Redefining Street Food

02 Aug 2020 | 06:12

Mixed-up messaging - Kind of weird to see that Whole Foods’s rotisserie chicken comes wrapped in packaging that promotes the fact that their chickens are fed a vegan diet. And what’s a vegan to do with that info? They sure aren’t buying. And if it’s so good to go vegan, why would you buy a chicken? No use to ask Jeff Bezos, he’s got to answer to Congress.

Speaking of Bezos - Amazon Go has come to the corner of 42nd and Lex in the retail space of the landmark Chrysler Building. Seeing theCome In sign at the Lexington Ave. entrance, I tried to enter. Door locked. Nobody there. Location hasn’t yet opened for business. At first I thought it was an Amazon book store but there were no books. Looking at the wall space from the street, it seemed like a grab and go convenience store. Some may call it a grocery store. Not sure Catsimatidis or Morton Williams would see it that way. When I asked the security guard at the 42nd St entrance when the store would be opening, he grunted, “Wait.” Asking him “until when” seemed futile, so I did a look see. Info on the glass walls said that breakfast and lunch were available. I didn’t observe any seating or counter space for standing. Seems that it will be paperless - no physical menus - only graphically scripted menu items lavished the wall space. The print is large and readable.

From some checking - not with the security guard - I learned that the stores are partially automated and rely on smartphones and the Amazon Go app for iOS and Android links to the customer’s Amazon account and that’s the primary manner of paying for purchases. However, because of the discriminatory implications of not accepting cash, the Amazon Go in the Chrysler Building may accept cash. You’ll have to show up and see what happens. Just bypass the guard.

New dining venues - Every restaurant’s an outdoor cafe. At least until Oct 31. Add to the mix the bodegas where you could brown bag a meal and take it with you, and the buffet mecca where you could assemble a meal and have a seat at a table. Now they, too, have outdoor seating. Without having to worry about liquor consumption. The big corner store on 41st and Lex has set up tables and seating in the street under a canopy. The Third Ave. Garden on the UES has done the same on the sidewalk right outside the store alongside the flowers they sell. With restaurants, groceries and vendors all occupying outdoor space, we may have to redefine “street food.”