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Alan Wolfson's "Katz's Deli"
September 26, 2012 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Urban miniaturist Alan Wolfson (previously) unveils his latest masterpiece: Katz's Delicatessen (related)

The oldest delicatessen in New York City (established 1888), Katz's is also the only place in town that still carves all its pastrami and corned beef by hand—and it makes a huge difference. ... One table in the middle of the dining room bears an inconspicuous paper sign taped to its surface: "You are sitting at the table where Harry met Sally." - Steven A. Shaw
posted by Egg Shen (27 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
As someone who lives in Los Angeles, let me just say that I wish I'd never been to Katz's. It haunts my dreams, and I cannot possibly afford to fly across the country every time a craving hit me (which is often).

I will be visiting New York in two weeks, though, so NYC had better be ready for this guy to eat all the pastrami).
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:13 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


How did he do the neon signs in the windows? Those are amazing looking!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:17 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Parasite Unseen, have you been to Langers?
posted by roger ackroyd at 3:18 PM on September 26, 2012


We should make tiny versions of ourselves and have a meetup there. I can practically smell the pastrami!
posted by mochapickle at 3:27 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow, the entryway is especially impressive. There's no easy way to tell, just looking, whether the scene is small, or if the quarter is the size of a sewer manhole cover.
posted by Malor at 3:27 PM on September 26, 2012


That neon is cool.

I want pickles and a brisket sandwich now. I'm not going to katz's so I am free to have mine on a hero with brown gravy and provolone. I myself am a bit of a stickler for correctness when it comes to pizza and hotdogs, but Katz's, damn you guys should relax , you are going to give yourself a heart attack.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:30 PM on September 26, 2012


fuck yes meetup at Katz's let's do this people
posted by griphus at 3:40 PM on September 26, 2012


Parasite Unseen, have you been to Langers?

I have, and nothing against Langers at all, but it's just not quite as good as Katz's. I'm a pretty solid Los Angeles sandwich partisan (Phillipe the Original, Cole's, Bay Cities, etc.), but for pastrami we just can't touch Katz's.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:09 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh my, that's good. I hope he does a Horn & Hardart Automat some day - he's just the artist to handle the gleaming chrome of a zillion tiny windows.
posted by Quietgal at 4:11 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The rest of this guy's work is incredible, the ads and graffiti in the subway scenes are like a time machine transporting you back to early 1980s New York. Back in the good old days when it was still a fallen city, with a sordid Times square and when Brooklyn was still an affordable place to buy a brownstone.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:14 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I looked very closely, but could not see a tiny Al Coholic here.
posted by davebush at 4:30 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm amazed by the craft of the miniature, but also by the clarity of the photography. As a sometime miniature maker myself, I know that proper focus makes all the difference in how big or small something looks. I've tried to research how to photograph miniatures so everything is in proper focus so it looks full-sized, but every time I do a Google search I find a million hits for people trying to do that stupid tilt-shift crap. (Believe me, you'd be hostile toward tilt-shift too, if you'd wasted hours of your life searching for how to photograph miniatures so they look big, and all you ever got was a bunch of dopes talking about how to make full-size stuff look small.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:58 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


(Of course, it's possible he just sneaked into Katz's after closing time with a really big quarter.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:01 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


fuck yes meetup at Katz's let's do this people

I'm just going to go on the record as saying I'd travel to New York to gorge on pastrami with the MeFites.

Also, the backlighting on the grilled-over windows above the door? Spot on and amazing.
posted by ryanshepard at 5:06 PM on September 26, 2012


Do Russ and Daughters!
posted by Beardman at 5:36 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm a pretty solid Los Angeles sandwich partisan (Phillipe the Original, Cole's, Bay Cities, etc.), but for pastrami we just can't touch Katz's.

It's probably still no substitute for Katz's, but there is a notable lack of The Hat in your list.
posted by LionIndex at 5:58 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perfectly captures a place where "salami" rhymes very naturally with "army".
posted by Spatch at 7:35 PM on September 26, 2012


A pound of meat on a sandwich? America, this is why the world hates you. Sandwich fillings should complement the bread, not reduce it to a a pair of wheaten tongs for manipulating half a side of burnt cow.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:09 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are no Jewish Delis anywhere else in the world? I'm seriously asking because that is either a good argument for staying in the US, or opening a Deli someplace in Europe.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:31 PM on September 26, 2012


Oh wow Jewish Delis are quintessentially American . In America they functioned as the Jewish equivelent of the Irish pub. In the 1930s there were 1500 Delis in New York. Giant sandwiches represent no less than the fruition of the American dream itself.

Please keep in mind there are only a handful of places that still serve these sandwiches. I guess there are worse things to be hated for than our amazing sandwiches.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:40 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously, how did he do that neon?
posted by basicchannel at 9:11 PM on September 26, 2012


I've been poring over these all day. SO AWESOME. They make me want to go to the dollhouse store. Amazing to see the difference between the new stuff and his older work. Also, I love how it's all so grungy, representative of a bygone era of coke and strippers and yet strangely nostalgic.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:46 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem, when I was in Montréal, everyone insisted I go to Schwartz's for their sandwiches. I have never been to Katz's, so I didn't have that to compare it to. In fact, my only real basis of comparison was Zingerman's in Ann Arbor and Katzinger's in Columbus... I'm sure New Yorkers would find those but pale imitations...
posted by Slothrop at 5:17 AM on September 28, 2012


Whatever. I'm working on a Sun-sized replica of the entire Earth.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:53 AM on September 28, 2012


I have a plan: Make a manhole-sized quarter and use it to convince everybody that I've made very detailed miniatures.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 9:33 AM on September 28, 2012


Katz's kidnapped me one time.

I was walking around with friend in NY. We went in to Katz's. The dude at the door handed me a ticket and said some things, but I was overwhelmed from walking around NY, so I didn't understand what he said. I just took the ticket because he was handing it to me. But the place gave me the distinct impression of eating in a crowded airport hangar, and also I'm vegetarian, so we decided not to eat there. I tossed my ticket in a nearby trash can and we left.

Apparently, you need to have the ticket to leave? They want to write down what you've eaten, and then you pay on the way out or something? I told them I didn't have my ticket anymore and they wouldn't let me leave. I informed them that what they were doing was kidnapping and that I was going to call the police. They said go right ahead. I got discouraged by the police's voice mail, so I tried to run out the emergency exit. The bouncers caught me and returned me to the store.

Finally, they came up with a solution: They would have their guys root through the trash can until they found the blank ticket I'd thrown away. They found it and then they let me leave.

But seriously, WTF -- a business model based on kidnapping? I gave no verbal or written agreement to their contract. What if, instead of just being out of it, I didn't speak English, or I didn't have the mental capacity to enter contracts?
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 9:40 AM on September 28, 2012


There are no Jewish Delis anywhere else in the world?

Schwartz’s...
posted by zadcat at 10:14 PM on September 29, 2012


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