W42ST Daily 7/2/2020

Those readers who have met me and listened to my working class, northern English accent might not be aware of my associations with aristocracy. For three years, I worked as an advisor to the Duke and Duchess of Rutland at Belvoir Castle (where much of The Crown was filmed). I was most definitely a rough diamond in that situation — and none of what I learned is of any use to the principle of dining etiquette as we move to our new normal.

I couldn’t resist a quick check though. To save you googling, here are the principles of pre-COVID dining etiquette:

Wait for your host to begin to eat.  Pass dishes to the person on your right. Pass the salt and pepper together.  Used silverware should never touch the table; rather, they should rest on your plate. Place your napkin on your chair if you leave the table during a meal.

Priorities have changed, and in this time of a few tables dangling on the edges of 9th Ave and Mayor De Blasio telling us there is no vision for indoor dining —  there are some new rules.

Here are four for starters (send me yours…)

1. Don’t hog the table. This one is from Nicola at Mercury Bar.  She wants you there, she needs the customers, but with only four tables, you must dine and move. She said: “Please be aware that every restaurant is surviving on their outdoor seating. Please be mindful and help restaurants turn those tables over every hour. It’s the only way we will survive.”  I obviously approve of how many times she said please!

2. Tip well. I think Grub Street has gone a bit over the top with this idea:  “Tip at least 50 percent. Tip 75 percent. Tip 100 percent. What’s stopping you? Do you need to save that money for the vacation to Saint-Tropez you’re planning on taking once this is all over? If you can afford to go to a restaurant right now and have a leisurely meal — because you don’t need to save as much money as you can? — then, yeah, you can afford it.” But I do agree to tip well.

3. Don’t assume anyone is trying to rip you off. This one is from Luis at Arriba Arriba. They’ve had a media focus around overcrowding on that corner, and they want the sanity back too. They cannot afford to pay fines. He told me yesterday: “It’s very hard. We get into a fight every single time we tell a customer that we cannot sell liquor without food. They think we are trying to take advantage. We are exhausted.”

4. Don’t be a dick.  This is serious. Jerry Melo from Friendly Jerry’s expressed this best: “I am in no rush to open my doors. If I get the corona, even if it’s a mild case, I would be forced to close for two weeks to quarantine. If I get sick, I can die as an asthmatic or bring it home to my 80-year-old dad.” These restaurants are trying to give a dining experience on the sidewalk.  They are trying to comply with regulations that would baffle the world’s best lawyers. They are trying to keep you safe. They are trying to earn a living, pay their bills, and not take any virus home to their families.  Be sensitive.

And please, please, still pass the salt and pepper together.


#TBT AUTOMATS — FEEDING THE DEPRESSION
Automats were America’s first major fast-food chain – essentially giant vending machines. The idea started in Philadelphia in 1902. The first New York automat opened ten years later, in Times Square on July 2, 1912. A nickel bought a cup of coffee. Pick your food…


SPONSORED POST
The Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance has relocated its wellness programming to Zoom. Classes are available on evenings Monday – Thursday, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and they’re FREE! Donations are being accepted, and distributed to citywide causes. Learn more here.


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AN APPEAL
The last few months have been hard on all of us – financially, emotionally, physically. One thing we’ve come to truly value is the importance of community – “our” people. Thank you for all your messages of love, support, and laughter – you’ve been a lifeline.

Some of you have asked if you can help financially. And, while it’s hard to ask when so many are struggling, if you are in a position to support us, any contribution, no matter how small, will help ensure the future of W42ST. 

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