It’s night, when the city is at its best. To the brassy, aggressive strains of a jazz anthem composed by Elmer Bernstein, our point of view drifts through the glorious, desperate chaos of New York at night. Men in suits, women in cocktail dresses, stumbling into and out of nightclubs, into and out of cabs. Those who want to be seen, those who want to see. Movers, shakers, power players, hustlers, hyenas.
There are few moments more perfect than walking into a bar late at night and hearing a Billie Holiday song. They’re practically made for ordering an Old Fashioned as you prop your elbows up on the bar and think about lost loves and life’s regrets.
West 52nd Street between Broadway and 8th Ave. is one of those anonymous blocks that seems to offer little. But tucked in there is a piano bar and restaurant called Russian Samovar. It used to be called Jilly’s Saloon, where Frank Sinatra held court.