Since opening on 67th Street in 1928, this laundry and cleaners has seen a good deal of evolution, and has always stayed in the hands of the same family - none of which were ever named Jim. Though it was originally called Chin's Laundry after its initial owner, the shop became "Jim Lee Laundry and Cleaners" in response to the American mispronunciation of "Chin. "Before the Second World War, the Lees lived inside the store, but from 1948-1960 they resided upstairs at No. 206. Around 1957, the family decided to move the store a few doors down into a space twice as large. By this time, they had moved their residence to Queens, where the current owner, David Lee, was raised with his three older siblings. A third generation owner, David took Jim Lee's over from his father, Eugene Lee. When I spoke to David in July of 2015, he told me, "This was supposed to be a temporary job for me, and now I have been at it for some twenty-five years. " He is certainly not complaining, however. "It has served its purpose, " he went on, "I raised a family and now my kids are lawyers. "In the laundry and cleaners' beginning years, East 67th street was frequented mainly by blue-collar workers - people who had immigrated from Ireland, Italy and Germany. But, with the rise of the luxurious Manhattan House on East 66th Street in the 1950s, the neighborhood took on an entirely different clientele, as well as a boost to property values. Jim Lee's has cleaned the clothes of police and fire commissioners, politicians, and a "bunch of characters" over the years. "Whatever it is that we are doing, " David explained, "I know for certain we have had a lot of satisfied customers. " As I walk the side streets of Manhattan, stories such as this one never cease to amaze me. Sadly, they are becoming rarer as businesses are being forced to vacate their homes after so many decades due to rising rents and demolitions of their buildings. Still, reminding me of a favorite children's book, "The Little Engine That Could, this little side street business continues to puff along, repeating quietly, "I think I can, I think I can. "
Though the congregation was established in 1895, the golden yellow building, designed in the Hungarian vernacular architectural style by Emery Roth, was not completed until 1916. The church is now the oldest in the neighborhood and still holds services in Hungarian every Sunday.
Opened by Bruno and Thierry Gelormini in 1995, Le Charlot offers the tastes and sights of French-owned Corsica complemented by "French attitude. " Light music plays, rattan chairs surround white-clothed tables, and a plethora of natural light consumes the outdoor seating, pushing inside through open windows. Locals and others strolling in from Central Park are happy to dine in this relaxed environment. Loyal to the French bistro image, Le Charlot offers fresh, colorful dishes. A favorite to many, the mussels sit in a white wine sauce, waiting to be ripped open for their concealed treasures. The artichoke special with champagne vinaigrette bares its petals, enticing one to savor every morsel while peeling away to the tender heart. Reds, whites, and greens share a plate for the Caprese salad. Adding to this calm, tasteful atmosphere, the international staff emanates with charm and good spirits, and the manager told me he was "a part of the furniture, " having worked in this restaurant from the bottom to the top. It was clear the staff had become very close, as they laughed and put their arms around each other throughout my stay. "We are a family here, " one explained, "And we are having fun serving people. "When the aspirations of the staff align with the aspirations of the guests, a restaurant is immediately more invigorated, and with bites and an ambiance resembling that of a Mediterranean island, this is the perfect side street gem to evade the fast pace of Manhattan for a little while.
The birth of the JNF began with a dream belonging to Zvi Hermann Schapira, a mathematics professor in Switzerland. He wanted a fund to be developed that could be used by the Jewish people in order to develop their own country. Theodor Herzl, a Viennese journalist, took Schapira's dream and ran with it. In 1901, the fund was created. Since that time, the JNF has planted countless trees, developed communities in need, and helped the Jewish people connect with the land of Israel.