Now and then, you stumble upon a hidden treasure. Most recently, it's Poppy's Terminal Food Shop on 10th Ave and 28th St., in an odd part of town loaded with flat-fix shops and mechanic's garages, just before Chelsea gets Chelseafied and the High Line gets high.
It sits on the ground floor of a lone tenement that sticks up in the middle of emptiness, like a single surviving tree after a bombing.
At lunch, the place is full of beer-drinking, burger-eating cab drivers, postal workers, dusty-limbed construction workers, flat fixers, mechanics, psychotic panhandlers, and the like. It's been there since 1981 and it feels like the city Bloomberg forgot, like Times Square in another time. Not sure I can say it any better than Broke-Ass Stuart in this yelp review:
"It's the type of old school spot that reminds me of pre-Giuliani New York; it looks as if he forgot to send his gentrification goons to this gritty block. I get giddy when I find places this hot. A signed photo of Steve Buscemi looks down from its place nestled in amongst the sports memorabilia on the wall, while blue-collar workers from the surrounding area sit around and talk about how it's so cold outside that they can't find their dicks..."
"...Come nighttime, the place fills up with freaks, weirdoes, club kids, and lost souls... it reminds them of a place they used to know. It's like looking at a photo of a friend that was taken back before they got that nose job that now makes them look so pretty."
To which I must add, on that autographed photo, Buscemi has written, "Keep on keepin' on." Let's hope Poppy's does just that.