Discover more from North Carolina Rabbit Hole
Charlotte's Got A Lot Of Stuff That Some Guy From New York Isn't All That Crazy About
The New York Post recently ran a column that said Charlotte isn't as good as New York. Here, now, is a thoughtful and thorough review of this column.
Stay with me here, because I want to start with my favorite TikTok trend of the moment:
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
Back in July, a Russian car dealership hired a model and made an ASMR video with a brand new, $400,000 Bentley. Almost immediately, people started clowning it, mashing up the Russian video with their own, far cheaper cars, trucks, and vans. The Milwaukee Public Library did a version with their GMC outreach van. The Wiggles did a version with their Big Red Car. I really wish we could pull Richard Burr out of retirement to do a version with his Volkswagen Thing.
Imagine Cindy Adams seductively tapping a Bentley while whispering “New York” while Arn Anderson drags a very large hand across a 1985 Pontiac Fiero and says, loudly, “Charlotte.”
This column did precisely what it was meant to do, which was to get other people to write columns rebutting it. The fine folks at the Charlotte Observer took the bait, writing not one but two different stories about it. WCNC-TV spent 13 minutes talking about it on its morning show. A guy from WBT radio did a segment on it, which mostly consisted of him reading the column out loud in his most indignant voice.
All of these responses, predictably, are delivered with the same righteousness as a mayor who is making a bet with another mayor on an important sportsball game. I’m not here to do that. I’m not here to defend Charlotte. It’s a big city. It can take it. No, I’m just here to pore over this column like a football coach breaking down film.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Hush . . . sweet Charlotte.
Here’s some context: Cindy Adams, the author of this column, IS 93 YEARS OLD. Now, look, I know she’s been the gossip columnist for the Post since time immemorial, and she’s a legendary voice in New York City lore, and she has no children. But! This is the tone of a grandmother who’s pre-shushing you before delivering some passive-aggressive “advice.” Or: This is a Manhattan “bless your heart.”
Despite popular belief — I have a friend. Born, educated, raised, working in, living in, family in, dating in, speech, accent definitely developed in — New York.
To him breakfast is a bagel, dessert’s got cheesecake, dinner’s a slice, transportation means the subway.
Look, you don’t need to tell me that a woman who’s been writing gossip for the damn New York Post since 1979 is an extremely New York creature. As is Pizza Rat. But since we’re introducing a new character, we need to affix the totems of New York City-ness in order to take him seriously. Bagels! Cheesecake! Pizza! The subway! Look, you could’a mentioned the Staten Island Ferry or Flatbush Avenue to build up your Big Apple cred just a little more, but I’ll take it.
He considers Newark foreign travel.
Yeah man, we’re talking about a New York dude, not a North Jersey dude (ew). This is a man who takes great offense to anyone remixing the opening to “The Sopranos” for their own benefit. Newark is a particularly easy dunk. Someone in the comments pointed out a particularly harsh Lewis Grizzard quote from 1987, which went like this: “I remain convinced that if you live in the Northeast and don’t go to Sunday School, when you die you go to Newark.” After that line ran in the Atlanta Constution, the mayor of Newark complained, pointing out that people held conventions in Newark all the time and that the city library had a million books in it. CHECKMATE.
Oh no, I just had this thought: Is Newark America’s Gastonia?
He recently entered a foreign place. Charlotte. It’s in a state named North Carolina. Culture shock. Despite returning to us here where the cost is as high as an elephant’s eye, he is still in recovery.
Affordability sucks! I, for one, dream of a life where I pay $15 for a soggy slice of Sbarro and do my grocery shopping exclusively at a Duane Reade.
Him: “Breakfast was a place named Famous Toastery. No utensils. When asked for the luxury of a fork and knife, I was given plastic utensils. Big-time dining there was fingers.”
I have been to the Famous Toastery, and it’s just fine. Is it bad? No. Is it memorable? Only if you’re looking to land a guest-starring role in a Cindy Adams column. The biggest offense here is that people might eat food with their hands. Because we all know that the only New York way to enjoy a proper meal is to use fine cutlery:
He asked what’s to do in this town? Response: “We have many breweries!”
That’s the only thing to do in any town anymore. New York City itself has more than 40 breweries! You know what Charlotte doesn’t have though? A brewery that’s been around for 100 years and consistently cranks out awful beer. People forget: All nationally-distributed beer used to taste like shit, and local beer was almost always worse. In college, we scored a keg of Hudepohl for $35, which was cheaper than anything else we could get. Hudepohl! The pride of Cincinnati! It tasted like burnt dog hairs. Historic city breweries still only use four ingredients in their beer: hops, barley, pothole puddle water, and bits of ground cinder block.
New York City doesn’t even have its state’s oldest brewery, anyway. That honor goes to Genesee, which you have to import from Rochester (ew).
