elaines.jpgThere was great elation at Elaine’s last night that Giuliani was so resoundingly defeated in the Florida Republican Primary that he resigned from the Presidential race. 

When he became Mayor, he posted a notice at City Hall forbidding all city administration personnel from going to Elaine’s because Bill Bratton, the Police Commissioner, whose popularity soared beyond Giuliani’s was constantly being written about hanging out at Elaine’s.

Bratton defied the decree and never stopped going there.

p1050755.jpgI live in Groton Long Point, an insular, happily stuck-in-the-50s beach community, predominantly Republican. There’s a sweet little town next door called Noank, another of our New England miracles, formerly a small fishing village, at the mouth of the Mystic River.  Carson's Store is in the heart of Noank and it’s where the regulars and summer visitors gather for breakfast or lunch, or the occasional fund-raising soup or fish 'n chips dinner. Friday nights in the summer, they have musical events outside the store and everyone brings chairs and tables and picnics which they set up  on both sides of the street. Traffic and stray cats are never regulated in Noank, so the cars just pick their way carefully through the musical events and the audience.  

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downtown_jackson.jpg When I was travelling around in my twenties, photographing what I saw, sometimes for a reason and sometimes only with an excuse, mostly in the American South, Noel E. Parmentel used to tell me who to stay with. Noel was from Algiers, Louisiana, though he liked to say he was from New Orleans, and he knew everyone from Joan Didion (she or John dedicated a book to him but that was before they had a fight and Noel vowed to piss on her grave,the first time I ever heard that phrase) to the widow of Big Hodding Carter, who'd been brave in Mississippi in ways and times you might not be able to imagine, from Norman Mailer to Gwen & Kent Gardner.

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Three years ago, I moved my family back to the east coast.  No, that’s not totally accurate.  Truth is, three years ago my family moved me back to the east coast.  

samuraimenucover.jpgWhen a play I’d co-written was scheduled to open on Broadway, Robin and the kids seized upon that as an excuse to return to the side of the country they longed to live on since we’d relocated to Los Angeles more than a decade earlier.  I was dubious.  The majority of my work and my friends were located out there and I’m now at an age where even the slightest deviation in routine is regarded as an upheaval.  But my family’s happiness has always come first (plus they mounted a campaign that included not talking to me until I caved) so, the minute I caved, Robin got on a plane that landed in New Jersey, found a house she thought we’d be happy living in and, not unlike the European immigrants of my grandparents’ generation, sent for the rest of us when the time was right.

The town she chose was the bucolic enclave of Short Hills.  Ancient trees, spacious homes set far back from roads with no sidewalks, a local movie house, quaint mom and pop stores on both sides of a sleepy Main Street  – a Rockwellian wet dream just forty minutes from Manhattan.

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statefaircrowd.jpgWith a state fair that has long been dubbed “The Great Minnesota Get-Together,” it should be no surprise that even on the most frigid days of winter, Minnesotans love to get together. And they love to gather with food.

These days, you may find friends discussing politics over a plate of Minnesota hotdish or Scandinavian meatballs and mashed potatoes as they debate over their presidential preferences in a small diner in downtown Bemidji called Minnesota Nice.

In a Minneapolis suburb, there’s a good chance you’ll find a table of women enjoying gigantic caramel rolls and cups of hot coffee at Good Day Café. Their conversation may include a debate on whether or not Al Franken really is serious about fighting for Minnesota families.

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