This afternoon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Twitter account posted the above photo of a sandwich at the recently reopened Carnegie Deli, along with the caption “America.” It got us wondering: Is de Blaz more of a Carnegie partisan or a Katz’s guy? The answer, his people told Gawker, is neither.
The photo and its caption were intended both as a spoof of Jeb Bush’s instantly infamous gun tweet (the mayor is as late to memes as he is to important speaking engagements, it seems) and as a celebration that the Seventh Avenue pastrami outpost was back in business after a 10 month hiatus.
Carnegie Deli closed temporarily last year after Con Ed workers discovered it had been siphoning gas for cooking without paying for it, a practice that had allegedly been going on for years. And a glance at the iconic deli’s menu shows most sandwiches going for anywhere between $15 and $30. America, according to the tweet, is a thieving tourist trap full of unhealthy and overpriced food. It would be hard to find a more appropriate metaphor.
America. pic.twitter.com/211oQK5qeU— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) February 17, 2016
But what about the meat? “I have to be careful, but this is the finest pastrami sandwich in New York,” de Blasio claimed spuriously at deli’s reopening. In fact, as any reasonable resident of the city knows, the finest pastrami sandwich in New York is about 58 blocks downtown from Carnegie, at Katz’s Delicatessen. The price is admittedly just as steep—$20 per breaded stack of meat—but Katz’s has never been accused of utilities theft, as far as I know. More importantly, the pastrami at Katz’s is like a fatty, salty full-tongue kiss. The pastrami is just sublime, is what I’m saying. Just look at this thing.
Does de Blasio really prefer Carnegie? Could it possibly be true? I asked a spokesperson for the mayor to give an official comment on his sandwich preference, and here’s what I got in response:
“The Mayor enjoys sandwiches from many of New York’s great Jewish delis.”
Certainly, no one would accuse Bill de Blasio—the NYPD reform mayor, the horse-and-carriage mayor—of being overly accommodating toward his ideological opponents. But certain issues demand strong stances from our leaders, and this is one of them.
Like Carnegie Deli, Katz’s is absolutely a tourist trap. But as expensive as it may be, it is the rare tourist trap that fully delivers on its promise, sometimes even exceeds it. Kind of like the glittering and way-too-expensive metropolis we all live in, when you think about it. If Carnegie Deli is America, Katz’s is New York City. I stand with Katz’s, and so should Bill de Blasio.