Circumstances forced me to go outside in the cold Monday afternoon against my will. During my time out and about I walked about 15 blocks up and down Broadway and now present, in picture form, some of the sights from around Inwood in northern Manhattan. This is a very small stretch of Broadway, and this is the same Broadway that’s in songs, television shows and people’s imaginations. If you wanted, you could walk from the top of Manhattan to the bottom via Broadway. No one who works for TVFury has that much ambition so this is just a slice of maybe the most famous street anywhere.
This is right next to our apartment and is what remains of a famous arch built in the 1850s as part of a mansion. It might not look it, but this is one of the cool tourist spots of the area, although the exhaust from the auto shop that now occupies part of the space means its popularity will never likely match that of the Met.
The Columbia football team went 0-10 this year, but the Lions do have a sports facility that’s just a year old that should — in theory — aid the program. The soccer, baseball, field hockey, softball and track and field teams also compete up by us and also take advantage of this building, which was the subject of a lot of debate a few years ago (at one of the meetings, I actually spoke — yes, public speaking! — and spoke in favor of the construction, which was not the prevailing opinion of the night). The Times reviewed it a while back from an architecture standpoint.
If I wasn’t a lapsed Catholic, I’d go to Good Shepherd church every week. When the Irish ruled Inwood, the church hosted more than a dozen services every Sunday, which even Irish Catholics can agree is a bit much. As it is, I’ve been to one service, a few months ago, when my parents visited and I took them to a Spanish-speaking Mass. It was actually fun, though probably not enough to get me to go back every week.
I walk these steps every workday when I meet up with the woman in charge of our carpool. She lives at the top of them. They’re historic steps, extremely cool to look at and to walk down. My knees hate walking up them. The rest of my body agrees with the knees.
The sign that you can’t read — apologies for my below-average photo skills; I think in words, not pictures — says Hong Kong Buffet. Hong Kong Buffet closed a few months ago. This location is cursed, the Seinfeld joke about a doomed location and its doomed businesses brought to life. My heart shattered a bit every time I walked past and saw a woman at the cash register, huge buffet offerings, and no customers. Or, somehow even more depressing, one customer. Before that it was another Chinese restaurant. Years ago, before we moved to Inwood, a notorious nightclub/restaurant occupied the space. Shootings took place. Other less serious debacles happened there. So since then the neighborhood has been skittish about what opens there. Nine years ago a new place opened up and we’d go there for delicious burgers. No one else ate there. No one, never saw anyone else eating. Few months later it was revealed that the restaurant part was sort of a sham and that it was actually a nightclub with scantily clad ladies tottering around in heels serving drinks. That place eventually shut down as well. Recently I heard that some people tried opening a restaurant there — a legitimate one. Shot down.
Pretty leaves by the park. If you walk by and hear a rustle, it could be a squirrel. A cute squirrel having fun! More likely? It’s a rat. Don’t run. The rat senses fear. The rat pounces. And then you’re sprawled out on Broadway with a rat gnawing on your face while bored New Yorkers wander by, pausing only to take a picture for Instagram, which they’ll post with three letters and three words accompanying the shot: “LOL. Rat eats face.” Instead treat the rat like an old mafia don in the neighborhood who hangs out near the grocery store. Tip your cap, say good day, and slowly walk past.
New business on Broadway. The apostrophe fascinates me. It could be an accent I suppose, just misplaced when workers put it up. More likely it’s an apostrophe. But why? What letters could be missing from Haven? What letters should go between the a and the v? Nail Halven?
Isham Park, just one of several parks in our neighborhood. But check out the rays of sunshine I worked into the picture.
A few years ago a terrible fire started in a Chinese restaurant and destroyed several area businesses. The space where the Laundromat stood remains empty, though apparently a bank will go there next year. That fire also destroyed Dichter Pharmacy, which is operated by a beloved local pharmacist named Manny Ramirez. People simply call the pharmacy “Manny’s” more often than not. He opened a temporary space a few blocks north but finally moved into his new/old location earlier in the year. It’s a cool place inside, with an old-fashioned ice cream shop feel to it, which also serves, according to my wife, amazing turkey sandwiches. They also deliver medications.
Dichter Pharmacy is one of the places that makes Inwood cool, both the business and the response of the community when its original home was destroyed. The neighborhood has a lot to offer, even if my shaky photography doesn’t necessarily prove it.