by John Walters

Gone With the wiN.D.

Notre Dame alumnus Regis Philbin, 88, passes away at the age of 88. When I shared the news of his death with my college buddies via text, one of them (Andre) wrote, “Jeopardy will never be the same.”

Reege loved the Irish… and donated millions to his alma mater. He also took plenty of ribbing from David Letterman, and always with good humor. Simply a good egg, he was.

Also leaving us this weekend: Olivia de Havilland, movie legend, at the age of 104. de Haviland starred in two film classics from the 1930s, Robin Hood and Gone With The Wind.

Miss Cheesecake

This was sent from our good friend Moose. Perhaps you’ve seen it before. The payoff is tremendous, but what we most love here is Bob Costas’ delivery. It’s seamless. He’s not reading off a teleprompter. He never verbally stumbles, not once. And when he segues from telling the story into mimicking Jack Buck, well, that’s just restaurant-quality raconteurism right there.

Now that I think of it, have I just invented an entire industry? Racon-tourism? Where you are accompanied on vacation by a first-class storyteller. Not to be confused with raccoon-tourism, which is self-explanatory.

Busk Tour

We’re always up for a good-looking, red-headed Irish lad who can hit the high notes on the greatest pop song ever to spring forth from Norway (notice we did not say Scandinavia as we did not want to alienate our legion of ABBA fans). This is Martin McDonnell, straight outta Dublin, not unlike Glen Hansard in Once.

150K In 150 Days

According to, the U.S.A. is going to pass the 150,000 dead mark per Covid-19. And, if you trace back to the first known domestic Covid-19 fatality date, February 29, today is the 150th day of the pandemic. So I’m not the greatest at long division, but it seems that would work out a rate of 1,000 coronavirus deaths per day domestically since this all began.

No, I don’t have an answer.

Adios and Sayonara

This one really hurts.
Over the weekend I learned that La Caridad, my go-to take-out restaurant for the past quarter-century, has closed.

There was nothing fancy about this Cuban-and-Chinese restaurant on the corner of W. 78th and Broadway. It was simply the closest restaurant to my apartment that also happened to have amazingly delicious food that was ready at a moment’s notice, whether you were dining in or out.

I literally visited hundreds of times. My standard order was egg drop soup followed by red beans and white rice. Either that or the soupy rice with chicken. Your meal would be brought to your table before you had a chance to repeat your order.

La Caridad was small and cramped, with nearly floor-to-ceiling windows. To dine there was to be inside a fish bowl as pedestrian traffic on Broadway ambled by. It also had the requisite “stars who ate here” photos near the cash register.

Have you ever seen the film Blue Jasmine? The Woody Allen film? I remember seeing it and thinking that the lady in the canary-yellow dress who plays Alec Baldwin’s mistress was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. At least that day. The character, who has no lines in the movie, is played by Kathy Tong.

So one wintry afternoon after a late-night writing jag, not unlike this one, I pull on a bad pair of sweats, a ratty shirt, and I drag my unshaven and bleary-eyed self over to La Caridad. I look bad, even for me. But I don’t care. That’s the beauty of La Caridad. It’s like walking into your own kitchen.

(Just your typical La Caridad patron)

So I plop myself down at a table, make the standard lunch request, and look across at the next table. There’s Kathy Tong, sitting all by herself, enjoying lunch. I don’t know what I might’ve done if I hadn’t looked like ass that day. Probably nothing. But it’s a sweet memory.

We’ll all miss you, La Caridad. If Chirping Chicken ever closes (76th and Amsterdam), there’ll be no reason to remain on the Upper West Side.

3 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. “Notre Dame alumnus Regis Philbin, 88, passes away at the age of 88.”

    JW – please, please, let me be your editor.

  2. Today was so good…Miss Cheesecake made me laugh and Busker Tour gave me goosebumps…Perhaps the most memorable critique I ever heard about Bob Starr (when he was the Angels announcer) came from Tom Hoffarth of the LA Daily News. Paraphrasing, Bob Starr is like the old man going 45 in the fast lane on the freeway and when you honk at him, he waves because he thinks you recognize him. Brutal. Keep up the great work.

  3. I laughed, recalling my own ‘Tong’ experience. My future wouldn’t have changed had I been more together, but I will never forget the chagrin I felt at the time.
    It was 2001, and I had just returned from a raucous St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Chicago. Of course, we were out of milk, so I grabbed my 6 year-old daughter and drove over to Albertson’s in the most hideous lime green sweater I owned. Who should pull up next to me, but Luis Gonzales (Gonzo) who was practically a God after hitting the scoring run in the World Series for the Diamondbacks? After telling him how proud and excited we were by his achievement, I asked if he wouldn’t mind saying hello to my daughter, who was sitting in her car seat in the back. Not only did Gonzo say “hi”, he opened the door and sat down in the back seat next to her, asking her a few questions, to which she was speechless. Riley had absolutely no idea who this stranger was! After he got out and went into the store, I think I was in shock for the rest of the night.

    I’m sorry La Caridad couldn’t hold on.

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