Orange, NJ: 02-22 Sep 2018
Updated: Feb 10, 2019
Note: I hear what you are saying "Why would you stay in Orange, NJ?!" When I told my brother (who lives in Jersey) he almost had a conniption - though in the end it was safe. Orange could work if you want to visit NYC on the cheap, but more likely you're staying here for work or to visit family (in my case my Mother who lives in nearby Denville, NJ). If you search AirBnb or Bookings.com for Northern NJ, you will quickly realize pickings are pretty slim.
1. Stayed at an AirBnB in "Downtown" Orange. A very interesting location, but very close to the . . .
2. Orange Train Station: a $6.25 one way train ride into NYC (Penn Station). Inbound sit in the right side facing forward to get good view of downtown . . . Newark. Buy your ticket at the kiosk prior to boarding the train (if you buy your ticket onboard you will pay a surcharge @ $10). If you get to the station early (and the inside is open), nose around and see how train stations were built 100 years ago.
3. Thomas Edison National Historic Park: This is the main attraction in Orange. Entrance fee of $15 includes admission to Edison's house which is located in a nearby gated community (word on the street is that Whoopie Goldberg lives nearby). Heard good things but never visited.
-Artfull Bean: a coffee house located in an art studio/community center. Good coffee, better conversation (the proprietor/manager told us all about the place and the ongoing community activities) and also a record store.
-Caffe Roma: prepare to enter a time machine and travel back to a 1950's Italian coffee shop located in the heart of Orange’s Little Italy. This may or may not be a Mob joint, that serves delicious but inexpensive cappuccinos and espressos (don’t even think of ordering a cup of coffee or a frapaccino). The very local clientele and signed photo of Joe Pesci add to the authenticity of this joint. When we left my wife whispered to me that she overheard a conversation and one of the customer's name was Vinnie. Need a nosh to go with your cappuccino? Get a prepackaged Linzer torte.
-Dunkin' Donuts (529 Main St): had a coffee and donut at this place not realizing they had previosly refused to pay my brother for washing thier windows (what kind of small businessman refuses to pay another small businessman for work completed?!). Needless to say we did not go back, and neither should you.
-The Able Baker: Great place for coffee and a nosh (everything baked in-store).
-Village Coffee Co.: a matched pair: indifferent food with indifferent service
-Valley Vintage: a delightful consignment shop that has an eclectic collection of furniture, clothing, records, glassware, etc.
- Super Supermarket (53 South Jefferson St): First of all; love the name. Great prices with very efficient selection (familiar with Hobson's choice?)
-ShopRite in West Orange (1 Rooney Circle): Good prices with a great selection and next door is . . .
-Total Wine & More: buy your wine, beer and liquor here, as all the local liquor stores in Orange have high prices and limited inventory.
New York City:
-Flatiron Lounge: Solid place to get good cocktails (may I recommend a Flackhattan?). Light crowd on a Monday night, which was perfect to catch up with an old friend and his bride.
-Prune: great food and service. The Porterhouse Pork Chop and the Lobster were excellent. Some people when in a quandary ask themselves "what would Jesus do?" Not me, I ask "What would Tony Bourdain do?"And am seldom disappointed.
-Cassidy’s Pub & Restaurant: a stickier version of T.G.I. Friday’s conveniently located near Penn Station.
-Il Michelangelo Restaurant (Boonton): great service and better pasta (all of it freshly made). Carefully review all the photos in the lobby (Sophia Loren and Michael Jackson: I'd like to listen in on that conversation, Danny Aiello: x10 ~ he must really like good pasta).
-Denville Seafood and Codmothers Cafe (perhaps pair with Caffe Roma?): the most extensive menu of fresh fish I have ever seen. Solid, though may want to stay clear of the Shrimp Cocktail due to size and texture.