Bye, Bye Pastrami on Rye

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Published on The Doomstead Diner January 22, 2017

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On New Year's Eve of 2016, the Carnegie Delicatessen in NY Shity closed it's doors for the final time.  There will be no more Hot Pastrami sandwiches on Rye Bread served at the Carnegie anymore. 😦

https://i1.wp.com/1j0kaab4se21i4i6y1k7omz1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Stages-Deli-Greython-Construction-Foxwoods4-3-300x167.jpg Back in 2012 when the Doomstead Diner first opened its doors, the Stage Delicatessen closed down.  In 2004, the other main iconic Jewish Deli of NY Shity Ratner's on Delancey Street closed its doors.  I frequented all these Jewish Delicatessens in my years living in NY Shity, and the Carnegie closing marks the last of the truly great ones I know of. OK, wait, Katz's is still open for bizness, but their Pastrami was not as good as Carnegie or Stage.

There were many other lesser known ones, in fact right by my old High School of Stuyvesant on the Lower East Side of Manhattan there was a small one I often had lunch at, which served up a GREAT Potato Knish for about 50 cents at the time if I recall.  Their Pastrami wasn't near as good as the Pastrami you got at the Stage or the Carnegie though.

There were many other Jewish Delis sprinkled around NY Shity in those years as well, mainly in the various Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.  There were some good ones in Forest Hills as I recall, though I can't remember their names anymore.  Usually they were just named after the founder of the Deli, like "Feynman's Delicatessen" or "Murray's Delicatessen" etc.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/87/9c/8a/879c8ae18cbcba197cfbc989a864ef16.jpg

My TOP 10 favorite Jewish Foods from the era were: (more or less in order)

1- Hot Pastrami on Rye Bread
2- Matzoh Ball Soup
3- Bagel shmeared with Cream Cheese and Lox
4- Matzoh Meal Latkes (Pancakes)
5- Potato Knish
6- Chicken Liver Pate
7- Beef Tongue Sandwich on Rye
8- Kosher Hot Dog
9- Whole Smoked Whitefish Chubs
10- Potato Latkes (Pancakes)

Fortunately for me since I know how to cook quite well, I can reproduce most of these dishes fairly well to this day, but I don't do it because my appetite is so depressed and you have to make them in large quantities.  To make a good Pastrami, you need to smoke up a full brisket of beef, and I couldn't eat that much meat in a month these days, by which time it goes bad unless frozen, and after freezing a lot of the flavor is lost.  You really want to eat this stuff RIGHT after you finish cooking it, which is why Delis developed to begin with.  While one person or even a small family can't finish a whole beef brisket in one meal (except for total PIGS!), if you have even just 20 or 30 people stop in your Deli for Lunch, you can easily go through a few briskets for the day.  Dropping into a Deli for a Lunch of Matzoh Ball Soup and a Hot Pastrami on Rye was an EXTREME culinary pleasure, and at the time not all that expensive although more expensive than a Slice of Mushroom Pizza at the local Storefront Italian Pizzeria.  There you could get a slice of freshly baked Pizza for around 25 cents and a Minestrone Soup for another 25 cents.  In my neighborhood of Flushing, Queens, during my years there from age 10 to 16 there were 3 main groups of 1st or 2nd generation Immigrants, Italians, Jews and Irish.  The Italians and the Jews served up the FOOD, the Irish ran all the BARS and served up the BOOZE. lol.  In the later years the Chinese and various other Asian groups began arriving, and lots of Chinese Take Out restaraunts popped up.

https://i2.wp.com/cdn.luxuo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Smith-and-Wollensky-steak-house.jpg Jewish Delis aren't the only restaraunts I frequented in NY Shity during my salad years there in the 70s and 80s now Outta Biz, even some top end Steakhouses like Smith & Wollensky are gone to the Great Beyond.  They bit the dust in 2016.  This is in NY Shity, home to Wall Street with some traders and executives still taking home outrageous salaries and big bonuses.  Why can't a high end restaraunt like this make a go of it in that market?

