Is it Ignatius Reilly? Is it Larry Groznik? Nope, it's old friend Thomas McNamee! As a premise for an article, welp, the HuffPo got what it paid for. When the Cod thinks about legacies of 9/11, there are not one, but two, wars that come to mind, not to mention lost lives, trauma, etc, before that whole post-9/11 improvement in customer service thing comes to mind. But it was actually Danny Meyer who got the whole post 9/11 warm fuzzy thing rolling -- back in 1985:
Then with the opening of Danny Meyer's Union Square Café in 1985 New Yorkers discovered that delicious food and gracious hospitality could be found under the same roof, and from then on, even the stuffiest grand palaces had to learn to smile and be nice.
Sixteen years later came 9/11, and another, deeper change. New Yorkers learned that they were more profoundly together than they had realized before, and you felt it everywhere, and as the years passed the feeling persisted.
Is Thomas McNamee on glue? His narrative goes like this:
1) In the beginning was Le Cirque,* where the likes of Thomas McNamee would be seated in a broom closet.
2) Then Danny Meyer opened the first of an armada of restaurants that took customer service more seriously than the NY fine dining pioneers of the previous era.
3) Then 9/11 happened, which put things in perspective, and brought New Yorkers together and so,
4) Thomas McNamee should have no trouble getting a table at Babbo:
Then, last week, on 9/11/2012, I'd gone to a memorial concert in Brooklyn, with lovely Bach pieces for solo violin, and afterwards walked back across the Brooklyn Bridge and went down to Ground Zero to see the towers of light blazing into the sky. Hundreds of gulls were whirling through them, eerily evocative of floating ashes. The streets were full of firefighters and cops, people laughing, people crying.
It is only the intrinsically risible nature of this logic that redeems it from being, like, Wurzel-level offensive. Is there a planet where you can swan into a popular and well regarded resto, announce "I have been listening to Bach, and thinking about 9/11, and now I would like to sit down and have you bring me Bucatini all’Amatriciana."? And the host is all like "Mr. McNamee, you had me at Bach. Right this way. Mr Stipe's party will just have to wait." Perhaps there is that planet, but it does not have a 212 area code. Play us off, Ms. Banks:
*I know, right?