Thank You, Dennis Spilios

Written by admin on . Posted in Dewing Things Better, On Topic OTDT, Opinion and Column.


“You look tired.”

“No, I’m not; it’s this new lighting!”

So went a tenant exchange in our newly renovated lobby. No one older than, say 35, likes to be told they look tired, but naked emperors worldwide will soon ban kindly incandescents for the so-called energy savers which make everyone/every thing they zap look tired when they’re not. Fluorescents are a visual depressant, plus they accent the slightest bit of wear, tear or soil—which is good for the cosmetic, therapy and repair/cleaning businesses.

Ah, how long you and I have argued against doing harm in the process of conserving energy and reducing the carbon footprint. (And this even more dangerously applies to the future banning of safer motor vehicles—instead of reducing the speed limit and giving all out support for affordable/readily available mass transit and passenger train service.)

But to stop the light blight, we must bombard Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann with calls to reintroduce her Light Bulb Freedom of Choice bill, which naked emperors likely ordered her to drop (202-225-2331). And make our own lawmakers see the overwhelming need for reducing the decades of excessive watt use, not sacrificing light that enhances for one that deforms. By the way, warm-whites deform less than cool-whites.

Kindly lighting was still found at the Gracie Mansion celebration of the 25th anniversary of the East 79th Neighborhood Association and its undaunted and tireless president, Betty Cooper Wallerstein. The city is surely a safer, cleaner and more neighborly place for the group’s myriad endeavors, which include a long and desperately sought by yours truly and others traffic signal on our corner.

Benevolent lighting is still found at many restaurants, especially Rafina’s on York Avenue between East 78th and 79th streets. But alas, its 20/20 visioned, singing proprietor Dennis Spilios is leaving on June 1, after serving the Upper East Side for nearly three decades. How grateful my family and I are for Rafina’s most kindly lighting and décor, and especially for the quietly welcoming personnel and friends there. The food is nourishing, too. And unforgettable is my birthday party at Dennis’ former restaurant, Le Panto, which he insisted on doing for far less than it cost him. So many such stories could be told about his generous if sometimes quixotic nature.
Especially endearing to me is the song he dedicates to the mother he loved so deeply, and his strong belief in close ongoing family connections “so no one is left out.”

And so we wish Dennis, his wife and family extended, and his work (music mission!) whatever they need most—with heartfelt affection and thanks.  Rafina’s so able and gracious staff, thankfully, remains under the restaurant’s new ownership.

And do read, disperse and respond to the May AARP Bulletin story, “Under One Roof.” Yup, the recession has more three-, even four-family generations sharing households, which this piece finds fairly positive—unlike advice-gurus like radio’s Dr. Joy Browne. My letter to the editor called for “More such features, please!—with lots of communication/relationship-skills information to help the ‘getting along.’” AARP’s preoccupation with couple bonds and “younger older” people may not find it “fit to print.” But AARP (212-407-3700) and all power-wielders need reminding that caring, ongoing family/social support/interaction is healthcare maintenance and preventive medicine of the very first kind—for all ages and backgrounds.

dewingbetter@aol.com

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