Less Filling, Tastes Great

Boyleing Points

When I see a Miller Lite can I think of Tab, the rusty carbonated water that was the first diet soda. In doing my exhaustive research for this column, I was shocked to learn Tab is still sold. I don’t think I’ve seen a can since Luke and Laura ran away together on General Hospital.

I remember a rumor that the one-calorie per can claim was a bunch of bunk. Someone in a college class said it had more calories than a can of coke and a cupcake. The class was shocked, and one slightly chunky girl, who must’ve been trying to shed pounds, sighed, “No wonder...”

Sales of Tab today are anorexic as Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi and even Diet Mountain Dew have become the choice of the calorie conscious.

On the beer side, Miller Lite, the original lite beer, has held up better than Tab. It’s still a popular choice edging out its cousin, Miller Ultra, though it trails Rockaway’s official preferred liquid, Bud Lite, and the runner-up, Coors Light. (Oh, regular Bud is in the top four but Rockaway Brewing IPA is charging hard!).

Miller Lite is my way of bringing up ambivalence.           

A million years ago, Miller ran an ad campaign with people arguing over what was better about Miller Lite, its taste or that is was less filling. In one of the more memorable commercials, the fiery and opinionated former Yankee manager, Billy Martin, is asked if the beer is better tasting or less filling. Going against type, the uncompromising Martin says “I feel strongly both ways.”

Fast forward a million years and I feel like Billy Martin about summer crowds and Rockaway’s relatively new popularity. 

Those who live here want more choices for dining, entertainment and shopping but would rather do without the crowds that encourage people to open new places. But that can’t work.

My favorite movie theater of all time was the Surfside Cinema at 103rd and the Boulevard. You’d go there and be the only one in the place. It was nice to have a private screening room even if an occasional seat spring gave your ass a surprise once in a while.

The reason it’s not my favorite anymore is because it closed about 20 years ago.    Shockingly, it couldn’t keep its doors open just for me. I think it closed while a pair of sneakers of mine were still stuck to the floor. In any case, the place closed because Rockaway by itself didn’t or couldn’t support it.

And that’s something to keep in mind. All the choices, the ferry, lots of good stuff has happened because we’ve been discovered. I love it.  But boy do I hate beach slobs, traffic, and places that are too packed to get into. 

So, the Rockaway boom? I love it, I hate it. I feel strongly both ways.

But if I’m honest, I gotta embrace the crowds. The good, the bad, and the hipster.

Without the crowds, instead of the new hot thing, Rockaway would be another Tab.

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