Tag Archives: Minetta Tavern

New York Mysteries Dec. 9 – Dec. 15

What do Jack Ruby, Black Rabbit, The Smuggler, have in common? They’re Minetta Tavern house cocktails of course.  A friend and I made our annual Christmas pilgrimage to the jam-packed steak house on MacDougal.  Shrouded in darkness on a south-west corner, you open an anonymous door, walk through a tiny, bleak 1930’s antechamber, pushes aside some very black curtains and you’re in. You better have a reservation unless you’re willing to wait 45 minutes for a place at the bar.  And this was a Tuesday evening. I found out later that The Black Rabbit was the restaurant’s original name and that the owner Eve Adams had another MacDougal restaurant down the block, now called La Laterna di Vittorio.  We sat across from the bar and had a view of the caricatures, some by Franz Kleine, and the Millennials clustered around the bar. I had to have a Tom Collins and the marrow bones, then on to other cholesterol challenging treats. Such fun.





I saw Bombshell: The Hedy LaMarr Story at IFC. It’s a terrific documentary. Hedwig Eva Kiesler (1914-2000) was born in Vienna. She appeared in the nude in an early Austrian film, Ecstasy, which caught the attention of Louis B. Mayer who was in Vienna. After a failed audition, the soon to be Hedy LaMarr travelled to NYC on the same ocean liner as Mayer. He agreed to sign her to a contract and looking at the ocean, changed her name to Hedy LaMarr. She was a very beautiful woman who invented an instrument used but not paid for by the U. S. navy. At MGM she starred in adventurous epics that seem ludicrous today. The documentary is narrated by her son, Anthony Loder. He’s articulate and personable. Loder explains how his mother fell prey to pills. Like so many other actors, she worked like a race horse. She kept up by devouring pills to sleep and pills to wake up. She also fell prey to the miracle of plastic surgery. By the time she died, she was disfigured. I wonder if she was ever interviewed by Hedda Hopper, a gossip columnist of the 1940’s. If so, it could have taken place at Minetta Tavern.

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

New York City Blog Aug. 22 — Aug. 28

I saw Florence Foster Jenkins. Fine acting by pros Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. It’s a remake of the children’s tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. In this case, the one person who speaks and writes the truth, The New York Post’s critic, is portrayed as the villain for reviewing honestly Jenkins’s Carnegie Hall recital. I didn’t see the point of the movie and I didn’t like Jenkins. She embodied our American mantra: money talks. She manipulated people through her wealth. Florence Foster Jenkins is surrounded by older ladies who are either very, very stupid and honestly think she can sing or they’re dreary social climbers dazzled by her $$$$$. As a gigolo, Hugh Grant is very good at playing a man who’s playing a part. Question: Why should a rich white lady be encouraged to delude herself? Answer: Because she’ s a rich white lady. What do people of color think of Florence Foster Jenkins?

Employees Only is a wonderful restaurant on Hudson Street. Forget the weird name but remember it until you arrive at 510 Hudson. It has a dated speakeasy ambiance, so beloved by us sentimental New Yorkers. Are the five owners/ bartenders pictured in the retro photo? After you arrive at 510 Hudson, you give your name for admittance and enter a dark crowded bar. Oh, where is the cigarette smoke of yesteryear? Then you proceed to a surprisingly bright room with a skylight. The food is delicious. The knockout lamb chops wrapped in bacon, the fresh and tasty succotash. The word conjures up tired veggies but not at Employees Only. Lovely service and lots of fun. Watch out, Minetta Tavern. You have the buzz but Employees Only has the food.

Employees Only
Employees Only
Employees Only Dining Room
Employees Only Dining Room


New York City Blog – May 7 – May 14

Lebhaft, frisch, sehe ranch – in other words, lively, fresh, very quickly. I’m quoting from the Frick Collection’s program for Imogen Cooper’s Schumann and Schubert recent recital. Ms. Cooper was splendid. She played Robert Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze. After a short intermission she launched into Franz Schubert’s Sonata in B-Flat Major, D. 960.Thanks to Ms. Cooper and the subtle elegance of Frick’s Music Room we were whisked back to the glory of nineteenth century German music.

A friend and I love the Minetta Tavern’s buzz, its reimagined decor, its funky menu, its unassuming entrance, its traditional Tom Collins. Years ago people could dine there without cashing in their 401Ks. No more. Since Keith McNally dolled up Minetta Tavern, it’s pricy and worth it. Minetta Tavern reminds me of those glamorous restaurants like the Stork Club we hear about in movies and from long departed relatives.


