Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Miss Manhattan Hangs Out...with Alli Green

When Alli Green and I arrive at the Roosevelt Island Tramway station, we see the next tram will depart in 12 minutes. The only public transportation like it in the city, the tramway goes through the air over the East River and lands, of course, at Roosevelt Island, in between Queens and Manhattan. Taking the tram crosses an item off of Alli’s New York Bucket List—in a matter of days, she will be leaving New York to go to business school at the University of Washington in Seattle. There, she hopes to prepare for a career in corporate social responsibility and sustainability, which would allow her to help large businesses improve environmental, energy, and economic practices alongside socio-cultural interactions. She would, for example, be promoting ideas like the reduction of a carbon footprint, conservation of nonrenewable resources, and support of community-strengthening initiatives in places where businesses are based. I know Alli through her roommate, into whom she has engrained the importance of recycling.

Before heading off to business school, however, Alli is going on a cross-country road trip with a friend, stopping at or in Cleveland, Chicago, Sioux Falls, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park and, her last stop, Seattle.

Today, though, a shorter trip to Roosevelt Island. The city flies underneath us as the tram goes higher and higher into the sky and over the East River. We land in Roosevelt Island, which seems to be a pseudo-suburban oasis, with its apartment buildings all of similar size, shape, and color. There’s a Duane Reade, a diner, a pizza place, a Japanese restaurant and even, across a well-manicured garden, a Starbucks. “Of course,” Alli chuckles. We stroll around the tiny island, stopping to look at the views across the East River of the 59th Street bridge, Long Island City, and what is perhaps an industrial waste park. She takes some pictures with her phone then turns it toward me, “Now it’s Alli Green Hangs Out with Miss Manhattan!” We laugh.

Feeling peckish, we head for our next destination in Manhattan, but when we arrive, there’s a line around the block, even in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday. Ugh, tourists. We instead decide to go to Alidoro, a decades-old Italian sandwich shop.

We look at their lengthy list of over 40 sandwiches, from which you are not-so-subtly urged to make a selection before arriving at the counter, to definitely not ask what the counterperson’s favorite sandwich is, to make sure you have cash because, no, they don’t take credit cards and never will. Alli goes for the Pinocchio: prosciutto, soppressata, fresh mozzarella, sweet roasted peppers, olive paste. I choose the Mona Lisa, fresh mozzarella, artichokes, eggplant caponata, Bel Paese.

Our sandwiches are ready quickly and we sit outside at a marble table in two yellow metal chairs, diving into the heaps of meat, bread, and cheese in front of us. “Olives are the way to my heart,” Alli says. And soon every last crumb is gone.

Follow Alli on Instagram and Twitter.

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