the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

NY Bloggers


When you meet another blogger on his home turf, it is a good idea to meet him in a establishment that mirrors the blogger’s unique personality.

Sophia and I met the sophisticated Tatyana at the Cafe Sabarsky.   Housed within Museum Mile’s Neue Galerie, the restaurant is patterned after the old-style Viennese kaffeehaus. We talked about architecture, politics, and why Austrian cafes serve coffee with a glass of water and metal spoon on top of the glass. 

(The answer:  Viennese tradition bids to serve a glass of water together with the coffee, although this is coming out of use in our hectic days. Originally the water was served as an excuse for the customer to keep his seat even when he had finished his coffee, to be able to read the newspapers provided in the café, or to have lengthy discussions. The latter was important because the “Kaffeehaus” in Vienna was used as a meeting point for writers, artists, etc.)

The next night, we met the mysterious Retropolitan at the Cabana Cafe, a restaurant designed to look like a cafe in pre-Castro Havana.  We talked about 1940’s radio shows, Retropolitan’s perfect radio voice, and the hardships of breaking up with a significant other.

The next day, I met the very professional and talented Amanda at a hip business-lunch cafe near Union Square.   We talked about our blogging “styles,” writing, and relationships.  

One caveat:

1)  Tatyana gave her cellphone number to Sophia, but not to me.

2)  Retropolitan, on leaving us, said, “It was a nice to meet you, Neil.  It was ESPECIALLY wonderful to meet you, Sophia.”

3)  Amanda, on hearing that I alone was coming to see her, “What a disappointment!  I was hoping to meet Sophia.”

Do you see a trend here?   Next time, maybe I’ll just send Sophia with a cardboard cut-out of myself.



  1. modigli


    You and Sophia really should go on that world bloggers tour, Neil.

  2. Roberta

    1) I’m a little jealous. And available for meals.

    2) I may be pagan, but my blood is 100% Bensonhurst Jew — both sides.

  3. Erin

    If you decide to come see me in Denver, make sure you bring a scarf for your cardboard cut-out. It tends to get nippy here. Tell Sophia not to worry, she can borrow one of mine.

  4. Bill

    Ah, the downside of being a writer. People admire it, they’re amazed by it, they love the romance of it (which resembles the reality of it not at all) … but. Yes, the inevitable “but.”

    As much as everyone likes the idea of a writer, almost anyone is more interesting than a writer. People would much rather spend time with the people writers write about than with the writers themselves. Writers are (let’s be honest) kinda boring.

    A cross must be born by us all. This is the writer’s cross.

    I really think it’s time for a support group.

  5. kimananda

    Hey, maybe you could send Sophia on a trip to Scandinavia? I’m sure it’d be no problem taking a cardboard cutout on the plane, and I’d love to show her around.

  6. The Retropolitan

    And it was also especially wonderful to meet you too, Neil. (But, you know, Sophia’s a lady!)

  7. kristen

    I think you and Sophia should have been part of that blog trip to Amsterdam. I love when blog worlds collide.

  8. better safe than sorry

    maybe you’re just so damn sexy it’s better that women prefer to be friends with sophia, resist the temptation of a sexy man still in love with his ex.

  9. ellie

    Don’t feel bad. At least Sophia is a blogger. I was showed up by a mere occassional subject matter of my blog! She was so freakin’ charming I wanted to punch her in the face … all my blogger community is now asking about ‘sweet tattoo’!!!!! 🙂

  10. Caryn

    Sounds like fun, Neil — sorry I couldn’t be in town this week to meet you at the Knish Nosh on your way down to Wiggles. I think maybe it has more to do with all your fellow bloggers feel as if they already know you, where they only know Sophia somewhat anecdotally. At least they weren’t “oh… you brought her” Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  11. Tatyana

    Think, Neil: who gave me professional pointers re: courtroom logistics? Perpetual networking is a mark of sophisticated person, you know.

    Besides, characteristically for her famous charm and tact, Sophia DIDN’T tell me that I look different from how I come across on my blog…

  12. 2nd Pearl at the Post

    Cardboard cutouts and you could be everywhere at once.

  13. Lynn

    Bill, I’m a writer, and I’m interesting. And Neil, I’d like to meet Sophia.

  14. Mik

    It is just so they can ask Sophia about how you really are.

  15. akaky

    How come no one ever wants to see me? I live in the Vampire State; I could’ve left our happy little burg for a day and went down to the great metropolis for an overpriced wiener schnitzel, but did anyone ask, hey Akaky, how about coming on down for an overeducated hot dog? No one thought to ask that, did they? Well, I know when I’ve been insulted, I know when I’ve been insulted (I wonder why I am channeling Lucy Van Pelt here). I wouldnt come down now if you drove white hot spikes through my tongue, just the thought of which gives me the shivers.

