A shared bad habit is one secret to a happy marriage. My husband B and I both peer. This is not peeping, which suggests taking nighttime walks specifically to press our noses up against strangers’ windows. We just glance at illuminated rooms visible through unobstructed windows. Peering has provided conversation, design inspiration, and surprises for 15 years.
I realized last night just how good B is at peering. It was our anniversary and we sat in Columbus Circle after dinner. The evening was crisp, so we snuggled in the glow of the fountains and traffic, and enjoyed prolonged peers into the glass-fronted Time Warner Center and Trump Tower International. B turned to look south and said, “That looks like a bar up there.”
Because mention of a bar always gets my attention, I asked, “Where?”
B directed my gaze to the building at the south of Columbus Circle. The glass facade was white except for one floor, which was transparent but too high up to see into directly. B is gifted in bar detection, though, and the colored lighting and reflective surfaces held promise. I suggested we investigate, feeling celebratory because we were out together and, for one evening, I wasn’t doing work for my graduate courses.
The sign at the door of Two Columbus Circle stated that it was the Museum of Arts and Design. We entered the lobby and a woman seated behind a desk before the elevators smiled. I was certain she’d tell us either the place was closed or a private event was being held; but she said yes, there was a lounge on the ninth floor. “Honey, you peer like no man I’ve ever met,” I sighed as B pressed “9″ in the elevator.
The elevator doors opened directly into Robert, the lounge and restaurant in the museum. The space seemed Jetsons-esque with glass-topped tables, geometric light fixtures, and pod-like couches and chairs. Lounges where we’re seated and have our orders taken make me feel very “unemployed writer” but the view merited at least one drink. We toasted to our life together and looked out at the ribbon of lights that was Broadway to the west and the black expanse of Central Park toward the east. Then the piano music began.
I hadn’t seen or expected a piano: Robert was not mentioned in a recent article highlighting piano bars in New York City. It was a nice surprise because live music was central to our wedding day. Even better was the piano player and selections were pretty damn good. He finished a buoyant All of Me and I requested a song from my and B’s wedding day, My One and Only Love. As he played, I felt the same excitement of promise I did that day. Our married life still feels brand new but even better because B and I have proven that even in the worst situations, we exceed our promise to love each other. The warm, lingering notes ended as B and I finished our drinks and asked for the bill. As we waited, a member of the staff came over, smiled, and laid fresh place mats before us.
Cranky Nuyorican me leaned toward B and muttered, “Can they wait for us to pay the bill before re-setting the table? Coño.” I saw the same grinning guy approach with what looked to be a bread basket and said to B, “Are they for real, putting out bread for the next people? I don’t see a line. And they’re all smiley about it, too.”
The guy placed the basket on the table and our waiter appeared behind him. I was feeling huffy until he said, “I overheard it was your anniversary. Please, enjoy these, on us. It’s bombolini, our signature dessert.”
Was I relieved I’d kept my mouth shut. The combination of wine, romance, and music made me all gushy over the generosity. I looked over at the piano player, and returned his nod and smile. B chuckled as I thanked our waiter for being so sweet, knowing I had been so close to being a jerk to someone who was being nice. He’s got a sharp eye, that husband of mine. Together, we’ll keep seeing a lot of great things.