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45 Minutes (and 400 Miles) Till French Toast

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There is something about Sunday brunch in New York City. The food, the people, waiting (always) 45 minutes outside before being seated, or just that it seems that your whole day stops to have breakfast and lunch in one sitting (typical that New Yorkers would kill two birds with one stone).

Today is my first Sunday in a new city. I just moved to Washington, D.C. and this morning felt strange as I munched at a local Greek restaurant in my new neighborhood. A Greek Salad is neither breakfast nor lunch! I begin to think about my home for the past 22 years and a typical Sunday.

Location: Bubby's restaurant on Hudson Street in TriBeCa. Meeting time: noon.

It is 11:45 as I run into a Starbucks on the Upper East Side. I need caffeine for the train ride down to Canal Street. As I order my Venti, Katie, who I am meeting for brunch, calls. She is also running late and "will explain when I get there."

We finally both get to Bubby's half-an-hour late. The line is, as expected, out the door so we put our name down. These places never seem to take reservations. "45 minutes," the maitre d' says. Of course.

Katie and I join the ranks of other starving New Yorkers who can't wait to dive into their pancakes and French toast. On the curb, she tells me about her day. She had just started renting a new apartment and found a dresser on Craig's List. Her apartment is in midtown, but the dresser was downtown, so she ran there to pick it up. Of course, getting the large piece back in the cab was a problem. Waiting to hail the right sized cab, a former drug dealer (or at least that is what he said) approached her on the corner, still very hungover from the night before. He wanted to help Katie with the dresser and began talking. Finally Katie hailed the right sized cab and shook off the former drug dealer. She brought the furniture home. Having not eaten all day, she needed a cup of coffee and was now going to be late. It seemed like an action-packed day and it was only 12:30 in the afternoon.

In what other city in the world would people starve themselves to have the perfect pancake or bagel? Why would they meet at 12:00 and wait for 45 minutes? Sure, we love good food. That is a given. It is also built into the fabric of New York. You go to brunch to recharge. The energy in a New York restaurant like Bubby's is ecstatic. The hassle and bustle and the ebb and flow of people coming in and out is invigorating. This is NEW YORK CITY!

We go to brunch to cap off our week and prepare to begin a new one. There are stories to tell, people to meet, deals to be made, fun to be had, and Mondays to look forward to. We are all New Yorkers who do more in the morning before brunch on a Sunday then some do their entire weekday. And in a big city of former drug dealers, people who sell dressers on Craig's List, and a woman who just bought a new apartment and now a dresser, there is nothing like going to your "local" diner. You are surrounded with people who you never met, but who strangely enough understand you and what you went through to carve out two hours in the middle of your day to eat with a friend.

Katie finishes her story about why she is late and now it is my turn. After all, we have another 40 minutes before our name even is called to be seated. As I sit in our nation's capital I know I will find good restaurants, great friends to eat with and maybe a decent bagel. But only in New York can you really have brunch.