He’s feeling presidential
Not even the Bible outsells James Patterson. His latest, No. 1 on the best seller list, is — with Bill Clinton — “The President’s Daughter.”
“I wrote my first book at age 25. I had no money. I moved to New York, stayed in a hotel room that was barely 8-by-10 and where someone had penciled X’s all over the wallpaper. I knew I had to get out of there. Three publishers turned my first book down. But this was a miracle. It actually won an award as the best mystery — so, immediately, I was off to the races.
“This Clinton book started with an outline. We’ve all seen movies and TV about presidents. Presidents are usually plastic. I wanted something that would humanize them. And what could be more than if a family member gets taken? Clinton, very bright, reads everything. His details about the White House and FBI were useful. This book reads like it really happened because all the details are accurate.
“We sat down and started with an outline. I write with a pencil which is odd today. This way I can write on trains, airplanes, anywhere.
“I’m a plain person. If I was in trouble my mom called me James Brendan. I’m friendly with Dolly Parton. She calls me JJ. I live simply. My wife and I have friends. Not a ton. We don’t do the big parties. I’m not a person who goes around telling the same story over and over. We go out with maybe a couple or two. Occasionally with the Clintons.
“I still see the world through the lens of a guy from Newburgh. My father grew up in the poorhouse in Newburgh. His mother was a charwoman. That’s what I knew as a kid.
“Stuff I myself read is ‘Jack Reacher’ and my lawyer friend, John Grisham.
“Recently, I was to make a graduation speech at Mississippi State, so I said, ‘I’m speaking to your alma mater, want to come along?’ Grisham said, ‘Geez, I’m going to Paris.’ So I said, ‘Well, have a great time in France’ and he said, ‘Yeah, and you have a great time in Starkville, Miss.’
“Back in the ’60s, Philip Roth said, during Nixon and Vietnam days, ‘I can no longer write fiction because I can’t compete with reality.’ That’s like what I’m feeling now. Still . . . I think I’m going to continue with what I’m doing.”
Restaurants moving & shaking
Restaurants are changing. Their structures, menus, staffs, prices, clientele. Now their management. Cipriani, forever in 60th and Fifth’s Sherry-Netherland Hotel, closed when our whole world closed. It’s now renegotiating with unions, management, etc. Hopes to reopen by year’s end. When family members who owned La Grenouille went sour what got cooked up was Majorelle in E. 63rd’s Lowell hotel. Now, suddenly, that new management again decided too many cooks spoil the menu. Some wanted to jazz up the place, make it more modern. Others resisted. Result? Supposedly, a split, and one might now open another eatery. In Florida. Forget that beef’s suddenly more expensive, help’s costlier, feed’s higher, warehouses cost more. Somehow post-pandemic’s hot menu is steak. At Benjamin Steakhouse — 41st between Park and Madison — the orders were rib eyes, T-bones, porterhouse, filet, sirloin and tenderloin.
And civilization’s changing. Although Andrew Cuomo’s not moving, lined up for his shot may be our wildly adored de Blasio . . . And, like I reported long back, Eric Adams’ hustle into Gracie Mansion? His payback is getting Mrs. de Blasio the Brooklyn Borough President job . . . Meanwhile, NYC’s underfunded, undersilented leftists are living well. AOC’s brother, Gabriel Ocasio-Cortez, posted his photo partying and sloshing at the Boom Boom Room last week. And may our increased taxes help his lifestyle.
The CV lockdown has done great things for marriage. One couple opted for separate bedrooms and each drives his own car, and two vaccinations later they’re taking separate vacations. They say they’ll do everything to keep their marriage together.
Only in New York, kids, only in New York.