Thursday, July 9, 2009

Soda Shop Yunnie

A while ago, Grieve found an article in the Post about how, during this "bummer" recession, we should indulge in an affluent 1950s "Happy Days" fantasy, via "Doo-wop shows, record hops, and soda fountains." Oh boy. It made me think of the time I was wandering around downtown on Chambers Street, starving and looking for someplace to eat. The pickings are slim down there and I ended up at the Soda Shop.

Filled with girls and their moms in pink "New York" souvenir shirts, the Soda Shop is what tourists seem to want from "old" New York: an ersatz pastiche of the past, all cobbled together, a cacophony of cellophane and vintage signage.

But they do make a good egg cream, the right way, with Fox's U-Bet and soda from a fountain. I relaxed. Until the guy behind me opened his mouth.



He was talking to another guy, but I assumed he was on a cell-phone because his was the only voice to be heard. And it was loud. It was Sunday and all this guy could think about was making money, the S&P, and his new office set-up with "our own separate phones and our own separate computers," and "these New York idiots," how it's "nothing like back in Houston," no sir, this is not Houston, nope, "you can't tell these fucking New York idiots anything," but wait until we take a look at the S&P, "I've got a guy who prints it on spreadsheets. He's got spreadsheets!" On and on and on this went.

I turned around and gave him the Withering Look. No good.



He got back to discussing the office set-up and this is where it took a turn for the utterly comical. With absolutely no inkling of self-awareness, he says, "The walls are so fucking thin, I gotta hear everybody's idiotic conversations. I gotta hear Jennifer's annoying conversations and Jim's annoying conversations. They talk so loud. And they're so fucking annoying. And stupid. And I gotta hear it all! All the fucking details!"

The moral of the story? The bummer recession will follow you no matter where you go--even in a Disney-style vision of the past.

13 comments:

EV Grieve said...

Ah, classic.

May I punch him?

Bowery Boogie said...

The lesson is to always use Fox's Ubet - in egg creams, on ice cream, and in chocolate milk. That stuff is amazing.

Sempion said...

I would have turned around and said "Hi, I'm a NY idiot, what's your name?".

Goggla said...

I think I know this guy from Superdive.

Édouard said...

Would love to see a photo of said "Withering Look".

L'Emmerdeur said...

As long as you stick to the nostalgia theme and use brass knuckles!

Rutila said...

Classic story. Thanks for sharing.

esquared said...

Houston, they've got a problem.

I think you misheard the guy; he was saying SATC not S&P.

At least you got some good egg cream.

JackS said...

Man what a jerk. And it sickens me that it's in a shop like this. When I saw the pics I thought you came across a hidden gem. An old NYC shop that still keeps it real. Not some faux “shoppe” like this.

I genuinely remember coming across real shops like this in the 1970s in practically every neighborhood. Now? Not much.

Oh, and Mr. Houston. Whose genius idea as it to open an “olde timey shoppe” on Chambers Street??!?! Do kids from Stuy and lost tourists bring in enough cash?

Anonymous said...

Hinsch's in Bay Ridge is a real soda fountain joint. Bay Ridge, unlike Manhattan, respects its soda fountain history. http://www.sarahohn.com/2007/01/31/hinschs-egg-cream/

Doll said...

I gave the Withering Look today without even realizing it had a name!

Jeremiah Moss said...

see that? you know the Withering Look. it's somewhere between a vicious sneer and "who farted?"

Michael said...

Sorry to be the killjoy but that egg cream was obviously made incorrectly. The big bubbles on top and single color demonstrate that they mixed the syrup and milk before adding the seltzer. The two tone color scheme of the proper egg cream (the white foam head atop the chocolate soda) seems to have been lost to the ages--I have only seen one egg cream made properly in the last fifteen years.