Birmingham Is Not Manhattan, NYC Transplant Elaine Stritch Confirms

June 14, 2013, 7:08 AM

A Metro Detroit celebrity isn't adjusting smoothly to her move from Manhattan's Upper East Side to Birmingham. 

"I’m not reacting well to it. I’m thinking maybe I left a little early," actress-singer Elaine Stritch tells Bennett Marcus of Vanity Fair magazine's website. Part of the reason is diabetes and an eye injury that are "really taking the shit out of me."

"I don’t have a damned thing to do except take walks in Birmingham," grouses Elaine Stritch, 88, who moved back here in April.

Stritch, 88, relocated to her home region in April to live near her family. She left an apartment at the Carlyle Hotel on East 76th Street and Madison Avenue, where she performed regularly at its cabaret, for a three-bedroom condo at The Dakota on Harmon Street in Birmingham that reportedly cost about $1.5 million.

"It’s a terribly, terribly hard adjustment," she tells Marcus.

"Oh God, is it hard. . . . I’m about as unhappy as anybody can be. . . .

"I don’t have a damned thing to do except take walks in Birmingham."

When the reporter asks about "any difference between the people in Michigan and the people in New York," Stritch lets loose:

"Oh my God, yes. I mean, the people in New York, their humor is on a level that goes, uh, very deep, you know?

"Very deep, and there’s not as many people [here] in on the joke like they are in New York. You know what I’m talking about? That’s what I love about New York — the humor of New York is brilliant. Brilliant."   

Last Friday, Stritch performed at an annual Cars & Stars benefit for the Music Hall downtown. She left Detroit at 17 after graduating from the Academy of the Sacred Heart to begin a career that encompassed stage, movies and TV. She won a Tony and three Emmys. -- Alan Stamm

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