For my piece in this week's Metro NY, a visit to Dononue's Steak House on Lexington near 64th.
...it’s the people who really take you back to an older New York, before restaurant chatter was about nothing but money, work, and the latest technological toy—before people became so boring.
At lunchtime, around the bar at Donohue’s, you’ll find the real New Yorkers. The scientist sipping a Manhattan knows everything about everything. The older lady quaffing white wine sounds exactly like Maureen O’Sullivan, with a slight slur that makes her only more elegant. The bartender, with his German accent, referees the conversation with jokes.
In a discussion that bounces from George Orwell to life in India, a newspaper headline shifts the talk to Robin Williams. Comedians really are unhappy people, the group decides.
“It’s the old Pagliacci thing,” says the scientist. “The weeping clown. It’s the misery behind the laughter.”
Jerry Lewis? Miserable. Lenny Bruce? Wretched. Milton Berle? He might have been okay, but Lucille Ball was decidedly unpleasant. They move on to other celebrities with difficult personalities. “Hey,” says the bartender, readying a joke, “you know what Sinatra said when he introduced Mia Farrow to his mother? He said, ‘Mama, Mia.’ You see? Mama Mia!” ...
Please read the rest of the essay in the paper here.