The Unbearable Banishment: Set the wayback machine to 1978

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Set the wayback machine to 1978

Mrs. Wife borrowed her mother’s fondue pot. Fondue was a fad back in the ‘70s but I don‘t think people bother so much anymore.

First, we skewered cubes of New York strip steak and fried them in peanut oil. For dessert we melted chocolate and dipped bananas, strawberries and marshmallows. (That’s my tall, cold glass of whole milk.) The dessert must have been too rich, or we ate too much, because it gave 8-Year Old Daughter and I a bit of a tummy ache.

* * *

Happy news for New Yorkers and those who like to visit: The experiment to close off sections of Broadway and turn them into pedestrian malls is going to be made permanent. The city set up chairs in what use to be the middle of Broadway and, weather permitting, you can spend all day and night just watching the world pass by. It’s fantastic!

Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times

This has not been a blessing for traffic, but merchants, tourists and residents love it, and that was enough for Mayor Bloomberg to make it permanent. That guy is the world’s only populist billionaire. Cynical old me keeps waiting for an out-of-control taxi to careen off into a crowd of tourists relaxing in lawn chairs but it hasn’t happened yet, thank God.

The pic above is from Times Square but my favorite spot is in Chelsea at the foot of the fabulous Flatiron Building. (Take a look at this pic from last year.) Given the choice between sitting before a pretty countryside or this, I’ll take the pavement and people-watching every time.



Blogger mapstew said...

Cool Man! (70's enough?)

I think I shall try sitting in one of those chairs when I visit! :¬)

February 24, 2010 at 9:25 AM  
Anonymous sid said...

That's such a freaking awesome idea. I love watching ppl. I've always told my friends that IF I ever become filthy rich I will totally quit my job and just spend all my free time in cafes, watching ppl. Not like creeply watching ppl. Just kinda dream up life stories for them.

February 24, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

It was probably the fruit that gave the eight year old a tummy ache. Should have stuck to chocolate.
Pavement bathing never quite works in the UK, I find.

February 24, 2010 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

fondue pots! too funny, sugar. a resto opened here in my little town right before everything went to hell (again), somehow they overestimated the retro market here in the deep fried south and closed within 6 months...xoxoxo

February 24, 2010 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Map: The best part of the pedestrian malls is that they're FREE! All you'd have to do is buy your plane ticket.

Sid: A lot of people would find it boring but, I swear, I could get a newspaper and sit out there all day and into the evening.

Scarlet: Does it not work because the UK lacks the open space or because of the lack of sunshine? The no-sun thing is such an old cliche. Every time I visit it's great out!

Savannah: Believe it not, there's a fondue restaurant chain up here called The Melting Pot that does quite well.

February 24, 2010 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Poindexter said...

this looks so cool - I would love to park it in a lounge chair on Broadway and check out the passers-by.

February 24, 2010 at 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what? fondue went out of fashion? damn.... must have missed that decade.

February 24, 2010 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Point: It's the big parade of humanity! I can't tell you how entertaining it is and, as I stated above, it's FREE!

Daisy: Along with bell bottoms and water beds. [Have you ever "used" a water bed? They're tricky. It's no wonder they're not around anymore.]

February 24, 2010 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger Barlinnie said...

Ahhhh...fondue. it brings back memories of clatty cheese and melted Kraft slices.

It hardly seems so long ago.

February 24, 2010 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

Please come over right now!!!
I think it's the lack of space thing... it gets very messy when people drink their coffee in the gutter.

February 25, 2010 at 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Sally said...

I think fondue (and raclette for that matter) have NOT gone out of style over here in Europe. It's all over the place. We just did it at home a couple weeks ago - cheese. From Switzerland. Crusty bread cubes...omg. I grew up in the seventies and my parents loved to do all those things just at family dinners - fondue, artichokes, finger stuff.

February 25, 2010 at 3:48 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Jimmy: I was up and down the internet trying to find out what "clatty" meant. Apparently, if your cheese is clatty, you're none too happy about eating it. Yes?

Scarlet: Believe you me, I wish I was typing this from JFK and about to board a flight to Heathrow.

Sally: I was surprised to find out that there are actual fondue restaurants that do pretty well. Perhaps I need to get out more often!

February 25, 2010 at 7:44 AM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

I think the key to good cheese fondue is the right amount of white wine--in the pot and in me!

February 25, 2010 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

I missed this one! Fondue! How fabulous. I think we've got that ubiquitous '70s fondue pot tucked somewhere...

February 26, 2010 at 7:05 AM  

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