisson to take their picture.

Strawberry Fields, entrance on Central Park West and 72nd Street.

I took a walk in the park from 72nd Street to Columbus Square, passing the Tavern on the Green along the way at 67th Street.

Lincoln Center/Juilliard School of Music, between 62nd and 66th Streets, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. It was a lovely day for sitting outdoors with lunch.

Whole Foods, 10 Columbus Circle, Time Warner Center, lower concourse level [bath].

UPPER EAST SIDE

Madison Avenue boutiques and galleries.

Sherry Netherland Hotel, 781 Fifth Avenue at 59th Street (1927, restored in 2014).

CENTRAL PARK

Grand Army Plaza, southwest corner of Central Park.

Arsenal, Central Park, Fifth Avenue between 60th and 65th Streets [bath].

The Rock at 63rd Street, where we used to have a joint on lunch hour.

Model Boathouse, Kerb Restaurant, near 72nd Street entrance to the park.

Angel of the Waters Fountain at Bethesda Terrace, mid-park at 72nd Street [bath].

Loeb Boathouse, Central Park, east side between 74th and 75th Streets [bath].

Alice in Wonderland sculpture (1959), Central Park, east side at 75th Street.

Museum Mile, Fifth Avenue between 82nd and 110th Streets. I walked the lower part from 82nd to 86th Street.

Ancient Playground, Central Park, Fifth Avenue at 85th Street, just north of Metropolitan Museum [bath].

MIDTOWN WEST

Plaza Hotel, 768 Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets.

Shops at the Plaza, 1 West 58th Street [bath]. I bought a bagel with cream cheese, which I ate on a bench on Fifth Avenue near the 72nd Street entrance to the park.

Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

30 Rockefeller Plaza, Fifth Avenue at 48th Street [bath, concourse level].

MIDTOWN EAST

Bloomingdale's, 59th Street at Lexington Avenue [bath].

GM Building, 59th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Apple store, GM Building.

625 Madison Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets. Former satellite offices of Wells, Rich, and Greene, Inc.

575 Madison Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets. Former main offices of Wells, Rich, and Greene, Inc.

Trump Tower, Fifth Avenue at 56th Street [bath, lower level]. Not for the faint of heart. You have to walk past a gauntlet of Donald Trump books and memorabilia to get to the downstairs food court.

Paley Park, 3 East 53rd Street, just off Fifth Avenue.

St Patrick's Cathedral, Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets. Spires obscured by scaffolding. More scaffolding inside the sanctuary.

40 East 48th Street at Madison Avenue. Grandmother Leonida moved here in early 1918. Now a commercial block with JP Morgan Chase headquarters on the south side of the street at 270 Park Avenue.

GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL (GCT)

Tunnels to GCT: Madison Avenue and 47th Street; Park Avenue and 48th Street; and the east and west sides of the Helmsley Building.

The Metlife (formerly Pan Am) Building at 200 Park Avenue at 45th Street (1963, 59 stories). Sited above GCT.

Grand Central Terminal (1913), 42nd between Vanderbilt and Lexington Avenues.

Apple store, GCT, upper level.

Grand Central Market, Lexington Avenue entrance, street level.

Campbell Apartment (bar and lounge), 15 Vanderbilt Avenue at Grand Central Terminal.

GCT is part of an early 20th century complex that included:

• Biltmore Hotel (also 1913), 335 Madison Avenue, occupied the block bounded by 43rd and 44th Streets, Madison Avenue, and Vanderbilt Avenue. Now the Bank of America Plaza. The famous Biltmore lobby clock was moved into the lobby of the new B of A office building.

• Ritz-Carlton Hotel (1917), Madison Avenue at 46th Street, presumably occupied the block bounded by 45th and 46th Streets and Madison and Vanderbilt Avenues. Demolished in 1951, there's now an office building on the site.

• Commodore Hotel (1919), 109 East 42nd Street, just east of Grand Central Terminal. The block is bounded by 42nd and 43rd Streets and Lexington and Park Avenues. Now the Grand Hyatt, reconstructed in 1980.

• Roosevelt Hotel (1924), 45 East 45th Street, occupies the block bounded by 44th and 45th Streets and Vanderbilt and Madison Avenues. It's named after Theodore Roosevelt. Renovated in 1997.

