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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Rendezvous with Mr. Feldman

I went downtown earlier this evening with the intention of going to Trader Joe's. I sometimes go there and stock up on random things like salsa or microwaveable Indian food or, in this most recent case, instant mashed potatoes.

Anyway, I got off the subway at 14th Street and 7th Avenue and who do I see but my old fellow teacher, Mr. Feldman (I've changed the name for the sake of confidentiality). This "Mr. Feldman" happens to be a national treasure in some ways. He's the epitome of an eccentric, New York Jew. Anyway, he's a character and I really like him. We were talking on the street and this man came up and started talking politics, prompted by Mr. Feldman's "Fuck Bush" pin, which he wears on his jacket.

Mr. Feldman said he was on his way to some health food store to pick up some things but invited me to dinner. He took me to this really old whole-in-the-wall diner type place, that apparently was once a working-class French restaurant. The menu didn't seem very French and the two men working there were perhaps South American.

The place is really small. There are no tables - just two counters. It's in a pretty prime West Village location, and it's hard to imagine how it's managed to stay in the neighborhood with presumably ridiculous rent increases. For a while Mr. Feldman and I were the only patrons, but a couple of other people came in - both male, both in their late 30s or early 40s, seemingly from the neighborhood, not silly young people who moved to the village because it's cool.

Mr. Feldman and I talked about life and love and the New York City Department of Ed. Mr. Feldman equates Mayor Bloomberg and DOE Chancellor Joel Klein with another infamous chancellor who had a weird mustache and an affinity for dogs and children. We talked about film. Mr. Feldman compared Eastwood's Letters of Iowa Jima to the work of Akira Kurosawa. I was told it was good I am no longer teaching because now I can be human and actually do something with my life.

For dinner I had the Thursday night special, which was turkey served with yellow rice, potatoes and peas. It also came with soup or salad, and I had the split-pea soup. The food was fairly decent. Good for the price, which was about $10 - pretty good for New York. But overall I really liked the place. It was interesting - seemed like a place from the 70s or something.

But clearly the star of the night was Mr. Feldman, a true New York gentleman.

So much for confidentiality - sorry Mr. Feldman!