Restaurants and Shops
Natural History special issue
Part of City of Stars photo essay.
In this selection of establishments, we expose a heretofore undocumented phenomenon: the use of astronomical words and themes to name eateries. In the 1960s, the mere mention of space food evoked thoughts of freeze-dried ice cream and Tang. Do we now associate it with diner-style ice cream sodas, cheeseburgers, and fries?
I can only guess that the Buffalo-style chicken wings served at Atomic Wings are as hot as atomic fission. Eating chicken that hot would vaporize all organic material between your ears. The Cosmic Coffee Shop has an ordinary, unthemed menu, as do the Skylight and Moonstruck diners. But the food names at Mars 2112 make up for all boring menus in the city: How about Quasar Quesadilla or Cosmos Calamari or Supernova Spareribs or the Big Bang Banana Split? Mars 2112 also has a genuine-looking, comely alien stationed out front to greet you. Planet Sushi serves the expected: an array of raw fish and rice dishes. But the decor takes you back out into space. After walking under the rotating, ringed, beach-ball-sized, Peter Max-style Earth that hangs from the ceiling, you notice framed astronomical images on the walls as well as a full-size space suit suspended in a large display cabinet, with a model of the Space Shuttle to its left and Star Trek’s Enterprise to its right. I have yet to figure out what the cosmos has to do with raw fish, but Planet Sushi remains a popular spot.
After Planet Sushi, how could I resist Galaxy Tobacco, a lotto hangout just south of the Port Authority Bus Terminal?