Our new six-pack of guides to New York has awoken the travel bug, always a light sleeper, it is now positively itching for adventure. Instead of boarding the next plane we’ve chosen a favourite place from each of the guides, one we’d like to visit now were our obligations not keeping us in autumnal London.
Glaser’s Bake Shop
Like Asterix’s Gaulish village that resisted the might of Rome, so Glaser’s holds out against the pervasive cupcake, offering instead strudels, challah, and their renowned black and white cookies. The shop was opened by a German ex-pat in 1902, and is today run by his grandsons from the same premises, whose modish mid-century frontage hides an earlier, equally appealing dark wood and white tiled interior.
Arturo’s Coal Oven Pizza
Established in 1957, Arturo’s looks so perfectly Naked City that you expect to find Robert Stack or John Cassavetes slurping a forkful of spaghetti carbonara. The pizzas, hot out of the coal-fired oven, are tops and the décor is classic Village-eclectic, with well-worn wooden booths, a bathtub in the restroom, and kooky paintings on the walls. For those allergic to canned music, a jazz duo is usually hunkered down around the piano during dinner hours.
From Writing Manhattan
Dawn Powell never got the breaks nor the top tier rating she merited; sexism and rotten luck interfered. She’s honored with a plaque 9 East 10th Street, one of her many Village residences. In Powell’s 1948 novel The Locusts Have No King, Sheridan Square, a crossroads chockablock with bars, comes to life with neon glare as “Rubberleg Square, so-called because of the high percentage of weak-kneed pedestrians.”
Great Jones Café
Today Great Jones Street is bustling with restaurants and shops, but long ago in the early 1980s this block between Bowery and Lafayette was deserted at night except for a firehouse and later, the Great Jones Café. CBGB was just a few blocks away and The Jones became a popular annex. A tiny joint with Louisiana cooking and solid bartending (margaritas, cajun bloody Marys) and good beer. An added attraction is the wonderful jukebox, brimming with goodies, from Lowell Fulson and Ernie K-Doe to The Sonics and The dB’s – and all on genuine vinyl 45s.
Over the course of a century, the Bamonte family has made their Italian-American restaurant a Williamsburg landmark. While the bar is generally a pre-dinner meeting spot rather than a destination, it is such a delightful experience it deserves full attention. Bartending, like everything else here, is time-honoured clockwork. And you’ll enjoy the regulars (who live and breathe Brooklyn no matter where they may have moved on or up to) exchanging greetings in anticipation of another dinner at Bamonte’s. It won’t be long before you’ll cave and ask for a table.
From Eating Queens
M. Wells Dinette @ P.S. 1/MoMA
The cafeteria at P.S.1, a contemporary and experimental art museum housed in a decommissioned city school, is the appropriately wacky setting for M. Wells Dinette, the invention of an alumnus of Montreal’s meatventurous Au Pied de Cochon. Served at rigid classroom desks, the daily selections will surely rouse the jaded diner with curiosities like Fois Gras & Oats or Pork Belly with Pickled Olives. Somewhat goofy in that uber-foodie way, but you can’t argue with tasty, as all ingredients, food and drink, are first-rate. School rule: Leave the picky eaters at home.