Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Proposal to Separate Fast Food and Schools

East Harlem has been in the news this week, although not for the best reasons. A recent study has shown that fast-food restaurants near schools increase the chances of students becoming obese. Not exactly breaking news, I know. Queens councilman Eric N. Gioia studied East Harlem's schools and found that 18 schools were within one block of a fast-food restaurant. He has proposed a ban on new fast food restaurants going up near schools. You can read more about it in an article I wrote for The Daily Green.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009



East Harlem Mediterranean

A fan of the blog (yes a fan!) suggested we check out Aurum, a Mediterranean restaurant on First Ave. We were excited to try it out, there aren't many Mediterranean restaurants in the area. We went late – around 10pm – on Saturday night for dinner. The restaurant is painted deep burgundy with exposed brick walls and is decorated with photos from local artists with lots of shots from around the neighborhood.

The food was fantastic: classic Mediterranean dishes and great wine. After being seated we were served rosemary seasoned bread, pickled hot peppers in olive oil and feta cheese. After wolfing that down we ordered a Mediterranean Salad with mixed greens – it was perfect and fresh. I ordered the Linguini Seafood which was subtle and seasoned perfectly. But the ribs, I would be amiss if I did not mention the ribs. Sam ordered the Braised Short Ribs, he waxed on poetically about them until I had to try them myself. These ribs were perfect – falling apart in all the right ways and totally worthy of Sam's praise.

They are hoping to have their back patio ready for seating this summer.

2252 First Avenue
(btwn 115th and 116th St.)

Phone: (646) 719-1157

Recommended Dishes/Drinks: Mediterranean Salad, Braised Short Ribs. Linguini Seafood Pasta

Average Dish Price: $14-$25



Sunday, April 19, 2009

One Harlem Community Service Day

City Year is sponsoring a community service day in East Harlem on April 25th. Sam and I will be among the 300 volunteers painting murals and landscaping in community gardens and parks. The day goes from 9am-3pm; the first half of the day devoted to service and the last to Harlem fun with a block party, great food, entertainment and booths with local vendors.. To find out more about the event or to volunteer yourself contact Sonya Spann at (646) 662-1447 or

Hope to see all East Harlemers there!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Walkerswood Caribbean Restaurant

Ate at Walkerswood Caribbean Restaurant for lunch today, on 2nd Ave between 109/110. They have a daily lunch special with a couple of options from the menu for only $6. I tried several items from the lunch special - the BBQ chicken and the curry goat, as well as a chicken patty.

The chicken patty was great, the pastry was light and fresh and the filling delicious (and only a buck seventy five). The BBQ chicken was good, I got it with rice and beans and veggies. It was sweet, which i don't normally care for, but this was really good and tender and juicy - real chicken although with lots of little bones. The curry goat was good as well, although a little dry. I would have preferred it with more sauce, but it was quite spicy and great with a beer.

The restaurant itself is incredibly plain, half white walls, half sky blue with just a couple of tables. You order from a really nice guy in a little booth/kitchen in the back of the restaurant. I would definitely suggest checking out Walkerswood, grab it to go, pick up a couple of beers and try something you wouldn't normally order. -Sam

2135 2nd Ave (btwn 109/110th)
New York, NY 10029

(212) 996-2310

Recommended Dishes/Drinks: BBQ Chicken w/ Rice & Beans

Average Dish Price: $9, Lunch Special $6

Savoy Bakery

When I stepped off the train the first time I'd come to East Harlem last summer, I admittedly had no idea what to expect. But not long after walking eastward on 110th I was quickly surprised to see a great little bakery called Savoy. Savoy is a bit of an anomaly on 110th, with its all-glass front, slate floors, brick walls, wood-crate bar stools and warm ambient lighting, you can't help staring in as you walk by. Once inside you'll find fun, colorful art on the walls, a long glass counter full of delicious baked goods, and cheerful hired hands that are happy to chat about Law & Order filming nearby or the walls in the Library next door falling in.

The food is quite good, although virtually everything is very bready. They have sweet and savory items alike, from regular items like croissants, danishes and cookies to curry beef puffs and pigs-in-a-blanket. The cakes and pies in the front counter look like they deserve to be hung on the walls with the rest of the art. Gloria thinks the coffee is a little too strong, I think it's perfect. And the best part of it all is the prices are very reasonable.

We've walked past Savoy on several occasions when the lights were dimmed, candles lit and curtains semi-drawn. You can book the bakery for a private party, they have a full kitchen and will work with you on planning a complete dinner. They also do catering if you are in the need of such services.

It's lucky Savoy does not have couches, the place feels so warm and comfortable I would have been asleep within 5 minutes on this chilly drizzly day. There may be a million places similar to Savoy throughout the city, but in East Harlem they're few and far between. There are great bakeries for sure throughout the neighborhood, but if you are on 110th Savoy is definitely worth popping into. -Sam

170 East 110th Street (btwn Lex/3rd Ave, 6 train to 110th)
New York, NY 10029

(212) 828-8896

Recommended Dishes/Drinks: Red Bean Danish, Pig-in-a-Blanket, Chocolate Eclair, Coffee

Average Dish Price: $1.50

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New York Restoration Project Gardeners Gathering

Sam and I volunteered at New York Restoration Project's Second Annual Gardeners Gathering last weekend. NYPR is a program started by Bette Midler to develop green spaces throughout New York City. This event was held at Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center on First Avenue at 112 St. The meeting gathered gardeners who work on NYRP community gardens to give out out seeds and plants, horticultural information, and generally encourage gardening in New York City. We helped serve lunch at the event. It was really interesting to hear various gardeners tell stories of the trials and tribulations that they had encountered on the way to establishing their gardens. We wanted to meet a gardener in our neighborhood, and we did. We connected with the lead gardener from an herb garden around the block from us that we are very excited to start work on. To find out about working on a garden in East Harlem check out NYPR's website.


Below are some photos from the event.

Naturally it was a very green event.

Festive Street Scene: 2nd Ave and 110th