One holiday, my brother and I were home and wanted Mom to make fried okra. She wasn't all that keen on the idea but said if we could find okra, she'd be game. And off we went. We went to A&P first. No okra, nor anyone on staff who know what we were talking about. We stopped at a couple of green grocers. NFW. Finally, the last stop before going home in defeat was Gristedes. There in the back of the freezer, totally covered in frost were two boxes of cut okra. We were doing the dance of joy and soon had a crowd of people around us wanting to know what we were going to do with that strange stuff.
I don't remember where the offices of United Coconut were but they were somewhere very near the main New York City Library. I used to buy a nut and cream cheese sandwich from Chock Full of Nuts and sit on the steps of the library to eat it. It was the very best people watching in the universe ever.
At Thanksgiving, only Daddy and I were interested in going to the Macy's Day Parade and so we did. We had a special corner that Daddy had chosen that wasn't too crowded and it was wonderful. Then we'd do a Bloody Mary Tour. We'd stop in strategic bars on the way home, and get a Bloody Mary and then vote on the best.
The last bar on our tour was always PJ Clarke's on Third Avenue (which was the only one back then). It's is a marvelous old building around which sky scrapers were built. It was an old pub inside (and looks like it very well may still look just like that) with the very best food.
It's 2 blocks from the apartment so we were all there a lot. But one night really stands out. My BFF, Holly, was in town visiting. The drinking age was 19 and we were 19 so guess what we did? We marched right into PJ Clarke's and perched ourselves at the bar.
A really crusty, really old bartender came over to us and with his nose launched in the air, pronounced "We do not serve unescorted women at the bar." ???? We were instantly mortified and embarrassed and pissed. And, then, before we could move, there came a voice from next to me saying to the snooty bar tender "They are with me."
This was from a guy we'd never seen before. He never said a word to us. We sat at the bar and enjoyed our drinks like the fully mature adults we sure hoped to be.
That very same night, a large guy walked in the door wearing a bright blue shirt with with yellow daisy's on it and big puffy sleeves. A note here. Men, in those days, did not wear flowers or puffy sleeves so this guy would have been noticed had he been nobody. But, Holly looked over and said "wow, that guy looks like Joe Namath." I looked over to see that it really WAS Joe Namath. He sat at the bar with us.
There was no end to the magic that was New York City. I have not been back in about 35 years. Wonder if it misses me?
To Be Continued