In New York City, shoppers speak in tongues. Not because they’re crazy, and not because they were born again, but because, more often than not, they were born somewhere else. They come to the same place, but they do not become the same. This sort of diversity (coupled with extreme proximity) has helped make New York the cultural and economic capital of the world. It’s also what has made New York the wine capital of the world. Or that’s my theory, at least—and one I decided to test by taking a stroll down Manhattan’s most iconic avenue, Broadway, believing that there I could drink (or at least admire) superb wine from every corner of the globe.
My trek started in the far, far north of Manhattan at PJ Wine, whose motto is, "Extraordinary wines. Exceptional prices." This famous Inwood outpost with some of the best wine prices in town is located on Broadway near 204th Street, across from the Dyckman Farmhouse, the oldest Dutch Colonial-style farmhouse still actually standing in Manhattan.
PJ doesn’t evoke the distant past, unless by distant past you mean the 1950s. There’s a plate-glass window, a linoleum floor and aluminum carts for shoppers to pile their treasures into. When I arrived, all the wine consultants were busy planning a tasting. I was given the beautifully colored 2006 holiday catalog to read while I waited. As big as a place mat and 51 pages long, with maps of the wine world throughout, the document did as much to educate as it did to sell wine.