Yes, that was New York Governor David Paterson paying a visit to Elaine’s on the Upper East Side last Thursday night. The governor and an aide came from a fundraising dinner/birthday tribute. (The gov’s actual birthday is May 20.)

Of course, in New York, the state government is in disarray. One of the prime culprits is a Democratic State Senator named Hiram Monserrate. Last week he jumped sides and took up with Republicans in what looked like a political coup.

I don’t know if Paterson knows that it’s Monserrate who backed a controversial Scientology program for detoxing firemen who who became ill in the September 11th/World Trade Center tragedy of 2001.

It’s the same Monserrate accused of beating up his girlfriend, Kara Giraldo, last year. He was indicted this past March on three counts of felony assault. In that case, Monserrate, according to published reports, has also been accused of soliciting funds for legal defense from a lobbyist.

Said Paterson, with a sigh: ‘I can’t catch a break here.’

He added that he was definitely running for election when his term is up in 2010. Paterson succeeded Elliott Spitzer as New York governor in 2008 after the latter’s infamous hooker scandal. This isn’t the first time I’ve run into him. Last August he took a Jet Blue flight back from the Democratic Convention in Denver. Everyone on the plane applauded him. His approval rating has dropped considerably since then.

Also at Elaine’s on a packed Thursday night: theater producers Jimmy Nederlander (with beautiful wife Margo) and Terry Allen Kramer; actor Bob Balaban; record producer Phil Ramone; rock cult hero Garland Jeffreys; documentary filmmakers DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus; movie producer Marty Bregman; ‘Law & Order SVU’ actress Tamara Tunie and husband singer Gregory Generet.

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