Established in 1874, Westpfal continues to provide premium knives and tools for leatherwork, as well as to sharpen high-end knives for restaurants across New York City. The leather tools available are of the same ilk as the 1930s tools available oh-so-many years ago and are used by fashion designers from Coach to Dooney & Burke. On any given day, one can stop by and find a regular New Yorker, or even folks from out of town, coming in to have their own knives and scissors sharpened by the highly regarded team of workers.When the Manhattan Sideways stopped in for a visit during the summer of 2017, we had the pleasure of meeting Carmilla Wigman, who has been working at Henry Westpfal for over sixty-five years. She was kind enough to share some of the history of the shop. Carmilla pointed out a display board of vintage cutlery from 1931, which she referred to as “her pride and joy.” She also showed us a pair of scissors that was previously owned by John F. Kennedy Jr. and were used in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the reopening of Grand Central Station in 1998. Westpfal now rents these scissors out for similar ceremonies.Unfortunately, one can no longer watch and wait as knives are put on the machines, as they have had to move their factory to New Jersey. It is an example of the age-old story: Rent became a factor on the side streets of Manhattan for Westpfal.Who are their biggest clients almost 150 years later? The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is, as students majoring in leather purchase tools for crafting handbags, belts, and shoes, and numerous chefs who frequent Westpfal to have their personal knives sharpened.
With the professional chef in mind, Judith Prince traveled to Europe to bring back the crème de la crème in kitchen supplies to launch her business from her home in Brooklyn. J.B. Prince is heaven for true chefs and an inspiration for the rest of us. There is an assortment of knives unlike anywhere else, with experts available to advise on what is best for one’s cooking needs. The rest of this kitchen sanctuary holds top-of-the-line kitchen utensils, gadgets, pans, cookbooks, bowls, and baking goods. Today, the shop is run by Tim Mussig, who has a degree from the Institute of Culinary Education and worked as a line cook in New York restaurants, where he harvested a passion for the culinary arts and its vast array of tools and products.
Alessandra and Mario De Benedetti had never been in the restaurant business. She was a law professor and he was in finance - both living in Italy. When a passion burns inside you, however, and a desire to live in NYC is so strong, why not change careers and pursue your dream? This is exactly what the dynamic duo chose to do. Working alongside Elizabeth Roberts, architect extraordinaire, the team created a space built for dramatic floral arrangements and an enchanting atmosphere for dining. Alessandra combined her love of flowers by integrating them into the restaurant's splendid cocktails, specialty dishes and magnificent displays. In 2019, their dream finally became a reality as they opened the doors of Il Florista on West 26th Street.Manhattan Sideways is thrilled to be working alongside Simon and his team at Locasaur. Finally, there is a platform that invites both small businesses and customers to seamlessly connect with one another making their shopping, eating or drinking experience that much more meaningful.Il Fiorista uses Locasaur - to engage personally with their regulars. Join their community here to message directly with their team, reserve a bar seat for happy hour, and plan for a next evening out, surrounded by flowers.
Crossroads Trading Company now has almost thirty locations around the United States, but even in Manhattan they keep their original relaxed Bay Area vibe. The company began in Berkeley in 1991 and has since become a hub for recycling both men and women's clothing with the goal of helping the environment and working to eliminate waste. Locals are welcome to come in and sell their gently used garments for cash or credit...and while there, hopefully browse for something
Having spent years throwing parties and doing his best “most interesting man in the world” impression, Robert Chan, a.k.a. Toshi, seems to have settled down. After starting his career on Wall Street, Toshi became an actor (appearing most notably in The Departed), all the while hosting mega-parties that became famous citywide. Now, he has been trying his hand in the hotel business, running the Penthouse and Living Room in conjunction with the Flatiron Hotel for the past few years....and, by what we could discern, rather successfully.The living room downstairs serves as a funky music and performance venue, with live acts every night of the week. The couches are cyan, magenta and golden and might have been designed by a stylish Dr. Seuss. A circular tank houses all sorts of tropical fishes, including sharks, and juts up to the second floor mezzanine. There is a bar on each of these first two floors, with an experienced mixologist slinging all sorts of spirits until two in the morning.But it is upstairs, in the Penthouse, where there is a minimum spending limit so the vibe is a bit more exclusive (all hotel guests have access). Emphasis is placed on outdoor seating, with the Empire State Building providing a powerful backdrop. On any given night, alongside the live performances, Toshi's affable canine companion, Prince Ponzu, can be found frolicking with his owner.The entire operation reflects Toshi’s emphasis on hospitality. Guests can often find him mingling amongst their ranks, or fully engaged in friendly conversation with his performers. Once a first timer in the hospitality business, Toshi has made his mark by welcoming thousands of guests into his own party setting. He has clearly become a seasoned veteran.
If one were to close their eyes and walk into Hill Country, there is no doubt that in an instant they would know what kind of food was being prepared. At Hill Country, they take their barbecue very seriously. The food is prepared in their very own custom meat-smoking room, and everything is done in the style of Central Texas barbecue. The atmosphere is kitschy and relaxed, with live American music most nights of the week.
Except for the unfortunate lactose intolerant among us, I do not know anyone who does not love a good grilled cheese. At Melt Shop, they serve up this childhood staple, simple and delicious, or a bit more sophisticated with interesting variations on the classic. Paired with their potato tots and a milkshake, the Manhattan Sideways team was happy to feel like they were back in grade school.