New York always serves up endless surprises. One was the venue for the party. 222 Houston Street now calls itself Houston Hall. For those of you non-New Yorkers, it’s pronounced “HOW-ston” as the Scots arrived and settled in long before Sam’s people invaded Texas. It touts beer from Greenpoint Beer Works in Brooklyn. Mason jars are the order of the day for beverages except for wine, martinis, and shots.
Its claim to fame, though, predates virtually everyone alive. “Back in the day” it served as a parking garage for the cars belonging to J. Edgar’s henchmen. When Lucey found out we’d be there, she contemplated bringing her father’s FBI file. I thought about doing the same, but the government has never acknowledged that any such papers exist.
The only remaining signs of FBI garage are the cavernous space and an uneven cement floor, which proved challenging for everyone including the servers. It was especially not kind to Lucey’s sister who requires a scooter to navigate. The mise en scene (accent omitted) was long plank tables with attached benches. Big-screen TVs blasted sports, probably without sound, but the place was so loud I couldn’t tell.
I met a number of Lucey’s friends from the worlds of writing and food culture and including two glorious young protégés. It felt good to reconnect with women from Vassar.
The noise made conversation a serious challenge. Nevertheless there was a joyous vibe. We drank Prosecco and nibbled on a variety of hors d’oeuvres: egg rolls (didn’t eat); chips and guac, excellent; an interesting avocado toast; grilled cheese sandwiches in various forms (almost avoided the bacon and enjoyed the one with apple slices despite the Gorgonzola); some pastrami something (didn’t eat); a huge soft pretzel with various dipping sauces including one with bacon, which I discovered to late.
All in all, a stellar evening.