Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Poetic tribute

This comes from my cousin David, too:
"As I might speak of e. e. cummings enormous room or Swann's Madeline
you speak of Dubrow's Cafeteria and Mallomars."

It's from the poem "You Could Live If They Let You" by Wallace Markfield, but I can't find a copy of the full poem. I'm hoping David will send it to me, but if anyone else has a some of Markfield's poetry lying around, send it this way. He sounds like a poet i'd like to check out.


Helene said...

Living in mild San Diego of the 70's, I encouraged an equally mild mannered friend to accompany me to New York City. He had grown up in Iowa, and had traveled as far west as California. That was the extent of his cultural experience.
As soon as we landed at Kennedy airport, we hailed a cab, and I immediately took him to Dubrows Cafeteria on Kings Hwy, in B'klyn. We sat at a small table by the wall, closest to that wonderful mural, and began to eat and talk.
A man pushing a cart, filled with dirty dishes, towels, etc....was cleaning the tables all around us. His work was difficult and he was less than enthusiastic. He approached an elderly women sitting right next to us and with a wet "schmatta" began to wipe her table. She looked at him with authority, immediately pointed an index finger to a place on the table, and said..."Meester...You missed ah spot!!"...
Annoyed, the bus-person placed both hands on his hips and announced, unequivocally,

"LAYDEE, DIS iss NOT Da VALDORF HESTORIA!!! IF YOO VANT DA VALDORF ASTORIA, TAKE DA TRAIN TO NEW YORK.... Upon which he reluctantly, wiped the formerly "missed spot" and proceeded on to clean other tables.
My friend and I, who had witnessed the entire episode, couldn't believe it, but in truth the best was yet to come.
Ten minutes later, after all had been forgotten, and other customers were eating contentedly, the bus-person had reached the opposite end of the cafeteria.
The formerly "slighted" woman, who apparently could "stand no more," stood up, shook her fist, and yelled across the entire restaurant. "YOOOO SHOULD DRROP DEAD!!!!!" case closed!
At that point, my friend from Iowa, who had never in his life seen such a thing, much less ini public, had completely lost it and couldn't stop laughing. I, who had eaten in Dubrows all of my life, knew that it was should we say ....humm....just another day.
In friend adored the flavor and intensity of New York so much, that he became a flight attendant, and for years, visited N.Y on a weekly basis.
Apparently, "fate" did not "miss a spot" in his destiny....Don't you love it?

Eve said...

What a great story! That's hysterical.

Dubrow's really wound up being a hodgepodge of colorful personalities - both customers and employees - that make New York City (whether Brooklyn or Manhattan) the amazing place it is.

Zigamorph said...

Wallace Markfield wasn't a poet, but a novelist. All of his works are set in New York City and prominently feature Brooklyn.

His most famous and successful book, To an Early Grave, is an hilarious satire that was later made into the movie Bye Bye Braverman, directed by Sidney Lumet.