Saturday, July 28, 2007

A gem on St. Mark's Place

Just waiting to be sipped

Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

Remember the last time you had a "real" New York Egg cream.

As soon as the clerk started pumping the vanilla syrup into the old school Coca-Cola glass, I was transported back to the late 1970s.

I was 8 or 9 years old, sitting on a red vinyl stool, the kind that sticks to your legs when you wear shorts on a hot, humid summer day, at the lunch counter, at a Woolworth's, in the Bronx. My grandmother, who we called Oma, was sitting next to me. We waited in silent anticipation for the soda jerk to present us with our order.

Ohh, the first foamy sip! We never used the straw to begin, so we could laugh at our cream soda mustaches; we always laughed, big belly laughs, and then Oma would kiss my mustache off. How I miss her; Oma always said that she thought clouds must taste like this and someday when we were in heaven, we'd be sipping up all those egg cream soda clouds.

Luckily, you don't have to wait until heaven. A small piece of it is at St Mark's Place and 2nd Avenue at Gem Spa, a tiny 24/7 newsstand. Just think, you can get one any time of day or night! To make the experience extra special, I recommend ordering your vanilla or chocolate egg cream soda in a Coca-Cola glass, not a take away cup. This way, you are forced to take a few minutes to really cherish one of life's simple joys.


Joseph Knight
For Postcards from New York

Address to remember: Gem Spa, 131 2nd Avenue, New York, NY, 212-995-1866. Open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Directions: From Times Square MTA N, R and W to 8th Street, walk across Astor Place to St. Mark's Place walk two blocks to 2nd Avenue. From Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street take MTA 1 Bus to 8th Street.

Photo by Joseph Knight

©Copyright 2007 The Cable Group

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Something Old, Something New, Something Deco

Grand Central, The Hyatt Hotel and Chrysler Building

Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

Oftentimes it happens when you least expect it. You're dashing by in a cab or running across a street when all of a sudden you capture a glimpse of something incredible, even spectacular. A juxtaposition of light and shade, a reflection in a window, an amazing angle of one building against another, or the way the sky at a particular time of day illuminates interesting elements of architecture.

When it happens you know you have just experienced "a New York moment," something that could not take place in any other city of the world, only here, amidst this amazing and diverse collection of architectural styles tightly fitted in a confined area.

Sadly, sometimes it is not until we loose something that we appreciate a special moment often ignored or taken for granted.

Last week, without warning a massive pipeline exploded in the center of the city one block from Grand Central Station and conjured up memories of 911 and the World Trade Center disaster before our eyes. Terrified people ran in horror leaving shoes and bags behind to escape the hailstorm of rubble that rained from the eruption that looked more like an explored bomb than a steam gusher.

Within minute's police cars and fire-trucks from every part of town were on the scene and an area from Madison Avenue to 2nd Avenue for many blocks was corded off. Security was tight while alarmed citizens watched men clad in hazmat suits (hazard gear) complete with full face mask begin the work of clean up.

For almost a week, 42nd Street was closed to pedestrian traffic; so today, I gaze with particular relish at an only in New York scene I hope you will not take for granted.

Stand on the corner of 42nd Street and Madison Avenue, preferably on the Southwest Side of the street at noon or midday and look upward on your left toward Grand Central Station. See if you can capture the silhouette of Mercury's body and the turn of the Last Century Beaux-Art Architecture reflected in the dark black glass of the Hyatt Hotel. Now raise your eyes and notice how the gleaming laser sharp point of the Chrysler Building appears ready to pierce the sky, or at the very least write its signature.

Umm! What an image.

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards from New York

P.S. Just click directly on the photograph to see the buildings enlarged.

Address to remember: Madison Avenue and 42nd Street.

Directions: From Times Square MTA 7 or S to Grand Central Station a short walk to Madison Avenue.

Photo by Joseph Knight

©Copyright 2007 The Cable Group