Listen, I know that we didn’t win everyone over when we went public with our desire to drag our children to bars. In fact, we made quite a few enemies among the hipsters, the hipster-haters, the Koran-burners and presumably some Koran-lovers.
But if there’s one figure, one quest, that can unite the theocrats and the hatemongers with the pleasure-seekers and child-bashers, it is Frank Bruni on his Infusapallooza mission to get drunk everywhere in New York.
Therefore we found the opening to his story today about drinking in Harlem to be, well, a bit of intoxicating validation:
So long as there’s not a soundtrack of screeching to go with it, I kind of like seeing a stroller in a drinking establishment — and not, I should add, because I’m cavalier about child welfare. Diligent parenting can surely accommodate a glass of wine or stein of beer at happy hour, and procreation shouldn’t prevent the new moms and dads of the world from hanging with the rest of us, who appreciate reinforcements and some diversity around the bar.
Around 6:30 p.m. at Bier International recently I spotted not one stroller but two, babies snug inside, their (moderately) tippling caretakers close at hand. I also spotted two open laptops, attended by tap-tapping patrons who looked to be about 15 years younger than the strollers’ stewards. To scan the crowd was to behold the kind of mosaic New York so often promises but doesn’t always deliver, at least not within four walls: younger people, older people, flip-flops, neckties, black skin, white skin and skin of various shades in between. I found it — along with a polyglot collection of Belgian, Czech, Turkish and Kenyan brews — in a freshly bustling corridor of Harlem, which is where Bier International makes its home.
Did you hear that, haters? “Procreation shouldn’t prevent the new moms and dads of the world from hanging with the rest of us, who appreciate reinforcements and some diversity around the bar,” said Bruni, a man who, due to being gay and utterly devoted to tippling and gourmanding, is perhaps unlikely to do any procreating himself soon.
Bravo, Bruni. Thank you for settling our long disputation. We will see you, drunk and babied-up, in Harlem.
[Update: Bruni apparently suffered a taste of the backlash that came around these parts. He blogs about it, and backtracks a bit on his position, here]