DOWNHILL RACER: The Summer Streets Program of New York City closes down nearly seven miles of main thoroughfares 3 Saturdays in a row each August. It is one of the best people watching events in town. Everyone from toddlers to grandparents come out to enjoy places like Park Avenue free of traffic.
One of the best spots to view people is in the Park Avenue viaduct underneath the Helmsley building adjacent to Grand Central Station. You enter on 40th Street and rise up the ‘bridge’ to approach Grand Central Station looming above you, circle around and then enter the Park Avenue viaduct underneath the Helmsley building as it empties out onto the ritziest part of Park Avenue and it’s 1960’s architectural marvels followed by the ‘well to do of upper Park Avenue’.
You turn the corner and zoom downhill ‘towards the light’.
So I parked myself there along the curb for a while and photographed the reactions of the people marveling at the view and speeding up as they rapidly descend down the ramp. Bicyclists, joggers, bicycles-built-for-two, strollers, scooters, unicycles, tricycles, skateboards, roller skaters, race walkers, stilt walkers pass by – and then she came around the corner. This Edie Beale like figure from Grey Gardens in her wheelchair, stoically racing downhill. My day was made.
1 BERRY BURST, 1 MALIBU BAY BREEZE: It’s Friday night, dad is letting the little one stay out late. ‘Where are we goinggggg?!’. Ahhhh, the answer is a secret. Tucked away at 144 East 24th St, between Lexington and Third Avenues, in the middle of an almost all residential block, is this little Italian Ice treasure. “Ralph’s” doesn’t feature just ordinary flavors – oh no, he has such delights as Strawberry Margarita, Cherry Cola, Cotton Candy and Root Beer.
The little ‘stand’ is on the ground floor of an old apartment building. The neon lights are quite unexpected on this street, but their retro glow draws you in from afar. All of a sudden you feel like you’re on Mulberry Street in Little Italy or on the boardwalk at Coney Island, right here in the Kips Bay section of New York.
Dad hands the ices to the eager awaiting hands, eyes growing wider, awaiting the first lick of 1 Berry Burst and 1 Malibu Bay Breeze!