Category Archives: Cafe Reggio

Sad Times July 23rd 2014

It has not been a very happy year so far and it shows no sign of getting better any time soon. I know I’ve been off the radar for two years now and I can’t seem to get back on the horse. I am putting a link that will tell the tale for me in the hopes of getting some help. Here it is
I never thought it come to this but desperate times call for desperate measures. Thanks for reading, and to any who used my work for term papers and such. I hope you got good grades.

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The British Invasion-Part 1-Apr 8th 2009

Well today is an auspicious occasion, I am heading into Manhattan to meet two of my relatives from England who are here on holiday, I search for a legal parking space but none are available, so I park with dozens of others in an illegal spot and hope for the best. I walk to the station, get my ticket and a coffee, and let me tell you it’s cold. I mean I remember days in December warmer than this, luckily the train comes in a few minutes. I get on and have to stand in the crowded rush hour train, across from me an Asian guy devours a bagel with cream cheese like it’s his last meal. He takes big bites while texting and drinking his coffee off the floor, a tradition inspired by the lack of cup holders on board. A good thing I guess because trains are sticky enough. I’m late because of my parking ordeal and I’m really annoyed that we have to buy a permit to park, even the outer mall parking lot nearby is being taken over as railroad parking. More money for the county, parking permits or tickets for that matter and more regulation of free space and time. When the revolution begins, I’ll be on the front lines.

 There’s a couple of cute moms with kids a few rows away and every few minutes a chorus of loudly repeated words like a yes/no fight erupts between the kids causing the moms to shush them over and over. The mom facing me is wearing  jeans and shiny black boots, she’s got a cute smile and I like the way she plays with her hair as she talks to her friends. I catch her blue eyes noticing me noticing her and she reddens a bit, enjoying the attention. More people get on as we stop at stations, they still haven’t checked tickets yet. Maybe a free ride this time for us standing anyway. The kids are fussing now and cute mom hugs her daughter, a cute moment…it would be a great painting if I had a photo to work from. We slowly come in to Jamaica Station, some people will get off here but I don’t think I’ll get a seat anyway. The train leaves the station and we are speeding along now, soon I will feel the descent of the train into the tunnels under the water, into Manhattan’s underground catacomb of rail systems.

 I get off the train with a sense of urgency, I know I’ll be late but the traffic makes getting a cab impossible, I mean the line is long for one thing so I walk at a brisk pace to Sofitel on W 44th St, to find Sharon standing outside waiting for me. She quickly takes me inside to find my cousin Mark who was trying to ring our house to see where I was. Then after a trip back upstairs to get a jacket we sit down in the lobby to catch up on things, I haven’t seen them since our first meeting in 2005 when my family and I went to England and France at an all too brief family reunion party. We leave the beautiful hotel, which is nicer than any I’ve ever seen, and begin a trek in the cold windy city greeted with brief snow showers and then raindrops. This is hardly what I wished for them on their first trip to New york, but they might as well discover now that the Big Apple never quite lets you forget who’s boss. It’s like a man once said… you come to New York the first time and she beats you up some and you run away with your tail between your legs, then you lick your wounds  and you come back, because you learn to love it.

 I’ve never done this before so I’m a little nervous, I’d like to be a wealth of information but mostly I travel by the seat of my pants, it’s better that way…you find things you might have missed otherwise. But these folks have travelled a long way so every minute counts, and I don’t want to let them down. We walk to Grand Central Station to catch the subway to the Village, all the way chattering like magpies about everything, getting to know each other. The funny thing is I feel like I know them already, I might be nervous about doing a good job but I’m totally comfortable with them as people, they are very likable and kind and we get on thick as thieves from the start. They are well travelled but a little unsure about New York, the sheer size of it is daunting to them and I can understand, I’ve been to the city dozens of times but still can get turned around easily, the city is intimidating. I bring them down and show them the subway explaining the green and red lines that can get you uptown and downtown, the cross over lines and so forth. We get out at Union Square so they can see the city, I know the market is not in full swing on weekdays but want them to see it anyway, and then we are off in search of a loo and they want drinks! Now I am taken aback and look at my cell phone and say “It’s only 11:30! smiling at them. Mark smiles and says “Yes but were on vacation! And so are you! I smile and say “Yes I guess your right then, OK lets see what we can find” I think because I’m home I didn’t feel it at first but I am on vacation and it feels good. We find both needs at Patsy’s on University Place, not necessarily the one that Frank Sinatra frequented but so what it’ll do. We sit down for a beer and talk, they want to know everything about New York?, how many people live here?, how many square miles is it?, how far is it to my town from here?, the distance to Kennedy Airport?, how many people live in Hicksville? But I’m afraid I don’t know these things, I feel a little stupid but in my daily life I don’t need this information, but I will find out for the future.

