So, the anticipation of a cute guy to flirt with and yet another awesome sober dance party lured me out to Williamsburg tonight (this would not be Colonial Williamsburg, btw. There has been some confusion recently. This is Brooklyn’s Williamsburg. Former home of Francie Nolan and the Roeblings, current home of skinny jeans, hipster fedoras, tiny vests, ironic sunglasses, smug people, willfully unfinished factory-turned-lofts and more chuck taylors than a vintage street basketball convention). Minutes after getting off the subway I was texting K-cup "It’s awful – aaaugh"
It would be difficult for me to tell you exactly what I find so horrendous – ….but I’ll try. I think it’s because I know what a poor neighborhood looks like…and I know what a neighborhood full of status-symbol-seeking money-havers who want to look poor looks like. And it looks like Williamsburg.
But, the dance was fun – lots of younger people, plus the guy I willingly took the L train for was there and we had a great time (Acceptable Yankee Fan and I are just friends…if Yankee fans can be said to understand that societal relationship). He’d driven in from New Jersey with a friend (yes, herein lies the obstacle to a significant relationship with JerseyBoy. It’s the Jersey thing. However, he does work in the city and assures me he does not in fact have to take a plane to Manhattan, so there may yet be hope) and after our joints began to fail we drove over the Williamsburg bridge (seriously, the ugliest bridge of all) to Katz’s Deli. Yes, the famous one.
I’d walked by it plenty of times but never actually been in – you walk in, they give you a ticket, you join one of the 8 lines along the counter (they initially look like all one line. They are not – don’t be fooled. There is one counter for hotdogs, one for the soda fountain, a bunch for sliced sandwiches and one to pay or buy soda or get your leftovers wrapped up).
We queue’d up in front of one of the sandwich guys, and I attempted to order an egg cream and potato pancakes. He told me I’d have to go to two different lines, one at the front and one at the back, to get those things.
So then I tried to order a roast beef sandwich on rye. He looked at me and said "That’s a cold sandwich – you really want me to make you a cold sandwich? Sure, I’ll make you a tourist sandwich if you want, but just taste this nice cut here and tell me if I’m wasting this whole thing."
I tried some of the slab of pastrami he’d cut for us and realized until this moment I did not know what meat was supposed to taste like. We quickly agreed we’d each have a pastrami sandwich. Yes, please to pickles – half sours and sours. The guys were even gallant enough to brave the egg cream line for me – I have now had a vanilla egg cream, which I don’t prefer to chocolate, but which is awesome. Neither Jersey Boy had ever had one, and I had to explain that nobody knows why they’re called egg creams though there are two proprietors who claim credit, and no, there’s no egg involved.
We sat down to eat, admired all the helpfully labeled pictures of celebrities on the walls, paid on our way out with the tickets the slicer guy had marked up and I still have half a sandwich for tomorrow because they were freaking HUGE.
The slicer was so classically NY because he’d give me what I wanted if I really wanted it…but he was pretty sure he knew that’s not what would make me happy. And the line about having to "waste" the rest of the cut was hilarious – the place was packed, and if he didn’t use it for one of our sandwiches, it’d be the next guys in line. And then as he handed us our tray he reminded us not to forget him, as he’d just made us three lovely sandwiches, to spur us into dropping a few bucks in his tip jar. So much nonverbal communication going on as well, between the guys at the counter, and between the guy at the counter and me when I took my half sandwich back up to get wrapped…. It was awesome. It may have ruined all other pastrami for me. And all other deli’s.