Mike Fleming

Elaine Kaufman has died at age 81 today of complications from emphysema. Kaufman’s upper East Side eatery Elaine’s was the toast of Manhattan for decades, a watering hole where Gotham filmmakers, pols and journalists mixed it up every night. Kaufman, whom I remember from my days at New York Newsday as a kind heart behind a tough exterior, was also a fixture at the Deauville Film Festival until about five years ago. There, she kept up on films and gossip in equal measure. She was truly a New York institution.