I’m telling you, there’s never a dull moment!
Last week, I attended a birthday party at Casabella, which is this fantastic restaurant on the corner of Mulberrry and Hester Street in the heart of Little Italy. It’s owned by my very good friend Bitsie and is my favorite restaurant in all of New York City.
That night, there were about 14 of us and we all arrived around 7 PM. We hung around in the bar first, eventually moving to the main dining room where we were just hanging out, enjoying the dinner, food and conversation.
Then, at 1 AM, this very tall man appeared out of nowhere near our table with a ski hat on. Not just a ski hat, but one that very easily can become a ski mask! And by this point in the night, we’re the only ones left in the restaurant. As always. We are always the last ones to leave the restaurant, not just because Bitsie is the owner, but because we’re having so much fun. This time, however, the fun quickly turned to fear.
We were all terribly frightened. We completely believed that he was going to rob us or pull a gun. He began to rattle on and say things to us. All the time he’s rattling, he keeps looking out the corner of his eye, behind him. He just keeps looking and looking. We all thought it was to check and see if we were alone. You know, the streets there are dead at this time of year, so we thought he was making sure we were alone. Was he going to pull a gun? Were other people going to come? It was horrible!
Now Bitsie did say that she had seen this same man across the street earlier in the night, looking over, but thought nothing of it. There is a blind spot in the restaurant and she just thought he had left. But then he came right to the front door. And straight to our table!!
I always thought that Casabella had those black out windows, the windows where you could look out but people couldn’t look in. I always did. But, not so much now! Here we are, all 14 of us wearing beautiful jewelry, fur coats, designer pocketbooks. I mean, my back was to the windows and my fur coat was hanging on the back of my chair. He may have seen the coat out the window! I don’t know. We don’t know. It was terrifying.
Luckily, though, Bitsie still had people in her kitchen and they came out and the guy got a little nervous. They literally came over and picked him up by the arms. It all happened so quickly. They kicked him out and bolted the door.
But we were all still very frightened to leave after that. He could be lingering around the corner! We had no idea. We didn’t leave until 3 AM, two hours after the initial scare and an hour after the restaurant closed. We were just so scared. One girl called car service because she was too afraid to even take a cab home. The rest of us, we walked together to one car and then drove each other to the rest of our cars. It really shook us up! Even the next day, I was so frightened I wouldn’t go into the city alone.
This is a true story, okay? This was real fear. Make sure to be careful of your surroundings! Look around! Be careful where you walk, where you put your pocketbook, where you hang your coat. It’s scary, but we really always need to be looking over our shoulders!