Normally a great café must have a roof, but there are those rare ones that will indeed cause you to have to worry about rain and wind. If that’s the case, other things as well may jeopardize the place’s standing as great. No chairs, for example. No tables. No silverware.
There can still be reasons why the place is great, and in the case of the Sabrett hot dog stand on the southwest corner of 66th Street and Madison Avenue in New York City, the reasons are many.
It’s true there is no roof here, but at least there’s a large umbrella, handy especially during summer months when you might cadge from it a moment’s shade. If you’re looking for the kind of elegance that a truly great café like the Sabarsky at the Neue Gallery in New York can give you, you probably won’t care much for this place.
It is a great café nonetheless. For one, if you have a substantial budget and like wonderful shopping, this stand is perfectly placed. From here you can walk to Bergdorf Goodman, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Steuben Glass, Barney’s, Shanghai Tang, Gucci, Cartier and many others, to spend thousands of dollars in a very brief moment.
What I love about those kinds of stores is that there is nothing at all in any of them that is essential. They are filled with very beautiful and very expensive fluff. Sure, it’s clothing and shoes and handbags and so on, but really it’s just show-off imagery that accounts for nothing in terms of more weighty values like personal moral worth or intellectual depth. Up and down Madison Avenue, you can spend more money on these expensive, purposeless items than anywhere else in the world, although just now it may be possible to do so in a few other places like, well, all of western Europe, for example.
Once having visited the Sabrett stand, you can quickly get out of the cold — or heat — in your apartment at Trump Tower or in the soon-to-be-refurbished Plaza Hotel, places where they appreciate a good sandwich. The stand is also within walking distance of the New York Museum of Modern Art, which does a lot to re-energize your understanding of contemporary western culture.