SODA & CANDY on Lexington

Having read yesterday’s Slice (that ran on Feb. 5, 2008) on Lascoff’s Pharmacy on Lexington and East 82nd, in which I committed logorrhea regarding the Upper East Side’s neighborhoody atmosophere in which the chain stores haven’t yet taken command, a ForgottenFan told me that there were 16 or more Starbucks on the Upper East Side alone. Not being a coffee drinker, I hadn’t spotted any, though, like oxygen, they’re always there. even if I can’t see them.

I must admit that I have a horrendous diet; in fact if my GP knew what I eat all week, he would have pronouced me terminal long ago. In fact I may be dead already: how else do I make it on what I eat?

I do get impatient and annoyed at vegetarians who tell us that our non-vegetable or sushi-dominated way of life is killing us and strangling the life out of the planet. While being mainly a pizzavore, I will eat salad and there is vegetation I will abide, like baby peas, carrots, and salad greens. (Spinach I like, but with ketchup.) What I’m waiting for is for science to finally concede that hamburger, pizza and fried chicken eating cannot be stamped out and therefore, they must be made healthy. What I am waiting for is the mountain to come to Mohammed. While waiting for the mountain to arrive I’ll hang out in places like the Cheyenne Diner, Millard Fillmore’s of Flushing, and the Lexington Candy Shop at Lex and East 83rd.

The Lexington Candy Shop opened in 1925 and underwent its last renovation in 1948, which looks about right for it7s laminated maroon and beige sign on the outside. A hallmark of the era was the curved E and the A with a curved top instead of the usual corner. There’s also the big lowercase “N” standing in for the capital.

The neon sign, seen in the upper left corner, is of newer vintage but will evolve into a classic given a few years.

The Lexington Candy Shop is the kind of place that specializes in fresh-squeezed orange juice. Coca Cola “made” right from syrup and seltzer water, and egg creams, a NYC tradition handed down the generations, like Spaldeens, sneakers on telephone wire, and ring-olevio. I’ll have to get an egg cream sometime; I understand they’re made not with eggs or cream, but seltzer, milk and chocolate syrup, Fox’s U-Bet® or, if you’re less adventurous, Bosco. (Never with Quik.)













The Lexington is pretty much what Jahn’s evolved into before Jahn’s mostly evaporated. There was never the Gay Nineties decor, but the menu is hearty breakfasts, sandwiches, burgers, fries and of course plenty of dessert stuff like ice cream in different varieties. As their website boasts, the interior is largely unchanged since 1948; while not the vintage of say, Eddie’s of Forest Hills, it’s still snazzy in a way that modern designers couldn’t ever manage. Why do ice cream shoppes preserve old-timey interiors? The same reason that so many liquor stores keep their vintage neon signs: a vague sense of nostalgia. Your webmaster likes the past, except for the racism and non-vaccination. Much of the past looks better to me by the day. photo: amateurgourmet

The Lex prides itself on its Coca-Cola bottle collection, as well as Coke memorabilia like toy trucks and international items donated from visitors worldwide. I enjoy Coke as well but it has to be Diet Coke (can Coke do something about the hit-or-miss distribution of Diet Lime and Diet Cherry in NYC?). I’ve also liked Coke’s simple mostly red and white color scheme throughout the years, and that its script logo goes back to the company’s beginnings as a patent medicine in 1885. There must be thousands of different items of Coke memorabilia that have been produced over the decades. Did you know that wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler is a Coke memorabilia collector? He is.


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