ende
ende
menu
ende

You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Tracing the New York Food Scene by touring Little Italy & Lower East Side Manhattan

Susan Birnbaum is what you would call a happy person. Almost motherly, too, as she herds & leads our small group of eager food travellers through what is called “Little Italy in the Bronx“, the name & district of the New York Susan Sez Food Tour we are on – the second in 48 hours for me after a delightful Brooklyn Urban Oyster Tour! “I used to be a social worker and have become a licensed tour guide with the New York Guides over ten years ago”, Susan tells us leaving Grand Central Station and making our way towards the Bronx by train. “Now, after starting my own tour company, I have taken the ‘work’ out of the ‘social'”, she muses about her change in profession. A large grin spreads over her face, only topped by the red-rimmed sunglasses she is wearing on this bright autumn day. We are in for more treats, as we walk down Fordham Road past the tall university buildings and beautiful park landscape of this district of the Bronx, on our way to Arthur Avenue. This street essentially marks the heart of the Italian Foodlover District of New York City, as we are about to learn on our Food Tour with Susan.

Susan is all set to welcome us on her Food Tour, exploring "Little Italy" & Arthur Avenue district of the New York Bronx.

Susan is all set to welcome us on her Food Tour, exploring “Little Italy” & Arthur Avenue district of the New York Bronx.

 

Our group of happy foodie travellers ...

Our group of happy foodie travellers …

 

... are in for our first treat with Susan "just down the road & around the corner", a nice little savoury pastry to set the tone for more things yummy to come our way.

… are in for our first treat with Susan “just down the road & around the corner”, a nice little savoury pastry to set the tone for more things yummy to come our way.

 

It tastes delightful, let me tell you! :)

It sure tastes delightful, let me tell you!

 

Meanwhile, we have entered the heart of the "Little Italy" district of New York, as marked by this large Italian flag painting on the crossroads of Arthur Avenue ...!

Meanwhile, we have entered the heart of the “Little Italy” district of New York, as marked by this large Italian flag painting on the crossroads of Arthur Avenue …!

 

Susan has more goodies for us, such as these tasty Italian olives ...

Susan has more goodies for us, such as these tasty Italian olives …

 

... while right next doors to where we stand, they even have a "Salami Heaven" here on Arthur Ave!

… while right next doors to where we stand, they even have a “Salami Heaven” here on Arthur Ave!

 

The Market on Arthur Ave really comes close to feeling in Italy ...

The Market on Arthur Ave really comes close to feeling yourself transferred to Italy: Heated, the air suffused with delightful spices and aromas, as well as Italian language over the top of your heads …

 

... enhanced only by such things American as this "Bronx Beer Hall" stand, serving me pumpkin ale (!) craft beer with maple syrup rim on top. WOW! It tasted really, really good!

… enhanced only by such things American as this “Bronx Beer Hall” stand, serving me pumpkin ale (!) craft beer with maple syrup rim on top. WOW! It tasted really, really good!

 

And would you believe there is even more food coming our way ... Susan happily "breaking the bread" for us.!

And would you believe there is even more food coming our way … Susan happily “breaking the bread” for us.!

 

One of my favourite spots on this "Little Italy" Food Tour of the Bronx is this cheese shop, where we actually behind the scenes to watch real buffalo mozzarella being hand-made ...!

One of my favourite spots on this “Little Italy” Food Tour of the Bronx is this cheese shop, where we actually behind the scenes to watch real buffalo mozzarella being hand-made …!

 

Quite likely, the best (and freshest!) mozzarella I have ever tried. The man in the back, our master mozzarella maker, has been making mozzarella for the past 45 years of his life ... watching him is like a meditation!

Quite likely, the best (and freshest!) mozzarella I have ever tried. The man in the back, our master mozzarella maker, has been making mozzarella for the past 45 years of his life … what he does appears to be meditation!

 

Thank you so much, dear Susan, for such a wonderful food storytelling time exploring "Little Italy" in the Bronx! You really made me discover what I would not otherwise have found here in New York City!

Thank you so much, dear Susan, for such a wonderful food storytelling time exploring “Little Italy” in the Bronx! You really made me discover what I would not otherwise have found here in New York City!

 

Walks Of New York offer the perfect mix in terms of culinary storytelling: “Noshing” our way through the historical wealth of Manhattan’s Lower East Side!

“My mum would very much wish to be here with us right now. She just loves learning about (American) history!” I smile, thinking of dear mum and silently vow to come back here one day with her. This is perhaps the most interesting history lesson I have ever had: Visual, captivating – and speaking / tasting good food on the way. “The food we ‘nosh’ on this tour is all rooted in the immigrant history of Manhattan’s Lower East Side”, our super knowledgeable, friendly guide Jeff is happy to point out. Essentially, I learn, the Lower East Side of Manhattan constitutes the very cradle of American history and settlement. Back in the 19th century, first Irish, then Italians, and later on German as well as Eastern European Jews poured into the country and settled on the southern tip of present-day Manhattan, “long before Elli’s Island was opened up at the turn of the century. Much of the country has been settled, developed and raised from here. We are talking the likes of Taylor, Twentieth Century – Fox, the US Film Industry … All of them trace their early and humble beginnings to this part of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. And this is where I will take you today!” Jeff beams with enthusiasm and delight, having only started his tour company Walks Of New York in early 2014 and “currently taking lots of New Yorkers themselves on the tour. Local people here are so interested by the history, essentially their very own history, of this place in Manhattan. Still today, eight in ten Jews can trace their American lineage to this part of the country!”