Among the original hotels in the GCT area, only the Roosevelt remains in operation.

Helmsley Building (1929), 230 Park Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets, 35 stories.

Bel Paese Italian Deli, 129 East 45th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues. Good sandwich, reasonable price.

MURRAY HILL

Mother lived in the Carlton Regency, 137 East 36th Street at Lexington Avenue in the Murray Hill neighborhood (which is bounded by East 34th and 40th Streets and Madison and Third Avenues) 26 floors, co-op since 1979.

ROSE HILL

In 1969 and possibly early 1970, I lived in a loft on 29th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues. This was before loft living became trendy. I don't remember the street number, but it doesn't look like my former building, which was two stories with high ceilings, is still there.

The rent was $175 per month (the equivalent of about $1,060 in 2014 dollars), split two ways.

A few doors east on the same side of the street (north) is the Congregation Talamud Torah Adereth el at 133-35 East 29th Street.

I don't remember if the neighborhood had a name then, but it's now called Rose Hill, which is bounded by 25th and 30th Streets, Third Avenue, and either Madison Avenue or Fifth Avenue. Murray Hill is to the north, Gramercy Park to the south, and Chelsea to the west.

Gramercy Park, between 20th and 21st Streets, between Third and Lexington Avenues.

Barnes and Noble, 33 East 17th Street between Park Avenue and Broadway [bath].

Union Square farmers market, 17th Street and Broadway.

Whole Foods, 4 Union Square South [bath upstairs].

LOWER EAST SIDE

The Cube at Cooper Square, Astor Place, East 8th Street/St Mark's Place, Fourth Avenue and Lafayette Street. It was under renovation, behind wooden partitions.

Saint Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Roman Catholic Church, 101 East 7th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, near Tompkins Square Park. Gothic design, dedicated in 1901, it was the first Polish-American church in the New York area, and is one of a few remaining Polish language churches in the US. Its pastor, John Strzelecki, married my grandparents.

109 East 7th Street, Strelecki's address in 1918, is now a three-story residence next door to the church. It was built in 1920.

In 1970 and early 1971, I lived in a fifth-floor walkup apartment on East 10th Street between Second and First Avenues. It was probably either 209 East 10th Street (1920), now with 15 units, or 217 East 10th Street, 20 units (1900, renovated in 1988). Those are the only two five-story buildings on the block.

The rent was about $135 per month, or about $820 per month in 2014 money. If I'd stayed on the block, I'd be paying about $2,500 to $3,000 per month for a one-bedroom in #209, or $2,100 per month and up for a studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedrooms in #217.

Gem Spa, 131 Second Avenue at St Mark's Place, is an old-fashioned newsstand and soda fountain. Their egg cream, $3, is a throwback to the old soda fountain days. It's made with milk, soda water, and syrup flavoring, such as coffee, vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. There are no eggs or cream in the recipe.

Tompkins Square Park, bounded by Avenues A and B, 7th and 10th Streets.

Fillmore East, 105 Second Avenue at 6th Street, formerly Emigrant Bank, now Apple Bank. The block in front of the old Fillmore was designated as "Bill Graham's Way" in 1994.

Matchless Gifts/Hare Krishna Temple, 26 Second Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets is now locked up.

WEST VILLAGE

Washington Square Park is bounded by Waverly Place and University Place on the west and east, and Macdougal Street and West 4th Street on the north and south.

Washington Square Hotel [1902], 103 Waverly Place, between Macdougal Street and Sixth Avenue was formerly the Hotel Earle and the Waverly Place Hotel. I was a guest at the Earle for a short time in early 1969 at $35 per week, about half my take-home pay. According to the hotel's website, Albert King, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan were also guests there.

Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher Street between Waverly Place and West 4th Street.

West 4th Street

Bleeker Street, from Bowery to Abingdon Square. The Square is bounded by Eighth Avenue, Bank Street, Hudson Street and West 12th Street.

CHELSEA

The southern end of the High Line is at Gansevoort Street and Washington Street in the former meatpacking district. The Diller, Von Furstenberg Building, at 16th Street [bath]. Continues north parallel to Tenth Avenue to 30th Street. From there it circles west and north around the Hudson Yards project and ends at 34th Street near Eleventh Avenue.

