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Elaine Kaufman (1929-2010)
December 3, 2010 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Elaine Kaufman, who became something of a symbol of New York as the salty den mother of Elaine’s, one of the city’s best-known restaurants and a second home for almost half a century to a bevy of writers, actors, athletes and other celebrities, died Friday in Manhattan. She was 81.
posted by Joe Beese (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I never "got" the allure of Elaine's, but I know it was a special place for many people. I am sure she will be missed by her friends and her clientele.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:49 PM on December 3, 2010


I never "got" the allure of Elaine's

Restaurant critic Seymour Britchky once wrote a coldly scathing review. He called it a "charity case" for the celebrity clientele, who he imagined taking pleasure in the knowledge that they were solely resonsible for its survival.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:56 PM on December 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh wow, in my no-longer-exists fantasy version of Manhattan, there will always be a gaggle of slightly neurotic urbane New Yorkers getting sloshed there. It will always be 1979, smoking will be everywhere, there will be infidelity and the sexual revolution and women's lib, health food will mean a scoop of cottage cheese and jogging will be unimaginably strange, there will be Chianti in fiascos, cuisine will be trout almondine from Lutece, italian food will mean garlic bread, Central Park will be a death trap.

Of course I've never been there, and I was not even 10 in 1979, and it's probably for the best that you can now go into Central Park at night but maybe we lost something since the city was messy, and dangerous, and slightly insane.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:09 PM on December 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


It's probably for the best that you can now go into Central Park at night but maybe we lost something since the city was messy, and dangerous, and slightly insane..

Yes it is and no, no we did not.

Mind you, things keep up and we may get back there again, so you might have the chance to make up your own mind.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:13 PM on December 3, 2010


I know of her through Staurt Wood's books, so I wonder how he's going to take it, since the next Stone Barrington is due in the spring...
posted by Old'n'Busted at 2:27 PM on December 3, 2010


I was never impressed by your Halston dress, or the people that you knew at Elaine's. But some folks obviously were.
posted by straw at 2:30 PM on December 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


All i hope for in life, is that when i die, i will be mentioned on METAFILTER,then yes,i can "R.I.P".
posted by tustinrick at 2:52 PM on December 3, 2010


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posted by borborygmi at 2:54 PM on December 3, 2010


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posted by Flashman at 2:57 PM on December 3, 2010


in my no-longer-exists fantasy version of Manhattan, there will always be a gaggle of slightly neurotic urbane New Yorkers getting sloshed there

I was probably 13 or 14 when I went to a dental appointment in middle Long Island and, while sitting in the waiting room, saw a copy of New York magazine with a cover story about Plato's Retreat.

I would say it was then that I first began thinking of Manhattan as a glamorous place. Or at least, a backdrop for people whose lives and cultural offerings sounded a lot more interesting than anything I had seen among my parents and their friends.

Now I understand why Father Beese sounded that way when he spoke of Toots Shor's.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:04 PM on December 3, 2010


(Elaine's cameo in 'Manhattan' -- was she the the one at the MoMA? "Enough tawk, enjoy yourselves!" Before the discussion of the wrong kinds of orgasms?)

Another part of old New York is gone. As it must ever be. Godspeed, Elaine.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:11 PM on December 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Capt. no that was Bella Abzug, the force behind the Equal Rights Amendment. I'm pretty sure the very first sequence, with the two couples on a double date, takes place in Elaine's.

I went to Elaine's on my twenty first birthday. It was pretty special to me, even though I only went there a handful of times after that. I never met Kaufman, but she was a really New York Institution.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 3:31 PM on December 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by Jon_Evil at 3:37 PM on December 3, 2010


Thanks, OMU.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:42 PM on December 3, 2010


They were all impressed with your Halston dress. And the people that you knew at Elaine's.

.
posted by localroger at 3:52 PM on December 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a lot like community building: welcoming people to your place, hosting their conversations, encouraging them to have fun. For 50 years.

Great job, Elaine.
posted by bru at 4:16 PM on December 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Something something Billy Joel quote.
posted by fixedgear at 4:25 PM on December 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I lurve Joe Beese.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:38 PM on December 3, 2010


"You guys should all come to New York, I'll get you into Elaine's."
"I thought you said Elaine's was dead."
"That's why I can get you guys in."

.
posted by stennieville at 5:46 PM on December 3, 2010


All i hope for in life, is that when i die, i will be mentioned on METAFILTER,then yes,i can "R.I.P".

All of us can make it onto the gray. The blue is a little bit harder...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:29 PM on December 3, 2010


.

I had some great, funky, deeply weird nights there.
posted by oneironaut at 10:57 PM on December 3, 2010


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