2004-07-02 / Columnists

On The Beach

With Beverly Baxter


I was out and about on a recent sunny Saturday riding with my top down when I stopped at the light on RBB and B. 116 Street...and there I noticed amongst the throng of subway DFD’s and the "corner boys" this glamorous woman donning a stylish straw hat and shades with weekend luggage in tow. She would have had the same anonymity of any other attractive woman whom you might see on an attractive NYC street-corner waiting for a bus or to hail a cab; only this was not Turtle Bay nor Beekman Place, this was B.116 Street at the height of pedestrian beach traffic. Somehow, she didn’t appear to belong..and yet, she very much belonged to our town and her presence has been legendary. She was, after all, Dorothy Dunne!

Every community has its icons. For many decades, the city had Garbo, Hepburn, and Jackie O rummaging anonymously through its streets. We have our own bon vivant in Dorothy Dunne.

  Although we both write columns for The Wave, it’s a rare, yet always welcomed, occasion when we meet. I knew she had made the already long trip from her home in the city. The thought of her continuing her journey by bus up to Breezy Point was enough to make me pull over and offer her a ride. It seems we rode through the remaining hours of the afternoon chatting on her deck about everything from local politics, ferry service, her television shows, fashion, plastic surgery (which she has never had), her early career as a "Gleason Girl", her Golden Pageant Tours, her extensive travels to exotic destinations (she has swung like Jane in the jungles of South Africa!); to more personal topics like her candid depiction and survival of domestic violence. There are many adjectives to describe Doro-thy Dunne. She is indeed glamorous in the Hollywood sense ("When I was modeling, the stylists used to primp me up like Sha Sha Gabor") and yet, she could engage a Harvard business student in discussion on shrewd finance. She has a keen business acumen; yet she has never been motivated by money ("if I had been, I’d be much better off!). What I find so intriguing about this extraordinary woman is her spirit, her sense of joie de vivre, her fierce and inspiring lust for life despite much adversity. Beneath the frivolity and laughter is a steely survivor. A practical common sense; yet modern woman who is generously honest, loyal, and principled.

There are seemingly many contradictions like you’d expect she sleeps in a sexy negligee and lives in a pair of  stilettos; yet she is a devoted grandmother wearing a pair of sturdy Easy Spirits content to play the role of Santa Claus to her grandchildren. Perhaps what I admire most is her attitude and relentless ability to take herself along to the occasion of life. Although we both pen columns, I am an awed fan! Thank you Dorothy for a unique and gracious afternoon and one that I will not soon forget!

***I also had the delightful occasion of seeing and talking with the very handsome Kevin Maroney who is the son of Anne and the late wonderful John Maroney.

***Congratulations to Jill and Kenny who will become Mr. and Mrs. Good as they tie the knot tomorrow, Saturday, July 3. May you have many years of wedded bliss together.

***Get well wishes to Harold Rochelle who recently endured a horrible fall while riding his bike. I hope that it will be soon that we see you back enjoying one of yours and Bernadette’s favorite of pastimes.

***Graffiti on the wall no more! Thanks to Mary Dever. One of Mary’s pet peeves has been to rid Key Food and many of our structures of unsightly graffito. Her tenacious mission has been accomplished with the help of the 100 precinct and the Explorer’s Club.

***Happy 4th of July!

***See you...On the Beach! 

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