Friday, October 16, 2009

(Excerpt from Dino's new book about the restaurant biz)
As the years pile on, most of us relish the opportunity to re-nourish our saggy spirit with the pleasant smells, sounds and sights that peanut butter to the top of your brain.
First taste of lipstick, cotton candy, smell of electric bumper cars, salt spray, clean clothes, cedar-lined closets, puppy breath, bacon fryin, new Buster Browns.
And trains. The muscular smell of metal and diesel.

Train stations were a big deal to a wide-eyed kid luggin his fabric suitcase to Visit aunt Sandra or Yia Yia. My first depot destination was Grand Central. That huge suck-your-breath-away soaring space. Maybe yours was Penn or Union Station.
These cavernous spaces were the original malls. Soaring skylit barrel-vaulted ceilings, massive marble columns, pulse-punpin examples of Greek and Roman architecture, pocked with beaucoup tobacco shops, haberdashers, bowling alleys, souvenir kiosks, stand-up greasy spoons, upscale cafes, newstands, and smoke-filled lounges with bow-tied barkeeps pourin from big forbidden bottles. They even had their own police station. Taj Mahal had nothin on these cathedrals of commerce.
Remember the call. "All aboard for the Stream-liner...all-a-board!"

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