Pastrami pop-up whets appetites for ‘Maisel 2’

Downtowners Carl Feinman and Judy Sommerville dug into their pastrami sandwiches. Photos by Tequila Minsky

BY TEQUILA MINSKY | A vintage Ford Fairlane and 1950s Buick were parked on Lafayette St. near Kenmare.

Fans on a line stretching around the corner of Broome St. and running to Cleveland Place drooled for pastrami, cheesecake,  Dr. Brown’s soda and knishes —New York delicatessen fare.

It’s the pop-up Carnegie Deli at 201 Lafayette, “in operation” until Sat., Dec. 8.

During the first hour on Sat., Dec. 1, more than 200 hungry New Yorkers came through, the line having swelled hours before the actual 11:30 a.m. opening time. The promotion for the launch of the second season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is loaded with 1950s deli nostalgia, including a menu that boasts a pastrami sandwich for 99 cents.

The first season of the award-winning Amazon Prime TV show garnered 14 nominations and five Emmys —for writing, directing, lead and supporting actresses and comedy series. The second season began Wed., Dec. 5.

Snappy dialogue set in period 1958 New York is a recipe for fun entertainment as “Midge” Maisel, a middle-class Upper West Side housewife, makes forays into the edgy Downtown scene as a stand-up comic after her husband leaves her.

“Mike,” behind the takeout counter, with the menu on the wall, at the Carnegie Deli pop-up.

A lot of inspiration is taken from Joan Rivers for Midge’s character — she’s slightly softer but equally bawdy. During the first season, Maisel gets arrested twice for lewdness on stage and has a few sympatique encounters with Lenny Bruce.

Actress Rachel Brosnahan (who, incidentally, is the niece of the late Kate Spade) plays the lead.

Happening Village venues of that era are recreated, particularly The Gaslight Cafe, which was at 116 MacDougal St. Others include the Kettle of Fish, Music Inn and the Village Vanguard.

The fourth episode of the first season touts a “Save The Square” rally, with Jane Jacobs at the arch in Washington Square Park.  This reporter stumbled on the filming of that “Stroller Brigade” episode in June 2017.

Back at the Lafayette St. Carnegie Deli pop-up,  when “owners” Lou, Bernie and Max are asked, “How long have you been here?” the answer is “Since 1937.” (They’re actors, in character.)

Delivery boy “Frankie, from Howard Beach,” who said he rode his bike there, handed out menus as the line stretched to Cleveland Place.

Delivery boy Frankie, handing out menus along the line, said he was from Howard Beach and rode his bike all the way to Lafayette St. When this reporter told him she would e-mail him his photo, he asked, “What is that?” After all, the year is 1958.

Along with the black-and-white-tiled floor, tin ceiling and vintage menus posted inside, the long wall is covered with framed and signed celebrity photos to recreate the Carnegie Deli feeling. In fact, though, a month after the New York gastronomic icon closed in December 2016, all the actual photos were tossed out.

As “owner” Bernie schmoozed with the diners, some local Downtown denizens, Carl Feinman (from Southbridge Towers) and Judy Sommerville (from Tribeca), ordered “The Maisel” (pastrami and salami) while a friend ordered “The Susie” (turkey and coleslaw).

Cheesecake or a black-and-white cookie are dessert offerings at 50 cents.

When it came time for the bill, it read, “$0, It’s on Midge Maisel.” Instead donations were taken for the Lower Eastside Girl’s Club.

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