Remembering life on bustling 86th St.%A0

When this newspaper was on 86th Street, the shopping under the West End Line was phenomenal and shoppers came from all over. The local shoppers were different then, mostly Italian and Jewish reflecting the resident population, but the stores and restaurants drew everyone from afar to what the 86th St. Board of Trade’s Stan Roher called the greatest outdoor shopping Mall in New York City

We had wonderful restaurants: Mary’s Venetian Garden, Hy Tulips, New Dynasty, Jahn’s, Arthur Treachers, Chef Wong’s, Ruggiero’s, and even the Lime House from Mott St. where you could enjoy Scungilli with its unique hot sauce. Scungilli is a unique Italian specialty, made from sliced conch and highly peppered tomato sauce.In Little Italy, there were only three restaurants where you get it: The Lime House in Chinatown, Vincent’s on Mott and Hester Streets and Charley’s on Kenmare Street.They were basically Clam Houses selling clams on the half shell, with seafood menu’s but all featured Scungilli.

So when I saw an ad in the Brooklyn Graphic of Lenny’s Clam Bar in Howard Beach rolling back their prices thirty years to when Lenny started, it was a must for me and Sharon who loved it last year. Lenny got into the restaurant business when he started working for Lenny’s Pizzeria on 86th Street.

Lenny’s has a dish for everyone’s taste from Lobsters to Steaks and during Roll Back time January to February, he offers these exquisite favorites for just $5.95: Scungilli, Linguini with White Clam Sauce, Baked Clams, Mussels, Clams on the Half Shell and Fried Calamari.My favorite is Scungilli and I had a double order with medium sauce and then took home a double order to enjoy at home.Scungilli sauce comes sweet, medium and hot. Medium is hot enough for me and totally delicious. I also ordered a dish of mussels that came with sweet sauce.Sharon took the remainder of my sweet sauce to mix with the remainder of her Linguini with Clam Sauce and took it home. Sharon always takes half of her food home to enjoy during the week. I also ordered Little Neck clams on the half shell and quickly gobbled them down after dousing them with fresh lemon, hot sauce and horse radish. And with their house salad I was able to stay on my Atkins Diet.

A criteria for us, when we go out for dinner, if parking is not available within the same block, Sharon keeps driving to our next choice. That’s what happened last Sunday night we tried going to our new found favorite Chinese restaurant. New to us but it’s been around for sixty years the Silver Star on 18th Avenue and 62nd Street. Parking wasn’t available and after several other tries I suggested Lenny’s Clam Bar on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach that not only has the Roll Back specials but Valet Parking.

In Lenny’s, two women behind us enjoying the roll back specials were conversing about restaurants on 86th Street. One mentioned she hadn’t had good Chinese food in quite a while and was thinking of going back to Chef Wong’s.Overhearing that I turned around and said Chef Wong is gone, closed for good last Summer. But, I said Michael the waiter is now at Silver Star on 18th Avenue and the food is great. “I know that restaurant, I’ve been going there for years, thanks, we’ll go back and say hello to Michael.” And that’s how this column came to mind.

Screech at you next week!

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