Night Revolves On Invisible Wheels

thumb.jpgKatie met Fabrizio as a child when she traveled to her father’s hometown in the Italian Alps.

Thirty years later, Katie and Fabrizio reconnected at a relative’s wedding.

Six weeks later, Katie and Fabrizio stood in a snow-swept cove of Central Park exchanging vows.

Abbi and I stood in the wings, huddled together against the cold. Abbi and Katie’s mutual roommate, Heather, presided. Her husband, Andrew, stood proudly just off my shoulder. The intimate affair lasted just a few, frozen moments.

Soon, the color palette shifted from chilly whites and blues to warmer reds and browns. The Italian Renaissance-style University Club on 54th and Fifth Avenue was built in 1899, some 34 years after a group of recent college graduates established the club to “extend their collegial ties.”

The foyer’s ceiling stretched three stories, framed by pillars and tapestries. Next door, the reading room’s immense oriental rug and finely-carved wood panelling glowed warmly beneath the thirty-foot Christmas tree. Upstairs in the dining room, white-gloved waiters circulated champagne, Maryland crab cakes and chitake mushroom pate wrapped in a crispy Phyllo dough.

We stood a while talking, warming ourselves with cocktails, then sat at tables named for Los Angeles streets. After dinner, as the jazz quartet coaxed attendees to the dance floor, we spied an arrangement of cupcakes. Eyes widened. And when the waiters served them, the color palette shifted again.

Soon, Andrew’s beard was covered in frosting. He smiled mischievously at his wife. She grimmaced. But the bride and groom, making their rounds, joined in on the fun. And for a moment — across time and oceans, through the cold of winter and rigors of antiquity — the night had a momentum all its own.

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