New York City 2017: Day 3

First, the two highlights of the day…

Clinton Street Baking Company: So I gave in and actually waited until 9AM for breakfast this morning, and stood outside in the cold for 30 minutes, all to have what have been called the “best pancakes in New York City”. Since they are also the only pancakes I’ve had here, they lived up to their reputation. They were also some of the best pancakes I’ve had anywhere. With my sweet tooth for breakfast, that’s saying a lot. They were perfectly crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy inside. And they were served with… wait for it… maple butter syrup. I had mine with blueberries, which not only had blueberries baked in but also had a hearty ladleful of blueberry compote on top. Scrumptious!

Clinton Street
Clinton Street Baking Co.

The Tenement Museum: This museum would probably not have made the cut were it not for the recommendation of a friend and some persuasive online reviews. It’s just a few blocks from the Clinton St. Baking Co. in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As soon as I stepped out of the subway, it was obvious this was a much different part of the city. Not worse, just grittier and more raw. This is where the immigrants landed in droves, and where many second and third generation immigrant families still make their home.

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Lower East Side

You can only visit the museum with a guide, but there are several different tours to choose from, each lasting about an hour. The tours take place inside 97 Orchard Street, a tenement building housing 20 tiny apartments on five floors. The building was abandoned in the 1930s and vacant (except for businesses on the first floor) until it was discovered and turned into a museum in 1988. The first tour I took, “Hard Times”, explored the lives of a German-Jewish family (the Gumpertz family) in the 1870s and an Italian-Catholic family (the Baldizzi family) living there in the 1930s, while the second tour, “Irish Outsiders” told the story of the Moore family in the 1860s. Both tours visited parts of the building that were left exactly as they were found along with parts restored to look like they would during the times when the various families were living there. It was a great way to learn about what life was like for immigrant families coming to New York City.

Although I was completely out of my element in the city for three days, it was a great long weekend getaway. And despite the hustle and bustle all around me, I still found some quiet spots in the city to avoid the crowds. Now back to reality…

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Wisdom on the sidewalks of NYC!