April in New York – never mind the snow and sleet, it’s still a tootlin’ town.
The Varnished Culture traversed Manhattan in search of slightly off-the-wall aspects of the Bagel. We liked the Strand Bookstore on lower Broadway (celebrity trigger warning – Paul Giamatti spotted there), famed from the scene with Michael Caine and Barbara Hershey in Hannah and Her Sisters, and Argosy Bookshop, a great old-fashioned shop on 116 East 59th Street…
And right next door to Argosy, Yankees fans can stock up on all their gear, whilst they await that elusive 41st winning season…
The Varnished Culture chooses to stay at The Carlyle when in New York, less in homage to the impenetrable but still great books of Thomas C., more for the drinks in Ludwig Bemelmans’ Bar, decorated with Bemmie’s Madeline drawings, possibly commissioned in reduction of his extensive bar bill. Earl Rose noodled at the piano and public radio aped Graham Norton by conducting a jolly, drink-fuelled interview:
On Easter Sunday, TVC decided, as ‘fellow-travellers’ to the Great Religions, to wipe the smirks off our faces and attend services at the magnificent St Patrick’s on 5th Avenue. We were defeated by the crowds but managed to see some of the Easter revellers disporting themselves:
On Easter Monday, TVC attended a wedding in Central Park (of which, see more here). Mother Nature surprised us with about 6 inches of April snow, which our Staten Island cabbie thought (absolutely correctly, as the weather bureau later confirmed) the biggest fall for that month since 1982. Must be that global warming.
In any case, the weather righted itself a day or so later and the toy yachts reappeared.
We did briefly enter Trump Tower (before the fire), but finding no suggestion box available, repaired instead to the more staid and architecturally attractive Plaza. The Oak Room was closed for refurbishment (what would Cary Grant have said!) but the Champagne Bar was humming.
You can get any kind of ethnic nourishment in NYC, and in particular, 2nd Avenue crams in every such kind of joint – it’s a kind of Epcot Centre, but with authenticity – but can we give a shout-out to three restaurants in particular that are worth a visit:
Tony’s Di Napoli on 1081 3rd Avenue;
Orsay on 1057 Lexington Avenue; and, particularly –
Lusardi’s on 1494 2nd Avenue.