A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 09, 2019
Delicatessen Drive (Seventh Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets)

The Stage Delicatessen, on 834 Seventh Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets in Manhattan, was opened by Russian immigrant Max Asnas (1898-1968) in 1937. The deli became a favorite with the Broadway crowd, especially by comedians and New York (NY) Post nightlife reporter Earl Wilson (1907-1987). Asnas was dubbed the “Corned Beef Confucius” by comedian Fred Allen (1894-1956), and he was also called the “Pastrami Plato,” the “Pastrami Pundit” and the “Salami Sage.”

The sidewalk in front of the Stage Delicatessen was dubbed “Bagel Beach.” (The Stage served lots of bagels.) “The boys named Max Asnas’ Stage Delicatessen ‘Bagel Beach’” was printed in Earl Wilson’s syndicated column on February 25, 1949. “The B’way wits refer to teaming 7th Av. between 54th and 53d Sts. as ‘Bagel Beach’ or ‘Delicatessen Drive,’ and the Americana as ‘Asnas’ Annex,” Wilson wrote on July 17, 1963. “‘Bagel Beach’ has received an encomium. (...) Charles Slepian, city director of tourism, presented the key to the city to Prop. Jim Richter because the Stage stays open 24 hours a day and has served the city heartburn for 35 years,” Wilson stated on August 15, 1972.

The Stage Delicatessen closed its doors on November 29, 2012. The terms “Bagel Beach” and “Delicatessen Drive” are of historical interest today.


Wikipedia: Stage Deli
The Stage Deli, located on Seventh Avenue just two blocks from Carnegie Hall, was a well-known New York City delicatessen, patronized by numerous celebrities. It was first opened in 1937 by Russian immigrant Max Asnas. The deli was known for Broadway-themed dishes including the “Mamma Mia!” sandwich. It had other menu items named for the celebrities who have dined there, including Sarah Ferguson, Adam Sandler, Dolly Parton, Martin Short, and Ron Blomberg.

In addition to serving regular meals, Stage Deli held special events including the Matzoh Bowl to determine the best matzoh ball soup.
(...)
The Stage Deli closed on November 29, 2012. The owners cited a downturn in business, coupled with rising rent as the reasons for the closing. The Stage Deli previously found in the Forum Shops of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada closed its doors in June 2008.

25 February 1949, Courier-Post (Camden, NJ), “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 13, col. 3:
The boys named Max Asnas’ Stage Delicatessen “Bagel Beach.”

28 February 1949, Newsday (Long Island, NY), “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 30, col. 4:
The boys named Max Asnas’ Stage Delicatessen “Bagel Beach.”

17 July 1963, Courier-Post (Camden, NJ), “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 28, col. 4:
The B’way wits refer to teaming 7th Av. between 54th and 53d Sts. as “Bagel Beach” or “Delicatessen Drive,” and the Americana as “Asnas’ Annex.”

24 August 1963, Evansville (IN) Press, “Earl Wilson Says,” pg. 12, col. 6:
“Down there,” I said, “is Bagel Beach. That’s Max Asnas’ Stage Delicatessen down there.”

15 September 1963, Durham (NC) Morning Herald, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 11D, col. 2:
In this girl-watching season with beauty contests everywhere, it seems fair to say that I’ve seen Greta (Thyssen—ed.) undulate down Seventh Av. past the Stage Delicatessen “Bagel Beach” area—and cause men to come out of saloons and barbershops and wolf-howl. Truck drivers screeched their brakes.

29 January 1964, Durham (NC) Morning Herald, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 7B, col. 1:
On Bagel Beach, in front of the Stage Delicatessen, somebody was saying, “We have a lot of literary guys hanging out around here. A lot of writers.” Frank Garzaniti of the Stage Barbershop said, “Sure you got a lot of writers: numbers writers.”

24 August 1966, Newsday (Long Island, NY), “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 7A, col. 1:
They’re still here...on Bagel Beach, at 54th and 7th, a little man in shirtsleeves grinding away at the cash register at the Stage Delicatessen is Hymie Asnas who doesn’t mention it but if I know anything about pastrami prices, he ought to be rich.

9 June 1967, Durham (NC) Morning Herald, “Jayne May Switch To Judaism” by Earl Wilson, pg. 10D, cols. 1-2:
The talk along Bagel Beach (in front of the Stage Delicatessen) is all about Hollywood-on-the-Hudson and casting agent Bernie Styles’ hiring of a couple of thousand “background actors” for all the movies being filmed here.

26 June 1972, Durham (NC) Morning Herald, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 12A, cols. 3-4:
Comedian Gene Baylos, one of the thriftier stars, and B’wayite Max Levine were boasting of the thinness of their wrist watches on “Bagel Beach”— the sidewalk in front of the Stage Barbershop and Stage Delicatessen.

15 August 1972, Durham (NC) Morning Herald, “Proprietor Honored For The Heartburn Of ‘Bagel Beach’” by Earl Wilson, pg. 11A, cols. 1-2:
NEW YORK—“Bagel Beach” has received an encomium.

That’s where the Broadway characters meet to eat bagels and other indigestibles, to insult each other jocularly, and to lie in an innocent manner, turning their failures into tremendous triumphs. It’s a stretch of sidewalk in front of the Stage Delicatessen, the Stage Barbershop and the Stage Cigar Store at 54th St. & 7th Ave.

Fat Jack E. Leonard was there eating potato pancakes and blasting that he wanted to take four potato pancakes home for his wife’s breakfast when Charles Slepian, city director of tourism, presented the key to the city to Prop. Jim Richter because the Stage stays open 24 hours a day and has served the city heartburn for 35 years.

24 July 1973, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 9, col. 2:
Over at Bagel Beach on 7th Ave. and 54th St. is the famous Stage Delicatessen, hangout of show people, comedians especially, and next door is the Stage Barbershop where sits my little friend Robert Taylor.

2 August 1973, Greensboro (NC) Record, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. A17, col. 3:
Bagel Beach was so jammed with jewelry conventioneers that Stage Deli ran out of bagels.

8 September 1975, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 8, col. 3:
Bagel Beach (7th Ave. and 54th St.) is all agog. What’s happening in the famous Stage Barbershop where Joe Di Maggio and other celebrities go to get coiffed? The landlord’s posted a For Rent sign above the illustrious doorway.

Atlas Obscura
When Two Economists Scientifically Ranked New York’s Best Deli Sandwiches
The Madansky-Shubik experiment settled one beef and started many more.

BY JESSICA LEIGH HESTER JUNE 07, 2018
\IN THE SUMMER OF 1972, a stretch of sidewalk on New York’s 54th Street, near 7th Avenue, was bustling. The landlocked patch of cement in front of the Stage Deli earned the nickname “Bagel Beach,” because diners gathered there to hang out and chow down at all hours.

As New York institutions, delis reigned supreme, and the Stage reigned among them. That August, the city presented the restaurant with a key to the city for, as New York Times “Saloon Editor” Earl Wilson put it (Wilson wrote for the New York Post—ed.), serving “the city heartburn for 35 years.”
(...)
“The Deli-East came out a clear first, and the Stage came out a clear fourth,” the authors wrote in an amiable paper that they published—abstract, tables, and all—in The University of Chicago Magazine in spring 1976. Deli-East won on price, too: $1.10 per sandwich, to Stage’s $1.20.
(...)
Stage shuttered in 2012, age 75, unable to keep up with rising rent.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Saturday, March 09, 2019 • Permalink