Sept. 28-Oct. 3, 1983 Sept. 17-23, 1985 Sept. 22-27, 1988
What do all these dates have in common?
1) They were spent in New York.
2) Had dinner at Marchi's, my most favorite restaurant ever!
3) Attended the San Genarro's festival in Little Italy.
4) Saw "A Chorus Line".
I have been going to Marchi's for over 50 years and the place continues to amaze me. They claim to serve only 5 courses but don't believe them! Anytime I returned to NYC after I left in 1969 I would have dinner one evening at Marchi's. The restaurant is an all night affair so there is no sense in planning to go to the theatre. Each time I visited New York with someone, or I was meeting someone there or connecting with an old friend, time was made for Marchi's. I could take 6 posts to talk about the place but go to http://www.marchirestaurant.co
m/ if for nothing else to see the menu.
Briefly, Marchi's was opened in the 1930s in a town house on a tree lined East 31st Street. They have no menu as the meal is already made up and you have no decisions to make. Below is 'phamphlet' that I have had for 40 years and little has changed since then except the price has gone up and, from what I could tell on the web site, they have expanded the patio dining area.
The following are just some notes I made over the years in my diary about these 3 trips in particular.
September 29, 1983 A most memorable day for me but more about that later. The dinner at Marchi's lived up to all the praise I had been telling the guys about. There was Tommy, Chuck, Bill, Bob, John and myself. Also joining us was Sue (one of my past 100 pound losers) who brought her friend Michael, very young, and Sylvia Miles, the actress who had appeared in "Midnight Cowboy" and "Farewell My Lovely" receiving supporting role Oscar nominations for both. Sylvia brought a friend of hers whose I never did get. She seemed very disoriented during the first hour but then started to tell us 'amusing' behind the Hollywood and Broadway scenes which dissipated the disappointed feeling I had meeting her. She and her escort left, neither offering to pay their share, though I did pick up the whole check. Sue took a cab to friend's bar called The Polo bar where we would meet her as we had decided to walk the 21 blocks to get there.
September 19, 1985 Buddy Vest and I went down to the World Trade Center then walked over to the Seaport finally going for dinner at Marchi's. It was due to Buddy playing the role of Zach in "A Chorus Line" on tour that made it possible for him to get Dr. K and me tickets to that show 2 years before whe Michael Bennett celebrated "ACL" became the longest running musical on Broadway. At that time he was, also, appearing in "Dreamgirls" and got us house seats. There was no way I could ever repay Buddy for that performance of "ACL" but I certainly tried every time I saw him! Now, 2 years later, in 1985, he was talking about giving up the theatre. He had quit the "ACL" tour in St. Louis because of a guy he fell in love with. Buddy had come to my twelfth Leap Year birthday in 1984 and the following year he had AIDS. Sadly he died but he will never be forgotten!
September 26, 1988 I am meeting George Chauncey, Jr., who was writing a book about gay life in New York starting in the 19th century up to the current day, at Marchi's. He had done a few interviews with me and I had sent him some material. (He would use my material and quote me here and there in the book. For the record I always recommend the book to young teenagers as it tells a lot about gay history that they should know.) I brought along Robert Lee and it upset George. I don't know why but my ego tells me it was because he had other plans for us. At one point he remembered that he had to go meet his lover and left! Never heard from or saw him again and even though my name is referenced through the book I had to buy my own copy when it was finally published. From what I have read he has had a very good career in education and I believe, not sure, that he introduced a course in gay history at the University of Chicago where he was a professor for a long time. He nowteaches in New York. Wonder if he still is with his lover--will have to google him to find out. I believe Robert Lee was in "M. Butterfly" on Broadway. I haven't heard from him since but I do have an autographed picture he gave me the day after the Marchi's dinner.
If I ever go back to New York, which I doubt, I would definitely go to Marchi's and I suggest anyone who does travel to the Big Apple plan to spend an evening at this great restaurant. When you get a chance check out their menu at http://www.marchirestaurant.co
m Out of curiosity I emailed them asking what they are charging for their dinner these days--back in 1988 it was, if I remember correctly, $30 each.
(TO BE CONTINUED--NEXT SAN GENNARO'S FESTIVAL AND MORE)