Pastrami and a Cup of Joe

| 23 Jan 2017 | 12:42

East Side Observer

By Arlene Kayatt

From the mouths of tourists — Can’t beat or resist a midday $3 Mango Mojito — a really good one — at Eastern Pacific Thai restaurant on 34th/Third and Lex, where I learned from tourists visiting from Vermont that the Affinia Hotel, a block east between Third and Lex, is going condo. A husband and wife, who have been coming to New York twice a year for the last 15 years, were bemoaning the loss of their favorite places in New York. And now their go-to hotel was going condo. Things were changing at the hotel in the last few years. The hotel’s restaurant, Barking Dog, with its patio for outside dining, was an oasis in mid Manhattan. The couple found their way to the Thai restaurant because one of the waiters from Barking Dog was now working there. Kind of sad when tourists are losing and missing the New YOrk they’ve been coming back to over and over again. At least they get to go back to a place that’s been there forever and probably stays pretty much the same. Not like us Manhattan denizens who just keep losing and missing parts and pieces of the fabric of New York. Change is inevitable. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes not. Whatever, you feel the loss.

When Carnegie the Deli met Trump the food court — The buzz was, after the Carnegie Deli closed its doors forever, that only Madison Square Garden was selling Carnegie Deli pastrami. And Noah Remnick’s recent New YOrk Times article, “Where the Carnegie Deli Yet Lives, on Certain Nights,” reported on the fate of the famous deli’s pastrami. Well, Noah, you missed the hot table at Trump Tower food court in the atrium where the printed menu on the counter explicitly says, “Carnegie Deli Pastrami.” Somewhat surprised, I inquired of the counter staff — they actually sent out the chef — about their carrying Carnegie Deli pastrami. They couldn’t confirm or deny, but “if that’s what it says, then that’s what it says,” they assured me. The chef was a little more Trump-savvy by suggesting that maybe Trump’s butcher was the same as Carnegie’s. Good try, Chef. Maybe. At the end of the day, I can see Trump ads promoting the pastrami by saying that MSG’s not the only NYC seller of the Carnegie Deli brand. And that pastrami at Trump doesn’t have MSG. There you go.

FIKA/MTA redux — Several weeks ago I noted what I called newly opened “headquarters” for at least one bus facilitator/captain at FIKA coffee shop at the 42nd and Lex bus stop. Not to worry. It’s alive and well and up and running. The captain — looked like the same guy to me — is still sitting front and center at the FIKA window counter facing the bus stop. His paperwork paraphernalia still at the ready along with a cellphone and a cup of joe. When a bus arrives at the stop, he still gets up from his seat, goes out, and meets the driver. Life is good at the MTA. New contract. Leisurely gig for the captain. Too bad the same can’t be said for MTA bus service. It’s as bad as ever. Long wait times. Off schedule. Drivers skipping bus stops along the route if no one is standing at the bus stop or a rider forgets to hit the Stop Request. Empty buses whizzing by without stopping at designated bus stops. A caravan of four, five, maybe six, buses in a row in various stages of being Limited, Not in Service, In Training. And bus stops are not in locations where they’ve always been. And there’s nothing letting riders know where to find the nearest bus stop. This is now a yuge problem on 57th Street between Fifth and Madison in front of Tiffany’s at Trump Tower where there was a bus stop for the M31 and M57. No more. The bus stop sign hasn’t been removed and there’s no sign saying where the nearest bus stop is located. Oh, FIKA, 57th Street needs you.

The Republicans want your money — I found it hard to believe — well maybe disconcerting — that the Manhattan Republican Party and The Metropolitan Republican Club on East 83rd were charging a $10 admission fee for those on their email list to come hear prospective Republican Mayoral candidates talk about their vision for NY. On Jan 30, mayoral hopeful Paul Massey will be telling the gathered about his vision. The Party and Club assure that other possible contenders, including former candidate John Catsimatidis will be invited to speak in the future. I’m assuming that there will be another $10 admission. They promise light refreshments and a survey to fill out so the Club and Party can endorse around April 1. How nice of them.