and some carrying reflectors. Shortly I was within ten feet of the crowd. The first thing I noticed was the a tall thin man with garrish, day-glow bright, artificially colored blond hair. Hey! That's Gelman. That means that Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa are somewhere around here. And sure enough, looking much shorter than I expected, they were there, huddled within a group of protectors and admirers, wrapping up the taping of a Texas barbeque segment for the next morning's "live" show.

I worked my way through the tangle of cables and technicians and continued down West 67th toward the park. There was 68 W 67th, then 58, and 48. There, 30 W 67th, easy to spot, with the crowd of people along the sidewalk, assembled for morning auditions for "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?".

I walked past, since I wasn't scheduled 'til 1:30, and paused at the corner of 67th and Central Park West to reconnoiter. With time to kill, I decided to make my way down to the Carnegie Deli to get a piece of the best cheesecake in the world. The standard by which all other cheesecake is measured.


I was seated at one end of a six person table. Two women in their early thirties were seated at the other end. I ordered a piece of plain cheesecake and a cup of coffee.

There shortly arrived a huge slab of cheesecake. So big it seemed to have been cut from a cake that could have wiped out the dinosaurs if it had impacted the earth at 30,000 miles an hour.

A veritable Ross Ice Shelf of cream cheese towered above my plate. I carved into it and hefted a fork full of ambrosia into my mouth.

What's this?

This wasn't the experience of the divine that I had anticipated. Instead of creamy bliss, I was suddenly flung into Cheesecake Hell

Bite after bite filled my mouth with excrutiatingly thick and glommingly bland cheesecake.

Would it never end?

Could I possibly stop eating it, and send the most famous cheesecake in the world back? Back to the hell-hole in which it was spawned and from which it had recently emerged.

Perhaps smaller bites would make it more palatable. I tried again.

No. They did not.

It was indeed the cake. It was a monster, a lactose leviathan. It was a gastronomic godzilla wiping out the Tokyo of joy and dairy delight that I had built up in my mind.

Blasphemy? No. Not at all.

This artery clogging cake was really bad. Dense and boring, and so big the agony of eating it seemed endless. A nauseating nightmare, when it should have been a sweet, velvety dream.

And to make matters worse, the check arrived before I had finished it. The Titanic crushing disaster of a cake, with a cup of coffee, was going to cost me NINE DOLLARS AND EIGHTY CENTS ! ! !

I was stunned. Not only had I been utterly quelled and defeated by a demonic dessert, my vision of attainable perfection destroyed, but, I was humiliated as well by the cost of the experience.

I paid and left, greatly humbled.

I wandered slowly back to 67th cutting through Central Park. I followed the shaded path as it led