Enough is as good as a feast -Proverbs 2:11
I’ve been sitting at my desk all morning starving myself in preparation for our big feast tonight. It’s time for our annual Christmas Extravaganza, Gala at Carmine’s in New York City.
This annual event is my time to thank all my co-conspirators who have helped me conspire to make others look good and hopefully, interesting throughout this past photographic year. These are my cohorts in a never-ending battle for truth and justice in the American picture making process.
For those of you who live far away, past the boundaries of the Hudson River, which surrounds the small enclave of Manhattan, you might not be aware of the various and glorious extremes of Manhattan eateries.
There are the Oh…so cool, so suave, and severe establishments in Lower Manhattan, where you go to see and be seen. This is where the portions are meted out to you in tiny morsels, which needs a magnifying glass to be seen. This is where an anorexic woman would feel full after one bite and others are left starving after the meal is completed.
Everything is fine, beautiful and young below 23rd Street. No self-effacing, in the know, young person would venture above the 23rd Street “Maginot Line” where you might encounter someone older than you, God forbid.
Now, what used to be the gold standard of culinary delight, where all the White, Anglo Saxton, Protestants used to reside, where the children were blessed by Prep Schools, and where life was simply swell, resided the great culinary, French masterpieces of the eighties.
As one entered these hushed walls of beauty and utter a faint Bon Soir, one felt comforted by the peace, beauty, and elegance of these restaurants.
No riff raff was allowed in. Only the masters of the universe mingled in with a few Diplomats and movie stars. The lighting glowed evenly across all the face lifts of the women who wanted to hold onto their youth, as men’s eyes were slowly drifting to the other tables to behold a few young, beautiful women who had risked it all and ventured uptown with some men of great means.
Everything was perfect. The scenery was correct. The food impeccable, the cost beyond extravagant, and the after dinner glow, memorable.
And there is Carmine’s. Up, up into the far reaches of the Upper West Side, a bastion for the newly young and upwardly mobile families of the West Side. It is a hangout for the loud, boisterous, ruckus group of starving carnivores who are waiting to consume enormous quantities of home-style cooking served in a banquet setting.
The room seems like a New York-Italian version of a Munich beer hall, holding hundreds if not thousands of screaming with delight patrons, happy as a clam at all the delicious food set at the table before them.
No epicurean delight here, only the smells of garlic and lemon, which permeate the room, having been recently squeezed, melted and juiced into every possible entree imaginable.
Tonight we feel our souls with plates of great food in huge quantities. We will be screaming to be heard, laughing and enjoying another year gone by. Somehow for the moment all our troubles are behind us. The thought of our bellies being full simply brings out the Ho, Ho, Ho in all of us.