Friday, October 7, 2016

How Do You Get To The Carnegie Deli?

Saturday, October 1, 2016
I'm trying to catch up with my reading after returning to the Holy Land.  One particularly interesting story and graphic deals with wealth in America, specifically where it resides.

When 1% is used as a signifier of elite status, we see that not all 1%s are created equal.  It takes an annual income of $112,000 to reach the top of the heap in Dent County, Missouri, while you have to reach an annual income of $1,067,000 to shine in Williams County, North Dakota, the tenth richest in the country.  Of course, the question arises how do you spend all that money in Williams County, North Dakota?  Well, before you go off on your effete Eastern ways, note that Trip Advisor found 51 restaurants in Williston, the county seat.   Rated best of all was Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli, about 1/4 mile from Sloulin Field International Airport.  

Now, I really don't want to be a spoilsport, but flights in and out of Sloulin Field International Airport only come and go as far as Denver, Colorado and Minneapolis, Minnesota, both currently part of the United States of America.  

Sunday, October 2, 2016
If you are having trouble distinguishing an American from a Frenchman/woman/person, ask to see its passport photograph.  The French are required to appear "neutral with the mouth closed," while Americans may smile.

Monday, October 3, 2016
Welcome 5777.  It seems to have taken you long enough to get here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Joe Berger, CCNY graduate and ace New York Times reporter, published a story today on a new English-Yiddish dictionary, designed to cope with words and phrases that were never uttered in the shtetl, such as, "e-mail."

The editors of this new publication not only documented what contemporary Yiddish speakers were saying, but had to create words and phrases where none existed.  The Vatican faces the same challenge in keeping Latin up-to-date.  See Lexicon Recentis Latinitas, published in 2003.  Sometimes the speakers and the editors diverge.  Joe tells us that "Many Yiddish speakers may already be too comfortable with the word 'laptop' to jump ship for its Yiddish equivalent, 'shoys-komputer' (a 'computer for the lap')."  By the way, if you foolishly don't bother to read Joe's story, e-mail is blitspost, lightening mail.

While on the subject of the often-chosen-for-the-wrong-reason people, the Carnegie Deli has announced that it is shutting down after almost 80 years in business.
When I passed it today, there was a very long line of people risking heartburn although the final date is almost 3 months away. 

In the past, I often frequented the Carnegie, developing a friendly relationship with Herbie, the pudgy floor manager, who granted indulgences sparingly.  That was in the days of Broadway Danny Rose, the 1984 Woody Allen comedy that is narrated at a table at the Carnegie.  I remember introducing Nate Persily, prior to his assuming chairs in constitutional law and political science at Stanford University, to Henny Youngman there, a moment that Nate may still cherish along with his first publication in a law review.  

Yet, I can only recall going to the Carnegie once in the last 20 years, a combination of the rise of kitchiness appealing to tourists and successive jobs for me further removed from its location on Seventh Avenue at 55th Street.  I was also disaffected after the sad death (are there other varieties?) of co-owner Leo Steiner at age 48.  Leo, a very animated guy, starred in commercials for Levy's Jewish rye bread, saying, "It makes a nice sandwich."  In 1987, Leo purchased a swell co-op apartment at the El Dorado, 300 Central Park West, probably the third most prestigious building on the West Side, behind the Dakota and the San Remo.  His apartment abutted the apartment of my boss and we gleefully anticipated developing a warm friendship (with benefits) with Leo.  However, before he moved in, he was admitted to the hospital with headaches, dying there from a brain tumor on December 31, 1987.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016
The Boyz Club boldly ventured into the depths of Brooklyn for dim sum at the well-reputed Pacificana Restaurant, 813 55th Street.  The neighborhood is now called Sunset Park and is considered one of the three Chinatowns in New York City.  The joint is large, supposedly holding 500 people.  While it was almost full when we arrived near 1 PM, it was empty at 2 PM as we lingered, in no hurry to go nowhere in particular. 

The women driving the carts around the room were unable to identify what they were peddling (pedaling?), although they consistently tried to interest us in chicken feet.  We wound up with 10 different dishes, a handful duplicated.  It cost us $14 each, including, as always, a very generous tip.  
Driving back home from Brooklyn, never a wise course of action, I observed an outlet for Amorino, Gelato Al Naturale, at the corner of 18th Street and 8th Avenue, the same outfit that served me black fig gelato in Paris last week.  For better or worse, the crush of traffic prevented me from pulling over for a postprandial treat, but this was a very positive example   of globalization. 

Friday, October 7, 2016
Another episode in "The Invasion of the Grandparents" begins today as we head to Massachusetts to visit the second and third generations.  I hope that they are up to it.


  1. Much of that neighborhood has been called Sunset Park since 1936, the date of the opening of the enormous swimming pool in the center of the park which is in the center of the community. 10 other such pools, all WPA projects, opened across NYC at the same time. Thank Fiorello LaGuardia and Robert Moses. Like Manhattan's Chinatown, Sunset Park has been bursting its boundaries for decades.

  2. Jonathan is correct. I also wondered why you wrote "now called Sunset Park." Enjoy your visit with the generations. Have an easy fast. Imagine!