Archive for April 2008

Inside the Second Avenue Deli

April 25, 2008

I finally ate at the 2nd Avenue Deli.  I’ve posted on it twice (here on their location and history and here on their previous site).

But now I’m a graduate of the place.  Or is that an alumnus?  Or a patron?  Or an experiencer?  Anyway, I’ve now eaten there.

It was fine, but it’s just a deli.  A good deli, but just a deli.  In truth, they don’t try to pass themselves off as anything but that.

It’s got a nice interior.

20080301-2nd-avenue-diner-01.jpg

And they have the traditional pictures on the wall sort of thing.

20080301-2nd-avenue-diner-04.jpg

At the entrance into the place, there’s the traditional counter with food, too.

20080301-2nd-avenue-diner-07.jpg

Anyway, I had their meat and potato knish. Sort of a big potato pancake. Pretty good.

-H

Scandinavia House

April 24, 2008

Located on Park Avenue, between 38th and 39th Streets, Scandinavia House is a local institution that serves as a means for Norway/Sweden/Finland/Denmark/Iceland to present themselves to NYC.  It’s a pretty cool little building.

20080311-scandinavia-house-01.jpg

The little display window at the front shows what the current and upcoming displays or events are.  This one was a bit unusual; it shows the face of a man severely affected by frostbite as part of a photo exhibit.  Yeah, those guys are a bundle of laughs.

The exhibits and all are wide-ranging.  They have a cafe and the ability to show films.  There are kids activities and lectures for adults.

In honesty, I keep planning to go there but just haven’t made the leap.

-H

Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal

April 23, 2008

Yeah, it is Grand Central Terminal, not Grand Central Station (although I either call it just “Grand Central” or “Grand Central Station” – but that’s just my favorite little error to make in its name).

Vanderbilt Hall is something I’ve posted about before (here and here), but it’s never been the point of the post (one was on the Christmas shops that are in there and the other mentioned it as part of a larger post).  But, I have to admit that I really, really like the hall simply because it spends most of its time completely empty and cavernous.  They put up rails to prevent people from wandering in there and standing around, but you can easily duck around them if you really want.

On the other hand, they are also often in the process of putting up a display in there and then letting people go through it, like the Christmas shops.  My favorite use of it has always been Tartan Week which has Scottish shops on one side and performances on the other…along with tourist stuff promoting Scotland.

But that really doesn’t explain a heck of a lot.  When you first walk into the main entrance of Grand Central off of 42nd Street, you walk down a short vestibule area.  You then enter through some more doors.  On both sides of you (the left and the right) is Vanderbilt Hall.

20080301-vanderbilt-hall-02.jpg

You can see they look pretty much the same.

20080301-vanderbilt-hall-03.jpg

There are a couple of plaques, but the one that catches the eye is this one.

20080301-vanderbilt-hall-04.jpg

It reads:  “In memory and honor of Jacquiline Kennedy Onassis, 1929-1994, In an age when few people sought to preserve the architectural wonders that are a daily reminder of our rich and glorious past, a brave woman rose in protest to save this terminal from demolition.  Because of her tireless and valiant efforts, it stands today as a monument to those who came before us and built the greatest city known to mankind.  Preserving this great landmark is one of her many enduring legacies.  The people of New York are forever grateful.  October 1, 1998.”

Actually, Jackie died on 5/19/1994.  She didn’t get to see this plaque, but we get to see her legacy.

However, something is going on.  I haven’t been there for a few days, but the past few weeks they’ve been doing a lot of renovations or setup.  I’ll go back again soon to take another look.

-H

Springtime in NYC

April 22, 2008

It finally seems to be happening.  Spring.

Park Avenue near 38th Street. The open area in the middle is a subway vent.

On Lexington Avenue, these trees caught my eye.

Most colorful of all are these tulips on 3rd Avenue.

-H

Papal Ankling – Part 2 of 2

April 21, 2008

This is the second and last of my Papal visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral ankle. That is, this is the second post about me ankling to the Papal motorcade down Fifth Avenue. The Cathedral is very impressive, but it doesn’t have an ankle that I’m aware of.

So, I got to Fifth Avenue and 56th Street and was standing amidst the crowd. The line to the barricade was two or three people deep and this crowd had made a lot of home-made signs. The picture below shows the big banner they had. It was supported by some sort of long cardboard tubes. I feared for my chance to view Pope Benedict XVI once these people had all picked up their banners. But, he was supposed to come in the Popemobile and I figured I’d see at least a part of him.

Over the few minutes that I had been there, the dancers had grown in number and were doing their song and dance in a long line. As I said before, the crowd would occasionally join in on the chorus. To call this pleasant is a huge understatement. It was, at least to a very small extent, sublime.

At about 8:50am, I noticed a Secret Service guy walking just inside the street, looking very carefully at the crowd. In the distance, the number of flashing lights grew in number and then the motorcycles came. This is only one of four pictures of the motorcycles that I got. And my camera has a long delay between pictures. There were perhaps 30 of them.

Then the standard black SUV. I’ve no idea if it was staff or cops or both in it. Doesn’t matter.

Then a limo.

And another SUV followed by a limo.

And another limo. Actually, three of them.

Or was it a total of four limos after that second SUV?

At about this time, the woman next to me started yelling, “That was him! He looked right at me!”

But I hadn’t seen the Popemobile. No bubble-top. No standing,sitting, or propped up figure in ancient garb. Just a bunch of limos with no sign as to who was in which.

The limos were followed by this vehicle. Probably an emergency truck, maybe it was an ambulance.

And it was followed by this cop car.

Strangely, at that point helicopters appeared in the distance. Four of them. (Three are just specks in the next picture, but they were certainly up there.)

The helicopters had all of us wondering if the Pope was coming now. There was virtually no movement for a few minutes and then the cops started to let traffic start flowing east-west.

And I went home.

So, did I see the Pope? I’d have to say No. Did the Pope see me? I’d have to go with the woman and say, Yes.

The Pope got the lesser of the deal.

-H