27 January 2006

New Slob City

The New York Post reported Jan. 25 that New York City—that classy, swanky center of sophistication—now has only two restaurants that require a tie and jacket at dinner, down from 11 four years ago (and, say, a whole lot 40 years ago). The lazy public's demand for comfort done done them in. The sole holdouts: The Rainbow Room and the "21" Club. (And "21" actually doesn't enforce the dress code at lunch.)

As chance would have it, I went to "21" that very evening; not something I do very often, given the $27 hamburger, but, hey, it's Restaurant Week. There was New York manhood in all its splendor, in lapels and cravats, and no one complaining. I spoke to Jeff, one of the two managers, and mentioned the article. He told me that it privately drives him crazy that they can't make the clientele twist a piece of silk around their neck at lunchtime. There's a purist. I told him to keep up the good fight.

I also heard from a good source that the reason San Domenico rescinded its dress code was because of frizzy-haired, fat maestro James Levine. It seems he kept gliding in in shirtsleeves. And what Lincoln Center-area restaurant is going to turn away the 300-pound gorilla of the Met? Thanks Jimmy! You weren't pretty to begin with. And now a once suave corner of NYC is a little bit less handsome.

Levine doesn't seem to understand the truth that escapes much of the rest of the masses. Sure, we understand you want to be comfortable. But you're not the one who has to look at you. That's lucky us.

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