 We move on to our breakfast destination, stopping to look at my map a kind woman stops and asks us where we need to go. I tell her it’s OK I live here, just getting my bearings and off we go to find the Washington Arch by way of the Washington Mews, a cobblestone street that used to be horse stables but was turned into affordable housing for the artists, writers and poets who occupied the apartments there, Edward Hopper had a place there before moving to larger quarters a block away. The mews are all painted in beautiful colors in the French tradition and have flower boxes and a tree or two for shade. We exit the mews and turn left to find the Arch itself, I show them the door and tell them the story of Marcel Duchamp and friends on top of the Arch (covered in the story Greenwich Village on an earlier page here) and we look at the new construction as we make our way down to MacDougal Street which is been dug up for resurfacing. We sit down then in Cafe Reggiro, the oldest cafe still in use in NYC. My family likes the quaint old world decor and the 90 works of art that adorn it’s walls. It’s very dark inside adding to the mystery of the place, you feel the ghosts of the Village wandering the room, people like Mabel Dodge, Jig Cook, Susan Glaspell and others…names known only to the few that walk in the old world of Village life. We eat a small simple brunch, tuna sandwich for Mark, Capri tomatoes and cheese for Sharon, and eggs Benedictine for me and coffee all around. It’s tasty and affordable fare, and after getting our picture taken together. We wander back towards the 6Th Ave subway in a roundabout fashion, passing the leather shop where I always buy my wallets, a small community park, a small alley street getting a makeover where they see a subterranean apartment “that is prime real estate here” I tell then as we pass. Then I take them down Bleeker till we get to 6th again and I see that they are getting tired so we go back into the subway and get out at Grand Central and go  past a great rock violinist and later a classical guitarist to get topside.

  They would like to find a liquor store and to get some crisps as they call them, chips for us-specifically Pringles, Ranch flavor which for some reason is unavailable in England but Mark always brings plenty back. But first we need a loo again and some more drinkies, so we find Mulligan’s Pub and settle down for Stella Artois for the boys and Bacardi and coke for Sharon. We talk for over an hour talking about the family history and Sharon’s medium like psychic experiences. This is the time I enjoy the most, the long comfortable chats about the life here and there, and the future trips and hopes for all of us. I try real hard to be the answer man for everything they want and need, dashing off to get information and be the host I promised to be, enjoying the role thoroughly. The three of us pass a Starbucks and a woman who looks just like  the lady that tried to help us passes by and goes in to get coffee. Strange but I see a significance in that for some reason. We buy Bacardi and they pick out crisps in another local store and then make our way back to Sofitel, the last thing they need is a dinner destination, I strain my memory but don’t know the area well enough to tell them right off but as we come to their block I see a place I know well, and since they like curry…it’s a hole in one. There is a Jewel of India on the same block about two minutes away from their hotel! I am quite pleased because I have this a couple of towns away and it’s the best around. I leave them then to have a nap before dinner, but not without agreeing to come back again on Friday to guide them around the 40’s and also agree to make reservations for the whole family to have dinner together on Saturday. I give them a group hug and with a spring in my step bound down the street to do just that while I am here close to it. I walk two blocks up and three over to Le Rivage, possibly the most authentically French restaurant in New York, a place I’ve only been to once but was very very good. Now I can saunter back to Penn Station, I hope I didn’t wear out my new friends on their first day in New York. I am knackered as the Brits say, but it’s a good kind of tired, a kind that I hope to feel alot more in the future.


Glen Registered & Protected


Filed under Cafe Reggio, Food, Greenwich Village, Life, MacDougal St, Memories, New York City, Travel

Greenwich Village May 2007-Part 2

 So after leaving Cafe Reggio I head back to Washington Square Park and begin to wander around aimlessly, this is what I do when I don’t have any destinations in mind. I start to get a little warm from the rising temperatures and from walking a long distance so I take my denim jacket off and look for an oasis of cool for a quick beer. Naturally, I find one easily in this city, so I sit and slug at a cold Harp in an air conditioned bar. This seems to be a college hangout, but at this time of day only two young girls are there talking about school. I leave cool and refreshed and continue my walk.

