All the bar stools were taken yesterday at Jackson Heights' Cavalier Restaurant. Every table has a "Reserved" sign on it. The owner, Alfonso Londono, continually hugged teary patrons as they left.
It's the last weekend in the Cavalier's 60-year run. The restaurant has been done in by a new landlord who has decided he needs twice as much money a month as the old landlord did. So he can buy a better class of shoes for people to spit on, I guess.
"It's like an Irish wake," said one old guy to his friend. It was mainly old men and women at the bar, people who has frequented the 37th-Street eatery for years. Everyone knew the Cavaliers hours were numbered and they were determined to spend as much time there as possible.
Jesus, this place is affordable. The prix fixe is $13.95! And during the week you could get whole, large meals for $8.
There are pictures of the Rat Pack everywhere. They're probably feel at home the stylish 1950s lounge surroundings. The gently undulating bar is a classic. The booths are classy treats to sit in. And I hereby induct the Cavalier sign—better later than never—into the "A Good Sign" Hall of Fame.
The waitress told me the owner was taking everything with him, including the beautiful, light-brown, semi-circular banquettes. There appears to be some hope that the Cavalier will reopen in a different space.
Today there will be a free buffet for those who want to come by, watch the Super Bowl, and say goodbye one last time. Then, no more Cavalier. The rumor mill has a Barnes & Noble moving in.