Two of New York's Boroughs Honored

photo: l->r, jadine, alan, carmel, rc cofer

From left to right: Jadine, Alan, Carmel, RC Cofer; with two more members to come.

Amiral Coligny Was Not a Polish Sausage

Paris:- Thursday, 27. April 2000:- Instead of snowing a couple of days ago at Easter, it is still raining very seriously. This is not Paris' usual little sprinkle, but regular non-stop rain. There are puddles full of it everywhere.

I skip my usual mini-tour on the way to the club. To get a shot of La Corona's terrace, I stand under the awning of a trinket shop, and all the other awnings for all the other outside shots.

Inside the café, warm and dry, there are fewer customers than last week. Easter is over and only May Day - never a record-setter for onion soup orders - is in the future.

The club's waiter arranges five tables, edge to edge. I get time to write the meeting's number and the date in the club's unofficial members' andphoto: yellow checker taxi reports' booklets. Sometimes, this is all I do for two hours. Then I get time to look closely at a brochure I found during a shortcut I took through the Samaritaine department store.

Today's yellow Checker 'Taxi of the Week' comes from Queens.

Before I can wonder what I will read next, Charter club members Carmel McKenzie and Alan Savage have arrived. I tell them about part of the Quai Branly being renamed 'Promenade d'Australie' today.

Today's Le Parisien is still maintaining that the 'Place d'Australie' will be renamed 'Place de Sydney' in a double ceremony, but there seems to be no 'Place d'Australie' in Paris to rename.

Then, in a one-two entry, last week's new Charter member R. C. Cofer piles in, closely followed by about-to-be-new Charter member Jadine Brown, who has just come from the airport and Long Island City in Queens.

The first thing Jadine does is pop a gift-wrapped yellow Checker taxi on to the table in front of me. On its driver's door, it says '$1.50 Initial Charge.' This wonderful item instantly becomes the club's 'Taxi of the Week.'

She must think this is a club of crazies. With members making multiple visits, some conversations carry over from one week to the next.

R.C. Cofer tells us about not getting off a train in time to see some château, and seeing another one near some other station. These châteaux names both start with 'C' but I do not catch more.

This reminds me of the dubious location of Tampa, Florida - which may not have its own postal address like Long Island City in Queens. R. C. Cofer interrupts himself to say, "Miami is the New York of South America."

Everybody says this can't be true, but R. C. Cofer is sticking to New York lore. He says, "Brooklyn is on the way to New York from the JFK airport."

About this time, I am trying to line up the present members for their group photo. Jadine says it is a "Bad-hair day," and "Can't you draw some stick-figures instead?" When I persist, she asks, "Can you retouch it?"

In case any Parisians are reading this, Jadine adds, "Paris in the rain is better than anywhere else." I guess anybody who comes straight to this clubphoto: drink, orange presse from the airport without passing decompression might have a 'bad-hair day.'

Everybody is also interested in Carmel and Alan's inexpensive hotel with 'Gran Confort,' in, as Alan says, "The unfashionable east." But while we are on this Rhoda and Jerry Miller come in, dripping rainwater, with a club membership card for me to fill in and date.

The 'Drink of the Week' is orange pressé, not RC Cola.

The Millers are from Far Rockaway, New York. I think I overhear that this place is in the Bronx, and I glance at the unofficial member's booklet, to see that Jerry has drawn a map - showing Far Rockaway to be on Long Island - which looks like a long sausage in the north, with other nearby islands, and New Jersey, represented by a straight line on the right.

One apparent 'island' is labelled 'The Mainland.' An arrow in 'New Jersey' with a 'N' below it is pointing towards South America.

Rhoda was 'born' on 163rd Street and Jerry says he was 'born' on 117th Street; both in Manhattan. Their present home in Far Rockaway has a connection with France: every time the Concorde takes off, as it gathers speed crossing over Far Rockaway, it sets off all the car burglar alarms.

Jerry has been a 'virtual' club member for some time. After I included a historical note about the sad fate of Amiral Coligny - the 'Amiral Coligny' of La Corona's street address - Jerry sent me a correction in February. He wrote:

"Yet, my 'Histoire de Paris' by Julia Child states that the street name is a misnomer - to coin a phrase. In actuality, it was named after a Polish nobleman, Stefan Kielbasy, who was elevated by Madame Pompadour 'for services rendered.' He had been a cook in the royal household and Mme P. was mad about his sausage."

After I replied this could not possibly be true, Jerry consulted his library and replied earlier this month, with the following:

"I have done some more research on Le Amiral and although you are indeed correct aboutphoto: jerry and rhoda miller Pompadour, you have mistaken Jean Claude Coligny for Charles Colbert Coligny.

"The latter was the pseudonym adopted by Stefan Kielbasy when he was on the lam from Lvov for falsely passing off herring roe as caviar to the Polish nobility.

"After six weeks in the Paris sewers, he surfaced - you guessed it - on the very spot where now stands the Café Metropole Club's café La Corona."

Jerry and Rhoda from Far Rockaway pepped up a meeting that was already bubbling along.

After re-checking historical 'facts,' I have found that 'our' Amiral Coligny was named neither Jean-Claude nor Charles Colbert Coligny.

He was Gaspard and he was born in 1519, a whopping 202 years before Antoinette Poisson who became the Marquise de Pompadour, and was Louis' official mistress from 1745 to 1751. 'Our' Gaspard had two brothers; Odet and François. All died within three years of each other.

Even if Stefan Kielbasy was calling himself 'Amiral Coligny' when he popped out of a sewer in front of the club's café, it is doubtful that the street would have been named for this dubious distinction - while 'our' Amiral Coligny was wounded by an assassin while crossing it, which led to Gaspard's beheading and being tossed out of a window in his nearby apartment.

However, 'Amiral Coligny' is not a candidate for the 'Street of the Week' distinction, so this leaves the thorny problem of the club's 'City of the Week.' In contention are two neighborhoods in two of New York City's five boroughs, so I guess we'll have to have a 'Twin Borough of the Week' and award them to Long Island City and Far Rockaway.

And there you have it again fellow club members, both 'virtual' and 'real.' There hasn't seemed to be any 'Food of the Week,' but R.C. Cofer learned about 'orange pressé.' Being from Florida, he has been suffering from a lack of citrus, but this 'Drink of the Week,' discovered today, has saved him.

The 'Quote of the Week' comes - again - from R. C. Cofer. Apropos of I don't know what - again - just before leaving he says, "'R. C.' - as in RC Cola!" After this Jerry cryptically added, "Ten, two, four."

Then all of the 'real' members file out into the rain on the Quai du Louvre or the Rue de l'Amiral Coligny and I go up to the bar section of the café and pay for my café.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The date for the club's next 'real' meeting is Thursday, 4. May. If it appears to be Thursday and you are definitely in Paris, come to the meeting. If you don't happen to be in Paris and youphoto: quai du louvre happen to remember, wherever you are you can say "It must be Café Metropole Club day!"

The café La Corona meeting place will be wide open as usual inside and out next Thursday, so the time for your club's meeting remains from 15:00 to 17:00 - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm if you have a clock that only goes up to 12.

Come however you are, especially if you can. If you do not expect to be present you can read the regular - this week's - Monday page for your last week's club's news.

As hard as I can, I still can't remember what I put on Monday's regular 'club' page. I remember writing it but not what. However, the café's location is still:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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