Dear Diary: Out


Ms NOLA and I got together again this afternoon. I saw Whatever Works at eleven, at the Angelika — and, once again, there was sound trouble. (At least the sound never cut out entirely silent, as it did for Elegy, in the same auditorium.) But nothing could diminish the splashing summer fun of Patricia Clarkson’s astonishing performance — the most astonishing aspect of which was that an astonishing actress could astonish. (Come to think of it, Ms Clarkson appeared in Elegy as well. Maybe the sound gremlin is her doing.) After the movie, I walked over to Spring Street, between Crosby and Lafayette, to visit a shop that was written up in the Times the other day. What a ha-ha Kathleen had at my expense when I announced that I’d discovered it: she has been going to an uptown branch of Pylones for four years at least (sez she). I bought a bunch of stuff, but this was the pièce de résistance. At least Kathleen was kind enough to pronounce it cool.

Then I hopped on the train and rode up to 28th Street. Ms NOLA and I had a lunch date at La Petite Auberge, an ancient-looking French restaurant on Lex with an ancient-looking menu. There is nothing ancient-tasting about the food, however. Although it’s conservative, it is not preserved.

There was much to discuss. It was all utterly confidential and très hush-hush. Ms NOLA actually surveyed the restaurant at one point, to make sure that we were “alone.” By the time we left, there was no need to survey the restaurant, because everyone else had left.

After a little errand at a nearby print shop, we headed up to Yorkville and the Upper East Side, where we eventually found ourselves at the Museum’s Roof Garden. This year’s artist, Roxy Paine, has “planted” the terrace with what looks like a wildly out-of-control potato vine and an ice-bedecked bramble.


It was glorious, up on the roof. There was a fine breeze that moderated the beat of the sun. I had a couple of glasses of Prosecco. Ms NOLA soaked up the greenery of the clipped yews that border the garden (not to mention the grand carpet of treetops that separated us from Midtown). Life was good.

We went downstairs and sailed quickly through the Francis Bacon show.  I make a point of visiting the big painting or drawing shows whenever I’m at the Museum, even if it’s only for a few minutes’ visit. That is the luxury of living nearby: there is always time for a quick run-through — and for a few stop-and-stares along the way. I have begun to recognize the face of George Dyer even after his lover has rearranged it.


Stopping in at Crawford Doyle minutes before it closed, and loading up on great books that I may not live to read, we returned to the apartment and drank tea on the balcony. Eventually, we persuaded Kathleen to come home. Actually, she met us at the New Panorama Café, where she dared to dine on her usual dish, penne al pomodoro. A consultation with the internist lifted the prisoner-of-war diet. Kathleen is to avoid whole milk, butter, and cream for a week, but she can eat hard cheese, which of course  mean reggiano parmegiano. Last time I checked, she was sleeping comfortably. Ms NOLA hopped on a bus afterward, and I have been here at my desk ever since. It hardly feels like three hours!