Archive for March, 2012

Where is NYC’s Best Cheesecake Hiding?

A research test was undertaken by Sue Fast to finally be able to answer the following question unequivocally: where is the best cheesecake in New York City?  Fast came from Vancouver for five days, and recorded her findings in an article for a Vancouver online magazine.  Her mission was “to find the ultimate piece of New York cheesecake” in as true to New York form as can be: classic.

Her first stop was Junior’s Cheesecake and Desserts. It doesn’t sound like she was too impressed, attacking it for being lined with a “thin layer of flavorless sponge cake.”  Not so New York either, she argued, since most cheesecakes proud of their NYC heritage do not even have a crust. However, since clearly cheesecake testing is a matter of taste, it’s hard to tell if one should trust the criticisms of Fast.  One might instead want to look at what tweeter Pacman Wale said about the cheesecake from Junior’s, “if you ever come to New York you need to come here [as in Junior’s] they have the best cheesecake in America.”  Hmmm…Who to trust?

Moving on to the second day of Fast’s quest, she arrives at Rocco’s.  That seemed to satisfy her palette.  She described it as having “the perfect consistency: baked golden and slightly drier on top, creamy through the middle and down to its crustless base. The flavors are a divine blend of cream cheese, vanilla, and a hint of lemon that result in a cheesecake that’s neither too sweet nor too tart.”  How close to perfection can one get, one starts to wonder at this luscious description?

Moving on to Vaniero’s Pasticceria and Caffe in the East Village, which has been around since 1894. Apart from the cheesecake experience, Fast senses that she has gone back in time with the eatery’s cluttered antiques on the shelves. And as for the cheesecake itself, it is hailed as being “absolutely delicious.” It is creamy, light and “exquisitely smooth.”  It seems like she’s found a winner.

But does that really man that Vaniero’s in the East Village indeed does possess the best cheesecake in New York?  Again, it really is subjective and ultimately depends on your personal style and taste.  For example, for tweeter J. Leandra, it seems simple and inexpensive fit her bill, as she tweets quite unequivocally, “New York cheesecake from Walmart the best.”

And ultimately, really it doesn’t matter which one you decide to indulge in.  As tweeter Shannon King concluded, New York is a great place to be when your favorite dessert is cheesecake.

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The Village Getting Spruced Up…




…But Don’t Forget the Man in the Street

It seems like there have been quite a few building renovations in the Village over the last year or so.  Clearly lots of money has been spent.  One may thus be forgiven for asking, what about the regular man in the street?  The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 (NY’s largest grocery workers union) is fighting for a minimum wage increase to a mere $8.50 an hour.  That means no matter how hard the regular man in the street is working, there’s no way he’s going to be able to afford to live in the city and stay above the poverty line.

East 4th Street Building Restoration

Still, for those who want to live in denial and enjoy the bourgeoning beauty of the city, check out the new look for the building on East 4th Street. See how far it’s come in less than four years and try not to think about how that money could have been perhaps better used on the city’s residents.  Today it looks absolutely fabulous and yet has still retained a sense of New York’s modern history.  It just no longer has the decrepit look it was known for back in 2008 thanks to the Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Studios and Duo Multicultural Arts Center, along with NYC itself which all donated funds to ensure this renovation was made possible. 

This building has definitely been through some major changes during its history, ranging from a place to meet; a German music hall; ballroom; gay cinema; location for performances; hang-out for the likes of Andy Warhol, Jim Carroll and others who screened various controversial films, and more.

School Building Renovation

But this isn’t the only building in the Village that has undergone a rather expansive facelift.  Indeed, there was even a blessing delivered by Cardinal Egan to mark the huge amount of work that was put into improve the outlook and facilities of the St. Raymond High School for Boys at the end of last year.  The work that was undertaken is now enabling the staff to provide a better Catholic education – that is more modern – to the students there.  This was made possible by the construction of a brand new library/media center; music room; computer room; arts room; center for senior guidance and recreation area on the rooftop.

Library Opening

And then going back a few months to July of last year, the city saw the opening of the Morrisville Public Library, which took 9 months to complete.  The original building dates back to 1903, when it was opened to the public with a mere 760 volumes.  Donated by Susanna Phelps Gage, it was erected in the 1850 Gothic Revival–style home of Henry and Mary Phelps.  Today, the library boasts close to 18,000 volumes, and has thus certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings.

So there really are some exciting changes in the Village that are modernizing the city of New York while still retaining its tradition.  It’s just a shame many of the people living there are not enjoying such fancy renovations but are focused on where there next meal is going to come from.

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