New Book: ‘Sometimes You Just Want an Egg Cream’ by Henry Chamberlain

Sometimes You Just Want an Egg Cream

On Wednesday, 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Life as we’d known it had changed forever. We are all still in this together with renewed hope and resilience. Many of us became creative. And for many of us who are already creative, we’ve found ways to explore further, and seek out joy, humor and grace. I spent 2020 completing a special graphic novel project as well as this whimsical tribute to the New York Egg Cream. You can get the book in print and on digital. Sometimes You Just Want an Egg Cream adds up to a neat showcase of artwork as well as a guidebook tour involving New York history, culture, and egg creams. It is a long time coming and it feels like the perfect time is now to share this with you.

Sometimes You Just Want an Egg Cream!

Briefly, an egg cream is an amazing soda drink, preferably chocolate. But within that simple mix of milk, seltzer and syrup, all kinds of dreams and memories are made. It was back in the ’80s, during that young lean time, that I made my first visit to New York City. I was coming from Houston, which is a hell of a big city but with a small town character if that makes any sense. I was looking forward to roughing it for a couple of weeks and staying in the no-frills yet intellectually lively 92nd Street Y. What I was not expecting was to have the airline lose my luggage! So, there I was nearly naked except for the clothes on my back for two weeks with the mean streets right along with the cultured streets ahead of me.

A book devoted to the egg cream!

Well, I was young and full of energy and imagination. I gorged on all kinds of sights and sounds. I had my list of things to see and do based upon all kinds of reading I’d done: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Met, Broadway, the Strand, Coney Island, St. Marks Place! And, moving along at a quick pace, I invited it all in: high and low; bright and dull; big and small; euphoric, melancholic, erudite and electronic. Brash youth that I was, I went for the people’s food, not fancy-schmancy. I was still many years away from taking any notice of Michelin ratings. I delighted in street vendor hot dogs and pizza by the slice. In fact, I still love that grub! And, in my young dewy-eyed state, my mind was first blown to the charms of the knish at Yonah Schimmel Knish right along with the awesome experience of pastrami at Katz’s Deli, and the delectable high of the egg cream at Gem Spa–as well as at Lexington Candy Shop! I was as much in love with the Upper East Side as I was with the Lower East Side! Ever since, whenever I visit NYC, I stop by somewhere and have an egg cream, which is what led me to create this book. Recently, I even connected with Gem Spa and they have some of my art on sale at their site. So, one thing leads to another!

Gem Spa, an East Village legend!

I also have related items, like cool prints and t-shirts, which you can buy right here. And I will keep playing around with this. I foresee more books and related events. If you get the book, you’ll see what I  mean. I should also add here that I fully encourage you to buy one of my New York Egg Cream t-shirts and then post a photo of you wearing it, preferably while having an egg cream at one of my favorite spots in NYC. Who knows, it could happen! You might be reading this right now and thinking that would be a pretty rad thing to do! And so the egg cream revolution is on!

Lexington Candy Shop, an Upper West Side classic!

I will definitely post again items from the book and hopefully start a whole big wonderful New York Egg Cream conversation! What is your egg cream memory? I’d love to know. You can comment here or contact me directly. And join the egg cream club!


Filed under Books, COVID-19, Henry Chamberlain, New York City

7 responses to “New Book: ‘Sometimes You Just Want an Egg Cream’ by Henry Chamberlain

  1. Wonderful reviews are appearing on Amazon for SOMETIMES YOU JUST WANT AN EGG CREAM. Readers are always open to new things if they sense things are moving in interesting directions. Here is one review example. This reviewer wondered about my connection to egg creams. My post above here explains why I know so much about New York Egg Creams given all my visits and a curious mind:

    Comic artist and author Henry Chamberlain grew up in the South and loves New Orleans but now calls Seattle home. How he came to write this illustrated guide to New York City’s iconic egg cream is unclear. Nonetheless it is a surprisingly affectionate and intimately definitive little history of the beverage which contains neither eggs nor cream.

    There are instructions on how to make your own at home, and the second half of the book is a guided tour of the best places in New York to order an egg cream. Among the stops is a diner where Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David came up with the Seinfeld TV show, and another that was the location for a scene in Desperately Seeking Susan. Still another was a favorite stop for an array of celebrities from Lou Reed and Blondie to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

    A sincere, lovingly written and illustrated little history and a very fun read.

  2. Can’t wait to read Henry!

  3. I think I never had an egg cream in my life. I keep on thinking maybe it was an eggnog but it doesn’t seem like they’re related much. Glad to hear that you accomplished this little project of yours! Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m so happy to get your comment. It’s fascinating to me how popular egg creams are with diehard fans. I think a lot of it has to do with it being an experience best enjoyed in a certain context: your favorite diner, for example. And it’s mostly an East Coast thing, specifically NYC. It’s wonderful that such things still exist.

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