Today on Alphabet City: When a friend’s mom visits NYC, Tex and the City helps out with a visit to the BA Café. Guest star: MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts.
When my mother from Texas makes the trek to the Big Apple, I’m always in a panic about how to fill her dance card. Too much two-stepping together time can get us into trouble, which means that I’m always pressing into service others around me to relieve some of the burden. So I immediately RSVP’d yes when my friend Sam—the graphic design whiz responsible for the cover of Alphabet City and also an art director at Bon Appétit magazine—sent out an invite to a little get together with his mom visiting from Iowa. The request had me intrigued on multiple levels:
- His mother’s name “Lela” is the same as my very fancy next door neighbor growing up—the one whose husband at their annual Christmas party put out an automatically opening and closing mirrored treasure chest that displayed an expensive piece of jewelry he gave to his wife that year. Classy.
- Lela was coming with her friend Gayle—as Sam said, “that’s right, just like Oprah!” Maybe a trip to Australia was in my future.
- It was all going down at the BA Café—a pop-up dining spot in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall next to the NY Fashion Week tents.
Even though I think Lincoln Center is a bit of a cold mess, when I do visit I am warmed remembering All My Children’s Erica Kane prancing about the fountain in the ‘70s shooting a fashion portfolio. Next to Mary Tyler Moore, that scene is one of the reasons I moved to NYC. So how great that the BA Café has a view of that esplanade, as well as the fashion tents across the way. Who needs a ticket inside for the runway when you can watch the free parade of fashionistas and Euro tourists from a banquette while sipping a Terrazas Malbec? Even better, you can do all that and snack on Daniel Boulud’s terrines or Mario Batali’s cheese plate? During the day, the BA Café serves a fuller menu of breakfast and lunch items—today’s the last day, though.
Lela and Gayle were, of course, a delight—dishing on how a certain actress was fumbling lines in the matinee of A Little Night Music. But who cares? Gayle and Bernadette share a hairdresser it turns out—they both went to the same spot when Bernadette was traveling through the Midwest!
My friend Marc, who works at ABC News down the street, arrived with the impossibly handsome news anchor Thomas Roberts in-tow. Now, Alphabet City readers might recognize Marc as the guy who brought Graham Norton to one of my East Village soirees, having been hoodwinked into believing from the invite that my apartment was actually the site of an underground nightclub. Well, this time I had nothing to do with the fact that Marc thought the BA Café might be behind-the-scenes of one of the fashion tents.
The two got over their slight disappointment quickly and settled in with the crowd. I gave Thomas some tips on his next day interview with ice skater Johnny Weir—I suggested he inquire about the truth behind the mysterious break-up with best friend Paris (don’t ask, I admit to watching his show on Sundance). Thomas countered by showing us a picture he took of his Middle Eastern cab driver’s name—and I am NOT making this up—Ram Amandeep.
Even Lela and Gayle laughed at that one.