BYOB Beads ‘n Booze

Tables For Two

Five Wounds

874 Oskars Street, tel: 212-567-4001

Five Wounds is a new “multipurpose room” under 1 1/2 Avenue, in newly-dubbed DucManIs. The neighborhood, full of darkened storefronts and limb-lacking statuary, is an “underperforming Latvian Catholic shithole,” said Janis Ozols, the 14-year-old freshman at nearby St. Roland’s who handed out our “meal slips” at the door. “Or not a shithole. Bad choice of words,” he mumbled, scratching his eyebrow. The sort-of restaurant is located in a former parish hall where patrons sit on gray folding chairs with flattened, taped seat pads at rickety folding tables.

Five Wounds’ menu is limited and unpredictable. The night we went they were only serving “Hot Lunch”: a choice between two drumsticks or a piece of pizza, with a small sour-smelling paper carton of milk (we asked for chocolate, but they were out) and a mandatory pink-frosted stale donut for dessert. Self-serve urns of lukewarm coffee and styrofoam cups sit on a pass-through to the kitchen, where harried-looking mothers unboxed pizzas and smoked cigarettes. Despite all this, the large, flourescently-lit room was packed and full of lively distractions. One may join an AA meeting in progress in one corner; sit in on Beads ‘n Booze, an ongoing BYOB rosary session; or sing along with the surprisingly excellent All Humans’ Mass Band, led by Tim Carroll, a bearded, bespectacled deacon who might closely resemble your high school algebra teacher.
“Where’s the bingo?” I asked a roaming priest, the handsome Msgr. Alby Slevin, who was “visiting from his prelature in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said with a near-chuckle. “I think you’ve got the wrong idea.” Past him, against a wall, Janis Ozols was writing “I will not use inappropriate language” in neat lines on a blackboard.

Mary Valle lives in Baltimore and is the author of Cancer Doesn't Give a Shit About Your Stupid Attitude: Reflections on Cancer and Catholicism. She blogs on KtB as The Communicant. For more Mary, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.