New York Stories: ‘Postscript’

My early arrival to the Cuban diner, Copellia, was appropriate. For one, I didn’t want my unfamiliarity to get the best of me this time. Instead of standing outside, waiting for Martin to arrive, I headed into the neighboring The Donut Pub. The storefront’s window boasted some of the greatest looking donuts that I’ve seen. To compliment the food fare, the scent of coffee, and the diner setting was more than appealing and welcoming as it boasted a red counter top and stools along to pair with the two-toned checkered floor.

In a mental battle, the red velvet donut triumphed over the maple with bacon, because I wanted to save calories and belly space for whatever was to be gnawed on and digested in the diner. Next time, I’m going to opt for the maple and bacon delight, considering the distance walked. Too bad I wasn’t in a step counting competition; my team would have loved the numbers.

Baked deliciousness for miles.
Baked deliciousness for miles.

Demarco Coffee paired well with its food sense societal brethren. The coffee was hot, and dark black; for being piping hot, it was surprisingly drinkable.

The owners were friendly, courteous. Aside the small talk and exchange of smiles, I read. Customers came in and left. The silence never felt awkward. I had time to collect some thoughts, ponder topics to talk about with the playwright.

The day before, Don asked me what we were going to talk about. I said that I didn’t know. He widened his eyes at that statement.

It was to be casual conversation, impromptu and improvised. There were some things I wanted to ask him. I had already interviewed him for an hour and had to condense the conversation appropriately. We had gotten to know a little about each other aside his association with a favorite horror movie.

I’m just humble about the fact that he took the time out of his day to meet up.

The smell of lime was abundant and fresh upon opening the door to Copellia. The 24/7 diner was spotless clean, and the guys that worked there excelled in courtesy. You can have a seat, the host told me, and I bellied up to the bar (right next to the jar of limes).

There is enjoyment out of meeting celebrities, let’s be honest. You’re bound to run into a somebody when you’re in New York City. I’ve had my encounters with musicians and celebrities in Syracuse — “primarily” Baldwin brothers — and they’ve been great interactions, even if I only took up a minute to ask five questions and make small talk.

He entered the restaurant with haste. His bag hung from his shoulder, and rolled up literature stuck out of the bag’s side pocket; the distinct type and layout revealed it to be a script.

I have more of an adoration for the those kinds of celebrities, the ones in the background and whose efforts drive each piece of work. (Yes, essentially the writers.) The success he has seen with The Irish Curse is admirable. Of course, I brought the production into the conversation. The praise it received in Prague and other countries sounded monumental to me. From there, we talked about travel.

The Frita Cubana burger at Copellia.

You have to go to Prague, he insisted. As heard from friends, the city is beautiful. From Martin, he told me the people are friendly and welcoming. Throw in architecture, history, and cuisine — I’m ready to go as soon as possible.

There are plenty of other places that I need to hit up in the United States, however. He talked about the west coast, venturing northbound from California. My brother and sister accomplished that route, in the opposite direction. It’s just debatable: Go alone? Go with someone else?

As independent and confident that the trip could be made alone, it’d be nice to share experiences with others.

I can’t say much on how his omelette tasted, aside the fact that it smelled great when the food arrived. The plate that was laid in front of me soon exceeded my expectations.

I tried not to devour the burger so quickly, breaking away from being food-focused. The homemade pickle was one of the best pickles I’ve ever eaten. The ketchup was not standard; it contained actual flavor and heat. The burger, Frita Cubana, was ground sirloin and it was topped with cheddar, roasted pork and chicharron, or pork belly rinds. The standard tomato and lettuce accompanied pickled onions. The stacked-high diner staple was seasoned spectacularly.

I admire Martin for accomplishing so much. He has some work in progress, too, and I’m anticipating seeing his name attached to the projects upon their release. It’s admirable that he does stay under the radar — he said in our interview that media loves those A-Listers — and he doesn’t gloat. He’s a down-to-earth guy, and this was taken as a mental note should any kind of success comes my way.

It’s amusing to me that this conversation of the countless conversations I’ve held was taking place in Chelsea, New York City. I was in a diner, talking life and writing with an actual writer. To any one else, they would have not known his credentials, and they would have designated me as just some other person amidst millions.

Aside striving to keep in touch, these couple hours is all I could want. It was also because of him that I’d be seeing “The Weir” at The Irish Repertory Theatre.

The moment is an intangible trophy.

With all this excitement, the next step made sense to keep the momentum flowing — go to MoMA and meet up with people I care about.

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