Service of New York City

July 19th, 2012

Categories: New York City, Tourism, Travel, Uncategorized


I love a lot of places around the world and have an affinity for cities. I was born and grew up in New York yet I don’t think I take it for granted.

I like hearing foreign languages when I walk down the street or enter a concert hall. I love cityscapes from office or residential windows. And for an exercise-lazy person like me, this is the perfect place because I race around and walk miles without noticing it. There’s so much going on to distract me in the street and in shop windows that it’s as easy to exercise as to sip a milkshake.

Here are a few more things about New York that I like especially:

Crazy good ideas such as the setup–photo above–that I happened by  last week, between 5th and 6th Avenues, a block from Rockefeller Center. I don’t know if the man on the stool charges for sips. The sink contraption is connected to a fire hydrant–he’s leaning on it. He thought of filling a bowl with water for dogs as well.

nyny-vuillardsmall3We get museum exhibits that feature favorite artists such as Edouard Vuillard. Advertised in the subway, it’s easy to stay abreast and not miss any.



nyny-breadssmall1I adore bread. As a child, tasty bread in this city was nonexistent. You had to go abroad for toothsome options.  Now we have so many delicious types it’s manna heaven.




nyny-bagels-small1Bagels are a favorite–poppy or plain–toasted with butter, sigh. There’s a bagel for every taste. This is the variety in one store.




nyny-pizzasmall199 cent pizza made by a Sikh [whom you don’t see because he’s behind the exiting customers]. We took out Mexican food for years from a place where the cooks and owners were Chinese.




Most people love the place they are from or where they now live. What do you like best about where you are or were born?


16 Responses to “Service of New York City”

  1. David Reich Said:

    I love New York for the reasons you cite and so much more.

    I also love the suburban New York town where I grew up and still live — Mount Vernon. It still has a small-town feel, even though it’s a 75,000-person city.

  2. Anonymous Said:

    I was born here, left at the age of four, came back at 38, and have now lived here 22 years. Because my best memories are those first years in New York City, it was like returning home to come back. And there’s so much I just love about NYC, don’t know where to start. Also, where I’m working right now across from Bowling Green, is a special area inside a special city. So special squared.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Sounds as though you have the best of both worlds!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Amazing that you can remember a place you lived in at age four so vividly!

    Both you and David make me think about all the things I left out….restaurants, theatre, music, friends…

  5. Diane Baranello, Coaching for Distinction Said:

    I love how every neighborhood has its own unique culture, cuisine, shopping. I love NYC because I’m continually ‘discovering’ great places to eat. I love dropping into amazing museums that allow me to experience the work of great artists. I recently visited the National Academy Museum, tucked into the Archer M Huntington Townhouse, and saw am amazing exhibit of women artists and drawings by Mary Cassatt. The Guggenheim down the street had lines of people around the building while I enjoyed a quiet experience in a beautiful building. I take my camera with me almost everywhere I go and photograph the City’s architecture. NYC is a privileged experience!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I would love to see a few of your favorite shots of NYC architecture and plan a followup post featuring highlights and what it is you most admire about what you’ve captured.

    Thank you for the tip about the Mary Cassatt exhibit at the National Academy Museum!

    Speaking of privilege, the word you used about being here, you never know who you’ll meet in NYC. On the 4th of July, we were on a crosstown bus on our way to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. My husband was reading a book about or by Rudolph Bing, manager of The Metropolitan Opera company for a quarter of a century. A stranger, who recognized the book cover, came up to him and told us that he’d been Bing’s assistant in the day. On the way to the museum–where he was also going–he shared some stories. As Cindy Adams ends some of her columns, “Only in NY, Kids, Only in NY.”

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    It all depends who one is talking to. There’s a difference between the amenities of a comfortable home and a hovel on the borders of a malaria infested swamp. Considering the millions who live under deplorable conditions compared to the privileged few, one could argue that most people don’t love where they come from one bit! That said, I’m happy fate didn’t dump me in the swamp, unless I was born an alligator!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    So true, Lucrezia,

    I so often wonder how and if I would have survived as a child of parents who suffered from disease and starvation in a country with a terrible climate and little hope of growing food or escaping horrific circumstances.

    When I saw the man seated on the stool in front of his NYC water contraption, [the photo at the top of the post], along with, “Only in NY,” I thought how creative he was and decided, then, to celebrate some of the things I appreciate about this place.

