NYC Photo Journal Part II: Four Places to Visit This Summer – Chelsea Market. High Line Park. Chinatown. Veniero’s Pasticceria.
“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” ~ Rosalia de Castro
Manhattan offers a cornucopia of delights that keep us all up, buzzing around in search of the next great trend; basically any new thing. The City that never sleeps is a great place to wander around with friends; dashing here and there in search of good deals and discovering quaint and quality places.
As I stated in Part I of this blog post, anyone familiar with New York City will agree that there is much to see/do/eat here… and you don’t always have to spend tons of money to have a great time. On a recent sojourn through the city, I followed my muse to Chelsea Market, High Line Park, Chinatown, and Veniero’s Pasticceria. I had much fun and the results are shared in two posts. As always, NYC gives us plenty to keep our adventurous minds engaged and stimulated.
For the sake of brevity and to add more pictures, I split this post into two parts. Part I featured Chelsea Market & High Line Park. Part II will focus on Chinatown & Veniero’s Pasticceria.
As the largest and oldest ethnic Chinese community outside Asia, the borough of Manhattan’s Chinatown is a culturally rich and colorful enclave near Little Italy with windy cobble stoned streets doted up and down off Canal Street. The ever busy Canal Street is the doorway to Chinatown but much of the wares there while colorful and inexpensive are tourist attractions.
The real action – Chinatown’s best; fresh foods, rare delicacies, seamstresses, herbs and other wonderful artistic and cultural finds can be found off the beaten path on those narrow, windy, one way streets off Canal St. Geographically, Chinatown’s borders extend from Canal Street to the North (bordering Little Italy), The Bowery to the East (bordering the Lower East Side), Worth Street to the South, and Baxter Street to the West.
Ah Ken, a Cantonese businessman, is considered the first Chinese person to have permanently immigrated to Chinatown. He first arrived in New York around 1858 and started a cigar shop on Park Row. During the 1800 -1900s, the population of the area continued to grow as more people moved from the West Coast and other parts of the city to Chinatown.
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 meant that many who were ostracized found a home in Chinatown and the growth continued. The Federal Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 opened the door to an influx of people and Chinatown expanded as other business minded individuals seeking a new opportunity and success flocked there from other parts of the Asian continent.
Because Chinatown is close to Ground Zero, the events of 9/11 had a huge impact as roads were blocked and traffic slowed. Within two year though, the markets and vendors in the area were back into the swing of things and the crowds grew. By 2007, the real estate boom saw the development of condos and prices shot up causing an exodus of poorer residents who moved to other Chinese enclaves in Queens and elsewhere.
A recent trip to Chinatown reminded me of all the good things it offers those who take time to explore and enjoy the neighborhood. The Tasty Hand Pulled Noodle shop on Doyers Street is highly regarded for their fresh, made on site noodles dishes. The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is a neighborhood landmark. Plus, there are many places to visit and sights to see like Chatham Square, the Kim Lau Memorial Arch, Doyers Street and the Columbus Park Pavilion where performances and musicians often showcase their work…
Don’t be shy, take a leisurely stroll through town and lose yourself in the foods and finds of Chinatown..
Veniero’s Pasticceria & Café, an Italian bakery established in 1894 and located at 342 East 11th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenue, in the East Village, was the brainchild of Antonio Veniero, a master baker from the town of Sorrento in Italy. When the bakery opened in 1894, it was a gathering place to play pool and enjoy some baked treats.
Soon enough, people began to focus on the treats and orders flew in. As word of the delicious pastries and cakes served up at Veniero’s spread through this East village community, Antonio’s popularity grew and he won numerous awards for his desserts both here in the USA at The New York World’s Fair and abroad.
What makes Veniero’s a true NY landmark is that the bakery has been owned and operated by the Veniero family at the same location for over 100 years. In 1984, manager/family member Frank Zerilli, added an adjoining warm enclave, with a ceiling of stained-glass panels and the original pressed tin and changed the ovens from coal to gas.
On any given day of the week, you might find lines of people waiting to order or to be seated at Veniero’s. The staff is efficient and the desserts are traditional, old world Italian pastries and cakes.
I remember my first encounter with this quaint little bakery quite vividly. Several years ago, a few friends from my uptown college suggested a trip downtown for dessert. Once I stepped through the double wood-framed glass doors, I entered an old world, classic Italian, packed-to-the-ceiling dessert haven.
I would like to pretend we were particular and reserved in our selections that day. We weren’t. We ordered slices, cuts and cups of everything; satiating our taste buds with a dessert feast that remains imprinted in my memory bank. Interestingly enough, that evening I left with one particular dessert seared, well above the rest, in my brain – the very freshly made Tiramisu.
Veniero’s is famous for its traditional and regional Italian desserts. Popular items include their handmade Italian butter cookies, biscotti, cannoli, sfogliatelle, tiramisù, and a favorite New York staple – the cheesecake. They offer Italian gelato ices in a range of flavors and the fruit tarts are beautifully made. I like the Tiramisu, when made fresh, and a cup of creamy hot chocolate. They have lots to choose from so go visit and come share your experience with us.
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What are your thoughts? Do you have favorite haunting spots you like to visit in NYC? I would love to hear from you: Your comments are always appreciated. Thank You!
All photos ~ courtesy of my collection and/or Google Images
Until Next Time…
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