There are so many things that I love about New York city.
Many of them are discovered through nothing other than dumb luck.
And then there are the landmarks that were neighbourhood gems before the neighbourhoods got names like ‘Soho’.
Vesuvio Bakery was often featured in period films as a piece of unyielding New York City history. It had existed here virtually unchanged since the 1920s. When the last owners were forced to close in 2009, the storefront was considered so iconic that the new owners allowed the facade to remain unchanged. Savvy business move, that.
It even made its way into this coffee commercial with another New York icon, Al Pacino.
And then there are other relics of a more civilized time, often secret, like Lady Mendl’s tea salon.
This place is located inside the Inn at Irving Place, a 19th century townhouse within the venerable neighbourhood of Gramercy Park.
No signage advertises this spot (only a plaque by the door with an engraving of a teacup and saucer) and you’ll only get a table for their five-course afternoon tea with a reservation. This gem is worth dressing up for.
And then there’s Balthazar.
Who cares what the food tastes like!! It’s actually pretty good, especially the bread.
But in a timeless space like this, it’s the people-watching and the soaking up of the history that makes a visit here so satisfying for all the five senses. But here’s a tip: go for breakfast or lunch. Forget supper — it’s too hard to get in.