Legendary Upper East Side restaurateur Elaine Kaufman died yesterday at age 81, and the remembrances are pouring in today. In the Post's editorial, "There was always Elaine herself, larger than life in every sense, who in 1963 created a salon for the hip and famous where literary lions and actors rubbed elbows and downed drinks with journalists, politicians, society and law-enforcement types alike."

Indeed: Novelist Gay Talese told the Daily News, "There's not another restaurant like it. We all know it wasn't the food, it wasn't the service, it wasn't the location. It was her," and former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said, "People would describe her as a tough old broad, in the nicest terms. It was a sign of affection. With her passing, the last of the old Damon Runyon-type of New Yorker is now gone. She was really the last."

Jay McInerney wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

For an aspiring writer arriving in New York in 1979, Elaine’s eponymous restaurant on the Upper East Side was Mecca. It was the watering hole for the city’s literary lions, the guys that I’d grown up reading. And when I say guys, I’m being scrupulously accurate here.

I mean, you might see Nora Ephron or Lillian Hellman there, but Elaine made it clear that she was running a boy’s club, a kind of literary frathouse. And admittance was strictly by invitation. The front tables were strictly reserved for the regulars, many if not all of them writers. George Plimpton, Norman Mailer, Gay Talese, Robert Stone, Willie Morris, Peter Maas and Hunter Thompson were often in attendance. Directors were also welcome — Robert Altman and Woody being among the charter members.

The Post has a gallery of Elaine photos, as does the NY Times—and there's a great story about her chasing paparazzo Ron Galella with a trash cans on Daily Intel. CityRoom readers are sharing their memories, possibly while listening to Billy Joel's Big Shot (second verse).