Sunday, March 03, 2013

All Roads Lead to Cherry Valley

Living in New York means you live near something interesting, even if you don’t think you do. For two years I lived on 101st Avenue in Ozone Park, Queens and I thought the most interesting thing about it was that John Gotti’s old headquarters was just a few streets away. Really, the site of a former public library where Jack Kerouac planned his journeys that became the inspiration for On the Road was just a few doors away, and the apartment where he wrote his first novel was a half mile down the street just past where Woodhaven Boulevard becomes Cross  Bay Boulevard.

            Back in Queens after living in Inwood (upstate Manhattan—and I really do miss that neighborhood dearly), I am now in North Queens in the neighborhood of Flushing. Only a half a mile away in Whitestone, there was a killer punk rock show last night and I could walk there.

            The wife and I set out only a few minutes before show time and got there with time to spare. The first band, Weird and Pissed Off, takes its name from the classic film John Carpenter’s The Thing, and sounded excellent, even though their singer had been with the band less than a week. Seizure Crypt brought their brand of dual-vocal insanity to a boil, with one of their singers remaining in a wrestling mask for their whole performance and playing guitar. The Blame is one of the tightest punk bands ever and rocks excellently, and managed to pull off Dead Kennedys and Men Without Hats covers without losing their punk edge.

            The last band of the night was Endangered Feces. I am happy to report that I will be taking over bass duties for Endangered Feces in a few months’ time. Since starting my own band, Blackout Shoppers, a few years ago, I have had the honor of playing on the same bill as the Queens-based punk band that likes to play songs about going to the bathroom. I have also been given the honor of serving as the band’s “interior defecator,” and throwing toilet paper at the audience while the band plays. I did my duty with the help of some fellow fans and the band ripped through their fast set.

            Once the show was over, the wife and I had not eaten for a while, so we said our goodbyes and walked home. We jumped in the truck and headed to Taco Bell. Taco Bell was the compromise location since I normally want to go to White Castle, but the wife doesn’t like the Castle (yet) and I’m fine with Taco Bell. However, we ran into problems as we made a run for the border. The dining room was closed and our full-sized pickup truck, Big Bertha, was too large to get through the drive-through lane, which makes an awkward turn.

            So we headed to Whitestone’s Cherry Valley Deli & Grill. The Cherry Valley Deli is a 24-hour deli that makes some of the most delicious sandwiches imaginable. For years I had heard about this deli from the members of Endangered Feces and the good people of the band D.U.I. later brought me a TCS (The Chicken Sandwich: chicken cutlet with brown gravy and American cheese on a toasted roll) so I could sample some of this deli’s goodness for myself. I was an instant covert and I have made several pilgrimages to this excellent place since moving back to Queens.

            Cherry Valley Deli’s sandwiches are a staple for the residents of Northern Queens. A trip there at 4 a.m. on a Saturday or Sunday morning will find a small crowd of recovering drinkers or late night workers waiting for their delicious sandwiches that will come wrapped in aluminum foil like flavored torpedoes.

            Their sandwiches have interesting names. For example, their Macho Man features grilled roast beef with fried onions, Mozzarella cheese and brown gravy on a toasted garlic hero or roll. The Bomb is grilled steak with bacon, cheddar cheese, onion rings and brown gravy on a toasted garlic hero. The Beast is chicken cutlet with bacon, Swiss cheese, onion rings and brown gravy on a toasted garlic hero.

            There was no debate or discussion, both my wife Emily and I know that Cherry Valley is delicious and we’ve enjoyed a number of trips there as a married couple. We drove through the dark and silent streets of Queens and got to Whitestone quickly.

            As we thought, the area around the Cherry Valley Deli was filled with cars parked on the street and there was a small crowd inside. Among the crowd when we arrived were the members of Endangered Feces. They had not mentioned to me that they were going there, we did not plan to meet, but it was a good omen that we ran into them there.

            While many people eat their sandwiches in their cars, I had done a shitty parking job with the big truck so we brought it home and ate our sandwiches while watching another Law & Order marathon on TV. Life is good with Cherry Valley in your belly. 


Jeff Sheahan said...

I think you should've wrote "bass doodies"

Jeff Sheahan said...

We should hit this joint next time I'm in NYC.