Thursday, February 21, 2008

“The first rule of Pipe Club is: Do not talk about Pipe Club.”

It was an evening of many bons mots. (This happened in fall, and I am just now getting around to blogging about it.) Messrs. Barrett Fallentine, Jacques Lehot, and Brian Pitre came to Gotham for a long weekend visit. It was Brian’s unofficial bachelor party, and so I made a reservation at the redoubtable Keens Steakhouse. (Thank you Laura Winters for that suggestion!) We were joined by Jonathan Funke and Patrick Butler (see the picture below). It was a mini-Spain reunion for some, and the creation of new friendships for others, and as we walked into the restaurant to our table on a raised dais and admired the clay pipes of Enrico Caruso, the good Roosevelt, and others, it was evident we were going to have a smashing time. For those of you who have not been to Keen’s, the ceiling has thousands of clay pipes of its erstwhile patrons affixed to it. Hence Mr. Funke’s excellent quip above to get the evening going.

Back Row: Barrett, Charlie

Front Row: Patrick, Jonathan, Brian, Jacques

Patrick Butler then arrived a tad late and explained that he had just been instructing a young cub in his office about his weekend work. When we asked him how that went, he lamented his young charge’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailedness, and expressed his wish to say to the chap, “We need to rewire your philosophy and make a Stoic out of you by Monday. Stop looking forward to things.” And the witty comments flowed fast and thick all evening—the perfect complements to our delicious steak and many martinis. Our next stop was the Hudson Library Bar, which was a huge hit. We got a great seating cluster by the fireplace and Patrick held court with his incredible experiences in the military during the Gulf War. Things do get a little hazy, but I distinctly recall his incredulous observation about how technology had made killing people much like the video games some of us grew up playing. When the clock struck 2 AM we were about to call it a night, when we got a collective second wind and moved the party to another part of the Hudson Hotel and kept going strong until 4 AM. We may have had a cocktail or twelve—good times.

The rest of the weekend included introducing Jacques and Brian to Pastis, wandering around SoHo, discussing Brian’s fiber regimen, visiting Justin Timberlake’s new bar, Southern Hospitality, which is sort of a cracker version of Dorrian’s. (Sidebar: When I made that comment at a large gathering, someone asked how one defined a cracker, and the winning explanation, in my opinion, was: “Outdoor furniture inside and indoor furniture outside.”) As one might guess, the song “Sexy Back” is played often at that venue—but you gotta admit, it’s catchy. The weekend was capped off with a nice long ramble in Central Park and then Barrett and I bid our friends farewell and enjoyed some excellent BBQ and watched a couple football games.


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