I am nostalgic about the Upper West Side in Manhattan, for it is where I first lived when I moved to New York from Atlanta, Georgia. There and back again, I was on West 85th Street on Monday, December 30, 2013.
My dear friend Miss Marie and I were meeting for an early dinner at 4:30 PM at Machiavelli’s Café, Bar and Trattoria at 519 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024. We were seated at our walnut artisan-made table with a white candle glowing, taking in the view of the golden, grand Christmas tree; staring out at the wide window of walkers on the avenue, treading through the bitter cold winter.
When our attentive waitress gave us the menu, the first thing Marie said, “Let’s share a pizza.”
“I was thinking of the same thing.” I said, “Which one?”
“What about the vegetarian?” Marie replied, gazing at the high ceiling and the custom furnishings with wrought iron details evoking Roman times.
“Sounds good to me,” I agreed, and so we ordered the ‘Integrale Vegetariana’ pizza (baked on whole wheat crust with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and grilled vegetables). Next, we ordered our drinks.
“What a beautiful restaurant. It reminds me of the time I was in Florence, Italy.” Marie said.
“I adore the interior architecture, the aesthetic charm from the grand piano to the sumptuous wallpaper designs and paintings. I wonder who the owner is,” I added, and sipped on my buttery oaked-chardonnay. And as if an echo heard my words, an elegant lady with long brown hair approached our table.
“Hi, is this your first time here? My name is Nathalie; I’m the owner of Machiavelli.”
“Yes, we love your café,” Marie said, enthusiastically. “I was just telling Wanda that it reminds me of the time I visited Florence.”
“Thank you,” Nathalie said. “Yes, it has that feeling, of the Italian Renaissance.” In the same moment, Marie and Nathalie conversed about living in Florence; I was thinking about the beautiful Christmas present I had received from Eugene—a book: Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King. Ms. Nathalie De La Fontaine was very gracious, and we continued to congratulate her on Machiavelli’s. Minutes later, our dinner arrived. She smiled and drifted back to visit with her guest at the grand mahogany bar.
Another hour passed, my friend and I departed from the stylish—Machiavelli’s restaurant. The cold was dancing at my toes, dashing to the subway station, and I said, “What a divine meal.”
“What a delightful surprise,” Marie said, fondly. “You always know how to find the most unexpected and unique places to go for dinner.” We hugged before my dear friend Marie boarded the B-Train to Penn Station. I caught the C-Train to Central Harlem. Fifteen minutes later, I was home, and reached for my dense black and red book. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, “The Italian Renaissance began in the early 15th Century…”
Suddenly, I murmured, “Here in 2014, it is Machiavelli!
Catch it if you can at www.machiavellinyc.com