One of the first restaurants I frequented when I moved to New York [mumble-mumble] years ago was a place called Acme on Great Jones Street in the East Village. It served southern/New Orleans favorites. Catfish po’ boys. Fried chicken. Collard greens. Red beans and rice. It had a nice selection of brews. The food was comforting and the price was conducive to my new-to-New York broke ass. Downstairs was a performance space called Under Acme where I spent many, many nights watching my musician friends perform in their bands. Unlike most New York restaurants, Acme lasted for years.
A few months ago it was closed and gutted. The new owners just reopened it under the same name. Jay Cheshes, the restaurant reviewer for TimeOut New York, called the new owners “cool-kids” and gave it four out of five stars. It now serves “cutting-edge New Nordic cuisine” (whatever the hell that is) and has a “hot crowd” and is a “chic downtown bistro.”
They ruined it. The average main course is now $25 and the menu includes items like bison tartare. That sounds appetizing, doesn’t it? For desert, you can order a Danish doughnut for $10.
In the review my old, fond, warm memories were disparaged as being from a place that was “once-grungy,” “…a former Cajun dive…” and “…a downtown dump.” I fucking hate New York snobs and New York food snobs are the worst of the worst. They’re worse than New York fashion snobs, and that’s saying plenty. Scratch the surface of any foodie and underneath you’ll find a pretentious bore who couldn’t tell the difference between expensive wine and ripple in a blind taste test.
I was walking up Sixth Avenue yesterday afternoon and saw who was the current tenant at Radio City Music Hall:
Rush! A blast from my teenage past! I began listening to Rush as an act of rebellion. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, hated them. The media hated them. Radio ignored them. Everyone in school hated them. My brother hated them. Their cool-quotient was sub-zero. They got no respect. So I decided to be “different” and follow the band. But I soon discovered that they were masters of their instruments and never wrote songs about obsessing over a broken heart, which I found refreshing. I started enjoying their work for more legitimate reasons. Their music was smart and complicated.
I haven’t seen them for many, many years and I thought it might make for an enjoyable stroll down memory lane to see them perform in one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in all of Manhattan.
Then I turned the corner.
D’oh! Not these guys: