IMG_4004We read in the paper where it reached -100 degrees in New Hampshire the other day. Negative one hundred degrees. By comparison, New York City is in the midst of a tropical heat wave at positive 8.

But outdoor toplessness is off the menu for now.

What does that leave? Finding interesting hidden spaces in this mysterious city of ours, and one of our members tipped us off to a doozy: an underground cocktail bar that is literally underground. You enter it through a fake bookcase in the entry hall in a Brooklyn bistro called Chez Moi.

IMG_3787IMG_3796Descend a twisty staircase past a suit of armor and you emerge in a cozy, colorful room appointed with a Steinway piano, a full bar, luxuriously upholstered furniture, a red and gold color scheme, and art on the walls depicting classic courtesans. You have entered Le Boudoir.

IMG_4082We called in advance, of course. Could we enter Le Boudoir wearing no more than ladies generally wear in a boudoir? The owner kindly said we could. So off came the down coats, the gloves, the scarves, the knit hats, the heavy sweaters–

IMG_3989–and what was left was little indeed.

IMG_3836Though in at least one case some gloves went back on.

IMG_3860-FIMG_3942The rest of the evening was a marvelous combination of drinking (exceptional craft cocktails courtesy of Ms. Franky, the evening’s inspired bartender)…

IMG_3881IMG_3900,..dining (smoked salmon, charcuterie, creme brulee, chocolate mousse….

IMG_4497IMG_4504IMG_4482…books (new comics from Hard Case Crime, crosswords from the New York Times)…

IMG_4533IMG_4032-F…and more drinking. (It’s a cocktail bar. When in Rome.)

IMG_4449One of our members is moving to Florida, so it was both a sad and a fond farewell for her, though she’ll surely come back to visit, and who knows, maybe we’ll arrange a road trip to visit her. (She says she’ll be near a nudist resort down there.)

IMG_4379Nor was that the only revelation of the evening. Did we know that one of our members is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do? We did not. Now we’re readier than ever to kick ass and take names should it ever prove necessary.

IMG_4106This is us being surprised:

IMG_4325IMG_4166But no ass kicking was required this night. While winds howled aboveground, we retired to the secretest spot of our subterranean lair, a cave carved out of the rock of a century-old subway tunnel…

IMG_4130IMG_4475IMG_4402…and plotted world domination. Well, something like world domination, All those cocktails make it a bit hazy. But there was plotting done for sure, and many hugs,

IMG_4492…before we reluctantly bundled up and made our way return-from-Narnia-like back out through the bookcase and into the mundane world.

Where now it’s 8 degrees and we’re wearing clothes.

Can we go back to Narnia, please?

IMG_4262IMG_4271IMG_3857-F