zabar’s and the apartment hunt

It’s a hot Monday. And a humid one. I promised to help someone find an apartment within the next six weeks. And so I will; I think. Manhattan in the summer with its concrete and crowds can be trying, but with its cafes it’s quite tolerable. The upper west side where I am now has many small interesting shops and really good eating places. The trick today is to focus on looking for an apartment and not fall into any shops. I watch one man walking pass me dressed in a suit jacket. He’s fading fast.

After a sixteen block walk, my shirt is soaked from the humidity, so I slip into Zabar’s at 2245 Broadway @ 80th Street, and buy a “$4.98 Pastrami on classic rye, mustard, and mayonnaise on the side, a pickle and 70 years of experience.” That’s what the wrapper of my sandwich says. It also states, “New York is Zabar’s Zabar’s is New York” I linger a bit before purchasing the sandwich letting the air conditioning revive me. I think, yes, Zabar’s truly does belong to New York. Its customers know how to shove their way into any area to get what they want, and the cashiers give the customers a touch of service and no more. It’s all all right because where food is concerned, Zabar’s does it right.

I decide to not eat at Zabar’s corner cafe. I walk to 86th Street, then stroll east at Broadway checking in with the doormen along the way to inquire about apartments. The first doorman tells me that the rent begins around $2800 a month for a studio. I tell him that I will think about that. (Laughter is good for the heart. And now I have something really funny to laugh about when I get back to where I’m staying). After speaking to a few more doormen, I walk to Central Park and find a solitary bench where there is not much foot traffic. I open the wrapper and eat the pastrami sandwich. It’s tasty, but the sweat dripping down my back forces me to vacate my bench immediately after eating.

I walk west again on 86th Street and realize that I’m going nowhere fast. There’s a Starbucks on Columbus Ave and 86th Street. I open the door, and true to form, most of the customers have either a book, newspaper, computer or pen and paper in front of them. I buy a San Pellegrino water. I’ll be out the door in ten minutes, I promise myself as I sit at the one table left. It feels so good to be right where I am.

I hope that whatever you’re doing, you’re absolutely fine, too.

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