The Red Book- How To Play In New York City

Chapter 9 Eating- Pizza and the dirty water dog. 

New York City! The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps, the melting pot- where dreams are made and diets are broken. As a connoisseur of all things edible and a self-proclaimed food cart aficionado, I am here to guide you through the concrete jungle’s safari of street cuisine. But beware, dear tourist, for this is no ordinary feast; this is the ultimate test of your intestinal fortitude.

Let us pay homage to the renowned hot dog– the frankfurter, the wiener, the humble yet mighty dirty water dog. Here in the city's pulsating heart, vendors peddle these culinary hand grenades with a gusto matched only by the Broadway performers. Mustard, not ketchup, is the traditional anointment for this local delicacy- and onions, they are the optional garnish that elevates the ordinary to the sublime. However, should you inquire about the presence of onions, you'll be met with a look that suggests you've just asked for a side of caviar.

Our food carts are as ubiquitous as yellow cabs and just as unpredictable. Should you encounter the glistening salted pretzel or the seasonal chestnuts and roasted peanuts, know that these are more than snacks; they are the very essence of New York. But caution! The prices of these street-side morsels fluctuate with the whims of the vendor, unconstrained by the iron fist of the city's health department. As you bite into that pretzel, remember, each chew is a dice roll in the craps game of gastrointestinal roulette.

Now, crazed foodie explorer, if curiosity grips you and you ponder upon the hygiene of these culinary crusaders, tarry not on thoughts of where the man with the metallic tongs washes his hands. Some mysteries are best left unsolved, for the streets of New York keep their secrets well.

As for the revered slice of pizza! New York's saucy crown jewel. You haven't truly visited until you've devoured a slice from an authentic pizzeria. But be warned, the ordering ritual is as sacred as the recipe. There is no queue, no polite hostess here, Instead, your signal to engage is the subtle dance of eye contact. Catch the gaze of the pizza maestro, and you shall be bestowed with the silent nod, the universal New York invitation to bellow your desires into the ether. "Let me get a slice”, you'll proclaim, and like magic, your wish is their command.

But what of the flavors, you ask? Fear not, for in New York, choice is an illusion. There are variations, yes, but the truth is, every slice is the essential slice. The city has refined its pizza to such a degree that to choose is merely to participate in a ritual, an act of communion with the city itself.

And so, esteemed visitor, arm yourself with a sense of adventure and a pocketful of antacids as you embark upon this gastronomic odyssey. May your stomach be strong, your taste buds forgiving, and your memories of New York's street food scene as enduring as the city's skyline. Bon appétit, or as we say in New York, "Enjoy, I guess."