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The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » The Vine

The Vine: January 3, 2007

Submitted by on January 3, 2007 – 11:30 AMNo Comment

Dear Sars —

I don't know of any diners specifically in Chinatown, but there are a couple of fabulous ones that are definitely within 30 minutes. The Waverly (6th Ave. between Waverly Place and 8th Street) does amazing things to potatoes. There's sometimes a wait, but even on a Sunday morning it's never been more than 15 minutes for a table for two. Manatus is on Bleeker between 10th and Christopher. It's pretty spacious and has the atmosphere of a much more expensive restaurant — seriously, I can pay $7 for breakfast and get a fresh orchid on the table? Freakin' sweet!

Hope this helps!

Sincerely,
Diner Diva

Dear DD,

Thanks for the rec — several readers backed you up on Moondance. Other diners appear below, and if I got it more than once, it's asterisked. Mapquest 'em, or use Hopstop.com to find out how to get there fast via transit.

A number of readers also suggested not getting your hopes up re: the hash browns, and I'd have to agree. I mean, I kind of like the greasy oval puck they all use, but if you're expecting anything more advanced (or even varied) than that, you might be out of luck.

Bubby's (120 Hudson at N. Moore)
Cup and Saucer (89 Canal, under the Manhattan Bridge)
The Diner (Nassau St. between Fulton and Ann Sts.)
Dynasty (Ave. B at 14th)
Gee Whiz Restaurant (295 Greenwich)
Hollywood Diner (6th Ave. at 16th St.)
Imperial Coffee Shop (Chambers and Church)
Joe Jr.'s (6th Ave. and 12th St.; there's also one at 2nd Ave. and 22nd)
Kitchenette (156 Chambers)
Landmark (Grand St. between Lafayette and Center) *
Little Poland (2nd Ave. and 13th) [it's been a while, but they used to have an outstanding tuna melt]
Moondance Diner (6th Ave. and Broome) *
Neptune (1st Ave. at 12th St.)
Odessa (Ave. A between 7th and St. Marks)
The Pink Tea Cup (42 Grove St. between Bedford and Bleecker)
Socrates (Hudson St. at Franklin)
Silver Spurs (Broadway and 9th St.; Houston St. and LaGuardia Pl.)
Square Diner (West Broadway and Leonard) *
Westside Coffee Shop (Church and Canal)
Zucco (Orchard St. at Houston)

Hey, Sars!

This should be kind of refreshing for you, because it is in fact just a question, not a problem, not an issue, not a "my GAWD the drama" thing.

I'm just wondering, as I browse your Vine archive, and as I hear from friends of mine who are on the current dating scene, how much crazy do you think is caused by the whole electronic communications revolution? She sent me an angry e-mail, my mother sent her one back, I found evidence of his cheating by reading his text messages, he said mean things about me on his blog blah-blah-blah E-CAKES. (I was dating and got married waaay back in the early nineties, before all this nonsense, thank God.) Not to come across as a fogey, but when I was young and stupid, we actually had to A.) talk to the people we had problems with, or B.) avoid those people at all cost. Now, it seems like some kooky hybrid of the two -– I can throw my angry opinions at you and still hide, because I'm not actually in your face, where you can take a swipe at me. And we can keep thrashing at each other ad nauseam, know what I mean? Or I can use e-communication to create trouble, avoid getting in trouble, or snoop into your personal trouble.

So. It's not like this is a problem, but I think your experience as the Oracle of the Internet might be worthwhile -– I'd love to hear what you think. Just how much crazy has come out of electronic communications? I think it has to do with some deep-seated need a lot of people have to document everything, and at the same time avoid intimacy, confrontation, even real interaction. Is it so crazy for me to ask simple questions like, "Well, have you considered actually talking to him in person?"

Signed,
Well, have you?

Dear Well,

Well, yes, on the one hand, via The Vine, I do see a lot of the fallout from stuff like e-mail snooping and failure to text and so on. But on the other hand, if The Vine were a printed column and we all still lived in 1986, I'd be seeing a lot of the same fallout — the difference is that people would be leafing through their significant others' credit-card bills, or complaining that guys didn't call or took their phones off the hook (remember when that was a thing?). Sure, it's shitty to dump someone via an email or an IM, and these methods weren't available to the gutless twerps of the world fifteen years ago — at which time the gutless twerps employed other means, like snail mail or blatantly cheating on you with your friends. The way we communicate with each other has evolved; human nature has stayed more or less the same.

I've had numerous conversations over the years about the internet's role in community, whether it builds it or destroys it, and I'll tell you regarding this question what I usually tell people regarding that one: it depends on who's using it. Some people will use it to isolate themselves from in-person human contact (or, to put it more generously, to protect themselves from the dangers and hurts and higher-seeming stakes in-person contact can seem to cause). Other people will use it to encourage that same contact — I met my best friend on the internet. I've been able to keep other close friends close because of the internet. The internet let me raise over fifty grand for a good cause, and let everyone who pitched in feel involved in something bigger than themselves. Two Television Without Pity users got married to each other a couple years back. It cuts both ways.

Not to get all "guns don't kill people, et cetera blah" on you about it, but the internet qua internet — electronic communication on its own merits — doesn't cause interpersonal problems. It's value-neutral. The people who use it are the issue, and people who want to be immature dinks or nutbars will (or can) use texting and blogging to do that. But people who want to be loving grown-ups can use the same means — people who want to send a quick email to their spouses to say hi and ask how the big meeting went, people who are running late and don't want to be discourteous to their dinner partners, people who work a lot but want to check in with their sisters-in-law, and so on and so forth. The internet isn't going to change people's basic natures, for good or ill.

So, the short answer: I don't think electronic communications cause the crazy. I think the crazy exists in the same proportions that it always has; it's just jumped to a different medium.

Sars —

I'm not sure if this is actually a usage error, but I was taught that
the word "disrespect" is a noun, and to use it as a verb (e.g., "Do not
disrespect me") was considered slang. In recent years I have noticed that
more and more people tend to use "disrespect" as a verb in formal
conversation, and it drives me insane.

Can "disrespect" be used as a verb
in formal conversation? Or its shortened form, "dis"? Am I just misinformed
and should get over it, or can I go ahead and roll my eyes when I hear
"disrespect" used as a verb? Any light you could shed would be greatly
appreciated.

Respectfully yours,
Dissed (Or is it "disrespected"? Shown "disrespect"?)

Dear D,

"Dis" is apparently in the American Heritage Dictionary; m-w.com also lists it as a verb (although the 11C's usage note is that it's slang, deriving from 1982 or 1990, depending on which entry you go with).

Garner does have a note on the usage, to wit: "Dis — preferably so spelled — is a clipped form of disrespect, vb. (or, less likely, dismiss or disparage)…[that] came into existence in the early 1980s and into vogue in the early 1990s. … One outcome of the dis fad is that the transitive verb disrespect, which had fallen into disuse, has been called out of retirement — doubtless by writers who really wanted to use dis but just couldn't bring themselves to do it."

Hee. Anyway, Garner seems to imply here that "disrespect" was at one time a valid verb, and that the hip-hop usage brought it out of mothballs.

"Formal conversation" is something of a misnomer; spoken interactions are generally less elevated in diction than written communications. So, no, I wouldn't use the verb "to dis" (or "diss" — I disagree with Garner on the preferred spelling, because I think the extra S makes it clearer) in a deal memo or anything, but while it's a colloquialism, it's not incorrect.

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