When I was in high school I started seeing a shrink. She lived on west 86th street in the same building Stanley Kubrick and I.B. Singer once called home. Her name was Miriam and she looked like she could have been Elaine Kaufman’s sister.
My father knew Elaine when she managed a restaurant called Portofino down in the village. He followed her when she opened her own place on the Upper East Side. He was a regular at Elaine’s in early days, before he got a job at ABC and migrated down to Herb Evans and then the Ginger Man over by Lincoln Center in ’68-’69. Dad took my aunt and cousin Donny to Elaine’s and soon they were going on their own. Last year, Donny told me that the first time he ever ate Pesto was at Elaine’s.
Her place was famous, as famous as any bar in New York since Toots Shor’s. Famous as a hangout for writers and scene makers. It stopped being hip by the late ’70s but coasted on its reputation for many years after that. And Elaine was at the center of it all, loving and profane, a true New York character.
Last December, Elaine died. On Thursday, her old place closes for good. I’d say it was the end of an era, but really the joint died when she did.
How about a toast?
Oh, yeah, big Bartolo Colon and the Yanks got thumped by the Jays, 7-3.