Ben Stein's Diary

A Recession-Free Friday

New York -- a perfect sight for Clear Eyes.

By 8.23.10

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Friday
Here I am in New York City. I have just finished doing the second day of a two-day shoot for Clear Eyes. The first day, yesterday, was at a mammoth sand pit on Long Island. It was very hot and dusty but we all had fun. Then I had dinner with a friend at a super-fancy French restaurant called Adour. It is in a hotel called the St. Regis. Going into its small but lovely marble lobby brought me back to when I was at Columbia many years ago. My old Dad -- then far younger than I am now -- would come up for meetings of the Committee for Economic Development. Usually he would stay at the St. Regis. I would meet him in the lobby, very often with Salvador Dali sitting nearby on a bench.

We would have a drink in the King Cole Bar, then much, much larger than it is now, and then we would go for a walk. Let's see. That would have been about forty-six years ago, so I was about 19 and my father was about 48 or 49. And to think, I thought he was old!

The only bad time I had on those trips down from Morningside Heights was when my father told me my dog had been run over. That was my sweet dog, Missy. Dogs ran loose in those days, and some bastard ran her over. I was sad then and I am still sad when I think about it now.

I never even contemplated that my father would grow old and die or that I would grow old and fat and weak. My father seemed invincible and immortal and so did I. Did I ever really give much thought to helping him with the trials of his life? Probably not. I am ashamed. I did later, but not when I was young. Well, this is life. How well I recall walking back to the IRT at Columbus Circle, taking it to 116th Street,  and then going over to blessed Alpha Delta Phi and shooting pool. I loved the Alpha Delta Phi beyond what you can imagine. That reminds me -- I have to send them a contribution for rebuilding the frat house.

Well, anyway. If your father is still living, cherish him.

If not, pray for him and his soul.

The meal at Adour was too exotic for me, but the room was great and service phenomenal. It was expensive but so is everything in New York.

By the way, there are scant signs of economic distress around here. It's August and the restaurants and shops are packed to the gills. The streets are packed with girls in very short shorts and skirts and dresses. Sex sells.

I finished my dinner, walked around the lobby, felt sad, and left.

Today, we filmed at Floyd Bennett airfield in Brooklyn. It is famous for something but I don't know what. Maybe Amelia Earhart took off from here. Maybe not.

It was a short, pleasant day of work. On the way home to my hotel, the Essex House, I stopped to visit my sister in Brooklyn Heights. She had just gotten in late the night before from a long trip to California and looked tired at first but soon warmed up and looked like her usual lively self. I don't spend enough time with my sister. She is almost the only woman on the planet whom I do not support and who loves me anyway. It might be that she is the only woman on the planet who loves me without being paid by me.

Sad.

After visiting my sister, I rested for a while, then I went to Milos, a superb Greek seafood restaurant. The food was spectacularly good. Not just good, but spectacular. The only fly in the ointment was a drunk, stoned young woman who came in and started screaming to her companions in unprintable terms. She ruined the whole experience for everyone around her, including me and my dining companion. Still, the food was great and if I can, I will go back. I would say that Milos and Remi (a great Italian place one block from Milos in midtown) are my favorite New York restaurants. My sister told me about both of them. She actually told me about Hill's Resort, my very favorite place on the planet, in Luby Bay, Priest Lake, Idaho.

When we left Milos, the streets were still jammed with diners and revelers. We all know there is a recession, but it ain't here.

And by the way, a little question: there is a Starbucks on virtually every block in midtown. Almost all of the help are foreign and speak very little English. Why can't English-speaking Americans take those jobs? Or are the wages too low for Americans to accept, or what? In Idaho, those Starbucks jobs are considered plums. Here in Manhattan, only non-English speaking need apply. Why is that? Well, anyway, maybe my sample is too small.

I am tired now. I have to go to sleep, but, gosh, it feels good to be in front of the camera, and gosh, it was great to see my sister, and gosh, did the St. Regis bring back some memories. Autres temps, autres moeurs.

One more thing. There is about to be war in the Middle East. Israel must attack Iran to save its life. But Israel will be crucified for defending itself. It could have been prevented by Bush 43 or Obama. Now, it's too late.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.