Here at Brooklyn Magazine, we give the New York Times a lot of flak, mostly for their perennial that’s-not-actually-a-trend trend pieces, the occasional questionably racist profile, and every so often, the infuriating “______ is having a moment” assessments of Brooklyn neighborhoods. But on this we can agree: Manhattan is a place to avoid on Saturday nights.
I know, I know. Ugh, Manhattan. Who can even deal with that nonsense anymore? The teeming crowds, the i-bankers, the dudes vomiting on stoops on a drunken bender on Tuesday at 10 p.m. The old, weird Manhattan is not a place that’s usually on display these days. In fact, the Times has vivid photographic evidence of what exactly you can expect should you venture into the East Village or Hell’s Kitchen on a Saturday night, so help you. Namely: Dudes lifting up their shirts, lines down the block to get inside overpriced claustrophobic clubs, restaurants so jam-packed that you have a good chance of accidentally putting your elbow into someone else’s dinner.
The solution to actually enjoying yourself in Manhattan over the weekend? Go on the other day. That’s when the old denizens of the Lower East Side come out of their apartments to snooze in diner booths.
Sunday night is a time when a diner can resemble the platonic ideal, and an old man can snooze in a booth undisturbed. It is a time when the queasily hued green taxi cabs return to the boroughs beyond Manhattan and the avenues revert to 20th-century yellow. It is a time when one may, on some darker blocks, even feel a hint of the old foreboding.
Oh yeah, gimme some of that foreboding. But this Times piece is actually kind of charming: The reporter runs into the son of Oleg Cassini, a designer who made suits for Jackie O., and hands with the regulars at Odessa Cafe in the East Village.
Of course, it’s worth noting that you can always get those same quality New York interactions on a weeknight, should you have the gumption to go into Manhattan during the week. And there’s always Brooklyn. Can we recommend Brooklyn? We have regulars here, too.