I could understand if someone thought I was one of those "New York's not what it used to be" people, given my frequent documentation of the changes to my beloved Chelsea neighborhood. But the truth is I do get that every generation says that -- and even the people who lived here in my dream early '80s were bitching about the Yuppies and how money had ruined the city they knew in the '60s and '70s. (If they only knew!). Still, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. That said, there are some things that I think every generation can agree upon, and the idea of a New York City without Carnegie Deli -- an institution since 1937 -- is just not right.
Owner Marian Harper Levine tearfully broke the news that she was closing up at the end of the year to 60 employees on Friday morning. Levine, 65, said, “At this stage of my life, the early mornings to late nights have taken a toll, along with my sleepless nights and grueling hours that come with operating a restaurant business.” “I’m very sad to close the Carnegie Deli but I’ve reached the time of my life when I need to take a step back,” Levine said. Her family has owned the Carnegie since 1976.
My mom always used NYC-centric expressions like "She belongs in Bellevue" and "Stop opening and closing the doors -- this isn't Grand Central Station." And referring to ridiculously sized food has been synonymous with Carnegie Deli, long before I first set foot in the place with my friend Jean and wound up eating a mile-high sandwich next to Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. I'd wanted to go there ever since I saw a table of comedians tell the story of a hapless talent agent in Woody Allen's "Broadway Danny Rose." Such a pity that future generations will never be able to experience it for themselves.