New Year’s Eve
by Warren Woessner
5 p.m., corner booth
Oak Bar, Plaza Hotel,
New York City, Center
of the World of all
Where a Belvedere martini,
up with a twist, contemplates you
like a languid goldfish
in a clear garden pool,
or a suspended tear
that you can take back inside,
like that first full breath,
in case you need it,
as the world gets ready
to start all over again again.
Poem copyright ©2019 by Warren Woessner, “New Year’s Eve,” from Exit-Sky, (Holy Cow! Press, 2019).
PHOTO: Oak Bar at The Plaza Hotel, Fifth Avenue at, 10 Central Park S, New York City (Dec. 27, 2009) by Tony, © All Rights Reserved.
NOTE: The Oak Bar was established in its current location on the northwest corner of the Plaza Hotel in 1945, when the hotel was under the ownership of Conrad Hilton. For the 1945 opening, a 38-foot oakwood bar was installed, along with three Everett Shinn murals, which remain in place—at a current estimated value of one million dollars each. The Oak Bar is designed in Tudor Revival style, with a plaster ceiling, strapwork, and floral and foliage motifs. A sign on the Oak Bar’s Central Park South windows reads, “Since 1907,” but the bar has been closed since 2011 except for private events.
PHOTO: Belvedere Classic Martini prepared with Belvedere vodka, dry vermouth, and a pink grapefruit twist, the “languid goldfish” from the poem. (Courtesy photo from belvederevodka.com)
NOTE: New York City’s Plaza Hotel, a French Renaissance-inspired château-style building, contains 21 stories and is 251.92 feet tall. The building, which faces Central Park, was designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh and built in 1907, with a later addition by Warren and Wetmore from 1919 to 1922. Since its inception, the Plaza Hotel has been an icon of New York City, and has appeared in numerous books and films. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the hotel’s exterior and some of its interior spaces as city landmarks, and the building is also a National Historic Landmark.
PHOTO: The Plaza Hotel, New York City in 2007, the year that marked its 100th birthday. Photo by Matt Weaver, used by permission.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Warren Woessner is a poet and patent lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He earned a BA from Cornell, where he studied with A.R. Ammons, and later earned both a JD and a PhD in organic chemistry from University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1968, he co-founded Abraxas Magazine in Madison, Wisconsin, with poet James Bertolino. He was also a founder of WORT-FM and hosted its poetry program. His poetry has appeared in Poetry, Poetry Northwest, The Nation, Midwest Quarterly, CutBank, Poet Lore, and 5 A.M. He is the author of many books, including Clear All the Rest of the Way (The Backwaters Press, 2008), Greatest Hits 1965-2000 (Pudding House Publications, 2003), and Our Hawk (The Toothpaste Press, 2005). His awards and honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wisconsin Arts Board. He was a Loft-McKnight Fellow in 1985 and won the Minnesota Voices Competition sponsored by New Rivers Press in 1986.