Why You Should Take Kramer’s Reality Tour

Kenny Kramer.
Kenny Kramer.

A few weekends ago, I took Kramer’s Reality Tour, which visits a bunch of Seinfeld-related sites in New York City, guided by the man who was the real-life model for the Kramer character, Kenny Kramer. I worried that since I’ve spent the last year researching a book about Seinfeld, I might be bored. But I loved it! Kramer is entertaining and on from minute one, sharing genuinely interesting stories I somehow haven’t heard a zillion times, and not once looking like someone who’s been doing this for nearly 20 years. He shows great old footage and photos of Seinfeld creator/Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David, who really did live across from Kenny at the Manhattan Plaza housing complex in Midtown. He spoke of David’s reluctance to participate in a complex-wide talent show, worried that if he bombed his neighbors would see he “wasn’t a real comedian.” He spoke more generally of the ’80s standup boom that was helped along by the rise of cable television. He spoke of watching David pacing in his apartment, hoping the show wouldn’t get picked up — if it did, after all, he’d have to keep writing it. Of course it did.

We visited Soup Man Intl., the 55th Street stand that served as the inspiration for “The Soup Nazi” episode. We drove by Tom’s Restaurant, which provided the exterior shot of Monk’s Cafe for the show’s entire run (save the pilot episode). We heard about several other Upper West Side sites as well, including the movie theater and video store featured in the show. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon in New York City, for superfans and casual fans, visitors and residents alike.

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