Tag Archives: 10022

Upper West Side: Grant’s Tomb Night Crawl and Feel Free Central Park Concert

Who’s buried in Grant’s tomb?

Well, we all know the answer to that one.

Photo: Grant's Tomb via www.grantstomb.org/.

Photo: Grant's Tomb via www.grantstomb.org/.

Last night, the National Park Service opened up Grant’s Tomb, at 122th Street and Riverside, for a spooky but enlightening tour of the great Civil War general’s tomb. It’s all part of the Park Service’s week of activities in the run-up to the airing Sept. 27 on PBS of Ken Burn’s new documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

Inside the marble and granite mausoleum, it was pitch dark,with only a few lanterns to light the way down to the crypt where Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant, are buried in six thousand-pound burial crypts. A guide dressed in Civil War dress spouted stories and facts about the general and later U.S. president, who died in 1885.  The tomb was finished in 1897 and 90,000 people from around the world donated over $600,000 towards its construction.

Tonight, you can pack a picnic, settled down in Central Park’s East Meadow and get a sneak peak of Burn’s new film. The Feel Free celebration, which is free, will begin at 7 p.m. and also include musical performances from Eric Benet, Peter Coyote, Jose Feliciano and more.

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NY Outdoor Dining: New Bar/Lounge Opens in Palace Hotel

I stopped by the Palace Gate last week, the new 75-seat outdoor spot that’s been set up in the courtyard of New York’s Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue.

The Palace Hotel has outfitted the space as a lounge/cafe offering up cocktails and small bites. I’m sure it’s a lovely spot for a drink and a sit down.

But the night I was there, it was raining cats and dogs. So the whole scene moved inside the hotel, the former Villard House, an over-the-top pile that’s festooned with carved moldings and lots of gold leaf.  You might have thought an Italian palazzo had plopped down in the middle of Midtown.

Palace Gate, Palace Hotel, New York.

Palace Gate, Palace Hotel, New York.over-the-top 19th century pile adorned with intricate ceiling moldings, plush furnishings and lots of gold leaf.

Still, even with Palace Gate’s temporary weather-induced indoor locale, I got the basic idea. Or at least I got the idea of the food and the drinks, which are supplied by Gilt, the high-end eatery at the hotel. There were cocktails–many of the classic variety. I sipped a Pimm’s Cups No. 1, which is a refreshing drink made with lemonade, Granny Smith apples, ginger beer, and cucumber. Very tasty.  As I later learned, the English aristocracy imbibe this particular concoction at Wimbledon and at regattas and such.  It was all very posh.

My favorite small plates were French fries laced with truffles. To be honest, with the economy in the doldrums and so many people out of work, the idea of a snack food made with pricey delicacies was a wee bit off putting.  Still, who am I to turn down a truffle? I scarfed down a bunch of fries, and they were yummy.

Even with the upscale ingredients, you don’t have to break the bank to take a seat at a table in this new courtyard lounge.  If you limit yourself to a couple of dishes–other items include a Gilt burger and thin crust pizza– and a drink or two, the tab isn’t stratospheric, especially for a Midtown spot.  Prices are mostly in the low teens for the small plates.

And if I’m looking for a place for nibble before hitting the 70 percent off sale at Saks–one can only hope!–Palace Gate would be a great place for a rest stop.

Palace Gate
Palace Hotel
455 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
(212) 888-7000


New York City Outdoor Dining Options Abound

New York Outdoor Dining Blooms on Upper West Side

Outdoor Dining NYC: New Leaf Cafe Opens for the Season

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New York Pastry Shop on Upper East Side May Close


According to a report in Crain’s New York Business, Payard Patisserie & Bistro, the famed New York City Upper East Side pastry shop, could close as soon as August.  The landlord is threatening to double the rent, Crain’s reports.

Situated on Lexington Avenue between 73rd and 74th streets, the pastry shop was opened by chef Francois Payard a dozen years ago.

Payard says he’s hunting for another location in the city.

Meanwhile, should the landlord prevail, who knows what will replace the tarts and puff pastry that now grace the space occupied by Payard.  Maybe tooth brushes and dish detergent from Duane Reade?  Or coffee and pre-packaged sandwiches from Starbucks?  Or maybe even your favorite cell phone store….

Ain’t progress wonderful!

For more, click here.


Best Cupcakes in New York Area? Greenport’s Butta’ Cakes Delivers Bliss

East Village: Two Bakeries, the Old and the New

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Easter Menus Abound at NYC Restaurants

If you’d like to spend Easter Sunday hunting for Easter eggs or strolling down Fifth Avenue decked out in your finest, then dining out may be preferable to slaving over a hot stove at home.

Open Table has compiled a list of restaurants with Easter menus.

On the Upper West Side, the eateries include Rosa Mexicano, Amsterdam Restaurant and Tapas Bar, Cafe du Soleil, Cesca, and Eighty-one (see below).

Here’s what’s offered at several places around town:

BLT Market
1430 Avenue of the Americas
$95 Three-course Easter Prix-Fixe served Sunday, April 12, 11AM–5PM
($55 for children)

Menu includes:  Peas & Rock Shrimp Risotto with Coach Farm Goat Cheese and a Baked Gruyére Cheese Popover with Berkshire Ham, Creamed Spinach and Farm Eggs.

2 Harrison Street

Will extend their hours for Easter on Sunday, April 12th, and will be open from 3pm – 10pm.

Menu includes:  Rack of Lamb in Cumin Salt Crust, Ravioli of Spring Greens with Tomato Butter, surprise holiday entrée for both the tasting and a la carte menus, and  complimentary house-made chocolate ganache Easter eggs.   

eighty one
45 West 81st Street
$48 Three-course Easter Prix-Fixe served Sunday, April 12, 12PM–8PM
($30 prix-fixe for children under 10)

Menu includes:  New Bedford Sea Scallop a la Plancha with grapefruit, chiles, organic Satur Farm carrots and mâche; Lamb Rack with piquillo peppers, dried apricot, almonds and olive oil crushed potatoes (supp. $8); Potato Gnocchi with Parmesan cheese, morel mushrooms, spring garlic; and Warm Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with cinnamon-caramel ice cream.

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Recession Hits Upper West Side Restaurants

Walking down Broadway on the Upper West Side these days is a lesson in the toll that the recession can take.  Stores are shuttering left and right.  It’s getting easier and easier to remember the 1970s, when the neighborhood was considerably shabbier than it is today.

Eateries seem to be closing their doors as well.  Sure, Dunkin’ Donuts is hanging on.  But some independently-owned places are falling by the wayside. Others are offering deeply discounted dining specials.

Here’s a partial list of shuttered restaurants, plus one that’s offering an extremely reasonably priced special.

Docks Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill.  A neighborhood mainstay on Broadway at 89th since the 1980s, Docks was a reliable place to take your mother-in-law for well-prepared seafood.  The all-you-can-eat oyster fest was a great deal too.  Now, you’ll have to travel to the East Side if you want to dine at this venerable seafood establishment.

Bloomingdale Road. Was it the so-so reviews or the recession that did this place in?  It was supposed to reinvent itself as a “tavern,” but word on the street is, this eatery at Broadway and 88th Street is gone for good.

Sura Thai Kitchen.  For much better than decent neighborhood Thai, Sura, located at Broadway and 101st Street, usually does the trick.  Now, they’re posting an $8 three-course lunch.  Normally, such a bargain would be cause for jubilation.  These days, it’s worrisome.  Could this bargain mean Sura is just a few steps away from shutting its doors?

Sun Chan.  Once situated between 103rd and 104, this Japanese had its fans.   Now, it’s closed.

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