First of all, it's pronounced NEE-dix. Not NEH-dix or
NAY-dix or anything like that.
That's the first lesson for any of you New Yorkers who either weren't old
enough or weren't around during Nedick's hot dog heydey during the mid-20th
century. After all, now that Nedick's is back in Manhattan, you wouldn't want
to embarrass yourself by mispronouncing it, would you?
Although it has been operating for a month, a reincarnated Nedick's stand -
on the lower-level, Eighth Avenue side of Penn Station - has its official
grand opening today, more than 20 years after the chain's hot dog and orangeade
fare succumbed to the more popular burger and soda.
The Nedick's name was revived by the Manhattan-based Riese Organization,
which bought the name a couple of years ago from an unnamed New Jersey soda
bottler, said Jeffrey Segal, the company's corporate chef and director of
culinary development. Segal said he spent three months researching Nedick's
history (most of which he said was anecdotal) in order to replicate as close as
possible the chain's original experience.
Of course, because it's now the 21st century, he also had to update the
menu a bit, meaning Nedick's now has the Chicago dog and Texas corndog, as well
as a New York classic: the "dirty water" dog.
"What other city can you say 'dirty water dog' and people don't go, 'Eww'?
They know exactly what you mean," Segal said. (For those who don't, the term
fondly refers to the liquid from which wieners are plucked by the tongs of hot
dog cart vendors.)
Founded in 1910, Nedick's forked its way into New York City pop culture
with its chain that served what would become standard fare for the next 60
years: a hot dog on a butter-toasted bun and an orange drink. Before he broke
into acting, Gregory Peck dined on the nine-cent breakfast at Nedick's,
according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. However, unable to keep up with the
ever-growing McDonald's and Burger Kings of the world, Nedick's was gone by the
late 1970s and early '80s.
For a time, though, Nedick's was it in New York, and, oddly enough, the
chain's most famous association had nothing to do with its food. Marty
Glickman, the late, longtime sports announcer, used to mark Knicks baskets with
his signature phrase, "Good, like Nedick's," back when the chain had a hot dog
stand next to the marquee of the old Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue
and 50th Street.
Now, the Knicks are anything but good, but Segal hopes New Yorkers find
that Nedick's still is.