When I moved to New York City, I had two “home” neighborhoods — the one I actually lived in, and the one I might as well have. My things might have been stacked neatly in my large alcove studio in the not-so-super-hip-and-trendy area of Sutton Place, but many nights during the week and practically all of the weekend, you could find me in the East Village. If you ask me, the only reason I wasn’t 100% living there was one thing — my queen sized bed.
I remember being excited and overwhelmed, all rolled into one. When I moved here, I kept myself as busy as possible. I became involved with the local chapter of my sorority alumni group. I transferred my Junior League membership and started attending new member meetings. I tried to ignore the fact that I moved here hung up on a guy I wanted to think was everything, but I knew would never be anything at all. I kept going and going.
What did I not do? Cook. Sit still much, if at all. Instead of contemplating how things went during the day over a home cooked meal, I did the same seated at a booth located at the magic intersection of Avenue A and East 7th Street. Instead of cleaning, organizing, and nesting, I made plans to meet friends at Sidewalk Cafe and to do karaoke at Sing Sing and Planet Rose.
Were there times I thought I made a mistake? Sure.
Were there times I felt lost? As if I had only moved to NYC to be another nameless unknown generic face brushing by you, the next guy, or the next? Absolutely.
The thing is, I think any New Yorker who’s been there, who’s done this and found themselves on the other side — the survived-and-willing-to-stay-a-while side, has their way. Their story for what got them through — what it was that helped them find their place here in this city. For me, I needed something to get lost in as a means by which to find myself while I found my way and that way was food. I switched from blogging about my personal life and switched to another focus — food, and 7A is one of my first fond restaurant memories, a place I’m sad to see go. When I walk by that intersection, be it tomorrow or four years from now, I’ll always see that kelly green awning
I’ll be going this month and ordering the usual. The fried chicken cutlet, or as they call it the “Austrian”. It’s topped with melted jack cheese, fried onions and BBQ sauce on French bread — with regular or sweet potato fries. If you’re paying them a visit before January 31st, I recommend you give it a try. Trust me. Thank me later.
And thank you, 7A.
A New Yorker (six+ years and counting)
Feel free to connect with Lara via Twitter with any feedback. She also writes regularly on her personal food-centric blog, Grits in the City, and is a contributor to Women & Co.