Monday, July 21, 2008

I stumbled on the remnants of Little Italy

So in my daily lunchtime venture to Chinatown, I stumbled upon Little Italy... or what's left of it at least (keyword here being "Little")

As nearby Chinatown has been expanding, it has taken over most of Little Italy... which I guess makes Little Italy kind of like Tibet, right?

What, too soon?

Anywho... after work, I decided to go back to Little Italy and explore some more and sift through the touristy Italian-themed gift shops to look for somewhere to have a nice Italian dinner.

The whole time I was totally imagining what it would have been like 75-100 years ago when it was really an Italian neighborhood and organized crime was taking hold (of course my imagination looked eerily similar to the flashback scenes in the Godfather II... but whatever)

Holy crap... no wonder Little Italy is shrinking... except for a couple pizza places, the average price for a meal was about $20! They're pricing themselves out of existence. I could walk a block over and get some amazing Chinese for a third of that... but I wanted to try some damn Italian.

I did find a little dive bar in Little Italy that was kind of fun. The folks inside were nice and we heckled the evening news together... but the beer I got ended up being six bucks... which is not conducive to hanging out and throwing back several drinks. Plus, they didn't have food.

I eventually found a relatively cheap little place for food and wandered on in. The sign outside advertised a beer special, and the windows were decorated with "wine and beer" written in three-foot tall letters.

When the waiter eventually comes by, I ask what they have on tap.

"We don't serve alcohol," the waiter tells me. That should have been a hint to leave... but I'm not that smart.

I give him a baffled look and point to the aforementioned "beer and wine" window... about five feet away from where I'm sitting.

He looks at it, kind of surprised, and tells me they're having liquor license trouble... Hmmmm...

So I figure whatever, and that not ordering a real drink will end up saving me money anyway. The food was actually pretty good, but overall the service was slapstick slow.

It literally took about 15-20 minutes to get my change back after paying the bill. I think they thought I would give up and just leave the waiter am 80 percent tip... despite the fact he was awful and slow.

What should have been a 30-minute dinner ended up taking a little over an hour.

Oh, and by the way, I was literally the only person in the dining area for all but the first five minutes I was there, so they weren't too busy or anything (another hint I should have picked up on).

As I was waiting (and waiting) for my change, I couldn't help but think "this gets my lowest rating ever... seven thumbs up."

On the way home, I wandered around the Bowery and SoHo and got lost and came across a free Onion box... which I hadn't seen in a while.

The front page story about Obama for some reason just cracked me up. It was about "Time" publishing the most definitive fluff piece on Obama ever.

I actually burst into loud laughter on the train... and got some pretty strange looks to say the least. Most people just sort of keep quiet and to themselves on the train.

I think I also mortified the guy on the other side of my paper (most people on the train will intently read the back of somebody else's newspaper or brochure no matter what it is if it's in their line of sight...)... while I was reading about Obama... his view was of one of the fake columns on why controversial art exhibits are great.

It makes reference to several (I hope) fictional exhibits featuring things like "a guy in the East Village who's going to vomit Cheerios into a piggy bank and smash it open with his penis" and seeing "someone drink glow-stick fluid and vomit onto a canvas covered with pictures of Nelson Mandela."

It was a very strange and hilarious little column... and I might have laughed out loud while reading that one too.

Well in honor of the neighborhood the post is about, I'll close with a random fun Overheard in New York post from Little Italy...

"Fat Italian guy in velvet running suit: Everybody fucks... We all fuck... But did she have to fuck a guy with tits?!

--Little Italy"

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