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Think You There Was or Might Be Such a Grill as This I Dreamt Of?

Written by Becca Tucker on . Posted in Eat & Drink, Posts


Ever since it opened last summer, I have eschewed the American Grill for being a totally weird eyesore. First, the name. The American Grill? For a Greek diner in the middle of the Ukranian East Village? Second, the lie. It proclaimed, on its red white and blue awnings, that it was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when it in fact closes at various times, usually around 11 pm.  Third, the space. It was sprawling, overdecorated, the antithesis of bohemian.

Then I married a Yankees fan. Whenever we passed by the eyesore and a game happened to be on, my husband glued himself to the glass wall like a bug attracted to light, to see the score on the TV behind the empty bar. One night, the Yankees were playing the Red Sox. We stood outside my building, wishing there was a place we could eat and watch the game. We gazed absently across the street and his eyes fell upon a flickering beacon that I had long since ceased to see, American Grill's unwatched TV.

"You wanna try it?"

"Not really…" But Standings, the sports bar under my building, was a Red Sox bar, so that was out. And Bounce, on 2nd Avenue and 6th Street, was full of frat boys, and that could not be tolerated on a weeknight.

We entered the oversized space tentatively and huddled at the bar, where we ordered beers and spinach pie. And then something strange happened: husband Joe, usually reticent to the point of seeming not to possess vocal chords, decided to talk the waitress. Perhaps it was because she was around our age and seemed lonesome -- she had thanked us for sitting at the bar and keeping her company, then complimented his long hair....

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Starbucks’ Temporary Closing Pisses Off Dunkin Donuts Customers

Written by Becca Tucker on . Posted in Eat & Drink, Posts

Starbucks is all about customer service these days. They’re doing things like handing out customer surveys and giving out $5 gift cards to customers who’ve had to move seats to accomodate a book signing. In a couple hours, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., they’re closing their 7,100 stores across the U.S. for three hours of [&hellip
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American Gladiators Most Harrowing Event: The Open Casting Call

Written by Becca Tucker on . Posted in Breaking News, Posts

It was not my idea. I haven't watched American Gladiators in fifteen years. Until a week ago, I didn't even know it was back on the air. I now think of those days as the B.G. era, and oh, how I long to return.

Last Wednesday, I got an email from the only other woman I know whose testosterone level matches mine, who makes up games and then alters the rules to make sure she wins. She's even got my same initials, or I guess I've got hers. The email sounded like Hulk Hogan was dictating: "American Gladiator Tryouts - this SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!! WHO'S WITH ME????????????? I AM SO GOING TO THIS." I responded instantly: "i could not be more IN," and printed out the 28-page application and a picture of me looking ripped, even bought sweatpants and a sports bra from KMart when I got home from work Friday too late to pick up my laundry. So when BT texted at 10:20 Friday night that she had to bail because she had "way too much to do," it was too late for me to back out.

The doors to Crunch gym at 38th and Broadway opened at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. I got there at 9:11 a.m. -- having woken up at an ungodly 7:45 a.m. to get here from a friend's place in Brooklyn -- to join a line of about 4,000 people, some of them camped out since midnight, wrapped all the way around the block. This is an expression that gets tossed around, so let me make clear that I mean it quite literally. I was standing twenty yards from the entrance to Crunch, in a procession that filed around the corner from 38th Street onto Broadway, down Broadway, across 37th Street, up 7th Avenue, and back onto 38th Street, and then into Crunch. NBC had grossly underestimated just how many people desperately wanted to get shot by tennis ball canons on national TV. There was no chance we were all going to make it in and out of one small gym by 4 p.m. Had I grasped that, I like to think I would have peeled off and salvaged my Saturday, like the school teacher in front of me in line who, when we hadn't turned the corner by 11 a.m., called it a day.

Instead, I got a cappuccino and called my brother. "Oh my god, you'd be perfect, Bec!" he
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The Subway as its Own Platform

Written by Becca Tucker on . Posted in Posts

"This is 110th Street. Next stop is 116th. Don’t forget to vote, if you haven’t already," a subway announcer told a full northbound 1 train at 7:30 last night. After a decisive pause—that he’d probably been practicing all day—he added: "Barack Obama." Some perfunctory research and crude estimating reveals that he was addressing around 210 people, [&hellip
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