Wolinnin Funeral Home

The Naked City

Hunter-Gatherer has been mining old episodes of “The Naked City” for vintage New York scenes, and the one above, featuring Jack Klugman and East 7th Street, has a shot with Wolinnin Funeral Home. More madeleine moments.

I remember one fall day I developed a craving for apple stack cake. I knew a place on Canal Street where you could pick up bags of dried fruit real cheap, and I called my neighbor Nancy to see if she wanted to come along. Like me, Nancy loved food, but unlike me, she had the kind of metabolism to support a real passion.

After picking up the dried apples, we found a hole-in-the-wall somewhere along Mott Street (I think) and had bowls of congee. Why not, since we’re in the neighborhood, run by DiPalo’s? I’m thinking we must have also picked up canolis at Ferrarra’s across the street. After all, we were in the neighborhood. Oh, and pasta from Piemonte.Then we decided to walk off the congee and the DiPalo’s samples. We headed up Mulberry, past Old St. Patrick’s, and in no time we were on East Houston. Yonah Schimmel’s! Their knishes always seemed like lead to me, but their yogurt – I never had had fresh yogurt before. Then we headed down the block to Russ & Daughters – more samples! And Ben’s Cheese Shop, which had the best baked farmer’s cheeses, and where you could still get your butter sliced to order from a wheel. (When I first moved to the Upper West Side, in 1976, you could also get tub butter from the Daitch Dairy Store, a dark musty holdover, and for a while after, when the Dairy Store was folded into the new Shopwell.) Oh, and onion board from Moishe’s Bakery. I mean, to go with the butter.

By this time we’d worked up an appetite, and we both thought potato pancakes at Leshko’s, with sour cream and apple sauce, would make a great late lunch. And we were only a few blocks away at this point. But first there was Kurowycky Meats! Dry-cured ham!

After the pancakes, we were both a bit, overfull, and moving pretty slowly. Leaving Leshko’s we paused just around the corner, in front of Wolinnin’s. Being a good southern boy, Wolinnin’s was a bit exotic – the Infant Christ the King parlor lamp, the stuffed parrot. As Nancy and I enjoyed a memento mori moment, an old woman came out of the office and asked if we would like a tour. I have no idea how much walk-in business Wolinnin’s got, but I think we both felt our being there was providential.

The tour passed, as did our brush with death, and we headed back to the Upper West Side. Nancy, as I recall, cooked up some linguini carbonara for supper, but I was too worked up to cook, and instead got back on the subway and headed off the Junior’s for their corned beef and pastrami mini-sandwiches and the cheesecake of dreams.

Junior's, Brooklyn


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