Today is Dean Martin’s 98th Birthday. Pretty much everyone knows Dean so there is really not much more I could add about him that most people don’t know. We all know he was a huge singer, movie star, stage star, radio star, and yes TV Star. His variety show in the 60’s and 70’s was one of the top shows on TV. We all know that he drank Ice Tea on stage and not bourbon. Something else most people know he was a savvy businessman. He sold out of the CalNeva Casino just before the Casino commission shut it down. He also was smart enough to get stock based compensation from NBC as part of his comp for his show. In fact when NBC sold to RCA, Dean Martin was the largest individual stockholder of NBC. We all know Dean was Frank Sinatra’s best friend. This is all nothing new.
What you don’t know is that I cannot remember a time in my life that I did not know and listen to Dean Martin. Yes I have memories of “Before Frank” not many but I do. If you have ever read this Blog you know that Frank Sinatra is my undisputed favorite, hell I even named my religion after him. But today it’s about my second favorite Mr. Dean Martin. My father loved Dean Martin and listened to him all the time. Unlike today when I drove with my Dad, we had to listen to his music not mine. I remember listening to the 8 – Track with the matchbook slipped inside so it would play. Songs like “King of the Road”, “Lay some Happiness on Me” which was my favorite as a kid and now my favorite is “Lil Ole Wine Drinking Me”. I love most of his music including his standards such as “That’s Amore” and “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime” which was his biggest hit. When that song hit number one and he knocked the Beatles out of the top slot, rumor has it he wrote Elvis and Frank that he was tired of waiting for them to knock them off.
Dean and his music, comedy (he was very funny) and movies are so interwoven into my life that I really couldn’t imagine him not being around.
Dean died on Christmas Day 1995; it’s hard for me to believe it almost 20 years. Thank God for musical recordings, videos and yes You Tube. Because of them we can all enjoy the talents of the Great Dean Martin.
So I ask you at some point today to raise a glass of Bourbon or Scotch and toast to one of the Greatest Entertainer there ever was. And remember HE WAS JUST TRYING TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN FOLKS!
So here we are snowed in yet again. This winter is torture, it seems like we get hit with a snowstorm at least once a week and when it doesn’t snow its 15 degrees out. It’s cold, its stressful, and just very depressing. I know I have been cranky because of it. Most of you that know me know that traditionally I love the winter. I love when it gets dark at 5pm. This year is different and I am with the rest of you – I AM SICK OF IT. Ben Franklin once said: “There are only two things that you can be certain about and that is Death & Taxes.” Well he for got three things:
The Sun will rise in the East
The Sun will set in the West
The Seasons will change
So I am here to tell in 24 Sunrises and Sunsets the clocks Spring Ahead and it will it will no longer be dark at 5pm and 12 Sunrises and Sunsets after that, it will be spring. So we have some things to look forward to. So as the ultimate pessimist that I am I am very excited because in a very short time from now it there will be no snow, warmer weather, longer day light and most importantly THE ROOF AT ARETSKY’S PATROON WILL BE OPEN. You really cannot understand the joy I get when I look out my office window down onto the Roof and I see Miguel, Scott, Jessica and the rest of the crew getting ready for a busy night. I look at my watch and smile because I know its ‘TINI TIME”. I reach into my humidor and take out some Avo #2s, put my jacket on fix my tie and put my hat on. I get an extra jump in my step as I walk out on 46th Street to cross to open that Red Door. When the door opens I am welcomed home by the wonderful restaurant staff. They greet me as if I was away for months, but I was just here yesterday. Then I head up the steps saying to anyone who would listen “THEY NEED AN ESCALATOR IN THIS PLACE’ I make it to the top and open the door to the Roof. I have arrived on The Roof, a little bit of Heaven in the middle of Midtown Manhattan. I go to my spot at the Bar my Jack Daniels on the Rocks is waiting for me along with my ashtray. I cut my cigar and light it. Take a sip of my Jack and begin my 45-minute vacation. In a short time Pally’s show up, then the Pigs in the Blanket, Onion Rings, French Fries, and Radishes. It truly is a magical place. There is a reason it is number 1 on my top 10 list, but in truth is the #2 place should really be #11, because nothing comes close to The Roof at Patroon.
So when I look at my window at all the snow coming down and know I have to go out soon and shovel it, I close my eyes and know in 36 days until I break out my straw hats along with my spring and summer suits come and all the bright colors. Before we know it Memorial Day will be here with the beach and BBQ and let’s not forget Seer Sucker Suits and two-toned shoes.
I know most of us hate winter, but it’s the winter that makes spring and summer so special. So keep your spirits up for THE ROOF AT PATROON will be open real soon.
Adelhied (Adele) Reinauer was born May 7, 1904 in Oberndorf am Neckar in Germany. In May of 1923 she boarded a ship named “The Bayern” and she set sail for America. On May 28, 1923 she arrived at Ellis Island. She settled in Astoria Queens and married Karl Donhauser.
