I have to stick with what I’ve said. I have always preferred "half-done" pickles to "full sour", and lament that they are hard to get away from the east coast, everywhere else I’ve eaten them which has included many places up and down the coast (after all, I grew up there) from New York to Miami Beach. Katz’s pickle was not, IMHO, "half done"–it was barely pickled at all, but even so I actually didn’t dislike it, I just wished for a bit more time in the pickle barrel.
As for the sandwich, the awful truth is I don’t like pastrami nearly as much as I like corned beef. For me it’s "OK" but I really love corned beef.
I didn’t blow your secret, several guidebook writers did, but I have to repeat–if you haven’t tried the Dumpling House (sadly, even more crowded) only a block and a half away, you should.
IMHO it was better than the Sbarro’s in every US mall, though maybe not better than the ones in NYC. I didn’t try Sbarro’s there–that would have been too humiliating. I did look for the opportunity to have a coal oven pizza but I weigh more than a few pounds too much as it is and just stuffing one down to say I did it didn’t seem like something I wanted to do (some of the best places apparently don’t sell them "by the slice"). After all, I have had them before. This wasn’t my first trip to New York. Just my first trip since early 2001.