Walking past the window of what was once an ice cream shop, I spotted a gentleman atop a ladder and decided to step inside to find out what was happening next. As Murat Yimaz descended the steps to greet me, he revealed that he was readying the space for the imminent unveiling of what was now going to be The Jolly Goat, a coffee shop that would also still be serving ice cream.
Though he was born in Germany, Murat has been stateside for a good part of his life. He originally worked in a PR firm, but when the recession hit in 2008, the company closed and he took on freelance jobs. Since he no longer had an office, Murat often found himself camping out at coffee shops while he worked. After countless hours spent sitting at various cafés and sipping on cups of coffee, he decided to drop his PR work altogether and open his own place. Encouraged and advised by a friend who has a coffee spot in Brooklyn, Murat traveled throughout the city talking to vendors and becoming well-educated in the world of the coffee business.
When the time came to name his store, Murat decided to embrace the genesis of coffee – the story of Kaldi, the Ethiopian goat herder. "As the legend goes," Murat explained in a short version, "Kaldi realized that his goats would often become very excited and jolly after eating the coffee beans. The goat herder then decided to try and make a drink from the beans and, thus, coffee was born."
Now open - in the summer of 2014 - The Jolly Goat is serving Stumptown Coffee, Melt and Blue Marble's ice creams, freshly baked pastries and Davidovich's artisan bagels. On a Sunday afternoon, there was a line out the door with enthusiastic neighbors who told me that they are thrilled to have Murat and his excellent coffee shop nearby. When I was able to grab a moment to speak to Murat, he told me that the most popular item that he offers has been his cold-brewed coffee. He explained to me that this method uses cold water instead of hot and that the coffee is allowed to brew for up to eighteen hours. He went on to say that cold-brewing yields a highly caffeinated beverage, and at the Jolly Goat, they like to serve it on tap.
Just off of Ninth Avenue is a small cookie shop called Schmackary's, and wow, what a crowd it continues to attract at almost any hour or day of the week. Stepping inside feels like being transported into a Norman Rockwell painting – familiarly and authentically American. The shop is neatly decorated with baby blue pinstripes and a wall of colored glass that separates the kitchen from the eating area. The vibe is calm, warm, and welcoming, just as owner Zachary Schmall intended it to be when he opened his first brick-and-mortar in 2012. Zach came to the city as an aspiring Broadway actor but began his career in marketing. In order to de-stress, Zach would come home to his apartment and bake cookies, often experimenting with different flavor combinations. His friends would try his creations and after a while, they began encouraging him to sell them. Zach took a risk, and eventually, what he had seen as a modest pipe dream became his livelihood. Hailing from the Midwest, when it came time to start his own business, Zach made sure that customers were his top priority. While I was chatting with him, he told me that his approach was first and foremost based on providing the customer with warm and personable service. On a daily basis, he makes certain that his staff is not "anonymous and apathetic, but rather people who others strolling in might want to have as friends. " Since his success stems from word of mouth and social media, Zach has shown that prioritizing the customer pays off. Zach credits part of Schmackary's reputation as a "hidden gem in the heart of Broadway" to the store's location a couple of steps away from the main drag. He loves his 45th Street address, especially because of his strong connection to the theater community, and wants to keep that same side street feeling as he makes plans to expand. He further explained, "Being slightly removed from the avenue bustle gives Schmackary's a more intimate vibe, whereas a main street location would feel more exposed and less familial. "Schmackary's, called "the unofficial cookie of Broadway, " offers a rotating menu of 45 different flavors of cookies. On one visit, I bit into the moist, but crunchy around the edges, Caramel Apple Crisp and was hooked. A coffee-crazy friend of mine, who had tagged along with me that day, said their coffee was top-notch – yet another reason to come back to visit Schmackary's. On a subsequent visit with members of the Manhattan Sideways team, they sampled several other amazing cookies, including The Monster filled with peanut butter, M& Ms, and raisins. And on yet another day when we were stopping