Magazine article The New Yorker

MAKING WAVES INK Series: 4/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

MAKING WAVES INK Series: 4/5

Article excerpt

In line for the ferry from Manhattan to Rockaway was a blond woman wearing dark glasses, white shorts, a white shirt, white mules, and a white visor. It was an easy guess that she was bound for Breezy Point, or Breezy, as the natives call it--the gated community at the tip of the Rockaway Peninsula. It was only slightly harder to identify her positively as Dorothy Dunne, the Liz Smith of Rockaway. A picture of her--as a glamorous blonde, with lips parted and a smoldering gaze--runs with her column in the Wave, Rockaway's weekly newspaper. Dunne had written about the new ferry service in her column, dropping a big hint: "How nice if the Co-op Blue Goose shuttle bus were there to take me into Breezy Point." (There is no public transportation to Breezy Point.)

Dunne had packed a sandwich for the voyage (mayonnaise on light rye), and she bit into it as the boat sped down the East River. It is a fact known to all who read the Wave that Dorothy Dunne is a gal who enjoys food. She has no illusions about her newspaper--the Wave is the third-oldest newspaper in New York City, behind the Post and the Times , and the largest weekly in Queens (though that is perhaps not saying very much)--but it does give its society columnist the clout to attend every cocktail party, wine tasting, Liver Foundation dinner, cruise launching, hotel opening, and breakfast with the President of Lithuania that she can fit into her schedule.

Over the years, Wave readers have learned a lot about Dorothy Dunne. She gets her nails done by Janet and her hair cut by Gary, at Studio J. She is active in Breezy Point Surf Club bocce ball, or at least reports when someone has a heart attack or a stroke on the court. She is a master of the left-handed compliment (on an amateur-theatre production: "Barbara Page did a remarkable job as Director even though she had good talent to work with"). She keeps her readers apprised of the health and well-being of Rockaway's beautiful people ("Peter Danzilo is doing nicely after a fall in his home that cracked his skull and broke his hip"). Occasionally, she has to squelch a rumor:

Ellen and Lenny Wunder were at the bar at Kennedy's and I was startled when they said they heard Claire Ashton had died. I assured them immediately this rumor is not so. Sadly, no one is allowed to see Claire without the consent of her attorney who was handed her guardianship after only knowing her a year. …

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