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March 22, 2015 / thackersam

March 22 – Welcome Spring!

Olive TreeLast time we spoke, I mentioned the massage I had scheduled for Saturday. So you shouldn’t think I am some spoiled wealthy human who just hangs out in spas, I will confess that I am a bit of a Groupon groupie, and yes, I do like to get massages, particularly at the reduced rates the Groupons offer. I did go for my reflexology massage in Gramercy Park yesterday (nice but not mind-blowing) and had passed a diner on the way there to which I decided to return afterward for brunch. I also love diners, as you may recall. For some reason I ordered the lumberjack breakfast, which is not helping the diet I should be on. So even though the snow was still melting from the spring’s uncharacteristic entrance the day before and the weather in the City yesterday was cold and overcast, I made myself walk home from Gramercy Park all the way down to Battery Park, stopping only at Trader Joe’s on 14th Street for Max’s favorite canned tuna and a bottle of cabernet sauvignon for tomorrow evening’s company.

In an effort to avoid the always crowded Broadway and finding Sixth Avenue just too boring, I found myself heading down on McDougal Street. Though the area’s population and its visitors are somewhat younger than I, it is a neighborhood in which I feel comfortable. Then I remembered why as I passed by The Olive Tree Café & Bar that caused me to stop and back up. Yes, this was the place that years ago, long before the turn of the century, which is weird to think about, that was one of our favorite places to go in downtown Manhattan. It had a comedy club downstairs that I’ve never been to. It’s still there as well. The restaurant served Middle Eastern fare. It tables were made of slate. On each would sit a small bucket of chalk next to the salt and pepper. They served the most wonderful alcohol laced coffee and hot chocolate drinks, and a small screen on the back wall showed Charlie Chaplin’s and other silent movies. Oh, and the bathrooms, which were a bit of a trek downstairs, particularly after a cup of their coffee, bore some quite interesting graffiti. At least the women’s room did. I can’t speak for the men’s. I was there many times with Vicki and her sister and others. Amy too. I took a date there once, but it was our go to place back then. A rush of memories hit me as I stood in front, the façade still unchanged from the 1980s. I hadn’t thought of it in a very long time and if I wasn’t already walking off that large brunch, I may have gone in. Now that it looks like we are finally going to get some spring weather, I think I will sometime soon.

By the way – Trader Joe’s has a pretty good greeting card selection.


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