Saturday, September 28, 2013


Sandy's Internet Café (16th off Fifth) kept its name long after the computers disappeared, but who cared? What better than to stroll down Fifth, grab a tamale or two, or a coffee, or juice, and chat to Elia for a bit. Business seems to be on the quiet side, when really it deserves to be buzzing. You won't find a sweeter, friendlier woman around, the tamales (a handed-down recipe) are delicious, and I've never seen a single customer there lost in their phone or laptop world. No damned internet intruding at this internet café. A few weeks ago a new sign went up and it's now a straight Sandy's Café. It's as good as ever inside. I like the peaceful atmosphere, but I wish there were more customers enjoying it too. This is the kind of small family business that just about keeps me here, and I hate to see places like this driven farther south (or gone altogether) as development consumes the neighborhood, bit by bit. Sandy's is safe from landlord extortion or building sale (they own the place) but many other businesses are more vulnerable. The tailors, the beauty shops, the Mexican bakeries or grocery stores.  

And many of the newer eating places around here?  Harder on the wallet, one-note in clientele.  Give me a place affordable to all, give me a place where anyone who's lived around here a while could feel comfortable.  A place that reflects the things and people I love here . I'd rather eat pupusas than celebrity chef Asian fusion, pernil than of-the-moment barbecue, back of the store tacos at Guerrero's than raw-bar oyster platters.  I'd take a slice at Luigi's, with spaghetti-western or cop-show on the TV, over an artisanal plate on the new Gowanus Third.  Anytime.

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