Incident at the Minettas
Fortresses of beefsteaks and pfannkuchen and sauerkraut occupy the corner table, an army of tankards and goblets holds the line; a water ewer so manly it would have had pride of place in Pfaff’s Cellar, once the center of New York’s revolutionary culture—“the Andy Warhol Factory, Studio 54, the Algonquin Round Table all rolled in one”—sits in the middle of the table, and over it, just like it would have at Pfaff’s, hovers a thick illegal fog of pipe and cigar smoke. This blatant defiance of law and era is handily explained by the motliest assortment of souls seated at the table. There’s a small brisk man in a rusty black coat and a small cocked hat clutching a saddle bag spilling ruffled, yellowish paper on his lap; another, seemingly asleep, yet vehemently smoking his pipe, sends forth angry puffs, as a wolf-like dog snarls at his feet; a short, square, brawny fellow with a mastiff mouth and a whip stuck under his belt, wearing a dirty Dutch West India Company polo, fills first his hand, then said mouth with sauerkraut; the table’s only female, older than God and plump as a partridge, rolls back her sleeves and plunges her arm into her tankard, looking in there for God-knows-what; and a hairless octogenarian with a head of polished wood, it seemed, and so small he might as well not have had one, periodically parts his lips for a throaty hiccup. Despite whatever else they do, they drone on like loafers, eat like warriors, wielding their silverware like swords, guns and hatchets.
from Incident at the Minettas