My City Was Gone
Here’s a question. If you love a place and then it becomes popular does it change how you feel about it? Would you wait in line for a place you used to go every week with ease? It’s hard not to be a curmudgeon about these sorts of things. I will admit that I sort of freaked out about the new owners of Eisenberg’s. I realized that I am just the type of person (for better or worse) who dislikes consensus. I don’t want to call myself a contrarian, but I’m certainly pointed in that direction. I’m skeptical of things that everyone likes. Part of this is because there’s a lot more bad taste in the world than good. My view is that popular things are almost always annoying. Although there can be exceptions where it’s worth the trouble — Katz’s Deli for one or Sally’s in New Haven. My fear about Eisenberg’s was that it was going to be so popular it was ruined for anyone who liked it the way it was. Thinking more about the new owners and the way the restaurant changed I have more perspective now.
My criticism of S&P (the new Eisenberg’s) really seemed to get under the skin of my friend Corey. He loves Court Street Grocers and was excited for the new Eisenberg’s. He went and ate and then declared the take-over a success. He seemed mad that I would pass judgment without eating there after the new ownership change. That’s a valid point. My initial negative judgment of Eisenberg’s was based more on other factors. I guess I should have been happy that a beloved institution was to be preserved for the long haul. Though it is hard to be excited about an old place being overrun with hordes of foodies. That feels a bit like heritage appropriation. After some time away from the city I’ve figured out that part of my disappointment with how NYC has changed is related to me not being there. It’s not my New York any more. Maybe I was bitter about that? Maybe I resent the fact that the city drove me nuts at the end and I had to bail out? There’s a lot going on here and only part of it relates to Eisenberg’s.
This last trip to the city I definitely had a window of time to go to S&P. I was going to hope for the best and give it a fair shake. I went at 10am —which is fairly early on a Sunday by New York standards— and there was plenty of room at the counter. I looked around and from what I could tell the majority of the people in the restaurant looked like they didn’t come because of a TikTok they saw. That was reassuring.