hotel bars + death

In ALL, INTROSPECTION by Stephanie Klein3 Comments

I‘ve always been obsessed with hotel bars (The R Lounge, Bemelman’s Bar, King Cole Bar at the St. Regis) the way you can travel without leaving, the crossroads, intimacy, and opportunity. I’m speaking less about the swanky velvet roped hotel bars, flooded with people, not hotel guests. I love the mystery that lives there, that there are sometimes locals who straggle in hoping to get lost. Now that I’m back living in New York, I intend to lose myself in it, specifically in its hotel bars.

Warwick Hotel, New York, NY

The other day, I met Smelly, Dulce, and Amy to celebrate Smelly’s birthday at Sarabeth’s down in TriBeCa (short for Triangle Below Canal). As is common with birthdays, especially when I’m involved, the conversation turned toward death. Dulce, in particular, was having a hard time with her mortality, wanting insight into why she’s feeling the weight of it, why now? She feels herself pulling away from people, not wanting to get close, only for the inevitable to cause the pain. My wise advice? “Watch Long Island Medium on TLC.”

I offered more, most of which I’ve covered in one of my favorite posts, Win or Lose Love. After stressing that it’s not disloyal to move on once we’ve lost someone we love, I emphasized that the people we love are simply on loan to us. And it’s up to us what we want to do with our loaned time together.

Here’s the bit where Long Island Medium creeps in: Theresa Caputo, a medium from Long Island (only one town over from where I live now in Jericho) claims to communicate with those who’ve passed on, stressing that the people who have died can stay with us, hear us at times. Whether or not you believe this, or believe her, there is comfort in the idea. So, at the very least, I told Dulce, “Watch it. You’ll feel comforted and won’t freak out… as often.”

I believe my grandmother Beatrice is my guardian, is around me when I need her. I talk to her often, mostly in my closet, actually. She doesn’t talk back, FYI. I just feel that I can call her near me when I want. That I’m really not in anything alone. For some people that’s God, or Jesus, or the Universe, or whatever ruling force they call it. I believe that force is in all of us, that we’re all connected by it, hence, we’re all more similar than we let on.

I believe that when those close to me die, that they’re really always with me, that I can call upon them for strength, that I’m not alone, even when I am. And this is the part I said to Dulce, that it is with this belief that I say, “Out of my love for the people who have died in my life, and all those loved ones I’ll one day leave behind, I owe it to all of us to make the kind of memories that last a few lifetimes.” Because that’s what I want, to live a robust life full of as many exciting, sweet, absurd, totally spontaneous memories I can muster. It’s what I want for everyone I love.

Then Smelly’s husband, via phone, arranged to have the waitress bring over a bottle of wine, several desserts, and a check, paid in full. Love him. Without reserve.

Now, I find it my duty to make more memories drinking reserve wines and martinis at hotel bars, alone, and with the ones I love.


  1. This, right here, is what has kept me reading your blog for all of these years…not just great writing, but how deeply and unabashedly you love ‘your people’. We are kindred spirits in this regard and I find it completely refreshing. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and am mourning the fact, as I do on this day each year, that I no longer live in the USA and partake in the celebration.

  2. Have you checked out the scene at the Ace Hotel? It’s a little different, but interesting what they’re trying to achieve

    1. I have been to the Ace Hotel, several times. I actually always run into people I know there. I don’t go there at night but during the day, with my computer. I meet my nerd friends there (I need more of them, nerd friends). I do like that hotel for that very reason, not for the trendy hipster vibe but for reconnecting with friends from advertising. It’s a really great world, and I miss it.

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