Carlos Bake Shop

We had planned a night in New Jersey on our way to New York City, partly because we wanted to avoid driving in NYC, so we had planned to return the car at Newark, take in at a hotel and explore Hoboken the next morning before venturing into Manhattan. The power company wanted it differently as our hotel at Newark was without power and thus was not able to check us in. We were advised to either wait around until the problem was fixed or find other accommodation. We opted for the last, and found a hotel at Manhattan. Thus we never went to Hoboken. We wanted to visit Carlo’s Bake Shop there, but luckily there is one at near Times Square, by Port Authority Bus Station, although no Buddy or the others from the TV show in sight. Oh well, at least we got to sample some of his baked goods.

The Guggenheim

This Art Museum at Upper East Side is a landmark work of 20th century architecture, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was (for us) more interesting from the outside than the inside. It’s a really pretty and iconic building. We are not that artsy-fartsy, so we didn’t even visit the exhibition. Should you, however, be so inclined to visit the Guggenheim, you can find info here.

Fishs Eddy

We stumbled onto this store while exploring the Flatiron District, and we loved the humor in there! If I had no limit what to bring on the plane, then Old Mamasan would definitely go nuts in this store, as it were – a few snapshots just had to suffice. Looks like they do ship internationally if you call or email them.

Hop on hop off busses

We chose to buy a 3 day package with the Gray Line hop on and hop off-busses, included museums and attractions, and we also used it as a mode of transportation, as we then got to travel above ground with a guide to tell us everything we wanted to know and more. The guides were very knowledgeable and some of them even entertaining. We only had one guide (on the Bronx tour) that was hard to understand because her English were poor. The Gray Line also has their own boats to take you out to see the Statue of Liberty, but you are not able to go ashore on neither Liberty nor Ellis Island. You can use one of your attraction vouchers for the ferry from Castle Clinton if you want to visit Liberty and/or Ellis Island, but make sure you get tickets from the Gray Lines office at Times Square, as they do not accept vouchers at Castle Clinton. Unfortunately no one told us this, so we bought new tickets for the ferry.

The buses also have an evening tour to Brooklyn, but due to the see through plastic roof they have put over the top of the buses now at wintertime, it’s hard to get decent pictures.


Seriously, there is no way you are going hungry in this city. You have your choise of fancy-schmancy restaurants and hot dawg stands on the street, and everything in between. Sure, you can play it safe and fill your belly at the chains on Times Square, like Hard Rock Café and Olive Garden, but if you are looking for something a tad more ethnic, then go over to Hell’s Kitchen just a hop and skedaddle from Times Square. Or, do as us, do both. Originally the name Hell’s Kitchen has nothing to do with food, but it is said that the name derives from when the Irish-American working class and poor immigrants used to habituate the area. They were a rowdy bunch and the neighborhood became known as “the most dangerous area on the American Continent.” Have no fear though, those days are long gone and Hell’s Kitchen certainly no longer lives up to the name.

Navigating Manhattan…

…is dead easy! You just have to understand the basic layout of the grid system.

Avenues are the roads that run north/south. The avenues are very long, as the island is long and narrow. The avenues are numbered and/or named and runs like this from East to West:

1st Avenue

2nd Avenue

3rd Avenue

Lexington Avenue

Park Avenue – 4th Avenue below 14th Street

Madison Avenue

5th Avenue

6th Avenue of the Americas – becomes Lenox Avenue when it resumes north of Central Park at 110th Street.

7th Avenue – becomes Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard when it resumes north of Central Park at 110th Street.

8th Avenue (Central Park West) – becomes Frederick Douglas Boulevard north of 110th Street.

9th Avenue – becomes Columbus Avenue north of 57th Street

10th Avenue becomes Amsterdam Avenue north of 57th Street

11th Avenue becomes West End Avenue north of 57th Street

York Avenue runs one block east of 1st Avenue from 59th Street to 91st Street

Riverside Dr. runs generally parallel to the Hudson River (one block west of West End Ave.) from 72nd to 181st St.

Central Park interrupts the grid and the streets and avenues that border the park are referred to as Central Park South (59th Street), Central Park West (8th Avenue), Central Park North (110th Street) and sometimes Central Park East (5th Avenue), and as you see above, avenues tend to change names at or north of Central Park.

Just to further confuse you I’ll also mention that in East Village, there are four additional avenues beyond 1st avenue; Avenue A eastward to Avenue D, an area that is often called “Alphabet City”

Streets are the roads that run east/west and are also numbered. 5th Avenue makes the division between east and west, so a street address will always tell you what side of 5th avenue you are on. Street numbers starts from the south, so the higher the number the farther north you are. In the east/west direction the island is narrow, so the streets are relatively short – at least in comparison to the avenues.

Broadway is one of Manhattans oldest thoroughfares and follows an historic route rather than being part of the grid, and runs perpendicularly as it progresses north from the south of Manhattan up into the Bronx.  It is important to get a grid reference if you are looking for an address on Broadway – or you’ll have a long walk ahead of you.

1-11219651_10153837667451622_3181471047526926123_nWhen Broadway crosses an avenue, you get Squares with open spaces. The Flatiron building has its triangular form because Broadway crossing the avenue left a triangular lot.

The lower part of Manhattan is where settlement first started and the city grew from there and was thus well established when the grid came to be in 1811. The streets and avenues of southern Manhattan have proper names and often run in irregular directions.

The grid pattern generally starts north of Houston Street (and in New Yawk they pronounce the O in Houston (How-ston) unlike the Texans who leave it out), and north and south of Houston street brings us into some really cool abbreviations that the New Yawkers seems to like. Old Mamasan certainly do not qualify as a New Yawker, but I thoroughly dig the names the abbreviations give:

SoHo – South of Houston

NoHo – North of Houston

Tribeca – Triangle Below Canal Street

Fidi – Financial District

Nolita – north of Little Italy

The Village – Nickname for Greenwich Village

Soha – South of Harlem (Morningside Heights)

Nomad – North of Madison Square Park

Dumbo – Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (this is actually in Brooklyn and not on Manhattan, but is just too good to leave out!)

On either side of Manhattan there are rivers running along it, on the east side you have the East River, and on the west side you have the Hudson River. On either side you have bridges and tunnels connecting Manhattan to New Jersey to the west and Brooklyn to the east. Also bridges gets the funny names: The BMW-bridges (the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge), and the Williamsburg Bridge is also called the Willie B

As you can see from this and my former posts about New Yawk, this is a must-visit city, and I end my New Yawk series by saying “So long NYC, I will be back.”


11 thoughts on “I ❤ NY – Gems and navigating the city

  1. Just a word to the Guggenheim. I was in New York in 1993 for just a week and visited the Guggenheim. There was a Roy Lichtenstein exhibition. I found it one of the most sensible museums I had ever visited. You just followed the path and saw everything, it was so well done: no complicated side rooms or wings of the museum, it was all in one place and this reduced the stress of not being able to see everything. One of the most logical ways of finding your way in a museum I found.


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