Some Sounds from my Past: Ordering Food on Long Island

When I was a senior in high school I worked for a Pizzeria in Freeport, Long Island called Raimo’s. They had awesome food—in fact, they still do because a quick search suggests they’re still going strong—and it got so busy back in the late 80s (1989 to be exact) that they hired me just to answer the phone for pick-up orders. I spent about four hours every friday night answering the phone, writing up tickets, and generally getting the pizzas, heros, etc., ready for pick-up. It wasn’t a particularly exciting job, but I liked talking to people on the phone and the meatball parmagian heros were to die for, so I kept coming back. Anyway, I used this scenario to do the “May I take your order?” audio assignment for ds106. I tried a thick Long Island accent, which was pretty easy for me, and my only issue was that both the person making the order and the person taking the order sound too much alike, which is my bad. Outside of that, I love the idea that the person taking the order challenges the other person on the quality of LI tap water—a source of pride on the Strongest Island. What’s more, being confronted on stupid things like this happened all the time to me in NY, and it never happened nearly as much to me when I lived in California or Virginia. Anyway, here is my take-out phone order from a Long Island pizzeria.

Doing that previous one made me think of another experience I had when I was younger on Long Island. There was an awesome Kosher Deli in town call Ben’s Kosher Deli that I used to ride my black and gold Ross Snapper to on a regular basis and get two plain hot dogs and a coke, right after purchasing a smurf from the nearby stationary store (which was called Stage, if any Baldwin, LI folks are keeping track). There was always the same old Jewish guy who ran the hot dogs and every time I ordered them and asked for the coke he would ask me in return, “How do you like the coke?” To which I would invariably answer, “In a can,” because I preferred that over fountain. And to this he would always follow with an emphatic question, “What are you Greek?!’ A joke I never got until much, much later, and still marvel how insane it was that he said that to an 8 or 9 year old kid for what seemed like years and I never got it and he never got called on it. So this on is in honor of him, who must have been Greek 🙂

All sound effects were gotten from Freesound, which specific credits listed below.
Sound credits:
“Restaurant Ambience” by Aftergaurd
“Hang Up” by Ondrosik
“Phone Receiver” by Percy Duke
Old Telephone Bell by fonogeno

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6 Responses to Some Sounds from my Past: Ordering Food on Long Island

  1. George Meadows says:

    Jim,
    I really like the Raimos pizzeria dialogue. I’m not sure what makes it so enjoyable and how you got so much into a minute or so, but it’s my favorite Bava sound clip now – it’s even better than “Jim Groom, what happened?” Can you make it into a short story? And record it? And maybe a novella while you’re at it?

  2. Reverend says:

    George,
    Funny you should say that, I thought the accents were over done, like much on this blog, but also fun. Another thing I noticed on re-listening is that when the phone is ringing it seems as if the background noise should still be there, if it isn’t it seems to me the perspective would be the dude calling. I don;t think that is how I imagined it though, I always felt more attached to the person answering the phone and taking the order. Weird.

  3. George Meadows says:

    I didn’t notice any of that – as a whole it just seemed to really capture a New York moment. The challenge at the end, about the quality of water, makes it just right. I wasn’t kidding about the short story – or maybe a collection of short sound clips like this – I’d really enjoy reading/listening.

  4. Ben says:

    I think the over the top accents helped make the piece! Maybe it’s something about feeding into people’s own egocentric stereotypes of the rest of the world, but it’s slightly comical in a good way.

  5. Reverend says:

    @George,
    I have some good ones I can record, and I might take you up on that, I love telling stories from where and when I grew up. You are feeding my ego and giving me ideas, which is dangerous. 🙂

    @Ben,
    I agree, and one of the things I love about Long Island, which may be one of the most maligned parts of the country, is how well we make fun of ourselves. We constantly exaggerate our own accents, which in many ways are as much a fiction of the movies and TV as they are real—which is the really interesting part for me.

  6. Matt says:

    You’re nuts. I love it.

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