I'm worried about my sanity. Walking to Grand Central on 43rd between 3rd Avenue and Lexington, next to the O.G. 99 cent slice joint, sat a darkened Subway, which for the past 8 months had a “for rent” sign in the window. Yet, the other night, as I headed to the Femi Kuti concert, there it was—lit up with workers and open for business—acting like it had been there forever.
Seeing the Subway corpse on my walk had long been a daily affirmation of New Yorkers’ “discerning” taste, but for a moment I doubted everything in the universe when the unmistakable odor of cheap cold cuts, processed cheese and oddly flavored bread filled my nostrils (all Subways smell exactly the same). I knew that my nightmare was real—crappy sandwich franchises cannot be killed.
How was this possible? I shit you not, this is the 5th Subway in the immediate area around my apartment. Do this many people really eat at Subway to necessitate one on every block like some insidious sandwich version of Starbucks? Apparently so, since they’re the fastest growing chain in the world, and for reasons unknown to me (or anyone), impossible to kill.
My only suggestion is to act like the Simpsons (and Paul Anka) when confronted by gigantic murderous corporate mascots: just don’t look (or eat there).
There are innumerable options for people wanting a so-called healthy sandwich beyond the crap served at Subway. For the same price of Subway, you can either go to a bodega for a better, fresher sandwich (most bodegas I go to get fresh bread, especially Kaiser rolls, every day). Hell, you can go to Murray’s Cheese in Manhattan, get a Tom Cat Bakery baguette for $2.00—the same price as a quarter pound of Mortadella from Murray’s Meats. Add some cheese and you’ve got a fresh, high quality sandwich for about six bucks. Pre-sliced cold cuts are for elementary school kids and prisoners (or placed in Lunchables). How hard is it to have meat sliced to order? It’s clearly quite easy, if every bodega on every corner of Manhattan is proof.
Or you could look at it as an (extremely) minor act of locavorism by supporting that Pakistani or Indian guy who works his ass off every day, rather than some faceless corporate chain that could give a fuck about you.
But people still eat at Subway, and Paul Anka’s sage advice is more of useless mantra than a real plan of attack.
(Slipping into Glen Beck voice)
I'm scared nation. How can Subways be put out of their misery when they can just rise again like nothing happened? It's not American, if something fails it should stay failed (except obviously Citibank, AIG, Chrysler, etc., etc. etc.). We need to take up arms against Subway (not literally of course, especially since fire is probably a more effective method than guns anyway).
Yet now that I think of it, fire might be an even worse idea, lest that horrible odor spread across the city. Instead, just try to convince your friends that nearly any sandwich in the city (or anywhere else) is far superior to Subway.