An Elegy to the New York City Club Scene of the late 1980s

surf-cover

“The `80s were the last identifiable period.  If you see a picture from that era, you know it instantly.  The art, the clothes, the hair; they were unique.  After that, everything started to look and feel the same.”

That’s what the author Jay McInerney said (or something close to it) when I saw him at a book reading here in La Jolla.  He seemed wistful.  And why he wouldn’t he be, having hurdled like a latter day F. Scott Fitzgerald into the New York literary scene with his 1984 bestseller, Bright Lights, Big City?  As he spoke, I too waxed nostalgic for the time, the scene, and recalled a woman who once leaned against the bar of the Surf Club on the Upper East Side.  It was 1988, and I thought it was her birthday.

The Surf Club’s preppy, Wall Street trader vibe wasn’t for me – I preferred the scruffier downtown scene – but there she was: button nose, sneakers, shoulder-length blonde hair and looking like she knew something the rest of us didn’t. Continue reading