Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Miraculously These 12 Places Still Exist On The Upper East Side

Mathew Perpetua wrote an excellent article last week over at Buzzfeed titled "44 Amazing NYC Places That Actually Exist." It got me thinking about the amazing places that actually still exist on the Upper East Side and served as inspiration for this blog post.

The city is quickly losing amazing landmark businesses, and the UES is no different. Subway Inn (though being reborn), Lascoff Drugs, and Gino's are just a few that come to mind that we have recently lost. Fortunately, the Upper East Side, despite recent growth and development, is still a treasure trove of businesses and places where you can easily slip back into an earlier age.

1. Lexington Avenue Candy (1226 Lexington Ave at 83rd St.)
(A. Fine, 2015)
An absolute treat! Opened in 1925, so much of this luncheonette is original. You want a real New York egg cream? Lexington Avenue Candy is your place! Both windows feature Coke bottle collections from around the world and through the ages. The atmosphere is right out of old NY, and the diner fare is pretty tasty too.

2. Glaser's Bakery (1670 First Avenue at 87th Street)
(A. Fine, 2015)
One of three remaining holdouts from the German enclave that still remain. Established in 1902 this old school bakery still churns out some of the best black and white cookies known to man (and woman).

3. Schaller and Weber (1654 Second Avenue bet 85th and 86th)
(A. Fine, 2015)

Another Germantown classic. Classic beer steins are on display and for sale in the front window. This butcher and grocery has been in the hood since 1937. Thinking about some brats, these are the wurst, I mean, best, you can find. Side note, Schaller has the best bologna in town.

More!!! Just after the jump!

4. Heidelberg Restaurant (1648 Second Avenue, bet. 85th and 86th)
A. Fine 2015
Yep, that is a 2 liter boot full of beer you see there. Need I say more? And, if you dont want to cook and want that brat right away, this neighbor of Schaller and last of the Germantown holdout trio has got just what you need. Heidelberg, established in 1936, has been rumored to be in troubled waters, so go get yourself a boot, before they do! Please!

5. Jerome Florist, 1379 Madison Avenue at 96th Street
(A. Fine, 2015)

A neighborhood institution since 1929. These are not cheap, die two days later deli flowers, this is a real florist. It looks like a florist, and smells like a florist! Nice sign too!

6. Bloomingdale's, 1000 Third Avenue at 59th Street
(courtesy of Wiki)

Sure not hard to miss Bloomingdale's and it is not exactly hidden, but few realize that this Grand Dame of department stores has been in this location since 1886! Founded by the sons of a Bavarian-born salesman, it all started with Lyman and Joseph Bloomingdale selling hoop skirts on the Lower East Side in 1861. They did alright. Twenty Five years later- megastore! Take a close look, especially at the 60th Street side of the store by the loading docks, and you'll see intriguing bits and pieces of history of mysterious origins.

7. Wankel's Hardware, 1573 Third Avenue at 88th St
(Courtesy Flickr)

Speaking of long runs in retail, it is hard to beat this five generation, family owned hardware store on Third Avenue. Since 1896 and still running! Building has been recently and festively repainted. One negative, seems like much of the merchandise is under lock and key. With this much experience, who is gonna argue with them?

8. Orwasher's Bakery, 308 East 78th St.

Almost 100 years old, and using the same original brick hearths from 1916. I forgot about this place for a while, and now I am obsessed. The Rye bread at this place, oh my, oh my! I cant stop! They also make super-sized hand filled (on the spot) jelly donuts and so much more. A real treasure!

9. Dangerfield's, 1181 First Avenue at 62nd St.
(A.C. Fine, 2015)

"The oldest comedy venue in the country", that's what they say, and I generally believe them. Dangerfield's is a true classic, dating back to 1969 when Rodney "I don't get no respect" Dangerfield opened the laugh emporium with friend Anthony Bevacqua (who according to Wiki still runs the place today). Dim lights, tiny table lamps with ages old grafitti on each shade, you would swear the walls were still tar stained, if you could see them. Still attracts high quality comedians and always a great night out, just sit in the back if you don't feel like getting razzed all night.

10. Reif's Tavern, 302 East 92nd bet. Second Avenue and Third Avenue
(A Fine, 2015)

Alright, I know, that is one blurry picture, but people have been getting blurry here at Reif's Tavern since 1942. From what I can tell this may be the oldest free standing bar (non-hotel, non-club) on the Upper East Side. There is a bar, pool table, back yard and wood on the walls. This place has a distinctive 1942 vibe. And, these guys were serving PBR way, way, waaaaay before it was hip, and will after as well!

11. Papaya King, 179 East 86th, corner of Third Avenue
(A. Fine, 2015)

Slanging dogs and tropical drinks on the same corner since 1932. Damn good dogs at that! Recently renovated but really just cleaned the place up and kept everything, thankfully, the same. Oh yeah, they added some sort of breakfast dog offerings.

12. The Yorkville Clock, 1501 Third Avenue bet 84th and 85th
(A. Fine, 2015)

Standing the test of time, the Yorkville Clock has stood here since 1898. Originally an advertisement for a jeweler on the site, the clock remains, the jeweler long gone. The clock itself was graffiti covered, vandalized and broken through the 1980's only to be saved and cherished by local residents. Let's hope our other amazing pieces of UES history are equally cherished and continue to stand the test of time.

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