Hugh Jackman nailed it in the Boy from Oz as Peter Allen. One of my favorite songs in the show was Everything Old is New Again. How true that is! Now that we are settling in post summer, I am seeking those simple pleasures of the familiar that I have not had in awhile. Sure they will be stale in a couple of months (weeks?), but for now we enjoy them and the return to normalcy. In this week's Loupe, we discover some oldies that seem new again!
Russ & Daughters @ The Jewish Museum
When I return to New York City, there is nothing I crave more than a bagel, nova, tomato, onion and a smear sandwich. Fortunately, one of the oldest and best spots opened near me on the UES, so I don't have to cross Central Park and go to Barney Greengrass (also great). Russ & Daughters started from humble beginnings in 1914 when Polish immigrant, Joel Russ, opened his first shop on Orchard Street (moving in 1920 to its current location on E. Houston). It is only fitting that this food purveyor opened up in the venerable Jewish Museum, also which opened its doors to the public in the early 1900's. Both institutions are redefining themselves as younger, hipper versions of themselves without veering far from their century-old missions. Sit down and order at the modern cafe, or do appetizing takeout ... up to you! The Jewish Museum Director, Claudia Gould, is serving up great contemporary art, but also tipping her hat to the incredible heritage of the institution. Come for the fish and stay for the art and artifacts. Oh, and if you haven't been to Russ & Daughters Cafe at 127 Orchard opened by the 4th generation Russ's also in 2014, you should check it out too. Word is ... Brooklyn is next!
Do you still have your record (LP) collection? Do you even know what a record is (for my younger Subscribers)? I remember listening to my father's record albums, including Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, the BeeGees, and quite possibly Peter Allen! Experts believe that it is impossible to replicate the richness of sound in digital format comparable to the original album. Amazingly, record players and LP sales are making a distinct comeback. Vnyl is a company that has grown by leaps and bounds and provides subscribers with curated record collections; You choose how many you want per month and they will send you their selections according to the genre you specify. I presume what they realized is that their users needed a great way to play these records, possibly one that connects to their systems in familiar ways. Therefore they created the Trntbl which is a gorgeous, sleek record player that connects wirelessly to your systems (bluetooth, Airplay, and even Sonos). It is available by pre-order so make sure you get one play your old albums through your new systems!
Zagat is an old, trusted friend. In the olden days, is was a deep red book, sometimes embossed with gold if it was gifted. Where the Loupe is local recommendations by someone you know and trust (hopefully), Zagat is a guide produced by the average of thousands of locals (or self procured foodies). This is perfect if you are somewhere new (that they cover) and in a pinch for a good local recommendation. The reason I am highlighting it now is that the app has improved markedly with the latest release this Summer. It seems that Google (its owner) has finally put design and development resources behind it and made it more user friendly, also expanding from 9 to 30 cities. They even changed the 30 point system to five points, presumably making easier for a wider audience to consume and contribute.
Yet another aspect I enjoy upon returning to New York City is walking to where I am going. On the streets is where you feel the life and buzz of NYC. The city's landscape is always changing with new stores, restaurants, and buildings being born each day, and yet, with it all, it is nice to reflect on the past. Who and what used to be here, walking on the very same streets. Thanks to some generous programmer and a lot of hard/tedious work, the entire Millstein genealogical collection of photography at the New York Public Library has been published online and in an app. Now you can see what buildings/houses were there instead of your brand spanking new condo. I won't enter the debate on whether the Landmarks Preservation Commission is a blessing or a curse, but for a moment it is nice to appreciate the new while looking back at the old.