Saying Good-Bye to Elaine’s

It is always sad when a place which has a rich history is closed.  In the last few days the announcement of closure has touched us who associate certain times and memories with a place which is soon to close its doors for good.

Vanity Fair: Elaine & Some of Her Famous Patrons

Elaine’s located in the Upper East Side of New York City was the place for the politicians, the rich and famous, playwrights, writers, directors, athletes, stars of television and screen to hang out.  The food was superb because it was made by people who loved to cook and loved to see the facial satisfaction after a fine repast.

The driving force behind Elaine’s was Elaine Kaufman.   She was larger than life with a heart of gold and a mouth which could make an old sailor blush.

Many struggling writers found Elaine’s a place where they could pursue their dreams.  With a soft spot in her heart she made sure that they had a good meal and many times it was on the house.

She was born February 10, 1929 in Manhattan.  She passed to her final rest on December 3, 2010 at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Stuart Woods, mystery writer with over 40 novels under his belt, said,

“I’ll certainly miss it incredibly if the place is gone for good…It will be the end of an era. There are going to be a lot of writers wandering up and down Second Avenue, looking for a place to have dinner.”

Elaine’s will close its doors for good after the final meals are served on Thursday, May 26.  It opened in 1963 as a dream.

New York City has a rich history with many landmarks.  To see one like Elaine’s close is a sad moment for the city and the people who made the place their “home” where a maternal matriarch had a listening ear, a word of encouragement and a good plate of pasta to pass the time into the wee hours of the morning.

As she always said, “I think a lot of people just come in to have dinner…And you have a good time. A good bottle of wine, a nice plate of pasta—I mean, that’s life.”

Did Elaine live life to the brim of the glass of wine which she was given?  She lived well and she enjoyed her time on this planet traversing the cosmos.  Her legacy is assured.

Elaine Kaufman

In the final analysis it is people along our journey who enrich our lives by being there.  Next time you are out and about take the time to walk down a street and pop in to an eatery which has been around for awhile.  You might find several moments of texture to add to your life.  Perhaps, after a “plate of pasta” a smile of satisfaction will cross your face.

G. D. Williams       © 2011


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Stuart Woods