Life around the George Washington Bridge


Paul’s best friend from public school and drummer in the Brookwoods Band, Sal Rizzo, shared a story about a little boy who when asked how George Washington got over the Hudson River stated matter-of-factly that he “assumed he would have taken the George Washington Bridge”.  It just seems to have always been there.  It is the centerpiece of life for New York and New Jersey and the gatekeeper for those who come and go.  Paul remembers when it was 50 cents to cross over.  Today costs $12.00.  At night it the bridge is romantically lit, during the day its imposing form is a strong classically engineered metal monument.  Looking closer, it is a beautiful artwork of modern filigree. 

We drive past or over the George Washington Bridge every time we are in New York, but this time was special.  We drove under it.  The view was spectacular. And yet it was the most intimate of any view I have seen.  Like visiting the familiar neighborhoods and eateries, the bridge welcomed us and shared something new.

Paul V attended his 48th Tenafly High School Reunion.  It was a great excuse to come to New York and to see his friends.  Like every trip home, we are compelled to go to the Bronx to see his grandmother’s house, the shop where his grandfather was a shoe designer, and Arthur Avenue.  He enjoys the anticipation of experiencing that perfect fire baked pizza, fresh clams on half shell perfectly prepared, and yards of local hanging salami’s and cheeses.

This trip did not disappoint and I highly recommend everything we did.  You can use this as an itinerary guide if you like. Let me know if you have questions. 

Paul demonstrated the technique for dressing and slurping clams curbside at Cosenza’s outside the Arthur Avenue retail market and then shared gelato at his favorite bakery.

 With no time to spare (in 5:00 traffic), we drove to Foxwood Theatre  on 43rd Street. Formally the Hilton Theater (some maps and websites still show it as Hilton Theater), this beautiful building underwent a multi-million dollar face lift with a most elaborate Cirque du Soleil style hydraulic stage and aerial rigging.  With front row seats, not one word, facial movement (or random spit spray) was missed.  Reeve Carney (Spiderman) sang the Bono score like Bono and Patrick Page (Green Goblin) had the perfect villain voice and looked like a green lizard cloaked Liberace.

I would recommend everything that we had – Dolmadakia Kriti, Keftedakia Ekpliksi, Mydia Achnista, Horiatiki, Pastichiao Rhodos, and Moussaka.  I personally loved the Horiatiki most because it was vegetables that  were so fresh and crisp it was as though they were harvested and brought to the table.  Our perfect wine pairing was the Hope “The Ripper” Shiraz.  We, of course, asked for Texas wine everywhere we went, but there was none.

The best meal of all was the picnic that we shared at the Alpine Boat Basin on the Hudson River gazing at the bridge. Those salami’s, cheeses, fresh veggies, fruit, and hot pizza “knots” with marinara sauce tasted all the better sitting riverside on a beautiful sunny day with friends.  The goodies came from Kings Grocery where Paul worked his first job stocking shelves when he was a boy.  Fishermen were catching eel from the pier.  Families were playing in the grassy areas.  The sun warmed and slightly melted the chocolate cookies we had for dessert.