From time to time I’ll run into something that acts like a big hand reaching out of the past and slapping me in the face, and today was one of those days. I was going through the Archives this afternoon, not looking for anything in particular, and as I was flipping through an old work notebook from, as best I could tell, mid-to-late 2000, I ran across the page seen here. Two addresses on the Upper East Side, a part of the City I really haven’t frequented too much since, well, I guess the early 2000’s. I didn’t recognize, or remember at first, either of these places, and thought they might be yet another of the dozen’s (hundreds?) of places I jotted down with every intent of going to, but never quiet made it.
So it was off to Google to see what I could dig up on these two mysteries. As I suspected, well, actually, as I EXPECTED, they are both long-gone (isn’t everything?). But in going to the few sites I could find for each I slowly felt that hand rising from the past behind me, hanging there, waiting for just the right moment to slap me silly…and then it did…
York Grill – 1690 York Ave, NYC, NY (between 88th and 89th)
I (now) have a vague memory of eating here that one time. It was the pictures I was able to dredge up on the internets which showed the mural on the wall that did it (and was the trigger for the slap-on-the-head). This, again, was back in late 2000, a time in which I had a pretty much unlimited spending account, and would take full advantage of it whenever the chance arose (and this is, er, was, NYC after all). I had also grown a rather impressive, and somewhat unhealthy, fondness for good vodka, and it was probably that particular item that makes much of this evening so hazy (that and 17 years). In any case, when I saw the wall there on Yelp I was immediately transported back there, in what was probably a well pickled state by the time my, was it steak, probably, came, and by the end of the meal I was almost certainly beyond that comfortably numb stage and well into having a conversation with the folks on the wall (I’m guessing, and if I was it was [hopefully] just in my head). I don’t know if the food was good or not (Yelp and the like would lead me to think it was), but I never made another trek to the the York Grill after that night, and we find that it closed in August of 2012, after 17 years in business, so now I never will.
LuvBuzz – 1438 3rd Avenue, NYC, NY (between 81st and 82nd)
So it was in that pickled, numb, and (probably) well fed condition that I made my way the six blocks down and three over to LuvBuzz. Now bear in mind, I was much younger and single back in 2000 (although I was nominally dating my future wife by then…). It could very well have been this article in EW that pointed me there in the first place, but in any case I (vaguely) remember finally finding the place, drenched in sweat (I was in “bidness casual” attire, which to me back then meant my tie was off, it was autumn in NY, which is a nice song but a very HOT place to be, and I was probably half a bottle of vodka in), and the place was actually hoping…which meant there was no way I was going in…which is of course good for us, because that keeps me from not telling you what might have happened if I had gone in. And since it seems to have closed in 2006 I can never say I’d actually been IN the joint.