It’s Greenwich Village
For A Taste of Havana
By Edward T. Callaghan
OU don’t need a ticket much less a passport to sample a taste of pre-Castro Havana now that Cuba has opened its doors on Thompson Street in Greenwich Village.
On opening night the air was filled with soft, sensuous Samba music that was as warm and inviting as manager Tony Juan’s Cubano and Cubana staff. Platters of spicy treats that included rellenos and croquetas de pollo were all the fuel the crowd needed to spontaneously take to the floor, especially when a Tango was played.
Downtown’s young movers and groovers dined on such traditional dishes as Ropa Vieja (literally, old rope in Spanish but, actually, braised shredded skirt steak) and Vaca Frita (pan fried steak with fresh majo and lime).
Toasting with their mojito cocktails were dashing young composer Keith Pruitt, PR guru Guy Bowman, John Wegorzewski, super-hot pop art dealer J.J. Fondrisi, and the very charming actor Robert Cambeiro (who dazzled the staff with his pure Castilian Spanish) with his gorgeous gal-pal Karen Stanion.
Karen is leaving on a national tour with Golden Girls’ Rue McClanahan in Hank Williams: The Last Highway. The gang all toasted Karen on both her birthday and her success in scoring a plum role.
By midnight, there was literally dancing in the streets to the sweet strains of traditional Cuban music, and no government-approved access was required – a delight for those who remember Havana’s golden era, or those who long to experience a magical time.