On my first ever visit to New York in 2012 (a lifelong dream), this awestruck tourist was taken to Tom’s famous restaurant. Naturally it had rightfully made it onto the list of must-see cultural landmarks of the city (and no, I did not do the Carrie/ Sex and the City tour.)
Tom’s is widely known as the inspiration (and location visual) for Monk’s Cafe, the regular meeting place in Seinfeld where Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer would get together to talk about nothing (and grumble about the staff and their orders).
How funny it was then, that I should be the one girl sitting in the Diner booth with three guys? (Some of whom kvetching about their orders… perfection.) One of life’s delicious little art-imitating moments. In New York, where dreams come true.
As we sat, Jean (the only native New Yorker among us) mentioned that Tom’s Restaurant was the “Tom’s Diner” of the Suzanne Vega tune. I couldn’t believe it- how dumb was I to have missed that particular connection?!
Suzanne is one of my all-time music/writing heroes, a true poet, an evergreen. I caught her recent Melbourne performance and while there, collected her latest CD Tales from the Realm of The Queen of Pentacles. Two weeks ago on a Twitter surf I saw Suzanne (@suzyv) reply to a lyric query by a young follower. He’d asked what “the funnies” meant; she’d taken the time to kindly explain.
I responded to that tweet and to my delight, it was favourited by Ms Vega herself. Twitter can really bring the simple joy sometimes.
Two versions of Tom’s Diner were released on the album Solitude Standing (1987) but the one I consider the original is the iconic a cappella track. Remixed with a beat in 1990 by DNA, it became something else altogether fab- one of my all-time favourites. (Oh check out this so-typical early 90’s video: Black and White, yo. Flashing coloured lights, Bondesque, dancing female silhouettes two dudes bounce-dancing and coffee machines as instruments.)
So with that recent addition, there you have my Tom’s Diner story. The place where Seinfeld, Suzanne Vega, Twitter and my American friends and I, all meet.
Have you ever visited a place from a book or movie or show? Was it what you expected?