As the Carnegie Deli Serves Its Last Pastrami on Rye
To the Editor:
The Carnegie Deli will shut its doors for the last time on Dec. 31, and we New Yorkers have already started mourning. It may seem strange to hear these words coming from the fifth-generation owner of Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side, but I am deeply saddened to witness the disappearance of a fellow culinary landmark.
Some have said that Katz’s and Carnegie are age-old rivals, the last two remaining giants in a city that once boasted thousands of delicatessens. However, our rivalry has never been more heated than that of two close siblings. There can be no such thing as too many delis.
Like many food legacies of this dynamic city, ours stretches back through the centuries. Deli is about brining. It is about patience. It is about preservation — not just of meat, but also of tradition. It is about bringing cooking techniques that started in the small shtetls of the “old world” into the 21st century.
Here in the “city that never sleeps” we cherish the bold and beautiful bustle that makes New York the greatest city in the world, yet agonize over the nonstop gentrification when we lose too many of our classics.