It’s not often that Big Sister graces the Right Coast with her presence—what with all the de rigueur meditating and Visual Basic programming hours your average Californian must put in. Young Spartos, on the other hand, has no time for psychic friends and New Age frivolities. Besides, it’s nigh impossible to get a good martini at the local sweat lodge! This holiday season, Spartos plots to take Big Sis on a tippling tour that’ll shock her chakras and make her swear off smoothies for good!

Spartos hopes to win over the California Kid—and her wallet—at the glamorous and intriguing OAK BAR (Plaza Hotel, 768 Fifth Avenue, 546-5330) of North by Northwest fame. So it’s to her dismay when she calculates that Dotcommers in Dockers outnumber Bluebloods in Double Windsor Knots three to one! Maybe that’s why the service is spotty and their table overlooking Central Park South dirty. Spartos consoles herself with a rather regal Bloody Mary ($11.50 plus tax), which sports a skewered lapel of two plump green olives, one jumbo prawn, and a slice of tart lime. Meanwhile, Big Sis—who also happens to be a vegetarian—has other shellfish to fry: Is the orange juice in the screwdrivers freshly squeezed? Good for Spartos, it’s no Tropicana concentrate. And so when the soused Spartos sisters spy Cary Grant circa 1959 under the dark and snowy Everett Shinn murals, the younger Spartos (a/k/a You Little Brat!) triumphantly cries, “Take that, Silicone City!”

Afterward, they stroll up decadent Fifth Avenue into the haughty Upper East Side, where the next stop on You Little Brat!’s secret Gotham Is Great campaign is quaint neighborhood hang FERRIER (29 East 65th Street, 772-9000). It’s a mellow winter evening, and the bistro’s French doors invitingly open onto the street. Inside, the half a dozen seats at the bar are taken, so the sisters satisfy themselves with a tiny table straight out of the 7th Arrondissement. Spartos’s rich Chimay Grand Reserve ($9.50) arrives smartly poured in a snifter while Big Sis’s fruity Lindemans Framboise ($12) floats in a delicate flute. “Now that’s class!” exclaims Spartos. But the California Kid is out of earshot—she’s up at the bar giving all the Euro bikers in garish spandex a lecture on the perils of Gauloises. “Don’t you know that smoking’s bad for you?” parrots an exasperated Big Sis. Spartos shrinks in her chair while chanting her own kind of mantra (“Serenity now!”).

No one’s puffing the cigars on offer at the deliciously dusty HUDSON BAR & BOOKS (636 Hudson Street, 229-2642), and that gives Spartos hope. Inspired by the many rows of leather-bound pages, she tries to conjure Alistair Cooke in the form of some dry and witty banter. A glass of Moët & Chandon ($12) in hand, she brags about the donation she just made to channel 13. Big Sis does her a turn by invoking her PBS favorite, Deepak Chopra. Had You Little Brat! read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success? “No, Big Sis, I haven’t,” replies Spartos. “I’m completely, utterly, and spiritually broke. Can you get the tab?”

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 4, 2001

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