  9. Diane Baranello, Coaching for Distinction Said:

    Jeanne, your post inspired me…I love NYC for all its wondrous sights, it’s shiny buildings, its historic places, and the stew of people that crowd the streets. I love your bus story. There are lots of stories-in-the-making on NYC buses. You should consider writing a post about serendipitous meetings with strangers.

    The National Academy Museum is a true find…a secret…and, you may stop right next door at Heavely Rest for a cup of coffee and a small bite. It’s a little eatery that’s part of the neighboring Church and you can sit outside while you enjoy your snack and watch the dog walkers (there are many), the tourists, folks headed to the park…I forget the name of the Gate that’s just across the street…oh, yes, Mariner’s Gate.

    Did you know Central Park has named 20 Gates into the Park … so interesting …

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I was born and brought up here and I’ve lived here most of my life but didn’t know about the named gates.

    I love your idea for a post, but may have to depend on others for examples as my mind is currently blank [apart from the July 4th instance]. I navigate a walkable area of the city for the most part and am not on public transportation as much as I once was.

  11. Nenaghgal Said:

    I love coming back for a visit- it was my home for 15 years until I left it all for Ireland. Yesterday walking around the city I too spotted that fire hydrant contraption in Union Square – what a great idea. I wasn’t born here but I love it and I love visiting now – the colour- the buzz – the vibrancy – the culture – love it – miss it but also love my new home.

  12. Domenico "Dom" Gargiulo Said:

    As a second generation Neapolitan with a New York born mother, one of my favorite stories about the city happened many years ago when we were all much younger and ethnic differences in the city were more pronounced than they are now.

    For some reason, a bunch of friends had stopped by for drinks, and as it was approaching nine o’clock, I suggested we go out and get a bite to eat at Piro’s, a new “hole in the wall” Italian restaurant in the neighborhood, which served pretty good spaghetti. We got there, sat down to order and soon discovered that the place had run out of pasta.

    A Sicilian-American friend who was with us was horrified. How could a restaurant called Piro’s ever run out of pasta? He insisted on speaking to Piro or whomever was in charge, and out came a cheerful looking heavy set fellow in checked pants and a tomato sauce splattered open collared chef’s white jacket. My friend asked him courteously, in Italian, what was going on. An Italian restaurant, which couldn’t produce a plate of spaghetti, was unthinkable.

    The presumed Mr. Piro explained in English. He and his wife, who it turned out came from the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, had always dreamed of owning a restaurant, and were operating this one on a tight budget. They had had a great night and just plain run out. Then, with a twinkle in his dark eyes, he went on to tell us that he wasn’t really Italian either. Someone asked, “But the name?” He answered, “My name is Shapiro.”

    This tale has a happy ending. Mr. Shapiro offered us the use of his telephone to see if we could find a restaurant that was still open and served spaghetti. We called Jo Jo at the old Villa Pensa on Grand Street, which for decades had been the best restaurant (and the best bargain) in Little Italy. Jo Jo said to come on down, but hurry, and unexpectedly we all had a great meal instead of just a “bite to eat.”

    We went back to Piro’s occasionally after that. Such a success was it that before long it moved to much fancier digs in the neighborhood! On the other hand, Villa Pensa, which will always have a special place in my heat since it was where I took my wife on our first date, was less lucky. It is now a Chinese butcher shop. But that’s New York. No place quite like it.

  13. Domenico "Dom" Gargiulo Said:


    I LOVE your story and am so glad that Mr. Piro/Shapiro’s business was a great success! The way so many of us slip in and out of nationalities here is both charming and delicious! It’s not just with food; we also share celebrations and traditions. We have Protestant friends who don’t miss a seder or Christmas Eve at a Catholic church.

  14. EAM Said:

    About 10 years ago, I took a number of walking tours throughout NYC with Paul Rush who is one of the best tour guides I’ve had. He does mostly private tours now. With him, I explored the Ramble in Central Park and the upper parts to see the gardens. I really loved learning about the history and treasures of the different areas of the city– Greenwich village was very interesting to explore.

  15. Jeanne Byington Said:


    What a great idea even for those of us who have lived here for eons. There is so much to learn and what better way than seeing in person what you’re learning about!

  16. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The contraption is on wheels hence is portable. I didn’t realize its owner placed it in different spots in the city. Wonder if he has a license!

    When people return to the city after being away a while they often tell me how crowded it seems. I usually don’t notice it as I’m always here, though today, walking through Grand Central Station it was almost impossible to transverse the floor. I thought of the old saw, about being as crowded–or was it as busy–as Grand Central Station, but even I was taken aback by the zillions of people there!

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