Eating in a Strange Place


2015-05-31 – My son Cal left yesterday for a summer internship at Axelle Editions in New York. This will be a great opportunity for him as a young artist to learn about fine art screen printing. But I was nervous about him going to the big city.

My jitters were not about his artistic abilities, but rather about where he was going to get his next meal.

I’ve never had good luck with a meal in New York, at least not if I was alone. I’ve gotten food poisoning there from a hot dog truck and I’ve had some pretty lackluster cuisine. I know that New York is supposed to have great restaurants, but I’ve never known where to look.

Cal’s first move was to go to a grocery store. I would have never thought about doing something like that. I think he bought some eggs—and probably some other things. He’s going to be preparing his own meals. He’s living somewhere in Brooklyn near the Brooklyn bridge. If I was moving into an apartment near the Brooklyn Bridge, I would have crossed into Manhattan to begin exploring. I would not have gone to a grocery store. You’d think he’s the dad and I’m the kid.

I’ve always found eating in a strange place to be a challenge. I can navigate the restaurant scene in Chicago with no problem. If I visit Cal during the school year at Grinnell . . . well, the eats leave a lot to be desired. Los Angeles seems to be a pale imitation of Chicago.

And New York?

I have had a few good meals there, but only when I’ve been with native guides. Otherwise, it’s always been hit or miss—with the emphasis on the miss.

Cal, if you read this, find some nice restaurants while you’re there. Someday, I want you to be my native guide. I’m sure your brother Nat would love that. And so would Mom.

Good luck, Cal. Here’s a song for you.

Start spreading the news
I am leaving today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York

These vagabond shoes
Are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York

I want to wake up in a city
That doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heap

These little town blues
Are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York

If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you
New York, New York

New York, New York
I want to wake up
in a city that never sleeps
And find I’m a number one, top of the list
King of the hill
A number one

These little town blues
Oh they’re melting away
I’m gonna make a brand new start of it
In old New York

And If I can make it there
I’m gonna make it anywhere
It’s up to you
New York, New York, New York

“Theme from New York, New York,” by Kander and Ebb, popularized by Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra

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