Welcome to Junior’s!
Hail a taxicab anywhere in New York City and tell the driver, “Take me to the best cheesecake in New York.” Odds are you will end up at the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues in Brooklyn, at Juniors. Junior’s landmark restaurant is known as the home of New York’s best cheesecake. For decades, Brooklynites (and other New Yorkers) have come to eat, laugh, and kibbitz (argue) over cheesecake. In the 1950’s, an entire generation came of age at Junior’s, that’s me. Their cheesecake was as important as the Brooklyn Dodgers…the Fox Theater…Coney Island…Brighton Beach. Today loyal customers still come –from all over and all walks of life. Famous mayors. Presidents. Hall of Fame athletes. Authors, singers, like Frankie (the crooner) and Eddie Cantor (Mammy), movie stars. In fact, it’s as true today as it was 60 years ago when they started, “You haven’t really lived until you’ve had cheesecake at Junior’s.”
Inside Junior’s at Foxwoods
All dressed up for the holidays, The Original New York cheesecake swirled with real strawberry puree, topped with red and green chips and wrapped with yellow chiffon cake on the sides with a beautiful Christmas tree pattern. Junior’s and cheesecake are synonymous. You say cheesecake, and you knew you would be dining at Junior’s. You say Junior’s and you knew your would be eating cheesecake.
Here come the cheesecake
Junior’s is a restaurant chain with the original location at 386 Flatbush Avenue Extension at the corner of DeKalb Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, New York City. Other locations include Times Square area and the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel in the Foxwoods Resort in Ledyard, Connecticut. The restaurant was founded by Harry Rosen in 1950. According to the restaurant, it was named Junior’s after Rosen’s two sons, Walter and Marvin.
Coney Island mural inside Junior’s
According to GO Brooklyn, “At that corner of Flatbush and DeKalb avenues in Downtown Brooklyn, there has been a diner run by the Rosen family since 1929. In 1950, the name was changed to Junior’s, and it has been serving its famous cheesecake and other goodies ever since.”
Rosen worked with master baker Eigel Peterson to create the cheesecake known today as “The World’s Most Fabulous Cheesecake”, based on a recipe that was in the Rosen family for three generations. In addition to cheesecake, Junior’s features deli sandwiches (particularly corned beef and pastrami), ten ounce steakburgers, cheese blintzes, and unique onion rings. Fans of the restaurant are not limited to Brooklynites. A Kuwaiti prince was known to have taken several of Junior’s cheesecakes back with him.
So what’s better than 1st place? Cheesecake at Junior’s, that’s what’s better than my dance competition placement. Well, almost. I had no idea there was a Junior’s restaurant at Foxwoods. Tom, my hubby said, “We’re going to have breakfast at Junior’s. I had no idea that was the famous Junior’s, and neither did my mid-western husband. We rounded the bend from the smoky casino, and low and behold, right in front of me was my most favorite New York restaurant that I ate at for years and years and years.
The waiter gave us menus. I looked it over and with sad eyes, I looked up and asked the waiter, “Where’s the potato pancakes?” He said, “On our lunch menu.” I named lots of other dishes that I remembered. He said, “You know Junior’s. Impressive!!!” I kid you not, I remember it well, just like the song sung by Maurice Chevalier. They have Junior’s in Florida and of course I ate there too. So I asked him if I could have a potato pancake with my breakfast, with sour cream. A big breakfast later, I asked, “Will you wrap up cheesecake to take away, and how about one of your New York bagels with cream cheese and tomato?”
Happy Thanksgiving! Remember to have cheesecake.
Now that the holidays are here, maybe you will have time to enjoy a good book. Here’s a little bit about my novel:
If you like romance, and you like rip-roaring adventure, Indigo Sky is for you! Shopping at Tiffany’s, getting caught up in the New York Draft Riot, the Civil War, and the wilds of the Great Plains. Enjoy the holiday with Gail Ingis’s Indigo Sky. Sign up for my weekly blog by December 17th, and three of you will win a copy of my ebook.
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA
Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.to/29NYE5w
Artist Page: https://artist.gailingis.com/blog/
Horse & cart
My romance with Coney Island, when I was about five years-old or so, began at grandma’s house when the iceman delivered ice on his cart, pulled by a horse. He drove down the street hollering, “Ice for sale, ice for sale.” Looked like to me, those huge tongs could almost pick up a dog. He used them to bring the block of ice into the house, and put it in grandma’s icebox. Some of us had refrigerators, but grandma only had an icebox. The iceman always showed up before the ice was all gone. That’s all I remember about that piece of history. Finally, we moved grandma to a place that had a refrigerator. No one had a TV, people played card games, and listened to the radio. Grandma’s radio was a floor model that would constantly lose reception. When I visited her, and it lost reception, she said, “Bang it hard here, on the side.” That always fixed it.
