Annual House Plan Reunion

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The 2012 reunion was a big success. As I noted on that page, we decided not to let another 50 years go by before we did it again. In fact, we have been doing it annually. (That statement was written right after the 2015 reunion. It remains to be seen how long we will continue, but I'll keep adding to this page.) The annual reunion corresponds to Norm's roughly annual visit to his son, who lives in NY city.


The 2013 event was at Via Emilia, a small Italian restaurant just north of 14th Street. And it was a small group: four House Plan members plus Lenore Raphael and Norm's son Benjie.

A not-so traditional welcoming on a typical New York sidewalk.


When we arrived, we were the only ones there. Impressive, modern decor.


The gang. Seated: Joel and Lenore Raphael, Norm Sider. Standing: Bob Diskin, me, Norm's son Benjie.


2014 took us back to our original site, St. Andrews in midtown.


Bob Diskin's significant other, Branya, has joined our merry band.


So has Harvey Shapiro's wife, Marilyn.


Marsha Cohen, Norm Sider, and Alan Cohen. Marsha is Alan's sister. She grew up with the Mosholu Parkway segment of the group, and was also a friend of my sister Ruth in high school.


2015 saw us back in St. Andrews. We looked at possible alternatives, but kept coming back to (a) they take reservations for groups as large as ours, (b) they don't push us out when we're done eating, and of course (c) good food. The "don't push us out" turned out to matter this year. When I looked at my watch to see how much time I had before I must leave to catch the 3pm bus, it was already 3:20. And indeed, nobody was watching us or urging us to leave. Good place for a group like ours.

Howie Parness managed to join us this time. He lives in Dallas, but was planning a visit to his daughter in NJ. When he heard about the reunion, he planned his trip to coincide with it.

The three women turned out to have high school connections to some of the men. Lenore never knew that Robert Hanna went to Music and Art for music, just as she did. In fact, they both had piano as an instrument. And both Marsha and Branya are Bronx Science grads, as are Joel, Howie, Alan, and me. (We knew that Marsha was, but didn't know about Branya.)


Joel, Norm, and Marsha


Harvey and Howie were neighbors and best friends back in college. Here they are with Norm and Alan.


Robert, Howie, and Lenore.


Branya and Bob.

Bob, Robert, and Howie

Robert showed up with his right arm in an all-encompassing sling. Seems he tore up his shoulder and hand in a fall, and is recuperating and rehabbing.


Lenore, Branya, and Joel.


This was the sixth day of a NY City heat wave, but it didn't seem as bad as it might have been. (I hate hot weather, so if I can say that...) Joel and Lenore were in their NC home and Howie was back in Dallas, but most of the rest of us were there.

St. Andrews was still the venue, but it was less satisfactory than usual. Because of the hot weather (and no air condidioning upstairs), they hid us in a dark corner downstairs. Noisy, very hard to hear what people were saying. It got better later in the afternoon, when most of the lunch-hour barflies were gone and the ambient noise was less.


Marsha, Robert, Norm, with Harvey in the background.


Harvey and his wife Marilyn, and Alan.

Judy (Bob's girlfriend) and Bob


Marsha and Robert in a deep discussion

Harvey and Marilyn


Alas, the St. Andrews is no more. We tried Lillie's Victorian, off Times Square. Not bad. We might do it again, but I'd suggest we keep looking. I felt the light wasn't as good as St. Andrews, which is one of the reasons there are not a lot of pictures; I wasn't chasing around doing candids. We have one posed shot. Judy and I are not in it because were behind our cameras at the time.


Robert, Harvey, Marilyn, Bob, Norm, Joel, Alan, Marsha


Just because we don't have pictures does not mean we didn't get together for lunch. The crew met when Norm came to NY for his son Benjie's wedding in mid-April. We ate at Five-Napkin Burger. The food was good, but the restaurant's name is deserved. I didn't want to handle my camera until I stopped at the rest room and washed my hands when we left.


New York City closed its restaurants for most of 2020, due to COVID-19. By the summer of 2021, some restaurants were open for indoor dining, and there were many that had outdoor dining. This table at the Westway Diner was just behind the completely open front of the restaurant.


You can see our table just inside the open area in front. Robert and Howie are already there.


Harvey, Robert, Dave, Bob, Howie

Howie was wearing socks that were not only mismatched, they were deliberately mismatched.