"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Aren't You…?

One of the enduring images I have of my grandfather on my father’s side is of him leaning against the window of Zabar’s. It was a Saturday afternoon in the early 1980s, a time of day when nobody in their right mind would venture inside. Grandpa was a pragmatic man. He waited outside while my grandmother bought Nova and was throwing bolos inside.

I’ve always tried to be practical like him but sometimes I’ll throw caution to the wind. Like last night, when I thought it’d be fine to stop by Fairway on the way back uptown to the Bronx. Late afternoon, Sunday. Brilliant. In no time, I was sweating like a madman, navigating around the crowded store. I couldn’t have just gone to the market a few blocks north, owned by Fairway no less. No, I had to be clever.

As I came to the end of my shopping list, I was standing in the organic department. I realized that I had to go back downstairs for English muffins. I wanted to throw a punch or at least a punchline. Some gallows humor was called for. I looked up and there was Tina Fey and her family, a daughter with big, beautiful eyes, and her husband, a short, nice-looking guy. Who else would appreciate a good Fairway joke but Tina Fey? But I was dripping with sweat and had bad breath. And I didn’t have anything funny to say. If I tried to say anything to her I’d come across even dorkier than Liz Lemon. I didn’t want to blow up her spot but even more than that, I just wanted to get my English muffins and vamoose.

Anyhow, it was a New York moment.


1 Just Fair   ~  Jan 3, 2011 2:16 pm

In your best, loudest Tracy Morgan impression,
"Someone's gettin' Muffins Tonight!"
Sorry, that's the best I got. I love Tinal Fey and received a Tracy Morgan book for Christmas. They are both on my brain.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 3, 2011 2:23 pm

I was a late convert to Fey but now think she's the shit.

3 Matt Blankman   ~  Jan 3, 2011 2:27 pm

I wasn't a huge fan of her work on SNL, but 30 Rock is just consistently hilarious and has been for its entire run. She's also happened to surround herself with a truly brilliant ensemble cast.

Her movie Baby Mama wasn't nearly as funny as it should have been. Steve Martin did some nice work, though.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 3, 2011 2:31 pm

3) What was the one line that Martin had? It was great. Maybe something about having a big dick or something. I didn't find her funny on SNL but saw only a little bit of her work there cause I don't watch the show. I think I associated her with Jimmy Fallon and I just don't find him appealing. But yeah, that show 30 Rock is mad funny.

5 Larry Koestler   ~  Jan 3, 2011 2:34 pm

Hey Alex,

Fairway's one of those quintessential New York experiences that makes you want to stab yourself in the eye but you keep going back for more because deep down you know it has great food at the best prices.

My wife and I do our grocery shopping there on a semi-weekly basis, and though I always complain about it and steel myself for the insane line at the deli counter and the 90-year-old women who gleefully run people over with their shopping carts, I still kinda love the place.

6 ms october   ~  Jan 3, 2011 2:39 pm

oh fairway. yes [5] so true.
i am not that far from the one on 125th, so i go there. there are probably 5 types of people that make you want to stab yourself or them, but damn if 3 organic chicken legs for $2.48 isn't worth it.

7 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 3, 2011 2:47 pm

I usually go to the one on 125 and even when it's crowded at 74th street I'm okay. But yesterday was the perfect storm. LOL

8 Diane Firstman   ~  Jan 3, 2011 3:15 pm


And if you want the BEST Lobster Roll in NYC, Luke's Lobster just opened their first shop on the West Side (80th and Amsterdam)


$14 ..... no filler .... not drowned in mayo .... and the soups are great too!

9 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 3, 2011 3:45 pm

Fairway is lost on me; more appealing than Trader Joe's, but the prices (making grapefruit-sucking face) there's a new Fairway in Pelham Manor and I was fascinated with the selection (and it's not as crowded), but then I got sticker shock and realized why the lines weren't that long here.

10 Bluenatic   ~  Jan 3, 2011 3:47 pm

I saw Jon Stewart and his family in the hardware section of the KMart on Astor not too long ago. Dude was wearing an Ohio State hat. He's short.

11 Raf   ~  Jan 4, 2011 12:40 pm

[9] Thanks, I had been meaning to check that Fairway out, but it seems I don't have to. I have La Placita, La Marqueta, Stop and Shop, Pathmark and A&P all within walking distance in Port Chester (and Tarry Market if I decide to go fancy), I'll just stick around here instead.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver