Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Good-Bye America, said The Old Man

There I was, standing on line at my hole-in-the-wall coffee shop when an elderly man behind me ordered two poppy seed bagels with cream cheese for $4.
"I remember when you could get this for a dollah in Brooklyn," he said.
I smiled and got a straw for my drink. We walked out of the coffee shop together in awkward silence. Afraid that he'd be grumpy for the rest of the day, I decided to make an attempt at explaining our generation.
"Well, y'know, it's really just the value of the dollar that's changed," I told the old man.
"Oh, yes...I know."
We continued down Lexington together.
"I'm safe, by the way," he assured me, as if I were afraid of being attacked by an 85 year-old man my own height. "Do you know what an egg cream is?"
"It's a drink, isn't it? A malt?"
"They used to make it in Brooklyn; it was vanilla milk, ice cream, and seltzer. The best thing on the planet. What do you have over there?"
I told him it was just an iced coffee.
"Have you ever had an egg cream?"
"I don't think I have."
"This country saw its best days in the fifties and sixties. Those were the best days. I'm telling you, it's just going down."
And with that, he crossed the street to take the train.

5 original thoughts out there

Blogger Sara said...

dinz- i was expecting you to say that you went home and tried to make an egg cream. not to actually eat, just for the culinary satisfaction of making something.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

Oddly, there was nothing I wanted to do more yesterday than try an egg cream. :) However, I slept over at Chaya last night so I didn't get the chance. But I will definitely try it! :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 6:42:00 PM  
Blogger zenjew said...

i love meeting random old dudes around and about...they're like the sages of this ancient city we like to call home.

your post is great--reflects the transience of these really meaningful encounters...


Thursday, June 22, 2006 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous MonseyGuy said...

I hate to break it to you or the old man - but an egg cream is to be made of the following:

Fox's u-bet CHOCOLATE syrup

What the heck is vanilla milk? No such thing.

I had the zechus to get a real-live egg cream, at a real-live luncheonette in the 'alte heim' of the Bronx, together with my grandmother, of blessed memory. And today is her yahrzeit, Dina, so thanks for triggering a good memory.

It's chocolate syrup and seltzer, with milk to add some creaminess.

I have taken to adding a scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream to the mixture, just because it's delicious.

So take it from someone old enough to be your older brother-in-law, and next time you're in Pathmark, buy a jar of Fox's u-bet.

Monday, June 26, 2006 2:44:00 PM  
Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

I wasn't clear on what vanilla milk was either, but after a little researching online, I saw that while the more popular flavor is chocolate, you can have a vanilla egg cream. Surprise. And thanks for the suggestion, I might try it. Have a good day, monseyguy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 3:53:00 PM  

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