Centro Cultural Rincon Criollo

21 July 2010, 5:30 PM – The Hub, The Bronx, NY

“Can the city come together around a single neighborhood garden?”

Not if it’s in the Bronx, no.

The Bronx reminds me a lot of Jamaica, Queens, where I’ve spent a fairly good amount of time. Some of it’s palatable, some of it’s not, it’s not the greatest place in the world to be at night. Except the Bronx is larger and has multiple elected officials.

When I finally got to this garden – which was ridiculously small and quite a letdown – there were people beckoning me to the lock, as if they were saying, “Oh, goodness, not another one.” It’s nice that the five or ten people there – which I’d assume is quite less than even the people in the surrounding projects – were planting corn and cabbages and had a scarecrow and all, but I walked about 20 blocks in the heat and humidity, and I was pretty let down by a place I could barely find and in the middle of nowhere.

So instead, I’m going to talk about Little Caesar’s.

I remember going to the Little Caesar’s at my local K-Mart (which is now a Wal-Mart – the one where a dude died – and has no Little Caesar’s; another K-Mart in the Five Towns area has a K-Cafe, which sells pizza and breadsticks, but not Little Caesar’s pizza and Crazy Bread) as a kid, back in the day when 3rd Rock from the Sun had 3-D episodes and tie-ins with Barq’s Root Beer. I remember the wonderful smell of the pizza and the Crazy Bread, and the holy grail of pizza crusts – sesame seeds in the crusts (which I’ve only seen at Little Caesar’s and Peter Pizza (now Ragazzi Pizza) at Coney Island).

So when I saw a Little Caesar’s in the Bronx, I went inside to reminisce from my childhood. (I didn’t have enough money on me to eat anything, though – perhaps next time.) I was there for 15 seconds for a quick glimpse at the menu and peering into the kitchen, and then I was gone.

It smelled just like I remember it.

My journey continued that Saturday at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which you can read about here.

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