Saturday, November 7, 2009


in BUTTERFIELD8 Eddie Fisher lives on Horatio St in what was still thought of as the bohemian part of NY, Greenwich Village. It's a very small studio. But he's a composer so he's managed an upright piano in somehow. He's also Elizabeth Taylor's best friend. She plays a call girl who just got up that morning to find Laurence Harvey left her money in an envelope with a note "Gloria - $250. Enough?" She's so pissed she grabs a lush mink coat out of his wife's closet and throws it over her silk slip. She comes out the 5th Ave building facing Central Park, hails a cab, and makes for Horatio St. All the exteriors are real location shots.

It's 1959 and Eddie Fisher pays less than $100 for that studio. I know because in 1965 I checked out a much nicer 1 brm apt on Christopher and Sheridan Square for $150. I spent a couple of days debating wether to take it or take a small studio with a large deck overlooking the Manhattan skyline in Brooklyn Heights for $100. I took the latter, finally, because that's the view everybody seemed to have in the American movies I grew up watching in Cuba. And now it would be mine.

Decadence and all, watching BUTTERFIELD 8 made me miss those innocent days when New York was affordable, even if you just got out of school and were only making $75 a week. It also made miss the days when, like Gloria, I would often wake up in strange men's apartments to find they had already left for work and I would have a cigarette and walk around naked, exploring The Other's foreign turf. Sigh. I don't think I'll have that experience again. And I know New York will never be affordable again. Nobody ever left any money behind, let alone $250. But I get a sweet pang when I think of that time and how easy everything seemed.


  1. What a great post. Makes me wistful for a time I didn't get to experience...for the affordable rent alone. And nobody would even think of leaving a near stranger in their apartment these they'd most likely steal something. It was indeed a more innocent time.

  2. Oh, and Carrie Fisher makes a great comment about Eddie consoling Elizabeth "with his penis" after her husband's death in her new book/show.

  3. It seem sthat way too with Tiffany's. NYC was portrayed as very organized and accessable, if you will.