Playground of the Rich

Did the Waverly Inn Send Brian McNally Scampering Back to Saigon?

Photo: Vanity Fair

Brian McNally, the restaurateur who now makes his home in Saigon, recently visited Manhattan only to judge it a place where “the rich and richer have completed their rout of most of what was different or interesting, leaving only a few pockets of sad and rapidly aging hipsters — a generation so obsessed with looking good that they forgot to actually do anything.” And don’t get him started on “the fashionable restaurant where the human comedy of New York is on full display.”

There the fashion doyenne who manages to be both genuinely eccentric and genuinely dull, there the Hollywood producer who has written more books than he has read, there the phony English journalist who has been trading for 30 years on an accent that was drowned long ago in the Thames Estuary and, hijacked by happy hour, has rarely seen a sober dusk. All good fun, but while I miss New York, I wasn’t at all unhappy to be returning to Saigon.

Ouch. Where did this guy go? One of his brother Keith’s places? His boss Graydon Carter’s place, the Waverly? (You have to figure he dined with his editor while in town.) Or for that matter, his old place, Indochine? The funny thing is that McNally allows that the gritty scene may have moved to Greenpoint or Red Hook. But a NY1 report from yesterday says Red Hook has gone from “creepy to cozy,” and quotes Steve of Steve’s Key Lime Pies as saying, “You know a neighborhood has changed when people are running down the street because they want to, not because they have to.” Sorry guy! Saigon it is!

You Can’t Go Home Again [VF]

Did the Waverly Inn Send Brian McNally Scampering Back to Saigon?