Ciao, Manganaro Foods

Another New York staple closes. It opened in 1893.

In 1949, E.B. White wrote “No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” But now anyone who comes to New York can be lucky. There is no challenge to it because the city caters to being easy, to being effortless, to being the same as every other place, to catering to every whim, serving every caprice, and in so doing, abandons its own sense of self. Only if you know where to look now, does New York peek its head from around a remodeled building and bashfully approach to say hello, extending a warm hand, a weary smile, frightened to get too close in case it gets slapped again. But too soon it’s drowned out again, sent back into its shadows and side streets by the fury of the construction of another shiny new structure and the lines of cleverly dressed patrons waiting to get into the next place that is here today and irrelevant next month.

Manganaro was a place where the food that was produced and consumed by the kind of people who made this city possible and struggled to make it what we know it as today was made. The food nourished not only gastronomically, but also like stories told among people, memories offered around a table, and by serving a way of life that we could use a little more of today. Clearly, Manganaro’s devotion to its store and neighborhood never changed. Which makes it all the more appallingly shocking, how deeply and profoundly we have changed. Probably for good, and not always for the better. Progress is a tricky thing because, while necessary, it too often makes the arrogant suggestion that all that came before needed to end. Other great cities of the world seem to instrinsically understand something that we simply don’t about how much richer it is to move forward carrying the things from the past that made us who we are.


Ciao Manganaro. You will be missed by many though you were of late appreciated by too few.


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