Offbeat New York

On The Move: In Manhattan: Dekk Restaurant and Bar

by Carla Rupp and Jason Rupp

Manhattan is definitely high on the list for offerings of offbeat things to do in the Big Apple. We’re all on the move in Manhattan, everyday. We’re so busy all the time, and yet we find time to have fun, to reflect, to remember.

Our column will be full of news you can use if you already know about the big name restaurants, theatres, jazz clubs, parks, museums and the like. In this issue, we end on a love note, because love never ends. According to George Herbert, “Love makes all hard hearts gentle.” And as Saint Peter once wrote, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8 NIV)

Dekk Restaurant and Bar +
What could be more offbeat than jazz? After all, the best notes are on the offbeat. In Lower Manhattan’s Tribeca, the jazz scene on Sunday’s and Monday’s includes the sleek, comfortable Dekk: Restaurant + Bar and Special Screening Room (see below for location and directions)

The Sunday jazz brunch (1-4 p.m.) features The Tony DiGregorio Trio with DiGregorio on guitar; Keith Dorgan, vibes, and Jeremy Stratton, on bass. The trio plays standards, original jazz compositions and the music of Django, Duke, Monk, Mulligan and more.

On Monday’s (7-10 p.m.) the amazing Rifftide entertains, with plenty of guest artists dropping in--all for no cover charge. Rifftide is composed of Bryant DuPre, flute, saxes, drums and vocals, and Roman Ivanoff, organ and plays swing, bebop and standards “It’s only a two-member band, but it sounds like four,” explains DuPre when we stopped in again recently. “Roman covers the bass and chord functions while I play drums and sax or vocals (or flute) at the same time.”

Not so out of the way that you can’t find Dekk on Monday evening, but definitely out of the ordinary, Dekk also lets you enjoy jazz and also view in the background large screen (and soundless) film classics by Felini, Hitchcock, Chaplin and others. Food is good and Ralph Cummings, executive chef, sees to the important culinary detail —- and there is no food or drink minimum.

DuPre just finished a beautiful tune on his tenor sax, “Stairway to the Stars.” Humphrey Bogart was on the screen when DuPre asked Mary Lou Manaher, a new arrival, “Do you have something for us?” “Let’s do ‘I Remember April,’ Manaher said, as she relieved Ivanoff on the keyboard. Before she sat down, she played this standard and another one, “Girl from Ipanema” with DuPre. Mean Streets then appropriately played throughout Dekk depicting New York City in fictional dramatic scenes in the film classic directed by Martin Scorces, featuring actors Robert De Niro (who actually lives and works in Tribeca) and Harvey Keitel. The duo followed with “Chinaboy.” “I love this when we’re watching movies and hearing jazz,” Manaher said.

Each Monday evening is different: the previous week, we found the duo expanding to 10 musicians, including a jazz violinist, Helen Yee, who occasionally performs at the Knitting Factory with Invert, in “C Jam Blues.” Everyone took a solo. Rifftide’s repertoire included a lot of our favorites: “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Wave,” “A Train,” “Lady Be Good,” “I Can’t Get Started,” “It Could Happen to You,”, “Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me,” and “Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got that Swing.” Lisi Pakulski, a singer, in her first visit, says Dekk is “wonderful for singers—very ‘singer-friendly,’ with great supportive musicians and very edible food. It was a good opportunity for me to sing.” Maki Mottsu, also a singer, says, “I love this place: a gathering for nice people and nice food.”

Miriam Rothstein, a former producer for Alan King, called dropping in and performing with Rifftide “a whole new world for me. This is my first time at Dekk and it is the most fun I have had in ages. The music is wonderful, but the people are even better. Bryant is an amazing musician and I didn’t know it until tonight.” Performer Thom Mitchell, a vocalist, also received a lot of applause in his second appearance. “All I can say is that I like this place. I think Dekk is going to catch on. I like the club. It’s a nice room, a beautiful room.”

Carla Rupp and Jason Rupp are freelance travel writers who are long-time residents of Manhattan. Photo by Jason Rupp
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