Loving New York and Eating Sausage: Lunch at Mandler’s

People are asking me how I like New York so far. The answer is easy: I love it. I’m still giddy every morning when I wake up and peer out the window and feel the world of possibility before me. People tell me this will fade. But I think the likelihood of that happening has nothing to do with New York and everything to do with growing older, jaded, and world-weary. That’s what’s wonderful about New York: it’s like a giant mirror. It reflects back on to you whatever it is your soul projects. That’s why so many artists capture New York in so many different ways. Woody Allen. Martin Scorsese. The Olsen Twins.

However, another New York theory may be available. It focuses on the “New” and not the “York.” It is the “new” that makes this city so vibrant, that causes so many to flock here. Cultivating newness is difficult as a matter of practice. Failure to do so can spoil relationships, diets, vacations, magazine sales, hair styles, and so many other venerable institutions. Which is why newness is such a rare commodity.

New York has newness in spades. Newness in the sense that New York is always at the forefront of trends and fashions but also in the sense that New York is like a present in a package in a box in a bedroom in a mansion in a valley in a spaceship near a Denny’s. Let me start again.

I love New York because every day I discover something new; I could walk forever and still find mystery and magic in the city streets. In New York, newness flourishes because New York is a newness machine. Its settings, its characters, its climates, its smells, its sounds and its colors are always constantly changing. Today alone I saw puppies in a shop window, a strange church near Greenwich village, a lamp shop with lamps made from dental equipment, an old couple jaywalking and Jai Rodriguez. And that’s only a five-hour window.

Anyway (boy, I’m long-winded tonight), of course this newness applies to food. I love leaving my apartment hungry, not knowing where I’ll end up eating. Today I ended up at a place called Mandler’s, near Union Square.


Mandler’s is a sausage place and I’m not much of a sausage eater, but I was feeling adventurous—so in I went. I’m glad I did!

The system works like this. You choose your type of sausage. I chose the most basic: bratwurst. Then you choose your topping: grilled onions and mushrooms or sauerkraut. I chose the former. Finally, you choose your bun: white, whole wheat, onion… I chose white. I’m pretty fly, for a white guy.

Here’s what came out:


Tasty, not too pricey and filling. If you’d have told me when I’d woken up that I’d be eating sausage for lunch I’d say: “Girlfren, you crazy!” But that’s New York for you. I love it.

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