Many years ago when I first visited New York City as an un-jaded, wide-eyed college student, the city was a vastly different place. PBRs, not Manhattans, were the drink of choice, Williamsburg hadn't fully gentrified, and the East Village and Lower East Side were still semi-tolerable places to hang. Between visits to the Dark Room and Max Fish, where friends drank fallen soldiers left at empty tables, I sustained myself on $2.50 falafel sandwiches at Mamoun's. Come to think of it, aside from pizza and bodega BLTs, they were pretty-much the only food I ate.
Years later, when I finally moved to New York for good, I returned to the establishment delighted to find my favorite meal's price had remained untouched. Mamoun's falafels were a lone constant in an every-shifting landscape—a willful anachronism out of step with the modern age. But all things must end, and the sands of time finally caught up even to Mamoun's. Indeed, a couple of years ago they raised prices up to $3, and now the last pure sandwich on St. Mark's has again hiked its tag another fifty cents. So next time you take a big, onion-y bite, remember a time when Manhattan was a little bit cheaper, a little bit kinder.
Then again, you should probably just savor the fact you are eating a damn fine sandwich for under four bucks. That, or walk down the street to Xi'an Famous Foods, because their stewed pork burger still hasn't broken three.