Wednesday, October 22, 2014


In honor of Halloween, we always like to republish one of our most popular post about Harlem's own Harry Houdini:

Upon becoming successful in both fame and love, Harry Houdini moved into a Harlem brownstone that he would live in until his death in 1926. The house was just completed in 1904 in a predominantly German and Jewish portion of the newly developed uptown neighborhood.  Houdini bought the property for $25,000 and moved in with his wife Bess. Not only was it his home space, but also his office and work studio. The Harry Houdini House is located at 278 West 113th Street by FDB/8th Avenue and is apparently a rental these days.  Read more about Harry Houdini in our past post: LINK


The majority of old apartment buildings in the city have metal doors on them so it is always interesting to run into buildings that have kept some of the original wood details in place.  A prewar residential building on Edgecombe shown above is quite unique nowadays since it still has the antique transom section at the entrance but the lower doors have been replaced in a less interesting fashion over the decades.  We have seen higher end buildings downtown keep their wood doors or duplicate old ones with new replications and maybe one day the trend will be more popular uptown.


An extremely rare landmark 2-family townhouse on Convent Avenue's prime historic district in Hamilton Heights has arrived on the market for $2.5 million.  The turreted tower is an impressive 20-foot wide, has an extremely unique facade and also has great original details within. This block is one of the most beautiful in all of Manhattan and the express subway station close by on 145th Street gets one downtown within 15 minutes.  If this was in our budget, we would definitely love to live in this historic home: LINK


We had a tip come in a few weeks backs about the 110th Street gas station on 8th Avenue that noted everything has been demolished.  Walking the corner of Central Park North this past weekend, we were finally able to get a good image of the site slated to have a new residential building rise up sometimes in the near future.  Previous rejected submissions for the market-rate condo to arrive on site have been posted previously but the final plan has yet to be published.  Based on word of mouth from folks who have seen the chosen design, the new building will have a distinctive curve to it that will compliment the location at Frederick Douglas Circle: LINK

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


We headed to the 5 & Diamond by 112th Street on 8th Avenue to see what the great buzz about the amazing brunch was about.  A big thanks to Lia and Joe for coming up with such an enticing Sunday menu and having us over to sample everything for the first time even though tables were in high demand with folks waiting outside. Below is the restaurant review by Kay Excell who is  a notable local foodie and the founder of Mighty Meaty.

5 & Diamond is neighborhood standby, known for their Mac n Cheese, with a brunch worth getting out of bed for.  While deciding on your main course order the nook and cranny filled biscuits, served with your choice of house made berry jam or Chef Joe's sausage gravy. You can not go wrong with either. These biscuits are what the trendy downtown biscuit emporiums aspire to.

The main brunch menu has quite a few options including classics like French Toast, executed wonderfully on soft challah bread and is lovely paired with the lightly sweet bourbon champagne cocktail for those who eschew savory flavors at brunch to modern take on hash that was comprised of eggs, seasonal root vegetables and short ribs which could have used a dash of salt to enhance the melt in your mouth tender cubes. An honorable mention goes to the fluffy pancakes which looked to be about 1/2" thick, with vanilla notes wafting from them and arrives with fried chicken and maple syrup.

Our favorite standout has to be the shrimp and grits. Featuring fresh, large shrimp cooked to perfection and a slight smokiness that did not overwhelm the creamy texture and taste of the grits, there was also the added surprise of roasted tomatoes which brought a welcome hit of acidity to complete the balance of the dish. This was thoroughly enjoyed with the warm heat of the Bloody Mary cocktail which had hints of fennel throughout.