Saturday, March 14, 2009

Recession hits home, stomach

Sooner or later, some shop or restaurant I like was going to close, and now one did. Last night, after enjoying Cynthia Nixon and Lisa Emery in Distracted at the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre, I figured I'd walk over to Times Square and the Popcorn, Indiana shop for a bag on the way home. No such luck; the place has been gutted, right down to the copper wiring from the looks of it. Distracted, indeed. It looks as if the chain is alive and well somewhere in the country but it just couldn't hack here it in hard times. There's a Garrett's on Fifth Avenue and one near Penn Station but they wouldn't have been open when I had my popcorn jones last night, if in fact they're still standing.

(The best popcorn in New York is at Zaro's. It's popped fresh at their Penn Station store and can also be found at Grand Central Terminal. Which reminds me that I need to swing by Film Forum, not necessarily to see a movie but to buy a big bag of its fresh and tasty popped goodness. And I still miss the most excellent popcorn vendor that operated on East 86th Street when I lived near there. But Popcorn, Indiana, held a special place in my post-theatergoing routine.)

Also gone is the City Lights Diner, around the corner from us on Atlantic and Third. It had closed last summer for renovations (I noticed it was lights out the morning I wanted blueberry pancakes, natch) and had reopened in fall, but the windows are all taped up with paper again. There was a sign in the window saying it was under new ownership and would reopen as the Ocean View Restaurant (what ocean view?); I noticed, however, that that was gone when I last walked past. I hope it just fell off. There's nowhere as close where I can get a deluxe turkey burger with cheese. Oh, the horror of it all, the savagery of this new and penniless era...

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