It’s sometimes difficult to get a cameraman to leave a location. Times Square is one of those locations. There’s so much going on, so many people, so much dancing light and neon, maybe we should shoot forever.
After an hour or so more of post-lunchtime shooting, we decide to retrieve our van from the mysterious elevator-garage, then maybe get a driving shot going down 42nd Street toward the Hudson, which would have been the first blocks of the original Lincoln Highway. And after that, I’m thinking I wouldn’t mind stopping at the Strand Bookstore down in the Village. I have a weakness for discount and used bookstores, and the Strand is an old favorite. Bob and Glenn seem OK with heading that way, although they’d really like to find some cheap souvenir and T-shirt shops for stocking up on presents too. I think 14th Street might be fertile ground for that.
42nd Street is slow going. Start and stop. Inch by inch. Never more momentum than half a block. Nonetheless, there’s lots to look at, and Bob shoots through the windshield and out the side window. We get to the river, wish there were still a car ferry to take to Jersey, but then we circle around and head downtown. We’re not ready for the Lincoln Tunnel yet.
We luck out and find a parking space about a half block from the bookstore. Our hour in the Strand goes fast. I find a few things to buy. Bob and Glenn aren’t so lucky. They want souvenirs. I walk up to Union Square with them, decide I should have left my books in the van, and I now want to walk back there, so I arrange to meet the boys in another hour at the car. I stash the books I bought in the back seat, think I may want to take advantage of the men’s room in the Strand, and I end up spending the rest of my time browsing there again, mostly on the basement floor.
When I meet back up with Bob and Glenn, I say we can hang out in Manhattan for a while, maybe find some dinner here since Harrison, NJ, may seem bleak after the big city. They agree to stay in town, get some grub and drive back out to our rooms in Jersey after dinner. Bob says, “We’ll miss the bad traffic that way too.” Bob hates traffic. So I remember Katz’s Deli on East Houston. We did a story about their incredible sandwiches in our show Sandwiches That You Will Like, and since we all are still pretty full from lunch, a small sandwich might be perfect for dinner. I forget there are no small sandwiches at Katz’s.
It’s getting dark by the time we pull up to the curb on Houston, lucking into another convenient parking space. Who says it’s hard to find parking the city? We go in, get our tickets; everybody gets a ticket at Katz’s — that’s how they bill you for your food. We find a table. A guy comes by and says it’s too late now for table service. Go to the counter. Bob and Glenn decide they want soup & half-a-sandwich. I think I want to try the new Bauml Bomb sandwich that they’re promoting with flyers all around the restaurant. I volunteer to stay and save the table while Bob and Glenn get the food at the counter.
Their bowls of soup are huge. My sandwich is gigantic. A mound of chopped liver, slice of raw onion, cole slaw and then corned beef on top! It looks deadly but delicious. I’m surprised to find it light, yes light, but big and bold. The corned beef at Katz’s is perfect. It’s the best in the world. (I remember the pastrami as being ideal too.) The bread is fresh but not strong enough. It gives way. I end up with a magnificent messy delight. Lots of pickles too, the barely pickled kind of pickles that are still bright green. Good stuff. With a bottle of Katz’s Seltzer to wash it all down.
After dinner, Bob plots our return to Harrison, NJ, via the Holland Tunnel. We ride through both tunnels in one day. We are exhausted by the time we get back to the hotel.