On most nights there are only two men on the block: the quiet homeless man, who sleeps adjacent the Baruch College freight entrance, and the stout, uniformed security guard, who, at midnight, kicks the sleeping bundle of rags awake in anticipation of miscellaneous goods.
But this 26th street block isn’t always a sleepy no-man’s-land buffering the bustling and bussing 3rd Avenue and Lexington. Weekend mornings provide for it pedestrian traffic from the neighboring cities of Kipps Bay – yes, home of the movie theatre New Yorkers journey to when Union Square Regal runs out of showtimes – and Murray Hill.
The typical passerby is the modern New Yorker: well dressed, well-groomed, well fed, and well on his or her way to work. Most of them will walk to the 28th Street, Met-Life subway entrance and take the 456 downtown. Later, they will take the same route home and disappear into their respective homes until the next morning.
Some of the passersby, however, don’t take the train on most days. The tiny neighborhood of Rose Hill is home to a thriving community of Indian families. Their presence gave birth, many years ago, to what is known to most New Yorkers as Curry Row, or the Real Curry Row and not the one on 6th Street with the bright lights. The variety of foods from almost every region of India draws a hungry lunch crowd, and a more local, family friendly dinner crowd. “These places are famous, and people travel from all over the city for a taste,” says Miles McDonald, 26th Street resident.
Just southeast of this pocket of India lies the only business on the 26th street block: a small, family-run Thai restaurant whose main source of business is the extended members of that very family. The New York Times reviewed the restaurant almost a decade ago when it opened and described it as “…a little pocket of Thailand,” (NY Times need a proper citation). But today the place is near derelict and without the charm of its early years; if there is even a threat of rain, the owners will be seen breaking down the modest window display and shutting its doors to the world.