Saturday, April 26, 2008

Birthdays are fun...

Donna de Varona, whose birthday coincides with mine, and I stand ready with the candles lit (so were we - on some nice Sassicaia Super Tuscan fermented fruit juice.) Fortunately, the alcohol on our breath didn't replicate the acts of circus fire-eaters spewing winds of flame across the table as we extinguished the lights on the delicious strawberry and chocolate ice cream cake. Donna had only flown in this morning from California after a 3 week jaunt and was joined by her husband John Pinto who was happy to have her back in town.

Only a couple of weeks ago, Elaine celebrated 45 years of continuous operations of her famous upper east side saloon, written about daily in the local gossip columns and immortalized in movies and Billy Joel songs. Here with me Elaine Kaufman takes the space after Donna left to enjoy a coffee and for me a specially made Cinnamon Apple Tea with Honey. We have been friends for years and it is great that the kids feel as comfortable here as I do.

My grandsons, joined by my niece think Elaine's is a cool place to hang out. Their parents always see to it that they are well occupied so that the other customers don't even know there are children in the restaurant. A good bunch of kids.

My niece Kim, who like Donna, just returned from China, told some great stories to the amazement of all at the table, including Sunil Gulati who goes back with me to the days of running State select programs a quarter century ago.

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