At the corner of East 84th and Lexington sits an appropriate establishment. The Lexington Candy Shop. In all actuality the dinette styled 'shop' has little to do with chocolate and sweets. Tucked behind the entrance are a god-legged array of booths and an utterly non-anachronistic soda counter manned by a jerk. The menu, posted above board on the wall as well as on paper, lists classic American essentials. Soup, sandwiches, french fried potatoes, and so forth. More intriguing though is the soda fountain or the lack thereof. There indeed is a fountain but all the mixing is performed by hand with seltzer and syrup. Very Norman Rockwell. If so inclined, one could even order an egg cream. The shop's root beer float consists of soda water, syrup, and ice cream. Classic.
The shop, despite all of its arcane glamor, is subtly gritty. In a certainly pleasing sense. The grit does not distract, instead only enhancing the shop's positive aesthetic qualities. Where the wall meets the ceiling there is a slight sepia toned tinge. At certain points the wallpaper bends back from the wall. The griddle looks of something manufactured before woman's suffrage.
It is the sort of place one could imagine the protagonist of 'The Catcher in the Rye' or 'Junky' going to have a hamburger and a coffee. It confirms a conception of post-war solidity. Quiet, nonchalant, and above all conformist. Spot on mid-twentieth century New York. Definitively American. The aesthetic works to stoke nostalgic yearnings of an illegitimate nature. Unless of course you were born during Truman's first term. At once you relish and detest the establishment because of it's archetypal nature. The shop could be described nearly as walking into a Normal Rockwell diorama. A false, romanticized concept of America. Unlike the concept however, the Lexington Soda Shop does exist.
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