In a press release, the Paley’s wax rhapsodic about their last night.
In Russian, the word “love” is only reserved for people, not places or things, but at Paley’s Place, Kimberly and I endeavored to reimagine what that word means to us.
To us, love includes clinking glasses, shaking cocktails, phones ringing nonstop. It’s Kimberly blurting out “Let them taste the love!” night after night in the kitchen as cooks cook and servers serve. Each night, love was carried out with every plate and glass. This love affair continued until our last ticket was cooked, and we did it all with love.
On our last night of service, a party of two was the final meal served. As their dessert was plated, we popped champagne, applauded each other, hugged with our masks on and toasted to new beginnings. We wanted to go out healthy and on a high.
After two weeks of cleaning, we set the dining room one last time as though it were ready for action. Our staff, Kimberly and I stood in silence admiring our work and feeling accomplished. We took a few deep breaths together and bid our goodbyes, not knowing if our paths would cross again. Kimberly and I looked at each other, held hands and closed our eyes. As we embraced in the stillness, memories started rushing in.
In that room, we felt the presence of so many who once gathered here to eat, sip and celebrate. The smell of food wafted through. We began to hear familiar voices and the sounds of clanking pots. The occasional “Pick up, please!” rang out from behind the kitchen curtain. When we finally came out of our trance, alas, our place was empty and the dining room was peacefully quiet.
In the end, love was expressed to us by so many of you, our customers, over the years and in the form of hundreds of sweet cards and gifts. Some of you traveled for miles to have one last meal with us. We will deeply miss these connections and, like a very first kiss, we will remember you forever.
Finally, the love affair of Paley’s Place has come full circle. To our kitchen, our staff and our customers, we wish you much love, warmth, happiness and health.
Peace, Love, Foie Gras.
Kimberly and Vitaly Paley
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Such a classy last email, and one of my favorite poems. FD