Victoria’s Diary: From Harlem to the Hamptons to home

Enjoying a night under the stars with Jean Shafiroff and Joan MacNaughton.

Since I acquired amNewYork Metro in January, I’ve met some very special people.

One of them is Barabara Askins, whom we named a Power Woman of New York. She very successfully runs the 125th Street Business Improvement District (BID) in the heart of Harlem. It’s the home of the historic Apollo Theater that has brought people from around the world to her street. 

Although Barbara is primarily a businesswoman running the BID, she is an artist whose work has been recently selected to appear in the International Black Women’s Art Show

My wonderful friend Tanya and I met with Barbara for dinner at the unique outdoor dining space of the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurant at the tip of the West Side Highway and the end of 125th Street. The manager turned out to be an old friend of Tanya’s and the staff made us feel like family friends.

With Barbara and Tanya at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

The restaurant has set up tables along their perimeter. The view from our table was Columbia University’s new buildings that are under construction and the regal arches of the West Side Highway. It felt far from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.

Barbara has found a way to make 125th Street an art center, having transformed boarded up storefronts into blank canvases for community members to draw and express their feelings.

But this night, we were celebrating birthdays — hers, mine and Tanya’s — and boy, was it a delicious celebration!

The popular barbecue “joint” cooks their meats throughout the day using regional hickory and oak to give special flavors to their classic barbecue chicken, brisket and pork. Their barbecue pork ribs are dry rubbed, slowly smoked and lightly glazed with their original barbecue sauce and were the best ribs I have tasted in my entire life!

We sampled appetizers: Creole deviled eggs; fried green tomatoes made with a Panko-crusted topping that made them deliciously crispy; and “drunken shrimp” that is cooked in a boil of beer, herbs and spices and accompanied by a habanero cocktail sauce, which is not to be missed! Main courses offer combo plates and we sampled all their specialties!

What a delicious, unique and remarkable meal on a warm Manhattan summer night sensitively six feet apart, but still together. 

Then, I was off the Hamptons for the weekend and enjoyed dinner in Southampton at T Bar, which also has an outlet in Manhattan. Fortunately for us, the outdoor dining garden accommodated us under the stars. 

I was happy to see Jean Shafiroff, who recently graced the cover of our Long Island Press, where she was recognized for her important philanthropy work, particularly Southampton Hospital.

With my friend Joan MacNaughton, we whiled away the evening and were the last ones out the door. 

I finished the weekend by swimming with my grandchildren. What a treat to see them swim like fish and laugh and laugh and giggle their way through the evening to cap off a marvelous summer weekend!

Having fun with Hudson and Sloane!

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