Tag Archives: vacation

Old Food Is Good Food

Schimmel Yogurt 3
Yogurt from a 104-year-old yogurt culture at Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, 173 E. Houston, Manhattan, NY 10002

Don’t throw out that old food-keep it and it just might become an heirloom. Jennifer Weiss takes a look at various foods of varying ages, some edible, some not. While my accompanying video looks at at classic NY institution that uses a very old yogurt culture.

Yonah Schimmel has much more to offer than yogurt. Their speciality is the knish-a huge potato pastry incapsulated in an incredibly thin crust. My favorite is the jalapino and cheese combination-Ellen, the manager, works had to constantly innovate while maintaing the bakery’s 104 year old traditions.

A Brighter Story from Africa

Namibia makes a comeback.
Namibia makes a comeback.

In the midst of an unprecedented poaching crisis, there is one bright spot on the African continent: Namibia. They’re the conservation/poaching success story and the only country where wildlife numbers are actually growing.  I visited in 2010 and fell in love with the countryside and the people. As this video from The World Wildlife Fund shows, Namibia is proof that when mankind and wildlife work together, both will flourish. 

You might also like: Last Song of a Kalahari 

Citibikes Take Manhattan

Citibikes All in a Row
Citibikes All in a Row

New York has admitted that other cities might have the right idea. This came with the start of the Citibike program, a shared bike systems that allows members to pick up a bike at any one of hundreds of locations throughout the city and return the bike when they are finished. I’ve seen similar programs used successfully in several cities that I have visited all over the world including Paris, London, Zurich, Munich and Dublin. Most of these programs only require a credit or debt card and no type of membership. You just put your card in at one kioske and at a kioske at the point of pick up, and when you return the bike to the same or different kiosks, your time is recorded and you are charged accordingly.

This is not the case in NY. Citibikes require a membership  at $95 per year, which give you unlimited 45-min rides,  then a charge based on time of use.  There are a couple of special rates for 24hr rental and 7-day rental, but the average price comes up to about $9.00 per hour.

Does this mean the end of bike rental companies like the ones in Central Park? I don’t think so. These companies start at about $15 per hour. If you do the math, you would have to ride about 6.33hrs, in 45-min increments, to make the membership pay for itself. If you’re a visitor, do you really think you’re going to spend a day on a Citibike? And if you live here, you can buy a bike for the cost of the membership fee plus a little more.

A Citibike awaits its next customer.
In Battery Park, a Citibike awaits its next customer.

Is it worth it? Well, maybe, if you are cycling enthusiast and you just happen to be without your bike. But then again, I’m not sure a real cycling enthusiast would enjoy riding these bikes. They are not exactly the kind of bikes I see “enthusiasts” weaving in and out of traffic on, so these bikes might be a little too clunky for a true cyclist.

There are people who like the idea of using a bike to commute to work, but don’t have the space to store a bike.

For me, someone who usually prefers moving through the city on two feet rather than two wheels, I will probably pass. I’m not sure it’s worth the membership fee for the occasional cruse.

What about you?

The Empanada Lady of 5th Ave.

The Empanada LadyOn any given day, rain or shine, cold or summer’s heat, she can be found selling spicy, crescent-moon shaped packages of goodness. If ever find yourself hungry on the corner of 5th Ave and 13th in Park Slope, she is the person you want to know. Grab a chicken or beef or, what the heck, one of each and enjoy!

Empanada Lady Cart
You can find her cart at the corner of 5th Ave and 13th Street in Park Slope.

Food Trucks: They’re What’s for Lunch

DC workers line up for lunch in Farragut Square.
DC workers line up for lunch in Farragut Square.

At one time, food trucks were synonymous with construction workers and plastic-wrapped ham and cheese sandwiches. Well no longer. There is a food truck revolution in full swing offering upscale menus expertly prepared by dedicated chefs.

This boom is fantastic for tourists who need a quick, inexpensive dining option, but don’t want to stop at a restaurant or, God forbid, a restaurant chain.

The attraction here is specialization. Each truck has a limited menu of items that they do fresh and very well. Think fast street food with a high quality twist.

I went to DC’s Farragut Square to discover what it was all about.

The Carousel in Central Park

The melodious strains of the Carousel in Central Park heralds the spring in New York City. There has been a carousel in this location for 142 years. Not the same carousel, mind you, and not always powered by electricity. The first was herd of painted horses was powered, ironically, by a real horse beneath the Carousel platform. This was was destroyed by fire in 1924 (the horse escaped unscathed) and was replaced by another, which, 25 years later was also destroyed by fire. In 1951, after some extensive fire-prevention research, the current carousel took it’s rightful place and still stands today.

The Carousel is open seven days a week, from April to October, 10am to 6pm, weather permitting. It is hard to describe where it is located, but easy to find once you are in the park.  Make sense?