Death Knell For Haimish Manhattan

November 10th, 2014 § 0 comments

So sad. The Cafe Edison, affectionately known as “The Polish Tearoom,” is closing its doors. The landlord (the Hotel Edison on 47th Street and Broadway in New York) is replacing it with a fancy restaurant headed by a “big name chef.” Another haimish New York restaurant bites the dust. Haimish is a Yiddish word meaning many things: Down home. With family and friends. Warm, cozy, plain and unadorned. Like eating an overstuffed sandwich at the kitchen table with Mom, Pop, your wife and the kids. Cafe Edison was decidedly Jewish with matzo ball soup, kasha varnishkes, pastrami and all the other Jewish/ Eastern European staples. Theater folks of every ethnicity gathered there daily to eat, shmooze, make deals, exchange show biz chatter. There were other theater district restaurants, not Jewish, that were haimish. Delsomma (Italian) and Fornos (Spanish). Both gone. In fact, the Jewish-Irish-Italian Manhattan where HG spent many years has vanished. The Irish bars with their corned beef and cabbage, pig’s knuckles and hard boiled eggs belong to yesterday. Italian red sauce joints are no more. The Torissi guys (Italian Specialties, Parm, Carbone, Dirty French) have upscaled Italian food ($52 veal chops, for example). Thankfully, Manhattan’s African-American and Latino population is keeping the haimish tradition alive. You can still get splendid fried chicken and catfish in Harlem. Mofongo remains on the menu in Puerto Rican eateries. Cubans in Washington Heights are still dishing up Cubanos, moros and cristianos and other good things. But, if haimish is your thing get on the subway (and ferry) and head to the boroughs. Forget Manhattan. HG, to paraphrase the song, will take The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island, too.

cafe-edison

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