Friday, August 22, 2008
Out of the woodwork
Howard and I went lastnight to the Buffalo Club, for the birthday party of the jazz singer Diane Armesto. I had fun. Many, many people asked me about Leonard Pennario.
Because Howard is in the middle of refurbishing Big Blue, he spent a lot of time scrutinizing the Buffalo Club from top to bottom. I now know all about its woodwork -- burled walnut, if I understood correctly. And its fireplaces, which are massive, and there is one I especially liked, with a big buffalo head high above it. And its radiators, which are recessed into the wall.
We stopped short of inspecting the boiler room. But we did inspect the Stephen Watson Library, with its beautiful wooden shelves filled with actual books it would be fun to read, like Mark Twain's "Pudd'nhead Wilson" and John Updike's "In the Beauty of the Lilies." Over the fireplace in the library is carved an oddly pessimistic saying, something about "Rest Here From Life's Vexations, Grasp the Threads of Vanishing Dreams."
Stephen Watson, the library's namesake, was the man who owned this mansion before it morphed into the Buffalo Club. Howard knows that from memorizing Father Dunn's book "Delaware Avenue: Mansions and Families." I work with a reporter named Steve Watson. I wonder if he knows that the Buffalo Club's library bears his name.
We are lucky that the Buffalo Club has hung on. Rochester recently lost its Rochester Club, and also another venerable social club they used to have. A man from Rochester told me that lastnight. He says it was a tragedy, that those clubs folded. But they still have the Genesee Valley Club. Whew! What if I ever went to Rochester? I would need somewhere where I could go and put my feet up, where I could rest up after that long dull drive down the 90.
Speaking of putting your feet up, that is exactly what Howard did lastnight. He felt right at home at the Buffalo Club. And you can see why! I mean, look at him, photographed with the club's founding fathers.