Central Perk, clearly a reference to NYC’s iconic Central Park, is located in Greenwich Village, and is the preferred hangout zone for the Friends. This is likely due to the ease of access from their apartments, because there’s no way any of them would willingly travel any further than that for a cup of coffee.
Managed by the oft-sidelined Gunther, Central Perk’s interiors have changed very little over the course of the show. The six of them almost exclusively occupy the large beige-brown sofa and the pair of chairs that accompany it. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the major events that occur in the story take place in this cafe, including the very first scene of the pilot.
At the cafe, Ross is dejected because his workplace sandwich had been stolen and eaten, which isn’t a big deal, really, except that it’s his “Thanksgiving leftover sandwich”.
Chandler tries to calm him down, but he angrily responds, saying that he is “thirty years old… about to be divorced twice… and just got evicted”, so the “sandwich was the only good thing going on in [his] life.” Monica gets tired of her brother’s moaning, and promises to give him her own.
Ross is furious at Joey because he mistakenly asks Rachel to marry him, and they have their face-off at the coffeeshop. The former says that he ““accidentally” picked up [his] grandmother’s ring and “accidentally” proposed…”, when his friend admits that he doesn’t know what air quotes refer to.
However, when Ross exhibits his sadness that Joey hadn’t even acknowledged what had happened, the latter apologizes using air quotes. After being told that he isn’t “using it right”, he brings his hands closer together and whispers the words.
Ross tells Rachel and Phoebe (who had just taken their first self-defense class) that he had “studied karate for a long time”, and refers to a supposed concept known as Unagi.
Rachel immediately doubts this, and asks if it’s “a kind of sushi”. She’s right, of course, but Ross gets hurt, so they are forced to accede to his incorrect nonsense. What he’s referring to is Zanshin, a Japanese term that alludes to a mental state involving permanent, but unconscious, alertness.