by Jerry Guarino
Id like the
corned beef hash, please, said Tony.
What kind of toast? said the slightly
rotund waiter with the white apron.
Eggs, over easy?
Yes, thats fine.
What kind of juice?
Cranberry. No, make that orange.
I can bring you one of each. Coffee?
No, black tea with milk and sugar.
And for you, maam?
Just a bagel and cream cheese with coffee,
Very good, maam. The waiter
wrote down the order, nodded and slipped away.
Tony and Barbara were seated at a table in front
of the delicatessen. They had a great view of
Times Square, already bustling with people by 8am.
See that large glass booth over there,
Barbara. Thats where you get the discount
tickets for Broadway shows.
Oooh. There arent any people there
yet. When does it open?
Tony tapped on his phone for the answer. Eleven
oclock. After breakfast we can walk around
and look at the theaters to decide what we want
to see, then come back to get the tickets for a
matinee, or we can go to an 8pm show.
Or both said Barbara, smiling as she
squeezed Tonys hand. It was her first trip
to the city. Tony grew up here, so he was the
tour guide for this vacation.
Well, its a good thing these tickets
are discounted. Prices have really soared since I
Its been thirty years, dear. Thats
The waiter returned with Barbaras oversized
bagel and generous block of cream cheese and
placed two small plastic glasses of orange and
cranberry juice next to Tony, along with an extra
glass. In case you want to mix them,
said the waiter.
Thanks, he does that at home, said
Tony could already smell the corned beef, carried
by another waiter, prepping him for the taste to
He set down a huge plate of corned beef, hash
brown potatoes, three over easy eggs and two
slices of wheat toast in front of Tony. Now
thats what I call corned beef hash,
You better save me a bite, said
Theres plenty, you can have as much
as you like. Tony pushed aside some hash
browns to make room for ketchup.
When I saw that this was $19.95, I almost
didnt get it, but look how much food there
Look at the size of this bagel and theres
enough cream cheese here for a party.
I told you a New York delicatessen was the
place for breakfast. You couldnt ask for
Tony shared his corned beef with his wife and she
helped him finish the hash browns and one of the
The waiter waited the appropriate amount of time,
then returned to check in on the couple. How
Wonderful, said Tony. So much
to eat and cooked to perfection.
Im glad to hear it. Ill come
back in a while to take your picture if you like.
They really know how to treat tourists, dont
they dear? said Barbara.
I think they know how to get a good tip
Tony and Barbara ate leisurely, not rushed by a
crowd waiting for a table. Tony opened up his
iPad. They even have Wi-Fi! We can look up
the shows right here.
Are you ready for that picture? said
That would be lovely, thank you, said
Barbara. She handed the camera to him and leaned
toward Tony, smiling.
The waiter framed the couple in the viewfinder.
Say Big Apple. Click. Let me
take two, just to be sure.
Big Apple Tony and Barbara said in
Barbara wanted to see a musical, while Tony was
in the mood for a regular play. They decided to
each pick one as they had always done in their
marriage, not compromising, but caring for each
others needs. By the time they finished
eating, they were ready to buy tickets for a play
that afternoon and a musical that night.
Looks like we can have a nice dinner out,
with the money we saved on breakfast, said
The waiter brought over their bill. Thank
you so much for coming. Have a wonderful day in
Their perfect breakfast had come to an end.
Leave a good tip dear. Of
course, they treated us like family. And were
not even Jewish!
Then Tony saw the charges on the receipt. $19.95
for corned beef hash, $5.95 for the eggs, $3.95
for toast, $3.95 for the juice (twice!), $3.95
for the tea, $6.95 for the bagel and $3.95 for
Barbaras coffee. $62.57 with the tax!
Barbaras smile turned to a pout. Well,
almost perfect. Guess well be having pizza
Tony and Barbara paid the bill and left to look
at plays for the evening. They probably wouldnt
be able to afford a fancy dinner now, but looked
forward to seeing a Broadway show. As they walked
by the marquis, all lit up, even at early morning,
the Friday morning commuters were walking out of
Starbucks and off to work.
They walked across the street to look at the
prices for Wicked, the updated musical about The
Wizard of Oz. Orchestra tickets were $175
each and all the lower priced seats were sold out
for the next week, when they had to be back in
Maybe the TKTS booth will have them half
price? said Barbara. They walked over to
the booth where they could see the plays
providing discount tickets. At the bottom of the
board there was a notice. Due to popular
demand, the following plays are not discounted at
this time: Chicago, Death of a Salesman, Turn off
the Dark and Wicked. Barbara sighed, the
disappointment obvious on her face. Tony tried to
think of how to make it up to her. Maybe a visit
to the Empire State Building or a cruise around
the city in one of those boats.
Excuse me, said a man dressed in a
white shirt, black pants and jacket and a black
fedora. His hair flowed out of the sides of the
fedora, with curls on each side of his ears. He
had a scraggly beard and horn rimmed eyeglasses.
Barbara turned to him and smiled. Yes,
hello. Were you talking to us?
Forgive me for listening to you, but am I
correct that you wanted to find tickets for Wicked?
Because of the earlier incident at the
delicatessen, Tony was reluctant to bargain with
this man. Well, we had hoped to find
affordable tickets here or at TKTS, but it looks
like that isnt possible.
I have two good tickets. They are for
tonight at 8:00pm. Very good seats, third row
orchestra on the aisle.
Tony looked at Barbara and she replied. Im
afraid we couldnt afford those, but thank
you for offering.
The man looked disappointed as well. You
dont understand, these are for tonight,
after sunset. We are not allowed to attend shows
on the Sabbath. You can have the tickets, no cost.
Now Tony and Barbara felt embarrassed, thinking
this man was trying to extort them. Barbara gave
the man a hug and shed a small tear. Oh
thank you. This means a lot to us.
Simcha said the man, blessing the
couple. Then he walked away, nodding and reciting
Like family said Barbara.
Like family replied Tony.