Though they harken back in style and menu to the small-town drive-in diners of the 1950s, New York's string of Shake Shack would seem to be among the most 21st century of New York food institutions. The air of I'm-here-now, self-conscious cool—among the customers and the staff—is too thick.
So I was surprised to find a little reminder of Olde New York inside the Times Square branch. I sat down with my Bird Dog and fries and saw this message burned into the long table: "Handcrafted in Brooklyn, NY, this surface was once part of a bowling late." No wonder the wood glows a bit. The tables are made by the DUMBO company CounterEvolution. There are apparently more bowling-lane tables in the Brooklyn restaurant. Where, I wonder, was the lane? What neighborhood?