Sunday Morning At The “Other” Tom’s

Image Source: Bridge and Tunnel Club

The first summer-feeling weekend of the year had arrived, and seemingly all of Brooklyn was out soaking it in. The lawns of Prospect Park were filled with picnickers, flying Frisbees and sun worshipers, and the paths of the Botanical Gardens were mobbed with promenaders spilling out to the farmers market on Grand Army Plaza. It was a glorious weekend to be alive in any corner of the borough.

On that Sunday, as always, the line outside Tom’s Restaurant snaked around the corner. The owner, as always, walked the line, handing out cookies and greeting his customers-to-be.

“My friends!” he said to Ray and Clem. “Thank you so much for coming on this beeuteeful day!” He handed them both cookies, clasped their hands and forearms and moved along the line. Ray gnawed off a cookie in one bite, adjusted his shades against the blinding sun and pointed up to the sign above the window.

“This isn’t it,” Ray said. “You know that, right?” He stood back a little, lit an American Spirit and waited for Clem to ask what he meant.

“What do you mean?” Clem asked.

“This isn’t the Tom’s Diner from the Suzanne Vega song,” Ray said. “Most people think it is, but nope. I know a guy knows someone that used to do publicity for her, and he got the real story. Her Tom’s Diner is the one on Broadway in Morningside Heights, by Columbia.”

Ray actually read that in an article somewhere, but close enough. Finally seated, he ordered a Chocolate Egg Cream and Clem ordered a Cherry Lime Rickey, both of which were the best in the world.

“Oh yeah, I know that one!” Clem said. “They used the exterior for the café on Seinfeld!

Ray was slightly taken aback at having his command of the conversation breached, but he handled it deftly by changing the subject.

“Oh, have you seen the ‘Hipster Trap’ poster?” he said. “It was on Laughing Squid, I think. Hilarious. It’s a bear trap, with a PBR, a pair of Ray-Bans and a pack of American Spirits. Friggin’ riot.”

“That’s a scream,” Clem said. “Tools of the trade for tools, right?”

“Damn straight,” Ray said. “Buncha wankers. ‘Oh, look at me! I’m ever so hip and ironic!’”

“’Yeah, look at my seventy-five-dollar Pabst tee!’” Clem said. “It looks original!”

“Damn, that reminds me: we’re out of beer!” Ray said. “Let’s pick up some Brooklyn. And some PBRs, in case we score!”

They sippedd their drinks, ordered BLTs, got beer and smokes at the bodega and headed back out into a beautiful Sunday.

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  1. You paint a nice picture here, I really feel my tummy rumbling for a BLT 🙂

    • It’s really a great place. Wish I were there now. LET’S GO!!!

  2. Shahidah said:

    I like this it makes me yearn for that first real spring day! I thought the timeline was earlier till I got to the Seinfeld line because it felt very nostalgic. I don’t know why but the word wanker cracks me up every time. My best bud lives in wales and it eases off his tongue like it is oil slicked

    • In Wales it would be Gobshitein’ Wankah, right?!? Yeah, I’m waiting for that first spring morning myself. I want green and blooming!

      And a BLT!

      • Shahidah said:

        Luckily he lives in wales but is originally from London. He’s tried that welsh speak with me before omg!!! I hate even trying to write his address, can I steal a vowel please!

      • BWAH!! Can I get a vowel and a witness? 😉

  3. Lisa said:

    Ugh. These are the types that annoy the hell out of me. Thanks for exposing them. I’d like to tap them on the shoulder while standing in line and say, “Maybe if you didn’t try so hard to be cool, you’d actually be cool?”

  4. I think I know these guys…. : )

    Damn Brian, you’re encouraging me to write fiction again….which I haven’t done in what feels like forever.

    Loved the story…and the entire concept of your blog.

    • holy…HOLY! That is so great to read, Alex, thank you so much! Go for it and throw it out there for us!

      • Thanks for the encouragement guys : )

  5. It was very nice today but I will say.. I am not trusting this weather AT ALL lol. I already have a slight cold so I will still bundle up until it’s officially spring or summer. Loves this wonderful photo

  6. We have actually ate at the one where they used the front for Seinfields. It was interesting…We had cereal. 😉

    • Niiiiice! I’m glad to say that Columbia owns that building, so that lessens the chances of the owners jacking the rents 10k a month, forcing out the affordable coffee shop for yet-another Starbucks or Duane Reade. Cereal for all!

  7. Perfect slice of the next season. Ruined by hipsters.
    And as soon as you mentioned Susanne Vega, I was waiting for someone to pour the milk.

    Another great piece, Brian.

    • I was going to have Ray say to the man behind the counter “You didn’t say ‘it is always nice to see you!'”

  8. I can imagine the scene clearly, as the pair stands out in the sunshine in the line. I saw the cafe they were talking about that was used for the show Seinfeld when I was in New York city. Yes I drop names too hehe

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