Well, you gotta understand the restaurant biz to begin with here, it always depends on VOLUME.  You need to keep all your tables filled all the time, and there also needs to be a quite large difference between the cost of the food you cook up and what you charge to the customers in order to meet all the overhead, which is quite large especially in NY Shity.  The restaurant bizness is extremely labor intensive, and labor costs are high even if you pay all the workers Min Wage.  You can't pay decent chefs Min Wage though, so the better the food, the higher the costs get driven up.

NY Shity commercial rents have shot through the ROOF in the last decade to begin with.  Then the cost of the food ingredients also went up rapidly.  Then, despite the fact there are a FEW Banksters making gobs of money, MOST of the population doesn't have all that much to spend on Lunch.  So the efffect is the restaurant keeps raising it's prices in order to meet the overhead which drives away more of their regular customers then making it uneconomic to cook up a half dozen beef briskets each day to make Pastrami out of.  Not selling enough Pastrami then, said Deli ends up going outta biz.

https://i2.wp.com/media.olivegarden.com/en_us/images/marketing/italian-family-restaurant-olive-garden-g6-r1x1.jpg The same thing is true for a high end steakhouse like Smith & Wollensky, and really the only types of restaraunts currently surviving are either Fast Food (FF acronym, like the Fossil Fuels they are made from) which operate with low quality food served at high volume and low prices, or medium level chains like say Olive Garden which serve medium quality food at medium prices and ALSO have access to DEBT money to subsidize losing money operations.  Small independents from either end of the spectrum are squashed out because they don't have access to the debt that allows a large chain to keep going even when it also is losing money.

It's a sorry state of affairs of course, and the fact that the typical Lunch menu for a worker has devolved from a nice juicy Hot Pastrami sandwich to a Big Mac is a very depressing state of affairs, although also a good symbol for the Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

Great Pastrami came at the PINNACLE of Industrial Civilization, probably around the mid 1960s to 1970s.  There was certainly good pastrami around before that though, going back to the 1920s probably.  The Good Pastrami also lasted until the early 2000s, when it started to disappear.  Fabulous Pastrami at Great Jewish Delis had about an 80 year lifespan available to the average J6P around NY Shity, basically tracing the Age of Oil.

https://i2.wp.com/www.seriouseats.com/assets_c/2014/05/20140529-pastrami-smoked-meat-11-thumb-610x406-403666.jpg The Death of Great Pastrami came due to the economics of producing it and serving it up in Delis.  At the beginning, the rents in NY Shity were cheap for a small deli operator, but over the years they rose into the stratosphere.  While a few Wall Street Pigmen make gobs of money, except for a very few high end restaurants you can't base your bizness on them.  There's just not enough of them who will buy a Hot Pastrami Sandwich for lunch on a daily basis.

As the rents skyrocketed, so did the cost of buying a Pastrami Sandwich at places like the Stage & Carnegie Delicatessens.  Even when I left NY Shity back in the 90s, a lunch at one of those places was coming in around $10, maybe a bit more.  This was no longer a meal for the average J6P.  I don't know what the Final Price on the menu was for a Pastrami on Rye when the Carnegie Delicatessen closed its doors for the last time on Dec 31st, 2016, but I suspect it was in the $20 range.

