Images from New York, springtime visit edition.

Ramps at the Union Square Greenmarket

Anytime I have an opportunity to go to New York I usually jump on it, and when I realized that our most recent trip would coincide with ramp season and I could get some for myself at the Union Square Greenmarket? To say I was buzzing with excitement would be a complete understatement. 

Tracks Oyster Bar, no longer in Penn Station but by Penn Station

We started our time in the city by grabbing lunch at Tracks Oyster Bar by Penn Station. This used to be located within Penn Station itself–right by the entrance to the 1/2/3 subways–but closed on account of all of the renovations going on in Penn Station. They ended up moving to a new space across the street, and I understand now why people actually got upset when this place initially closed because it’s charming in its unpretentiousness. 

The old Gimbels building on 31st Street.

One of the things that I love about New York is that there’s always something fun to spot that you might not have noticed before. After lunch we took a walk around Midtown, and while walking down 31st Street we saw the old ghost sign for the defunct department store Gimbels, and then we could spot their sky bridge that’s still around and as gorgeous as ever. Later in the week I took a short trip down to the Fairway in Chelsea to stock up on vinegars and the like and found myself for the first time walking through the Flower District when all of the plants were in full bloom. To be surrounded by so many beautiful flowers and plants offered a moment of tranquility that I wasn’t expecting, but welcomed all the same.

The stained glass ceiling at John’s Pizzeria in Times Square

Even Times Square has some hidden gems among all of the corporate chaos one associates with it. You wouldn’t know it from its unassuming storefront, but John’s Pizzeria is actually in a decommissioned church, complete with stained glass windows. I had a little snack of some Sicilian hot wings there to justify my taking photographs, and they were quite tasty! Another unexpected experience is the sound installation “Times Square” by Max Neuhaus. It’s located by 45th/46th Street and Broadway, right by the Sephora, and I highly recommend you check it out the next time you’re in town. Resembling a persistent drone sound, you’ll know you’ve found it when it effectively blocks out most of the other ambient noise around you and it’s both engrossing and unsettling. 

The New Yorker sandwich from All’antico Vinaio

What might be the best thing about staying in Times Square, however, is how close we are to one of the must-visit sandwich shops in the city: All’antico Vinaio. The original location is in Florence, Italy, and they opened their first permanent US location in Hell’s Kitchen after a successful popup. You know this place is good because there’s a good 20-30 minute line to place an order for one of their sandwiches, and I’ll say that the wait is totally justified because they really are that good. Built on fluffy focaccia and dressed with various cream spreads, meats, cheeses, and vegetables, they are just so flavorful and satisfying and the sandwiches are also pretty enormous to boot. I cannot wait to go back there and try more of their sandwiches!

Walking around Greenwich Village post-ramps and post-Katz’s

But what of the ramps? The Union Square Greenmarket is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and so we knew the only day that would really work to get them would be on Wednesday morning. I came prepared with lots of paper towels and storage bags to keep them viable, and since I forgot that our hotel didn’t have mini-fridges we had to get creative with storage using our air conditioner and the ice bucket and those most paper towels and they stayed viable through our trip home Friday morning. We headed out pretty early on Wednesday morning and I scored five bunches for $20, and then I realized it was 10 AM and we still had the whole day ahead of us. We decided to take a walk down to Katz’s to get a late breakfast, taking a pit stop in Washington Square to get some hot beverages at Think Coffee which I highly recommend. 

Katz’s: That’s All!

We naturally took some time to visit our other favorite places–in addition to Katz’s, we had a few beers at Milano’s Bar, ate a delicious meal at Spanish Diner in Mercado Little Spain, and downed oysters at Grand Central Oyster Bar. Even leaving New York is a little less bittersweet now because I can look forward to getting a smoked salmon sandwich from H&H Bagel in the Moynihan Train Hall section of Penn Station to enjoy on the train which is a major upgrade from the offerings of the older part of Penn Station.

Until next time–which I hope is sooner rather than later.

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