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Sarah Palin Paints the Town COVID

Unvaccinated and unashamed, she shocks the capital of blue America.

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

There’s a troll on the loose in Manhattan. Her name is Sarah Palin.

She came here, to the capital of blue America, to sue its holy bible the New York Times. Her court date had been pushed back after she tested positive for the virus, giving the Godzilla from Wasilla extra time to crisscross the island, an affront to COVID-freaked liberals. To paraphrase the ex-guv: Spread baby, spread!

I first encountered her on Saturday night at Elio’s, the throwback red-sauce joint on Second Avenue at 84th Street that’s beloved by celebrities. (Gwyneth Paltrow rented the place out for her 40th birthday; Paul McCartney likes it there, too.) Palin was dining at a five-top up near the front windows with persons unknown and a kid in a Balenciaga beanie. I tweeted about seeing her there — “My mom thought she was Tina Fey” — and it kicked off a shitstorm, with the Times and many others demanding to know how a proudly unvaccinated and apparently COVID-positive Palin was able to dine inside at Elio’s given the city’s vaccination requirement. The owner of the restaurant had to give a statement, the city was contacted, and I felt like an inadvertent snitch.

Then, on Wednesday night, I was alerted: She’s baaaaack! Incredibly, there was Palin, full of COVID, chowing down at Elio’s again with a large group outside on the tented sidewalk.

I dashed over and approached the table, telling her I was the one who outed her on Saturday in the first place. She said she found her SNL doppelgänger mix-up hilarious and that she felt totally fine. The manager shrugged. (She appears to enjoy it up here: The local neighborhood blog TheUpperEastSite reports Palin was seen the night before at Campagnola, another Italian spot on 74th Street and First Avenue.)

That’s when Ron Duguay, the Canadian retired hockey player who was seated next to Palin on her first night at Elio’s, got up and bounced me to the curb, where he politely explained that she wouldn’t do an interview just now. This was merely a nice dinner with friends, he said, no time to talk to meddling reporters. But I had many questions. Why can’t she just leave poor James Bennet alone? Did she feel at all bad that she might be spreading COVID to the staff or any other unwitting New Yorker who happens to cross her path? And, speaking of masks, does she ever regret that tragic getup she donned on The Masked Singer?

Maybe she’d be down to talk in a week, Duguay said, when she returns for the trial.

Sarah Palin Paints the Town COVID