Magazine article The New Yorker

Victory Lap

Magazine article The New Yorker

Victory Lap

Article excerpt


--Michael Schulman

The filmmaker Nicole Holofcener pulled up to the corner of Eighty-second and Broadway, where, seconds earlier, Tony Kushner had been walking his dog. Holofcener, who lives in Los Angeles, was in town in connection with her new film, "Enough Said," a love-after-divorce comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini, and wanted to visit her old neighborhood. "The doorman that was here when I was growing up has died," she said, approaching a canopied building, where she lived until she was eight. "He used to call me Nicolasa, and he'd go like this"--she knocked her companion gently on the head--" 'Nicolasa linda. Coo-coo!' Which, I guess, means 'pretty Nicole,' or something like that."

What was his name? "Shit," Holofcener said, and poked her head inside the lobby. "I'm blanking on my favorite doorman's name," she told the doorman on duty. "He passed away."

"Jos(c)?" the guy said.

"Jos(c)," she repeated wistfully. "So sweet."

"He was an individual, that's for sure," the doorman said, hedging.

"Really? Was he crazy?"

"Well, he was an old-timer. Things went his way."

"O.K., yeah," she said. "Didn't make a lot of friends here." So much for that.

Outside, Holofcener, a nonchalant fifty-three-year-old in a ponytail and transition lenses, catalogued the places that were no longer there: the twenty-five-cent pizza parlor (now Laytner's Linen & Home), the candy store where she got hooked on apricot Fruit Roll-Ups (wine shop). "This was Woolworth's," she said, in front of Designer Shoe Warehouse. "I got my parakeet at Woolworth's. Then, after it died, I got another parakeet. And my goldfish. I stole from Woolworth's." She pointed across the street, to the Apthorp building. "I met my first pervert on that corner."

Holofcener's parents divorced when she was a year old, and when her mother remarried, in 1968, Holofcener moved to Seventy-ninth and Riverside. Her stepfather was Charles Joffe, Woody Allen's manager and longtime producer. She made her film d(c)but at the age of eight, as an extra in "Take the Money and Run." "Everyone was wearing suede then," she recalled. "I have a picture of my stepdad in, like, a three-piece suede suit, my mom in a suede miniskirt, a suede cowboy hat." The wrap party doubled as her mother and stepfather's wedding party. …

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