  I find a plant vendor on W. Houston St who talks incessantly, not that he isn’t interesting or informative he actually carries on three conversations at once with potential customers!  He’s selling Red Maples and also Green Maples, I always wanted one for my garden so I take note where he is and continue my journey. I wander thru a street fair and am overwhelmed by the sheer volume of food and drink and stuff you can buy here roasted corn, lemonade, fresh fruit, crepes, beer, sausage and pepper hero’s, Thai food, t-shirts, handbags, houseplants, replica signs, as well as jewelery and old dishware. There is something for everyone here, but I grow bored looking at so many stalls. I continue walking and people watching, getting very hungry now, and soon I find myself in a Brazilian restaurant.

 La Palette Bar and Restaurant is a little piece of South America on Greenwich Ave in the West Village, I am sitting in the open air patio sipping a cold bottle of Stella Artois and trying to cool off, the day has become exceedingly hot and I’ve put miles on my feet. The small courtyard is rustic with slate flooring and cement planters filled with tropical plants and small trees, old wooden benches sit against the walls, which are cracked with age and covered with vines. I am sitting at a granite topped bistro table in a comfortable aluminum chair, to my left a trio of late twenty somethings talk …loudly about many different things, the lone blond girl reminds me of my ex-an annoying, opinionated pain in the neck who knows it all and expects everyone to hang on her every word. She and her two male companions are drinking beer and waiting for food. She says she wants to get out of New York-who doesn’t. She’s not making enough money-who is? She’s still single-who knew! But the minute she leaves-she will miss it here. Duh! We all complain about living here and but stay anyway! Kind of like the jobs we hate but stay for the benefits and bonuses.

 I try to tune her out and enjoy my appetizers, a mixed plate of deep fried goodness-beef and herb balls, mashed sweet potato fritters, potato and fish balls all covered in bread crumbs and all crunchy delicious. I think my Doctor would shake her head at me for this, but my cholesterol is low and I’ve walked far today. Then my main course arrives, a simple ham and cheese crepe which was good but not inspired, I could have made just as good at home. The trio has touched on marriage, moving, drinking games, Carmel N.Y. and San Francisco and every other word out of blondies mouth is “awesome”! Next to me on the right is a thirty something couple who focus all their attention on their child, a boy of about five or six with strawberry red hair, they try to keep the kid occupied so he doesn’t fuss, getting the waitress to bring sliced apples to keep him happy while the couple talks and waits for the food.

 It’s getting on to six o’clock and the sun is making the courtyard a little stuffy even though it’s hidden from us by the buildings around us which also keep the breezes from coming to cool us. The annoying blond has said “awesome” at least two dozen more times! Dogs are awesome, backyards are awesome, barbeque’s are awesome, I want to punch her in the face, I’ve never heard anyone so unable to keep from talking in my life. The couple on the other side of me get their food, chicken and cream with mashed potatoes for him and Chorizo sausage and marinara over pasta for her, it looks good to me and both seem to be enjoying their food while still managing to spend all their energy on their child. Blondie stops her two male companions from talking and says “OK…Sidenote!” and starts telling them about google maps for her cell phone-now I want to strangle her while saying “AWESOME” over and over again. LOL just kidding I would never do anything like that….I’d hire someone else to! No that’s wrong too. But to continue I order a strong coffee, which I will need to get home and do some artwork tonight, deciding against dessert this time. But my thoughts will be with this girl who (like an annoying commercial you can’t forget) tortured my ears for over an hour… with her plastic personality and  sound byte vocabulary.

 I walk back to buy myself a Japanese Maple, it’s a real beauty about ten inches high with about a dozen leaves, I walk back the way I came down in the morning. The painter is gone, the railings are finished on 130/132 MacDougal St across from Cafe Reggio and the streets are alive with people on the move and music pours forth from every bar and eatery you pass, people are already starting a long night of revelry and it isn’t even dark yet. It’s so funny how many people see me holding my tree and do a double take, it actually looks like pot to the casual observer, but no on has the guts to question me about it.  I quietly chuckle to myself freaking people out all the way home. It’s been a good day.


