Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bits of Undigested 김치

Today, I have a new article at The Daily Beast about the closing of La Lunchonette, a small restaurant in Chelsea.

It's a great little place that I pass every day on my way to work.

As they are closing up shop this weekend and cleaning up, I went by the place to check it out.

There was a very cool basement that I would give my right arm to explore. The entrance is through a trap door below the bar.

Mysterious cellar door of mystery
Melva Max and Jean-François Fraysse own the place. I talked to Melva, but I met Jean-François in person when I went by the place during the cleanup. We had some nice chats.

As much as I passed by the place, and always wanted to go to their Accordion Nights, I only ate lunch there once. A month before they closed. I had a bowl of French Onion Soup and a cup of coffee.

I didn't really go for the food. I just wanted to sit there a while. Knowing the place was about to close.

The very first day I worked at The Daily Beast, I walked from Penn Station straight down to 18th Street and stood outside La Lunchonette because of the a sign that said "Accordion Show" (If you know me, you know I love accordions, concertinas, bagpipes... pretty much any instrument that whines when squeezed).

It was the the summer time and hot. I had just come from my other job at a Home Depot and I had done my best to wipe the warehouse grime off my filthy self before I had to go sit in an office and pretend to be normal sauce.

So I stopped in the little alley between a building and a parking lot where a man had set up a little shelter. I still smoked cigarettes at the time, so I bummed him one and we both smoked while I cooled off and put on a clean, collared shirt.

He was rousted out not too long after that. Now I rarely see anyone living outside in the neighborhood.

When I mentioned The Daily Beast, Melva said she knew at least two regulars from the place who would come in all the time. She didn't quite mention their names, but by her description I knew it was Mme. D______, whom I know well and adore, and M. V________, whom I also know well but have never met face to face (I worked remotely and we only ever emailed).

Magical Vanishing Snow
It also snowed this morning, with a decent amount of accumulation piling up before noon. It looked so fluffy and pretty. Then the sun came out, the weather went back to crazy warm, and the snow was all gone in a literal hour. It would have been more depressing if it weren't so warm.

A very busy, but in all a nice day. The kind of day where you feel present and responsible and with it.

Then you come home and realize you left the door unlocked all day so all your illusions of responsibility and resourcefulness are passing phantoms, bits of undigested 김치.


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