It was our first valentine’s day together and we celebrated in one of New York’s unsung gems – the Hors d'ouverie. When people think of the World Trade Center in happier times they talk of Windows On The World, but next to it was a place for the average man. Before 1991, you could drive into the garage – have your ticket validated so it was free – take a short ride to the main lobby with its narrow windows evoking a cathedral more than an office tower and be whisked up to the top in those massive elevator cabs. You would take a quick left and down the end of the long passageway you could see the dark windows. It was a room built for the night – dark ceilings blending with the windows to be almost seamless with the night, tiered rounded banquettes so two could be alone and one, and the piano player – always there but never dominating.
I don’t think I ever had other than a Bombay martini there – straight up, very dry, very cold – and yes, an olive. I rarely drink gin anymore but when I do I always silently toast that room. Where else for the price of two rounds and a couple of hors d’ouveres could one be with the angels for a few moments looking out as far as the night would allow.