With these kind of prices, where the average J6P in NYC goes for lunch is not to a Jewish Deli for Pastrami, but to Mickey D's for a Big Mac, Fries & a Coke, a meal which itself is coming in close to $10 these days!  It also obviously lacks the terrific flavor and texture of well prepared Pastrami, and all the workers in that FF joint are being paid minimum wage.  The whole category of a well paid chef is ELIMINATED!  In fact, the push is on to eliminate even the low paid cooks who dutifully drop the frozen french fries into the deep fryer with robots that can do the job more reliably 24/7 with no coffee breaks!

https://www.mcdonalds.com.ph/userfiles/images/ourfood/main/BigMac435X320%20(1).png Nobody seems to know where the folks who BUY Lunch from the Robots will get the money to do this though, as they are automated out of a job.  There are suggestions out there of a guaranteed "Universal Basic Income", sort of Welfare on Steroids, but nobody knows how to implement such a thing without it destroying incentive to work at all or without creating an endless cycle of price inflation.  The folks who have the monopoly over Money Creation are also unlikely to just give the money away to anybody except other members of their own club as they currently do all the time, so a Universal Basic Income seems an unlikely outcome here.  Whatever that nominal amount of money is, it most certainly would not buy a nice thick and juicy Pastrami on Rye sandwich, and probably not even a Big Mac, Fries and a Coke!  Maybe the money will buy some thin gruel poured over a slice of Wonder Bread?

I will leave you for this episode of Dayz of Our Kollapse Lives with a song parody.  Sing to the Tune of "American Pie" by Don Maclean.

 

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step

I can't remember if I cried
When I read the Carnegie Deli died
But something touched me deep inside
The day the Pastrami Died


So bye, bye Pastrami on Rye
Drove my Chevy to the Deli but the Deli was Fried
And them good ole boys were eating a Big Mac & Fries
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die


Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in latkes and gefilte fish?
Can Bagels save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to eat real slow?

Well, I know that you're in love with Bagels
Cause I saw you eating them at the tables
You shmeared on the creame cheese and lox
and danced on the table in just your socks

I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the Pastrami Died

[Chorus:]
I started singing,  bye, bye Pastrami on Rye
Drove my Chevy to the Deli but the Deli was Fried
And them good ole boys were eating a Big Mac & Fries
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die


Now for 5 years we've been watching doom
Diners observing all the oncoming gloom
But that's not how it used to be
Until JFK rode in the limousine
Next to Jackie the pill cap Queen
Promising the death of the Land of the Free

Oh, and while JFK was looking down
LBJ stole his thorny crown
Vietnam was escalated
While bigger lies were being created

And while Liddy hit the Watergate
Nixon pitched the gold out of the gate
And we sang dirges for our fate
The day the money died

[Chorus:]
We were singing,  bye, bye Pastrami on Rye
Drove my Chevy to the Deli but the Deli was Fried
And them good ole boys were eating a Big Mac & Fries
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die

[Verse 3]
Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off to a Doomer Shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The Diners tried for a forward pass
With RE on the sidelines in a cast

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
While the Diners played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance

Cause the Diners tried to take the field
The Illuminati refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the Pastrami Died?

[Chorus:]
We started singing,  bye, bye Pastrami on Rye
Drove my Chevy to the Deli but the Deli was Fried
And them good ole boys were eating a Big Mac & Fries
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die

[Verse 4]
Oh, and there we were all in the Diner
Eating Doom meals that couldn't be finer
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devil's only friend

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that RE spell

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw RE laughing with delight
The day the Pastrami Died

[Chorus:]
He started singing,  bye, bye Pastrami on Rye
Drove my Chevy to the Deli but the Deli was Fried
And them good ole boys were eating a Big Mac & Fries
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die

[Outro]
I met a Troll who made page views
And he pitched out all his happy news
But it was bullshit and he was sent away
I went down to the convenience store
Where I bought my gas for years before
But the clerk told me there was no gas left today

And in the streets, the Zombies screamed
The Doomers cried and the Cornucopians dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The internet was all broken

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the Pastrami Died

[Chorus:]
And they were singing,  bye, bye Pastrami on Rye
Drove my Chevy to the Deli but the Deli was Fried
And them good ole boys were eating a Big Mac & Fries
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die

[Chorus:]
They were singing,  bye, bye Pastrami on Rye
Drove my Chevy to the Deli but the Deli was Fried
And them good ole boys were eating a Big Mac & Fries
And singin' this'll be the day that I die

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