Two Thursdays a month, I work in Newport. On the other two, I try to go to New York for a Josie fix. I finish work on Wednesday at 1:00 PM and drive into the city. I go to the Steuer-Ingall apartment in the East Village, and Carol meets me after work. We order in and often babysit, while Marjorie and Jonathan go out. Often, Andy and Neal join us.
I am happy to report that New York City has fully recovered. When I used to go into the city at the end of 2001, any route was fine, and there was absolutely no traffic in or out, no matter what the time of day. Now, as before 9/11, there is no good route. Everything is bumper-to-bumper. I couldn't get onto the Cross Bronx Expressway to get off at the Bruckner or Triboro exits, because it simply wasn't moving at all, so I went straight over the Throgs Neck Bridge, to the Long Island Expressway, through the Queens Midtown Tunnel. It cost me $7.00 in tolls, and it was still bumper until the tunnel.
So what's new with Josie? Xenophobia, for one thing. I always thought that this was the "X" sin in the alphabetic catalogue of transgressions that we recite on Yom Kippur. But now my own granddaughter is fearful of strangers, including her Zayde. She's happy to flirt and play from the safety of her mother's lap, but it takes several minutes of adaptation before she'll sit with me and play. She goes right to her Daddy, though. When he walks through the door, home from work, she lights up and literally jumps and squeals for joy. She also adores Rita, her nanny, whom she greets with squeals and the "kickies" when she walks through the door. She sucks her fingers now.
She bangs things mightily and tears the newspaper to shreds in disgust at the indignities suffered by Buddy Cianci in Providence.
But the big news is that she eats food. She has begun on rice cereal, which she thinks is the greatest thing since chopped liver (which she starts next week). For the record, her first food was weeks ago--a half-sour pickle that Jonathan gave her to help her teethe. But she does love that rice pudding.
As you see, Marjorie, I am leaving out what you asked me to leave out...but you and I both know what it is...eeeeeeyewwwwwwww! Now, everyone will ask you what happened, and it's up to you. Farklempt's lips are sealed.
Andy and Neal joined us for dinner, prepared by Marjorie and Jonathan. Beautifully grilled kosher lamb chops (which Andy pronounced the best he had ever eaten), basted with a sauce of mint jelly and soy sauce.
Cold spicy noodles to die for. A wonderful 1995 Barbaresco, and for dessert a yummy cake from Les Delices, brought by Neal and Andy to celebrate Carol's birthday this week.
Carol and I returned to the hovel. Breakfast (for me alone, as Carol had long gone to work at JTS) at Barney Greengrass. It's been some time since I had the $8.00 whitefish appetizer with a Kossar's bialy. How would it be, now that Moe Greengrass has gone to sturgeon heaven, leaving behind some great-grandson at the register who doesn't know the difference between belly lox and Nova? It was fabulous--better than ever! I drove down to the East Village and found a great parking place. Marjorie, Josie and I went to the pediatrician, Sylvain Weinberger, whose waiting room has a cover from Ladies Home Journal, proclaiming him to be one of America's finest family doctors.
He was very knowledgeable, and puts everyone at ease. He writes out instructions for feeding just like I saw my father do when I would go on house calls with him. "Dad," i would ask, "Why do you write it all out when you've already told them what to do." He answered, "They don't listen. They're too nervous. Then they call you that night and ask you what you said." Marjorie accepted the instructions graciously, and whispered to me afterward, "I do what I want, anyway." My father knew this, too.
Then Marjorie went off to her New Mothers Group, Neal popped by on his way to buy yarmulkes for the brit ahava,
and Marjorie and Josie and I went out for a snack. Josie had ditched the silly hat Marjorie had insisted she wear, so Marjorie bought her an even sillier one.
I drove uptown to pick up Carol at JTS, and we headed home. Bumper-to-bumper on the Hutch and Merritt all the way to New Haven. In New Haven, we completed our pizza quest and got into Sally's Apizza just in time, so that we could make the ultimate taste test with the fabulous Pepe's. All the pizzerias on Wooster Street are called "Apizza" because that's the way you pronounce it if you have an Italian accent: "Hello, welcome ato Sally's aPizza." [pronounced in Neopolitan dialect: "abeetz."] Sadly, they do not welcome you at Sally's. They are rude, and the staff are slow and disinterested. The only lively one was a wire wild-eyed red-faced man with a bristly white beard who seemed to be suffering from a psychotic disorder, who kept running up from the kitchen to the front door when people would stand there, waiting for a table, and would physically push them out the door, yelling, "The fire laws of the State of Connecticut forbid standing in the doorway of an eating establishment!" The wait for the pizza was interminable. They did not have spinach or rabe. There was no wine--just soda and beer (three or four kinds, the best of which was Heineken). We ordered a large mushroom and onion and mozzarella--$19.95. The mushrooms were canned. The crust was good, but not as good as Pepe's. Pepe's wins hands down on every count. Except one--the pizza was so huge that we took half of it at home. As I sit to write this, I have just finished the leftovers which I microwaved to defrost and heated up in the oven inside the box. It was the best frozen pizza I have ever eaten. But when in New Haven, it's Pepe's, Pepe's Pepe's. Next time, however, we'll try Modern Apizza or Abate's. If you are a FOM (friend of Marjorie) reading this page to see the latest pictures of Josie, and you are muttering to yourself, "All he talks about is food,"--too bad, reading about the Food of Farklempt is the price of admission.