Egg Creams and Memories

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Lit’s 8th anniversary was, as advertised, a zillion great DJs and 5 zillion great people. I met up with Ron Jeremy on 9th street at the 24 hour staple, Veselka with two very broad-minded broads. They’d have to be able to put up with our antics. We talked about how Veselka was really the last of the really good Polish/Ukrainian late night restaurants that kept eons of club denizens alive. Cafe Kiev on 7th street was the standard, but alas, the owners kept tweaking their winning formula until it just wasn’t any good anymore. In the old days, it was common to see Steve Rubell in a tux at the counter or a rock band that just headlined The Ritz and their groupies eating kielbasa and mushroom barley soup while taking turns to shoot up in the rest room. Every club employee in town fueled up before they crashed out. Kiev was the after hours for the after hours clubs and a very big part of nightlife. Although always a tamer version, Veselka still delivers great food. Ron and I talked about many a night eating way too late after way too much fun. After dinner we did the walk of shame fame to Lit just three blocks away. Three blocks from the stuffed cabbage and horseradish beets and the polite stares from diners who wanted to say hey to Ron but whispered and giggled instead.

We whisked into the party like we were walking onto a yacht. My hat was strategically dipped below one eye but my scarf was not apricot. I did have one eye on the mirror as I watched myself walk by, but then the only two frat boys in the place went nuts over my porno pal. They bellowed and laughed and shook his very used hand and Ron was a great sport about it. We went to the back to the Fuse Gallery and I introduced Ron and the entourage to Lit proprietor and cool, cool friend Erik Foss. Foss rushed to greet Ron and used his correct nickname “the hedgehog”. I gave Foss a cub scout knife from the ‘50s that I’ve had for a very long time but seldom appreciated. I told him now that as he (Lit) had turned eight, he was old enough to have my old treasure. At 4 a.m., he texted me to thank me for the knife and for the hedgehog intro. Apparently, they were still hanging out. Thank god I wasn’t a fly on the wall for this one.

I cut out with my new friend Amanda to get some air, as it seemed to be scarce inside. We walked over to Gem Spa to get their chocolate egg creams, the best in town. Egg creams are a lost art. Years ago you could get them anywhere. Clubbers going to the Mudd Club (off White and Broadway) would stop by Dave’s on Canal and have one or maybe two. Maybe a crisp hot dog as well before destroying their bodies and brain cells. Now there are only a few joints in town that do it right. The proprietor/counter man has been slinging egg creams for 30 years at Gem Spa off a recipe and technique and tradition he inherited from excellent egg creams for 70 years before. I explained to Amanda that the key is to have the chocolate, the seltzer and the milk at the same temperature so that it mixes right. The professional nodded in agreement and showed us the egg creaming equipment. Most places that still offer this very New York delicacy just offer chocolate milk and a splash of club soda. The egg creams help me get some sleep as my days are becoming more hectic than ever.

It was a cold driving rain outside, almost enough to have me pine for Miami…almost. Let’s not get hysterical. Amanda and I perused magazine covers as we sipped nirvana from a waxed paper cup. One periodical caught my eye. The cover image of a wispy gal in a tattooed white blouse and ornate bodice intrigued me but the continued egg cream chatter and the proprietor’s conversation about the history of Gem Spa and the egg cream kept me distracted and fascinated. It was a cold rainy night and the egg cream and Lit’s goings on and the tasks of Tuesday had me longing for my pillow. I headed home and don’t remember closing my eyes.

My doorbell and frantic puppies woke me at 8 a.m. an hour after my alarm had failed me. When the bell rings that early, it can’t be good. In this case, it was. A delivery of two mysterious brown paper-wrapped packages. After a blurry signature, I opened one up. The wispy gal in the tattooed white blouse and ornate bodice stared at me from the book’s cover. It’s been rare lately that the same girl that put me to sleep was there in the morning to welcome me. Even though she was only 2-D, it felt fabulous. Most of the people I date these days are extremely 1-D. The tome was not really a book but an ambitiously thick magazine with a hard cover. The second issue of Grey was indeed a wakeup call. The fine-printed Spring/Summer ‘10 offered me optimism, even though I could hear frantic taxis splashing all too familiar rain on my daily frenzy. Grey is the work of my jet setting pal/editor, Brantly Martin, and his wife and editor in chief/fashion director, Valentina Ilardi Martin (and, I’m sure, many others). Brantly used to work in clubs as a model wrangler/promoter type and in management. He left in a storm of rumors that were completely untrue except that he had fallen in love and settled in Italy. I ran into him in an obscure deli a few months back as he was passing through New York and he told me then about the new issue. It’s stunning straight through and a wakeup call to finer things and elegant ideas/. You can get it a Gem Spa (and a very excellent egg cream too).