"I get in at 9.30 every morning. The bar maids get in at noon. I am eighty-three and I have cancer."
Earlier, Esther was outside her bar supervising the delivery of supplies. Caroline asked her if we could have some water for the dog. She beckoned us in and produced a large Tupperware full of water for Louis and put it on the floor for him.
She has owned and run The New Casablanca for forty years, more than twenty of those years with the man she eventually married. "One New Year's Eve he asked me - I thought he never would."
Her husband died eighteen years ago. She hunted the shelves and cupboards under the bar and brought out her wedding album. "I get it out every so often." It was a large white leather book with sewn gilt borders on each page.
She thought Bedford Stuyvesant was still neglected by the city. In the last election Mayor Bloomberg got fewer votes in her district than any other. "He ought to come and see us more."