The Art of Max

By | on Mar 19, 2021 | No Comments

Max Roach was one of my favorite jazz musicians, and to me, one of its most consequential. Along with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and a few others, he ushered in the movement known as Bebop—a riveting style of jazz characterized by complex chord progressions with rapid chord changes and fast tempos that had its ...

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Rutger the Menace

By | on Mar 18, 2021 | No Comments

Rutger Hauer was the most menacing actor I have ever met. In the mid to late 80s, I was living on the Upper West Side in New York, in a brownstone owned by Alexander Smalls, who was known more as an opera singer then than the chef he is today. I shared the basement floor ...

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The Countess and the Baron

By | on Mar 17, 2021 | No Comments

My last job in the restaurant business was at a beautiful Italian restaurant down in Tribeca called Scalini Fedeli, housed in the former space of the immensely popular French restaurant, Bouley. The space had vaulted ceilings and an old-world European look and feel. Scalini Fedeli was—and is still—owned by chef Michael Cetrulo, who made his mark ...

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Miller Time

By | on Mar 16, 2021 | No Comments

In the mid-90s, Arthur Miller was overseeing the Broadway revival of his most famous play, A Death of a Salesman. He often came to Trattoria Dell’Arte after the theater to enjoy his favorite dish, Penne Arrabiata. He usually came alone and sat in the main dining room off to the right. He was a quiet, ...

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Afternoons with a Faun

By | on Mar 15, 2021 | No Comments

At the height of the yuppie craze in the 1980s, I was working at a small Sicilian restaurant called Baci (kisses in Italian) on the Upper West Side on Amsterdam Avenue. The Sindoni family, a tight-knit group of Sicilians, ran it as well as two other restaurants in the city. One of our regulars was ...

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A Family Affair

By | on Mar 15, 2021 | No Comments

I started working at The Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center after a few restaurant stints elsewhere in the late 90s. And if there’s one thing about The Sea Grill—aside from its food, that made it so special—was that it was situated next to the ice skating rink where diners could sit and enjoy their meals ...

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Not Just a Tough Guy

By | on Mar 14, 2021 | No Comments

One actor who made a great impression on me was Charles Bronson. He was the epitome of cool—terse, stoic, and macho. Bronson had carved out a successful career in Hollywood by playing heroic tough guys, but that success didn’t come until much later when he starred—at the age of 52!—in Death Wish (1974), which became ...

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Too Hot for Comfort

By | on Mar 13, 2021 | No Comments

Another one of my favorite actors was the great Richard Widmark. Yes, he of the 1940s film noir and gangster films. Widmark had made a career in Hollywood out of playing villains, especially the psychopathic killer in the 1947 gangster film Kiss of Death, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for best-supporting ...

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Smooth Operators

By | on Mar 12, 2021 | No Comments

For years, Sam Cohn was one of the most powerful Hollywood agents with an endless list of A-list celebrities that included Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, Liza Minnelli, Hume Cronyn, Mike Nichols, Woody Allen, Bob Fosse, Arthur Miller, and E. L. Doctorow among sundry others. Many of them dined at Trattoria Dell’Arte, and I ...

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You’re So Glamourous

By | on Mar 12, 2021 | No Comments

One of the great Hollywood actresses I would often see when working at Trattoria Dell’Arte was Arlene Dahl. She’s still full of energy and probably well into her 90s. She was once married to actor Lex Barker, best known for playing Tarzan, and then later to Argentine-American actor Fernando Lamas, with whom she bore several ...

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