Make it nice!

The Carnegie Delicatessen in New York City
New York Jewish Deli Heaven

When I am flush with cash, i.e. I have two bucks-a-day to splurge on food, I eat in a hole-in-the-wall Jewish deli on Second Avenue and St. Mark’s Place. I am moving up in the culinary world as I move west across the Isle of Manhattan. Here I catch abuse from the ferocious Jewish waiters. They treat everyone with utter disdain but their barley soup and challah French toast are worth it. When they have decided you are a regular, they make one tiny concession toward recognizing your existence by growling your breakfast order thusly – “Gimme an omelet, make it nice!

Jewish deli omelette
They made it NICE

The first time I hear my omelet ordered this way, I feel that I have won the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Key to The City. The Oscar. I stop strangers in the street and kvell, “Hey, I ordered an omelet and the waiter said, make it nice! The strangers offer hearty congratulations but are envious, even dismayed – “Damn, they never said make it nice about my omelet.” 

Boy Outa Brooklyn a murder-memoir by Jack Antonio 
Image: the smiling face of Steeplechase park in Coney Island, Brooklyn
Available as a paperback and eBook
And as an eBook here

Menu for a Starving Actor

The Mayor of New York City - John Lindsay
The Republican JFK

AIDS does not get my friend, Carrie. No, this young actress is murdered in 1973 while AIDS is waiting in the wings. She is slain in the city of Taxi Driver,The Panic in Needle Park, The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 and The French Connection. Handsome John Lindsay is Mayor. He is called the Republican Kennedy. In 1966, he wins office with the slogan, “Everyone else looks tired but he looks fresh.” But, by 1973, Handsome John has wilted along with the confidence of the ’60s. His color has faded along with the Peter Max posters in the Upper East Side and the Hippie murals in the Lower East Side. Rob and I share an apartment there on St. Mark’s Place. Two actors. One struggling. One not. Rob is not only “not” but “hot.” I have to endure the sheer joy of taking phone messages for him – “Rob, Sam Shepard asked if you’d read his play and Sidney Lumet phoned again. Oh, Mike Nichols wants to take you to lunch.”  

Vintage Florida post card
Brought to you by the Sunshine State
Chamber of Commerce

While Rob is lunching at Lutèce, I’m living on a buck-a-day meal money. Desperate for food, my antennae pick up a radio commercial that promises free dinner at Luchow’s German restaurant in return for listening to a sales pitch. The pitch will be for a property scam in Florida – Rancho Refritos Estates. Selling land in Florida is the oldest racket in America, second only to alternative medicine. (David Mamet’s brilliant play Glenngarry Glenn Ross is about Florida land-swindles.)

Movie poster for Glenngary Glen Ross by David Mamet
They’d try to sell ice to an Eskimo. And, do it.
Boy Outa Brooklyn a murder memoir by Jack Antonio
Image: The smiling face of Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn
Available as a paperback and eBook
And as an eBook here