New York Mysteries.Com


A confession: I have never appreciated opera. Pretending to be entranced, I had sat through a performance by Maria Callas at La Scala. That was followed by a number of years in Rome and New York suffering through operas at the Met, both old and new.

This afternoon I watched a 1982 filming of Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Pagliacci. Finally, I got it. I was blow away by Plácido Domingo and Teresa Stratas singing on the Met’s recreation of a church’s very steep stairs. I’d been told that filming opera gave the viewer a sense of the drama. It’s true.

New York Mysteries. Com


Is food our latest obsession? Does anyone cook at home anymore? Considering these weighty questions, I’m describing briefly some New York City restaurants I’ve recently dined in.

City Winery, 25 11th Avenue (at 15th Street)The website is scary. My friend and I wanted an afternoon lunch overlooking the Hudson. Armed with hunger and ignorance we walked into the enormous building identified by the sign, City Winery. On a Tuesday afternoon we wandered by wait staff until we found the perfect spot. Over wine and a large, delicious appetizer, fiery cauliflower, we looked out the enormous glass window at the boat-filled Hudson. To the south was Little Island. The main course was surprisingly tiny and dessert, cheesecake cupcakes, was divine. After lunch we roamed through the vast rooms to a deck and took an elevator to the top floor. The view of the Hudson and all that goes on in it was wonderful.

Quality Eats West Village, 19 Greenwich Avenue My friend and I had an early supper. We each had the $45 special. My first course could have been sent over from a public school lunch counter: mountains of iceberg lettuce slathered with a rich white sauce. The second course was salmon and bog choy, delicious. Dessert was something or other like yogurt, very tasty. My pino noir was $25 a glass. Oh, well, it’s only money.

Knickerbocker, 33 University Place I dined here with a friend and we loved it. It’s an old-fashioned, discreetly modernized steak house. Perfect service from a staff that’s been there forever, lots of room between tables, wonderful food – including great seafood. Of course, it’s expensive and worth every penny. Leave an enormous tip.

Cafe Un, Deux, Trois, 123 West 44th Street I hadn’t been in this restaurant in years. If you’re going to the Belasco which is next door, it’s perfect. This is a great combination of French class and NYC sass. Food is lovely. We went to lunch and then to a matinee. Highly recommend.

Libertine, 684 Greenwich Street Pretentious nonsense. I had something called scallops and seaweed. It was slimy. Followed by sausage and mashed potatoes I could have cooked at home. Dessert? Like a fool I ordered cheese. It arrived, all four little pieces. Gaetano’s was the previous restaurant. It too had lousy food but a great atmosphere. Vintage crooners: Sinatra, Bennett, Como, laced with Rosemary Clooney.

A New York Afternoon

New York Mysteries    August 12

A perfectly delightful New York Saturday afternoon: lunch at Cafe Un, Deux, Trois followed by GOOD NIGHT, OSCAR.

I had not been in Un, Deus, Trois in years. I had remembered it as being small and intimate. Not at all. Last Saturday it was bustling and smartly jazzy. Everything was perfect: the food, the decor, the lady’s room, the service.

Also, it’s next door to the Belasco Theater. We had perfect orchestra seats. Row H 112 and 113, on the aisle. I looked around the old theater and remembered sitting in the balcony, twisting my neck so I could see the stage’s far corner. The restored Tiffany lights shimmered on the various murals.  It was the first time I’d attended a theater in a few months. I chose GOOD NIGHT, OSCAR because I’m one of Sean Hayes’s many fans. Remember him on Will and Grace? The matinee performance was packed. Hayes’s initial entrance was greeted with loud applause. The show was his. Aside from Stephanie Janssen who played Levant’s martyred wife brilliantly, the other actors could have phoned in their lines. I remember Oscar Levant from An American Paris and Bandwagon. He came across as lonely and cranky. He’s remembered as being witty and playing the piano. 


Father Leo

New York Mysteries    July 31

Are you going to Oppenheimer? Hard not to even if it is three hours long. My cousin, Leo Haigerty (1924 -2001), worked on the Manhattan project. When I was five years old my mother and I would visit her New Jersey family in the summer. One summer we were told that Leo was working on a secret project in New York City. My three year old cousin, my eight year old cousin and I were told not to ask Leo any questions, not t be nosy when he visited. Offhand I can’t think of anything we could have asked Leo. He was delightful with us kids. A natural teacher, he taught us about earthworms. He found some in the garden and had us examine them gently, knowing how children like to squish things.

At that time my mother and I were living in Loogootee, Indiana with my recently deceased father’s family who had kindly taken us in after my father’s ship was torpedoed. Leo’s parents lived nearby. After completing his mysterious work on the Manhattan project, Leo became a Roman Catholic priest. He ended his days as a chaplin at Perdue and is buried in the Priests Circle in Saint John’s Cemetery, Loogootee, Indiana.

I regret not having known him better.