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  • Trish Kennedy-Howe

The Day I Chased Diane Keaton Out of Bloomingdale's

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

I still feel very bad about this. It wasn’t intentional of course. what happened. I meant no malice, but I still feel guilty.

Bloomingdale’s department store in New York – it was on the corner of 59th Street and Lexington. I’ll never forget the address because it was the first place I headed after I checked into my hotel while on a NYC business trip. Bloomingdale’s always had so much going on. There was always a theme – if it was Irish, there was an Irish café with authentic Irish waitresses and Irish music. Irish fashion designers (not really a contradiction in terms) were featured. If it was a French theme, there would be French fabrics, French food, Paris fashion – everything a Francophile would love. If it was a western theme, there would be Ralph Lauren clothing, cowboy artifacts and more. It was always fun. I saw many well-known and often obscure, semi-famous people in Bloomingdale’s, although you would assume the rich and famous would be shopping at Barney’s, Saks, or Henri Bendel’s. I didn’t visit those stores very often because I was looking for trends and design inspiration for vinyl wallcovering, and WallTex wasn’t exactly an upscale product.

Anyway, back to the story. One day, I was at Bloomingdale’s taking in the ambience and visual delights. On the first floor, socialites were pawing through cosmetics and perfume and jewelry. I wandered through that department for a while and then took the escalator up to the fifth floor, where there were housewares, kitchen and dining items. Placemats and tabletop products always provided ideas for new patterns and designs. At the top of the escalator there was a display table covered with kitchen gadgets – potato peelers, steak knives, corkscrews, and other rather mundane items. As I looked them over, I happened to notice the woman on the other side of the table, also perusing the kitchen objects. I made eye contact with her. She was wearing tinted glasses, an army jacket and handknitted scarf wrapped around her neck and she had a mass of shoulder length curly light brown hair. I immediately knew it was her - Diane Keaton. She was Annie Hall – I had just seen the movie - and she was obviously trying to camouflage her appearance. But I knew who she was. And she knew I knew who she was. She turned quickly and headed toward the down escalator. Was it really her? I had to follow her to see if I was right, or maybe just to get a better look. I in turn boarded the down escalator and as I descended, was face-to-face with her because she was then riding the down escalator to the next floor. Yes - it was Diane! But I wanted to see her more closely. She went onto to the next down escalator, looked up at me, and I quickly looked away, pretending I did not know who she was. But she knew what I was doing. She hurried down several steps on the moving stairs - obviously trying to distance herself from me. When she got to the first floor - it was in the menswear department - she actually took off running! I landed right after her on the first floor. But by this time, I had become really embarrassed and guilty about what I had done. I had chased her like prey so that she felt she had to leave the store - running! I had singlehandedly ruined her shopping trip. I really had. I have many times regretted I did that. She was trying to be a real person, enjoying a trip to Bloomingdale’s, instead of being a celebrity. I am so sorry Diane.

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