08/04/12 - posted by Paul Rosenberg
My son, a 2008 graduate of George Washington High School, had to pass the swim test to graduate. The requirement was a post WWII creation because of all the servicemen who needlessly drowned during the war.

I learned to swim at the Chinatown WMCA, an adventure to take the old 55 bus to Chinatown and somehow achieve minimum proficiency for my beginner's certificate. Friends convinced me to try Rossi for the intermediate. We had more fun that serious learning so, as much fun as we had, none of us won that intermediate.

While in high school, on those RARE formal dates, we would wind up at the Tonga Room. We'd be there after dinner service and because of our tender years would receive the non-adult dessert menu. I remember the confection we would be served would be a white ice cream and pastry dome covered in shaved coconut. Fortunately, we were there more for the conviviality than haute cusine.

Exercising a discount coupon, my family enjoyed dinner at the Tonga a year or so ago. On a weekday evening, there were more patrons enjoying the bar than the dinner seating. The food was interesting and good and expensive. I'm glad we went and I'm very glad I didn't pay full price. I have little desire to return. I appreciate the folks who have organized to prevent the demise of the Tonga Room, but they would be more effective if the patronage would match the enthusiasm.
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