When I decided to move to New York’s Upper West Side from Chicago, I knew that I would be in good company. Earlier that year, I decided to become more observant of Jewish law and keep kosher. I had also decided that I would meet a nice Jewish boy in New York. My oldest brother and resident of the Upper West Side for over 20 years had encouraged me to move to New York several times. Living in the epicenter of the Jewish scene, he had already picked out a few nice Jewish boys for me to meet. Within a couple of months, I was living and working on the Upper West Side. We gave our family in Chicago a great excuse to visit us, and visit they did!
Before I moved to New York, I had spent many memorable trips with my family at the Hotel Beacon. The beautiful lobby of the Hotel Beacon has been the meeting point on the Upper West Side for my family for over twenty years.
Another great thing about the location of the Hotel Beacon is that everybody can find something they can eat within walking distance of the hotel. If somebody is not in the walking mood, these places also deliver. When I moved to New York, there would be a new change to our previous dining experiences. I could no longer join my family at huge family style meals at Carmine’s. I think this hurt them way more than it hurt me. They hadn’t experienced what I had with kosher food, so I couldn’t blame them. However, I couldn’t wait for them to taste the variety of kosher food within walking distance of the Hotel Beacon. It was extremely difficult to persuade my extended family to choose a kosher restaurant over Café Luxembourg or Metro Diner. So, we agreed to disagree.
Another great thing about the Hotel Beacon is that all rooms have well-equipped kitchenettes with electric ranges and microwaves and half-size in standard rooms. This is just the right size to keep some milk, juice, or fruit for noshing. You can always replenish these items and much more at Fairway directly across the street from the hotel.
There have been some visits by my family to the Upper West Side that did not involve a stay at the Hotel Beacon. For example, On The Ave, conveniently located at 2178 Broadway and 77th Street. Quiet and cozy for those much needed rests from a day at the Museum of Natural History with toddlers in tow. Fresh kosher bagels and coffee for an energy boost at H&H Bagels which is open 24/6 and just around the corner on West 80th. The Lucerne, located at 201 West 79th Street, is directly across the street from my most favorite breakfast place, Bagels & Co. Since I have some relatives that live up on 105th and Broadway, we have met up with them at the Marrakech Hotel NYC. Definitely not a place for a family with toddlers, but we did enjoy the colorful decor and oriental ambiance of the hotel. The kids were much more at home, and the parents much less stressed, when eating big slices of kosher pizza around the corner at Cafe Roma Pizzeria. Wherever you stay on the Upper West Side, there are more than enough kosher restaurants that deliver if you want to stay in. If you want to venture out and enjoy a delicious kosher meal within walking distance of any of the above hotels, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some of my favorites include Estihana (Esti Hana), Darna, Kasbah (was: Deli Kasbah), and Talia’s Steakhouse and Bar. For more listings of kosher restaurants in the area, check out http://www.shamash.org/kosher/search.php?QID=6782793&Start=25.