Then: “Anything else? Hard to drink beer all day.” Response: “You can visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”
I don’t intend this to be a burn, but how many Charlotteans have actually been to the NASCAR Hall of Fame? Not the convention hall attached to it, but the actual hall of fame with the cars and the firesuits and the Junior Johnson moonshine still? I lived in Charlotte for a decade and never went. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se. It’s more for out-of-towners who want to kill some time at a place that’s within walking distance of their hotel. Years ago, a marketing guy in town told me that he could draw a circle around Charlotte. Inside that circle, people thought the NASCAR Hall was dumb and overpriced. Outside of that circle, folks were excited about it.
Anyhow, it’s fine. Visiting the NASCAR Hall is the only way to prove that you’re a true Charlottean, just like the only way to become a real New Yorker is to visit the M&M Store in Times Square.
He went to Starbucks. He saw people grab their orders and leave — but there was no place to order. Approaching the counter, he asked, “May I order a coffee?” He was told: “You have to use our app.”
Breakfast in Ruby Sunshine featured one young gentleman in a “Batman” cape.
The big dish? “Eggs Blackstone.” Poached eggs over a biscuit with bacon drizzled in hollandaise. However, local residents drizzled hollandaise even on old shoes.
Why, New Yorker, are you mad about capes? Frank Costanza’s divorce lawyer wore a cape!
Also, look, if you’re going to burn someone about using too much sauce, at least make fun of the fact that we drizzle college football coaches in mayonnaise here.
Nighttime. Tupelo Honey restaurant. Inside brighter than a supermarket. My friend ate outside.
Music blared from the house speaker, a street guitarist kept plinking, cars whizzed by blaring music. The appetizers were fried this, fried that. A cocktail took 20 minutes to make.
Can I make a suggestion at this point? The Outback Steakhouse. They have a bloomin’ onion! The steak is good. The lights are turned way down low. They will bring you a 22-ounce Foster’s IMMEDIATELY. The only thing you’ll have to deal with is a waiter who might occasionally whisper, in her most scintillating ASMR voice: “No rules, just right.” You will love it there.
Just saying: This guy would have just lost at it Beef ‘n Bottle. Oh no! THERE ARE POSTERS ON THE WALL.
It’s a state where you can carry a gun on your person — but cannot have a sip left in your gin and tonic while you order pinot.
He was understandably mad because, according to our state’s arcane liquor laws, you have to finish your current drink before you can have another one. This prevents North Carolina from being able to deliver the legendary Bottomless Mimosa. However, I think you can get around this rule by just ordering an entire pitcher of Barefoot pinot grigio, which I wholeheartedly endorse for this man.
Also, one more fun fact! There is no public intoxication law in North Carolina. There are laws that allow police to arrest you for doing dumb things WHILE drunk, but it is fully legal for a New Yorker to stumble around on the sidewalk after three pitchers of Sweet Berry Wine while complaining that Midwood Smokehouse doesn’t even compare to Peter Luger’s.
Needing a slice of the spice of nice New York’s vice, mice and street rice, he flew home next day.
Cindy’s friend doesn’t belong in the “Some Guy I Know” Hall of Fame, but he’s most definitely an alternate selection to this year’s “I’m Just Telling You What I Heard” All-Star Game. Plus, that’s the most alliteration I’ve seen in one sentence in quite some time. I mean, after reflection, this man’s inspection and rejection of Charlotte’s cross-section of imperfection seems like projection designed to induce self-protection.
Also, some guy I know told me that alligators live in New York City’s sewers. I’m just telling you what I heard.
But do NOT pick on me.
I’m sure it’s a lovely place.
Cindy, you’ve been here! You came for the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and they made you stay in (hahahahahaha) Rock Hill. I know we’re getting into Inception territory here, but what did she say about us back then? From 2012:
It’s North Carolina. Home of nothing. Except, have respect, Charlie Rose.
Let’s see, what’s Charlie Rose been up to sinc—oh.
North Carolina does ribs for breakfast. Pork barbecue ribs. Its nearby best restaurants are the Filling Station and Frog’s Leap Public House.
The Frog’s Leap Public House was in Waynesville, which was TWO-AND-A-HALF HOURS AWAY from Charlotte!
Doesn’t come up often in conversation, but Charlotte, the seat of Mecklenburg County, is named for Mecklenburg-Strelitz’s queen consort Charlotte, and where that is and who she is and what that was and why, who knows?
Look, I know this was written a full eight years before “Bridgerton” came out, but Google existed in 2012! So, what did she actually learn from visiting Charlotte?
I only know it’s where Medecine Man Big Chief Obama will make his DNC war dance.
Where can you get away with a sentence like that? Only in New York, kids, only in New York.