by to take photos, it happened to be when Broadway Bakes was taking place - the annual fundraiser that Schmackary's holds for Broadway Cares, the nation's top AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. During this week, some of the theater district's biggest stars volunteer their time to stand behind the counter and serve customers. When we showed up, the line was down the block. Little did we know that everyone was waiting to have their picture taken with Audra McDonald in exchange for a donation. A serendipitous moment as Zach brought us to the front of the line to meet her. Needless to say, everyone was quite pleased that I had taken them to this sweet oasis. Learn about Schmackary's vision to franchise throughout the US in the W42ST article, “After 11 Tasty Years in Hell’s Kitchen, Schmackary’s Broadway Bakery Sets Stage for Nationwide Expansion. ”
After so many theaters, food chains and restaurants, it was a pleasant surprise to stumble upon a terrific coffee shop owned by a gentleman from Columbia with a strong passion for coffee. He sat down, determined to educate me about the beans that his farmers grow in his home country, solely for his shops. There is no middleman between the farmer and his 42nd Street shop, Carlos explained to me. He has one hundred percent control over the process by having his own facility in South America. And when his supply is running low, he contacts his men and places another order that arrives express just two days later. Thus, the beans are guaranteed to be fresh. In a raw, industrial setting, there are communal tables and metal stools that sit on the concrete floor inviting coffee lovers to sip their drinks and to grab a sandwich, or to indulge in some of their home-baked goods. In addition, there are specialty teas from Canada, with interesting flavors including strawberry, guava, mango, blackberry and almond.
Well-traveled Hell’s Kitchen friends are bringing global flavors and local passion to The Purple Tongue — a new West Side wine bar where they hope to spread the same communal, neighborhood ambiance that brought them together. The restaurant, which opened recently under Manhattan Plaza in the space formerly occupied by Adella, is the creation of locals Otis Banks, Peter Cecere, Marni Halasa and manager Chloe Rizzo, previously of Boca di Bacco. The name comes from a cheeky reference to drinking a bit too much wine — though Peter promised, “You won’t get a purple tongue at The Purple Tongue, that only happens with cheap wine! ” — and from the group’s love of the giraffe. “My daughter was helping me come up with a name for the restaurant, ” explained Peter, “and after I told her what I envisioned about creating a place centered around community, she came up with a giraffe — not only because it has a purple tongue, but because it’s a friendly, communal animal. ”The restaurant offers everything from freshly baked pastries for breakfast to slow-cooked short ribs for dinner and is focused on providing patrons with a rich palate of global flavors, stemming from Otis and Peter’s experiences living and traveling abroad in Berlin, London, Hong Kong and Vietnam. Their recipes are constantly evolving, and are “a roadmap of our experiences living and eating around the world, ” said Peter, a regular traveler who used to have marketing offices in Hong Kong and throughout Southeast Asia. He recalled “a Chinese restaurant I always used to go to when I stayed there for business. One night I asked them, ‘Would you teach me how to make this dish? ’ I got my first impromptu cooking lesson, and I started asking the same question at restaurants around the world. ” The wine program features varieties from small-batch global makers, offered by the glass, bottle and soon, curated wine flights for patrons to find their new favorite vino. For those who don’t know where to start, The Purple Tongue hosts regular “Sip and Learn” nights where guests can enjoy a laid-back evening of wine education from makers (a recent “Sip and Learn” event featured women winemakers and the group plans to shine a spotlight on underrepresented winemakers). They’re also rolling out a daily happy hour from 4-7pm, a rice-wine shōchū cocktail program pioneered by Chloe and regular live jazz nights featuring performances from Manhattan Plaza musicians. “We want to make this a home for Manhattan Plaza singers and jazz musicians, ” said Marni. “We love having local artists play here and want to employ the artists that live in these buildings. ” The local economic support also extends to the restaurant’s stylish dining room, where a gallery of paintings by local artist Ned Martin and a handcrafted purple giraffe by a Manhattan Plaza artist adorn the intimate, thoughtfully designed space intended