I snapped this photo of a Danielle Mastrion Portrait on Lafayette Street just above Canal in Chinatown while I was on Jury Duty earlier this week. You can see some remnants of snow from last weekend’s storm at the bottom of the picture.
There aren’t too many more weeks (days, even) left in the fall season that we’ll be seeing brightly colored trees like this; at least not here in the City. What I love most about the yellow-leafed tree is the way its color is set-off by the yellow School Crossing Ahead sign, and the three (count ’em!) yellow NYC Taxi’s parked at the adjacent curb. When have you seen three parked taxis all in a row like that?
Photographed in Chinatown, November 2014.
We’re not feeling the spring weather quite yet, but once it warms up a bit, I think any hip five year old girl would love to rock this Biggie Smalls T-Shirt paired with a White Tulle Tutu and accessorized with a novelty Ice Cream Cone Pendent. I wish this outfit came in my size, is all I’m sayin’. Available at Piccolini NYC on Mott Street.
A true multidisciplinary artist if ever one existed, Joseph Arthur is not only an astoundingly talented Musician and Painter, but one of the kindest and coolest individuals I’ve had the pleasure to meet. It is genuinely exciting to continue to cover Joseph’s career as he blows minds for a living here in New York City. Joseph has a new exhibit of original paintings up now called Phone Calls from Leviathans (such a great title) at Amy Li Projects, which is inside this Button Store:
Fortunately, these paintings of Joe’s are also displayed in the window, to help catch your eye as you approach!
They remind me of the cover of Dark Side of the Moon! Probably not an accident! Inside the store/ gallery, you will find all kinds of excellent paintings like these:
I love them!
I think this is the best work Joe has done. I love the bright colors he uses and the energy he infuses onto the canvas.
This one reminds me of a bird: a Peacock, to be specific.
Find out what is up with the tiny Buddhist Shrine seen in this photo, at This Link.
You can see more paintings from the show, and other works by Joseph Arthur, at Joseph Arthur Art Dot Com, but do make it down to Chinatown to see this exhibit in person while it is up!
Joseph Arthur’s Phone Calls From Leviathans will be on Exhibit Through May 3rd, 2015 at Amy Li Projects (Inside He Zehn Snap Button Co.) Located at 166 Mott Street (Between Broome and Grand), Chinatown, NYC.
I spotted this Mr. Squid packaged squid snack at an anonymous bodega on Mosco Street in Chinatown a few weeks back. I did not actually eat any Mr. Squid, but there is what I would consider to be a semi-enthusiastic positive review at This Link.
Whether you have lived in NYC all your life, are visiting for the first time, or are a local looking for a fun and unique activity to entertain out of town guests, I can’t think of more worthwhile daytime activity than going on a Foods of New York Tours’ Gourmet Chinatown Food and Culture Walking Tour — which I took a couple weekends ago and had the best time ever!
The Gourmet Chinatown Food and Culture Tour is NYC’s only walking tour that includes multiple sit-down food tastings as well as an unequaled opportunity to learn so many fascinating things about the Chinese people and the amazing heritage they bring to New York City (which is home to the largest Chinatown in the US)! During this tour, you get to taste a diverse selection of dishes from three acclaimed Chinatown restaurants and one of Chinatown’s favorite bakeries, so you will enjoy several varieties of Chinese cuisines. You also get to celebrate the tradition and etiquette of this rich culture by searching out historical and cultural landmarks of the area on your way from tasting to tasting. Let me share a little bit about my experience of the tour.
You’ll start your tour by meeting up with your group and guide at Dim Sum GoGo (located at 5 East Broadway near Chatham Square), and this where you’ll have your first tasting. Our host and tour guide was a super friendly and knowledgeable guy named Raheem, and he was just fantastic. Dim Sum GoGo served us a selection of five different Hong Kong style dumplings over the course of about 45 minutes, during which time Raheem told us all about the history of Dim Sum, which was fascinating.
Unlike the Ballroom Dum Sum places, where servers wheeling carts of readymade dumplings and other dishes will circulate around the dining room, all dishes at Dim Sum GoGo are made fresh to order. Raheem described the ingredients of each dumpling as we ate it. I appreciated the food vibe, which made each bite taste special!
