Thursday, July 3, 2008

Catching up after almost ONE YEAR of not blogging!

It has been close to one year since my last blog entry! I want today's to represent a new beginning. For the first time, I've added photos, but you'll soon see photos on the older posts as I go back and add images. Thanks to my long-delayed implementation of a high-speed connection I can now make changes more effectively and quickly! So - enjoy - AND please comment!

These are the first pictures I've put into my blog. The top pictures a studetn and teacher from a high school in the east Bronx (Throgs Neck) who were part of a large group exploring the Lower East Side. They're eating matzoh and lox. Interestingly, many of these students had never been to the Lower East Side and couldn't identify the Williamsburg Bridge!

The second group is of students I took on a Noshwalk + history tour of Harlem last year. They're studying English as a second language at CUNY and have to take 4 semesters before they can matriculate into one of the CUNY colleges. I love leading student groups, especially with kids who really want to learn about New York City and are experiencing things for the first time. The first group was at First Park at First Street and Houston Street; the second is sitting on the steps of the Langston Hughes House on West 127th Street.

Anyway, I'm amazed that the last time I formally blogged was in August nearly 11 months ago! How did this happen, when I'm always seeing and doing so much that I should be blogging about?

Anyway, I'm writing this in the early evening after leading a custom tour today for another group of ESL students. I met this group in downtown Flushing, but we then took a bus to an area of Flushing also known as Kew Gardens Hills. (It's one of those confusing things, where some maps call it Flushing, but the post office is Kew Gardens). The students were great! They came from China, Uzbekistan, Colombia, Haiti, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Some have been here as little as six months, other for a number of years. In consultation with their teacher, I decided that it would be fun to take them to this kosher stretch of Main Street where they would see sights and taste foods quite new to them.

We started at an Afghan market, where we taste freshly baked Afghan bread. For the rest of the tour we focused on kosher foods and discussed what we saw. This is the fourth tour I've done for this program, and I loved seeing the reactions of these students, who know downtown Flushing well but, similar to a tour I led for another group last year, are clueless about the existence of kosher food. These types of cultural crossovers are precisely what I love to highlight in my tours, even to the point of showing them mezuzahs. At one market, the owner came out and briefly discussed what they mean.

Since last August a lot has happened. I created a new tour of Ridgewood, where I found a great Bulgarian market on Myrtle Avenue (Parrot Market, near 58th Street), an Italian bakery that has the very best gelati I've tried (Monreale, near 59th St., available in warm weather only) and rediscovered an Balkan kebob place (Bosna Express) where the chef is Mexican (Forest Ave. near Palmetto Street).

Some other "finds:"

Two Surinamese restaurants on Liberty Avenue in Guyanese Richmond Hill, both relatively new. (Only one, Surinam Garden, is truly appealing, and the owner is wonderful!); Chocolate Castle (not that new), a great confectionary place on Division Ave. in kosher Williamsburg; Grill Point, a popular better-than-felafel place on Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills; a Venezuelan arepas place on 36th Avenue in Astoria; a terrific Ghanaian restaurant in the Bronx where, a block away, I found ginger beer that was so strong I had to water it down - and I've enver done that before. I bought it at a Guinean place called Halal Coffee Shop on McClellan Street near Sheridan Avenue.

What I love are the constant discoveries as well as the rediscoveries of places I've already been where I see things with a fresh eye. So often I miss things the first time around...

More to come, including pictures!


lotto said...

Thanks to the owner of this blog. Ive enjoyed reading this topic.

Anonymous said...

Where exactly is the Afghan Market you wrote about? I am very interested in going!

Nosh New Yorker! said...

There are two Afghan markets I'm aware of: Ariana Afghan Halal at 42-49 Main Street and a Halal market whose exact name and address I don't have but it's also on Main Street, but near to 72nd Avenue or 72nd Road, within the area also known as Kew Gardens Hills.