"New York, New York, It's A Wonderful Town" and it was in the mid to late 60s. My life was spent in restaurants, either eating or working in them , bars, movies, theatres and/or 'den of iniquities' .
I had so many favorite restaurants to eat in but the one that topped them all, and still does, is Marchi's , which opened in 1930 and has served the same bill of fare ever since consisting of 5 courses, which are really, 7-8, and each better than the last. To give you an idea the last course is a platter of fruit, another platter of cheese and a lemon fritter, but you aren't finished yet as they bring out a tower of Cristolis.
This is their card which I took in 1965 and have kept ever since! Inside it tells you all about the restaurant since the day the converted a brownstone into a fabulous place to eat. Don't plan to do anything else that evening.
Among many other restaurants I loved were: Paddy's Clam House on 34th Street just west of Macy's, world famous for their cheesecake Lindy's, Dempsey's, the Stage Deli for a Hymie's Special, the tourist trap called Momma Leone's that was great, the 5 Oaks in the Village, Luna's in Little Italy, one of the first 'completely gay' restaurants was on 8th Street east of 5th Avenue (sorry, I don't remember the name) and a Spanish restaurant not far from there where a legend to be, Barbra Streisand, sat next to us, a seafood house on 3rd Avenue in the 50s, Gallagher's Steakhouse in the theatre district, Downey's, Joe Allen's, Sun Luck Gourmet, Dan Dowd's, The Slate on 11th Avenue, Hell's Kitchen area, The Brassiere and who could forget the Automat? Another restaurant, and once again I forget the name, that was on the east side , was where I had buffalo, venison and all sorts of wild game for the first time. When you have a couple of hours I'll tell youafewmore.
When I wasn't eating in restaurants I was working in them and I had a few memorable jobs. One of them was at the Gas Pavillion at the World's Fair in 1964 in Flushing where as a waiter I cooked table side, yes on a gas cart! The fair ran for two six-month seasons, April 22–October 18, 1964 and April 21–October 17, 1965 and it was during the former time that Flo visited me and Pepe and if you look at the previous blog you will see it was cold!
Another was Dan Stampler's Steak Joint on Greenwich Avenue in the Village where I waited on Diahann Carroll, who was absolutely stunning, and her boyfriend at the time David Frost. I worked in the 5 star Four Seasons Restaurant on 52nd Street where I saw things happen in the kitchen that I still don't believe I saw! There was the lunch job at Miller's on Wall Street where the tips were pretty bad and the Ham 'N Eggs on the west side in the 50s where I waited on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward--yes, he was a good tipper--funny what you remember and what you don't. There was the Ad Lib on 45th (or was it 47th?) Street and Madison (or was it Lexington?) Avenue which was small, upscale and got a very snobbish crowd. It was also where I connected with Dan Dowd's steakhouse and when I returned to Fort Lauderdale in 1979 I was able to get a job at his restaurant there.
My last job as a waiter in New York was at the Brass Rail which I was going to talk about here but will wait until Part D, as this is too long as it is, because it is where I met Ronnie who became very close to me--no, not that way! We became drinking, eating, cruising and theatre buddies who did outrageous 'only in New York' things.
(To be continued)
"To be a star
you must shine your own light,
follow your own path,
and don't worry
about the darkness,
for that is when the
stars sine brightest."