Lunchtime Walks in the City: The Lower Parts of Park

How LOW could I go on Park Avenue? Not that low in a single hour. But LOW enough in contrast to yesterday’s stroll in the upper region.

This morning, a coworker mentioned a cake sale to be staged at Grand Central Terminal. Which gave me a destination, of sorts. Not for the cake, though.

Same coworker started rattling off names of chefs she imagined would be there. Batali (the guy who wears Crocs and is proud of it).  Ever read his “What I’m Drinking” fifty words  in the NYT magazine on Sunday, about his alcohol habit? The guy must start drinking at breakfast.

Next, she invoked Emeril (they guy killing Americans one by one with recipes for Couchon du Lait). Namedropping this primetime pair of chefs, thankfully, exhausted her entire chef-ly repertoire and, finally, she put a lid on it.

Moving right along…get me to lower Park Avenue…

At the strike of noon, I exited my building onto Fifth Avenue and made a left on 57th. I walked directly to Park Avenue and turned right. As I approached 50th Street, the tenor of the avenue began to shift.

Workmen were eating their lunch on the curb! And stately St. Bartholomew’s Church drifted into my radar.

ToStBarts

A wagon parked on the corner was selling Chili Dogs…and curb sitters were indulging…

ChiliDogs2Over the years, I’ve worked at several different jobs in this part of town. I always like being here because it’s a hub of activity and hive of working people.

Here’s a frontal view of St. Bart’s. It’s stunning to look at and recalls times gone by when artists and crafts people were a healthy part of the work force.

StBartsFacade

Wait a minute. Are those frescos?

StBartsFresco

I just googled St. Bart’s and discovered, yes, indeed. They are frescos. Not only that…there’s a restaurant inside the church. Seriously?

The Reviews Are In — the PRO’s and CON’s:

Horrible management and service” 1 of 5 starsReviewed April 21, 2013

Was this review helpful? Yes

I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant to my worst enemy. I booked a reservation far in advance on Savored for a joint birthday party for my father’s 85th and my niece’s 16th. My parents drove in from Connecticut and my sister took a bus in from Pennsylvania. When we arrived, we were told they didn’t have a record of the reservation (I had a confirmation from Savored) and that they wouldn’t accommodate it anyway as they had a private party of 16 (!!! – the restaurant fits way more than 16 people). This ruined our entire evening. We went to a friendly RELIABLE restaurant in my neighborhood (Rossini’s), waited for a table (because we didn’t have a reservation) and then my sister and niece had to leave before dessert to catch the last bus back home. I have eaten here in the past, the food is fine (nothing special), but the decor is unique and the only reason I booked there in the first place. Unless you’re eager to eat in a church, don’t waste your time.
*
“Where smart locals go for lunch” Reviewed April 8, 2013

Was this review helpful? Yes
 

Inside Park is a great place for lunch. It’s convenient(Park& 51st), the food is good and, most importantly, it’s very quiet. You can actually have a conversation with your guest without having to shout. The service is very efficient and the menu selections are varied. The staples are French Onion soup and Chicken Pot Pie but I usually get the “Half n Half”, a bowl of soup with half a sandwich. Today the soup was vegetable with barley and the sandwich was a delicious roast turkey. If you’re taking someone special, ask for a booth when you make your reservation; they are really comfortable! 

Moving right along…

A few posts ago I wrote about how much I love walk-thru and drive-thru buildings in NYC.

Hemsley2

Well, here on Park I hit the jackpot. An old favorite, the former PanAM (but currently) MetLife building of that previous post — is actually the called Helmsley building. MetLife merely serves as a backdrop. See the tunnel? That’s the drive-thru. But the closer I got, I noticed something I’d never noticed before. Next to the drive-thru is a building walk-thru!

WalkThru

I crossed over. When I walked through the this pedestrian tunnel and came out on the other side, I encountered another one of my favorite NYC antiquities:

BridgeOFSigh

My own personal Bridge of Sighs. A steel artery that connects buildings. Instead of walking through a tunnel carved into a building at ground level to arrive at an adjacent street, in this case, you get to exit from an upper floor inside a building onto a steel bridge appended in between to get to the inside of an adjacent building’s upper floor.

I’ve heard our mayor wants to create a pedestrian plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue at Grand Central Terminal.

I believe this is the section of Vanderbilt where it might happen:

Prominade

What a great idea. I love walking around Vanderbilt in this area near 45th Street. The surrounding buildings are towering and protective. In this section of the avenue, its asphalt platform is centrally nested. I’m thrilled about this.

I’d spent enough time moseying around, shooting pictures and sightseeing like a tourist. But it was time to head back to work.

I decided my return route would be up Madison Avenue.

FOR THE WEIRDEST THING I SAW TODAY, THE AWARD GOES TO: “THE  DISPLAY WINDOW AT GRAND CENTRAL OPTICALS” for this digitally created “Head on a Stick.” What a concept.

WeirdAward

Only ten minutes left to get back to the office. I don’t know why I obsess over being punctual, but I do. And speaking

 of  punctual, I’d bet this man (below) is never late for anything. He plans ahead. He gives himself enough time. I can just tell. I’m like him.

HassidicMan

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2 Responses to “Lunchtime Walks in the City: The Lower Parts of Park”

  1. Austin Says:

    So many things looked so familiar. Reminded me it’s been a long time since I’ve been back to my hometown…

  2. Typehype Says:

    No matter where you wind up living, NYC is always your home town.

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