In August of 1955 she met her 20-year-old niece Liselotte Reinauer (My Mother) at the pier to welcome her to New York and America. Liselotte was only supposed to stay only three years, but she got side tracked. While attending a class on how to speak English she met another 20-year-old German man named Kurt Schall. Kurt and Liselotte were married on June 15, 1957 and on June 21, 1966 I was born.
But this post is not about me or my mother or father it is about Adele (Tanzie as we called her). While actually being my grandfather’s sister, she was in spirit my grandmother and she was the best. She was a flapper in the 1920s and loved to drink dance and be the center of attention. When I was a teenager and my parents would go on vacation Tanzie would watch us and ask, “when are you coming home?” I would say 4am (I was 15) she would respond “Okay Doll have fun”. When I got home at 4am there she was sitting in the kitchen playing solitaire with either a glass of wine or champagne.
The last few years of her life she lived with my parents so they could take care of her. On December 17, 1993, I took off from work; my father and brother were home and my mother off to work (where else would my mother be). I knew something wasn’t right, I called my dad and brother to come up, Tanzie’s caretaker told me to hold her and check for a pulse. My brother called my mother and then 911. As I sat there holding her hand and feeling her pulse, I looked at her face we made eye contact and then the pulse stopped and she was gone.
It is hard to believe it has been 20 years since then. I have her photo on my desk at work and her picture is on my nightstand. She was an incredible lady and everyone who knew or met her was truly blessed.
Tanzie I miss you, One day we will have that waltz….
Today’s post is a sad one. This is for you Rev; I will miss you a lot.
The 21 Club, just the name says old school. The 21 Club opened in its current location at midnight on December 31, 1929 and it is the only former Speakeasy still operating under its name. I can write for hours about 21. It appeared in movies; hell it’s where Gordon Gecko told Bud Fox to get some new suits. I love taking new people to the 21, it makes me feel good to show these people what old New York really looks like. As we walk along West 52nd from 5th Avenue we pass by skyscraper after skyscraper and then all of a sudden you see the wrought iron fence and gate and three little brownstones stuck in between all the skyscrapers. I love the look on their faces when they see all the Lawn Jockeys. We turn walk down the steps and the doorman opens the door and says “Welcome to 21”. We step inside and are greeted with “Hello Mr. Schall welcome back”. We check our coats (and my hat) and the Matre D’ Aaron says, “good evening Mr. Schall your table is ready”. I walk through the Legendary Bar room give my waiter Silvio a hug and hand shake and they slide out Table 54, we sit and get ready for a special night. Later Phil comes over and selects a bottle of wine; we order the famous Steak Tartar and our dinner. After dinner and desert, we get a tour of the wine cellar (a whole separate post will be about the wine cellar). It’s almost a perfect, I am with friends or business associates, great food, service and just about the coolest place on earth. But it’s not perfect because I didn’t go to the bathroom yet and it’s the Men’s Washroom at the 21 Club that makes it so special. When you open the door you are met by Lorenzo “The Reverend” Robinson who has a big smile on his face and say to me “MY BROTHER MY BROTHER IT IS SO WONDERFUL TO SEE YOU” and then gives me a big hug. He talks politics and preaches Reaganomics and calls for world leaders to be more like Reagan and then he shows off the cuff links that Ronald Reagan took off his shirt and gave to him. He would tell stories of meeting Nelson Mandela, Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush (only the first) all in the little washroom of 21. If ladies were with me on the trip, I would bring the Reverend out to meet them (Because you haven’t been to 21 if you didn’t meet the Rev). I can hear him now “MY LORD MY LORD YOU LADIES ARE BEAUTIFUL, NOW I KNOW WHY BEYONCE’ AND HALLE BERRY CANCELED THEIR RESERVATIONS TONIGHT”. I would give him a hug say goodnight to the rest of the staff and be on my way and know that I just had the perfect night.
Those perfect nights will never happen again, because on Thursday October 24th The Reverend passed away. I was sitting getting my shoes shined and was reading the New York Post and on page 7 it read ‘CLUB’S WASHROOM LENGEND MOURNED, BELOVED REV FOREVER “21”. I sat shocked, when I got to my office I was walking around holding the paper open showing everyone who ever went to 21 with me. Someone said that I looked like I lost my best friend, I respond yea pretty much. I went to my office and shed a tear for my lost Pally. I thought about the time a few years back, when I was walking through Grand Central Station with some of my co-workers and the Rev saw me on the steps and ran over to me and gave me a Big Bear Hug. The people I was with were amazed, but it was just the Rev being the Rev.
Life is funny; you meet thousands of people and can’t remember most of them. I ask how many washroom attendants have you met in your life? A lot and I bet you don’t remember any of them. However if you just met the Rev once you will never forget. I know if I died today the New York Post wouldn’t even mention it. However, the Rev made Page 7. If that doesn’t tell you what kind of a Man the Rev was then nothing will. For over 20 years this man worked 14 hours a day never late always with a smile. If all of us with take pride in our jobs and the Rev did in his, this country and world would be a better place.
GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY LORENZO, I WILL MISS YOU FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. THE 21 WILL NEVER BE THE SAME….