After surviving 80 years that included economic depression, world war and overeating tourists, the famed eatery across the street from Carnegie Hall is no more. Just hours before the new year began, after nostalgic customers swarmed in for one last enormous pastrami on rye, the deli’s doors on Manhattan’s Madison Avenue closed forever.
Of course, anyone who experienced the Carnegie Deli has fond memories. Mine are still bright. During WW2, this lonely teenage sailor munched a corned beef sandwich while at a nearby table Ethel Merman, Mary Martin and their friends dined.
Again, recalled for active duty in the Korean War and assigned to a training program at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, any trip into Manhattan included at least one meal at the Carnegie Deli. And in all the years since, with family and friends in the city, we made the famed eatery one of our destinations.
A bright note is that several Carnegie Deli branches will stay open. They include at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Bethlehem, Pa., Madison Square Garden and the annual U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens.