Meet 78th Street
The architecture on 78th Street made for a particularly breathtaking walk with some of the oldest townhouses on the Upper East Side. It was the small businesses, however, that continued to capture my attention as I traversed the street. It provided me with a surprisingly wide range of fascinating boutiques: from food to furniture, I discovered a little bit of everything.
I have been a fan of Orwasher’s since I was a young child and my grandfather would take me on an excursion to purchase bread. The bakery has been in the same location for some one hundred years. It was started by a Hungarian immigrant in 1916 and stayed in the Orwasher family until recently when it was bought by Keith Cohen, who added new artisan breads and pastries. Next door I found Heidi’s House, a minute neighborhood restaurant where Ed and Heidi have created a cozy, organic eatery, exactly the way they like it. Joining them, in terms of culinary neighbors, are Pil Pil and Monte-Carlo, who provide the street with Spanish and French cuisine, respectively. When I strolled along 78th at the end of 2015, there was a relative newcomer to the block, though not new to the food world: Calexico made its award-winning debut as a food truck in 2006. After breaking bread with the people at Orwasher’s, it was equally delectable to sit down and sample several different cakes at Lady M – the rapidly growing business run by Ken Romaniszyn.
I was a frequent customer of the Tiny Doll House many years ago when my daughter and I were fixing up a family heirloom – a doll house that my great grandfather had made for my mother. Leslie Edelman began crafting doll furniture shortly after the birth of his niece, and for decades since, has provided a niche service in Manhattan, serving both children and dollhouse collectors. As for full-size furniture, urbangreen builds organic, sustainable, and locally made furniture for homes, hospitals, gyms, and restaurants. For another source to further decorate a home, Martine’s Antiques provides a carefully curated selection of beautiful antiques.
It is always a pleasure for me to discover another bookstore. This time, I was fascinated by Choices Books & Gift Shop. The shop started as a resource for the 12-step community in 1989 and then grew, under the eye of Jay DePaolo, to serve anyone looking to better themselves.
I stopped in at Klara Beauty Lab, where I immediately felt my body relax in the turquoise and teal interior, before visiting Cynthia Rowley’s boutique. Along with ready-to-wear garments for women, Cynthia sells designer wetsuits. The whimsy continued as I ascended the stairs to discover her candy shop. There was only one gallery, Mnuchin, to explore on 78th, but I thoroughly enjoyed the “Carl Andre In His Time” exhibit.
I continued to marvel at the townhouses on the West Side of 78th, as this part of town was not home to many businesses. I did enjoy my time, though, at Stand Up NY, a comedy club that has been around since 1986. I witnessed a few minutes of a Thursday open mic, which put a spring in my step as I ended my journey at the Hudson River.