A few nights ago I watched Unzipped, the Isaac Mizrahi documentary on Netflix, and it was really great. Because I sort of came of age in the aughts I wasn’t really aware of how truly up there he was in the fashion world back in the 90s. The documentary follows the making of his critically acclaimed fall 1994 collection (when I was two!), from sketch pad to runway. It’s wildly interesting, in part because fashion shows are a dime a dozen these days in New York and hardly ever as special as they used to be, but that’s not my point.
Towards the end of the film you see Mizrahi walking down 6th avenue in ecstasy, having made the fashion world go wild for the collection that was such a nightmare to put together. And then, out of nowhere I see him walk right past Charlie Mom.
Charlie Mom was the first restaurant that I ate in when I moved to New York for school and, at 18, my mother, father, cousin, and I sat around a table piled with some of the best American Chinese food I’ve ever had. I had knots in my stomach and couldn’t eat much for being nervous about my first night sleeping in a dorm. That was 2010. Some years later I went with a best friend and onetime-roommate and we talked about whether we were staying in New York after college over spring rolls and spare ribs. And then a year after that when I sat with a sort-of fourth date debating politics over sesame chicken.
I used to eat on a block of 14th street with cheap, student-oriented places like Vanessa’s Dumplings and a Mexican joint called Hotel Tortuga. A lot of the places around there aren’t around anymore, and over the course of four and a half years it was sort of wild how many times I saw one particular storefront close and reopen as a different venture.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I was invited to a party in New York by some friends and thought ‘What the hell,’ before hopping on an 11pm bus and arriving sometime early morning to a feast of champagne and laughter in a tiny East Village apartment. It was everything I love about New York. The spontaneity, the noise, the way the streets never quite empty out. No one has ever invited me to a party like that in Boston. I don’t know that they happen in Boston. After the party I had the most intense craving (reinforced by 8 or so glasses) for take-out Chinese and so we, a group of four, walked west to Charlie Mom. When we got there we found the storefront windows papered over and a note on the door annoucing that they were permanently closed. “Thank you for 32 years of memories” a sign read. Thirty-two! But as they say, nothing is forever. The rent was apparently the cause for their shuttering. We took a cab up to Hell’s Kitchen for Enchilada Mama instead, but even now I wish I’d had one more order of their sesame chicken.
This weekend in Boston there’s something called the Men’s Event? In Fenway? I don’t really know anything about it and won’t be going, but I was invited to a party in Cambridge that apparently is set to see a few people coming from that event as a an after party activity. The host seems to know every gay man in the greater Boston area so…see you there?