Monday, July 24, 2006

Squid On Wheels -- The Lower East Side

Once again, our intrepid Squid family head out armed only with 8 wheels, four bike frames, three bottles of water, two GPS and one camera. Their destination: New York City's Lower East Side, home of our ancestors. (O.k., we are not really sure that any of our ancestors lived on the Lower East Side but hey, lots of Jewish immigrants started out there so there is probably a link somewhere along the line.)

Starting from the usual jump off point on the Hudson River, the Squid (cool how that is plural as well as singular) see a sailboat with a bright, rainbow sail.


That sail seems to portend good and picturesque things for our family and they turn right and pedal merrily downstream.

After traveling down to the southern tip of Manhattan and breaking through the path-blocking line for the Statue of Liberty ferries (rant not written), they continue down and around the tip of Manhattan, passing the hoards of tourists disembarking from buses at the South Street Seaport. There, Momma Squid is tempted to yell at the illegal vendors and tell the tourists to buy elsewhere but, deciding that the vendors might try to knock her off her bike, Momma keeps pushing her way through while guiding Little Squid through the throngs.

Rolling uptown, they pass under the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and ride through a lovely, new walking path created along the East River. (Our Squid are more careful on the return trip and ride on the parallel bikepath and not the walkway.) Just before the Manhattan Bridge, the Squid spy the Grand Street Houses (a cooperative built in the same spirit as our own Penn South Houses -- the difference being that Grand Street Houses are now market rate and Penn South is still holding fast to its Socialist ideals (another post)). There they depart the path for the streets and quickly home in on wonderful food.

They stop at the Donut Plant for ... donuts (everyone drag the word out now, ala' Homer Simpson).

These delectable pastries are revealed below including the Square Jelly Donut, the Blueberry Donut and the Butterfly Roll.



































The Squid, having filled the bike bags with Donuts, then proceeded two stores down to Kossar's Bialys for bagels and bialys. Yum.












Then on to The Pickle Guys where Squidette and Little Squid were gifted with pickles to eat while Papa Squid purchased more for home.
















Following the pickle purchase the Squid then got a history lesson. First they gazed at Seward Park High School where Papa Squid got his start as a Teacher. Seward Park has, for a very long time, been the first educational experience for many, many immigrants. As a school for new Americans, it had poor results on the tests by which schools are judged and so it has been closed and the building will be filled with smaller schools. As for the immigrants ... I do not know where they will go now. (Rant on the criteria by which schools are judged, not included.)






Then they stopped at Seward park, a lovely, large, oasis in the midst of the Lower East Side. While waiting for the male Squid to return, the female Squid learned that this was the first Municipally built park in the city and it was a model for its time. It started public programs to get kids playing in parks and off the streets and provided all sorts of social services over its lifetime. Nearby, and not pictured, is a public library that used to allow neighborhood folk to sleep on its roof during the summer as an alternative to the stifling tenements that populate this area.

Across the street is the old Forward building. The Jewish Daily Forward is a newspaper published in both Yiddish and English and was the major source of news for the LES population back when it was primarily European Jewish immigrants. The Forward is still published and has an online presence as well.

Another Yiddish/English paper of which I do not know the history. Sorry.

A row of "storefront" synagogues. (No kidding.)













A former Communist hangout. Mike is trying to remember what the old name was.

















Thus ending our incomplete tour of the Lower East Side, the Squid find their way back to the East River and proceed to retrace their path back to the usual stopping point of Chocolate Haven to pick up more ... chocolate (what else!) and then pedal back home making one more stop for fish at Chelsea Market. Pictured is the Old Homestead Steakhouse -- one of the many famous steakhouses in NYC and within photo snapping distance of Chelsea Market.













And finally, a photo of how well the leaf edging covers the top of Momma Squid's cycling shoe.


















And, for those of you who are still with me ... my spinning wheel (Kromski Minstral) is now back in the living room where it belongs. Yea!!!

4 comments:

Moze said...
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Moze said...

The is a relatively new paper (founded, IIRC, within my own lifetime). It's right-leaning; the Forward traditionally leaned left.

Cookie said...

What a ride. Such cute Squidlings... and I love those socks.

Ann said...

I love your weekend adventures and photos. You always have a little culture, a little history and great food options!

Don't you just love putting on a pair of socks that you made for yourself? With business casual attire all summer long at work I have worn a pair at least twice a week.

Ann