Childs in its day
My romance grew. Ever have a Chow Mein sandwich? I thought it was a Nathan’s of Coney Island specialty, but I found this in Google: Originating in Fall River, Massachusetts, in the 1930s or 1940s, the chow mein sandwich is a hot sandwich, which typically consists of a brown gravy-based chow mein mixture placed between halves of a hamburger-style bun, popular on Chinese-American restaurant menus throughout southeastern Massachusetts and parts of neighboring Rhode Island. This sandwich is not well known outside of this relatively small area of New England. Really? What are they talking about? The chow mein sandwich was mega popular in Coney Island at Nathan’s, and a favorite of mine. So . . . did Nathan’s steal the idea, or were they the originator?
The teen years are fun to save for another blog, but a foodery I loved, was Childs Restaurant.
Coney Island institutions have a way of disappearing without leaving anything on the boardwalk to remember them by. That’s so with Childs Restaurant, the seaside outpost of a popular early 20th Century lunchroom chain, that was built in 1923 and whose frame still stands today. If you’ve ever taken a stroll on the boardwalk, west of the parachute jump and Keyspan Park, you’ve probably noticed its massive facade, leftovers once adorned with flamboyant nautical details.
Childs now . . . Designed by Dennison & Hirons,
The building is now vacant and boarded up. Story of this great restaurant is that it has stuck around for so long because it’s kept a steady number of tenants over the years, including a chocolate factory and then a glitzy roller rink.
Roller rink inside the defunct Childs
Terra cotta details once on Childs facade by Atlantic Terra Cotta Co.
On a visit to Coney in 2010 I found the building derelict. So sad. I took lots of photos and have been painting from my camera shots.
After the destruction from hurricane Sandy in 2012, Coney Island has been restructured, rebuilt and re-energized. It’s a wonderful place to play, have Nathan’s hot, buttered corn, people watch, and walk in the sand, fish from the pier and ride water scooters over the waves. Fireworks used to be every Tuesday night. Hmm, I wonder . . .
What do you think?
Styles, shapes, space. What did folks do to fit into a space, fit into a chair, fit on a throne. Our daily lives are so crowded with news, stories, headlines, we have become aware of the space around us. How do we find enough space? What is enough space? Did you know that space is calculated based on job type and position?
Did you read in Yahoo News on Monday September 12, 2011, White Castle is being sued by a stocky stock broker for not being able to fit his 290lb frame into the chain’s stationary booths? According to the customer, White Castle is in violation of the American with Disabilities Act. “I just want to sit down like a normal person,” he says. He compares himself to a pregnant woman and the handicapped.
Look at England’s Henri VIII, a really big guy. He would never fit into a White Castle booth. You can be sure his throne and furniture, of the 16th century Tudor period, was massive. Oak was the wood of the day, hard wood, hard to carve, hard to shape, but strong enough to accommodate a big person like Henri VIII.
Good space is premium. How much do we need to live and work and play? At work you may have a cubicle or a private office. At home you may enjoy a cozy, small, warm room with human scale ceilings (8′) or a large room with cathedral ceilings (13′ or higher). But the seating has to give the comfort you seek in your place of refuge.
Space in a chair, how big should it be? Chairs in the home, chairs in the office, chairs in your favorite restaurant. A place like White Castle, MacDonald’s and Burger King are people movers. They want you to eat and leave. Make the diners too comfortable, folks hang to visit with friends. Go where you pay a pretty price for a meal they better give you good seating. Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll stay for dessert.
So folks, have a seat. Try them out before you bring them to your home or office. How do you decide? Each have a purpose. With chair types and styles. Even Thoreau, in 1845, in his small cabin on the banks of Walden Pond, where he built a 10′ by 15′ house furnished with a bed, a table, a small desk and lamp, and three chairs — He wrote about his chairs, “one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.” Today we have special chairs for every activity from watching games on television to working at the computer.
Office chairs need to be what is called “ergonomic.” It has to be adjustable, adjustable height, adjustable arms, adjustable pitch. A chair that gives you all those choices will cost a little more, but it is worth the price. Be sure the fabric is cleanable and durable. Leather is always great, but costly. Today, some imitation leathers are close to the real thing, just ask the seller if it is durable. Be sure to buy from a reliable source. Fabrics gather dust, especially black, but there are great fabrics that look good and are practical. Ask the seller to advise you. The image above is a “Herman Miller” hard mesh type, a material that does well. You don’t need comfort in the office, you need body support.
At home you need comfort. Your feet need to touch the floor, the seat should be sized to fit your body, the back should have the pitch that allows your feet to touch the floor. A standard chair has a seat height of 17-18 inches.
This chair is called a Fauteuil, French traditional (country) classic upholstered open armchair. It has allthree attributes, roomy seat, good pitch, and for most, your feet should touch the floor.
This is the “Barcelona Chair.” A contemporary classic design by Mies van der Rohe, designed in 1929. For most, because the seat is deep, your feet will not touch the floor. It is a beautiful design, found in most corporate offices to impress.
The image to the right is a 1925 Marcel Breuer contemporary classic. The “Cesca” chair is well-designed, functional, comfortable and practical. Do you recognize this popular chair? Have you owned one?
Remember the “Mitt chair” made by Stendig? You tell me, can we really tell White Castle to build bigger booths? Do you have chairs you love, do they give you comfort, do they give you the space you need to function, do they support your body?