Meet 16th Street
Equally entertaining with both its history and specialty shops, 16th Street is a joy to walk. Stuyvesant Square Park is an ideal start, as it is always peaceful to stroll through especially in the springtime when the cherry blossoms are budding and the flowers are popping up. Straight across from the park is the Friends Seminary, which opened in 1860 and is the oldest school for both boys and girls in the city. Two majestic historic landmark churches, one on the east side – St. George’s Episcopal and the other on the west, St. Francis Xavier – were both awe-inspiring. A total contrast to these serene buildings are the two West Side hotels that stand side by side with entrances on 16th. Dream Downtown and the Maritime Hotel invite the trendy out-of-town crowd into their pulsing lobbies, restaurants, and lounges.
Surrounding the bustling Union Square are several celebrated restaurants. First and foremost was Union Square Cafe – Danny Meyer’s restaurant for almost thirty years, but in early 2016, due to rent increases, it closed its doors and moved to 19th Street. Blue Water Grill, the Coffee Shop, and the sports bar Campeón are all neighbors that have their own strong following. And then there is Breads Bakery, where beginning early in the morning through the dinner hour, freshly baked goods are popping out of their ovens and into the mouths of those eagerly standing in line. Farther west, I found Grey Dog to be the perfect stopping point for simple, yet excellent home cooking in a warm, welcoming neighborly environment.
Discovering the Center for Jewish History was particularly intriguing to me, as I had no idea that with the exception of Israel, they hold the largest collection of “artwork, textiles, ritual objects, recordings, films and photographs” in the world. Chisholm, the only gallery on 16th, has a well-curated collection of vintage posters and a lovely, knowledgeable owner who welcomes visitors. The very last address on the West Side of 16th that I walked into was Banchet Flowers. With orchids, tulips, and roses on display, I found it to be a tranquil stop and the perfect ending to my day’s journey.