to take hungry Hell’s Kitchen residents from a business breakfast meeting all the way to late-night wine and jazz. If the team at The Purple Tongue know what locals want out of their neighborhood wine bar, it’s because they met at one very similar establishment. Otis, a global talent manager for CitiBank, and Peter, a marketer and proprietor of the late, great Red Eye Coffee on 9th Ave and W 34th Street, met 11 years ago at local haunt Wine Escape (405 W 44th Street bw 9/10th Ave). “We immediately hit it off as friends, ” said Otis. While both were busy traveling for their respective careers, they would regularly float the idea of one day going into business together. “I’ve always been involved in hospitality, ” said Otis, who currently manages large-scale hospitality events for Citi talent from around the world. “I even used to work for the Spirit of New York in the 90s. I love people, ” he added. “I’ve always wanted to run a wine and tapas bar, because I really believe in the idea of breaking bread with people that you want to get to know or already know. The beauty of having a meal with someone is that it’s a great connector. ”Peter, already enthused by the loyal community he and wife Marni had built at Red Eye Coffee, hoped to open a wine bar where he could also serve Red Eye Coffee before cocktail hour. “I initially got the idea for The Purple Tongue in 2017 — and filed paperwork for a space at W 33rd and 9th Avenue, but it fell through, ” he said. He then decided to take the concept on the road and open in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam in early 2020, but the pandemic waylaid the project. Meanwhile, Otis had decamped to Palm Springs after a long quarantine and was considering relocating and opening a restaurant out West, “but Peter said to me, ‘What the hell are you doing? You’re never going to leave New York! ’ And he was right, ” laughed Otis. The two friends launched into finding a Hell’s Kitchen space, combing through their extensive knowledge of wine bars and meet up spots to eventually settle on the shuttered Adella. “It was a real synergy for us, ” said Otis. “We have both been to Adella plenty of times, and even before I lived in New York, I used to come here when it was called Good and Plenty. I used to fly in from Norfolk, Virginia to see Broadway matinees and my first stop was always Good and Plenty to visit the owner Eileen and have a ham sandwich. ” Throughout the long development and opening process, they’ve looked forward to opening in Hell’s Kitchen, and the restaurant’s location between small, local spots and the bright lights of Broadway is meant to bring longtime New Yorkers and global visitors together. “It’s the beauty of being in New York, ” said Peter. “You feel at times that you’re leaving the city just by meeting new people that are coming in from somewhere else — and you never have to leave your own establishment. One night we were sitting here at the bar and between everyone at the bar, tables and the staff working here, I think we had a combination of at least 11 different countries represented. ” Marni added that at a recent jazz night, not only did local musicians, previously strangers, spontaneously join in collaboration, but patrons started conversations with other tables with abandon. “That was the night where I realized The Purple Tongue had found its identity, ” said Marni. “The Purple Tongue is all about what we’ve come to love from around the world, and bringing that back to Hell’s Kitchen after COVID and people being in their cocoons for such a long time — it gives you something to look forward to, ” said Otis. “We’re hearing great word of mouth already, and it’s because when you’re here for drinks or dinner or you’re here for the music — you’ll see that your senses are all being tapped into at once. ” The Purple Tongue is located at 410 W43rd Street between 9/10th Avenue and is open every day for breakfast and lunch from 8: 30am-3pm and from 4pm for dinner. This story originally appeared in W42ST. nyc
There was no question that Ellie Mendelsohn would stand behind the glass booth with her father, Hank, on 47th Street once she completed her college education. Her grandfather, who had introduced his son and granddaughter to the world of gold and jewelry, had retired to Florida, and now it was Ellie’s time to join the family trade. “The jewelry is my favorite part of the business, so I said, ‘Why not start my own line? ’” The first piece Ellie ever made was a pair of earrings, based on a necklace that her father had made for her mom. “I loved it so much, I decided to create earrings. ” Indeed, for those who work in the Diamond District, jewelry is much more than an accessory — it is a time-honored link to one’s heritage and family.
