Buzz stopped by the Park Lane on New Year's Eve, the restaurant's last night -- and, with the main dining room full of people, we finally saw the charm of the place. Torches were burning, and the room was aglow up to the heavy wooden beams, and it really did look like an Elizabethan feast hall. But owner Bill Koessler, whom we got to meet, intimated that he would be happy when the long goodbye was over. "People have been nostalgic for days," Koessler said. "It's been like a wake." Employees, no doubt weary from weeks of knowing the end was near, adopted a similar philosophy. In the softly lighted lounge, dapper bartender Drew Winsick resisted regarding the evening as historic. "For thousands of people, it is," he said. "For me, it's more like being paroled."
>A child's Christmas...
... in Wales, immortalized by Dylan Thomas, has nothing on a child's Christmas in South Wales, witnessed by Buzz when we went to our sister's house on Christmas. Santa had given our 3-year-old nephew, Georgie, a remote-control dinosaur. Georgie disappeared. We finally found him in the bathroom. He had stripped and was on the john, manning the dinosaur, which was roaring and pacing. Friends experienced similar chaos. One, too hasty at the gas station, splashed gas all over her groceries. Such an aroma! Another had just set out a buffet when her dog grabbed two loaves of Italian bread, ate one, and hid the other in her bed, wedging it between her headboard and mattress and piling it with blankets. Too bad Dylan Thomas isn't alive and well and living in Buffalo. He'd get a ton of great material.
>Let it ring
Still energized from the glorious music at Midnight Mass at St. Joseph's Cathedral, Buzz has been thinking about joyful noise. And we have an idea. Once, in Europe, we loved how all the city's churches rang their bells every day at 6 p.m. The clangor went on for five minutes, at least, and it was so loud and thrilling. Buffalo should do that. It would make us famous. It would require no money or organization. Plus, we bet crime would go down, because the bells would project beauty, strength and solidarity among religions. How about it? Let's not just talk about ringing in the New Year. Let's do it.
>New year, blue year
Bells might make it easier to endure '07, because Buzz is having a tough time accepting that we're back at our desk. "New Year, Clean Slate," announces Martha Stewart. The January issue of her magazine, with a severe slate-blue cover, trumpets "Energy Boosting Spa Cuisine." Eerily absent is heavy cream, normally a Stewart staple. Also "The Best-Kept Kitchen, Top to Bottom." What joy -- we're supposed to go from cavorting in velvet and pearls to scouring our stove, deep-cleaning our oven and soaking plastic cutting boards in a solution of one teaspoon bleach to one quart water. Someone, wake us up when it's February. This month is too much.
The Sportsmen's Tavern fills the future with the retro bands we love. Tonight, catch Gretchen Schulz and the Morvels. Next Thursday, it's the Steam Donkeys.
"Eisenberg's Deli: Raising the Cholesterol of New Yorkers since 1929."
-- Sign in front of New York restaurant