Joanne Hendricks Cookbooks Is One of Three Rare-Cookbook Shops Left in Manhattan

Joanne Hendricks showing off the goods
The stretch of Greenwich Street between Spring and Canal is one of those blocks we often walk down and think, "Man, it would be cool to have a place right around here." And situated along the street, inside a circa-1820s rowhouse, is one of those gems we often find and think, "Man, this is what New York is all about." Inside the ground-floor room of the home, past the wide-framed wooden door, sits one of the greatest collections of rare and antiquarian cookbooks in the world. Welcome to Joanne Hendricks Cookbooks (488 Greenwich Street, 212-226-5731).

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The Year in Old-School New York Restaurants

Used with the permission of Herbert Glaser
Glaser's Bake Shop, early 1900s
That is it, folks: another year in the books. Whether it was a fine year with lofty heights or a forgettable one with some deep-valley lows, we can all look forward to January 1 to start anew. For me, this year was happily filled with visiting those old-school New York establishments throughout the city that are still open and keeping the quality high. We lost a few of the gems along the way, but overall, throughout this constantly changing city of five boroughs and eight and a half million people, we've held on to many old-school treasures, which are tucked away in every borough. And as our parents told us to say, "We should be very thankful." We are.

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The Best Meatballs in the City Are at This East Williamsburg Meat Market

Photos by Kevin Kessler for the Village Voice
Gennaro "Jerry" Virtuoso: THE meatball king

It's a cold, dreary morning on the corner of a residential street in east Williamsburg. Inside a two-story brick building, Gennaro "Jerry" Virtuoso is ripping apart day old bread that has been soaked in water. These bread crumbs are then added to a large bowl of ground and cut beef that, after a stint in a 500-degree over, will become some of the best meatballs this side of New England.

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Delicious Ukrainian Food in a Basement

Photo by JoAnn Costanzo
A church parishioner happily making dumplings one by one.

Hidden restaurants usually fall into two categories: Those that cater to Wall Street types looking to impress on a second date, and those that don't need to advertise, because they're places so excellent and revered, word of mouth is all that is needed.

Located just below a chiropractic office in the basement of an East Village townhouse, Streecha Ukrainian Kitchen (33 East 7th Street, 212- 674-1615) is the latter, a place that a friend may tell you "is kind of hard to find."

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My Bodega and Me: A Love Story

Behold: Everything you need

In any great relationship, there is a give and take that needs to exist, an ebb and flow that must be followed. There are high points and low, and it's always a two-way street. But twenty- and thirtysomething New Yorkers don't really follow any of these guidelines: We text through dinner, look at Instagrammed dog photos at the bar, and don't call anyone besides Grandma and Mom.

For all the one-word texts I send and receive, there is one relationship that I do work on almost daily, and usually twice a day on the weekends: my partnership with Graham Garden, my local bodega.

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How a Food Writer Eats His Way Through the NYC Marathon

Can you please tell me where the mini Snickers are at?

It was shortly after 1 p.m. when my thigh region really started to burn. "I should eat something soon," I thought aloud. Having already digested some bananas, the last thing I wanted was another piece of fruit.

"We got mini Snickers ovah here," a Long Island accent called out from just around a corner, somewhere around mile marker 18.

"Can I eat a Snickers right now?" I murmured. "It will be tough to eat this."

About four seconds later, the mini Snickers was gone, and it was without a doubt the best-tasting Snickers of all time. I was running the NYC Marathon -- my first marathon -- and I was again in search of my next bite.

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Where to Find Authentic Polish Treats Near the Bedford L Stop

Richard and Christian Podedworny
With a softball-sized jelly doughnut in hand, a Polish construction worker sat on a bench next to a hurried Brooklyn mom typing away on her phone, with child, stroller, and yoga mat in tow. Inside the shop they were perched next to, a crowd of Eastern Europeans mixed with twenty- and thirtysomethings with well-worn Barbour jackets; each was ordering coffee and something else. "DzieƄ dobry. Let me have three blueberry cheese danishes," a customer said.

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At Hasidic Gottlieb's Restaurant, Start With the Challah, End With Noodle Kugel

A man enjoying his soup

"This young man needs some pickles and bread!" one server called out to the other.

It was just after dark and I was sitting at Gottlieb's Restaurant (352 Roebling Street, 718-384-6612). Hasidic men and women were ordering takeout from the deli counter, and a long-bearded employee was slicing turkey and freshly streamed pastrami. The table next to me was full of the type of patron you might find in any Brooklyn coffee shop on a Wednesday afternoon, except they were all wearing kippahs (yarmulkes) and speaking in Yiddish. It was strange and wonderful and exciting.

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NYC's Best Smoked Fish Is in a Warehouse in Greenpoint

Salmon-on-salmon action

Midway through our conversation, I asked my new friend if he preferred sturgeon over gravlax. "Psh, I don't need no herb on my salmon," he replied. We were two of about 20 people waiting in line in the heart of industrial Greenpoint on a cold fall morning, eager for our chance to procure slabs of smoked fish.

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A Taste of the Mad Men Era at Donohue's Steakhouse

The Salad
At 5:30 on a Monday night, I was at the bar at Donohue's Steakhouse (845 Lexington Avenue, 212-744-0938), sandwiched between a low-level lawyer with a Budweiser and an English businessman drinking a glass of red wine and finishing the last of his green peas. A few seats down, a married couple with a combined age of at least 150 was enjoying the last of their martinis and broiled fish. And the rotary phone was ringing off the hook.

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