Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Tarts of New York

It is a common cry among New Yorkers, even those who haven't been there very long, "Our city has become an amusement park, a cultural wasteland, a squeaky clean tourist trap thanks to Giuliani, who got rid of our beloved hookers and gangs and addicts and cleaned our once unique streets that flowed deep with human urine. What does a guy have to do to get mugged in this town anymore? Where is the grit, the grime, the EDGE, the LIFE? The people dressed in plastic bags, directing traffic?"

Even if a guy like me is to avoid gaudy Times Square and opt for a pilgrimage to St. Mark's Place, I later read that even that is a "benign tourist stop." Guilty. I guess it's not the "real" New York, whatever that is anymore. Where is that fabled place where an Anthony Bourdain could get fake punk cred because he did cocaine with one of the Ramones?

To put the knife in the belly of the once glorious whore and finish her off, along comes Kellogg's, who will open Pop-Tarts World today in Times Square. Granted, Pop-Tarts are cool, but I don't think this is the kind of cool old-school New Yorkers long for.

I know, they gave up on Times Square years ago. It is the very symbol of what they lament. Glitz, kitsch and schmaltz with a bunch of putzes wandering about, looking at the sky and getting in the way of people who know how to walk in the city. New Yorkers long ago ceded Times Square to the merchants of overwrought specialty stores and the idiots from other places. "Disneyfication," they call it.  (People around here lay claim to that term and they're no different from longing-for-the-old-days New Yorkers. If you can find a "native" of Central Florida, they'll tell you how great this place was "Before the Mouse." They'll go on about the lost citrus groves and the blue skies free of planeloads of Midwestern tourists being ferried to The Kingdom. But I suspect they wouldn't want to turn the clock back too far, to the time before AC, when living in Florida was a severe adventure for only the rugged and daring, an uncomfortable place except a few months in winter. They dream of that short, Mad Men-era window between 1960 and 1970, post-AC and pre-Disney.) 

But beyond all that - let's look at this move on the part of Kellogg's. A store devoted entirely to Pop-Tarts? That is crazy. Crazy smart. I don't care who you are or where you come from, there is likely a 95% chance that you have a favorite type of Pop-Tart. I'm partial to strawberry. And I even prefer the ones without frosting. Heated in the toaster. With a monster glass of milk. But I've been known on a late night sleepwalk to tear into even the weirder ones like chocolate chip cookie dough or s'mores, the pantry be damned for not locking itself.

Pop-Tarts are so universally loved that this isn't even a gamble on the part of Kellogg's; it's a shrine to an icon, and the people will make pilgrimage. I'd be willing to bet you'll even find a few old-school New Yorkers wandering in the place, nostalgic for their childhood pastry as much as they are for the city they remember.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


  • times square is not for new yorkers. its tentacles are spreading. union square is becoming the new times square. a two-story tgi friday's recently opened there. soho long ago morphed into a japanese shopping mall.

    By Anonymous Brian, at August 10, 2010 at 12:29 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home