Thursday, December 28, 2017

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part CXL

Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

July 1968. Bernard Sabatier was visiting New York from Paris and a few days before July 14, the french Bastille Day I thought it would be interesting for him to experience genuine American Soul Food so we went downtown to West Boondock Restaurant (''Boss soul food and fine drinks") near the Hudson River.  To my surprise, Bernard was transported to a Proustian moment!  When his order arrived he stared at it, examined it and tasted it.

I was beginning to wonder if this had been a good idea;  Bernard had operated a small restaurant in Paris and had very refined taste — particularly about food!

But he looked at me with a broad, happy smile and joyfully said that this was exactly the food of his childhood at his family’s country house in the Pyrenees!  Chick peas and okra and everything else!
On July 14th, we went to a french restaurant.  He was much less thrilled with that but kept raving about how authentic and delicious the food was at  le soul food au West Boondocks!

We should have gone there again, instead.
The next day I had drinks with Ray Smith and Howard Blechman at Dorian’s Red Hand on Second Avenue around the corner from my apartment.
Meanwhile in the world around us, things were getting wilder and rougher! Abbie Hoffman, Tom Rubin and Paul Krassner had formed a group called “The Yippies” (the Youth International Party), a group doing everything they could devise to interrupt every day (bourgeois) activity! They followed the dictum of the German political philosopher/theorist Herbert Marcuse that the erotic nature of Man would provide the ultimate liberation of humanity!
In demonstrations they destroyed the commuter clocks in Grand Central Station and disrupted trading on the floor of The Stock Market!  An article in the radical magazine  The Realist announced that the Yippies would be going to Chicago for the Democratic Convention to participate in a FESTIVAL OF LIFE as a counter protest to what they called the Democrats’ Festival of Death!  Being also of draft-able age they were actively demonstrating against the Vietnam War which was, they declared, immoral and illegal!
Uptown, things were not as dramatic!  I met Bill Rilling and Gary Van Kirk at Barney Google’s for lunch.  Gary was comparing all of the protests and demonstrations with the ones in Paris that had become so violent and threatening that he’d moved back to New York and had gotten an apartment in Brooklyn with Bill.
Meanwhile, I was making the rounds to magazines and advertising agencies ...
And my rep’ Pema Browne was getting me a lot of work!
Illustrations for an article on storing eggs properly for GOOD HOUSEKEEPING magazine.
The following evening, Ray Smith invited me to a small party at his place for an evening of food and music!
The next day I was working on more deadlines but able to take an afternoon break at my favorite close German bakery/restaurant on Second Avenue.
And off to the cleaners after a little too much Bienenstich (or Bee sting cake — custard-filled almond cake) ended up in my lap.
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