The Cattleman

New York City, 1970s:

awash in contradictions —

Downtown, 

grit and graffitti lined walls,

pop art and disco

lent a thrumming beat.

Uptown, 

moguls in suits

sent towers of glass and steel

rising in the sky.

At 5 East 54th street,

Larry Ellman’s Cattleman 

stood at the confluence.

A larger-than-life steakhouse,

The Cattleman was part feast, part show.

P.T.Barnum would have been proud.

Broadway filled its booths

alongside businessmen in suits.

In 1977,

my family of five finished 

our chuckwagon meals

then heading outside for

a stagecoach ride.

Yes, a stagecoach.

The Candy apple red coach 

with lemon yellow cushions

sat curbside, complete with 

cowboy-hat clad driver.

You can see the wonder 

in my younger brother’s eyes 

as he listens to the driver 

Prepare us for the journey.

No time machine 

could have been more startling

to his young suburban heart.

Larry Ellman’s Cattleman is no more.

Gone, too, are disco, Andy Warhol,

and any graffiti not sanctioned by the city.

For me, the world is poorer for the loss.

4 thoughts on “The Cattleman

  1. mrssurridge says:

    This photo has the same look as my photos from the 70s a bit blurry and farther away than it would be now, but you can still see the joy on the faces and feel the thrill of the time. Such a great memory!

    Like

  2. Wow, that’s a side of NYC I never knew! Thanks for sharing it. The specific memorize are great- the address, the colors. I like how you associate it with Andy Warhol and disco I the last verse- NY is so everything, isn’t it?

    Like

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