New York City little known points of interest

Whatz up?

What’s happening to Harlem, South Bronx, Bed-Stuy? Complexion has gotten very, VERY light. Lots of renovations going on but can the natives afford it? Landmarks are being torn down or closed (remember Lenox Lounge and M&G’s Diner?) Stores that avoided Harlem like the plague are now popping up there but the stores that made Harlem what it is (was) are being pushed out. Sad.


January 20, 2015 Posted by | General, Harlem | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Change has come

Lenox Lounge

Lenox Lounge (Photo credit: joseph a)

Lots of changes in African-American neighborhoods in New York. Restaurants, stores, points of interest are disappearing. So sad. Restaurants/clubs that I grew up with in Harlem have closed. M&G’s Diner on the corner of West 125th Street and Morningside Ave is gone. Lenox Lounge is gone. More mainstream stores like H&M from downtown have moved in. For years, no one was interested in Harlem. It was left to its own resources. No more affordable housing. Condos in Harlem where I grew up are priced in the 7 figures. Stores are being priced out by rents that doubled and tripled when leases were up. And the landlords don’t care that they are shutting the doors on neighborhood icons. All about the Benjamins. Is this progress or genocide?

September 2, 2013 Posted by | Harlem, Harlem restaurants, Lenox Avenue | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Supper Club in Harlem

Marcus Garvey Memorial Park, Harlem, New York City

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After a year of rapid-fire changes, the owners of Harlem’s new 5 and Diamond restaurant believe they finally have the ingredients for success.

The stylish eatery, at 2072 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, near 113th Street, is debuting a monthly supper club on Sundays featuring a special menu from new Executive Chef and partner David Martinez.

“We literally wanted to do something different and fun,” said Lia Sanfilippo who co-owns the restaurant with Selene Martinez. “We wanted to show David off a bit,” Martinez chimed in.

This Sunday’s supper club – a $90 four-course tasting menu with live music – is part of a fresh start for the uptown restaurant, which has transformed its menu to feature new American cuisine, with Spanish and Mediterranean flairs. New dishes to be unveiled this summer include seared scallops with red quinoa risotto and bacon-wrapped Berkshire pork tenderloin. “The dishes are more simple, the flavors are more bold,” said Sanfilippo. “You don’t want to see 12 different ingredients go into one dish because it’s confusing. You’ll see pretty food but you’ll know what you are getting. “A new “5 @ 5” happy hour menu on weekdays features dishes such as Maine Lobster Mac and Cheese and either buffalo-style or mango chipotle wings. The restaurant will soon open for lunch. The owners are in the process of applying for license to operate a sidewalk cafe. “We want everybody to feel comfortable coming here,” Sanfilippo said. “Everyone does not want to spend $40 on a meal.”

The idea for the restaurant was originally born when the two women talked about opening their own spot after bemoaning the limited dining choices near their church in Harlem. A friend offered to back them if they were serious, even though neither has a restaurant background. Sanfilippo was a teacher and Selene Martinez set up new Equinox Fitness Clubs.

They spent a full year fleshing out the project. The location was an old hardware store which reminded them of an old five-and-dime store. A friend said that the restaurant was going to be new and shiny like a diamond — hence the name 5 and Diamond.Other restaurateurs tried to discourage them from opeing up shop in Harlem, both women said. “But the only place that seemed to fit and make sense was up here,” said Selene Martinez.

The new place has had some growing pains. Two chefs have come and gone, and the owners admit some of their menu choices didn’t always click with the clientele. A little over a year later, the restaurant still could use more customers. The women think the area would benefit from more shops that would lure outsiders to the neighborhood.

Still, the location on Frederick Douglass Boulevard in an area some have described as a developing restaurant row, is convenient for some diners  from below 110th Street. It is close to the subway and street parking is relatively convenient.

Inside the restaurant, there are original exposed brick walls and the fabric on the wall was hand-sewn by Martinez’ aunt. The wood floors were salvaged from the now shuttered Claremont Stables on the Upper West Side. “The idea was to truly mix the old and new,” Sanfilippo said.

At Sunday’s supper club, which is almost sold out, Chef Martinez’ menu includes “deconstructed seafood paella” and “vanilla and Valencia orange flan.”

Vocalist Gail Blache-Gill, who has toured with the Houston Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess, has promised to sing at least one gospel tune.

With the fresh start, the owners remain optimistic about the future of the restaurant. “This is not about bringing downtown to Harlem, but giving Harlem what it deserves,” said Sanfilippo.

By Jeff Mays


OK my Nuggets friends. Check out this new supper club and let us know what you think. Happy eating.

June 3, 2011 Posted by | General | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Shepard Hall, City College of New York, Conven...

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Who knew? A bed and breakfast in the heart of New York City.

Allie’s Inn offers luxury hotel style studios with the feel of a country bed and breakfast just a 5 minute walk away from City College and a short train ride away from Columbia University. Great way for Mom and Dad to visit their college student for special events, including graduation.

Allie’s Room is a newly renovated large sunny studio with a queen size bed and a daybed with trundle. It has a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, private bathroom with skylight and large walk in closet. There is complimentary WIFI, LCD TV, continental breakfast and housekeeping service upon request.

Garden View Room has a garden view, of course, a luxury full bed and all of the above amenities.

So where is this gem located? In the Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill section of West Harlem. It is adjacent to St. Nicholas Park, which was named after St. Nicholas of Myra, by the way. How many New Yorkers knew that? I didn’t.

Sorry. I digress. The address is 313 West 136 Street, between Frederick Douglass Blvd and Edgecombe Avenue, New York City 10030.

