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.
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.