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Friday, January 09, 2009

Arthur Avenue

I will admit I have been very remiss in my treatment of the Bronx. In nearly 3 years doing this website, I have never done one posting on the Bronx. However, the Bronx really has much less of interest to the outsider than Queens, Brooklyn or Manhattan. But it is one of the five boroughs of New York City and there are things worthy of a visit.
If you read this blog regularly, you know I have a close friend from my college days who grew up in Brooklyn and relocated out west. I look forward to his periodic visits - he is always game for nearly any adventure and knowledgeable about virtually every corner of the city.
With no agenda, I proposed the Bronx Zoo. However it was before lunch and food was our prime consideration. Both confident we could forage our way to a meal, we headed to the Bronx as tourists on a frigid, windy, winter day in his rented car.
As we navigated the maze of highways, signs for the Bronx Terminal market at Hunts Point appeared and I mentioned this was on my hit list for New York Daily Photo. Undaunted by the suggestion, he immediately obliged. So, off we went to explore an area that no one visits for recreational purposes. This area has all the charm of the commercial freight area at an international airport and there is no reason on earth why anyone (without specific business there) would want to visit on a day off. Which is exactly why we chose to go there. I will feature a number of our discoveries next week.
However, something was nagging me the entire trip. I had read and been told about one particular area of interest in the Bronx, but I could not recall what or where it was. Food was now more of a priority and my friend said there was an Italian area in the Bronx. Uninterested in combing an entire borough, I suggested we ask two police officers in their vehicle. Embarrassed (after explaining I was a seasoned New Yorker, only lacking in my city knowledge of the Bronx) I asked for areas of general interest and voila - they were very accommodating and immediately volunteered Arthur Avenue which I immediately recognized as the area I had been told about and turned out to also be the Little Italy district my friend was looking for. Comforted knowing both our exploration needs had been met, we were off to Arthur Avenue for lunch.
Arthur Avenue is a district centered around Arthur Avenue and 187th Streets - read more about it here. We were quite pleased with our initial impressions - the area looked very authentic, particularly on a winter weekday where the only inhabitants appeared to be locals. We parked in front of Addeo & Sons Bakery on Hughes Street, which runs parallel to Arthur Avenue itself. My friend purchased some cookies while I asked a customer if he recommended Umberto's Clam house which we had just driven by, prominently located at Arthur and 186th Street. Instead he steered us to Tra Di Noi located at 622 East 187th Street. Our fellow diners appeared to be Italian and the menu was in Italian with no English translations - a good sign. Lunch was great. I hope to visit again when the weather is more inviting to explore the Arthur Avenue Market ...

Previous posts of Adventures with a Mad Man: New York Moment, Partial Remission, Hot Dogs and Fries, The Unexpected. It Behooves One.

4 comments:

Ken Frazza said...

Brian,

Arthur Ave is also Yankee country. On any day that the Yankees are playing home, you will find a ton of Yankee fans (dressed in full Yankee gear) hitting arthur ave for dinner before the game. Many of the restaurants even have a quick menu (items that you can order and get served quickly) so you can get to the stadium in time for first pitch.

I once took my daughter to a Yankee game and as soon as we parked our car we were told the game was rained out. (It ended up pouring all night) So I then took her to Arthur Ave for dinner. She was completely blown away when the restaurant I took her to had a big yankee logo on the front door. When we went inside, it was like being at a Yankee game with all of the patrons being Yankees fans.

It's a must experience for any Yankee fan.

Thanks for stirring up my Yankee blood in January.

Ken

Abraham Lincoln said...

The neighborhood bakery is the first place I look for when going into a stranger or different place. This photograph makes this bakery look so nice.

Abe Lincoln Blogs
Abraham Lincoln's Blog

Anonymous said...

There's tons more to see in the Bronx. You should go up to Riverdale, particularly the Fieldston section. All mansions and wide streets, and trees galore. It's a hisorical neighborhood and it's *all* hills in Riverdale. You will not believe it is the Bronx.

Then, in the same nearby area, you can go to Wave Hill for lunch and enjoy the gardens and view of the Hudson River and the Jersey Palisades.

Trust me. Look it up and see.

(And really, the BX Botanical Gardens/ Bx Zoo/ Yankee Stadium & Yankee tavern, etc)

Anonymous said...

We love going to Arthur Avenue before or after a Yankee game. It really does get invaded by Yankee fans on game. We go to Ann & Tony's Restaurant. I have been going there for many years. My dad took me there when I was a kid and I met Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzoto there. They still have the pictures on the wall. Good luck getting a seat when the Yankees play. Check out their website www.annandtonysonline.com. I will be there on Thursday after opening day at the new Yankee Stadium...can't wait.