The 2016 Tony Award winner for best play is set on Grand St. near Eldridge, if I heard the dialogue correctly, but the artwork outside the Helen Hayes wanders farther afield through Manhattan's Chinatown, along East Broadway especially. This photo montage is more fanciful than literal, not only for its juxtapositions but also for its hint of harmony. Onstage, during a holiday meal in a small city apartment, the fabric of a "happy family" wears thin all too quickly.
From across the way, this sign is totally hidden by the awning of Hello Deli; it's visible only from up close. Perhaps this older showbiz-themed business premiered sometime in the 1960s. Exactly when, and just how long a run it had before the lights went dark, is unclear.
Special: a Cuban sandwich with German ham and Swiss cheese on Italian bread, accompanied by French fries, promoted on a Dutch-branded menu board, served at an Irish bar that proudly flies Old Glory. Didn't try it — I was on my way to meet some friends for Japanese.
McHale's Bar & Grill 251 West 51st St. (Seventh-Eighth Aves.), Manhattan 212-957-5138 www.McHalesPub.com
Offered here in a double dose, syrup of figs is the generic name for a type of laxative; the brand name itself is illegible. Previously, elsewhere, an ad for what seemed to be a different brand was accompanied by an inadvertent and very apt visual aid.
Syrup of Figs Surviving signage, West 56th St. near the southeast corner of Eighth Ave., Manhattan
In Turkey, the classic simit resembles a heavily encrusted sesame bagel, with proportions that suggest a game of ring toss. Though a simit loaf loses traditional appeal, it gains in versatility: It more easily accepts fillings like olive ($4.25), and, when need be, more securely holds a sandwich.
Simit Sarayi 435 Fifth Ave. (38th-39th Sts.), Manhattan 646-922-7876 (First U.S. location of this Turkey-based worldwide chain) www.SimitSarayi.com/en_US
(This venue is closed.) Last meal at the "Polish Tea Room.": a roast beef and chopped liver club sandwich (above and first photo below, $11.25). Previously, from several of numerous visits: matzo brie (rhymes with "Midwood High," and more often spelled matzoh brei), bland despite lots of salt and pepper; a pastrami sandwich; cheese blintzes. It's the trio of blintzes, also filled with cherry or blueberry, that many folks say they'll miss most.
Who got the club breakfast — only guests in the fancier $1.50 rooms with bath? Even if guests in the basic $1 rooms missed out on a meal, they could have made up for lost calories over a 40 cent lunch and a 65 cent dinner.
Hotel Longacre Surviving signage at 165 West 47th St. (Sixth-Seventh Aves.), Manhattan
New York must be one of the few cities where Mexican food is invoked to explain Turkish. Several years ago, in a made-over Sunset Park coffee shop, the menu description for gözleme encapsulated the filled flatbread as a "quesadilla." Though less explicit, "sucuk quesidilla," in the window of a Sheepshead Bay gyro joint, probably identified a similar item.
There's little need for south-of-the-border shorthand, however, at this small take-out pastry shop; it's easier to ask for "one like that" in the hands of a fellow customer. Mind you, my well-stuffed potato gözleme ($7) was very hot when served; you might want to carry it for a few minutes as an ad hoc hand warmer before you dare to take a bite. The density of the hand-rolled, butter-brushed filo dough ensures that your gözleme won't cool off too precipitously; in that same wise, it's quite filling, too.
A parting curiosity: Tabasco is the default hot sauce at Mmm...Enfes. According to the proprietress, it's very similar to the traditional condiment, which is difficult to source in New York, except that the Turkish version is actually a little hotter.