This obituary is a part of a collection about individuals who have died within the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.
Arthur Pomposello, the host of the Oak Room, the cabaret supper membership within the Algonquin Hotel, practiced the humanities of theatricality and discretion.
A dark-haired former mannequin in a tuxedo, he parted a pink curtain to permit friends inside. He glided onstage and launched Andrea Marcovicci, for many years the Oak Room’s foremost attraction, as “our songbird.” He gossiped with journalists about what he known as “my cabaret,” and in return the papers gave him labels like “a loquacious fixture.”
But Mr. Pomposello might additionally work quietly. “This is cabaret,” he whispered to loud prospects. “We don’t talk here.” He rearranged the tables, making mild crowds seem livelier and making huge crowds match.
Inspectors would verify to see if the small-capacity room exceeded authorized limits.
“He would show them the kitchen or show them the upstairs — ‘Oh, come right this way,’” Ms. Marcovicci recalled. “They’d never see the room when it had 110 people in it. Never.”
Mr. Pomposello died on May 6 at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 85. The trigger was problems of Covid-19, his son Sean stated.
When Mr. Pomposello began on the Algonquin as a bartender, in 1980, you might nonetheless really feel transported to the resort’s famed previous as a every day gathering place for writers. He as soon as entered the foyer and observed Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut sharing a drink. The subsequent on the spot, Eudora Welty walked in.
In the center to late 1980s, as figures like Michael Feinstein and Harry Connick Jr. launched their careers from the Oak Room, Mr. Pomposello’s tasks grew. He booked expertise and managed the funds, protecting his perch below a number of completely different homeowners of the Algonquin.
“I’ve not lost a penny in nine years,” he told The New York Times in 1998.
When he noticed his son Sean, he raved about visits from pale stars whose glow had by no means dimmed for Mr. Pomposello. The Nicholas brothers, tap-dancers who rose to fame within the 1930s, turned heads the evening they arrived, Mr. Pomposello stated.
Sean not too long ago seemed by way of his father’s deal with e book to ask folks to the wake. “I can’t find too many friends,” Sean stated. “I find a lot of cabaret stars, some of whom are no longer alive.”
Arthur Pomposello was born on Nov. 19, 1935, in Harlem and grew up within the Bronx. His father, Arthur, performed jazz guitar below his nickname, Scotty Bond. His mom, Concetta (Bellafatto) Pomposello, was a homemaker who went to work on the pocketbook counter in Bloomingdale’s after she and Scotty divorced, when their son was a teen.
Arthur dreamed of changing into a film star and spent summers in Los Angeles. When that didn’t work out, he went to Michigan State University. He graduated with a level in resort administration.
Back in New York, he labored at a succession of motels, together with Hampshire House, and eating places, together with Café des Artistes. He modeled and located modest performing work. He cooked up entrepreneurial schemes like “Pompie’s Pushers,” fashions promoting genuine Italian meals from handcarts. Nothing took — till the Oak Room. Mr. Pomposello stayed till a dispute with administration in 2002.
Mr. Pomposello married Eunice Mahoney, a phone operator, in 1958. They divorced in 1979. That identical 12 months he married Alicia Cirino, a bunny on the New York Playboy Club. She died of coronary heart failure in 2007.
In addition to his son Sean, Mr. Pomposello is survived by two extra kids from his first marriage, Peri Kish-Pomposello and Chris Pomposello, and 5 grandchildren. A son from his second marriage, Adam, died in an accident in 2008.
After he left the Oak Room, Mr. Pomposello labored as an evening concierge on the Plaza Hotel till the pandemic final spring, when he was 84. Mr. Pomposello by no means stopped hoping to discover a new venue of his personal. In 2015 and 2016, he organized a number of performances at eating places of an act he known as “Pompie’s Place,” which featured jazz and blues singers and Mr. Pomposello himself because the impresario of an imaginary membership.
The discovery of a brand new restaurant or a theater with a big foyer set his gears turning, Sean Pomposello stated: “He’d get this wistful look in his face, looking around the place, and thinking about how he’s going to book cabaret.”