Ladies Who Lunch in Boro Park

Home Brooklyn Life Ladies Who Lunch in Boro Park


–Christopher Alessi

The women begin to pile through the doors of Spoons, the Borough Park luncheonette, just after 1 o’clock in the afternoon. They have an hour.

They ask for their usual tables. The women are dressed modestly, mostly in black, but the labels suggest an eye toward fashion – Burberry, Coach. The diamonds on their ring fingers are hefty.

Groups of two and three scurry to their tables. Though, all of the women seem to know one another; they nod or flash a quick, polite smile across the restaurant as they find their way to their seats.

Everyone is talking, and the noise level rises by the minute.

The women eat pre-made salads in plastic bowls. They drink Diet Cokes that are scattered across the tables alongside Blackberries and cell phones.

The waiters, young men all wearing yalmulchas, flirt shamelessly with them. One, a young man in his early 20s, approaches a table of two towards the back of the restaurant. He makes an inaudible joke, indicating that he would like to clear the plates. One of the women seated at the table – tall, with long brown hair that rests on her shoulders – smiles coyly at the young man. He laughs nervously as he piles their dishes and carries them away. The woman then leans into her friend and the two share a schoolgirl giggle.

But the moment is cut short.

A tall, bearded man in a black hat walks through the front door. He looks uncomfortable as he takes in the scene; his eyes nervously scan all of the women in the room. Then he walks to the back of the luncheonette and approaches the table where the brown-haired woman and her friend sit.

The woman appears caught off guard. The man leans down and whispers something in her ear, deliberately avoiding eye contact with the other seated woman. With clumsy haste, the brown-haired woman pulls out a crumpled dollar bill from her pocket and hands it to the man. He mumbles an inaudible response of gratitude and quickly scuttles out the door.

After the man departs, many of the women ask for their checks and begin to gather their coats and scarves. It is after 2 o’clock and various groups of men crowd into the space, demanding tables and menus.

The ladies’ lunch is over.

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