Tales from the front….
Editor’s Note: Valerie Smaldone was featured in Crain’s New York this week for her fabulous radio show/podcast Bagels and Broadway. Read the article here and see below to listen to the podcast.
The front being midtown east. New York City.
I have been walking to get fresh air and exercise while I still can. Being completely socially responsible, staying away from people, maintaining six feet from anyone I come in contact with and talk to.
I had a walking date with my friend Abby. Abby is the coolest cat around. She is a constant traveler. A typical text to Abby from me might be: “Hey Abby, where in the world are you today?” And her response might be something like “The Galapagos.” That is Abby. As you can imagine, not being able to travel…anywhere..is torture for her.
Abby is a respected journalist for many mainstream publications, an author, and now a podcast host. Abby is hilarious, brilliant and a terrific skeptic.
It was a great walk down First Avenue on a frigid March late afternoon with my funny and lovely friend. Normally, we would meet for a drink or dinner, or perhaps catch a show. This afternoon, it was a brisk walk, and when my feet, which were wearing 4″ heeled boots, needed to stop, I suggested we sit on the wall across the street from NYU Langone Hospital Center. We sat observing the requisite six feet apart guideline on the low wall. I told her I would text her if I couldn’t hear her.
After we both started to get very cold, we decided to go our separate ways. Me, heading north on First Avenue, she, heading south to check in on her brother.
As I walked up the desolate street, save for runners, desperate for exercise since the gyms are closed, and dog walkers (they must go out for their pooches!) there was no one.
A metal street sign suspended from the stop light pole swung threateningly, creating an eerie sound effect, a strange, squeaking sound, one you might hear in a Western movie: eeehh….awwww…
My thoughts went to my friends, so many, who are out of work, employed by what has been termed by the government “non-essential” industries. How are they going to make it past the world shutdown?
And restaurants. They are so very much a part of the heartbeat of New York. As I have written before, we have to do our best, our very best to support them through this storm.
With that, I want to highlight just a few of the restaurants I know and love. There are many, many, but here are just a few to consider.
Patsy’s Italian Restaurant on West 56th Street, known for its great food and celebrity clientele, is experimenting with offering take-out once a week. It is decided on a week-by-week basis, so please do call the restaurant to find out details: (212) 247-3491
In the meantime, if you are missing the fabulous sauces made by Patsy’s and the wonderful chef-owner, Sal Scognamillo, you can simply go online to order them, receive delivery and heat up at home.
Put on some Sinatra, open a bottle of wine, and you are good to go.
Sauces are very reasonably priced at $9.99. A four-pack is a bargain at $35.99. Patsy’s sauces are available at Shoprite too.
Two Italian restaurants that are actively offering take-out are also excellent.
Etcetera Etcetera Restaurant, a location on West 44th Street, that has served the theatre district, the west side, and Hell’s Kitchen for 15 years, always filled with patrons from the theatre and media world, is offering take-out and delivery, with 30% savings off menu prices. In addition, Daniele Kucera, the amazing owner of this sleek, Italian restaurant is selling “Pay It Forward” gift cards. As an example, purchase a $100 gift card, and you will receive a $115 value. There are numerous denominations. Check out their takeout menu. It’s a great deal and a wonderful way to help keep this gem of a restaurant afloat. Please phone: 212.399-4141 or email to purchase the gift cards: email@example.com
Hading way east to 52nd Street is La Villetta, a beautiful rustic restaurant situated just east of First Avenue. La Villetta has served the midtown east community with southern Italian dishes and specialties from the Puglia region for many years.
Owner Luigi Scarpelli is hoping his neighborhood clients will support the restaurant with take- out and delivery and his dishes are priced at 20% of his menu prices. Please phone the restaurant to place your order:
212) 829-0003 https://www.lavillettanyc.com/
Think about all the times restaurants like these have donated a gift certificate to a charity you are involved with…or gifted you with a glass of wine, or after dinner drink. These are our friends and part of the fabric of our lives. When we all get past this unbelievable time, and we will, won’t you want to get out of your house, and remember what life was like? I hope and pray they will be there to welcome us all.
Believe me, I know how hard these times are physically, emotionally and financially for all of us. We just have to try and help each other a little bit more, and we will get through this.
To hear more about how the theatre and food communities are responding to this crisis, join me on “Bagels and Broadway” Saturday morning from 9-10 on WNYM (AM970) or listen to the podcast following airing of the show.