Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Good times past

The Helmsley Building from 48th and Park. 10:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017.  A sunny summer day, yesterday in New York with temperatures in the low 70s, no humidity and low 60s in the evening. Calm. Cool. Collected. In Houston and along the Texas coast it’s a punishing horror story and still going on two days later.
A former New Yorker's front yard in Houston.
These last days of August feel like a vacation over here. I’ve had fewer appointments and deadlines in the last few days. Yesterday I spent the time reading. I’m one of those people who feels he is naturally lazy and the only solution is to feel guilty while I’m reading. I’m a procrastinator. My mother would often admonish (when I hadn’t mowed the lawn or taken out the garbage): “He who procrastinates is lost.” She definitely got her point across since the phrase has continued to remind at times all these decades later. I tell myself “maybe I can use it in a Diary.” The great thing about a Diary is you can use anything because basically a Diary has no expectations.

Amongst my reading material yesterday were some letters (emails really) that I had written to a friend in Los Angeles twenty years ago in March 1997. I was at Avenue magazine at the time, and only five years into my  “return” to New York from California. I’d been telling my friend, who’d lived in California most of her life, that she’d like New York. 20 years later, she told me the other day that she had kept them and made copies of them. Naturally I was interested to see what I might have written.
This was dated Monday, May 19, 1997.

Eleanor Lambert.
Last night I took Eleanor Lambert to see Yanna Avis sing at Maxim’s in the old Carlton House hotel (now co-ops) on Madison and 61st. She sings French, German, Spanish songs and some Cole Porter. Afterwards I took Eleanor home. She was getting up at six this morning to fly to Palm Beach where she’s spending the weekend on business. She’s 94. (ed. note: Eleanor Lambert, the foremost fashion publicist in the business, worked at it until one month after her 100th birthday.)

Then I went to Elaine’s and met up with Judy Green, Ann Downey, Tommy Corcoran (who used to be Carol Burnett’s producer); Christina Green, a friend of hers named Gwen, and Raul Suarez who works for Sotheby’s. Raul paid. Elaine had put us at a table farther back and Ann didn’t like it. Woody Allen’s table. She had them move the table up two, closer to the bar area. Ann wanted to be in the center of it. She was throwing her weight around. I don’t blame her. She goes all out for Elaine. This is what she wants. This is what people want when they go to a restaurant like Elaine’s. They want to be close to the center because there is an expectation, and anticipation in the room that goes with the territory.

There’s an almost rowdiness about the place that, raised another half-decibel, could turn into melee. Elaine’s is/can be a very exciting place to be at late night in New York. It’s going on, it’s happening. It’s the same. It’s not all famous faces or beautiful people or writers who don’t look as handsome or beautiful as their names. It’s politicos and newspaper people and union people and cops and broads and interior decorators and movie stars and people from the neighborhood, like tourists taking it all in. It was like this last night (Friday).  There’s a piano player up front by the door and he planks out a lot of musical barroom noise where the voices join in and the buzz starts to clatter and you feel like you’re in a movie about New York nights.
Elaine is heavier than ever. She rocks from side to side as she makes her way through the room. She’s always well-coiffed these days and wearing some kind of big jewelry, chains, necklaces around her neck, usually in a black dress or black turtleneck. She must weigh three or four hundred pounds. I sat next to her at Alice Mason’s dinner for Norman Mailer the other night. She’d never been to Alice’s for dinner before so it was an interesting night for her. It was interesting for me too. I saw Doris Kearns Goodwin whom I haven’t seen since college.  Alice had a very literary crowd including Alexandra and Arthur Schlesinger, Gay and Nan Talese (Nan is Mia Farrow’s editor).
A look inside Elaine's on a Friday night in 2010.
I asked Nan if Mia saw the piece I wrote in my Social Diary about her. She said she hadn’t showed to her yet because Mia’s just getting adjusted to what people think. Later Gay came over to me after dinner to tell me how much he liked reading me; that I had an unusual rhythm, and that I was much better than anything else in “that magazine.” I was flattered although ... Dominick Dunne was there at Gay Talese’s table. Judy Green told me later that Gay dominated the conversation talking about Clinton and for the first time in a long time Dominick didn’t dominate the conversation talking about OJ.

That was more or less of it.
Elaine and DPC.
I loved talking to Elaine because she was part of New York history at the center of nighttime New York for ... a very long time. She knows. I talk. As you can see. And talk and talk ...
Elaine left us seven years ago this coming December and took it all with her. She had been a child of the Village and had brought it all uptown with her. Now both the uptown and the downtown are different. Our friend Jill Lynne, a lifelong resident of the Village covers a lot of fashion down there with her ever present camera. Below is a recent tour beginning with the opening of the Musee Lingerie on Christopher Street ...
NYC’s Favorite Dandy, Patrick MacDonald, hosts the opening of the Musee Lingerie on Christopher Street.  Patrick is known for his unique, elegant ensembles — sporting haute couture mixed with vintage and juxtaposed patterns and colors into a special signature trim aesthetic.
Musee Lingerie's owner, Holly. The edgy knowledgable fashionista and commentator Lauren Ezersky presents sexy lingerie.
Patrick and friends designer Robert Richards and artist Nancy Bacich — whose risqué illustrations decorate the shop.
Amanda Lepore — the unofficial spokesperson for pioneering the way for the trendy sexual and gender fluidity — celebrated the publication of her new book at Marc Jacob’s Bookmarc on Bleecker Street.  Always presenting as the over-the-top glam girl (à la Marilyn Monroe, Madonna ...) she graciously greeted her stylish guests. Posing here with edgy designer Ritchie Rich.
Long-term pop photographer Dustin Pittman, stylishly clad in a trendy coat by Scooter LaForge. Mauricio Padilha of MAO fame celebrates with Dustin.
Jean, “The Idiosyncratic Fashionista," holds the book of the night, LEPORE.
Downtown Diva Susanne Bartsch — who was recently honored with a solo exhibition of her Fashion-Art at MFIT (the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology) — hostessed a party for designer Adrienne Landau.  Her colorful band of drag troubadours modeled the coats and wraps — with a twist ...  The Designer Adrienne Landau with a mini model at her fashion presentation in a downtown loft space.
The Drag Models strut their Sexual Ambiguity as well as The Landau Fashions ...
 

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