06 October 2006

Tuna and Egg on Rye to Go

OK, this post really hurts.

Gertel's, the frozen-in-time classic kosher bakery on Hester Street, is closing.

What the hell is to become of New York? Must the housing boom squeeze every last drop of character out of the city before anyone sits up and cries out, "Where the fuck did the city go?" Must Hollywood start complaining there are no "New Yorky" locations to shoot on anymore? Does "21" have to shut down before Republicans notice that things are going to hell? Does Bloomberg care about anything except smoking and trans-fats, like some busybody schoolmarm? Second-hand smoke and calories aren't killing our city. Development is! Or, should I call it Counter-development? That's what it is in my opinion.

I used to go to Gertel's a lot when my wife and I were first dating and I lived on Eldridge on the Lower East Side. I was busy discovering what was left of the old Jewish community back then: Katz's, Gus' Pickles, Yonah Schimmel's, Kossar's Bialys, Bernstein-on-Essex chinese restaurant and various cheese, fabric, and appetizing stores. Gertel's made the best half-egg-salad, half-tuna-salad sandwich (a Jewish cuisine classic) I have ever tasted. Having lunch there was a no-nonsense affair on unfancy tables and chairs and all the more wonderful for it. They were also famous for the rugelach.

The regelach is retailed around the city and will continue. But you won't be able to go to the source anymore. According to Curbed, the Chinese buyer of Gertel's plans to build an—wait for it—eight-story condo on the site. May the site be haunted by the ghosts of Kosher bakers and drive out all would-be buyers. And may those to DO buy never, never, ever, ever again in their whole life until they DIE chomp their teeth down on a decent sandwich.

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