Meet 83rd Street
The east side of 83rd Street is a celebration of multiple art forms. I began my walk by visiting two businesses in the culinary arts. Erminia, a family-owned Roman restaurant, has been considered one of the most romantic spots in Manhattan since it opened in 1982. A newer addition to the neighborhood, Eathereal Kitchen opened in 2015 thanks to the talents of co-owners and chefs Sarah Flynn and Hayan Yi. The two women, who each have an extensive culinary background, bring a personal, loving touch to the catering world.
Ditra Gallery, 83rd Street’s contribution to the fine art world, is owned by Georgi Dimov, a painter. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting, sculptor Khachik Bozoghlian when I stopped in. Sharing a close relationship with Georgi, Khachik was proud to tell me that the gallery will show “anything good,” with no scruples in terms of age, country of origin, or medium. Discovering East Side Dance Company farther east was a fantastic surprise. As I watched three star pupils practicing their moves, I was also drawn to the founder, Trammell Logan, who has his own fascinating story. But it is his commitment to these young students that captured my heart and attention.
As we are immersed in the 2016 elections, I could not help but take pause just off Lexington Avenue at The Metropolitan Republican Club. First formed in 1902, the club boasts past members including Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and New York’s former mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
After crossing through the park, I stepped out of the cold and into a synagogue that I have admired from the outside for several years. Congregation Rodeph Sholom, founded in 1853, is expansive, encompassing a school, multiple event spaces, and a homeless shelter, but it was the grand sanctuary that I found to be absolutely breathtaking.
A parking garage now occupies the spot at 157 West 83rd where Cedarhurst Stables was built in 1887, though a horseshoe and metal horse head hint at the address’ previous tenants. The nineteenth century stables produced many disagreeable smells and disruptive noises, causing architects, who realized that people would not be interested in living in that kind of environment, to stop designing row houses on the block. This means that between Columbus and Amsterdam there is a unique texture, different from surrounding streets. We found Engine Company 74 on this block, marked by the bright red doors and a black dinosaur skull. Appropriate for the firehouse closest to the Museum of Natural History, Company 74 is nicknamed “The Lost World.” It is also home to Yogi, a Dalmatian who has been with them for some twelve years and has become a neighborhood mascot.
My final stop on the street, the Children’s Museum, was an exciting adventure through five floors of kid-friendly, hands-on exhibits. I was particularly impressed by their newly opened exhibit, “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far,” which will be celebrating Muslim cultures and communities, both local and worldwide, in an age-appropriate manner through February 2018. The exhibit is a perfect example of the thoughtful and clever ways that Manhattan embraces diversity.