A Neighborhood Restaurant Opens Its Doors To ‘Katie,’ To Help Other Dogs

Posted November 23rd, 2010 in Friendship by Glenn Plaskin

Last Thursday evening, my favorite Battery Park City restaurant, Izzy & Nats, presented a glamorously-produced book signing for KATIE, all proceeds donated to AmsterDog, a non-profit animal rescue group founded by our charismatic neighbor Deb Dilorio.

Neighborhood Hero Deb Dilorio (Photo by the wonderful Maura Lynch of the Associated Press)

The evening demonstrated the remarkable way in which residents in Lower Manhattan band together to help one another–one of the main themes of my book.

Before and since 9/11, our little community has become an enclave all unto itself, the friendliness here worth noting. It’s virtually impossible to walk your dog without continually running into friends who say hello and stop to chat. It’s like a little resort.

This only proves that a family is anything you want it to be–whether human or canine, young or old, you name it, the only criteria being the affection and fun that binds it together.

Izzy & Nat's owner Brooke Phillips with me and my new puppy Lucy

I was so touched that more than 150 of my friends and neighbors came by to get a signed book–including little kids, young professionals, seniors in their 80’s and 90’s–and in the process, help Deb save abandoned cats and dogs from shelters and disaster sites–animals who would otherwise lose their lives.

Amazingly, all 100 books were gone in a few hours, with kids

State Senator Daniel Squadron (Photo by The Broadsheet's Robert Simko, a wonderful friend and supporter)

and adults receiving not only a book, but stuffed cocker spaniel toys and chocolate “dog bones” with Katie’s picture inscribed on each.

The owner of Izzy’s, Brooke Phillips, who has given her eatery a true family feeling, decorated the restaurant with lovely white roses and lilies,silver ornaments. Her friendly staff served mini-potato pancakes, smoked salmon, corned beef-and-pastrami

Photographer Sheila Williams and Life Coach Peg Wallis, both dear friends (Photo Maura Lynch)

sliders, and complimentary cocktails, not to mention the dog-bone cookies with Katie’s name inscribed on each of them.

I was especially helped during the evening by our able doorkeeper (and the world’s best book saleswoman)–Roberta Kahan–together with our volunteer cashier, the super-efficient Ana Bishop, who kept me and the line moving! For dozens of additional photos of the event, wonderful shots taken by the super-talented photographer Sheila Williams, please

My favorite Battery Park City Couple (Under the age of 30!) Anthony Goble and Katty Goble (Photo by Sheila Williams)

visit my Katie Up And Down The Hall Facebook Fan Page.

Dream Team: Roberta Kahan, Lee Blake, Ana Bishop, A Great Book Sales Trio (Photo by Peg Wallis)

And, of course, I was most touched by Brooke’s very generous show of support and warmth, opening her doors to the entire Battery Park City community. In fact, one of the key messages of my book is: OPEN YOUR DOOR, really a metaphor for opening your heart to those in need, whether it be an animal or a

person. If you just look around, you’ll always find a senior who needs a helping hand, a child who needs a mentor, or a dog that needs a walk. I sure

My Cousin Bunny, a lifelong friend and fan

did, which is how my book all started.

I was the one in need, having just adopted a puppy with no idea about how to train one. So I walked down my hallway, knocked on the door of an 80-year-old woman who was expert in training dogs, and I wound up with an entirely new life, filled with friendship and family. This one action led to all the events that unfold in KATIE UP AND DOWN THE HALL.

And so, to finish off this season of Katie’s book debut, what better way to celebrate it than having a neighborhood get together to help a neighbor. To me, that’s the true meaning of family, which is why our evening at Izzy & Nats was the best possible Thanksgiving–and it came a week early!

