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New York City

 

Here are some unusual and delightful fressing experiences in New York:  Every time we go in or out of JFK we make a point of detouring  to the Knish Nosh [*,$$]  (see map & more Knish Nosh photos) on 67th Avenue and Queens Blvd ... home of the world's best knishes, where in addition to the traditional potato filling and kasha, they offer a Pastrami filling [***], spinach, and bite size Knishlets.  While Knish Nosh is well known to Forest Hillers (and expatriates thereof), there are other great Knisheries in NY. Manhattanites will probably send you to the world renowned Yohna Schimmel Knish Bakery [***] on 137 E. Houston St. Yonah celebrates its 100th year in 2010. A couple of block East is even older Katz Delicatessen [***], also world renowned (for Pastrami and hot dogs) and where (they don't let you forget it) Harry Met Sally.

Kenny Shopsin's (***,$$) the most venerable West Village breakfast-lunch institution, made famous (to us) by the 80-minute documentary I Like Killing Flies (shown in the 2004 SF Jewish Film Festival and really worth searching out)... at 54 Carmine St.... features a huge menu of traditional breakfast and unique Shopsin oddities.... customers serve themselves at the coffee and seltzer counter... and while waiting for your order and after you can entertain yourself with numerous board games.   Hummus Place (*,$) in the East Village, 109 St. Mark Place, btwn 1st Ave and Avenue A, serves three varieties of the Israeli dish from noon to 2 AM.... the traditional version is the Hummus Tahini.... the staff and customers appear to be mostly Israeli expatriates.   (Photo on right: a dish of hummus.)

 

DiFara making his signature buffalo mozzarella pizza pie in his Midwood pizzeria.  The Brighton Beach Totonno store window. This is the original Totonnos with the signature white-chasse pizza, made in one of the few remaining coal ovens.

Right: The original Knish Nosh (Photo credit: Queens Tribune - we downloaded this picture from their web site).  Left: How it looks in 2003 after the move across the street. More photos

 

In the unusual shopping category we recommend Brassiere and lingerie Proprietor: Magda Bergstein, Orchard Corset Discount, 157 Orchard St. (Lower East Side, near Stanton St.); 212-674-0786.  This is the brassiere and lingerie shop featured in the Lederman-Furjanic-Lederman very humorous short documentary film "A Good Uplift" [***].   Any woman, any size can be accommodated.  This lower East side store is a cultural landmark in New York.  (Overhead a customer emerging from a fitting in the back room: "I can feel the difference, I can breathe!") (Photo on right: The store sign on the fire escape above the entrance.)

 

 

More shopping. Think outside Manhattan: Park Slope Brooklyn.  7th Avenue in the Park Slope district (near Prospect Park) is great for strolling, noshing, and window shopping.  Facets Fine Jewelry (on 97A 7th Avenue) has a great collection of earrings, reasonably priced.  

 

Ethnic neighborhoods .... Besides china town there is .... Midwood, Brooklyn reached by the Q train, J Street stop, is a very very Jewish neighborhood.....  so Jewish in fact that the parking meters in this neighborhood don't operate on the Sabbath.   Your first stop, a half block from the station should be at DiFara Pizza (***), 1424 Avenue J  718-258-1367... this most venerable pizzeria has won numerous critic awards over the years including mention in the New York Times 2002 State-of-the-Pizza.   Another 2-3 blocks up Avenue J is an excellent Jewish & middle-Eastern corner groceries shop.   After strolling this neighborhood get bet back on the Q train for Brighton Beach where the attractions include a stroll on Coney Island boardwalk, window shopping in a Russian immigrants neighborhood, Russian groceries  (e.g.,  the M&I International market), and a pizza pie at the original Tottono's (Neptune Avenue).  Greenpoint is very Polish.  Christina's (*, $), 853 Manhattan Ave. (near the Greenpoint stop on the G subway line),  has outstanding Polish home-cooking and friendly service, is very very cheap.  Photos of Christina's many famous friends hang on the walls.

Getting behind bars.  Pravda (*,$$$), 281 Lafayette St, in South Village area, is a very cool (as in well chilled Vodka) bar... Vodka and caviar tasting is the main thing here.  The enrtance is easy to miss.  Look for a small and discreet red lit "Pravda" sign on the street leading you to the basement bar.