Our first snowfall in five years and, let’s face it, it was beautiful. And wasn’t it convenient it came one day before New Year’s Eve?
Guiliani did a great job cleaning the streets of Times Square for this big ball drop celebration. Mass transit was the only way to commute.
Because of the snow, I decided to stay in the city for the weekend. And, at the last minute, I was invited to a private New Year’s party at the brand new Alfredo of Rome restaurant on East 49 street in Rockefeller Center for a special Roman feast.
The owner, Russel Bellanco, who also owns the acclaimed Alfredo of Rome in Disney World, Florida and whose father owns Alfredo of Rome in Italy (the creator of Fettucini Alfredo) greeted us with the Roman Gladiator. $3.5 million was spent on renovations, and, beautiful it is with an Italian Zebra wood Tapas Bar. Above it are the Al Hershfield lithographs. Never before seen mural of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Cleopatra costumes as well as Sophia Loren and Luciano Pavarotti. In the main dining room Zero Mostel and Nathan Lane are depicted in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." The entrance features a gallery of black and white photos of 1950’s celebrities – Frank Sinatra, Orson Wells, Jimmy Steward twirling fettuccini in Alfredo’s restaurant in Rome in a small cocktail area.
In the main dining room the walls were colored in a soft, warm, pale beige with soft orange art deco design, leaving an atmosphere of tranquility, so suitable for relaxed dining. And, with a harpist playing in the background, it was just perfect for small talk among guests.
Since this was a Roman feast, Executive Chef Stefano Riccialetti, formerly of San Dominico in New York City, made each course a specialty, one more delicious than the other. They were served on very, very large, heavy plates. He started us off with an ample size steamed goose liver pate with fresh figs marinated in balsamic vinegar, then a pasta cooked to perfection. The entree was (as they have in all Roman feasts) roast pig which was carried out with great fan fare by the costumed Gladiator for all to see. It was super succulent. Of course, other choices were a fresh white sole and roast duck. I tried the pork and the duck and found them to be more than pleasantly palatable. A delicate dessert completed this New Year’s Roman feast that was served throughout with the finest champagne. Hats and noise makers were disbursed and a handful of rose petals were our confetti. The final countdown and our New Year began.
It was different; very, very different and most memorable in a smashing new Italian restaurant in New York City right in Rockefeller Center. Veddy, veddy upscale. Don’t leave your credit cards home.
Because of the snowy weather, many more than usual stayed home in Rockaway. Maybe some ventured to close pubs and restaurants. Whatever you did, I hope you had a Happy New Year with your friends and family and, please God, good health in this coming year.
I wish to thank all my readers for your faithfulness and loyalty and for not tiring of my many photo appearances.
I thank all the staff at The Wave, especially our Publisher, Leon Locke.
I wish to thank John McLoughlin, our editor. Don’t you think he’s doing a great job! He has brought a lightness and cheeriness to The Wave and we are now focusing on the positives in Rockaway, rather than the negatives.
My thanks also to Sandy Bernstein for his patience and diligence and for his efforts in trying to computerize me. To Felicia and Joani and Pauline, and all the staff, happiness and good will to all and hopefully, some prosperity in 2001.
TRAVEL 2001 TIPS:
Great buys in January – 3 and 5 day cruises $249. Caution: shore excursion extra. Upscale restaurants on some ships extra, check repositioning cruises – always a good buy. Book inaugural cruises – If they don’t sail on schedule you are offered a free cruise.
Specials: Hawaii - $719 – round trip air, Lei greeting, hotel tax, transfer, trolley pass and dining card, plus Alamo rent a car on Maui, Kawai, and the big island.
Seniors (55 and up) – January through April 22 - $499 on Norwegian Majesty.
Cruise Free – One for 10 pass. Family members, church groups, card groups, golfers, etc. Only five couples, and you go free.
Western Caribbean – Norwegian Wind – round trip Miami. Air only $199 from New York City. Book now – New York residents only – seven day Bahamas May 6, 13, 20, 27 2001 – from $799 inside - $899 outside.
Dance The Days Away – $899 – eight day Caribbean Sock Hop – February 9 and 17 – March 2.
Sail Key West and Bahamas February 25; March 18 and April 8 - $528 inside - $629 outside.
Check WNYX T.V., channels 26 and 35, Monday through Friday for more travel specials.
Give me a call and away we go!