A Night with Alberta

1122 Words5 Pages
A Night with Alberta

On a cold winter Saturday night, a wind whips across Washington Square into the canyons of Manhattan. Near New York University’s main dormitory is a small jazz club. The large tinted front windows at street level and the subdued lighting might make a visitor think of an abandoned storefront. However, this small place is where magic can happen. The Cookery is a portal between the present and the past.

Entering the club, the host finds my new wife and me a seat. This is both polite and practical for the fresh snow renders the newest patrons blind at first. Once seated at the postage stamped sized tables, the eyes begin to adjust. The cold weather and the premium for space has made it very cramped. Fur coats, down parkas, wool trench coats and the occasional sweatshirt battle for space between chairs. The jazz lovers here run the gamut of New York’s elite to the students of NYU, with all stops in between. Businessmen in two-piece double-breasted business suits sit next to students in neat flannel shirts and jeans.

The bodies of the lucky front row patrons shield the stage area from the arctic blast from the door. The stage area lies vacant. An acoustic bass, upright piano and a set of speakers stand as sentinels guarding the stage area. The lighting bathing these silent talismans seems more appropriate to a museum than that of a performance. As we all wait for the music to begin, the room fills with that subdued buzz of countless private conversations. My wife and I order a seemingly appropriate micro-brewed beer, Brooklyn Beer. The mild bitterness and light sparkle of the beer fits the time just right. The beers come in two bottles, each with a complimentary tall glass.

The beer and glasses produ...

... middle of paper ...

...hint of a sweet wine. To my pleasant surprise, I find the coffee is a Martini. A sip of the tea reveals Brandy, orange and lemon. The tea is a Sidecar.

We sip our contraband beverages as the singer segues into a blues song that is beyond her years. She sings it though with a feeling that only familiarity should provide. The song finishes, and the band takes a break. I take a last sip of my beer as the tobacco aroma seems to fade from my nostrils. I am asked what I would like for my next drink. I open my eyes. The table is again small. Alberta is walking by me to get back to her stairs. I change my drink to a Martini and my wife’s drink to a Sidecar. Somehow, I know it is best to have a drink from the correct era. Alberta stops when she hears my order. She looks at me and says, “I thought I saw you with us. We’ll be back in ten minutes sonny. I’ll see you there.”

More about A Night with Alberta

Open Document