Monday, March 08, 2010

673 Rollie's On the Boulevard

673 Rollie's On the Boulevard

If Rollie's still among us he must be something like 110 years old, so probably he's gone, but last time we talked, maybe 25, 30 years ago he was still fuming.

Rollie had the best burger joint on Queens Boulevard and he had an agreement with the guys at White Castle, up a few blocks and on the other side of the street. Rollie wouldn't try to undercut them. They wouldn't try to steal his upscale customers with real cheapies.

You have to remember that in Rollie's day, an upscale customer was a kid who could spend a quarter on a burger or half a buck on a roast beef sandwich ("broiled fresh daily!") or a dime for a decent size bag of fries. This was around the time White Castle upped the price of its burger from a nickel to seven cents.

Rollie liked to say he built the place "into something." But ultimately, time, some mystery men and modernity caught up with him and un-built the place into nothing. He didn't mind the health inspectors. It was a pretty clean place, made cleaner when he took all three tables out and put them into the trash. "No sitting customers, no mess. From now on, take away only." That was fine. People ate walking a lot in that day. And the subway was in the center divide so most of the rest finished their food waiting on the elevated platform for the IRT #7. Of course, half the diners threw their wrappers back down to Queens Boulevard. But that wasn't Rollie's problem.

What WAS his problem was Burger King, which moved in around the corner. "Flame broiled,' my foot," says Rollie of the Whopper. They use gas, same as I do. And you ever try their coffee? Pure poison."

One day, some distinguished gentlemen in suits and ties came in and suggested that they become Rollie's partners. You know, make a little investment to spruce the place up (just because it was clean didn't mean it was pretty.) They suggested they might be better able to handle the new competition.

Rollie said no. A week later, there was a mysterious fire. NYFD said it was the gas, purely an accident. Burger King is still there.


Shrapnel:

--The weather around here has been awful for most of the winter -- here and many other places, but that hasn't stopped the day trips. Now, on the warmest and most beautiful Saturday in ages, what do we do? Stay inside and re-organize the files.

--Shameless promotion dept: This link will send you to a blog called "To Hell With Conservatism," which is written by the ever clever and perceptive John W. Gibson of State College, PA. It's all the ammo you need to counter think and counteract the right wing takeover of the United States Government. A permanent link also has been installed on the right side of this page.

--Have you noticed that the coffee you make always tastes better on Sunday mornings? It's not that you prepare it any differently. It's the pace of the day.


I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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