New York City restaurant carts in Battery Park area are a foodie's dream...
NEW YORK - So many restaurants so little time. Yeah, it's a common concern. So the folks in the Big Apple have come up with a way to at least sample a few spots, all from one handy - and pretty cheap - location. Starting Memorial Day weekend, they've had three large "carts" set up at the edge of the Hudson River next to the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan, a stone's throw from the World Trade Centre site. They've put up representations of three well-known New York dining spots - Ed's Lobster Bar, Harry's Italian and Quality Burger.The views from the surrounding parks and restaurants over to the booming Jersey City area are stunning, and the food is terrific.I tried a little from each spot on Friday and came away quite impressed. Here's a brief rundown:
- $8 at Harry's got me an outstanding grilled chicken sandwich on fresh panini bread with a thick slice of mozzarella cheese, sweet red peppers, a balsamic dressing and sliced garlic cloves. Yum. Plus a Diet Coke. They also have sausage and peppers and a hero sandwich and hope to add pizza if they can figure a way to keep it hot. There were three kids from the nearby Mercantile Exchange buying lunch for their bosses.
"They do a good job," one kid told me. "And the boss gives me a free lunch."
The regular Harry's, oddly enough, is right across the street from the hotel I'm staying at, Gild Hall by Thompson. More on that in a future edition of the Star, and so far it's been good and a little bad.
- Next up in the smorgasbord al fresco du jour was a half a cheeseburger at Quality Burger, which seems to have the biggest lines. For $10 I got a cheeseburger and a Budweiser. It was a pretty good burger; homemade and just slightly less than medium on the cooking scale. They also do hot dogs and serve thick shakes.- Finally, it was a lobster roll from Ed's with thick slices of lobster in a light mayo with tiny, sliced green onions for $15 (three ounces). A tad heavy for my tastes but very good lobster. They also had a nice grilled shrimp skewer, with three tasty shrimps for $6. A tad expensive, I'd say, which is maybe why folks flock to the burger spot and to Harry's.
The carts will be open until Oct. 31, usually from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., so check them out."It's great for business people," said Ed's Lobster owner Ed McFarland, who has his main restaurant in SoHo. "But locals also come down for lunch, and at night some people bring their families and have a picnic by the river."
The parks in the area are stunning; just wonderful, with pines and weeping willows and wandering paths amid bright orange lilies and wild Alberta rose bushes. There's some cool architecture and wooden platforms for walking, as you can see in the photo at right.
If you haven't checked out Lower Manhattan in a while, you should. Along with the parks there's wonderful history, including Federal Hall, where George Washington was sworn in as first U.S. president, and Trinity Church, with wonderful old tombstones and lovely flowers and tombs of Alexander Hamilton, among others. There's a lot more going on in terms of restaurants and bars than you might think, and because it's not laid out on a grid it's more intimate than mid-town. Curving streets, small alleys and lots of museums, including a Jewish history museum and one dedicated to Native Americans, which I'd love to check out next time I have more, well, time.
Wall Street is always fun to check out, whether it's the stock exchange building or the other powerful
reminders of America's high finance. If you wander down to Battery Park City you'll get great views of the Statue of Liberty. And there's also Castle Clinton. But you might want to watch out for old guys in small bathing suits.
Had dinner Thursday night on Stone St. in lower Manhattan, said to be the first paved street in New York City. It's only a block or so long, but they close it off to vehicle traffic and the whole street is a giant party. Thursday night at 9 p.m. it was a madhouse, with all the restaurants and pubs on the street (at least eight or ten) chock full with young folks drinking beers on the sidewalk or at the tables set up on the street. It was like being in Europe, and not really like anything I've seen in Toronto outside of perhaps the Esplanade, although you can't stand in the street there and drink your Stella. I hadn't heard about it until recently, but Old New York hands say it's well-known.WELL, I GUESS TORONTO IS SOUTH IF YOU LIVE IN WINNIPEG
The hotel I'm at, Gild Hall on Gold St., not far from the N.Y. Stock Exchange and close to the South St. Seaport, has a "moods" setting on the TV where they show pretty pictures to put you in a nice, relaxed state. One is called Hubble Telescope, which is pretty self explanatory. Another features wild animals and another has mountain photos. Very nice.I turned on one called Northern Flair and there was a quick pic of Niagara Falls, then the Rockies, then Lake Louise, A few shots later was the Washington Monument, then later the Golden Gate Bridge. And, then...wait for it...the Arizona desert.
"Northern" Flair? Well, they're all north of Mexico, I guess.
The hotel is quite nice, although service on Friday night was terrible. I didn't have enough hangers in the closet, so I asked for some more on my way to dinner. 90 minutes later, no hangers. I called again. 20 minutes went by and it was time for bed, so I said just bring them at 8 a.m. And I also left my shoes at the door and asked for a shine, which they say they provide.
I got up at 7:50 and they hadn't taken the shoes. They didn't bring the hangers, either, until I called down. This time the clerk was hugely apologetic. The hangers were here in seconds, as was a cable for my Internet. And they took away my shoes. So we'll see....
The bar/pub looks quite inviting, so I'm trying that tonight. If it's not so great, I can always get another chicken sandwich from Harry's across the street!
I'm attending a travel blogger's conference at NYU this weekend. I'll have more from New York on Monday...
Air Canada today welcomed the signing of an agreement between China and Canada by which the Government of
China has granted Canada Approved Destination Status, making it easier for Chinese nationals to visit Canada.
The agreement comes as Air Canada doubles its capacity between Toronto and China beginning this fall with the
introduction of daily flights year-round to Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, in addition to its year-round flights
between Vancouver and all three cities.
"Canada's new status as Approved Destination by the Chinese government opens significant opportunities for
Air Canada to further build on our already extensive service to China and Asia. It makes Canada an even more
attractive destination for business and leisure travel, resulting in significant economic spin-offs for the
Canadian economy and for the Canadian tourism sector in particular," said Duncan Dee, Executive Vice President
and Chief Operating Officer at Air Canada. "After many years of negotiations between Canada and China, today's
signing of Approved Destination Status for Canada marks an important milestone in strengthening our longstanding
ties and facilitating trade and tourism between our two countries. I wish to express our thanks to the
Prime Minister and the Government of Canada for making ADS a reality."