The Greening of Manayunk

Once, the Indians came here to drink. Now, the yuppies do. And ex-mayor Bill Green is right in the middle of it all, merrily ringing up the register

No, it’s Bill Green’s baby now, and this is Jack’s first glimpse of the new arrival.

Flowers adorn the bar, standing in mighty arrangements appropriate to their cost. Some speak of friendship, others at influence. Still others speak of a kind of neighborliness new to Manayunk — friendliness that accommodates influence.

Through a Yunker’s eyes the room is done up like somebody either got married or died.

And there are more ladies in the place than might come into D.G.’s for months.

And those little lobsters on ice…

"Crawfish."

"Crawdads?"

"Oh, yes. They’re delicious. The manager gets it all fresh-flown in from Louisiana.

D.G.’s used to have the best meatball sandwiches…

Jack offers bits of conversation, but they don’t seem to stick. Did two tours of duty in Vietnam — mainly search and destroy. Ever heard of the jolly green giant? No?

Well, it was the finest combat helicopter to fly the skies of Vietnam. Had a few problems, though. Did they know that if some rounds found their way in there they could ricochet oh, ten, 15 times and leave you as bad off as those poor people in the space shuttle?

No, they did not know that.

Oh yeah. It could be a terrible thing.

Meanwhile, some stools down, Green seems a proud father, sitting with a tight group of family, friends and partners.

"It’s like the pictures you see of bars," one of the group offers. "How they’re supposed to look."

"Well, there’s nothing fake — Bill doesn’t believe in it."

"There’s an exception or two." Green pause — that loaded pause that comes from being powerful. A significant silence that demands conversational space. "The register is modem. You can’t fool around with the old there. But just about everything else…"

"Mr. Green," Jack begins with a jumpstart. "I just wanted to tell you, Mr. Green, that this is beautiful what you done here. "

"Well, thank you."

"It used to be…" Jack laughs nervously. “Just ordinary."

"Well, we tried to keep it like the old and just change a few things here and there. Almost everything is authentic."

"Well, you done a great job. I just wanted to say, Mr. Green, that I’m just around the comer and we’re neighbors now and if you ever need me just give me a ring."

"Thank you, sir."

"Really. I mean it. We’re neighbors. If you ever need me. Ever."

"That’s very kind of you, " Green says, placing a skilled hand on Jack’s broad shoulder.

Shortly, Jack returns to his stool and his new acquaintances. "I don’t guess you’ve ever seen a laser pistol…”

Still no sign of Jack’s old crowd. Strangers begin to fill Green’s United States Hotel, walking their power walk and gripping their power handshake and smiling their power smile. Yes, a marvelous piece of real estate.

It is the middle of the evening when a husband and wife appear at the door and stand there uncomfortably for a time, trying to figure out the customs.