When I sat down to write this post, I meant to toss off a list of places that I miss and would like to visit again. Because it’s fall (for everyone else, anyway), I find myself thinking of places that would feel like comfort in cool weather, where people step inside the door and unwind scarves from their necks and stomp the damp of fall from their feet. Where a fire or dim lighting would be a welcome sight, and two hands around a warm mug seems like the best way to spend an hour or two.
But in the end, I decided to focus on one place, and then from time to time post about other places. Call this the first in a series.
First up, a treasure of a restaurant called Anglers & Writers, at 420 Hudson Street in the West Village, the perfect spot to get warm and enjoy hearty food and perfect desserts on a cool fall day. I read about it in Victoria Magazine back in May of 1994. When I lived in Connecticut and friends would visit, I loved to take them there.
Invariably, they were as charmed as I was by the place.
For years now, ever since I moved to the Midwest, and then to all the way to Arizona, I’ve hoped to make it back to New York and to my favorite cozy restaurant.
It’s not there anymore.
Some online searching and a call to information in New York this morning confirmed it.
Sad news, you know? In a quick email to my cousin and a phone call to my best friend, I told them the news and they had similar reactions. I didn’t have to explain to them why I felt sad to hear that it’s gone.
I loved that place, is all.
The smell of it – the desserts, the roast chicken, coffee, tea.
The atmosphere – fishing gear you’d find in a old lake cabin in northern Wisconsin. Books, a desk. Mismatched tables and tea cups and silverware. Antique pedestal cake plates. It felt like walking into the home of someone who would pull some extra chairs around and grab stacks of tea cups from the sideboard, who would make everyone feel welcome and comfortable.
So why tell you about a place that isn’t there anymore?
Maybe I’m attaching part of myself to it, something that I left behind back there – in Connecticut, in the city, and even in that restaurant. Something that I’m not anymore, and maybe won’t be again. That’s not all bad. It’s the way of life, of gaining something else in the trade.
I get attached to things that are simple and uncomplicated in the measure of grace and comfort they offer. Places, things. A road. A favorite chair or afghan, books, rooms. Good friends.
Maybe one day, I’ll find another place that reminds me of Anglers & Writers, a place that captures the vibe of literature and comfort, a place for friends to meet and not feel rushed, where the food is good and satisfying.
If I do, you’ll hear about it, for sure. Or if you find it first, let me know.
Maybe we can meet there.
And now it’s your turn to tell me about a place that you love – maybe a place like this, or one that has a completely different atmosphere. Just someplace that makes you feel at ease.
(Photo from Victoria Magazine, May 1994, with apologies and thanks.)
Edited: I’ve scanned the May 1994 article from Victoria Magazine about this place and have created a photoset on Flickr, if anyone is interested in reading. Here’s the link: Anglers & Writers (there are 4 pages in the set)