Site of "Durant's Restaurant" today

The scene on the dance floor is remembered vividly by musician Frank Conti:

"It was 1972 when Denise and I began teaching at JCS. Our first apartment was the cabin in back of Basil and Wicks. After meeting Jeff Baroudi, we formed a band, Frank Conti and the Rhythm Machine, which included Jeff on bass guitar, Gary Tracey on guitar, Hank Freebern on drums/vocals, and me on sax. After getting a songlist together, we asked to play at Basil and Wicks. We were an instant hit, with cars lined up on both sides of Route 28 every Friday and Saturday night. It was so crowded on the dance floor that the floor often felt like a trampoline. It would spring up and down as they danced. Usually in the crowd were such personalities as Chuck and Tudy Severance, Barry and Terry Waterston, Ernie Johnson, Hoopie and Joan Colton, Micky Baroudi, John and Evelyn Kellogg, and Tom and Stub McConnell. What a happening place."

Frank Morehouse expresses some comical, tender, thoughtful observations:

"It is not possible to write a story about Basil & Wick's. The place was a story every time you went in there.

From those of us who would really like to show our age you will still hear "Riding's" once in awhile. The Ridings owned the place before Basil and Wick bought it and it was a haunt of many of our parents. For my age group though it became Basil's since Basil was more than likely the one that would throw you out of the place if he didn't like your behavior on a particular night. Luckily his memory was short or his capacity for forgiveness was great because people always made their way back into his good graces. Basil was "70 something" for the 20 or 30 years that I knew him and Wick was his son-in-law; a fact that would only be acknowledged on leap years and Sundays. Between the two of them and Ruth and Nat in the kitchen, they held court, entertained, counseled, and loved everyone who knew them, and a lot who didn't know them, nightly for many years.

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