McDonald’s (Spanish Harlem)


I must admit that this is not a ‘hood in which Mr. Hipster normally hangs out. As it turns out, Ms. Hipster wanted nothing more than a fried burger after giving birth to Hipster Jr. at Mount Sinai Hospital on the way Upper East Side. Far be it from me to question my baby mamma and her fast food cravings, but on that sweltering August day, it was my duty to make the trek to this Spanish Harlem location. Of course in my mind, I was convinced everyone looking at me in my surfer sunglasses and Pumas thought I was five-O, but that’s just the paranoid caucasian in me. In any case, I made my way up to the McDonald’s to fetch a Big Mac, and in the process came to the realization that the folks in Spanish Harlem have much more fun that any other people in Manhattan. It was like a giant party/swap meet/social club all the way up there. The McDonald’s was more of a meeting spot, and neighborhood hub than a chain restaurant. There were groups in there coming straight from christenings and baptisms (assuming those are different) and birthday parties and old ladies with not a tooth between them yammering away in wheezing Spanish. It was like a giant beehive of activity, complete with a guy in a purple suit with a silver tipped cane and gold fronts. I thought the clashing of precious metals was honestly inexcusable, but I’m really into the purity of the bling. The food did taste pretty good, especially after being up for forty-eight hours and eating nothing but vending machine food for two days, but the long walk and the general condition of McDonald’s meat prep made for a less than thrilling experience. So, as a sociological study, this location was fascinating, but as a joint to get quality grub, we’d stick to a place that doesn’t consider the microwave its primary cooking accessory. [MF]

1997 3rd Ave., Harlem