6th Stop – Lea – 230 Park Avenue
(In the Helmsley East Walkway)
So I am back on Park Avenue, I can’t help myself – I have to check this place out for the sheer challenge of finding it! In doing so, what I discover, is that even Native NYers have a hard time directing me to the “Helmsley East Walkway.” This area around Grand Central is a bit of an enigma….but with my coordinates and instincts in tow, i seek out this inpenetrable hideaway, and eventually, after a few too many circles around one too many blocks, I happen upon it. From the outside it’s barely noticeable, no prominent sign to guide you.
But once I enter through the narrow door, the beautiful interior definitely catches my eye. My sights are immediately drawn to the disco balls dangling from the ceiling, though in the same tilt of the head, these ostentatious props lead to an unexpected gang of eloquent, romantic era paintings featuring volumptuous female figures which adorn the high-reaching red walls around me. The long, slender bar sits before an immense back-drop that reaches 7 shelves high, lined with what seems, never-ending bottles of liquor.
The Martini (Berrytini) -
I want to try a signature drink so I veer from my norm and opt for something sweet – the berrytini – not too bad actually. It has a nice subtle tartness to tame the sweet berry beast. A beautiful presentation, with its rich red color in a tall solid martini glass, this drink is quite enjoyable. Still, as I look around this modern day parlor I can’t help longing for my usual dirty gin martini. That being said, i must interject to point out that when I first came into the bar I was alone for the moment, still awaiting the arrival of my 2nd party, but I settled into a table for 2 anyway. Moments later, I was asked kindly to move to accommodate a party of 2 who were both present – the place was hopping. I was happy to oblige them. In fact I was moved to another 2 seater, but just in a more snug position near the bar. So why is this important to my chronicle? Okay, back in the moment – as that last sip of berrytini lingers on my tongue and my tastebuds tingle for some gin, the waitress approaches me and tells me that the “House” would like to buy me another drink as a way to thank me for being so amenable to moving my seat earlier. And some people refuse to believe in karma. My dirty gin martini is just as good as the first – though I must admit, everything tastes a little better when it’s free!
Rating: 2.75 olives
Join me next time for a drink in NoHo at Madame Geneva’s