It's vacation week, and instead of going somewhere warm, we wound up taking a car ride instead (no security lines there!).
Sometimes I love being a tourist in NYC.
Walking around neighborhoods that are new terrain for us is always exciting.
Though, the lower east side is only 18 miles from my front door, it seems like it is a world away.
This week we visited the Lower East Side of Manhattan as part of our winter vacation weekends.
It is quite the chic neighborhood these days, with high rents and boutiques abound. A far cry from the pickle man and kosher butcher that used to service the neighborhood during the early 1900's.
We visited the Tenement Museum, which is a must see on your next visit to NYC.
It it what the city is all about.
The land of opportunity.
The L.E.S. used to be filled with Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants, working class people who built up Manhattan to be what it is today.
Everyone was poor, and came here for a better life at the turn of the century.
My grandfather, now 93, was born on the very street we walked along.
I love the story about the Jewish rabbi living in the building next door to the Italian family that owns DiPalo's Fine Foods & Cheese Imports (still there today).
Mr. DiPalo's family all had to share a bathroom w/ 40 other people! The bathroom was in the hallway and was used by everyone living on the floor.
The owner of the cheese store remembers only Italian & Yiddish spoken in the halls.
Can you imagine the AMAZING food smells coming out of those apartments?
COUNT ME IN. (except for the bathroom situation).
We stopped at Russ & Daughters, my favorite place (& Anthony Bourdain's and Martha Stewart's) for smoked fish and appetizing. I feel very nostalgic when I am in this 100 plus year old store. The men are very professional and wear white coats and know how to slice that fish.
There is a a tiny little alley with a street sign that says FREEMAN ALLEY off of Rivington St. When you walk down the graffiti lined alley, you will find the most charming colonial style American restaurant called Freeman's.
A warm and cozy place that uses only farm fresh ingredients and local meats and cheeses. Go, if you can find the place! It was a wonderful find.
I met this cute guy at 'Inoteca, where we had an Italian wine tasting along with bruschette and brussels sprouts with walnuts, Pecorino Fiore Sardo & pomegranate seeds (delicious).
Then on to Daniel Boulud's downtown hip restaurant called DBGB Kitchen & Bar.
It was beautiful and the food even more beautiful.
Next weekend will take us on a tour of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, above 100th St.
I am sure I'll find something to eat.