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Friday, December 10, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Friends of beloved restaurateur Elaine Kaufman gathered at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home to memorialize her last night. Author Gay Talese, one of the first to arrive, told The Post's Reuven Fenton, 'Now we have to use our imaginations as to what to do with our evenings. We used to say, Head to the Large Lady's Lounge. We wouldn't have to think about it. With Elaine, it was just a nod of the head and you'd walk right in.' Kaufman, 81, died last Friday. Elaine's, which she opened on Second Avenue in 1963, became a mecca for leading writers and celebrities. '60 Minutes' newsman Steve Kroft said, 'I would have to categorize her, in a nonviolent way, as the first woman Mafia don. She held a great deal of social cachet in New York and was the arbiter of the pecking order of the literary and media world.'" (PageSix)


"The death of anyone well known - especially in New York - invokes more clichés than you know what draws flies in summer. Every obituary I read about Elaine included the words, 'icon', 'brassy', 'landmark', 'true New Yorker', and other such epithets. Let’s take it from the top. I was among the original clients of Elaine’s, having been taken there by Clay Felker, the great magazine editor who discovered such small timers as Tom Wolfe, Leslie Stahl, Chris Buckley, and even poor little me. As clichés are verboten, here are a few vignettes through the forty odd years I knew her ... (One) night, sitting next to me, she suddenly turned and ordered Sam Waterston out. 'Please, Elaine,' he begged. 'Get out Sam, or I’ll throw you out myself.' 'What did you do that for?' I asked her. 'He wasn’t doing anything.' 'That’s just the point,' she said, 'he never does and he’s a bore.' Vintage Elaine, that." (Taki)



"You probably have seen The Provident Loan Society but never really noticed it. You have walked by the tiny neo-classical temple on 72nd between Lexington and Third dozens of times. You assumed it was a bank, or some landmarked building that time has forgotten. Ironically, it’s as relevant today as when it was created in 1893. Most people don’t even know there was a great financial panic then, but after excessive and questionable financing of railroads, credit was unavailable and there was concern about the stability of the financial system. Sound familiar? ... But even as bad as things have been during the crisis of 2008-?, believe it or not, today we are in much better shape given the number of social and government agencies that exist to help the needy. Indeed, the work and dollars raised by many of the social agencies are written about and pictured on the pages of this website every day. But in 1893, virtually the only available option was to go to a Pawnbroker. They thrived in the city, and often had bad reputations, requiring borrowers to pay usurious rates of interest on short term loans. Then, a group of the City’s leading figures, (names that still resonate with us today; Loeb, Morgan, Schiff, Schwab, and Vanderbilt amongst others), decided to create a non-profit organization that would provide low-interest short term loans to individuals who could pledge personal property. A special act of the New York State Legislature was passed in 1894 incorporating The Provident Loan Society of New York and the doors of its first office soon opened." (NYSocialDiary)

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"BUST A DEAL AND FACE THE WHEEL Start your hoarding! Today is the last day that Four Loko may be brought into the gated City of New York. Aunty Entity has forbidden Four Loko in her Nanny State Thunderdome! Here's a preview of what this weekend will look like in the District of the Youngs." (TheAwl)

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