Don't worry. It's not vanishing. But I thought I'd better get a bite here soon, as luxury encroaches on this block of Bleecker.
The place is quietly busy at lunchtime. Men in couples come in, older men wearing t-shirts for leather bars in Fort Lauderdale. They are greeted as regulars. One man sits alone at the bar and orders nothing but a glass of water. The waitress knows him. She chats with him. They talk about the heavy rains and how scary it is to have yet another major birthday.
He says, "You were born exactly one month after the death of Marilyn Monroe."
"But I was in Greece at the time," she says.
"Doesn't matter. That was a global event."
They talk about Jack Kennedy, the handsome womanizer, and then the waitress goes to take care of a table. The man continues to talk, though no one is there. His voice is low, his tone cordial and conversational. I can't hear what he's saying to himself but I imagine it's about Marilyn and Jack and that day in 1962. His lips continue moving.
I think: These are the men lost to the new Fedora, not the same men, but similar. Here, they have a home. No matter what. And then the atmosphere changes.
A well-heeled French couple sit at the sidewalk tables, plunk down their Bleecker shopping bags, and order cappuccinos. They've brought their own bags of pastries and begin to eat. The manager sends a waitress out to tell them they can't eat another business' food at the restaurant.
The man protests, "We were here earlier. I asked if you have croissants and you said no. I asked where we could find a bakery nearby and you said nothing. So I found a bakery myself. We're just going to sit here and eat our croissants and then we will go. Why didn't you tell me where to find a bakery?"
The waitress entreats them to leave and take their croissants with them. When she explains the policy again, the Frenchman shouts, "I don't give a damn! We will just finish this and go."
There is no budging them. They have come to Bleecker to shop for luxury goods, to get what they came for, and they will get it.