For my piece in this week's Metro NY, something new that's not so bad. Yet:
A new eatery called Hamilton’s Soda Fountain and Luncheonette recently opened in Greenwich Village, on the corner of Marc Jacobs and Marc Jacobs, also known as Bank St. and W. 4th. It’s one of those new retro places that both attracts and repels me, first for its nostalgic verisimilitude, second for its twee self-awareness.
The real problem with most of these places is that they serve overpriced items for foodies who lust for fetishized fancywork. They also tend to fill up with the most irritating people on earth. So I approached Hamilton’s with suspicious curiosity. But after checking out their menu and finding it shockingly affordable and filled with plain basics, I tried the place out...
...At Hamilton’s, I was joined by an older lady, whose name I didn’t get, though she told me the story of her 50 years in the Village, and the flower shop she once ran, where gay men were her most appreciative customers and muggers strolled in with guns in their hands.
The lady was delighted to find Hamilton’s. “There’s no place left to eat around here,” she said. “The Village is gone. Only the buildings are left standing.” She read the menu like a good book, savoring each item. “Oh, chopped liver,” she said. “Pastrami! Egg creams and lime rickeys! I feel like I’ve been deprived of these things, and now here they are.”
She ordered the pastrami sandwich and a cream soda. Billie Holiday sang softly through the speakers. We talked about Brooklyn, tourists, and death. She told me about her rent-controlled apartment, how she outlived the landlord who never expected her to stay so long. “I’ll probably die there,” she said, “in another five years. That’s enough for me.”
If Hamilton’s keeps appealing to people like her, it’s a good thing for the Village. I just hope they don’t ruin it.
Please click here to read the whole article.