After 8 Decades And Countless Pastrami Sandwiches, New York’s Carnegie Deli Folds

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Customers dine at Carnegie Deli in New York City. The iconic deli, known for its large pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, announced it will close at the end of the year.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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One of the most famous delicatessens in New York will slice its last sandwich this week.

The Carnegie Deli opened in 1937 on Seventh Avenue across from Carnegie Hall. But it didn’t’ achieve notoriety until decades later — around the time that director Woody Allen filmed a table full of off-duty comedians there in his movie, Broadway Danny Rose.

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There’s still a “Woody Allen” sandwich on the menu at the Carnegie Deli: half pastrami, half corned beef. But the real star is that pastrami.

“People love my pastrami so much, it’s like a human being,” says owner Marian Harper. “It’s overwhelming to me.”

Harper inherited the Carnegie Deli from her father, Milton Parker, who took over the restaurant with partner Leo Steiner in 1976. Back then, the Carnegie was just another deli in the theater district. Then a reviewer from The New York Times listed its pastrami among the best in the city. Ever since, Harper says, it’s been tough for customers to get a table.

“They know to come here hungry,” says Harper. “They love the big portions. My father called it gargantuan sandwiches, he used that name.”

~~~  LISTEN TO THE STORY  ~~~

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