The Deli to End All Delis?



I like to make my Facebook posts as soon as I can after I conceive them so my story continues its flow. However, I shot this last night after an enormous and rather fruitless trek on foot and by cab to Lovecraft on Avenue B to hear a friend perform her original song. Avenue B is a real trek away from just about anywhere in Manhattan. The bus was a half-hour away. I grabbed a cab. The driver was a young guy from Tibet. He drove like a champ and was a helluva nice guy.

After he dropped me off, I bought a Reed’s ginger brew at a store and took a seat at a table inside Lovecraft. The waiter looked at the bottle with great curiosity and nodded after he realized what I was drinking. What his nod meant I didn’t know.

I finished the ginger beer and walked outside to toss the bottle. Lovecraft’s bouncer, standing just outside, went into spasms. “There’s a cop right over there.” He was almost shaking. “You can’t bring that bottle outside. I’ll lose my license!” He was almost possessed.

I looked at him and said, “It’s ginger beer.” It made no difference to him whatsoever. I was a threat, a potential criminal. The risk quite high.

I walked back inside Lovecraft and waited for my singer friend to appear. When she didn’t, I decided to take a walk around the block. I found a grocery and headed straight to the fresh & cool produce section, the perfect antidote to the night’s heat and my favorite part of any grocery.

There I bought a little bottle of freshly made Fuji apple juice and walked back to Lovecraft. I thought of the cool bottle of apple juice in my hand and how good it would taste.

Lovecraft’s bouncer was still outside when I attempted to walk inside with my apple juice.

“You can’t go inside with that,” he told me.

I suddenly felt rather hopeless. I couldn’t go outside with my ginger beer and I couldn’t go inside with my apple juice. I was stuck somewhere in no man’s land with my chosen libations. This, needless to say, did very little for my self-image, which New York is trying very hard to remake.

I don’t booze—and I just don’t get all these silly rules. I’m not very sophisticated after all, like all the people who know their way around a drink menu and are up on the beer scene.

However, I used to love pastrami sandwiches and herring in cream sauce, gefilte fish and chopped liver. Ah, those were the days, the days I had that proverbial cast-iron gut. My grandfather used to say to me, “We’ll have to build you another rectum.”

If you Google Katz’s this is the single line description you’ll find: “No-frills, cash-only deli with theatrically cranky service serving mile-high sandwiches since 1888.”

I didn’t get to hear my friend sing. But I tried. She liked that.

About Russ Wollman

My feet are finally in the water, and I want to keep them there.
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