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March 13, 2009

Originating at the East River, adventuring through the Lower East Side, China Town and SoHo, Grand Street comes to a halt at Varick Street, as if to say, “This is as close as I get to Jersey”.

Exit the B/D line at Grand Street and you can find crabs so fresh they’re still clawing at each other in their shallow plastic tubs. Bok Choy greener than will ever appear on your plate at Congee Village. And all the amazing finds of cavernous “99¢” stores: a bamboo steamer for $2.99, wrapping paper, rubber hotwing key chains, flip flops and mops. Heading East, Chinese bakeries with custards and pork buns give way to fabric emporiums, banks, pizzerias and shells of businesses rattling with ghosts of garments and sales girls. Kosher diners, bialys, drug stores, a few modern bistros, a supermarket (Kosher and not) mix with bodegas, cleaners, a bike shop and an opportunistically named realtor: LOHO Realty.

The last stop on the M14A bus is Grand Street and the FDR. That’s my stop, too. I hear the whispers of the Lower East Side, catch the neighbors buying a slice of babka to eat on the way home from the bakery and watch with mixed emotions as new bars and restaurants pop up around me where our grandparents hawked fruits, keys and religious articles.

I’ll be sharing the sights and sounds, the news and notions, the excellent and everyday of my our neighborhood, right here.

It’ll be grand.