Today’s news:

BIG SCREECHER - Mount Etna erupts

For a quick flashback, last week’s column dealt with my favorite carbonated drink Manhattan Special erupting each time I opened a bottle to drink. Last time I likened it to Mount Vesuvius erupting and this time I compared it to Mount Etna in Sicily. After all the families that founded the Manhattan Special Bottling Company in 1895 came from both Naples and Palermo, the two areas that had live Volcanoes in Italy.

I’m sorry to report that since my last week’s column, Anthony who co-owned the A& G Bakery with his family closed my very favorite bread bakery, where I not only bought my French breads for my grandchildren, but got Manhattan Specials for me and my daughter in Long Island. I guarantee you that I will lose a minimum of forty pounds without his bread and Manhattan Specials and that is the only good side of A& G bakery going out of business. The bad side of this news is that the neighborhood is completely devastated and our dinners and especially the Holiday dinners will never be the same without the delicious Bay 50th Street bread.

So now it may be a moot point to report that the Manhattan Specials are still erupting every time you open one. Perhaps there hasn’t been time enough to adjust the carbonation, because after I opened another bottle which erupted, I decided to take a stand and call them. I looked on the bottle for a phone number for their customer service, but all I could find was a Brooklyn zip code. OK, I quickly dialed 411, asked for Manhattan Special in Brooklyn, New York and a live operator came on and said there’s a Manhattan Special Bottling Company on Manhattan Avenue, hence now we know where the “Manhattan” came from. I immediately got connected as part of the 411 service and a very nice lady’s voice answered the phone. I asked her if the company had a Customer Service Representative and she said “No, but tell me what it’s all about and perhaps I can help you.” I told her that I’ve been drinking Manhattan Specials for over sixty years, went into my history of living in Little Italy and growing up to love Manhattan Specials. I told her of the bottle erupting all over me in my car while driving, telling Anthony at the Bakery what happened and he confirming that customers were making the same complaint of similar eruptions.

She said perhaps there was too much carbonation and thanked me for informing them. She asked me if I would mind if the company sent me something for my trouble and asked for my address. Now most legitimate companies send you coupons to thank you for contacting them, I assumed that’s what she would be sending. About a week later, I ran into one of my neighbors waiting for the elevator. She said her husband Sam was still home and had a big package for me. I thanked her and scooted over to Sam who lived on my floor, on the other side of the building. It took both of us to put the package on my scooter and when I got to my apartment, I saw it had been Fed Ex-ed to me. I opened the box to see egg crate wrapping gingerly protecting 12 bottles of my favorite 10 oz. Soda…Manhattan Specials. Wow, considering that Manhattan Specials sold for $1.50 each in Anthony’s bakery and up to $3.00 each in restaurants and Pizzerias, the sodas alone averaged about $24 and figure how much it cost to Fed Ex it, this was my best present ever…even though they’re still erupting every time I open one, but who cares now, because I learned to open them over the sink.

Screech at you next week.

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