Hidden Surprises

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

It’s amazing what you find still working in old houses in New York City. It blows my mind that this gas stove in a Brooklyn home still works after God knows how many years…but it does! Note the two different oven compartments… And the knob array is still in great condition: So freakin’ cool. My parents recently had to get ... Read More »

Frenchie’s Gym – Not Your Local Crunch

Hidden on the second floor of this building adjacent to the JMZ elevated train line in South Williamsburg is Frenchie’s Gym, a slice of authentic old school Brooklyn culture that has somehow managed to avoid the gentrification wrecking ball rapidly swinging toward it. Blink and you’ll miss it. From the ground level, the only evidence of a gym is this ... Read More »

What Happened To This Williamsburg Cemetery?

The two square blocks bordered by Union and Lorimer Aves. and Devoe and Powers Sts. in Williamsburg are as pleasant a place as any to live in Brooklyn. The streets are tree-lined and relatively quiet, yet only a short distance from everything Williamsburg has to offer. But the area wasn’t always residential. I was looking at the awesome 1849 map ... Read More »

The Hidden Owl at Columbia University

One of the most beautiful and pleasant places in the city is the campus of Columbia University. It is simply incredible that such a place exists in the tightly packed metropolis that is Manhattan, and I never pass up a chance to visit. Located in the center of campus is the statue of Alma Mater (actually the goddess Minerva), by ... Read More »

The River Below Fifth Avenue

One of the things that absolutely fascinates me about Manhattan is the idea that streams and rivers that once flowed above ground continue to this day deep beneath our feet. In some instances, man-made canals were built to divert their path; in others, persistent rivers fought through landfill to continue on their way. One such stream is Minetta Brook, which ... Read More »

Clean Hands Protect Health!

This was painted on the tile wall of a kitchen that probably hasn’t been used in about 60 years: I love the red fingernails, the font on the lettering, the detail on the hands, and especially the fact that either its painted as if looking at someone who is holding up their hands for inspection…or the thumbs are on the ... Read More »

Grove Street Surprise

I love being surprised by the city. Living in New York, you somehow adopt a jaded attitude that you’ve seen it all, which makes it even better when something unexpected comes along. As I was going down Grove St today, I passed a bus load of tourists gawking at the apartment used in the sitcom Friends, located on the corner ... Read More »