Located in a quiet section of East 52nd Street, I found the Norwegian Seamen's Church, which was originally a meeting place for Norwegian sailors. The Church is now a community space for any Norwegian living in, or visiting, the city. On the day that I looked in, I found musicians, students, and businesspeople gathered in this quiet sanctuary to chatter with their fellow citizens and indulge in Norwegian food and entertainment. The Church also houses the Trygve Lie Gallery.
Through an archway and into a nook of greenery, known as the Amster Yard, the grounds of Instituto Cervantes is hidden in a secret garden. A celebration of Spanish culture, the Institute is the home of the Jorge Luis Borges library, which is comprised of over 85,000 items. Spanish classes are given and convertible spaces are used for a range of cultural activities. This serene retreat is open to the public and the Institute welcomes anyone to explore its library and other facilities.
Fig & Olive is Mediterranean-inspired dining in its most exquisite form. On my first visit to this location, I was drawn in by the collection of wine and olive oil bottles lining the walls and the chic rustic decor that feels reminiscent of eating in the Italian countryside. Never has there been a time when I have dined at one of the several Fig & Olives in Manhattan, that I did not have an excellent experience. I have feasted on fresh ingredients assembled into delectable creations. I was thrilled to take the Manhattan Sideways team here for lunch one day where they raved over the selection of crostini and devoured the mouthfuls of perfectly paired ingredients – goat cheese and caramelized onion, for example – heaped onto small squares of fresh bread. Another favorite that I introduced them to was the zucchini carpaccio served with lemon and olive oil. We accompanied the meal with a beautifully presented Cucumber Cosmos and Rossellinis, selected from the extensive cocktail menu.
McKinney Welding Supply has been a fixture in Hell’s Kitchen since 1943. This long-running business is family-owned and employs about thirty-five people, ten of them being family members. Allen Dickon, branch manager of the West 52nd Street store, told us "We are the only place in Manhattan where you can find all of your welding and compressed gas products under one roof.”