It was nice that everybody in the group had a chance to chat and get to know each other as we ate.
Soon it was time to bundle up and head out to our next food tasting destination. On the way, we made a stop in Chatham Square, where Raheem told us a little bit about the history of the area, including the background of this statue of Lin Zexu, a Chinese Scholar who lived from 1785 to 1850 and was considered to be a pioneer in the Wars On Drugs. Raheem called him the Nancy Reagan of his time!
We also passed by Nom Wah Tea Parlor on Doyers Street, which opened in 1920 and is the oldest Dum Sum establishment in Chinatown.
Many movies and TV shows film on Doyers Street to capture its authentic look and cool shops!
We had fun stopping in for a few minutes at Aji Ichiban Sweet Shop, located at 37 Mott Street.
Aji Ichiban sells packaged Asian sweets and also hundreds of different kinds of preserved fruits and spiced delicacies, including preserved, candied Rose Petal, which is delicious. Each bin has a small bowl on top for sampling.
Everyone was excited to arrive at the Peking Duck House, where we were served whole, authentic Peking Duck with all the fixings. Raheem emphasized that not all places that claim to serve Peking Duck are truly authentic and he related the fascinating history of how the duck is prepared, including why only white ducks (with all white feathers) are used in preparation, and so much more.
The Peking Duck is sliced and served table-side, wrapped inside Chinese crepes with fresh cucumber and traditional Hoisin sauce (see photo below). From the tender and flavorful meat to the crispy skin that melted in your mouth, this was the best duck I ever ate.
I think I will have to make a return trip to the Peking Duck House on another occasion — and bring some friends!
En route to our next tasting we passed through Columbus Park (67 Mulberry Street), where you can find people performing traditional Chinese music, playing chess, and just enjoying the day, even when it is very cold outside!
We made an unofficial stop at Fried Dumpling, located at 106 Mosco Street, because Raheem said this is his favorite place to get Dumplings in the entire city. Fried Dumpling sells six dumplings for just $1. Although this was not included on the tour, Raheem encouraged anyone interested to buy some of these dumplings and taste for themselves how awesome they were. And at just $1, how could you go wrong? (Note: they were excellent). They also sell bags of frozen dumplings to go! Fried Dumpling!
This elaborate model house and sports car (below) are examples of Joss Paper offerings, which are burned in various Asian funerals, to ensure that the Spirit of the deceased has lots of good things in the Afterlife!
Having burned a few of the day’s calories with our brisk walk, we arrived at West New Malaysian Restaurant (46-48 Bowery, tucked inside the Chinatown Arcade at #28), for a taste of Malaysian Roti Canai.
If you’ve had Roti before at an Indian restaurant, you know that this an exceptionally flaky, pleasantly chewy flat bread. Raheem gave us the lowdown on how they get it so flaky. The Roti is served with a cup of mild curry that has pieces of potato and chicken in it. You dip the Roti in the curry and it is just heaven. This was my favorite thing we ate all day.
After a fun and filling three hours, we came to our final stop at the Golden Manna Bakery (16 Bowery) for a light dessert of the best Egg Custard Tart in Chinatown.
Above, you can see Raheem holding the tray of these mildly sweet and luscious desserts, still warm from the oven. The custard is just the right texture of creaminess and the pastry was the flakiest pastry you can imagine. So good!
Golden Manna features so many tempting treats, you might want to pick up some pastries to take home with you!
A Few Things to Know Before You Go:
The ticket price of $65 reflects the Chinatown tour’s unique features: three sit down restaurant tastings, and larger portion sizes than you’ll experience on other walking tours. All tastings (except where noted in this review) are included in your ticket purchase. Be sure to come hungry! Unfortunately, due to the nature of the experience, no food substitutions can be made.
You will be served tea and water at every food stop except the bakery. Alcoholic beverages, such as beer and wine, which were offered at the Peking Duck House, are not included, but run about $6 plus tax and tip, if you’re interested. Tour guide gratuities are also not included in the cost of your ticket, and you absolutely should tip your guide. Raheem was really excellent and added great value to our experience. We tipped him $10 (each), which I would say is a ballpark appropriate amount. And yes, there are multiple clean restroom stops along the way!
Find a Tour and Buy Tickets at This Link! Enjoy!