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O'Neal's restaurant

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One link led to another this morning and I ran across the website for O'Neal's, the recently closed restaurant across from Lincoln Center which was mentioned in another thread recently. The site has a letter by the owner which includes the news that Peter Martins has accepted the restaurant's famous ballet mural and will display it in the Main Rehearsal Hall in the Koch Theater.

There is also a link to images of the restaurant's artwork, though not of the mural.

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This story was brought up when discussing O'Neal's here about 3 years ago, or maybe even more, but I didn't read the whole thing then--it's quite interesting to have gotten all those quotes of the original owners all in one place. I never went to it except the very old days of O'Neal's Baloon, I probably saw a lot of dancers there, since I went there dozens of times, but only remember seeing Peter Martins once. I knew Cynthia O'Neal slightly, she was a patron of a composer friend of mine, and she's the tennis player in 'Carnal Knowledge', a superb small performance she gives there too--she's the best thing in the whole movie. She's also got a supporting role in 'Primary Colors' as 'Elegant Woman', because she was the very chic sort. I think she's still involved in some of the AIDS charities, not sure. Never met Patrick, and didn't know about Michael until reading the story. The food was never that good, although they had good pecan pie, but it was always comfortable, and I do remember the mural being very conspicuous.

Just saw this from Michael's tnings:

"As a matter of fact Michael and Ariane Batterberry of Food Arts Magazine said that “we redefined the American Bistro when we first opened forty-six years ago”.

I think that might be accurate. there was a style of bistro that went throughout the 70s, at least mid-70s, that I first saw at O'Neal's Baloon and then was all over the place for awhile, but then mostly disappeared. Lots of hanging ferns and Tiffany lamps in a lot of them, and a kind of 'high hamburger joint'.

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Incidentally, the Saloon/Baloon foofaraw led to a lot of Prohibitionist-era blue laws being repealed, but by the time that had happened, the clientele at O'Neal's had recognized the revised name with its distinctive superimposed "B" as irreplaceable, so it stayed. So, today, establishments in New York State are free to name themselves more as they please, cf. The Raccoon Saloon in Marlborough, NY.

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Thanks for the links and info. I wonder if it's significant that the first and last time I ever saw the mural 'in situ' at O'Neals' was on my birthday this year? And shortly thereafter it was inaccesible/closed? Serendipity, synchronicity, karma? many thanks to all dance gods.

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Alas, 4mrdncr, when you saw the mural, it had already been removed to a second location. :dunno:

It was painted in O'Neals' original location, now occupied by PJ Clarke's on the southeast corner of Columbus Avenue and West 63rd St., on a wall parallel to 63rd St.

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