Moving up in the worldMoving up in the world

Like Wednesday before me and probably like many after me, I’m giving up my beautiful, convenient dowtown surroundings for the dubious pleasures of residing uptown, Harlem to be specific. A weekend spent grilling in a friend’s lawn convinced me that I can no longer live without a little place to step out of my apartment without being run down by a car or an NYU student. And so, on September 28, I’m packing my pots and pans and other paltry possessions and heading to 128th Street . Fifth Avenue, mind you, but 128th Street nonetheless (to the apartment in this house!).


I am experiencing a deep panic that comes back a few times a day over giving up such access and proximity to everything. But this isn’t a neighborhood we’ll ever be able to really afford, although I suppose we could stay in our walk-up shoebox forever. When there’s nothing worth living in for less than $750,000, it’s time to move, even if it’s just to another rental.

And although I’ll be just a few blocks from the good express train, which can whisk me down to Union Square 24 hours a day in just four stops, I’ll no doubt become estranged from the little places that have made this feel like home to me, and that have been the subjects of many posts here on Eat.

  • Goodbye, Manhattan Fruit Exchange. Considering your location on the far west side, I’m unlikely to set foot in your glorious market on the weekly basis I became accustomed to this summer. I won’t miss your cash-only policy, but your prices are the best in the area. More cheap morels for everyone else!
  • Farewell, beautiful Murray’s Cheese! I’ll make it a point to frequent your location in Grand Central, but it won’t be the same as waiting for my number to be called in your gloriously stinky Bleecker Street shop.
  • I’ll try to continue going to Porto Rico once a month for the fabulous, inexpensive coffee, even if just to the little Thompson Street location. (If you live in New York and brew coffee at home, this place is worth the detour and the lines.)
  • I know it’s not the city’s best, but I’ll miss Bagel Bob’s for their 35-cent bagel special on Monday afternoons. I suppose I should be eating high-fiber cereal anyway.
  • I’ll even miss the awful Garden of Eden, which tried to swindle me every other time I entered the store.
  • I don’t shop at Broadway Panhandler anymore after practically being gay-bashed by their crazy security staff a few months ago, but it’s the best cookware shop in the neighborhood, and it had its moments over the last three years. Is there a good place in Harlem?

Balducci’s, Gourmet Garage, Jefferson Market, Citarella, even Whole Foods Union Square…I went to every one of these dumb places for some item or another. Don’t get me started on my precious gay thrift shops, Angel Street and Housing Works, where I’ve found so much cookware and furniture.

But of course the biggest loss, and the one that stings the most, is the Union Square Greenmarket. We’ve had our ups and downs, but there’s no better place to be in the hazy days of late summer and the crisp days of early fall. I can get there in 20 minutes from my new place, but will I? I won’t have the luxury of dashing up three blocks at 6 pm for dollar bags of tomatoes and corn. It will have to be a planned excursion, one I’ll have to think about in advance. That’s likely to be the biggest change in leaving University Place—no more running out on a whim to the shops that have fed me and clothed me for three years of my short life.


I didn’t think you were serious when you mentioned you were considering moving to Harlem a few days ago. I guess you were! Good luck on your move. The apartment looks pretty sweet, despite its far-away location. (Then again, you should try living in Newark. This sucks! ;) )

oh dear.
i will bring you whatever you want from any of those places – i know it’s not the same but can you beat hand delivered jeannie basil for $.75 from the fruit exhange???

Well done! The new place looks good, and you will undoubtedly find new stores to clothe you and feed you equally well. And you’re moving on my birthday, which I’ll go ahead and consider to be a good omen!

I feel your pain. When we left Manhattan for larger space in Jersey City, I was hysterical. In NYC I was a hop, skip and a jump away from all of my favorite shops. But you know what, I still manage to make it to most of my nyc haunts on a regular basis and you are still in nyc so you will too. Albeit it may not be as frequently, but often enough to continue your eating style! Good luck and enjoy the benefits of the new place. I am sure you will make fabulous Harlem discoveries which I can’t wait to hear about.

Good luck, guys! A traumatic time I know, but the place looks like a great step up. XXOO

You got the place! Congratulations! It looks totally amazing (and I remember when I first read that article about the house) and is going to be home-sweet-home before you know it. Don’t worry too much about what you’re leaving behind – you’ve got Fairway right around the corner and that’s worth at least five of those downtown places combined. If not ten! :) Can’t wait to hear about your explorations up there.

no comments on the graze items? yeah bierkraft says their growlers stay fresh for 3 months. i can’t verify that, but they certainly stay carbonated for at least 2 days. they have a special CO2 pump. great cheese selection too. call them up, they might let you fill up any growler with their beer.

good luck with the move- you’re that much closer to Pio Pio’s green sauce of the gods 1st ave in the 90s.

OH MY GOSH!!! Congrats!!! What an exciting move!!! I am so happy for you both. And I am sure you will find cute little nooks in your neighborhood…and even if not, I bet that somehow you will make it to the Union Square Greenmarket from time to time. So great!

I was serious, Colin. I wouldn’t joke about something so drastic! Thanks for the well wishes. I didn’t realize you lived in Newark. They say it’s up and coming!

Jeannie basil, please! I’ll hold you to your offer.

Thanks, Christine! I’ll take that to be a good omen too. And I’m sure I’ll find some good places to shop uptown. I’ve already mapped out my bus ride to Fairway.

Thanks, izzy’s mama! I can’t wait to share what I find. And thanks, Luisa! You’re sort of responsible for convincing us to pull the trigger. ;)

Sorry, j$, no comments on graze yet. 3 months? That’s crazy. Whole Foods sucks. I’ll try to make a detour to Bierkraft. Maybe someone will open such a place in Harlem. Maybe I should.

Thanks, Emily! I’ll still make it down. It won’t take but 20 minutes. I just hope you’ll make it up to visit sometimes!

I’ve been reading for a little while, but have never commented.

I know this is small comfort, but I moved to Harlem from a neighborhood in Philadelphia, where I could get locally grown vegetables, gorgeous cheeses, and excellent wine whenever I needed it. It’s been difficult to adjust to the horrific produce at Associated and the nasty lines at Pathmark, but there are many, many bright spots to shopping in Harlem.

The smaller produce shops (there’s one at 116 and 3rd that I love) have an abundance of fresh, inexpensive items, and they usually carry a few things that you won’t find at a run-of-the-mill grocery. They also provide shard-to-find spices and good coconut soda.

Churro and hot chocolate stands crop up on the streets as the weather turns chilly. There’s something satisfying about getting off the train at 6:30, buying a steaming cup of cocoa, and walking home while your hands warm up.

And you WILL get to the Greenmarket. I do, almost every weekend. I’ve made a game out of creating dinners using only local ingredients that were purchased exclusively at the Greenmarket. It keeps my subway legs limber.

Good luck. I hope you’ll be happy here!

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