one of the many miseries of getting old is that each time I visit a favorite city some landmark is gone. sometimes I know in advance but other times I head to a favorite place & finding it vanishd is a sit-on-the-curb-&-weep shock. like the time I was walking down Hollywood Blvd with the intention of savoring a hot fudge sundae at C.C. Brown's & it was no longer there.
this is on my mind because of recent news of some changes on the horizon. in Chicago the flagship Marshall Field store that has been on State St for 130 years will become another Macy's. the only good news here is that the building already has landmark status. so one presumes the Tiffany mosaic ceiling is safe.
however in NYC there are plans underfoot for half a block of West 45th to be wreckd to make way for a Disney hotel. among the spots on this block which will disappear are a pair of Broadway hangouts full of personal memories.
the last time I was in Manhattan (2 years ago) I had lunches at both restaurants. I met David McDaniel at Sam's. I first knew the place back in my drinking days. it was calld Charlie's then. I met James Robert Parish at the bar there 29 years ago. I shared meals there with friends now dead including Peter Burnell & Dennis Hrlic.
next door is Barrymore's. on that last visit I had cheeseburgers there with Ira Joel Haber. one Thxgiving I had turkey dinner there. I shared meals there with friends now dead including Gerald Mast & Richard Martin.
other theater haunts of my past -- Backstage & Jimmy Ray's -- are long gone. when the Disney folk dismantle the restaurants of West 45th the only spot left in that district with history will be Joe Allen. I hope I'm dead when Joe Allen closes.