It was reported today that the Wine Trail in the Bekaa Valley was in the middle of the fighting between Israeli and Hezbollah armies. This brought to mind all the many kinds of wars we have around us.
Earlier in the week I was back in New York for meetings, one of which was near my old neighborhood, Chelsea. At the old Nabisco Building, meeting with the Moet-Hennessy USA folks, in the meat packing district, flanked by Batali & Bastianich’s Del Posto and Colicchio’s CraftSteak, this area is not the depressing place it was many moons ago. Now it’s 140,000.00 a month rent for the Italian job and 29.00 for valet parking. And a bargain at that. World’s gone crazy in so many ways.
On my many walks across the city, one of my first stops would be the Chelsea Hotel, to see if my friend was doing ok. The Chelsea was a cheerier place than work or home at the time, I know. Pretty depressing.
The messenger who went into the World Trade Center building on Sept 11, 2001. His bike, his last message. Buildings bombed, people perishing…What on earth is going on?
On the recent walk, which started at 85 10th Street and ended at Park and 61st, I had an hour or so between appointments and thought to revisit some of the old haunts. 4 miles, no big deal. July, coat and tie. Comfortable shoes. Just the kind of gear for a war. Or wine education from the street level.
Along the way I looked up to see the giants, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler building. What kind of wine do the folks in these tall trees drink? A few wine shops along the way display some of the usual suspects from California and Australia; some even show a few from Italy and France. The good stores don’t show their good stuff in the windows. Inside Grand Central Station the shops with their artisanal cheeses and meats of Italian origin (or inspiration) reveal our insatiable desire for fresh, for special, for peace.
Far from the suicide bombers of the Mid-East, here in mid-town America, we can decide over Culatello vs. Copacolla.
or Sottocenere vs. Pecorino Marzolino.
Or a Castello di Monastero vs. a Chateau Musar.
We are at war, in our minds, with our neighbors, with our families. Look around you, turn off the Cable TV and see for yourself. A doctor, who took the Hippocratic Oath, suicide bombs himself and his house, in the Upper East Side around the corner from Sherry-Lehmann and Bottega del Vino. The war is not only being televised. It is now in your neighborhood, on your block.