Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Winter Antiques Show

The best grown-up scavenger hunt ever, American Antiques Week in NYC, is on. My first stop, the Winter Antiques Show, was wonderful... especially for fans who don't have time to cull the smaller auctions & shows for significant pieces.

For those who have never been, its location -- the Park Avenue Armory -- is magnificent. It was constructed from 1877 to 1881 for the 7th Regiment, the first militia to respond to President Lincoln’s call for volunteers in 1861. The Regiment hired prominent design firms in New York to create the interiors, most notably Associated Artists, a collaboration among Louis Comfort Tiffany, textile designer Candace Thurber Wheeler, the Hudson River school painter & decorator Samuel Colman, and ornamental woodcarver Lockwood de Forest. The Library, with abstract stained glass by Tiffany and a fireplace, latticework, and wainscoting designed by Stanford White, is one of the most stunning spaces in Manhattan.

With the Armory as backdrop, the forced Spring blooms were a magnificent adornment of the show's entry hall (check out the ceiling...)

And after walking under those fabulous blooms, I'm in. I must admit that after hearing Leigh Keno (perviously of American Antiques, currently of Traditional Modern) & twin Leslie speak at an August Antiques Show lecture on Nantucket a few years back, and following Leslie around Sotheby's as he explained the provenance of a few key American pieces to some clients last year, I'd really hoped to see them here. Leigh had a prominent space and great pieces, but the man himself was, hmmm, perhaps shopping elsewhere?

Regardless, the show was packed with fabulous examples of Americana. My untrained eye, however, kept going back to this New England blanket chest. I love its fresh color, the simplicity of the design, and the incredible vinegar-based faux finish...

(Can you see that?  It says $48K)  Happily it was featured in the Catalogue, because a photograph of this fabulous piece is all I'll be cherishing...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sign of the Times: Manhattan

60 East 66th Street was redesigned in 1919 by the architect Mott B. Schmidt, which accounts for its architecturally significant fa├žade. It was commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. James Lees Laidlaw. Having led a landmark 10,000 person march to Washington in 1924, Mrs. Laidlaw was a prominent suffragette and also on the Board of Directors of the League of Nations Non-Partisan Association. Schmidt's creation was in the neo-Classical style, a six-story building with projecting Spanish title roof. There was a center arched entrance and 3 arched windows at the second story, as well as an iron balcony. There are columns between the third story window and a cornice above. Schmidt also designed 1 Sutton Place for Mrs. W.K. (Anne) Vanderbilt, the Ann Morgan townhouse at One Sutton Place, the Vincent Astor Mansion at 128 East 80th Street, the Emily Trevor Townhouse at 15 East 80th Street, selected commissions for the Rockefeller family, the apartment building at 1088 Park Avenue, and the beautifully proportioned 53 East 66th Street on this very block.

Yours for $10.9M

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Beautiful Day

'On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.'

It's about time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Back in Dixie

I'm a Yankee, born & educated in New England and raised with all the thrift and tradition the word implies. A few years ago, however, I moved South of the Mason-Dixon and the transition has been -- no surprise here -- an adjustment. But I've tried, especially over the past year, to develop my inner Southerner. Apparently with some success. After spending the holidays up North, I returned -- staggered to realize how much I'd come to miss some of the comforts of my new-found home...

Chicken & biscuits

Buttery grits


And the spoils of tobacco money

What's not to love?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Golden @ The Globes

Amy Adams in Oscar de la Renta

Cameron Diaz in Chanel

Evan Rachel Wood in Elie Saab

America Ferrera in Oscar de la Renta

Anne Hathaway in Armani

Penelope Cruz in Armani

Kate Winslet in YSL

Salma Hayek in Bottega Veneta

Drew Barrymore in Dior

& Christina Applegate in Cavalli

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New York Simple

I'm a banker living on the East Coast, and every once in a while I make the journey from one large East Coast financial center to the other. When venturing North, I traditionally travel by air. Efficient, but not particularly enjoyable. The airports are neither welcoming nor attractive, and the ride into the city usually leaves me curbside at some nice little Greenwich Village hotel feeling completely nauseated.  While I perk up nicely after a cupcake & trip to Purl Soho, I find the whole experience somewhat draining.

This time, however, my junket began in New England, and with no snow in the forecast I drove my very own car.  But here's the thing... beyond a trip every now & then along the Henry Hudson Parkway, I'm not too keen on Manhattan driving, and find city parking a dismal (and unreasonably expensive) experience. What to do what to do?  

Guess what?  I found a new place to stay.  It's called New Jersey.  And as much as I hate to admit it, I would stay there again in a heartbeat. For the doubting or faint of heart (I know you're out there... I used to be among you), here's my simple step-by-step from New England to the State they call Garden:


2.  This phase depends on how deeply embedded you are within New England. If you're really up there, with coffee in hand, get yourself to the nearest on-ramp for

3.  After a few hours, switch to

4.  After a bit more, you'll come upon a bridge.  It's busy but beautiful, so don't be afraid. Enjoy it, and if you get a chance, take a peek up. Magnificent.

Once you've crossed this bridge, you're there. A divine and simple place called New Jersey. 

5.  Settle into lodgings on the Hudson,
near a ferry,
and take that ferry into NYC.
If you're lucky like me, you'll only need to walk a few feet more, and there you are.

6. (Optional)  Take an evening and view Manhattan with a drink beside a window from your perch upon the Hudson.  And enjoy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Winter Blues?

Time to head South & catch some waves. Or if in Mexico, Las Olas -- the fabulous surf safaris that 'make girls out of women.'

A few years ago I was living in Seattle. After nearly 60 straight days of gray drizzle, I packed my bags and headed down to a small fishing village in Nayarit, Mexico. After a week of daily yoga, massage, pancakes on the beach and sand in my suit, I became a surfer.

Since returning from Las Olas, I've taken a few Caribbean vacations, wave hopping with rented boards, both foam & fiberglass. And while I love surf gear, all bright rashguards and Roxy tees, I've never even been tempted to buy a board... until I heard about Grain.

Each Grain Surfboard is a work of art. The company is based on the Maine coast and the boards are hand-made by local artisans of white cedar from nearby forests. And when you consider that these boards are crafted with traditional New England boat-building techniques, you understand why even a heavily-used Grain Surfboard won't show the usual signs of wear sustained by a fiberglass board. Which is all my way of saying that Grain creates surfboards for a lifetime. And so, much like my Hermes Birkin, I will justify my purchase using a most clever 'cost per use' theory.

Works for me.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I rely on prayer for the big rocks; world peace, good health, economic recovery.  And I like S.M.A.R.T. goals for work/life objectives.  But for the small stuff, I'm a fan of the New Year's Resolution.  

In 2009 I'm focusing on just one, hoping it'll increase my odds.

I will attend a really good Summer party,

wearing a delicious Josephine Sasso dress.