Glen Registered & Protected


Filed under Cafe Reggio, Food, Greenwich Village, MacDougal St, Rants

Greenwich Village-May 2007 Part 1

 The Village was changing again…and not for the better. I had walked all the way from Penn Station, it was bright and just starting to get warm now, gone was the cold winter wind that keeps me indoors much of the winter. This is always a special day for me-my first Village walk of 2008, so you can imagine the look of disbelief on my face when I find myself standing holding on to a cyclone fence that surrounds Washington Square Park and finding it a war zone. The Arch for me is ground zero for all things that I’ve come to associate with the Village and it’s Bohemian occupants, the place where it’s beating heart starts and stops. Where on a cold night in December in 1917, the artist Marcel Duchamp along with John Sloan and a couple of female art student friends, made their way to the top of the arch.  After sharing wine and cheese while sitting under blankets, with their girlfriends help, they decorate the Arch with balloons (and after waiting for the beat cop to pass) were said to have shot off cap pistols and loudly declared that Greenwich Village was a free and independent state-and then stumbled off drunkenly into the night!

 So with a heavy heart after seeing the plans for the reconstruction that wouldn’t be finished until 2009 (which is only phase 1) I walked off to find the one place where I could find peace, Cafe Reggio. Since it opened it’s doors in 1927 the Cafe Reggio has become a Village landmark and is the oldest Cafe still in operation in New York City, scenes from Godfather II were shot here, JFK gave a speech outside its doors once and it has been the scene of numerous gatherings of artists, writers, musicians and poets. Located on MacDougal Street it is where I sit now and enjoy a croissant with confiture (that’s jam-really good jam) and a Latte with orange juice on the side, strangely this is the only thing I ever eat here because I arrive early enough to still want a typical French breakfast and usually I’m on the other side of Manhattan by dinnertime.

  I sit and ponder other bad news I picked up along the way, the Union Square Market is going to be made smaller to allow for an eatery to be built and a proposal to demolish the Provincetown Playhouse so that NYU can use the landmark space for some unknown purpose. It’s unbelievable, are they serious? This is where Eugene O’Neil put American theater on the world map as a force to be respected and admired, and now they want to tear it down!

  It seemed to me like all the good things were under attack in one way or another. Progress I’d guess you’d call it, but to me it meant I wouldn’t be listening to any street musicians play on a summer evening with the Arch in the background. I wondered where those who found value in that sort of free entertainment would find it now…. A man is painting the decorative iron railings that go up the front of 130/132 MacDougal St, he’s using a long stick roller to get the highest spots even on a ladder, a pretty girl with long dark brown hair in a red shirt-dress and sunglasses walks past- her hair matches the color the painter is using exactly. There is some harmonic balance to the universe, I guess as a painter I feel colors more than others.

  But as I sit and enjoy my coffee I also feel a little like an outsider, a permanent tourist here. Someone from the bucolic suburbs who doesn’t fit in. The young men nearby with their rolled up pant legs, calf tatoo’s and Croc wearing sock-less feet make me feel like an aging hipster wannabee. They sit sipping their iced coffee, with unshaven faces and finger styled hair, deep set eyes staring intently from behind dark glasses at cell phones text messaging God only knows… A tour guide leads a bunch of tourists down the sunny tree lined street, they cross W. 3rd St and disappear from view. The painter stretches to reach spots he missed while buses roar by and he goes on-oblivious to the noise, while delivery trucks disturb the peace making drops of fresh vegetables to the busy restaurant lined street, the crates practically thrown to waiting hands which take them below to be processed to feed the hungry mobs who stop and purchase pita pockets, tourists, families, foreigners speaking various languages, college kids who walk by carefully peeling back the foil wrap to eat their hand held lunch, a continual procession of sound and color, snips of conversation heard briefly as people walk by only to be replaced moments later by another and another.

 It is all so rich and savory to me to be here despite my momentary discomfort from before, the beautiful girls, cool hipster dudes, an occasional friendly dog sniffs at your feet, I sip the last of my coffee and ask for my check. The painters ladder falls… but he doesn’t. He struggles to get it right again pulling out his shirt tails in the process and  I decide to move on, I need to make the most of this day here. I might not be back for a while….I pay my check and gather myself up and start walking down the tree lined street.
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