829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Monday, December 3, 2012

Another Chance Acquaintance

Sean Wilentz allowed me to snap this photo on one of the last days
of Lahiere's existence.  He, among so many others, made the extra
effort to have one last meal in the place across Nassau Street from
New Jersey's most famous and one of the world's most respected 
institutions of higher learning. He's always been, like several other 
PU personalities who've come down Witherspoon Street to eat,
so gracious, so humble, so interested in hearing what someone like
me was thinking.  He, as well as at least one hundred other guests, 
showed up some nine years earlier on Tuesday evening, 
September 11th, 2001.  I clearly remember standing outside the front
door and rehashing with him the events of that day, and how we lost 
a common acquaintance; his former next door neighbor 
and one of our regular customers.

He brought with him to the restaurant some rather influential beings,
and I will always remember watching some of the VP debate of
2000 in the hallway of our main bar, while Arthur Schlesinger sat
on a wooden wine crate next to me.  Sean and George Will had a 
long lunch one Saturday while sitting at Einstein's table.  And one 
night years ago, he had to rush back to campus to introduce a
guest speaker for one of the lectures he was responsible for 
sponsoring.  Bill Clinton could not be kept waiting.  

The one thing I find most interesting is his friendship and access
to one of America's most well-known musicians, Bob Dylan.
As you may have read, Sean was from very early on exposed
to Dylan's music,  and he managed to penetrate Dylan's inner circle
and write an unparalleled account of the musician's career. 

I'm sure there are a couple of my readers who would be interested
in knowing this, and they would also appreciate this clip. Did you
 remember to bring your foul-weather gear home from the boat?


  1. The Concert for Bangladesh I assume, was Mr. Wilentz there?

    1. He very well could have been, but I don't know. It's a great clip, isn't it? I've known the audio version of that pretty much since the box-set came out afterward. Of LPs that is.

    2. What I do also know is that he's a huge Yankees fan.

    3. It is also one of Dylan's best songs, when he was totally acoustic and very folk. "Free Wheeling" is one of my favorite Dylan albums and one of the best albums of all time. Also, my son is named Dylan...was I influenced, well maybe.

    4. I'd say it's fairly evident.

  2. If he can remember the Concert for Bangladesh he wasn't there.

  3. Back to Sean Wilentz: a historical note....

    I was never exposed to Wilentz books. However, as a underclassman, I read Arthur Schlesinger Jr. quite a bit and even met him on one occasion. I recall recently Wilentz opposed Barrack Obama in favor of Hillary Clinton. In retrospect, his judgment may be given some credence.

    The same, certainly goes for Wilentz' condemnation in Rolling Stone of George W Bush as the "worst president in history." That article provoked the National Review to calling Wilentz the modern Arthur Schlesinger!

    1. So through only one degree of separation am I from you, Doc.

      I would have not published this 'chance' post had I not been scrolling the hundreds of photos stored in my phone. That will stay stored as well as my Dad's cell #.

  4. I hear that Dylan has re-released his song: "A hard Rain is a fallin"!

  5. Baydog,

    During the V.P. Debates did Schlesinger, share his opinion of Dick Chaney with you? Because that would have been entertaining.

    1. Both he and Sean were convinced that Lieberman won the debate, that I remember clearly.