Well, I keep hearing personal stories about this damn Recession, causing bits of depression for the people I love and for others, whom I just happen to stumble upon by chance. Let’s face it: Life is hard to endure right now. It’s nasty, even for this Manhattan broker, and while I don’t have any big solutions to save the economy, nor do I have some magical book of Kabbalah to recommend for you, alleviating the pain; I do know that noticing and appreciating all of the little accidents that fly our way, sure does make life a little bit more endurable…for me. I call these little accidents, Happy Coincidences.
So, last week, when everything was falling apart for me, experiencing some major maternal mishaps and broker blunders, life blessed me with a few Happy Coincidences (in roughly two hours).
I had forty-five minutes to kill before I previewed an apartment, located in a prestigious Upper Westside building, for an overseas buyer. So I decided to grab a small bite to eat at Bin 71. When my tiny plate arrived, it didn’t look like what I had ordered, but I thought it might’ve been my error, thinking that my culinary Italian-ese, which is required for deciphering such an eclectic European menu, was a bit off—and rusty. Damn, these pureed yellow tomatoes sure do taste like applesauce, ran through my non-foodie brain. Maybe the chef is a disciple of Ferran Adrià? Umm, if that’s the case, is the prosciutto infused into the puree? As I moved my knife around, looking for some kind of essence of meat in the yellowish-puree, I reminded myself that I just don’t like fancy foofoo-food…this definitely isn’t my week. Finally, I gathered the courage to ask the bartender, “Ursula, is this really what I ordered?” As it turned out, it wasn’t. Thank God.
After confessing to Ursula all of the flavor-infused thoughts that were rambling in my mind–about the faux pas, the Irish-gent to my right, chimed in: “It’s good to know that you’re a meat person. Every woman I seem to meet–and date these days is a vegetarian!” adding a few not-so-nice comments about non-meat eaters.
“That’s interesting. Are you like the Tony Bourdain of Bin 71?” I queried.
“No. But I sure do like the guy!”
He then whipped out a book from his bag, “Here. You can have this.” It was Anthony Bourdain’s NASTY BITS: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones. (The title’s very apropos, for our economy, is it not?) Noticing that page 39 was dog-eared and that the Irish-gent clearly hadn’t finished it, I responded, “No. I couldn’t take it from you.” He insisted, and so eventually, I did–with the biggest smile, beaming light all around me, thanking him for his generous gift, which was actually no big deal for him. And we hadn’t even exchanged names at this point! Happy Coincidence #1: A free book (Note to possible male suitors: Forget the bling from Cartier; bound books get my attention every day of the week..)
Trying to make conversation, while I was finally eating cuisine—that wasn’t sweet and cinnamon-y, the Irish-gent asked what I did, and in return, I asked him what he did, when he wasn’t dating vegetarians.
He slapped the bar and said, “This. This is what I do.”
I half-looked down at the bar and asked, “You install granite?”
“This isn’t granite!” I looked down again, noticing that the white
and gray surface that was beneath my plate was definitely NOT granite…it was
marble. My face peeled red like the shade of a Red Delicious. Yeap, this wannabe Manhattan Power Broker didn’t appear to know the difference between granite and marble! I was making a HUGE impression. (Like I said, I wasn’t on my A-game last week…)
Anyway, as it turned out, the Irish-gent, now known to me as, his holiness The Marble-Master, happens to have a client, who’s known for being in a little band called U2 and (more importantly) owns fourteen apartments in the building I was about to see! The Marble Master provided this blundering broker some very valuable, inside information about the said Central Park West building, that I wouldn’t have necessarily been able to dig-up on my own—for my overseas buyer. So that’s Happy Coincidence #2: Inside info—priceless!
After my appointment that evening, I was walking south down Central Park West, thinking about the apartment I had just seen and what a lovely experience I had had at Bin 71, when I spotted a past client, walking up the steps to Jean Georges at Trump International, so I called out his name. We greeted each other, with his native Aussie cheek-to-check air- kiss, and then parted ways. Happy Coincidence #3: Seeing someone I haven’t seen in a while…so nice!
Waiting on the subway platform for the “2” train, heading downtown that night, I started to re-evaluate my Recession filled life of really NASTY BITS. Yeap, I admit it: it sucks for all of us and the world sure isn’t as easy to live in as it used to be, and the only way I know how to plow through it is to celebrate life’s little accidents–that become our Happy Coincidences. Simply.
Bin 71 sure is a quaint place, and if you’d like to check-out the cozy granite
marble bar, be sure to stop by the next time you’re on the Upper Westside around 71st and Columbus. bin71.com