nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic


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And one more

About the Lower East Side. Katz’s Deli. Blimey.  It is like going back in time, maybe 50 years? A New York institution, Katz’s sells Jewish comfort food writ large. And I mean large. The biggest salt beef (corned beef to Americans) sandwich ever. And we have eaten a few over the years. I illustrate my point below:

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Yes, that is one half of the sandwich. I was eating the other half. I don’t have a picture of the pastrami, but believe me, it was just as ginormous. Half the fun of Katz’s is the atmosphere. People come here on the tourist trail and locals come too. It’s a loud, crowded and chaotic place. The walls are covered in photos of the boss with famous people. The toilets look ancient (didn’t get further than the door, too off putting).

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And the staff. Well, the staff are the loveliest I have come across in some time. Here’s the lovely man who cut the pastrami for my sandwich.

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So go, take cash and have a lot of time and sharp elbows to beat the queues. I may have jumped the queue, but who cares, it was great.


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190 Bowery

And the third in a series of posts about our day out to the Lower East Side. This time it’s about the mysterious building on the corner of Bowery and Spring Street. We went by it on the way the Pickle Day and stopped short to gaze up at this graffiti clad vast old building that was once a bank. You can see from the pictures below that in its day it was very grand and imposing. The front steps retain their iron gates and the pillars are grand and imposing. The graffiti is awful.

I was intrigued. What on earth was this place. As usual, the Internet turns up the answer pretty quick. It was the home of the Germania Bank, built in the late 19th Century. The area was home to a large German population at the time and I’m sure it would have been as imposing then as it is now. Incredibly it is the home of one family, the Maisels. Jay Maisel is an artist who bought the bank for $100,000 in 1966 and has lived there ever since. He uses the space for his own art and has rented it out to other artists, including, impressively, Roy Lichtenstein. There’s a really good article from 2008 in New York Magazine, so I won’t go into any more detail here. Read it, it’s really good and the pictures are great.

As for Mr Maisel, he says he gets approached by real estate agents all the time and he has had to put a website up called 190thebowery.com to try and stop them as he has no interest in selling. New York Magazine asked agents to put a price on the 30,000+ square foot building. These topped out at $50 million and that was five years ago. New York is in the grip of a property boom right now, so heaven knows what those estimates would look like now.

So why doesn’t Maisel sell and realise his investment all those years ago? ‘Where am I going to live? A three bed apartment?’. Fair point. Not sure I’d fancy it, he and his wife have to clean up the sidewalk every day as they are responsible for it. Doubt that’s a pretty sight after a Saturday night.

190 The Bowery

190 The Bowery

190 The Bowery

 


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Gotta pick a pickle or two

Today is Pickle Day on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Yes, you heard right, it’s a festival of pickles. Intrigued we wandered down the 6 line to Spring Street and discovered Pickle Day on Orchard Street, which had been shut down for the occasion.

Pickle Day

And are pickles popular with the populous of New York? Why yes they are. It was rammed. There were people picking pickles everywhere. Some were quite nice and some were disgusting. There were pickles on sticks, on trays and in buckets. What a perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday in New York. We bought pickled cucumbers and fennel from Boulton and Watt, which is a restaurant nearby that makes its own pickles. You can buy a jar at the bar for $5. Beats peanuts.

Boulton and Watt pickles