We really dig deep into personal storytelling accounts on this tour. Hear all about individual settler’s (appalling) living conditions, the ensuing labour movement, much as in “Gangs of New York”: Have you seen the movie? Well, watch we found this time on this Walks Of New York Tour instead.

Off we go: Jeff, besides being a tour guide, also happens to be a fellow travel writer & Social Media expert,

Off we go: Jeff, besides being a tour guide, also happens to be a fellow travel writer & Social Media expert whose wealth of knowledge I am simply very impressed by.

 

He supports his tales by interesting info graphics and ancient, original photography of Manhattan's Lower East Side district ...

He supports his tales by interesting info graphics and ancient, original photography of Manhattan’s Lower East Side district …

 

... explaining to us how housing conditions were "in those days" back at the turn of the 19th century - clearly not very different from today, now home to Chinese migrants and settlers.

… explaining to us how housing conditions were “in those days” back at the turn of the 19th century – clearly not very different from today, now home to Chinese migrants and settlers.

 

Right here on Eldridge Street, we take a look at New York's oldest (restored) Jewish Synagogue that is well worth the visit!

Right here on Eldridge Street, we take a look at New York’s oldest (restored) Jewish Synagogue that is well worth the visit!

 

Spectacular: This, too, is Manhattan: Next to Eldridge Jewish Synagogue, we find this Buddha temple in what used to be a shop space.!

Spectacular: This, too, is Manhattan: Next to Eldridge Jewish Synagogue, we find this Buddha temple in what used to be, a shop space.!

 

"Let's do some 'noshing'", Jeff proclaims merrily as he leads us on: Sampling delightful Asian dumplings on the street, as befits the street food atmosphere in this part of town.

“Let’s do some ‘noshing'”, Jeff proclaims merrily as he leads us on: Sampling delightful Asian dumplings on the street, as befits the street food atmosphere in this part of town.

 

Next to street food, street art graffiti!

Next to street food, street art graffiti!

 

And back to history: The faces of these young girls, perhaps 14 or 16 years old, stare at me showing courage in demanding better labour and living conditions well over 100 years ago.

And back to history: The faces of these young girls, perhaps 14 or 16 years old, stare at me showing courage in demanding better labour and living conditions well over 100 years ago.

 

The accounts of history, shocking and disturbing at times, are broken by modern-day comfort breaks involving ... (more) food, naturally.

The accounts of people’s history, shocking and disturbing at times, are broken by modern-day comfort breaks involving … (more) food, naturally.

 

"He likes his photo being taken!" Cool guy making pastry in this

“He likes his photo being taken!” Cool guy making Bialys pastry we get to try in this original bakery shop of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

 

Right next to it, it's "Pickle Guys" time!

Right next to it, it’s “Pickle Guys” time! “Half-sour or sour”, is the choice we get from Jeff over trying!

 

Would you have guessed New Yorkers crave pickles? It's called "Essiggurkerl", I laugh while telling Jeff about our own love for pickled vegetables back home in Austria.

Would you have guessed New Yorkers crave pickles, such as this giant pickled cucumber? It’s called “Essiggurkerl”, I laugh while telling Jeff about our own love for pickled vegetables back home in Austria.

 

Very interesting: Definitely check that out on your next visit here!

Very interesting: Definitely check that out on your next visit here!

 

I love walking around this living part of history, Manhattan's Lower East Side exuding a very special ambiance of both past & present intertwined.

I love walking around this living part of history, Manhattan’s Lower East Side exuding a very special ambiance of both past & present-day life deeply intertwined.

 

Thank you so much for this tour Jeff, and for taking me & our group of Staten Island primary school teachers (!) around this Lower East Side Culinary Storytelling Tour!

Thank you so much Jeff, for taking me & our group of Staten Island primary school teachers (!) around this Lower East Side Culinary Storytelling Tour! A great chance to learn more, and sample great “historic” food along the way!

 

Check out even more #foodlover travel pics from New York City on my Flickr Photo Gallery:

 

Disclaimer: I have been invited by both Susan & Jeff on their respective tasting tours of “Little Italy” & “Lower East Side Storytelling in Manhattan”. All opinions are my own.

Spread the love

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
#Foodlover Exploration of Brooklyn, New York with Urban Oyster Tours
Untold New York Stories: Creative Culture Travel in the Big Apple

0 Comments

Leave a Reply


Follow me on my travels: