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Garryowen Club-69th Infantry Regiment-Lexington Avenue-Bar-NYC-7

The armories of New York City are a wonderful, active testament of an earlier era–when residents self-started their own militia groups. The 69th Infantry Regiment, known in popular culture as “The Fighting Irish,” was initially an all-Irish brigade founded to train Irish immigrants to free Ireland from British control.

The 69th Infantry Regiment has had an illustrious history fighting in the Civil War, World War I (where the famous New Yorker, Father Duffy joined the regiment), World War II and the Iraq war. Wild Bill Donovan, the WWI Medal of Honor awardee, was also part of the 69th and went on to be in charge of the OSS, a forerunner to the CIA. They were also one of the first responders at Ground Zero, going in against orders.

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ganesh hindu temple-nyc-flushing-queens-vegan-canteenGanesh Temple in Flushing, Queens. Image via Flicker: Carol Vinzant

Last week we took you to Smile of the Beyond, a low-key luncheonette in Queens run by the disciples of the late spiritual master Sri Chinmoy. As fascinating as it is though, Smile of the Beyond only scratches the surface of what this city has to offer. When it comes to spiritual eateries in New York, there are plenty of small, local favorites that are tucked away in every borough. So, for your convenience, here’s our list of the best spiritual restaurants, canteens, and cafes to check out in New York City. Enjoy!

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Blossom's New Restaurant on Carmine Street in Greenwich Village

Blossom’s New Restaurant on Carmine Street in Greenwich Village

Vegan-friendly restaurants are quietly expanding through New York City, on top of long-standing luncheonettes and temple canteens. Even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, these great joints will hit the spot.

1. Cafe Blossom

We were excited to hear that Cafe Blossom, a Chelsea staple since 2005, not only opened a restaurant on Carmine Street in the West Village, but they are also about to reopen a restaurant on the Upper West Side next month, which will give them a total of five vegan restaurants in the city. Not all the locations are the same though, with the flagship Chelsea location serving a more intimate experience, Blossom on Carmine for small plates, V-Note on the Upper East for bistro style and Cafe Blossom for “stylish and casual dining.”

2. Sacred Chow

Sacred Cow located at 227 Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village

Sacred Cow located at 227 Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village

Sacred Chow began life in 1995 by a Legal Aid Lawyer turned restauranteur. Originally opening as a take-out deli in the West Village, great reviews right from the very beginning and a loyal fan base propelled them to this small but comfortable space on Sullivan Street with room for seating. Their logo: a meditating cow.  This tiny restaurant is said to be “serious vegan.”

3. Beyond Sushi

Beyond Sushi located at 229 East 14th Street

Beyond Sushi located at 229 East 14th Street

Yes, there is even vegan sushi!  Husband and wife team Guy and Tali Vaknin own and operate Beyond Sushi at two locations – Union Square and an outpost in the Chelsea Market called The Green Roll.  They are well known for combining unconventional pairing of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, adorned with their original sauces.

4. Pure Food and Wine

Pure Food and Wine 54 Irving Place

Pure Food and Wine 54 Irving Place

Pure Food and Wine opened its doors in 2004, a block away from Union Square on Irving Place. It was founded by Sarma Melngailis of the well known brand One Lucky Duck chain of juice bars and online vegan products.  There are no ovens in their kitchen.  All dishes are prepared in blenders and dehydrators and beautifully presented.

5. Candle 79

Candle 79 located at 154 East 79th Street

Candle 79 located at 154 East 79th Street

An interesting history is attached to the upscale vegan restaurant Candle 79. It began in the summer of 1984 when Bart Potenza purchased Sunny’s health food store.  The previous owner had a custom of lighting candles every night to bless his establishment and so that shop on Third Avenue was renamed the Candle Cafe by Bart and his partner Joy Pierson. Their wish to expand was answered by the winning of a take-five lottery, giving them $53,000, and in 2003 the upscale restaurant Candle 79 on East 79th Street was born.

6. Angelica Kitchen

Angelica Kitchen in the East Village Source:  Angelica Kitchen

Angelica Kitchen in the East Village
Source: Angelica Kitchen

Angelica Kitchen is an old East Village favorite, having opened their doors in 1976 at 300 East 12th Street.  The menu is split between American and Asian inspired with many luscious recipes in their cookbook The Angelica Home Kitchen. Thanks to Gothamist, here is their vegan cornbread recipe – with surprising ingredients.  No reservations and cash only here.

7. Blossom du Jour

We’re big fans of these tiny vegan counters, of which there are three locations in Manhattan. Blossom du Jour is afraid to brand itself as “Shrewd Fast Food,” there are always fun slogans in the locations. For example, “Find your mind and your ass will follow,” and “What time is it? It’s time for Kale.” We swear by the Un-Chicken Avocado Griller. So good, we might order one right now. Here’s a peek at their menu.

We’re quite sure there are many more out there waiting to be explored. We’d love to hear about your favorites.  Many of these are also gluten-free and certified kosher.

Get in touch with the author @AFineLyne

Source:  Ferrara Bakery and Cafe

 In a city with so many wonderful bakeries, we thought it might be fun to explore some of the oldest, especially while we’re in the midst of National “Eat Dessert First” Month in August. All of these bakeries date from 1892 to 1904, located in Little Italy, East Village, Yorkville and Carroll Gardens. (more…)

urban-rooftop-farms-NYC-untappedcities-nick-reale-2

If you’re looking to expand your agricultural horizons, you might want to start looking up. Rooftop farms are more than simply a creative solution to local farming in otherwise inhospitable environments, they have become the cornerstone of an increasingly prominent wave of urban agriculture. With ground space a premium in North America’s densest metropolis, New York has positioned itself as a ripe hotbed for the implementation of such developments. Below, we showcase seven of the more notable institutions in the area, with several more to develop in the years to come.

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[Update: Photos from this year's dinner at Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park!]

We recently covered six of our favorite secret supper clubs in New York City, but in terms of large scale dinner parties, nothing quite tops the pop-up Dîner en Blanc. Readers of Untapped Cities over the years know that we’ve been covering the flash mob white dinner since 2010 in Paris and our founder Michelle Young has been involved in the leadership of of the New York City dinners since its inception. Last year, 4,000 guests flooded Bryant Park for a stylish affair, the year before 3,000 took over Lincoln Center. This year, the dinner returns to a secret location on Monday, August 25th for approximately 4,000 people again.

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