April 13, 2014

Blown away a few weeks ago by this off-the beaten path American landmark. The Museum at Eldridge Street housed inside the Eldridge Street Synagogue.

It is at once oversized with character and stunningly intimate. It’s simultaneously the living footprint of immigrant old-world New York and breathtakingly fresh for eyes never seen. I’m rarely surprised by anything in the Big Apple yet this sanctuary, every inch photographic and historic, left me in awe.

It’s the most “churchy” Jewish house of worship I’ve ever seen and I love that. It’s nod to the ornate is a result of the synagogue being an innovation in New York and in America when it was built in the very late 1800s. It was bold and grandiose in the sense that Jews who were fleeing persecution in Europe could finally declare proudly this is where we worship this is where we are free.

A somewhat funny anecdote carved into the benches is the “trefoil” symbol. That marker generally captures the Christian theme of the Trinity but back then the builders likely, unknowingly, purchased them from an outlet selling church benches because that was all that was available.
It was groundbreaking. No real temples had been build in the US before.

NY always ahead of its time.

March 30, 2014
Fat NYC Pigeon reaches for healthy snack in hopes of slimming down for spring .

Fat NYC Pigeon reaches for healthy snack in hopes of slimming down for spring .

January 31, 2014

#Bikinis LES

January 30, 2014
Third Generation New Yorkers ❤️ Katz’s .

Third Generation New Yorkers ❤️ Katz’s .

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January 30, 2014

Essex Market, Lower East Side. Heritage Meats.

January 9, 2014
#NY #Transit

#NY #Transit

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September 10, 2013
Freegan score of the day. Vintage Gucci Wallet !

Freegan score of the day. Vintage Gucci Wallet !

July 31, 2013
A major freegan score today!

A perfect condition Le Creuset 3.75 quart oval stoneware, green. Retail price $60-$75… My New York City, found on curb in Bed-Stuy price? Gratis.

Another reason to love stumbling on goods in New York.

A major freegan score today!

A perfect condition Le Creuset 3.75 quart oval stoneware, green. Retail price $60-$75… My New York City, found on curb in Bed-Stuy price? Gratis.

Another reason to love stumbling on goods in New York.

February 3, 2013
Of course, “gourmet!”

Of course, “gourmet!”

December 24, 2012

Coquito Confidential

The holiday season is about giving and good cheer so you are welcome in advance for this underground gem I’m about to hand you on a silver platter. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

But first, you need to know that this morning I had a rich delicious coffee splashed with Coquito. Earlier in the week I began drinking it straight up and by the time Christmas and New Year’s Eve are but a sweet memory, the current supply I have will be demolished.

A Christmas in NYC is not complete for me without La Reina (The Queen) of Christmas cocktails— Coquito, a creamy, dreamy Spanish-Caribbean created cocktail that I would equate to Egg Nog.

Serena Medrano has been serving up the beverage for more than three decades in her Essex Street apartment and before that in her native Dominican Republic. Even though we are friends she won’t tell me exactly how long she’s been turning out batches of the rum drink, and she definitely won’t tell me her secret recipe. The only detail I could squeak out of her is that her rum of choice is Bacardi.

What I do get when Coquito passes my lips is a creamy sweet texture without cloying sweetness. The sharp alcohol cuts the sweetness but complements the experience. Crushed nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla round out the spice notes. They float around in the milky liquid I’m pretty sure consists of sweetened condensed milk and other yumminess. It’s best served chilled and it’s easy to over-indulge because it’s so sweet and smooth.

Traditionally, I call ahead and then pick up at her apartment. We always exchange pleasantries, kiss (on both cheeks of course) and then she asks “how many bottles?” It’s always a surprise which recycled bottle I’ll get. A wine container or an old soda bottle can hide away this creamy concoction. It’s not uniform in presentation but always spot on in flavor and generosity of booze. Serena swaddles the bottles in newspaper and gives you a plastic bag. We talk a bit more, my kids run around her apartment, I yell at them, she gives them small trinkets to play with and we all wish each other a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. At this point I can’t wait to get home to crack open her brew.

I promise you this underground, homemade drink will make you the most popular kid at any holiday party. It’s twenty-five bucks a bottle. Cash only obviously, worth every penny.

The deets are below:

Serena Medrano 212.529.6740

115 Essex Street, NYC

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