Manhattan skyline from Weehawken, New Jersey

The view of New York City from the bus top on JFK Boulevard in Weehawken, New Jersey is one of the best going, as is the commuting time (just 12 quick minutes to the NY Port Authority).Two blocks in from the Hudson River and its string of stately homes-with-a-view, Union City is my new go-to destination in near Manhattan. Not as a tourist attraction, mind you, but as a place to stay, for a fraction of the cost to be IN Manhattan.

When I visited the area last October, accommodations in Union City were easy to come by, and as it turned out, just around the corner from a dynamite Cuban breakfast at the family-owned El Artesano.


There, two eggs came with a mound of savory arroz moro, fried plantains, crusty bread and a teensy glass of orange juice over ice. And a cortadito, which in Spanish literally means “small cut”, and is a small cup of pre-sweetened  espresso topped with steamed milk. I had mine without the milk or the sugar…and then I had another. I was happy as a lark.

Established in 1974 by the Alfonso family, the restaurant is still a family affair: Ignacio Alfonso, the friendly proprietor, took our order after we were escorted to a table by his mom, while his dad supervised from his perch behind the counter. Ignacio and his brother are now co-owners of the place, but their parents clearly enjoy keeping a hand in. I did not meet Ignacio’s brother, but perhaps next time I will.

For sure, if I’m in the neighborhood, there will be a next time!


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