Ezrath Israel was originally established as a Jewish Community Center in 1917 by the West Side Hebrew Relief Association, a group of Orthodox Jewish shop owners. The area was known for its busy steamship ports, however, the entertainment business eventually became one of the biggest industries in this part of town. As show business grew, so did the number of congregants, and it became the place of worship for many prominent actors and performers, including Sophie Tucker and Shelley Winters. The Actors' Temple continued to thrive until shortly after WWII when people in the industry began journeying across the country to Hollywood. The synagogue then found its membership slowly decreasing. By 2005, there were only twelve members left in the congregation. A year later, when Jill Hausman became the rabbi, she found herself resuscitating what had once been a proud shul. Rabbi Hausman was pleased to report to us that in the eight years that she has been there, membership has increased to about 150, a marked improvement. Still, she has hope that the Actors' Temple will continue to grow. "We are a well-kept secret, " she says, "but we don't need to be. " To help maintain the synagogue, the sanctuary is shared with an Off Broadway theater company that performs on their "stage, " just a few feet in front of their sacred arc and collection of eleven torahs. Today, Rabbi Hausman welcomes all denominations of Judaism, even those who are "on the fringes of society. " She is a warm, sweet, bright woman who not only has her door open to everyone, but her heart as well. She emphasizes the importance of love and acceptance in her sermons and is adamant that the Actors' Temple is a "no-guilt synagogue. " People should come if they feel compelled to pray – Rabbi Hausman's only goal is to have them leave with a desire to return.
For the first seven years, Phil Podemski had his shop on Park Row across from City Hall, but in 1973, with the help of his son, Sam, they came uptown and have resided on 47th Street ever since. "It was a good move on our part, " Sam admitted. "It has allowed us to weather each of the storms that have come our way. "Because Phil's Stationery is in the Jewelry District, there have always been customers in need of memorandum books, special jewelry bags for shipping, and other necessary items that Sam and his dad never allowed to run out of stock. "This has kept us alive. " That and the warm customer service that he strongly believes in. "Yes, I could close up shop and sell my goods solely on the internet, but I would miss the people — the human connection. " Sam's best connection, however, was with his dad. "We were together for forty years until he passed away in 1996. I have the best memories of him yelling at me throughout those years, always in the most loving way. "When Sam and his dad initially opened, they were not known as an office supply store. They carried an amalgam of health and beauty products, chocolate, and other novelty goods. As time progressed, they evolved into a full office supply shop carrying absolutely everything that one could want or need for their desk. In addition to having fun rummaging through the stacks of notebooks, journals, pens, markers, and an array of art supplies, it is the collection of Berol pencils made in the U. S. in the 1960s, the old Swingline staplers — and several other items that date back some fifty to sixty years — that will provide a noteworthy trip down memory lane for many.
As the elevator doors open, a gust of vivacious conversation rushes to welcome every guest to the Haven atop the Sanctuary Hotel. This rooftop caters to three different spaces that gently correspond to the desired experience at hand. On the lower level, there are two bars. The first stands below geometrically alluring lights made to resemble stars. Dinner chosen from the Haven’s “French-Inspired” menu is served on this side of the roof where the mood is serene. On the other side, past the statue of a seahorse and the young trees, the volume rises and the crowd clings readily to this, the second bar. While some prefer to wind down with dinner, others are just trying to let loose. The Haven supports both pursuits. Upstairs, the uniform faded red lounge cushions fashion a more secluded setting that grants the wish for a private discussion or for the simple enjoyment of the mid-city view from a higher position. As is somewhat suggested by the name, “Haven, ” this rooftop is plainly reminiscent of a getaway, more specifically a beach house. The Haven happened to be where we stopped by the day the US was playing Belgium in the 2014 World Cup. It was a memorable moment standing beside dozens of New Yorkers as our national anthem was being played. Glass enclosed in the colder months, and serving a French-American menu both during the lunch and dinner hours, this was another great rooftop find.