didn’t drop in on DeBlasio or Obama this past weekend. More exciting—to us anyway—was our inaugural
visit to our son’s new home in Brooklyn. Despite the relentless rain this past
Saturday, Henry and I made our first pilgrimage to Crown Heights to visit our
son, Max, and his girlfriend in their (relatively) new studio apartment. Here’s how the plan unfolded:
“You can visit us any time,” Max had
suggested, mid-way through a phone conversation.
But popping in clearly was NOT an option.
Henry and I live in Manhattan, and Max’s new nest is in Crown Heights—not
exactly around the corner. Assuming we don’t get lost, Google says the trip
takes 56 minutes by car via the FDR or a little over an hour by subway.
“How about Saturday?” I leaped at
my son’s invitation. “We’ll take you and Katy to dinner in Brooklyn. Maybe even Peter Luger’s if we can get a
“Sounds great!” Max replied.
I imagined his stomach rumbling on
the other end of the phone. Ever since
he was a small boy, Henry and I had been promising to take our son to Peter
Luger’s Steakhouse, but somehow we’d never gotten around to it. Now, finally,
the opportunity presented itself; a perfect way for Henry and me to make the
evening extra special for everyone.
The first three times I called
Peter Luger’s, the person taking reservations barely smothered a laugh. The
restaurant was fully booked “until after 9:30 pm.” I was advised to make my reservations two
weeks in advance—especially on a holiday weekend. The implication was clear: I obviously had
the unmitigated gall to ask for primetime Saturday night seating for four with
only three days’ notice. My second
choice--another iconic Brooklyn restaurant--The River Café was also fully
booked. Eventually I found a chic restaurant
in Brooklyn willing to take us on short notice, but I knew Max would be
disappointed. I resolved to keep
calling Peter Luger’s periodically, hoping for a cancellation. Although I
wasn’t the early bird, I was the persistent bird. And, like all mamas, I want
the best for my chicks.
Saturday dawned, and— lo and behold—the drenching rains became my friend! That afternoon I managed to secure a 7:45 pm
reservation at Peter Luger’s. Thanks to
terrible weather and a fortuitous cancellation, Max and Katy would be enjoying
their inaugural visit to carnivore
heaven, the same night Henry and I got our first glimpse of our son’s new
Henry and I arrived at Peter
Luger’s 45 minutes early, and waited at the bar for Max and Katy. Happily we were able to snag seats and sip
some wine. Otherwise we’d have been
standing with the rest of the hungry, waiting crowd, clutching our soggy coats
and umbrellas because—despite the fame and snobbery—there was no coat room. Finding
seats at the bar was a good omen. Later, when we all sat down for dinner, we
had a friendly, helpful waiter (not always the case, I’m told) and a bread
basket for my famished son and his girlfriend, tiding us over until our feast
arrived. We ordered tomatoes and onions, porterhouse for
four, creamed spinach and German fried potatoes. Believe it or not, we polished off
everything, including a second order of potatoes! As my son gnawed the last of
the meat from the bone, I wondered: Had we died and gone to carnivore
heaven? (Not quite). Somehow we even found room for dessert: three cheesecakes and a chocolate mousse
cake. No doggie bags, and no leftovers!
Contented and more-than-well-fed,
we navigated from the Brooklyn Bridge to Max and Katy’s apartment,
miraculously finding a parking spot right across the street. Max and Katy had warned us that their
apartment was small. As we entered their building, I couldn’t help wondering
whether Henry and I would be tripping over discarded clothing, soda cans and
coffee cups as had been our custom in
Max’s room when he lived at home. Maybe now that he was sharing space and rent
with a girlfriend, his housekeeping habits had improved? (I hoped.) As the front
door swung open, I wondered if there would be chairs for us to sit down? Answer:
Yes to both.
“Wow, your place is adorable…and so
clean!” Awe-stricken, I complimented Katy as I looked around. The bed was neatly made with Marimekko sheets.
The white dining table was spotless; and every pen and pencil (sharpened) was
methodically stored in cups. All of the
books were lined up like soldiers on a bookshelf they’d built together—not a
single tome had gone AWOL onto the floor.
“You must have been cleaning all
day,” I joked appreciatively with Katy.
“Not really.” She smiled.
“But we did take a lot of stuff to the laundry.”
“You guys did a great job,” I
enthused. “I can’t believe you actually BUILT a bookshelf.”
“Actually Max did most of it,”
Katy said proudly.
“Yup!” My son grinned with the joy
of a job well done. Then he plopped down on the bed, flipping on the 40” inch flat
screen TV Katy had given him for his birthday.
“I see you found room to hang the
Elisofon photos.” Henry sounded pleased as he examined the pictures of zebras and African tribesmen
snapped by his Pulitzer-Prize winning
Uncle Eliot, suspended below the ceiling.
It was heartwarming that Max had brought something from the family nest to his
new home. “Great picture of Sparky on the fridge,” Henry added, nodding toward
our soulful-eyed, red terrier who passed away last year. (See “For Sparky With
A little while later, we said our
goodbyes. Max and Katy looked happy and
comfortable together. Although we had enjoyed the warm welcome into their home,
the moment was bittersweet. A chapter in
our family life had ended forever, and a new one was beginning to unfold.
Labels: Brooklyn, Crown Heights, deBlasio, Elliott Elisofon, empty nest, iconic restaurants, Marimekko, Obama, Peter Luger's, porterhouse steak, reservations, River Cafe, terriers