Saturday, March 21, 2009

Apartment View

Cleo, the East Harlem Kitty

Going Up in East Harlem

There are so many condos going up in East Harlem, and an increase in new construction combined with the poor economy has made for lots of uptown deals to be had. Is your new apartment below?

The Ivy
249 East 118th St.
Warburg Realty

Conrad Condominium
342 East 110th St.
Conrad Condominium

119th and Third
2181 3rd Ave.
119th and Third

160 and 178 East 117th St.
East Harlem Development LLC
Not Finding Purchasing info on these just yet.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Duck

The Urban Cowboy's Paradise, in East Harlem

The Duck is a new bar from Tom McNeil, of the successful Patriot Saloon in Tribeca and the West Village's now shuttered Yogi's. As far as I can tell this bar is a test to see if cowboy culture, $6 pitchers and bartenders in low-cut tops work for bars all over New York City. Judging from the empty bar I'd say so far it's not working so well in East Harlem. Downtown there are so many bars that a cowboy bar could manage to survive solely on cowboys, and those in the mood for cheap beer and a little kitsch. But we seldom see the urban cowboy up in East Harlem and with the limited amount of bars in the area, I wish this bar had a broader appeal (and a working TV).

Would a few more songs on the country-music jukebox that are not, well, country, and a few less bottles of Wild Turkey make this bar just welcoming enough for East Harlem at large? McNeil apparently doesn't care about my suggestions and seems to have a "take it or leave it" attitude towards all of his bars. There is something so unexpected about this bar that you don't hate it, even if it's not your scene. But I really wanted to love this bar and sadly even Toby Keith can't make me. His song "I Love This Bar" played over and over again while I was there – it seemed to be set up to play every time you hesitated with a jukebox selection. If you choose to hit this bar, it's not a place for hesitations. Pick your song, order your pitcher and drink it – quickly. It's a place to be drunk. You'll start to dig the scene here after a pitcher or three.

Thursday is ladies' night, $9 martini's all night long.

Location: 2171 2nd Ave, between 111th St & 112th St

Recommended Dishes/Drinks: Pabst Blue Ribbon pitchers

Average Dish Price: $6-$11 for pitchers, $3 for pints

$6 Pitchers

A Good Philosophy

I was serendipitously wearing cowboy boots that fine day


Indecision East Harlem

I started seeing these walk/don't walk signs in East Harlem late last year. Now I see them all over the city. My theory is: these crosswalk signs usually short-circuit fairly often but are repaired quickly by the city. Now due to the economy they are being neglected. Does anyone know what the scoop really is with these signs ?

Sunday, March 1, 2009


The Bar You'll Root For

NOTE: Restaurant is closed indefinitely for renovations.

You're not sure what to expect when you walk into Orbit, a bar and restaurant on the corner of 116th St. and 1st Ave. It could be a dive bar - dark wood-paneled walls and mismatched tables and chairs are the decor - but this bar has bigger dreams of grilled salmon, skirt steak and seafood fra diablo.

Orbit will welcome you with a friendly staff who seem to be on a first name basis with half of the patrons. They are a surrogate family of sorts, but like every family it has its issues – a forgotten drink here, an ambitious dish that doesn't quite make it there. But they are your family, so you root for them in their ups and downs. And like the best family they are always there for you with a round on the house.

Orbit serves generally good American fare, with an interesting hit-or-miss list of specials for the day. The addition of a weekend brunch menu is definitely welcomed in an area with few other options.

The restaurant has lots of entertainment options like live jazz and themed parties.

Location: 2257 1st Ave., at the corner of 116th St.

Phone: (212) 348-7818

Recommended Dishes/Drinks: Grilled Skirt Steak Sandwich, Chicharron de Pollo, for brunch the Breakfast Pasta or Comida de Puta.

Average Dish Price: $12