Hooray! Red Hook Fairway Re-Opens!

March 1st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Joy. Happiness. Jollity. Yes, life is one big smile today. HG has just learned that the vast Fairway Supermarket located on Brooklyn’s Red Hook waterfront has reopened today. It was so devastated by Hurricane Sandy that few thought it would ever reopen. But, it’s back. Better than ever (with slightly wider aisles). There are those who do not have the advantage, like HG and BSK, of having a son (SJ) and a daughter-in-law (Exquisite Maiko), living close to this cornucopia of good food. So, permit HG to explain. Fairway is the essence of New York City. It is a true family business that began in the Upper West Side as a humble fruit and vegetable market. It has since expanded into multiple locations and boasts huge selections of fish, meat, produce, vegetables and a simply encyclopedic cheese department. But, it is not size or quantity that gives Fairway its character, it is the devotion to sourcing great edibles from Alsatian Sauerkraut to Pickdew Peppers and the passion to actually want to share these great things with their customers in an affordable way that defines the Fairway experience. As such, Fairway caters to a public of every ethnicity, age and economic status. All know food, are infinitely demanding and want the best. There are other Fairways (in Manhattan and on Long Island). But, the Red Hook outpost is the best. Its views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor are incomparable. Eating a Fairway Lobster Roll at one of their outdoor tables with a harbor view is one of the great democratic, affordable food experiences. Then there’s the crowd that fills the store. Remember, you’re in Brooklyn. So, there’s every shade of skin, every manner of dress, every accent. Maybe the best show in town. Yes, New York is indomitable. Whatever happens New York survives, rebuilds, renews and becomes more varied (and expensive!!) than ever. Civil War draft riots? Boss Tweed and Tammany corruption? Quasi-bankruptcy? Nine/Eleven? Hurricane Sandy? Fuhgeddabout it!!! Let’s eat.

Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times

The Golden Age of Food On The Upper West Side.

December 21st, 2011 § 115 comments § permalink

It was 1963. HG and BSK were beginning their marriage in an artist’s studio apartment on West 67th Street just off Central Park West. Huge high ceilinged living room with north facing floor to ceiling window, small kitchen, small bedroom ( former model’s changing room), big bathroom with enormous tub. Very romantic. The rent: $140 per month.

This was The Golden Age Of Food On The Upper West Side. Gentrification and escalating real estate prices removed the gritty, funky luster. The neighborhood had junkies, muggers, burglars, hookers and bag ladies. It also had tons of artists, writers, academics and free ranging intellectuals lured by big apartments and cheap rents.

Here’s a smattering of the food and drinks establishments that delighted the newlyweds: 67th St. Wines (67th and Columbus): Splits of good champagne for a dollar. Volk’s German Restaurant (78th and Columbus): Bratwurst heaven. Fleur de Lis French Restaurant (65th off Broadway?): Escargots. Sole. Steak frites. C & L Restaurant (70th and Broadway?): Huge, Exceptional apple pancakes. Vast menu. Tip Toe Inn (86th and Broadway). A sister restaurant to C & L with a great delicatessen. Also, notable chicken in the pot. Recently the Tip Toe Inn was featured on the show Mad Men and they were quite true to most of the original details. Zabar’s (81st and Broadway): Need HG say more? Now a New York landmark.

Zabar's Fish Counter

Barney Greengrass (87th and Amsterdam): Sturgeon and eggs with crisp fried onions. Daitch Dairy (79th and Broadway): The best cream cheese. Gitlitz (78th and Broadway): The unsurpassed Jewish delicatessen. A chopped liver and pastrami sandwich for the gods. Nevada Market (80th and Broadway): Steaks. Chops. Chicken. Citarella’s (74th and Broadway): Everything fresh from the sea. Paramount Famous Jewish Dairy Restaurant (72nd west of Broadway): Blintzes. Gefilte fish. Kasha varneshkes. Steinberg’s (84th and Broadway): Same cuisine as Paramount but classier. Very good herring. Great Shanghai (98th and Broadway) Chinese lobster and shrimp dishes. Dumplings. Szechuan (95th and Broadway) Fire on a plate. New York’s first and best Szechuan restaurant. Broadway Nut Shop. (East side of Broadway and 81st): Encyclopedic array of fresh roasted nuts, dried fruits and candy treats from across the globe. Eclair Bakery and Restaurant (72nd Street): Vienna, Berlin, Budapest and Warsaw transplanted in New York. Senate Cafeteria (96th and Broadway): Where I.B. Singer ate his tunafish salad in the company of tea sipping, Yiddish speaking European survivors.

As HG remarked, this is just a smattering. There was much more. Sadly, only Zabar’s, Greengrass and Citarella’s remain. On the bright side: The West Side has added Fairway.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with Fairway at HUNGRY GERALD.