Friday, February 29, 2008

Who moved our cart?

My neck’s sore from scanning the skies all day, wondering if it’d be cigar-shaped or the classic saucer format. Clearly something must be up there, sucking up cart after cart. How else do you explain today’s disappearance of the burrito stand, the Indian food trailer and even the smoothies and fresh fruit wagon? Clearly someone is stealing the great carts of midtown.

My trusty brethren in plastic-utensil dining, the able Frumkin, set out in an admitted funk because of today’s big music news. The man has been despondent for years because the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame has refused to induct the Dave Clark Five time after time after time. Finally, the judges came to their senses this year and gave the one-time Beatles rival the nod. The band would’ve been formally installed in 10 days. But its lead singer, Mike Smith, died yesterday from pneumonia. He would never get to bask in the adulation he was due.

Obviously in need of solace, we headed out to the ever-trusty burrito cart on 54th and Madison. It was not to be found. We looked on alternate corners, and even a block north. All in vain.

Ah, said I, let’s hit that Indian cart, one of the under-sung sidewalk choices in our heavily suited stretch of Park Avenue. Gone. Ditto for the fruit-salad cart that parks next to it each day.

In our search for something out of the ordinary, we passed probably a half-dozen halal meat stand, all beckoning us with a whiff of curry and the sizzle of chicken on the flattop grill. But that was our cart stop yesterday. A repeat was out of the question for culinary adventurers of our distinction.

Yet our options were limited by the unexplained disappearance of some old favs. We could only speculate that the proprietors were driven away by some chilly temperatures. Either that, or the city has been cracking down again at the behest of merchants who feel they’re losing business to rivals who pay no real estate taxes.

So we settled for Subway. Write it off to grief over Smith.

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