After the storm in NYC & NJ Sept. 2011

Timing is everything in life and I timed my annual visit back east very well going after earthquakes, a hurricane and the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11th. Not to mention the evening of my arrival brought cooler temps to the area which caught some people off guard, but I was loving the 50 & 60 degree nights and days.

As always there’s some regular visits to favorite eateries and plenty of time to find more. Here is what I saw, tasted and heard on my visit…..

Lunch on day of arrival was with a college friend in NJ at the Cornerstone in Hillsdale. A neighborhood bar and grill in center of town across for RR station. Good bar food and atmosphere. Returned on Sun. with the guys for beers and football. Big and lots of old wood decor.

Dinner in the city was down in the Bowery at Great Jones Cafe, where they make delicious Cajun dishes. Jambalaya and wings were spicy and good. Small spot w/ cool, grungy atmosphere. On the way to meet up with friend at his Gramercy Park apartment I bar hopped, stopping and having sangria at Green Square Tavern on 21st St. then a pricey pint at the Jade Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Stopped in to Astor Wine & Spirits after dinner to help my friend pick up a few bottles for the weekend. Good selection and attentive staff, plus a John Legend sighting made for a good 1st time visit.

After catching up on some sleep, I made an early lunch visit to White Manna Hamburgers on the other side of the Hackensack river. A local institution that is home to some of the best sliders in the northern hemisphere. Cooked on a flat top right in front of you the sliders are juicy, yummy and made to order. Always a must when in northern NJ.

Catching a ride with a friend who dropped me at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where another friend was staying, I embarked on my journey downtown and across to the Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass(DUMBO) neighborhood of Brooklyn. Walking through Grand Central Terminal and seeing the architecture and the hustle and bustle of people coming and going is always good. Southbound on 3rd. Ave. I retrace some of my steps from the night before in a daylight perspective. Around Gramercy Park and into Union Square Park I find myself during there Fri. afternoon farmers market. It is here I get my 1st taste of NY State Pinot Noir from Tickle Hill Vineyards. A good, 5 year old that tasted like Pinot Noir.

After stopping to recharge with a coffee in the village I found myself waiting to cross Houston St. realizing that the 1 and only Katz Deli was a few blocks away. A family favorite for 4 generations, it’s been a long while since I last made a visit. Nothing seems to change here as you are still presented a ticket on your way in that gets punched to be totaled by cashier on your way out. Deli sandwiches and other deli delicacies are available. Not wanting to ruin my dinner, I went simply with a hot dog covered with sauerkraut and a potato knish. Just the way I had remembered it, but no moaning from this guy.

Continuing my stroll threw the Lower East Side and in to ChinaTown I make my way across the Manhattan Bridge, amongst the cars, trains and bicyclists I play tourist taking pictures of lower Manhattan views. After working my way off the bridge and threw the DUMBO neighborhood back towards the East River, where there is a great park and trail system. Popping in to the Water St. Restaurant and Lounge for a thirst quencher before

I made my way around the Brooklyn Bridge Park with views up and down the East River, New York Harbor and Manhattan. Great views usually reserved for movie and TV back drops. Also came across Jane’s Carousel, that had been dedicated the night before and opened to the public that day. In a glass enclosed structure only feet from the river is a carousel, built in the early 1900s, that has been in restoration and storage since 1984 by Jane and her artists.

With the dinner hour finally arriving I make my way to Bubby’s, just off the park. Meeting up with out of town family and guests we dine on a cross between BBQ and Jewish deli food that I heard a lot of good things about. My house cured bacon wrapped meatloaf was good and so were the sides off mac n cheese and cole slaw. Our server was a bit overwhelmed w/ the off the menu ordering of about 25-30 people and it was a while before she got some help, a bit of a downer for some. Too tired to make that trek back uptown I made my only visit to the subway, to the bus terminal for a bus back to NJ.

Feeling just as tired now reliving last week as I was at the end of my day I will continue with my weekend adventures on the next post. Let me know what you can relate too and your adventures in NYC.

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