Bohemia Blog by Agent Kathleen LaMagna
I’ve always been a big believer that moms make the best sandwiches.
When I was in college and home for a vacation, my mom would never let me leave for the airport without making me a sandwich for the plane. There I would sit at the airport terminal with tears in my eyes trying to savor the last little bit of home before I had to face the world by myself once again. While I fully admit my attachment to my mom’s sandwiches probably deserves some psychoanalysis, I can’t deny the fact that they always provided the comfort and extra boost of love I needed to get me on the plane.
One would assume I would eventually outgrow this unhealthy relationship with sandwiches, but thanks to Abdul, the manager of Broadway’s Finest Deli on 149th and Broadway, I will be going to therapy well into my 30s.
I will never forget the day we met. I had just moved into the neighborhood and got a coffee at The Chipped Cup. While I was in there, I struck up a conversation with the girl behind the counter. She was telling me about her favorite places in the neighborhood, one of which included Broadway’s Finest. I remember silently laughing off her suggestion. Clearly, she didn’t know the caliber of sandwich to which I was accustomed. Sure enough later that day, I was in a bind and needed something quick. “Hi, hon. What are you having today?” Abdul asked. “Turkey. Swiss. Lettuce. Tomato. Avocado,” I say. “Hot or cold?” he asked. “Hot,” I say. “Thanks.” I grabbed the sandwich, ran to my apartment, and took a quick bite. I was hooked.
Since that cold January day, Broadway’s Finest has become my main source of sustenance. I can’t count the number of times I’ve taken my friends there in lieu of having to cook for them (which would not be pretty or tasty). It brings me joy to watch their faces turn from reluctance to sheer happiness after their first bite or to receive a text message from them that says “just wanted to tell you I’m at your deli!” I’m not the only one in love with the place. Recently I learned that another customer is on speed dial whenever a certain shipment of sweet potato cookies come in. (They’re called “Soul Snacks” and they are INCREDIBLE). I’ve brought it so much business, I’ve even tried to negotiate my own frequent buyer card. Hopefully after this post, Abdul will reconsider and give me one. While I should be embarrassed by the number of times a day I’m in there, the fact that they know my name and my usual orders, I must admit that it provides a similar type of familiarity and comfort that my mom’s once did.
Recently, my roommates and I decided to move from Hamilton Heights to South Harlem. While it pains me that I will no longer be a regular, you better believe it will always be my first stop whenever I’m working in the neighborhood. To those of you that live in the neighborhood or are experiencing the magic for the first time: give my regards to Broadway’s Finest!