Thursday, January 04, 2007

Morning on the Lower East Side

Shannon left early this morning to go back to Portland, Oregon. I did some touristy things with him while he was here, because he was, after all, a tourist. He lived here for a month in 1996, when I was in Central America and he was housesitting for me, but that was ten years ago and NYC has changed a lot.

One thing we did was go to Katz's delicatessen yesterday. I resisted at first when he called.

"Katz's? Ew, big piles of meat for breakfast? And it's always closed."

(It's not always closed. I just had seldom seen it open because most of my trips to Ludlow and Houston have been in the middle of the night. It's half a block away from Mercury Lounge and also from Max Fish, which used to have good pinball machines.)

But Shannon was only here once in a while and he wanted to go, so I relented.

And it was what I'd expected--huge piles of meat. But I ordered eggs and toast anyway, while Shannon got a reuben. We had to take tickets at the front door, and get them stamped as we ordered. And when we sat down in the old-time dining room, amongst all kinds of NYC characters--the kind who walk up to the counter and say "Hey, boys, whaddaya got for me today?"--I realized I'd never sat down and eaten at Katz's before.

I'd been in, sure, and I vaguely remembered seeing the sign pointing out the famous "I'll have what she's having" scene from When Harry Met Sally, but I think I only got a bagel.

I don't like to eat big piles of meat, even the kind so nicely called Reuben.

From Wikipedia:
Each week, Katz's serves 5,000 pounds of corned beef, 2,000 pounds of salami and 12,000 hot dogs.

Eww. Anyway, it was an entertaining experience even though I felt like an idiot ordering eggs and toast at a place famous for pastrami. (Disclaimer: I'm not a vegetarian but there's meat and then there's MEAT.)

Afterwards, I said I had to go home and work, but Shannon talked me into escorting him down to the World Trade Center site. I was a little grumpy about it, because I've been there over 140 times (I commuted through the footprint twice a day when I worked at Scholastic.) On the plus side, I took him down Orchard Street and into Chinatown on East Broadway on the way, so it was a nice walk on a beautiful day. I couldn't help but think that I should do things like that more often, even though I have only a few weeks left here before I go live in Cairo for a while.

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