So we woke up and found ourselves in 1970! Remarkably — we had survived the Sixties!
Beginning with President John F. Kennedy inspiring and changing the outlook and prospects of most young Americans, we had ended up on the moon but because of the Vietnam War and so much chaos, many young Americans wished that the government had gone into space along with the astronauts and been left there!
We were sadder but if not wiser, certainly more cynical! And angrier!
How could the early grace and hope have so quickly been subverted by such trivialities as war, deaths of young warriors, cults, assassinations of leaders and disbelieving distrust of the government?
That was the mood. Happy New Year! Would it be?
Annie Rieger drew my picture.
I met with friends at the Brasserie thinking it might be an optimistic way to start the decade. Gene Narmore (in the middle) had taken to calling himself Miles High to reflect a certain mood that was in the air.
Afterwards, we ended up at a new place that had recently opened called the Country Cousin.
In a sad post script to the ’60s, we heard that Sam Yasgur, the man on whose dairy farm the Woodstock Festival had been held, was being sued by neighboring farmers for damages caused to their property.
Yasgur’s dairy farm had been virtually destroyed but he sympathized with the young people.
Some things in my Yorkville neighborhood didn’t change. The L & H German Restaurant and Bakery still had the sturdy German woman selling bakery goods and there were still Hungarian customers filling the tables.
And there was still the tiny Kis Little Hungarian Restaurant on Second Avenue around the corner from my apartment.
Paul Bartel invited me to his apartment to meet Bob Bailin, a young cinematographer he’d recently met. Bailin would go on to work on several Superman movies and other major studio films. Another young man was named Moeller but I didn’t get his first name.
A few nights later I went downtown to Max’s Kansas City with friends.
The artists who were still coming and in the back room’s inner sanctum were the Warhol superstars; or what was left of them!
Jackie Curtis was there in full drag as his Warhol persona. Was it really ten years earlier when I’d just moved to New York and living in Greenwich Village that he was a fresh faced local kid — one of the regulars I’d see everywhere?
My brother was in New York again working at Columbia Records and his good friend, Dan Simon, a lawyer like my brother, was in town also. I’d brought him down to Max’s as it had been getting so much press he was curious to see what all the noise was about.
After a bit we went uptown to meet my brother at Elaine’s, the total opposite of Max’s.
My brother Richard was already there visiting with Elaine.
Elaine’s ex-bartender and some said boyfriend, Jack Allen, had bought The Four Oaks in Beverly Glen, Bel Air.
It had been an old resort restaurant and small hotel and Jack wanted to restore and reopen it. My brother and his wife Nancy and two-year-old daughter lived directly across the road from it and my brother had helped Jack with some legal details. Jack had told Elaine about it so she greeted Rich with genuinely open arms!
We got a very good table in the middle of all the activity and Dan had gotten an unusually good dose of New York by Night!