Lunchtime Walks in the City: Back to the Fifties

Lately, work has been s-l-o-w. Hardly any mail coming in. Even the big boss is slacking off. This past week, there were time I’ve been forced to “look busy.” I hate that. I might as well work for Macys where, at least, I could fold shirts.

All the more reason I needed to get out of the office at lunchtime. Or I would have gone i-n-s-a-n-e. After the last two years of wondering: What happened to Spring?!, the weather in the city this April and May could not be more beautiful.

As a result, I haven’t done much exploring on concrete this week, mostly due to the lure of Central Park — where I’ve strolled, bird -watched (the past two days, I saw red wing blackbirds, female cardinal (that hopped right up to me as I sat on a bench) and a red-headed, black and white woodpecker. And those blooming azaleas! Fuschia, white, crimson…breathtaking, all.

But…on Tuesday, I did engage in a lunchtime walk. I had some fun.

As usual, I started out on Fifth Ave. Walked to 55th Street, turned left. 55th was a street I’d not yet explored in any depth. As soon as I crossed over Madison and headed east, I spotted this building. Who knows why the  signs are posted on Eleanor’s Building and who cares. Her reason is probably not as interesting as your imagination:


When I reached Lexington Avenue, I turned right. An interesting looking church was on the corner of 54th Street — St. Peter’s. I checked it out.St.Petses

Next to the entrance to the church on 54th St., a Powerpoint slide presentation (confession: I loathe Powerpoint slide presentations — for their lack of imagination and interest, their preponderance of BLUE and orange, their boring subtitles in an ugly font, their much too much generic ado about NOTHING of any fascination whatsoever …) was being  projected through the window.

The title slide:


So bad, but, still, I went inside.  When I asked the women seated at the reception desk where the “art show” was, she gave me a weird look and said, “Downstairs.”

Before descending the stairs, I drifted toward the railing because music was playing. Peering down into what looked to be the altar pit, I saw a quartet in the middle of a chamber piece.

QuartetBeautiful music in unexpected places is my favorite kind of surprise. I listened for a while before taking the stairs to the lower level.

Shortly after twelve noon, it was lunchtime at the Senior Center — the venue of  the art exhibit.  The “Granny” of Granny Peace must have been one of the seniors eating lunch. In order to look at the paintings, I had to squeeze behind a regiment of folding chairs filled with octogenarians eating meatloaf and macaroni and cheese. It smelled like the hospital in there.

One old guy stared right at me as if I were some interloper from Mars or I might steal his lunch. I have to be honest. The art exhibit (painterly senior citizens brandishing signs protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) was truly awful. I made a cursory tour of the back wall (so as not to offend) and go out of there.

Back on the street, this panel truck was parked at the curb:

FigliaandSonsThe name of the company struck me. Figlia means “daughter” in Italian; therefore: “Daughter and Sons.” I liked that.

Suffering through the “Granny Peace” art exhibit increased my appetite for grunge. After all, it was lunchtime.  I headed toward Second Avenue.

Look at this vibrant storefront:

LesSansGreat name, too. (French, for “those with no pants,” or something to that effect)

Unfortunately, the restaurant was out of business:

LostOurLeaseSee you soon?

Walking down 59th Street, I crossed over Second Avenue beneath the cables of the Roosevelt Is. tram.  I like this section of town. It’s a little dark and spooky. Like reaching the end of the road.


I crossed beneath the overpass supporting the cars and trucks merging onto the bridge. The area was sketchy and remote, in stark contrast to where I had started out, back on Fifth Avenue.


Some interesting business establishments on this side of Second Avenue.

AtomicWingsThe Chinese take-out delivery boy’s bicycle

And an environmentally conscious Chinese take-out joint, for that matter:

LetsBeGreen“Let’s be green” with the Atomic Wings Chinese take-out — could not be more unappetizing. Reminds me of mold.

A few doors down:

HookahCafeThe local Hookah Cafe – love the covered windows – how inviting

And around the corner:

PigeonGhettoPigeon ghetto

The Blue Room Bar and Grill (so old school, Bar and Grill – the stuff of my father’s generation. While in his thirties, my father tended bar on weekends at my uncle Prospero’s “bar and grill” in Queens).


The Blue Room posted this message to their patrons in their window:

DearPatronsBe careful not to cause vandalism…we trust your cooperation on the matter !!!

The last good sighting of my lunch hour occurred on 60th St. on my way back to work:

SubwayInnWhat a beautiful old relic of a building — atomic wings are popular around here!

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2 Responses to “Lunchtime Walks in the City: Back to the Fifties”

  1. Javaman Says:

    The preponderance of Atomic wing in todays piece piqued my curiosity. After googling a bit, I found out, and I’m sure you would be glad to know, that they also come in a vegetarian variety. Now THAT sounds appetizing. LOL

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