BPC Dog Association's Paula Galloway, Rosalie Joseph, and Lee Blake--a starring figure in KATIE

Young KATIE fans

Rosalie Joseph and Greer Griffith

A very good sport in orange bows

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Mini-Pastrami Sliders, Potato Pancakes, Dog Bone Cookies, Puppy Spaniels + A Book Signing2

Posted November 15th, 2010 in Friendship by Glenn Plaskin

When I was a kid, every single Saturday I looked forward to going out to lunch at my favorite restaurant, Watsons, located in Buffalo, NY, right next

Little Glenn, Ready For Lunch Out!

door to my Dad’s clothing store–The Roger Lewis Shop.

Eating out as an eight- or ten-year-old was a thrill to me. It seemed so grown up and I liked the independence of it. I always ordered the same lunch–chocolate milk and a hamburger and french fries (not too healthy!). I also visited the well-stocked chocolate counter at Watson’s–filled with home-made treats made right there.

My once-a-week lunch out as a child escalated, in adulthood, into an every day habit. And ever since, throughout my life, I’ve always found a favorite lunch spot where I could get away from work, read the newspaper, or visit with a friend while people-watching and eating delicious food.

My current favorite restaurant is Izzy & Nats–located right here in Battery Park City at the southern tip of Manhattan just a block away from my apartment. It’s on South End Avenue, right in front of the restaurant, where I walked KATIE hundreds of times over a period of fifteen years.

In fact, the entire story of my book takes places within this Lower Manhattan neighborhood, and because of its out-of-the-way location, top-notch diners like Izzy & Nats are few and far between. I go there almost every day, the waiters automatically putting in my order when I sit down.

The menu is perfect for lunch–great salads, Matzo Ball soup, the crispiest home-made french fries in town,excellent turkey burgers, home-made bagels, plus a variety of other deli treats, from seven-layer chocolate cake to raspberry-filled ruggelach.

And, of course, when you go to a place as often as I do, you become friends with everybody.

The owners of Izzy’s, Alan and Brooke Phillips, are the most warm-hearted, community-minded restauranteurs. In fact, after Brooke read KATIE UP AND DOWN THE HALL, she told me that she was so touched by the story that she wanted to host a reception for my book in her restaurant for all our dog-loving friends and neighbors.

This is a very kind thing to do–and the perfect illustration of one of the unifying themes of my book–about the power of neighborhood connections, caring for and supporting one another, proving that a family is anything you want it to be, whether it be human/canine, young/old, straight/gay, you name it.

So while KATIE had a great mid-town debut party hosted by Calvin Klein, and a Tribeca Barnes & Noble bookreading, hosted by Liz Smith–at last, we’re having a Battery Park City event to celebrate the publication of my book. 

And you’re all invited to this reception, this Thursday, November 18th, from 6-8 pm. Come meet me and my new puppy Lucy, her dog trainer, Rob Haussmann, Alan and Brooke Phillips, plus a host of incredible friends who have been so greatly supportive to me.

And in addition to getting your KATIE UP AND DOWN THE HALL book signed by me (plus a paw print from Lucy) they’ll be chocolate dog bones (for humans), stuffed cocker spaniel dolls (for kids), and a scrumptious assortment of Izzy & Nats signature dishes–mini-bagels with smoked salmon, corned beef and pastrami mini-sliders, mini-potato pancakes, and custom-made dog bone cookies decorated with Katie’s name on them.

Lucy At Barnes & Noble, Guarding the KATIE books

And the great news is that all proceeds from the sale of KATIE will be donated to AmsterDog, a non-profit animal rescue group founded by BPC resident Deb Dilorio, recently profiled in the Downtown Express newspaper.

Deb is our neighborhood’s greatest champion for dogs and cats who have been abandoned in shelters or found in disaster sites–and we want to do everything we can to support her efforts to help animals in need.

So, please come to my favorite lunch spot, located just yards from the Hudson River, and lift a glass of wine in tribute to Deb and to all the dogs and cats that enhance our lives, giving back to us so much more than we can ever give to them.

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