For the first half of my life I lived in New York state. I'm not a New Yorker, but from Long Island. No matter what anyone tells you, there's a world of difference between the two. These days, it's a nice place to visit but I would not want to live there.
The city has changed. As rents get too damn high small businesses are folding or forced out and upscale chains continue to be brought in to remove any local flavor the city once had. It's becoming a large shopping mall for tourists and I cannot help but wonder where the locals who are left go to eat.
One such place, 45 seconds from Broadway, is the Cafe Edison. It's been called The Polish Tea Room and has been operating just off the lobby of the Hotel Edison for over thirty years. Click on the link for some very interesting pictures of the inside of the diner and its history.
We ate here a couple of years ago when we visited. Is it the greatest breakfast place in the world? Hell no. Does it have the best atmosphere? It's real New York, a part of Manhattan that is fast disappearing. It is affordable. A place the stagehand and local workers can get a fast and reliable meal at a fair price. A place where a tourist can fuel up on the cheap for a day of sightseeing. And the city is fast running out of joints like this.
The owner of the hotel is trying to evict the current operators of the cafe, and has plans to put in another white table cloth restaurant with a name chef in its place. As if Manhattan does not have enough of them.
There's been a grass roots campaign to petition the owners to stop this, and to give the current operators of the cafe a long term lease on the site. City council members are aware, as is Mayor de Blasio. The story was told on NPR today. People are not giving up.