Secrets of New York

The ultimate insider's guide to the best-kept secrets of NYC's must-see places and buzzed-about people.

Say goodbye to Carnegie Deli with a huge

Say goodbye to Carnegie Deli with a huge pastrami sandwich and a plateful of the spot's secrets. (Credit: Getty Images)

food & drink

Carnegie Deli in NYC: Pastrami sandwich spot's past, Woody Allen connection explained

854 7th Avenue, New York 10019

What better way to say goodbye to Carnegie Deli than with a huge pastrami sandwich and a plateful of the spot's secrets?

The deli announced it'll be closing for good at the end of the year after lasting 79 years in midtown. No one is probably taking the news as hard as Mayor Bill de Blasio, who dubbed the now tourist-crazed deli the home of the “finest pastrami sandwich in New York.”

Before the Seventh Avenue restaurant slices its last pickle and tops off a sandwich with the final toothpick, relive the spot’s past with these little-known facts from owner Marian Harper.

When the spot first opened in 1937, it

Credit: Carnegie Deli

Time hop back to the '30s if you want a 50-cent sandwich

When the spot first opened in 1937, it served Eastern European and Jewish deli food. Its sandwiches were priced at just 50 cents, Harper told amNewYork via email. Sandwiches at the same location today can cost you up to $30, but with the amount of meat piled between two slices of bread, it's a bit easier to understand why -- though that's still a hefty price to pay for lunch.

Hillary Clinton sat down for a meal with

Credit: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert via YouTube

It’s where Clinton addressed her fear of eating in front of the press

Hillary Clinton sat down for a meal with Stephen Colbert at Carnegie Deli in April 2016 for an episode of "The Late Show" and revealed one of her biggest fears: Eating in front of the media.

"It's awkward eating in front of the press," she said. "They could get a funny shot. Something could drop out of your mouth. It could smear your face."

Colbert showed the Democratic presidential candidate how to overcome her fear by grabbing a slice of cheesecake by his hands and shoving it into his mouth. "This is humanizing in front of the press," he said. Clinton loved it.

Chicken noodle soup, hold the chicken, hold the

Credit: Carnegie Deli

And in case you were wondering what Clinton ordered ...

Chicken noodle soup, hold the chicken, hold the noodles. She ordered only the broth of Carnegie's homemade chicken soup, Harper said. Colbert ordered a Gargantuan pastrami sandwich, which he described as "the size of a baby's head," and topped it off with a slice of cheesecake.

Pictured: Maybe Clinton would have enjoyed the broth from matzo ball soup, too.

The motto --

Credit: Getty Images

Carnegie doesn't want you to finish your food

The motto -- "If you can finish your meal, we've done something wrong" -- is there for a reason. "We want all of our loyal guests to take home a little bit of Carnegie Deli every time they visit," Harper said, so that they'll be able to enjoy it all over again.

Secret Service agents have

Credit: Getty Images

Secret Service knows the deli well

Secret Service agents have "swept" the deli at least four times since 1976 before lunch visits from Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Vice President Al Gore and President Bill Clinton.

"Before these elected officials came to the deli, their staff arrived 30 or so minutes prior to their arrival to check all possible entrances and exits, as well as the surfing the crowd in advance," Harper said.

Leo Steiner, the late co-owner of Carnegie Deli,

Credit: Carnegie Deli

From a 60-pound 'Statue of Liverty' to the most expensive dish

Leo Steiner, the late co-owner of Carnegie Deli, who died in 1988, loved to get creative with the sandwiches. For the United States bicentennial celebration, he sculpted a 60-pound "Statue of Liverty" out of chopped liver. The meat statue even had a turkey wing for a torch.

Harper's father, Milton Parker, continued this tradition of getting creative with food in his own way. He introduced the most expensive item to the menu -- the $37.99 Sarri Combination Fish Platter, served with slices of sturgeon, Novie salmon, smoked white fish and baked salmon.

Why should humans be the only ones enjoying

Credit: Carnegie Deli

A family pup is the deli's mascot

Why should humans be the only ones enjoying Carnegie's signature menu items? Marian's daughter, Sarri Harper, added a line of dog treats to the menu three years ago that replicates the menu's hot dog and black and white cookie. Her Yorkie, Ruby (who just so happens to be the deli's official mascot) was the inspiration behind the line, Sarri said. Ruby's favorite Carnegie treat is the hot dog, she added.

How about a side of bottomless pickles with

Credit: Carnegie Deli

Customers do take 'all you can eat' literally

How about a side of bottomless pickles with that sandwich? Harper said some customers actually take their "all you can eat" offers literally, especially when it's tacked onto a food challenge.

Carnegie launched a limited-edition "Fashion Sandwich" (pictured) for New York Fashion Week in September 2016, encouraging models to finish the foot-tall pastrami, turkey and Swiss sandwich. All the hungry models had to do was down the entire $29.99 meal and Carnegie would pick up their tab. Underwear model Eian Scully ate it in 40 minutes and posted a Hyperlapse video of it to Instagram as proof. He was the only one to finish, Harper said.

The deli, known for having mastered the art

Credit: Rachel Kramer Bussel via Flickr (CC BY-SA)

Can you imagine a Carnegie without knishes?

The deli, known for having mastered the art of the flaky, savory knish, went 51 years without having the potato side dish on the menu. Harper said they were only added in 1988 because they were her family's favorite snack.

They're now one of the most popular items (second to the pastrami sandwich, of course). There's even a giant one on the menu (pictured) that you can stuff with corned beef and pastrami for $8.99.

Woody Allen's 1984 film

Credit: Orion Pictures

It was featured in an '80s Woody Allen film

Woody Allen's 1984 film "Broadway Danny Rose" was shot in the dining room, according to the deli. (Which explains why there's a gigantic sandwich named after him on the menu.) Other TV and film appearances include the 1996 movie "One Fine Day" and cameos on the History Channel, "60 Minutes," "Unwrapped," "Emeril Live," "Law & Order" and "Dr. Phil."

Comments