Do you ever play the lottery game? You know, the one in which you fantasize about what you’d do with the winnings? At every turn of this game, over countless years, my fantasies always take the exact same form. It involves the requisite good works (anything else would be indecent) and the party. The setting for the party has suffered some blows over the years. It had to be relocated from the QE II to the Rainbow Room to now destinations unknown. The event details are always the same; a small group friends, fabulous food, champagne and first-rate musical performances selected for dancing and swooning pleasure.
The real point of the lottery game is that it allows one to consider what makes one’s heart sing. The party I dream of will most likely not become a reality, but I can approach my most meaningful friendships in the same celebratory manner. I can also dream of an intimate musical performance that feels as if it is being performed just for me. And on one cold winter night that dream came true.
A few years ago I was at the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel to see Tom Wopat. He is a remarkable performer; chock full of charisma and a love of ballads. That winter night there were no more than 30 people in the audience and I was seated directly in front of Mr. Wopat. As he sang his West Side Story medley inches from my table, my eyes filled and my mind raced; I was living part of my lottery dream.
My thoughts turn to that magical night with the news that the Algonquin Hotel will be shuttering the Oak Room for good. When they docked the QE II I found it unsettling. But when they closed the Rainbow Room and now the Oak Room, it was personal. I know I don’t live in the most genteel of times, but when I step into these gorgeous time capsules I can dream. And really, without a little sepia toned fantasy, doesn’t it all tend to get just a bit too dreary?