The #7 Flushing subway station at 34th Street/Hudson Yards and Eleventh Avenue opened in September, 2015. Connecting with Times Square and GCT, it serves the rapidly growing Chelsea neighborhood and the Javits Convention Center.

I visited the High Line three times: 16th Street to 30th Street; Gansevoort Street to 34th Street; and Gansevoort to 30th Street.

Hudson Yards, a 17-million square-feet complex of office towers, residential high-rises, retail, and open public space, is under construction. It's bounded by 30th Street, 34th Street, Tenth Avenue and the West Side Highway. Fortune Magazine has called it the "biggest real estate development in US history."

Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets [bath]. 2 visits. Los Tacos #1 restaurant. Good tacos.

Penn Station, Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets [bath].

Macy's Herald Square, Sixth Avenue and 34th Street [bath]. I had never before been in the store.

Empire State Building, Fifth Avenue and 34th Street.

MIDTOWN WEST

Bryant Park/Public Library, between 40th and 42nd Streets, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Artisan booths, upscale food booths. Park redesigned.

Times Square, Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets.

Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1605 Broadway between 48th and 49th Streets.

Manny's Music at 156 West 48th Street between Seventh and Sixth Avenues has changed ownership several times and is now boarded up.

Moondog, Sixth Avenue and 53rd Street.

Hilton Midtown, 1335 Sixth Avenue at 53rd Street [bath].

Carnegie Deli, 754 Seventh Avenue at 55th Street. The line was too long. Opened in 1937 and closing on December 31, 2016.

Most of the old Italian and Jewish neighborhoods are gone. They've been replaced by trendy, chic, yuppie neighborhoods with trendy, chic, yuppie restaurants. You used to be able to get good deli food, Chinese takeout, and fresh produce from the Korean street-corner grocers in almost any residential neighborhood in Manhattan. On this recent trip, I never did find a good bagel or decent chinese takeout.

After some research, however, I was able to find a good hot pastrami sandwich ($15) at Sarge's Deli, 548 Third Avenue between 36th and 37th Streets.

Less soot, dog poop, and, apparently, less street crime.

I was in my early twenties when I lived in Manhattan. Though Manhattan still has much to offer, if I were that age today, I'd probably live in Brooklyn. That's where the action is, where the young people are.

TRANSPORTATION

Metronorth, GCT to New Canaan, $7.25 one way. 10-trip senior, $69.

Subway and bus, $2.75. Bus rapid transit on First Avenue, Second Avenue, and 34th Street. Metrocard unlimited 7-day, $30.

Fifth Avenue Double Decker busses, early 1900s through 1953.

NEXT VISIT

• 1 East End Avenue at 72nd Street. My boss used to live there.

• Carlyle Hotel, 35 East 76th Street at Madison Avenue.

• Wollman Rink, Central Park, Center Drive to East Drive [bath].

• Second Avenue Subway (Q line), between 57th Street and Seventh Avenue and 72nd, 86th, and 96th Streets at Second Avenue

• Madison Square Park, bounded by Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Broadway, 23rd Street and 26th Street. Renovated in 2001.

• Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets.

• Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets.

• Chelsea Hotel, 222 West 23rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.

• Tin Pan Alley, West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. There's a commemorative plaque on the sidewalk on 28th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue.

• Carnegie Delicatessen at Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue between West 31st Street and West 33rd Street, first floor

• Hudson Yards/Jacob K Javits Convention Center #7 Subway Station, 34th Street at 11th Avenue. Opened in September, 2015.

• Jefferson Market Garden park, Greenwich Avenue between Sixth Avenue and West 10th Street, a tiny lush oasis in an historic part of town, open 10 am to dusk every day — except Mondays — weather permitting, April through October.

• Hotel Albert, 23 East 10th Street at University Avenue, converted to co-op apartments in the 1970s.

• Harry & Ida's delicatessen, 189 Avenue A at 12th Street. Pastrami sandwich $17.

• Penn Station, Maya Lin sculpture, Eclipsed Time, 1994. "Sand-blasted glass, aluminum, stainless steel, and fiber-optic sculpture in ceiling at Seventh Avenue end of station [in the main concourse of the LIRR]."


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