Meet 62nd Street
As I wander north away from the busy thoroughfares of Midtown, the streets are becoming more tranquil and calm. Walking across 62nd was like approaching an oasis, where every other building was a haven or an inviting neighborhood haunt.
I had been looking forward to beginning my walk at the Animal Medical Center, as a dear childhood friend has been the dentist here for many years. On my extensive tour, I learned that the building has no key, as they have been open – at any hour to anyone in need of veterinarian care – since 1962. With top quality equipment, including an MRI machine and CT Scan, the AMC is known to be one of the best veterinary facilities in the world.
Continuing on, I stopped by Il Vagabondo, a neighborhood Italian restaurant since 1968, which is temporarily closed until Fall 2016. It had been a go-to place for many years when my husband’s office was nearby. He and his co-workers always enjoyed having some hearty food and then playing indoor bocce ball together.
Three churches occupy space on the east side of 62nd, as does a synagogue closer to Fifth Avenue, and two old world private clubs. The most stunning piece of property that caught my eye, however, was the Residence for the Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations. Built in 1899 by a Vanderbilt family member, the mansion’s architecture is striking.
It was a delight to rediscover and explore the extraordinary inventory at Tender Buttons. I have fond memories of visiting this shop over the years with my mom when she lived in Manhattan. It opened in the 1960s when two women, Millicent Safro and Diana Epstein, started collecting buttons and sharing them with their friends. The hobby soon turned into a business, and the store now boasts an expansive collection of buttons from around the world.
Continuing west, I passed the Andrew Mellon Foundation, a great supporter of the arts and humanities, and found Birch Coffee, an offshoot of the Flatiron location, which serves up first class coffee and nibbles in a cozy hole in the wall.
On the other side of Central Park, I was excited to realize that I was creeping up on Lincoln Center. The David Rubenstein Atrium, a beautifully designed seating area for public use, has its entrance on 62nd Street. With its vertical green gardens and fountain, the Atrium is a perfect bookend to a street that highlights places of repose, meditation, and comfort.