Sunday, January 24, 2010

NY Deli Brunch & Haiti Benefit @ The Byrd

Waiting out front for my friend to pick me up for brunch today, I saw a car coming west on Clay, turning south on Henry Street, and ignoring the Do Not Enter sign without so much as a sideways glance (it's actually one way north).

It seemed like a good analogy for my 2010 strategy: try a new way, see what happens and just hope nobody gets hurt.

We were off to Carytown and NYD for brunch and it was mobbed.

As it turned out, most of the people were, like me, headed to the Haiti Benefit at the Byrd at 2.

The host tried to discourage us from coming in because the kitchen was so backed up, but we took our chances at the bar and it worked out just fine, food and time-wise.

I'd chosen NYD because I was in a deli mood, so I got the Patty Melt because the burger, sauteed onions and rye bread combination was calling to me.

Unlike me, my friend hadn't yet had breakfast, so he went the Western Omelet route.

The bartender mistakenly brought me fries instead of chips, but laughed it off as her free appetizer offering for the slowness of the food.

"You looked like you could use some fries, " she told me. Who couldn't, I asked my friend, sharing my bounty.

Looking around as we ate, I noticed for the first time their terrific cocktail shaker and flask collection adorning the back of the bar.

Shades of The Thin Man.

After eating, I went next door and my friend headed home.

The film, Ghosts of Cite Soleil was both a mocumentary as well as containing actual news footage of the political unrest and gang warfare in Haiti up until the coup d'etat in 2004.

Before the film , the audience was warned of the graphic imagery and that this was not appropriate viewing for children (I didn't see any) and it wasn't.

The street gangs in this poorest of countries were at times arrogant and at others, resigned to their fate in such a place.

It was powerful stuff, especially aided by the Wyclef Jean score.

Since I don't watch TV, all the images I've seen of the earthquake has been in print.

There was a video montage sponsored by the Carytown Merchants' Association that preceded the film, showing the recent devastation in Haiti, set to Coldplay's Fix You.

It was a cold dose of reality before the scene-setting horror of Ghosts of Cite Soleil.

The five dollar benefit admissions seemed like such a small contribution to make toward such an enormous cause.

Walking home from the Byrd to J-Ward was a pleasure, given the mid-50s temperature (even without the sun), and gave me some time to digest the brunch and movie.

Here I was hoping for some change in my own life while the lives of an entire country were unwittingly changed for them in moments and undoubtedly forever.

Never mind about me, after all.


  1. go for it! you sound like you deserve a bold NEW strategy girl!

  2. Already turned that corner and ignored the big, red sign. Now I'm just holding on tight!