There's a time to do battle (figuratively, for most of us), a time to make music, and between these two mosaics all you'll need to make dinner, provided your appetite is whetted for subcontinental cuisine. Can you name this market? (Please post your answer in the comments.)
A foursome of "classic beef" meatballs ($7) easily muscled aside a lonely stick of focaccia. But when it's hero time, will they be ballsy, er, beefy enough to pull their weight? That spicy meat sauce, soaking into a baguette, may be the decider; a return visit will tell.
This gilded French farmer-figure is sowing a polychrome field, but her seeds are allegorical rather than literal. In fact, they're fleurs-de-lis (click for a larger view). Since they're stylized lilies rather than actual flowers, they won't find their way into the kitchen, but on the plus side, the planting season lasts all year.
"Seeds of Good Citizenship" Lee Lawrie, 1937 La Maison Francaise, Rockefeller Center (near Fifth Ave. and 49th St.)
Sarmale, they're called, which is simply this Romanian-owned grocer's name for stuffed cabbage. These ($1.50 for two) were filled with a high ratio of meat to rice; topside, that tangle of sauerkraut included a little carrot and some chunks of fatty pork.
It's edgy, in an 1888 way. In the same year that Henry Schumacher's inn was renamed Niederstein's, August Bauer developed his renowned mustard recipes. This one (8 oz.; $1.99) gets its sharp flavor from the addition of horseradish.
This boulder, reads the inscription, "supported Henry Schumacher's inn built here in 1854. Renamed Niederstein's in 1888 it served as a rest stop for travelers and horses between Jamaica and Williamsburg." (Suddenly that subway ride doesn't seem like such a haul.) The restaurant served its last sauerbraten in 2005 and was demolished later that year. Today all that remains is a rock to mark where German pilgrims landed, then tarried awhile, before moving on.
Niederstein's Marker at 69-16 Metropolitan Ave. (69th-70th Sts.), Middle Village, Queens (now also the site of an Arby's and a Radio Shack)
The retail business at this location was felled by changing demographics several years ago, but it still stands tall as a production facility for a namesake outlet in the 'burbs. Can you name this market? (Please post your answer in the comments.)
(This venue is closed.) When transfer lettering begins to peel, it produces strange effects; here it appears that the "hot coffee" is half empty. In many cases the shriveling letters lose their trim lines and, I've often imagined, take on the look of Chinese brushstrokes — or at least the American conception of same.
Neil's Luncheonette Driggs Ave. at North 7th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
This is one of several mosaics at the Sheepshead Bay station that illustrate the community's maritime heritage. The hat and suspenders evoke the Great Depression; perhaps this fellow was fishing for his supper. Contemporary anglers still patronize the bait-and-tackle shop farther along the waterfront, but nowadays many do their fishing from charter boats rather than terra firma.
"Postcards from Sheepshead Bay" DeBorah Goletz, 2007 Sheepshead Bay station, Brooklyn www.NYCSubway.org