A Pre-Fathers Day Ramble ( long....no pics)
THe original idea was on Father's Day Dad(me) and Daughter who lives in NYC would get together for the afternoon, a long lunch and a few sites since Mom had to work on Sunday.
Realizing Momma Nature hates it when someone is being deprived, we changed the plans to Sat and included Mom. Sat weather was supposed to be nice; Sunday wretched.
Perfect idea! Weather in the mid 80's, Sunny, and with enough of a river breeze to keep from getting too hot. Mom and I set off for the Wilmington DE train station (no driving if we were gonna be sipping as well as tasting) at 9AM on Amtrak, only to find the train cancelled. We got to Penn Station about 1.4 hours late, but several calls let my daughter sleep in.
She whisked us through the station, over to the subway, and we were off for about a 30-40 min jaunt, still not having seen a bit of NYC sunshine ( nor a chance for Dad to grab a smoke!) to Brooklyn. While dad lived in NYC(Manhattan) some ...omg!!!!!....38 years ago.it was nice having someone who knew all the tunnels under Penn Station and the right trains to catch.....and had the transit card to get us thru ($2.25 is current fare!). Several train changes and we arrived in the upper section of Williamsburg. Once a dismal area, now is quite nice and the street where we emerged was closed off for some sort of Saturday Festival. We had planned to go back later to see, but like any ramble, things changed. It looked like fun.
Our Destination was about a 6 block walk toward the river to the Brooklyn Flea. NYC natives can tell you more about this, but today it was a food only even near East River Park. There were about 40 vendors in all and a wide array of offerings......not one hot dog stand after another! BBQ yes, a few.but so many nationalities and regional treats that is was one of the best assortments of food vendor I have ever encountered. From Lobster rolls to wood fired pizza to all sorts of Ethnic dishes.along with folks selling cookies, baked goods, home-made drinks and sauces. A real treat! Mom, being the least adventurous, settled on a Greek Salad after we had walked the lot. My daughter had some great fried chicken that she actually allowed me to have a bite. I was going to go for a Korean BBQ but next to the Chicken place, there were 2 guys selling American BBQ that smelled heavenly. I settled for a McRib Sandwich which was pulled pork on a bun .in between a sandwich and a slider. and ordered the side of cornbread, only because i adore it. All this was washed down with their "not quite sweet" Tea which was very good!
Momma then had a hankering for Pizza so we went back down to the vendors where they were cooking pizzas over a portable wood fired grill!...Superb! At that point I noticed a river ferry landing close by and since my daughter knew nothing about it, we went to explore. Turns out there are several that "miss NYC" had no clue about. The one we took starts at 34th St. on the manhattan side, makes about 5 stops on the brooklyn side, then ends up back at Wall St./Seaport Museum (or you can go on to Governors Island). for $4 each it was one of the best buys in all of NYC! A lovely day, under some bridges, down the East river..gorgeous views!
When we landed at the Seaport, it was still coming back from Hurricane Sandy. Most of the shops and bars were still closed, but a few have come back, to our delight, tho, the Seaport Flea was coming back with kiosks for food, drinks, and goodies. Folks said the water was 9 feet high in the hurricane.that would it put it over the top of most kiosks...and why all the posh stores are still cleaning up.
We almost had the lobster Roll in Brooklyn from Red Hook Lobster Pound. Fortunately, they had a booth at the Seaport too! The gals.who both grew up summers in Maine...got the Maine style that is a lobster salad style with a nice scallion/sauce. I could have opted to show them up with a CT style with only butter, but decided to get a glass of wine instead ($8 but a full plastic cup that i had to sip before carrying!). Rolls were $16 and both had nice top-split grilled buns. I now understand why Red Hook Lobster Pound gets such high marks! BTW...most of the Seaport places were also at the Brooklyn Flea.
However..one that was not..........was outside the "food/drink" area up with the regular kiosks. It was a Gelato stand and for $5 you could literally get to heaven without dying! They make it in the European style and claim to be the only ones in NYC that do it. The gals both got a cone, dad sampled. The beauty of the thing is it looks like a rose on top of the cone especially with contrasting colors. very good, lovely to look at, delicious to taste! This one is worth seeking out!
After all that, I suggested a walk over to Battery Park..which also suffered Sandy damage but has enough space open to enjoy a great view. Trips to Ellis Island and the Statue are still on hold, but you can get boat(s) that will circle them. Was great fun walking through the canyons of Capitalism. we came across the "BULL"....must have been 50 ppl lined up to be phototgraphed with it- both front and backside!!!
Had to Giggle in a way........I'm not sure any of the vendors selling all those patriotic items on the street ( and the illegals in the park that were all packed up and eyeing the rangers), were more than first generation citizens........if that.
My daughter then suggested a walk up the west side of lower Manhattan along the Hudson. what a treat! I lived there and never knew this walk/park way ever existed. The vegetation and flora are outstanding and there are several interesting spots to see down roads and in buildings. The world financial Center in Particular! And some awesome boats in the marina there!
We had a late/early "something".....lunch, dinner.whatever at a place called the Merchants Riverhouse Cafe. A Beautiful spot! Awesome views! Reasonable prices. Great Staff. They have both indoor and outside seating. We opted for indoors as there a number of "tired" kids ( at 3:30 PM) scattered thruout the outdoor pavilion. I wish i could say the food was spectacular..........but............not to be. service was nice and the gal very pleasant. I ordered a simple burger with fries......it wasn't until someone else delivered the food that I noticed it was not my order. The burger had ketchup or BBQ on it and bacon and onions that I didn't order. no big deal and i said OK.but made sure the "other guy" didn't get my order. They had offered to replace it. The cone of fries, though had a "fried bit" in it that never saw a potato. Looked like maybe a bit of Fried chicken (not on the menu), or maybe a tiny shrimp (also not on the menu). Who knows? The very thin cut fries were really good , so i let it pass. My daughter's mussels looked good, but some looked rubbery and she let them pass. They were happy to provide extra bread for the sauce mop-up. Drinks were........watery. Two salads, one burger, one mussels...and 2 rounds of drinks came to about $90...not bad.....but would have been better if it was what we ordered.
We finalized with a further walk up the park that is a hidden gem of NYC. There is a PJ Clarke's a bit further up that we might have liked more. all and all. a wonderful time where each of us learned something new about NYC!
Sounds like a great day.
For future reference the open air market on the Williamsburg waterfront is Smorgasburg. They are there on Saturdays. The Brooklyn Flea is in the same space on Sundays and is less food focused.
You also found yourself at South Seaport's Smorgasburg offshoot, called SmorgasBar. It is brand new and did not exist before Sandy. It is open everyday.
The outdoor gelato cart there is named Amorino. They also have another location near Washington Square Park. Not sure what their "European" style claim is all about as we have places like Grom and Eataly here, both from Italy.
Further north from PJ Clarke's is Blue Smoke, North End Grill, and Shake Shack, which you might have enjoyed even more.