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Friday, March 2, 2012

The Chronicles of Creams

Once upon a midnight dreary, I went to McDonald's.  And actually it wasn't midnight.  It was around 6pm.  I entered the Broadway location near 96 Street.  I approached the counter and ordered a medium Shamrock Shake and took a seat.  It was quite busy, and as I sipped my minty, creamy shake, I noted my surroundings.  Most notably, the other patrons.

Something I have noticed in the City of New York is that many McDonald's seem to be frequented inordinately by those of underserved socioeconomic backgrounds, often black or hispanic.  Indeed, among many of my friends - and I must admit my friends tend to be fairly well-educated, financially well-off, and from affluent-ish backgrounds - there is often a revulsion towards McDonald's.  Sometimes, this aversion disappears when these friends go back to their respective suburbs (McDonald's is fine in Alexandria, VA); sometimes, they maintain their McDonald's bias even when home ("Ach, I haven't eaten McDonald's in years").

The point I am trying to make is: why do upwardly mobile New Yorkers stay away from McDonald's?  They're more than happy to visit Shake Shack.  Granted, you could argue Shake Shack has better food, but if nothing else McDonald's is generally more convenient and accessible.  No, there is something else going on here. Something class-based.

I will admit this has not been so much a Chronicle of Creams as a sociological digression.  But the chronicles of anything are never a straight, simple path.  Life is such that it is impossible to not get swept along on tangents from time-to-time. And even yet, as I contemplated these facts, the layer of whipped cream on the top of my Shamrock Shake remained in tact until the end, and I finished my drink in creamy bliss.