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

L-Train Luncheon (May 2011)

You may have seen this article in The New York Times, published May 3, 2011.

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…


Follow up thoughts: May 2, 2011:

On Sunday, the first of May, 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 haute cuisine, 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.”

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. However it happened, this past Sunday saw such a renegade idea come to life and unravel without a hitch.

I’m thankful to A Razor, A Shiny Knife for helping to execute the concept — and to all involved in the affair.


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

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