It’s one of those picture-perfect summer days in NYC with crystal blue skies, puffy cumulus clouds and a soft cool breeze. Everyone is out on this Saturday, memories of the winter long gone in this city focused on the Now.
I went out early to get a jump on the day, eating breakfast at my favorite corner restaurant in my W 71st St. neighborhood. Sitting by the window, I watched dads and their little boys dressed in identical green “West Side Little League” T-shirts heading out for the big game. And watched so many dogs of all sizes and shapes, generally well-behaved. Caesar Milano should do a show on the dogs of NYC. I’ve never seen so many well-mannered dogs anywhere.
Fairway Market is the iconic NYC supermarket, located on 72nd and Broadway. When I first moved into this neighborhood, I was intimidated by Fairway, because it has to be the most crowded store in the entire city no matter what time of day. The first time I went shopping there I nearly had a panic attack with all the people jammed together for their shopping experience, but little by little I got used to it. The food is waaay better than at Whole Foods and the people who work there couldn’t be nicer and more helpful.
Today I witnessed a great NYC moment at Fairway.
Five NYC firefighters came in ready to shop, probably for their kitchen, complete with heavy belts and harnesses with gadgets/tools hung low on their hips, high boots, T-shirts and that confident swagger that firefighters have.
They are as close to royalty in NYC as anyone can get.
One young one yells across the aisle to another who is right in front of me madly searching the shelf. “Hey, Vinnie, you got the soup? “Nah, I see every type but that one. No wait, there’s one left but I can’t reach it.” For the next five minutes, five young fire fighters assemble to figure out how to reach the soup can that’s located about 8 ft up on a shelf. They take turns lifting each other but no one can reach it. They huddle. People weave around them. They strategize. They try repeatedly. No go. They tease each other as some run off to gather more ingredients for dinner.
Vinnie keeps trying. Finally, one of the store employees walking by, without being asked, gracefully and silently grabs the side of the shelf, climbs up a bit, whisks the can off from its high perch and drops it into Vinnie’s hand. Just like that. The Fairways employee smiles and walks away. The firefighters send up a loud laughing whoop at Vinnie’s expense and they all yell thanks to the worker who has all but disappeared. People waiting on the check out line are aware but keep a respectful detachment. I see some smiles among them. I keep it discreet as well, because that’s NY. Love this city.