Guest Contributor | June 6th, 2007
1. The manager at Hot Bagels: Hot Bagels is an ok bagel place around the corner from my apartment. I’ll be honest, the food isn’t good but if you need a quick coffee or whatever it’ll do. Anyway, when I first started going there I HATED the manager. I just thought he was so mean and unfriendly. Then he got a kitten to chase out the mice and when I took an interest in the little orange ball of fun, dude just about melted in my arms. We fully bonded over the cat and now I love him. Not only does he treat me so nicely, but he still treats everyone else like a dick, which makes me feel all the more special and cooler and very “down with the streets,” which is important when living in edgy LES.
Hot Bagels, 203 E. Houston, New York, NY 10002
2. Grand Central Station Oyster Bar: Also known as “the best secret date spot that isn’t a secret.” Some people turn up their noses to an oyster bar in a train station, but those people obviously don’t know what first class was like in 1806 or whatever. I’m not sure if they ate oysters in the movie Casablanca but that’s sort of the vibe I get when I’m there. Actually,no. That’s a lie, but it’s no lie that this place has class,sass, panache, pizazz, and all other things that sound “vaudeville.” The table clothes are red and white gingham, the waiters are assholes, and everyone who sits around the bar looks at you with a deep, intense hatred. It’s my favorite.
Grand Central Station Oyster Bar, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10017. + 212 490 6650;
3. Veselka: The rules of food go like this: 1. If it tastes good, it is good. 2. There ain’t no other rules. I’m no “foodie.” I love to eat but I could care less if something is infused with saffron or whether or not the rice is wild. I like tame rice too, and I love Veselka. It’s just a Polish diner with sort of a jazzy environment but guess what? The food is kind of perfect. I’m not one who loves cold soups either and in the summer they make cold watermelon soup, cold honeydew soup, blueberry, whatever! Nothing is more refreshing. And ask me if I have a crush on every big-nosed waiter there: Guilty as charged!
Veselka, 144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003. + 212 228 9682; www.veselka.com
4. Carrie’s apartment: A lot of my friends have really great apartments, some even have patios and roofs. Carrie’s doesn’t have that. What she does have are little cherished trinkets sprinkled throughout the apartment like stuffed animals who come alive when the grown-ups leave the room. She has a hammock in her bedroom and a needlepoint picture of desserts. One of my favorite games to play is called ‘Which dessert do you like the best?” She has a plethora of polka dotted dresses and tutu’s in her closet and a weird picture of an African haircut model that always reminds me of Coming to America. She has a sailor’s valentine and glass animals the size of your pinkie nail. It is best to be at Carrie’s on a rainy day with Meryl and Ben and play “What Would You Rather?” Or, “Which Dessert Do You Like The Best?”
5.. “Talk Soup”: My friend Meryl and I have a few favorite traditions, one is going out for lentil soup at Baraket on Orchard Street. The soup is tasty but the gossip is delicious.
Baraket, Orchard and Houston, New York, NY 10002
6. The weather: One thing New Yorkers love complaining about is the weather. When it’s summer it’s too hot, winter; too cold. Spring brings a high pollen count and fall is so sad because wah wah summer is over. I love each torturous season here as much I love complaining about it. In the LA vs NY debate, the number one point made by the west coast is “how great the weather is.” But it’s not weather; they should say instead how great the temperature is. The weather never changes there. Me, I like change. I like the different outfits we can wear, using snow and rain as an excuse to be anti-social, and I like how true each season is. New York weather has a big set of balls and doesn’t fuck around, just like it’s inhabitants.
Lesley Arfin is a not at all highly acclaimed author whose first book,
Dear Diary, was just published with Vice and MTV and will be available
for purchase in June.