  16. miriam

    I feel insulted too, Akaky. I could have met Neil and Sophia at the Burger King. He just has it in for us librarians1

  17. akaky

    You’re right, Miriam; a man willing to get the always lovely Sophia bargain basement flowers probably owes a fortune in overdue fees at the LAPL and this is why he loathes libraries and librarians so much…unless we are dealing with some sort of childhood trauma here, something deep and profound, like some librarian shushing the five year old Neil and his penis because they were being too loud in the library. Shushing can be a terrifying experience for a youngster, especially if combined with a too early exposure to Dr. Seuss.

  18. Nicole

    hahahaha funny post! don’t worry, you are still loved!

  19. Bill

    Lynn … don’t tell me that! Am I the only boring writer? A support group of one?

  20. New York Moments

    Wow—I totally missed out 🙁

  21. cruisin-mom

    If we ever get around to meeting…I sure hope you like In and Out Burger…it matches my level of sophistication.

  22. Dagny

    They got to meet Sophia? I am so jealous. I like the idea that the Neil cut-outs may be going on tour soon though. Just as long as Sophia is bringing them around.

  23. Tara

    You should take it as a compliment that they all want to meet Sophia. You do an excellent job making her sound so interesting and attractive, no wonder everyone wants to meet her.

    They also may want to get her alone and ask her if she has conversations with both you and your penis at the same time.

  24. Painterbeachgirl

    and even funnier, if you read the Retropolitan post about meeting, Retropolitan says: “fellow blogger Neil and the enchanting and charming Sophia”. You’re just “fellow blogger”…she is “enchanting and charming”.

  25. Neil

    Akaky — Let me throw the ball in your court. If you live anywhere on the route back from MA to NYC, I’m stopping at your house and taking you out for lunch with Sophia and my mother. Are we on?

    Tara — as an interpreter, Sophia can speak many languages…

    Tatyana — I meant that you are much more glamourous in person than in that photo on your blog — which I mistakenly thought was you.

    Cruisin — Funny, I was going to meet you in IHOP.

  26. Danny

    We loved meeting you, Neil, but Sophia is…well…Sophia, you can’t compete with that! You two make a great team, no matter what your status is.

  27. Mike F

    I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.
    John F. Kennedy

  28. Rabbit

    You could send cardboard cut-out Neil all over the world like a Flat Stanley. He’ll come back to you with letters and photos. It’s a great way to get hot female bloggers to send you pictures.

  29. Leah

    I mean seriously Neil…we love you and all, but we WANT to meet Sophia. We must find out all those unanswered questions such as: 1)How is Neil in bed? 2)Does Neil chew with his mouth open? 3)What is the worst gift that Neil ever gave you but he pretended that it was awesome and that he didn’t really buy it last minute at the Eckerd and spend $10 on it.

    These are the things that inquiring minds want to know. And we all feel pretty sure that she’d be able to answer it. Plus we want to check out her rack.

  30. Akaky

    Okay, I’m on to you, trying to make me look like the bad guy here.

  31. The Retropolitan

    Leah — He chews with his mouth closed. I didn’t want to find out the other answers.

  32. Tatyana

    Akaky – he tried to do the same to me, too!
    I think we have to get together close to the nearest hotdog stand in Manhattan (although, personally, I prefer certain Thai restaurant in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn) and discuss our revenge.

    Neil, I’m afraid perspective of the forthcoming lakeside conversations horrifed you out of sense of humor. I promise to give you my number, too, don’t sulk! I will even try to find the disgusting Hostess’ Snowballs to present you upon your return from your bucolic interlude!

  33. rachh

    It’s no surprise Neil, you mention her so much, she’s obviously a very important part of your life and blogging. I would side with the others and want to meet her too

  34. Mads

    Sophia’s practically a blog icon now, Neil. All your own doing!
    We’re all “curiouser and curiouser’ as time passes 🙂

  35. danielle

    Where would you have met me? And why didn’t you? Now that’s the real question. Hope you had a fun visit.

  36. Edgy Mama

    I feel your pain, Neil.

    I recently threw a party for a bunch of Asheville bloggers and E-spouse was the charming, extroverted, party host.

    Of course, not many charming extroverts spend most of their time blogging, reading other blogs, or thinking about blogging.

    Just saying.

  37. bettyonthebeach

    Yes, Neil…you are still loved by many I am sure.

  38. amanda

    dang, was i really that obvious? haha just kidding!!

    i said no such thing! haha. but that made me laugh.

  39. mrsmogul

    What? You didn;t go to ZEN PALATE in UNION SQUARE? or was it the COffee Shop you went to?

    Amazing that you’re blogging while on VACATION!

  40. inky

    Hi. If you feel up to it, I’m back blogging again. Come read my lovely thoughts. Thanks, Amy (inky)

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