May 2, 2011 4 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

L Train Dining

You may have seen this article in The New York Times, published May 3.

Photo by Yana Paskova for The New York Times

On the first of May we hosted a “luncheon” on the L line of the New York City subway. The subway is a familiar place, providing a necessary means of transportation for many New Yorkers. Its stairwells, turnstiles, platforms, trains and unpredictable elements are all-too-familiar to its dedicated patrons. One begins to know the exact time of travel from one destination to another. One begins to intuit the conditions of a ride, anticipating smooth stretches and knowing when to brace for a jarring turn. Through a series of familiar gestures, presented in commonplace locations in unfamiliar ways, we set out to challenge a habitual experience.

We are committed and determined to push ahead, boats against the currents, providing unique and unforgettable experiences… And so we leave you to ponder what might be next…

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The below was posted on May 2.

Yesterday (Sunday, May 1st) I had the privilege of “performing” on the L Train from 8th avenue to New Lott’s Avenue near the end of the line. In character as a front-of-house captain, self-appointed Master Sommelier and Supreme Badminton Champion, I poured water, served courses, offered cracked pepper and escorted walk-ins through the “dining room.” Let’s call it the true manifestation of a “pop-up dinner” since the blogs and papers have been bloggin’ and papering about pop-up dinners. Let’s call it art, for the sake of art. Or performance for the sake of performance. Or let’s say it was a modern-day attempt at  understanding Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” poem.

This past December (2010) I was in L.A. with Michael Cirino and Daniel Castano of A Razor, A Shiny Knife to host a dinner. After we successfully served a multi-course meal paired with moonshine-inspired cocktails, we took to our rental car to drive around Hollywood Hills and other various hills, getting lost amidst lavish mansions and tailgating the occasional celebrity tour bus.

The topic of discussion? What’s next? What do we do now? If memory serves me correctly, no one was driving, and as we were sight-seeing, the spark of a wild idea popped in my head: “We should host a dinner on the subway,” I said in time for one of us to take control of the car. “How did we all get in the backseat?” asked Castano. Whatever the answer to that question… I was reinvigorated to see such a renegade idea come to life and come off without a hitch (as in take a hike).

“Well done,” I say to A Razor, A Shiny Knife for executing yet another of my absurdo-spectacle concepts. Mr. Cirino is a logistical master and Mr. Castano’s expertise, food, inspiration and chef shoes were brilliantly integrated.

DISCLAIMER: Whether I can truly claim to have “been” on the subway and “partaken” in such a theatrical event, such a wild performance-art driven spectacle, or was instead in one of my pent-houses re-reading The Great Gatsby…imaging what it might have been like to do such a thing… is simply a subject for pure objection. Though I imagine time will tell.

4 comments

  1. Pingback: Supper Club Serves Six-Course Meal In 22 Minutes On Subway | The State of the Union

  2. Pingback: Supper Club Serves Six-Course Meal In 22 Minutes On Subway

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