September 7, 2010

24-Hour Party People

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Orientation Week was a series of high points for us. From the new freshmen on campus (shout out to Peter’s O-group!) to discovering that we now have places to crash in Collegetown, it was an overall amazing experience, filled with heartfelt summer reunions and moving out of the dorms and moving on with our collegiate careers. However, there was one glaring hole in what was otherwise an excellent return to Cornell: The absence of the 24-hour eatery, Green Café. Jaclyn Sperber: I just really missed having a bathroom.While no one would argue that the food itself is missed, the immediacy and the comfort of it certainly are. Their Chinese food samples during the day fed our cravings when we had no real desire to make a whole meal out of General Tso’s chicken. The undeniable highlight though was their packets of Mochi, that, though sticky and goopy, were sweet and refreshing, with flour on the outside and delicious red bean paste in the middle.We think, however, that no one will miss a certain someone sticking her certain fingers through a certain plate of dumplings and taking them at will. To those of you who may have found remnants of bright pink nail polish on their steamed vegetable dumpling, we apologize for her. We also know that the whole fish they had permanently on display will not be missed. J.S.: Eyes, scales, everything. It would just be staring at me and I would always just want the food next to it, but it would scare me. Let’s call them yams. I’d have to sacrifice my craving, because I couldn’t sacrifice my fears, you know? I have an actual fear of fish, really anything that lives in the sea. It was disgusting.Food (and bathroom) aside, there remains a pragmatic issue. A major corner in Collegetown was barren for the one week that probably gets the most foot traffic of the year. Furthermore, there appears to be no plans to replace what was fast on its way to becoming a nightlife staple. However, we have a solution. The former space of Green Café should be replaced with a 24-hour diner.First and foremost, the variety of food that one can get at a diner is incomparable. You can get breakfast, lunch and dinner made fresh and made to order. Diner menus are the stuff of legends, with page after page advertising every omelet combination, original sandwich and dinner option the human mind can imagine. You want something sweet? Diners also have giant cookies the size of your face. Top that off with a black and white milkshake (the perfect synthesis of two fighting flavors) and you’re good to go.J.S.: Vanilla egg cream with skim milk.And that isn’t to say that we don’t love eateries that have already become Cornell staples, such as Collegetown Bagels. We do. In fact, we each have our own specially designed bagel of choice (Peter: chicken salad and avocado on a scooped out rosemary salt. Jaclyn: peanut butter and jalapeño jelly on a California. Its pretty earthy). But unfortunately, we can’t get just an omelet at CTB. Or pancakes. Or challah French toast. The whole point of a 24-hour diner is you can get breakfast 24-hours a day. It’s the ultimate 3:00 a.m. food.More then that though, a diner is a destination. Not only does it supply delicious food for every meal, it can easily evolve into a central meeting place for people to congregate. In movies such as American Graffiti and Diner, as well as iconic representations of Americana such as Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, the diner is somewhere that people from different walks of life can eat together under a common roof. The 24-hour diner is the great equalizer, and we believe that there should be one in Collegetown.Peter Jacobs is a Sun arts and entertainment editor and a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be contacted at pjacobs@cornellsun.com. Jaclyn Sperber is a sophomore in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations. She may be contact at jrs426@cornell.edu. Guest Room appears periodically this semester.

Original Author: Jaclyn Sperber