Tom Collins for EveryoneJack Kleinsinger never tires of telling his audience that Highlights in Jazz is the longest running jazz concert series in NYC. 44 years young !!! Thursday’s program was very satisfying: Wycliffe Gordon on the trombone, Nicki Parrott on bass and Bria Skonberg on trumpet. In addition to being stellar musicians, they’re all great vocalists.

Mit gutem Humor…

New York City Blog Dec. 14 – Dec. 19

Al Carmines’s oratorio, Christmas Rappings, was first presented at Judson Memorial Church in 1969. It’s part of Judson’’s DNA, as Rev. Micah Bucey said yesterday at the second of two presentations in Judson’s Meeting Room. There’s nothing like homegrown masterpieces. Russell Treyz directed the 64 (?) member chorus and narrators. Treyz and the ensemble captured it all: the magic and simplicity of the nativity, the music’s bittersweet tone wrapped in the angst and excitement of the 1960’s. There have been many productions of Christmas Rappings. Each successive one carries the memories and voices of the past. As I write this, I’m listening to a YouTube presentation from the original production.

After the performance, a friend and I celebrated a Christmas tradition: We go to Minetta Tavern, sit at the same table, reserved and begged for weeks in advance, and dive into their divine Old Tom Collins and Bone Marrow. Having an ambulance on call is extra.

I attended a forum organized by the Gotham Greens local of the Green Party of New York County, Movement Building – Bernie Sanders and/or the Green Party, held in the LGBT building on Thirteenth Street. It was heartening to be with a group of about sixty people who are adamant about supporting third parties and changing our political system. Eight participants spoke for five minutes. John Baldwin, a long time Green member, spoke cogently about Sanders being a liberal Democrat who will throw his votes to Clinton. Baldwin supports Jill Klein, the Green Party candidate. Other speakers such as Alan Arrives, a member of Socialist Alternative, supports Sanders. After the panelists spoke, there was a Q & A session. Not a whisper of that sad old remark about Ralph Nader botching an election.
Here’s a recent Michael Moore statement:
“Fortunately, Donald, you and your supporters no longer look like what America actually is today. We are not a country of angry white guys. Here’s a statistic that is going to make your hair spin: Eighty-one percent of the electorate who will pick the president next year are either female, people of color, or young people between the ages of 18 and 35.”

Politically, I agree with Michael Moore, but his manner irks me as much as the Donald’s does. Remember Steve Martin’s quib about Michael Moore? Martin made it when he was the Academy Awards host. Moore had won an award for one of his documentaries. Being Moore, he made a business out of it. He insisted that the other nominees accompany him to the stage. Finally he got off the stage, after a great deal of showing off. Martin said, “You know those teamsters are good guys. I just saw them helping Michael Moore into the trunk of his car.”

New York City Blog May 10-16

I went to an afternoon concert at Carnegie Hall expecting to hear mezzo-soprano, Sarah Craft Nelson. What a surprise to open the program and discover I was about to hear the Bob Jones University Singers. Why not? Eventually, Sarah Nelson Craft appeared under the aegis of the Masterworks Festival Chorus and New York City Chamber Orchestra. Her lustrous voice soared and glided in Vivaldi’s Gloria.
Later in the day a friend and I indulged in Minetta Tavern’s marrow bones and the bartender’s traditional Tom Collins. Like Sardi’s the Minetta Tavern’s walls are covered with caricatures of well know and unknown and forgotten celebrities.


Minetta Tavern Celebrity
Minetta Tavern Celebrity

A Columbia alumnus and I went to the Cosmopolitan Club’s Library for a Columbia sponsored talk on George Eliot’s Middlemarch. The participants fell over themselves musing about women’s rights in nineteenth century England. Have you noticed how Middlemarch has become one of those books you MUST like? The Cosmopolitan’s library is a dream. It’s filled with books: fiction, non-fiction, weighty dictionaries, picture books. There are comfy chairs to flop in and read or daydream or gaze out the eighth floor windows at Manhattan.


Cosmopolitan Club Library
Cosmopolitan Club Library

A late afternoon CMS Spanish Dances concert at Alice Tully Hall rounded off a busy week. A Boccherini string quintet followed by Paganini’s Terzetto Concertante featured the fabulous classical guitarist, Jason Vieaux. After the intermission, Alessio Bax, the pianist and Benjamin Beilman, the violinist roared through several pieces by Falla and then topped their performance with Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Piano. Both performers are determined and exciting. I had given up a performance at Carnegie Hall to see Bax and was not disappointed.

About time: the Vatican finally recognized the State of Palestine.