Weekend research in Manhattan. A modest recovery soldiers along at the top: fewer stretch limos or two-handed parcel pedestrians but more baby carriages than ever (ought to get their own lane.) Eleven Maserattis sold in Tribeca last month. It’s back to being a fight to get a taxi at midnight and it is rock-concert crowded at Rockefeller Centre.
A hot restaurant on Saturday night should tell how the beast is feeling this Christmas but the mood doesn’t shout buy or sell or leave for Canada. Just getting into The Lion restaurant before eleven takes two-week-ahead planning or a name in the New York Post. It has the winning pre-recession formula: a faux British basement setting and a hyper fashion-fit American clientele. Charles Dickens, Andy Warhol and buffalo horns grace the walls assuring you that you’re dinning with those who once read and over-indulged. The prices were not punishing. It’s quite easy to order a “special” medium-rare hamburger. However, you’ll consume two more drinks and an hour before it’s served.
Tanned Texans and North Carolinians lunch standing up at Eataly, buy cashmere sweaters at Bergdorf’s and tear up at Al Pacino’s performance in The Merchant of Venice. Chicago Democrats are accused of turning Washington into a left European grotto. New York, on the other hand, seems to have become a kind of friendly mecca for other Americans looking to recall happier times.