I walk into this bar . . . on the river across from Manhattan.  It’s to be a day of revelry with the veiled but elegant woman on my arm.  I don’t know her myself, but this happens to be that kind of day.

The ceiling is wood and festooned with pine boughs, the finest plastic to be sure, but I fancy greenery of any carbon form.  The refined joinery is so palpable . . . I feel light-headed . .  a good thing because the wine

selection must be in the cellar, where daylight cannot destroy the rare vintage, maybe.

The liquors, too, remain hidden.  While waiting for a waiter or maitre’d, we

could look at the menu.

Then I see a man at the far end of the bar.  He sees the beveiled one and I, and comes over.

(Hear the quoted section with a French accent)  “Monsieur et madame . . . we are currently hoping to refurbish our establishment.  Maybe I can

find a table with a view of the bridge, the George Washington Bridge.

 By the way, madame et monsieur, this is a somewhat unusual restaurant . . .  may I ask what I might call you?  William, ok . . . and Irene.  Irene?!”

At this very moment, my lunch partner begins to remove her veil.  Then she stands and walks toward the river side of the restaurant.

The waiter, by now trembling, shouts, “Madame . . . do not go through that door!  Stop!

Really no! no! You must leave.  Haven’t you done enough damage already!

I recognize you now . . . a month ago you came through here and blew out

the river side of the boat!  The main deck wall has come off its support and the saloon deck has sagged.  The vessel no longer floats.  And we are doomed, as she is.”

Then the phantasmagoria dissipated.  I was on ferry Binghamton in its last days, its 105-year-old structure gored by Irene.    More fotos tomorrow.

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