It really is located in a fabulous part of New York. Look at some of the landmarks you can visit while staying at Allie’s Inn:

Sylvia’s Restaurant, 328 Lenox Avenue between 126th & 127th Streets,

Londel’s, 2620 Frederick Douglass Blvd, between 139th and 140th Streets,

National Jazz Museum in Harlem, 104 East 126th Street off Park Avenue,

Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 West 138th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd and Lenox Avenue.

For more info, please call 212-690-3813 or email

And by all means, come, stay at Allie’s Inn, visit some of the landmarks and other points of interest and be sure to let us know all about it.


May 16, 2011 Posted by | General | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wine Connoisseurs

THE WINERY is a very special wine store located at 117th Street, 2166 Frederick Douglas Blvd, or 8th Avenue to the Old Timers who knew the street names before they were changed . It is open 7 days a week, from 1pm to 7pm. Free wine tastings on Friday and Saturdays evenings. Discounts for 6 bottles or more. Delivery to anywhere.

You can reach The Winery online at or 212-222-4866.


Drink responsibly and enjoy.

March 20, 2011 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Stay Here!

Harlem, New York City

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One of Harlem‘s best kept secrets is The Harlem Grand B&B.

Located just a few blocks from 2 major subway lines, Harlem Grand is in the heart of Harlem at 343 West 122 St. Harlem Grand has been welcoming guests from all around the world since 2007. It features the Dandridge Room with Queen size bed, vanity, floor to ceiling windows, closets and dressers. The Portier Room boasts an extra large bedroom with en suite bathroom and sleeps 4 comfortably.

All of the reviews I read were favorable. Guests liked the convenience of being near transportation and restaurants (Harlem Grand does not serve breakfast) and all mentioned the quiet area and how safe they felt being there. Guests also remarked how the innkeeper, Kellyn A. Tillers, made them feel comfortable during their stay.

Call 646-807-9789 for reservations and information. Room rates are between $98 and $230.

Harlem Grand B&B, 323 W 122 St, NYC 10027.

Tell them you read about them at NuggetsintheHood.

(Note: Picture is not Harlem Grand.)

February 5, 2011 Posted by | General | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Little History

A street sign for Malcolm X Boulevard (Lenox A...

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How much do you know about Harlem, one of the Nuggets in the Hood I will be featuring? Harlem is known as the Black Mecca of the World but did you know that Harlem has been home to many different ethnic groups? It was originally settled by the Dutch in 1658. Back then, over 200 years ago, Harlem was mostly farmland and undeveloped territory. Harlem has been home to the Irish, Germans, Italians and Jewish immigrants.

Black people began to move into Harlem especially after the Lenox Avenue IRT subway train was completed in 1904. They came from the southern part of America, the Caribbean islands as well as lower Manhattan. They were in search of employment opportunities made available during the First World War in 1915.

Harlem is rich in history and cultural expression. More will be explored when we look at the Harlem Renaissance next.

February 1, 2011 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment

Let’s hang out.

If you have not decided what to do, where to go on New Year’s eve, check out The Red Rooster in Harlem.


“New Year’s Eve” – The Red Rooster!

Friday, December 31 through Saturday, January 1, 2011


Red Rooster is open and is thriving!

For this New Year’s Eve, we’re hosting our first Annual Red Rooster New Year’s Eve Celebration, and I invite you to join with your friends and family.

Join us as we ring in the New Year with DJ Cosi and special guest musical performances upstairs and downstairs.

Call to book your tickets, space is limited: 212-792-9001.

  • A 3-course, prix fixe menu is available with a Champagne toast for $95.
  • The entertainment and open bar from 11pm to 2 am is $75.


December 29, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s go shopping

Studio in Harlem
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Harlem shopping and eating tour. If you haven’t finished (or haven’t started) your shopping yet, this is for you. Starting today, at 12 noon, (please verify today’s schedule) visit  17 shops and 21 restaurants in Harlem. Bus departs from The Studio Museum, 144 W 125th St in Harlem. Saturday, Dec 18th and Sunday, Dec 19th from 12 noon to 5pm. Great discounts. Some of the stops: Food for Life Supreme, Amy Ruth, Dinosaur BBQ, B , The Brownstone Boutique, Grandma’s Place Toy Boutique, and many more. $20 for 1 day pass, $30 for weekend pass per person.

Please book in advance at or call 212-209-3370 for more details.

This event is hosted by Jacqueline Orange from ArtCrawl Harlem and Taste of Harlem.


December 17, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmastime is here!

A christmas tree.

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This is a happy, jolly, yummy time of the year. Colored lights, Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs, snowflakes, Salvation Army red donation kettles, decorated store windows, even chestnuts roasting on vendor carts. And only a few days to see it all. Wow.

Everyone knows about the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and it is an impressive site to see but did you know about some of the other beautiful trees on display in New York during the holiday season?

There is a 50 foot high Douglas fir at the South Street Seaport. You can also hear a cappella groups singing carols on Fridays (6-7pm) and weekends (3,4pm). Free. Daily 24 hours. Fulton Street at South Street in Manhattan.

Another little known but magnificent tree can be found at the New York Stock Exchange. I have to admit, I never knew about this tree before working in the area. It boasts 33,000  multicolored LED lights, 250 huge decorative balls and is a 60 foot tall,  Norway spruce topped by a 100 pound star. It’s not a money tree but it is beautiful. Free. Daily 24 hours. Broad Street between Exchange Place and Wall Street, right in front of the Stock Exchange. Lighting Dec 7, 5-5:30pm.

Cannot forget Brooklyn Borough Hall. The lighting ceremony for this 40 foot high tree from Canaan, Vermont will be Dec 7 at 5:30pm and will include a performance by the Brooklyn Ballet doing their hip-hop-influenced Nutcracker. 209 Joralemon St at Court St in Downtown Brooklyn. Free.

If you know of other beautiful trees, please email the information to

December 5, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment