AVENUE January | February 2023

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FEATURES 74 THE POWER PLAYER A day in the Miami life of the espresso-chugging, Bentleyspinning, high-living hospitality titan David Grutman. By Nick Remsen 82 THE UNCOMMITTED: PALM BEACH EDITION Avenue’s round-up of the social set’s most eligible singles. By Carson Griffith 86 ULTIMATE FRISBIES Two generations of the Frisbie family have joined forces to become titans of Palm Beach real estate, preserving and revitalizing wherever they go. By Carson Griffith 92 LIFE’S A BEACH A meander through Palm Beach and the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of West Palm Beach. By Martin Marks CONTENTS JAN.–FEB. 2023 VOL.46 NO.1
TRAILBLAZER Choreographer Gianna Reisen photographed for Avenue by Jai Lennard at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

10 VERNISSAGE

Avenue’s insider preview of all that’s new and noteworthy: the maximalism of designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee; the new asset class of the superrich; and the scuttlebut on Oscar fashion.

14 BUY CURIOUS

All things bright and beautiful for winter nights; and how to brave the elements in style.

18 MOVABLE FEASTS

Austrian fare at Koloman, martinis at Monterey, and brined brisket at a Brooklyn chop house.

22 TRADE SECRETS

The D&D Building Directory

CULTURE

54 FLASH POINTE

At 23, Gianna Reisen—the youngest choreographer of the New York City Ballet— has created a work that literally dazzles.

60

HIP-HOP HAUTE

The Museum at FIT celebrates a half-century of hip-hop style.

62 MATERIAL CULTURE

New media and raw earth take shape in New York’s galleries.

68 SERVED WITH LOVE

The British cookery writer and food blogger Skye McAlpine is ready to inspire with a book of love and recipes. BY LOUISE

72 BOOK REVIEWS

History reconsidered in fiction and nonfiction, by writers new and known. BY LILY LOPATE, CELIA MCGEE, MELISSA RODMAN, AND CATHERINE TALESE

98 NOTORIOUS NEW YORKERS

The intriguing tale of Meyer Lansky: casino magnate, businessman, and mafioso.

64

BROOKLYN MURDER MYSTERY

New York native Flora Collins has written a thriller set in her own tony neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights.

100 ON THE AVE.

The Mercer Kitchen bids adieu while the Met celebrates new acquisitions.

104 FR OM THE ARCHIVES

Where Yves Saint Laurent loved to dine in ’80s NYC.

4 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 GUTTER CREDITS TKTKTKTKTKTKTKTK;
COVER: Illustration by Cecilia Carlstedt
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SUN TIMES Right: the pool at the Colony Hotel, Palm Beach; and below, Koloman’s La Soiree cocktail. COURTESY THE COLONY HOTEL; LA SOIREE COCKTAIL, NICK JOHNSON/COURTESY KOLOMAN
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Sunny Days Ahead

Our philosophy at Avenue is if we find something or someone we are interested in, we know you will be too. And nothing is as intriguing to us as people with vision and talent, charting their own courses and shaping business, the arts, and society along the way. We have filled this edition with personalities who are doing just that.

Few characters are as colorful as Miami-based entrepreneur David Grutman, who has revolutionized the way people experience one of America’s most vibrant cities since founding Groot Hospitality in 2018. Avenue writer Nick Remsen spent a day with Grutman, meeting up with him on the tennis court at 8 AM and trailing him until cocktail hour at his Goodtime Hotel— just as things were heating up for a power broker who takes and makes more than 200 calls a day. We also checked in on the Frisbies, the formidable Palm Beach real estate investment family (there are 13 of them) who are making their mark on South Florida’s environment in a different way—preserving and revitalizing the Palm Beach and West Palm Beach areas with vision and imagination. We cap off our Florida issue with our Palm Beach edition of “The Uncommitted”—Avenue’s annual list of the social set’s most eligible.

Back in New York, we catch up with two bright young things: Gianna Reisen, the brilliant 23-year-old choreographer who is pushing boundaries at New York City Ballet, where her latest work, the sensational Play Time, is to be performed later this spring; and Flora Collins, whose forthcoming murder mystery for the Tinder generation is set in her own upscale Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. Meanwhile, across the proverbial pond, we take tea with none other than Skye McAlpine—daughter of Lord McAlpine and Romilly Hobbs, who were at the nexus of British power and politics during the Thatcher years. Skye is forging her own path in the realm of the culinary arts.

Enjoy!

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6 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023
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classic never goes out of style...

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Ben Ritter (Brooklyn Murder Mystery, page 64) is a photographer working in the worlds of fashion, beauty, and celebrity portraiture. Clients of the Brooklyn-based lensman have included Estée Lauder and Nike, while his work has appeared in Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone, among other publications. For Avenue, he traveled to Brooklyn Heights to photograph the writer Flora Collins. “Flora greeted me at her apartment ready to go in a vibrant flowing dress and a great energy,” he says. “We connected on what it means to have a creative career in NYC.”

Constance C.R. White (Vernissage, page 13) is an award-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times and Vogue Business. She was also the editor-in-chief of Essence, and the author of the book How to Slay. For this issue she reviewed the forthcoming tome Red Carpet Oscars by Dijanna Mulhearn. It got her thinking about some of her Oscar favorites—including Halle Berry’s Elie Saab and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Ralph Lauren— and what she will be looking for at this year’s awards. “I’m curious to see what Wes Gordon of Carolina Herrera does,” she muses. “And don’t underestimate Donatella Versace.”

Nolan Meader (Vernissage, page 14) is a New York-based fashion stylist with a client list that includes Candace Bushnell, Lauren Remington Platt, and numerous other notable names. As Avenue’s new market editor, he says, “I am thrilled to join the team and I look forward to showcasing the brands and designers behind the latest innovations in New York’s luxury fashion landscape.”

Louise Carpenter (Served With Love, page 68) is a British journalist and author who writes for The Times and The Daily Telegraph. She is also the coauthor of Let Her Fly with Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of the female education activist and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, while Carpenter’s Granta essay, “Ida and Louise,” is in script development. She has recently been working her way through Skye McAlpine’s new cookbook. “Taking tea in her extremely pretty plaster-pink drawing room was a pleasingly old-fashioned affair,” she says of their London meeting. “Skye herself was the model of good manners and kindness.”

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Peter Davis

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Heather Hodson

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Courtney Gooch

DEPUTY & MANAGING EDITOR

Angela M.H. Schuster

PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR

Catherine G. Talese

DIGITAL FASHION EDITOR

Aria Darcella

Daniela G. Maldonado

David Stein, Constance C.R. White, Judd Tully, Todd Kingston Plummer, Mike Albo, Carson Griffith, Martin Marks

8 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023
BEN RITTER BY BEN RITTER; CONSTANCE C.R. WHITE BY ITAYSHA JORDAN; NOLAN MEADER COURTESY NOLAN MEADER; LOUISE CARPENTER BY MARK HARRISON
DEPUTY PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jai Lennard, Nick Mele,
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Nordeman,
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VERNISSAGE

COURTESY SABYASACHI

THE TREASURE PRINCIPLE

Above: Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s new Manhattan store; inset, a deconstructed maharani necklace. Facing page: one of the designer’s signature embroidered coats.

The Maximalist

Slip through an obscure door on Christopher Street into the new store of the Indian fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee and, like the wardrobe in Narnia, you enter a spellbinding parallel world. Chandeliers dripping in crystals hang above gilded oil portraits of Indian nobility. Ornate antique glass cases are filled with glinting jewelry. Dark mahogany racks hold intricately beaded overcoats, signature saris, and dazzling, heavily embroidered jackets. A sweet smell of jasmine wafts through the air. The West Village fashion emporium is Sabyasachi’s first in America—5,800 square feet of style-driven stimuli that evokes the sensory associations and glamour of his homeland’s heritage.

“A lot of fashion has become cookie cutter and luxury customers are getting fed up,” the 49-yearold Mukherjee explains one recent morning at his boutique as he sips tea from a porcelain cup presented by an elegant man in a Nehru jacket and turban. “I’m a complete minimalist when it comes to my personal life, but I’m a complete maximalist when it comes to my professional life. And I don't mix the two.” Dubbed the “Indian Ralph Lauren”

The New York Times, his mission is to transport his clientele to his homeland of India. “I saw the opportunity to break into the U.S. because the American people are willing to take risks and express themselves in ways culturally that were alien to them before.”

Most of the designer’s loyal clientele live in the Middle East and Asia, where he dresses Bollywood’s stars, and he has five Sabyasachi stores in India—but the label is growing here (devotees include Priyanka Chopra, who wore his red sari when she married Nick Jonas). The New York shop is projected to make $35 million in revenue this year, with an average spend of $15,000 a transaction. “If the movie industry is a mirror of what’s going to happen here, I think America has become a lot more receptive to newer cultures than ever before,” he reasons, then ponders: “If luxury is about intimidation, how do you intimidate the rich? You can intimidate them with culture. When I got my first store, I said that it needs to be 70 percent experience and 30 percent retail. I think India is going to become a very irresistible market to the West.”

Mukherjee was raised in Chandannagar in West Bengal and now lives in Kolkata, where he employs 500 full-time staff and more than 1,000 artisans to take care of the beading, tanning, weaving, and the famous embroidery the label is known for. Some pieces can take up to six months to complete. And, like Ralph Lauren, Mukherjee is building his fashion empire into a complete lifestyle for the (very rich) modern bohemian, with jewelry, wallpaper, and home goods, and a beauty line in the works.

Mukherjee, who eschews fashion week shows, preferring instead to “drop” his collections on Instagram, tells Avenue, “We have a philosophy in India that says the core should always be more important than the periphery. When you build something beautiful, you let people find it.”

peter davis

JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 11
“IF LUXURY IS ABOUT INTIMIDATION, HOW DO YOU INTIMIDATE THE RICH? YOU CAN INTIMIDATE THEM WITH CULTURE.”
S ABYASACHI MUKHERJEE
BJÖRN WALLANDER

Lush Life

When money is no object, what objets are the deep-pocketed acquiring? Enter the latest fetish for the wealthy: a limited-edition liquor bottle that can cost between $150,000 to $3.5 million a pop— C2H5OH not included.

As with, say, a Basquiat, these rarefied decanters come with their own coterie of special dealers, who tend the coveted vessels to discerning collectors demanding the best while maintaining personal anonymity. Among the quarry: a 2010 seashell-inspired “Pasión Azteca” bottle by Tequila Ley, a platinum and white gold bottle adorned with 6,400 diamonds tagged for $3.5 million that just might contain four-year-old añejo tequila; or Yayoi Kusama’s resin-and-copper floral sculpture that cloaks a magnum of Veuve Clicquot’s “La Grande Dame.” The latter, issued in a limited edition of 100, sold out in minutes in 2020, offered through Moët Hennessy’s private sales division. Since then, editioned Kusama bottles have been popping up at galleries and auction houses carrying estimates ranging from $300,000 to $500,000, despite being drained of their original bubbly. Over the past decade, the secondary market has become quite spirited when it comes to such collectibles, as evidenced by a Macallan “M” single malt six-liter Imperiale whiskey, housed in a 28-inchtall Lalique crystal decanter—the largest Lalique has ever made. Offered in an edition of four, the

bottle commanded $628,000 on the block at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in 2014.

Among the most recent covetables to be offered is the “Bäumer” from Hennessy’s “Editions Rares” collection. The carafe—designed by Place Vendôme jeweler Lorenz Bäumer in collaboration with Baccarat—has been issued in an edition of 75 in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the NBA. The 1.75-liter spherical decanter, topped up with Hennessy Paradis cognac, comes tucked inside an orange leather case embellished with gold markings that evince the lines on a basketball. The hand-faceted bottle comes with two balloon glasses, an arced fusil, and a golden key that opens both the carafe and the coffret, further enhancing its jewel-box design. “Creating a piece on such a large scale increases all the difficulties tenfold,”

Bäumer tells Avenue. “Our quest for excellence sometimes has us destroy works that don’t live up to our expectations. I became very excited with using all the knowledge that I gained by cutting precious gems to maximize the play of light within the Baccarat crystal and the cognac—cognac that becomes a precious gem set in crystal.”

As part of its marketing scheme for the basketball-inspired bottles, Hennessy lured a group of private clients who jetted in from New York, San Francisco, Miami, and Europe for the unveiling of the “Bäumer” collectors’ edition at a private dinner at the Amangiri resort in Utah. Within minutes, five of the $150,000 limited-edition bottles were sold, followed by a very expensive toast. Talk about a slam dunk.

12 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023
COURTESY HENNESSY
WITHIN MINUTES, FIVE OF THE $150,000 LI MITED-EDITION “BÄUMER” BOTTLES WERE SOLD.
HAVING A BALL The no-expensespared “Bäumer” bottle and case.

Red Carpet Reader

Bernadine Morris, the esteemed 20th-century fashion critic, said she covered fashion the same way her (mostly male) colleagues covered sports. Today, fashion, like sports, has become an integral part of the entertainment landscape, and the Academy Awards are the Super Bowl of fashion.

Bolstered by millions of viewers from every medium, the Oscars have become a fun fishbowl, at least for us, the audience. We get to look and cast our own votes. Will certain entertainers draw the limelight on the red carpet (like Sharon Stone in her Gap T-shirt or Uma Thurman, who changed Oscar fashion in ethereal Prada), or will they end up in a heap of defeat, as was the public consensus on Demi Moore’s self-styled biker shorts in 1989 and Björk’s 2001 “swan dress”?

It’s a worthy topic for exploration, and in her door stopper of a book, Red Carpet Oscars, published by Thames & Hudson just before the awards season crescendos with the Oscars in

March, Dijanna Mulhearn takes it all on with a marathoner’s tenacity. Boasting more than 1,000 photographs, it opens with Janet Gaynor, best actress at the inaugural Academy Awards in 1929, who showed up in a modest sweater with a scalloped Peter Pan collar, and goes on to give a playby-play of each year since then. Giorgio Armani, an architect of the modern red carpet game, reflects on Oscar style in the form of a letter, and the foreword is by Cate Blanchett. “In the time I’ve spent walking/white-knuckling,” she writes, “the focus on red carpet fashion has become increasingly forensic and the number of associated businesses that ride its slipstream has mushroomed.”

That’s one of only two style-related developments at the Oscars that has notably changed: such is the power of the red carpet that brands now pay directly or indirectly to have celebrities wear their clothes. The other change, in part spurring this trend, is the ascendancy of stylists (in 2022, the Council of Fashion Designers of America added a stylist category to its annual awards).

On fascinating close inspection, though, Red Carpet Oscars shows that not much has really changed. As early as the ’30s, the Oscars called on designers to help dress celebrities as glamorously as possible, igniting media coverage and shopping frenzies that turned wearing the right look into a way a celebrity could burnish their brand.

Mulhearn wants us to find meaning in the backstories of who wore what—or didn’t. She recounts how, just hours before the Oscars in 2013, Valentino issued a press release announcing that Anne Hathaway—who was nominated for, and would later win, best supporting actress—would be wearing a gown by the designer. She did not. But, in the end, does the public really care about whether or not she wore Valentino that night? Either way, it adds fascinating detail to Hollywood’s biggest night.

Red Carpet Oscars is a great way to enrich your TV viewing pleasure, or an Oscar party. Sometimes, context matters. But often, as this book illustrates, it’s all about a beautiful dress.

constance c.r. White

JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 13
MULHEARN WANTS US TO FIND MEANING IN THE BACK STORIES OF WHO WORE WHAT TO THE OSCARS— OR DIDN’T.
HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES
AMAZING GRACE Grace Kelly collects her Oscar for The Country Girl wearing the iconic Edith Head-designed ice-blue French satin gown in 1955.

Saint Laurent lavallière-neck blouse. $1,390; ysl.com

Alexandre Birman “Clarita” sandals. $595; alexandrebirman.com

$1,490; ysl.com

Khaite “Aimee” clutch. $1,480; kirnazabete.com

BUY CURIOUS

Tom Ford “Lock” sandals. $1,450; neimanmarcus.com

All About Hue

Stars are not all that beam bright on a crisp winter night

Markarian “Eleanor” dress. $6,995; markarian-nyc.com

Yael Sonia “Perpetual Motion” earrings. $5,300; yaelsonia.com

Bottega Veneta “Knot” minaudière. $4,500; bottegaveneta.com

JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 15

Weather or Not

Embrace the elements in chic shearling, hearty denim, and smart wool

BUY CURIOUS
Manolo Blahnik “Perry” loafers. $895; manoloblahnik.com

“Perpetual Moon” steel watch. $16,900;

Loewe

The Row “Morton” jeans. $650; therow.com shearling aviator jacket. $5,900; loewe.com

Movable Feasts

New York’s ever-changing restaurant scene means Austrian fare at Koloman, martinis at Monterey, and brined brisket in Brooklyn

What is a life in New York, our ever-changing, still-the-same home, but a very long Mad Libs? I left (a new restaurant) that night, wandering down the (adjective) block, (existential state). I think I saw (celebrity) on (street name). I’m sure I saw a guy (inappropriate verb) on the subway platform. Throwing open the door to my (type of dwelling), I was greeted by my (most intimate relationship). I gave her (love language) and we watched (favorite show) together. I fell asleep with thoughts of (two favorite restaurants), (a former lover), (a favorite actor), and (a former

acquaintance), of (a thing you cannot escape) and the (thing you cannot inhabit) colliding in my consciousness. God, I love New York. Repeat this a couple thousand times and that is a kalpa

The point is some things stay the same in this city of eight million stories: most of the buildings, the city grid, our great attractions like the Met, Central Park, and even traffic. These are the constants of our city. Other things change: what is in the buildings, how our streets are used, what businesses, dreams, and fantasies fill the storefronts. What makes the passage of time at all bearable is the sheer excitement of proper nouns that come and go, like a school of fish flitting just below the water’s surface. The particulars change but the syntax remains constant.

18 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 VERNISSAGE
NICK JOHNSON/COURTESY KOLOMAN

TRIED AND TASTED

Right: Koloman’s chef, the Austrian Markus Glocker; below: a salmon en croûte, which he has reimagined as a salmon sandwich.

Facing page: seared fluke at Koloman is served on a Glocker-designed plate and table.

The chef [at Koloman] is Markus Glocker, himself an Austrian who has knocked around some of the best kitchens in the world.

Back in 2009, the Ace Hotel in the Flatiron District was still under construction when I sat down with Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, the designers behind Roman and Williams, in an unfinished booth, F-209, at what would become the Breslin Bar & Dining Room. Ken Friedman, the star restaurateur, was there too. The result would be my first piece in The New York Times, penned for a blog they had dubbed “The Moment.” (The word “blog” was au courant at the time.) Painstakingly—and, even then, in purple prose—I described the intense attention to detail the group paid to the table in that booth. The issue was that it was about ten inches too long. “The two contemplate the ten inches glumly; never before has ten inches been so glumly contemplated,” I wrote. Friedman was very excited, meanwhile, by a nook in the wall. “You can put your BlackBerrys in here to charge.” When the Breslin opened to breathless meat-eating, mouth-breathing excitement a few weeks later, the table had been cut down to size. The space, paneled with wood painted dark green and littered with gastropub ephemera, felt both of the moment and timeless. Standefer, who had told me, “What I like about the space is that people come in here and think it’s always been like this,” had done well.

I went to search for that booth recently. So much has changed in the intervening 13 years. Ken Friedman has fallen from grace. The Breslin’s chef April Bloomfield has too been cast into the wilderness. BlackBerrys are extinct. After Friedman’s downfall in 2017, the Breslin writhed around for a bit in extremis, dropping

the “the” as if that could offer absolution, becoming a burger bar and trying on a few other identities. Eventually, though, it petered out.

In October, its replacement was unveiled. It is called Koloman , after Koloman Moser, the well-mustachioed founder of the Viennese Secession movement. The chef is Markus Glocker, himself an Austrian who has knocked around some of the best kitchens in the world (Bâtard, Augustine, Steirereck in Vienna). Gone is the dark wainscotting, replaced by a light palette of cream, gold, and burnished brass. The lighting fixtures are Moser’s own. The wallpaper is hand-painted. The tables—and many of the plates—have been designed by Glocker himself. (Glocker, like Moser, is a proponent of Gesamtkunstwerk, wherein manifold media are used to create a total art experience.) The booth itself is still there, though now called “table 53” in the system. The dark wood of Breslin’s backbar has been replaced by a massive modernist brass-and-mica clock, laden with eau-de-vie and Bloomfield’s haute gastropub fare has been replaced by Glocker’s refined Paris-via-Vienna technique, as neat and precise as the clicking (and correct) clock that keeps time above it.

Glocker’s deft Parisian touch anti-gravities classic Austrian cuisine, turning what bore a bad rap as leaden ethereal. A triple-crème cheese soufflé doesn’t so much land on the table but rather alights, as if a songbird. Salmon en croûte, too often soggy salmon in a bready death mask, is reimagined as a silken salt-cured salmon sandwich. The croûte is a crackly carapace. The flavors of a Linzer torte—red currants, hazelnut, and orange—are parlayed into a beet salad “Linzer.” Both the Linzer and the beets are ennobled by their cross-pollination. But the Austrian-ness isn’t overbearing, more like an air to which Glocker’s French techniques play. The oysters, Fine de Claire and flown in from France, are given a spritz of Austrian asparagus vinegar in place of mignonette. Like everything else at Koloman, it’s a subtle expert touch, as light as the Breslin was dark, as timely as the Breslin was timeless.

JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 19
NICK JOHNSON/COURTESY KOLOMAN

Not that every meal is steeped in memory. I don’t think I had ever walked down East 50th and certainly had never, over the course of its 25-year long run, entered Maloney & Porcelli, a steakhouse best known for its Bronson Pinchot steak. “A ‘real mans’ steakhouse,” according to a Yelper. “Draws inspiration from a simpler time when three-martini lunches were alive,” according to its website. Those times are, evidently, no longer alive. Nor is the restaurant—though the website might be for perpetuity. What took the restaurant’s place, Monterey , is nevertheless familiar. Opened by James Tracey, a talented chef who ran Tom Colicchio’s Craft, Monterey is a golden glamorous restaurant, the kind that similarly draws inspiration from a simpler time. There are still martinis. In fact, there’s a martini cart, helmed by a statuesque Russian so tall she looks like a Na’vi, behind similarly elongated bottles of vodka and gin. Small ramekins of onions and olives are arrayed before them. Instead of the Bronson Pinchot—a relative of the steak au poivre—being served from a guéridon, there’s a prime rib cart too. This is a bit de trop, since the spectacular action is the simple cutting of meat. The meat is, by the way, a perfectly done prime rib but it is not well served by the dramaturgy around its preparation. In general, and I’m not exactly sure why, Tracey plays it exceedingly safe. If he wants to make his mark on the moment, he’ll have to do more than simply channel the Greatest Hits of Fine Dining Past.

Though these changes are compressed by the corset of Manhattan’s coast, they are not confined to the borough. Nor is the melancholy that these changes stir. I blame the nature of impermanence and, more saliently, Google Photos. Walking down Union Street in Brooklyn, I was feeling blue about a lover who had moved to Europe with her partner. Sometimes we still text but there’s no future there. I was thinking of her, primarily, because Google Photos has a memory feature, which unexpectedly spews back photographs of one’s past into one’s present. Suddenly, my 10-year-old son as a toddler—before he hated me—appears in my digital frame. Suddenly, there’s my face, 15 years younger and less wrinkled. Suddenly, there’s Katherine—before she left—smiling on the patio of an Alsatian bistro called La Cigogne. It’s my favorite picture of her and its unexpected arrival into my visual landscape is like a rock thrown in a body of water. Memories ripple, feelings are stirred. The other week, as winter’s chill began to fall over Brooklyn, I was on that patio again except Katherine is in Amsterdam, where she bought an apartment, and La Cigogne is now Gus’s Chop House. The loss of one I mourn but the sorrow is ameliorated by one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten.

20 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023
TEDDY WOLFF/COURTESY GUS’S CHOP HOUSE VERNISSAGE
At Gus’s, Chris McDade has dedicated himself to the chop house, a deeply English antecedent of the American steakhouse.

Chris McDade, who owns Gus’s alongside James O’Brien, runs a cute Southern-Italian restaurant called Popina in Red Hook (that is, a restaurant in which the foodways of the American South intersect fruitfully with those of Italy). At Gus’s, however, McDade has dedicated himself to the chop house, a deeply English antecedent of the American steakhouse. (One way to think about the chop house, at least as it exists in America, is a steakhouse without the trappings of toxic masculinity.) As is a current— and welcome—trend, dishes are significantly undersold. What’s listed as simply brisket on the menu is a five-day brined brisket, braised in stock, reinforced with charred fennel and miso puree, and served with a classic gremolata. There is no better remedy for winter blahs or Brooklyn cold than this brisket, so satisfying, flavor-packed, and heart-warming. The cheeseburger—“cheeseburger”—is as fun as a house party and as juicy as gossip. It’s got a red-carpet entourage: caramelized onion, aged cheddar, gherkins, raw onions, dijonnaise, and star potential. Too often a burger is defined by its char or its accoutrement. Here the flavor comes from the meat itself—60 percent top round, 10 percent dry-aged strip with the balance made up of house-made pork lardo—that holds up to both the Maillard reaction and to the preponderance of onions.

The litotes of the menu is even more apparent in the Bo Bo Chicken. Usually, when I see chicken on the menu, I have some vague notion that once there was a bird who became my dinner. But by and large, it has been abstracted beyond its corpse-like form. There is no pussyfooting around the thin barrier twixt life and death with this chicken. The bird comes entière, head and feet attached. It lies on its plate, bathed in a French onion jus, skin glistening from the fryer, in a pose so lifelike it looks like if Robert Capa did food photography. Chris tells me he gets requests from squeamish diners to remove the bird’s extremities. He yearns to send the bird back, its feet and head on a plate. But so far hasn’t. It is uncomfortable but feels vaguely virtuous to be held accountable (in some notional way) for the consequences of our appetite. But if you’re going to precipitate moral crises, you best come correct with the chicken and, happily, McDade delivers. Just as he resists the chicken’s estrangement from its chicken form, he resists its anonymization into protein. This chicken tastes like chicken, which is to say it is a slightly sweet meat with a full-throated flavor that almost makes its accusatory stare worthwhile.

I left Gus’s that night, wandering down the quiet moonlit block, alone. I think I saw Keri Russell on Carroll Street. I’m sure I saw a guy urinating on the subway platform. Throwing open the door to my apartment, I was greeted by my dog, Hermione. I gave her the leftover brisket and we watched House of the Dragon together. I fell asleep with thoughts of Gus’s and Koloman, of Katherine, Keri, and Ken, of the past and the present colliding in my consciousness. God, I love New York.

JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 21
WOLFF/COURTESY GUS’S CHOP HOUSE
CHOP CHOP Above: the dining room at Gus’s Chop House; right: a signature cheeseburger at the new Brooklyn eatery; facing page: owners Chris McDade (right) and James O’Brien with an enticing array of savory dishes. TEDDY

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Flash Pointe

Gianna Reisen, the youngest choreographer at New York City Ballet, has created a new work that literally dazzles. She talks to Joshua David Stein about pressure, success, and dancing in 11,000 crystals

There’s a moment, just before the spotlight clicks on at the David H. Koch Theater, that is marked by the falling of darkness, the clearing of throats, and the mounting of anticipation. Balanchine’s Symphony in C has just ended. The two-ton chandelier has dimmed; the orchestra is silent in their pit, the curtain has not yet opened; and the stage holds all the potential in the world. Balletomanes live for this moment, and choreographers do too. Especially Gianna Reisen, who, at 23, is the New York City Ballet’s youngest choreographer. Last September, Reisen sat in her plush red velvet seat, in a house crowded with a much more diverse (and fashionable) audience than normal, for the New York City Ballet’s annual Fall Fashion Gala. Reisen was premiering her third work for the company: a 16-minute affair called Play Time. And in that silent, anticipatory moment, the weight of the world was on Reisen’s slender shoulders.

Then the spotlight clicks on. The audience gasps, then, maws gaping and awestruck, applauds. For there—standing, crouching, and lying stage right—is a tangle of dancers in frozen tableaux. Each wears a monochrome outfit, by Spanish designer Alejandro Gómez Palomo: the new principal Chun Wai Chan in a glimmering red jumpsuit; Unity Phelan, also recently promoted from soloist, in a white bodysuit; Harrison Ball in a pair of exaggerated blue slacks, as if David Bowie and David Byrne had tumbled through a Bedazzler, so brilliantly laden in crystals that the combined shine is almost blinding. Every breath they take sends shimmers of light into the house. The music starts: a lone, caterwauling string, a run on the harp, the cry of a trumpet. The score, entitled Villanelle for Times, is by another star of almost blinding luminosity, Solange Knowles— her first for a ballet—and the dancers begin to move. For the next 16 minutes, in frighteningly kinetic movement, they entwine with each other, devouring the stage as if starving, sending beams into the house.

It’s hard to reconcile that high-wattage exuberance with the very petite young woman who slides into her seat at Café Luxembourg, a short walk from Lincoln Center, a few days after the world premiere. Reisen, wearing a black leather jacket over a T-shirt, is self-assured, assuredly, but also rather reserved. “I am much less flashy,” she laughs, about the comparison with her work, “in real life.” Low-key, perhaps, but still moving up the ranks of the ballet world at astonishing speed. Play Time, which will also be performed this spring, is already her third work for New York City Ballet (NYCB). It is, by far, the biggest stage of her career, but it’s been a long time coming.

JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 55
RISING STAR Gianna Reisen is photographed throughout at Lincoln Center, New York City. Photography by Jai Lennard for Avenue
“I realized I had done everything I wanted to do as a dancer. I realized I wanted to be behind the scenes, controlling everything.”

In 2017, Reisen collaborated with the late fashion designer Virgil Abloh for Composer’s Holiday. “This was before he blew up,” she says. In 2018, she worked with Alberta Ferretti on Judah, another NYCB Fashion Gala offering. At the time, Reisen, who grew up in New Jersey and attended the School of American Ballet, was a rising ballerina. (Her first work for NYCB took place while she was an 18-year-old student there.) By 2019, she was living and working in Los Angeles, splitting her time between choreography and dancing in Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project. It was an exhilarating, yet exhausting, lifestyle. “When you're dancing full time with a company and making work,” she admits, “there's no time

to creatively regenerate.” When the pandemic hit, she says, she, like so many others, contemplated her life. “I realized I had done everything I wanted to do as a dancer. I realized I wanted to be behind the scenes, controlling everything.”

Reisen returned to the East Coast, settling first in Williamsburg and then in a cozy apartment in Bushwick. “Williamsburg was a little too Manhattan for me,” she explains. When the call came from Lincoln Center, she was ready but, perhaps, a little hesitant. “I choreographed my first piece for NYCB when I was so young,” she says. “Five years later, I felt a lot of pressure to show how I’d grown. It was like, what am I going to do now?” But by the time she returned to the familiar

NYCB studio for her third commission for the company, she was resolute. The stakes were high. “This was the tenth anniversary of the Fashion Gala,” she tells me. “It needed to be flashy.” After a few other designers fell through, Reisen began her own search for a collaborator. “I basically just took it on myself. I saw the work of Alejandro [Gómez Palomo] and reached out.” Reisen was taken by the exaggerated lines of the Spanish menswear designer’s latest collection. As it turns out, Palomo was interested, available, and shared Reisen’s desire for something head-turning. Crucially, he had a preexisting relationship with Swarovski crystals. So, when it came time to add the flash, there were 800,000 glimmering ways to do so.

56 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023
CULTURE

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the choreographer was how to make movements for dancers weighted down in crystal in silhouettes that so departed from traditional ballet attire. But, says Reisen, like a villanelle or a lipogram, the rules sparked a new creative vitality. “I really enjoyed having those boundaries,” she explains. “Weirdly, it meant I could be more free.” The weight and fragility of the crystals meant she forewent her intimate pas de deux. The 11,000 crystals on Harrison’s pants meant he utilized port de bras more than sky-high extensions. “They definitely got fatigued,” says Reisen, “but they were really excited by their costumes.”

In some ways, though the weight of the colored crystals lowered the limbs of her dancers, it is Reisen herself who feels the most pressure. After all, she carries the mantle as the youngest choreographer of the New York City Ballet, collaborating with the hottest star—in Solange Knowles—to ever grace the company, performing new work in the most-watched program of the best ballet in the world. “I put so much of my soul and my heart and my love into each thing that I make,” explains Reisen, “I almost feel like—this is so dramatic—I’m birthing a child into the world.” (Note: Reisen does not have any children.)

But, exhausted or not, as the curtain falls, the dancers have enough energy to emerge from behind the gold brocade fabric. As the applause washes over them like waves, they bow and bow and bow again. Each reverence sends thousands of pinpoints of technicolored light into the world, but none can match the brilliant smile of Reisen, watching her work live and shine out into the world.

Play Time will be performed as part of NYCB’s 2023 Spring Season which runs from April 18 to May 28 at the David H. Koch Theater (for tickets: nycballet.com; 212-496-0600).

58 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 CULTURE
“I put so much of my soul and my heart and my love into each thing that I make. I almost feel like—this is so dramatic—I’m birthing a child into the world.”

Hip-Hop Haute

A half-century of hip-hop style is celebrated in a landmark fashion exhibition debuting this February at the Museum at FIT

IClive Campbell, aka “DJ Kool Herc,” hosted his notorious “back-to-school jam” at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, ushering in the age of hip-hop. Since then, the music and its attendant street style have influenced nearly every aspect of American cultural life—from society and sport to art, film, and fashion. It is the last that is the subject of “Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip-Hop Style,” which opens February 8 at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). And what better place to showcase its influence on couture than an institution responsible for turning out some of today’s most notable fashion designers— Norma Kamali, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Daniel Roseberry, to name a few?

“More than any other music genre, hip-hop has had an enormous, international impact on fashion that extends far beyond the low-slung baggy jeans and chunky gold chains with which it has been long associated,” museum director and chief curator Valerie Steele tells Avenue. “These looks are certainly part of the narrative—as hiphop artists have always remixed and adapted existing forms to create something that evinces the cultural expressions of young people of color— but this is not the whole story.”

“Hip-hop literally changed the face of the runway—from bald heads, dreadlocks, and braids to hoop earrings and curvaceous body types in all their various hues. But, most importantly, hiphop spoke the language fashion manufacturers and retailers understood best—it made dollars and sense,” explains exhibition co-curator Elena Romero, adding that, in short, it became the Black Panther of the fashion industry, “turning it upside down and inside out.”

On view are looks sported by such notable hip-hop artists as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, LL Cool J, Chuck D, Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Nas X. These are presented alongside runway pieces by Dapper Dan, 5001 Flavors, April Walker, Cross Colours, Karl Kani, and Sean John, as well as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Versace.

“This moment affords an opportunity to examine a uniquely American style that formed far outside of the expectations of race and class,” says co-curator Elizabeth Way. “Hip-hop has grown to be one of the most dominant and multifaceted cultural forms inside and outside of fashion.”

Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip-Hop Style, which will be accompanied by a book of the same title, published by Rizzoli, runs February 8–April 23, fitnyc.edu/museum.

60 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 © JAMEL SHABAZZ, THE MUSEUM AT FIT; INSET, GIFT OF ANTONIO GRAY © THE MUSEUM AT FIT
CULTURE

EASY STREET Photographer

Jamel Shabazz captures the zeitgeist of New York City street style in two of his images—Fly Girl, SoHo NYC (2004), this page, and Lee Rock Starski & Koolout-K (2019), facing page top. At left: a 1990s bomber jacket collaboration by Jeff Hamilton x Reebok NFL.

“I’ve been dedicated to exploring materials, like rice, indigo, and cotton, whose origins as commodities were born of violence and enslavement,” says artist Adebunmi Gbadebo, explaining that her most recent work is even more intimate and personal. “For me, crafting ceramic vessels from the very land that was once cleared by my ancestors has allowed me to commemorate what they endured and to activate that very land, by using it and shaping it as a way of healing.” The fruit of the New Jersey-born, Philadelphia-based artist’s most recent labors makes its debut in “Remains,” an exhibition that continues her exploration of her ancestral roots, which can be traced back to the True Blue plantation in Fort Motte, South Carolina, where her forbearers were enslaved and buried. Gbadebo’s recent ceramic pieces, fired from red cemetery earth—among them Jane/ Mother of J. H. Lee/Died Feb 15, 1909/Age 85 yrs/Gone to Fairer Land/of Pleasure & Love/To Join the Bright Band of Angels Above, 2021—are presented alongside signature mixed-media works on paper crafted from indigo, rice paper, cotton, and human hair, including True Blue Sheet 2, from 2019. claireoliver.com

Material Culture

New

media and raw earth take shape in New York galleries in the new year

62 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 © ADEBUNMI GBADEBO, COURTESY CLAIRE OLIVER GALLERY
ADEBUNMI GBADEBO: REMAINS ↑→ Claire Oliver Gallery, 2288 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard January 13–March 11
CULTURE

“Southern Trees,” will be the gallery’s first major solo show in New York by distinguished American artist Charles Gaines, who is considered one of the most important conceptual artists working today. The exhibition is the Los Angeles-based artist’s first in New York since 2018 and spans two floors of the 22nd Street location. “The show,” says Iwan Wirth, “emphasizes the extraordinary evolution of Gaines’s complex practice, demonstrating how he has continued to forge new and unexplored paths within the innovative conceptual framework of two of his most acclaimed and important series, ‘Numbers and Trees’ and ‘Walnut Tree Orchard.’” Among the works on view is the artist’s mixed-media triptych, Numbers and Trees: Charleston Series 1, Tree #8, Sage Way, executed in 2022. hauserwirth.com

ROMA/NEW YORK, 1953–1964 ←

David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street January 12–February 25

The life of influential curator, writer, and scholar Germano Celant, who lost his life to Covid in 2020, is celebrated in “Roma/New York, 1953–1964,” an exhibition that explores the significant intellectual and artistic cross-pollination between Italian and American artists during the 1950s and ’60s, a period that coincided with New York’s emergence as an international art capital and Italy’s postwar economic boom and cultural revival in the wake of fascism. The work of Rome-based Informale and abstract painters—among them Carla Accardi, Afro Basaldella, Luigi Boille, Alberto Burri, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Piero Dorazio, Gastone Novelli, and Toti Scialoja—began to be shown in the city, often alongside artists associated with the

New York School, such as Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, and Franz Kline. At the same time, many New York-based artists, among them Cy Twombly and Robert Rauschenberg, began traveling to Italy, where their work was greatly influenced by their experiences there.

“The cities themselves might seem like an odd couple—Roma, a stratified metropolis of thousands of years of history and New York, perpetually in thrall to the new. Yet, there was a clear affinity and palpable excitement shared between the artists of these two cities,” says exhibition curator David Leiber, adding that they “embraced the new and felt the excitement of standing on the edge of an unknown world.” Among the highlights is Philip Guston’s Untitled, 1959. davidzwirner.com

Lehmann Maupin, 501 West 24th Street

January 12–February 11

For his seventh solo exhibition with the gallery, South Africa-born, Berlin-based artist Robin Rhode is presenting a new body of work, including sculptures and film, as well as largescale, multi-panel photographic pieces. Rhode, who is best known for his public wall drawings, has developed a multidisciplinary body of work that engages numerous art historical influences, including graffiti, Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, 1970s performance art, and Eadweard Muybridge’s stop-motion photography. Featured works include Robin Rhode’s Canna, a twopanel C-print from 2022. lehmannmaupin.com

Pace, 540 West 25th Street January 13–February 25

“David Hockney: 20 Flowers and Some Bigger Pictures” features work that elaborates on a series of iPad paintings the artist made while quarantining at his studio and residence in Normandy, France, during the pandemic. Inspired by his daily observations, Hockney devoted himself to the iPad, a medium of unique immediacy that allowed him to be prolific in his depictions of his home,

the changing seasons, and surrounding countryside. Notable works include August 2021, Landscape with Shadows, 2021. Pace’s presentation marks the final leg of the international exhibition, which was presented at Annely Juda Fine Art in London; Galerie Lelong & Co. in Paris; GRAY in Chicago; and L.A. Louver in Los Angeles this past fall. pacegallery.com

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PHILIP GUSTON, © THE ESTATE OF PHILIP GUSTON, COURTESY HAUSER & WIRTH; © DAVID HOCKNEY, COURTESY PACE GALLERY; © CHARLES GAINES, COURTESY THE ARTIST AND HAUSER & WIRTH, PHOTO: FREDRIK NILSEN, © ROBIN RHODE. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND LEHMANN MAUPIN
ROBIN RHODE: AFRICAN DREAM ROOT ↘ DAVID HOCKNEY: 20 FLOWERS AND SOME BIGGER PICTURES ↑ CHARLES GAINES: SOUTHERN TREES ↓ Hauser & Wirth, 542 West 22nd Street January 26–April 1

Brooklyn Murder Mystery

At 29, Flora Collins has written a thriller set in her own tony neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. She talks to Celia McGee about dating, fiction, ambition, and mean girls headed for the Supreme Court

Flora Collins has a favorite thing she likes to do almost every night of the week: she goes out on dates. With men she meets on dating apps. None of them more than once, mind you, because, she says, “You have to do it and do it and do it until you find the joy in it—it can be taxing, and nine times out of ten they’re not interesting enough. But I love meeting new people and talking about interesting things.”

Exactly the same could be said of Vera MacDonald, the pretty, ambitious, heat-seeking young woman at the center of Collins’s new novel, A Small Affair. But then one of her dates ends up dead, together with his beautiful, not-quiteex young wife in their opulent Brooklyn Heights townhouse, and Vera’s dating radar turns out to be not so infallible after all. A suicide note seems to implicate her in the mess, and everyone—that is, from The New York Post to social media—trumpets her guilt: the other woman as murderess by association. She loses her job, she loses friends, she loses her self-confidence. To win them back she decides to get to the bottom of what really happened. Hazards start clattering around her like beads off a broken strand of pearls.

So, how about that dating? It’s just a novel, though an absorbing one, a second thriller for Collins, 29, whose first, Nanny Dearest, came out barely a year ago to widespread praise and an “Up Next” column in The New York Times. To honor her two-book deal with Mira, an imprint of HarperCollins, “I had to finish A Small Affair within a year,” Collins says. “I wrote the first full draft in nine months. It’s been a whirlwind.”

Seated on the pink-and-green striped couch in her Brooklyn Heights apartment, she’s draped in a long, turquoise, semi-transparent dress by Alice + Olivia, and thinking hard about whether there’s anything of Vera in her own personality. The decor is bohemian preppy with a provenance. The sofa and its matching window shades, the hotpink kissy-lips chair, the ceramic Barbie head vase, and the curlicue dining table are from her bedroom where she grew up, at 1021 Park, the daughter of two writers, H. Bradley (“Brad”) Collins, who teaches art history at Parsons, and Amy Fine Collins, the very social journalist and longtime arbiter of the International Best-Dressed List.

Unlike Vera and her “narcissist” of a mother, Collins says, “My relationship with my mother has gotten better as I’ve gotten older. I can vent to her and get back unconditional love. If we fight at all these days, it’s whenever she comes over and wants to rearrange everything.” The largest artwork on Flora’s walls is a photo collage of herself with the trippy elegance of her parents’ apartment as the backdrop.

“I wouldn’t say there’s all that much of me in Vera, and vice versa,” Collins ponders. “She’s ambitious, and I’m ambitious. She’s goal-oriented, and I’m goal-oriented. But she’s less fair than I would be.” That includes Vera’s eavesdropping on work conversations to get ahead, trashing friendships if it’s to her advantage, and developing an obsession with the Instagram account of Odilie Newburn, her dead lover’s dead wife, which turns out to conceal some very dirty secrets.

“My pathology,” Collins continues, “is that I like to write about unlikable characters. The popular ‘mean girl’ in high school is a cliché—she peaks in high school, marries her jock boyfriend, has lots of children, loses her looks. I had a very different experience. I went to Chapin for 13 years,” then Vassar, “and a lot of the ‘mean’ girls’ I knew are going to end up on the Supreme Court, stuff like that. With Vera, I wanted to see how a successful mean girl would navigate situations I put her in. I wouldn’t want to be friends with her. She has a toxic energy. She’s not my cup of tea.”

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Photography by Ben Ritter for Avenue
“My pathology is that I like to write about unlikable characters…I wouldn’t want to be friends with [Vera]. She has a toxic energy. She’s not my cup of tea.”
TWICE THE ATTITUDE Flora Collins at home in front of a collage portrait of herself in her parents' apartment.

thing, there were her years at Chapin. “I have stories for days,” Collins says.

The irony of Vera’s name (check your Latin) isn’t lost on her, Collins says, “but I liked the sound of it. It seems self-confident. Names have always been important to me: I used to carry a baby names book around with me from the time I started writing when I was very young. Now I go on baby name websites.” Her own name in full—Flora Isham Collins—comes from her great-grandmother on her father’s side, and is one passed down through the generations. “There are a ton of Flora Ishams buried in Woodlawn Cemetery,” she says. “It’s very spooky to see all those graves with my name on them.”

But don’t take spooky away from her. She has stuck with the murder mystery genre, she says, “because I’ve always been attracted to the darker side of humanity. I loved horror as a kid, I read a lot of Stephen King and watched his adaptations. It’s just part of who I am.”

As far as she’s aware, she doesn’t know anyone who has committed murder. But when it comes to the vagaries of female friendships, which also lie

at the heart of A Small Affair, she considers herself an expert. For one thing, there were her years at Chapin. “I’m 100 percent grateful to have gone there,” she says. “I have stories for days.”

In the novel, more than one woman is driven to become someone else, latching onto traits in other women she probably shouldn’t admire, and going to extremes of physical makeover to climb the social ladder. When Vera lands the ill-gotten means to start a clothing company, she names it SEPH—as in Persephone, Collins explains, the changeable goddess of the underworld. “Women like the Kardashians and the Jenners also occupy a lot of my brain space that loves popular culture,” she adds, “and how they’ve evolved the images that are themselves over time.” Collins earns her livelihood in tech marketing at Verte, a supply chain start-up.

The female psyche will get another workout in her next book, which is set “at an all-girls school in New York.” She peers out her window at the Brooklyn Heights that A Small Affair transforms into a place where genteel murders might germinate, and insists, “It’s not Chapin. Let’s just say it’s inspired by Chapin. It’s a world I know so, so well. But certain details are different. I don’t want the school to think it’s a psycho-thriller set in their halls.”

Although she’s already written a third of it, “I want to be pragmatic about this,” she says, “and not try to write a book a year. I’m a big proponent of not burning too bright too soon. I like the pace I’m going at.”

But first, tonight, there’s a book party where she’s meeting her mother. It’s not a date. Not yet. But there may be one lurking in the wings.

A Small Affair is published by Mira, an imprint of HarperCollins.

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AMY FINE COLLINS AND FLORA: PHOTOGRAPH BY THIBAULT JEANSON, COURTESY AMY FINE COLLINS
When it comes to the vagaries of female friendships...she considers herself an expert. For one
DO THE WRITER THING Above, the author photographed as an infant with her mother, society and fashion journalist Amy Fine Collins; opposite: Collins outside her Brooklyn Heights apartment.
463 PARK AVENUE, NY, NY (646) 905-8670 • 14 MOTCOMB STREET, LONDON SW1X 8LB ALSO AT HARRODS HARRYSOFLONDON.COM

Served with Love

Born into a prominent British family, Skye McAlpine has found her own success as a cookery writer and widely read food blogger. She talks to Louise Carpenter about her third book, a testament to love as well as recipes

HAVING HER CAKE Skye McAlpine in the kitchen of her Victorian villa in London. Opposite page, below: the recipe for the rose and cinnamon shortbread Skye is holding here came from her Scottish aunt Effie; above: a lavender and raisin tea cake, reminiscent of an Irish tea loaf served to Skye as a child, graces the table in her back garden.

Skye McAlpine first arrived in Venice when she was six, after an IRA bomb exploded under her bedroom window at West Green, the 18th-century country estate in Hampshire in the south of England where her family lived at the time. The assassination target was her father, Lord Alistair McAlpine, a colorful heir to the McAlpine construction fortune and, as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, one of Margaret Thatcher’s closest advisors. The Venice the McAlpines moved to, near the city’s fortified Arsenale, represented a refuge from harm, and when Skye isn’t in London, it’s still her home, 4,000 square feet of crumbling, elegiac elegance in the 17th-century Palazzo Gradenigo off the Grand Canal. It is one of the visual backdrops for her new cookbook, A Table Full of Love: Recipes to Comfort, Seduce, Celebrate & Everything Else in Between. Her third and most personal book so far, it’s divided into five chapters: Comfort, Seduce,

Nourish, Spoil, and Cocoon, each an occasion for her to write about events in what continues to be her very full life.

Skye and I are taking tea in the pretty drawing room of her Victorian villa in London, whimsically decorated by Ben Pentreath, the interior designer who has shaped homes for the new Prince and Princess of Wales. The sun is streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows onto pink plaster walls and Murano chandeliers, a Fornasetti drinks cabinet-cum-cocktail-fridge (a very Pentreath touch), and, in the adjoining room, walls of cookbooks and two complete sets of the Greek and Latin Loeb Classical Library, her 16th birthday present from her father.

The china we’re drinking from is from Skye’s new tableware collection, Tavola, inspired by Venetian life, to which she’s given the tagline “Live La Dolce Vita.” Outside there is a sharp bite in the London air, but, she says, it’s nothing compared to Venice: “Winter in Venice is freezing, but it is the best time to see it.”

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STEPHANIE HOWARD, COURTESY SKYE MCALPINE

The 38-year-old food writer returns to Venice whenever she can with her young family—her sons Aeneas, 10, and Achille, 3, and her Australian-born husband, Anthony Santospirito, a financier. Their apartment in the Santa Croce neighborhood is a serene reminder of the past, and a foil to what McAlpine describes as London’s crazy energy. Life in Venice is slow, she says. London is manic—it gets her creative juices flowing, and she makes work connections, “but I burn out.”

McAlpine’s accent is redolent of a Nancy Mitford era, until the odd Italian word creeps in, and you’re reminded that she is essentially half Italian, by geography at least. Her look is girlish. She favors vintage ’50s frocks that she sources from American dealers online. It’s not the high fashion she grew up with. Her mother, the famously beautiful Romilly Hobbs, who had married Lord McAlpine in 1980, was known as a chic political hostess with an eye-watering couture wardrobe, and would delight Prime Minister Thatcher when she stayed at Chequers by wearing only Vivienne Westwood. (The Thatcher and McAlpine families Christmased together long after Lord and Lady McAlpine divorced, in 2001.)

Sotheby’s auctioned off her mother’s Givenchy, Gaultier, Hardy Amies, Saint Laurent, and many Westwood pieces in 2002. They didn’t suit Skye. “I love a bow!” she explains. “My poor mother! I love a fitted waist and a big poofy skirt!”

In addition to her late father’s affiliation with Margaret Thatcher, Lord McAlpine was an avid art and antiques collector and dealer, and founded a publishing company. “I didn’t think anything of it then,” she admits, “but now I am older and I think that [the way] I grew up, knowing the woman who was Britain’s first female Prime Minister, gave me the confidence to think I could be anything—and I’m really grateful for that.”

When the McAlpines took up residence in Venice, the plan was to stay one year, enough time to allow the political threat in England to die down. But the year turned into an entire childhood. Skye, an only child (but with two half sisters from Lord McAlpine’s first marriage), ran through tiny streets alone and quite safe, traveled by traghetto to school, and learned her Latin at

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PHOTOGRAPHY © SKYE MCALPINE, 2023, COURTESY BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING
“Now I am older, I think that [the way] I grew up, knowing the woman who was Britain’s first female Prime Minister, gave me the confidence to think I could be anything— and I’m really grateful for that.”

the venerable Istituto Cavanis attached to the Byzantine church of Sant’Agnese. She left Venice for Oxford, where she read the Greats, immersing herself in the classics of ancient Greece and Rome, in Greek and Latin language and philosophy. “It had to be Oxford or Edinburgh,” she says. “Otherwise, I’d have stayed in Italy.”

She “would love the boys to grow up there,” she says. “It is such a magical place to be a child. But my husband cannot work from Venice,” and so Aeneas is at a preparatory school in southwest London, and Achille is in nursery school. Day-today life is helped along by a “fantastic” nanny.

McAlpine’s entertaining streak started at Oxford. She began with throwing tea parties with crumpets, and by her third and fourth years she was trying her hand at dinner parties. Santospirito, who attended boarding school in Britain (his family are based in Europe more these days), was reading math in the same college and their friendship group became entwined at this early stage.

McAlpine learned from her parents a fundamental philosophy: serving food can be simple, almost effortless. Roast chicken with a crispy salad, a saffron or lemon risotto to beat the Sunday night blues, tomatoes and burrata arranged together on a vintage plate can all be both delicious and beautiful. A Table Full of Love is about just that: food as an expression of feeling—of

love. In the book, love is experienced by the cook preparing the food, which connects further emotionally with the person who enjoys it—a child in need of comfort, a lover in need of wooing, a sick parent in need of tending, or, in McAlpine’s experience, as the daughter of a Conservative potentate, a glamorous, rich political donor.

“When we arrived in Venice,” she says, “it was just the three of us, away from family. For my parents, being so gregarious, inviting people for lunch became a way to make friends. We had this association of food being about people rather than being about food. How beautiful everything looked was important—fresh herbs and fruit and flowers from the garden. It really shaped my aesthetic sensibilities in a subconscious way.”

Although she studied for a masters, then a doctorate in classics at University College London, it was the nature of that childhood experience in

Venice that led to her career as a food writer and blogger, her recipes somehow both English and Italian. “My father just loved to lay the table,” she remembers. “He loved beautiful things.”

In the two decades since she graduated from Oxford, the burgeoning, increasingly sophisticated food scene in Britain, and the books that have come out of it, have helped her consolidate her view that food is just as much about feelings as it is about taste. Despite Britain’s rather sorry food reputation abroad at the time, fabulous female cooks were beginning to emerge in the ’90s, like Nigella Lawson, who wrote the kind of cookery books McAlpine wanted to read. Her mother had also gifted her Joanna Weinberg’s How to Feed Your Friends With Relish (which she still uses), followed by the discovery of such other female writers as Rose Prince and Skye Gyngell. “They were writing in a space that was not recipe related,”

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THE MOUTHS OF BABES Skye’s sons Aeneas, 10, and Achille, 3, tuck into her Pasta alla Bibi.
PHOTOGRAPHY © SKYE MCALPINE, 2023, COURTESY BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING
Penning A Table Full of Love was “very emotional . . . I had terrible writer’s block, which lasted six months. I wonder if it didn’t have something to do with processing the emotions involved.”

she says. “Nigel Slater is in that space too, but it is mostly women who tend to see food as a language, and who write in a really personal way.”

During her 20s in London—“and even then there would be at least half the year in Venice with my mother”—she was, and continues to be, drawn to the restaurants of female chefs: the River Café (cofounded by Ruthie Rogers and the late Rose Gray), and, more recently, Gyngell’s Spring. She started a food blog, From My Dining Table, out of which grew her first cookbook, A Table in Venice, in 2018. She describes it as “a book about Venetian home-cooking: “I wanted to shine a light on a different side of the city and its food culture than most people see when they visit.” Her second, A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty, came out in 2020. She also contributes to Vogue, Vanity Fair, Tatler, Condé Nast Traveler , and Corriere della Sera , and writes a monthly column for the London Sunday Times.

Penning A Table Full of Love was “very emotional,” she confesses. “I had terrible writer’s block, which lasted six months. I wonder if it didn’t have something to do with thinking about and processing the emotions involved.” In it, she tells the story of her mother’s endometrial cancer diagnosis eight years ago, and the almost fatal septicemia she developed as a complication. It was touch and go for a while. Her mother was unable to eat in the hospital and it was only when

her mother’s childhood school friend began delivering homemade chicken soup daily that Romilly McAlpine tentatively began taking spoonfuls and, in time, found her appetite restored. McAlpine credits “Sue’s magical chicken soup” with saving her mother’s life. (The recipe is included in the book.)

McAlpine describes the crepes her husband made for her when they were first together at Oxford, rustled up in a little pink house, that was designated quarters for male students. And about how she seduced him in return with a tiramisu made from scratch over a student sink. She writes honestly about the sense of loneliness that cooking for young children can involve, and how she has found “comfort, optimism, relief even,” in making an occasion out of a meal-for-one, be it a spinach and lemon soup or an apricot, walnut, and halloumi salad.

The more than 100 recipes in A Table Full of Love include the fudgey, dense chocolate, coconut, and cherry cake; pumpkin and marscarpone flan (copied from a delicious meal she ate in “an unassuming little trattoria in Venice called La Zucca, or ‘The Pumpkin’”); and cheese and marmite soufflé, “a cloud-like concoction, pudding-like in the middle and golden crisp on the edge.”’ The soufflé more than earned its place in the book because the idea of it once intimidated her, she says. But a friend of her mother’s confided it was

the only thing she had once cooked her husband when they were newlyweds to hide an otherwise lack of culinary skills. McAlpine gave it a go, “And now I urge you to do the same,” she writes in her book. It is exactly this kind of vignette that gives the book its charm.

“I feel we have moved to a place [these days] where the idea of love is very generic, like a blanket term,” McAlpine tells me. But in the classical world, ideas of love were much more specific. “I really wanted to write a book with chapters suggested by the different kinds of love in Greco-Roman culture,” she explains: “Eros” (the erotic), “Storge” (familial love), and “Philia” (as in friendship). But there was also “Mania” (obsessive love). But “that didn’t really feel like a chapter,” she laughs.

“So in the end, I settled on thinking about it more like chapters of my own life,” she concludes. “Because it is love—in some shape or form—that dictates how and why I cook.”

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A Table Full of Love, by Skye McAlpine, is out on February 21 from Bloomsbury Publishing.
COURTESY SKYE MCALPINE; FAMILY PHOTOS: PHILIP IDE/DAILY MAIL, COURTESY SKYE MCALPINE
NEXT OF KIN Clockwise, from above: Skye at home in London; as a budding five-year-old cook; and with her parents, the art collector and political potentate Lord Alistair McAlpine, and the famously beautiful Romilly Hobbs McAlpine.

History reconsidered in fiction and nonfiction, by writers new and known

IN THE UPPER COUNTRY

The Underground Railroad didn’t halt abruptly at the U.S.–Canada border. It carried many past this country’s upper reaches, delivering them to rights just barely written into law when Parliament abolished slavery in 1833. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and the southern Ontario of Kai Thomas’s luminous debut novel saw settlements of free Blacks take cautious root—farmers and seafarers, craftsmen, teachers, and preachers going assiduously about new daily lives, their joys inevitably tempered by bitter memories, their senses ever alert to threats from their cruel pasts. Thomas’s village of Dunmore is one such place, a destiny and destination particularized by the presence of a young healer and aspiring journalist named Lensinda Martin, whose reportage for The Coloured Canadian puts

into written word her neighbors’ news. But when a bounty hunter in pursuit of six Kentucky fugitives dies at the wrong end of a rifle barrel wielded by the very oldest of them, it’s suddenly a reluctant Sinda’s job to help build a defense for the accused that will bring powerful Abolitionists to the rescue and keep roiled white citizens at bay. “I wondered if it was the same in all promised lands,” Sinda asks herself, “there are green pastures and then there are chasms.” All she knows of the bent figure called Cash she’s sent to debrief in jail is that she has a hankering for a “nice bushel of pears” and stories within stories for Sinda to decipher into truth.

As these women face off over past and present, Cash makes further demands: a story for every story, a revelation for each self-disclosure, a personal history for secrets as intricate as the royal African ancestry the two turn out to share. Thomas identifies himself as “a writer, carpenter, and land steward.” He constructs the intensifying suspense of In the Upper Country from layered varieties of recitation: slave narratives and also frontier captivity chronicles, oral histories of unimaginable brutality and deathless devotion, lading papers and bills of sale for human cargo, wanted posters tracking freedom seekers on the run, finely bound documents in the library where Sinda was first taught how to read and write by a kindly benefactor nevertheless a slaveholder.

In the novel’s fully defined realities and mythologies, its lyrical believability, are flashes of Edward P. Jones’s The Known World, Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, and fellow Canadian Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black. But it is its own work of art with its historically accurate typeface and its telling of the War of 1812 from the vantage point of the side that saw Tecumseh, the “Shooting Star,” a member of the Shawnee Panther clan, lead Canadians into battle against American invaders. Bursts of humor and gentle asides intersperse Sinda’s hardening mission to avert a miscarriage of justice. Kai Thomas keeps us close by her side and her determination to find ways to save a life, and, like Thomas, never let history become a forgetting. —CELIA MCGEE

MARGOT

Wendell Steavenson is an American journalist, and the author of three nonfiction books dealing with political upheavals, in Iraq, Egypt, and Georgia. In 2018 she published a novel, Paris Metro, about an Anglo-American journalist in Paris forced to confront the threat of terrorism to her own family. Margot, her second novel, is set in a very different time and place from her earlier books, and far from her experiences covering conflicts in the Middle East for ten years. Nonetheless, there are also explosions for Margot Thornsen, who spends the ’50s growing up sheltered between an apartment on Park Avenue and her family’s estate in Oyster Bay. A lab where the Radcliffe science major is at work will shatter; during the ’60s, she’s part of all manner of revolutions that break out; and she figures in many beautifully written pages of loud and funny conversations that involve her over the years. Steavenson unfolds this life in three parts she calls Beginning, Intermediate, and Advancing, layering them with observations and described experiences that make the novel at once a page-turner, a feminist guide, a science primer, and a vision of what forming the messy and rich life of community means.

Margot rebels against the assumptions about who and what she will be from an early age—that she will adhere to proper cultural protocols, marry well, make nice friends, and live a respectable life as a wife, Upper East Side hostess, and mother. But she can’t. She’s compelled to follow her curiosity beyond dancing school

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and debutante balls, and pursue a life of science. She is always following her gaze somewhere else, seeking knowledge the way she climbed trees as a child, past the mossy reaches, catkins, bird nests, towards the palmate canopy of tree leaves under the blue sky, decked out in a party dress and Mary Janes. Blown out of the branches and onto the lawn by a gust of wind, she’s badly bruised. And undeterred. Her mother is furious. Older, she’s exuberant as she ponders the question, "How does the nematode on the flea on the dog look up and understand the moon?"

Margot also becomes a love story. It looks at deep and honest friendships, and it offers a passionate portrayal of how the fierce and furious relationship between a mother and a daughter can turn violent. It is in the tradition of novels about untraditional women—whether Middlemarch, Little Women, Mrs. Dalloway, The Golden Notebook, or almost anything by Cathleen Schine. Warm and witty, it carries its intelligence lightly, and feels like a friend for life.

by Selby Wynn Schwartz, the rest disintegrated to these dactyls. Schwartz’s heady debut novel, longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize, channels Sappho’s voice through a chorus of women in Europe and the United Kingdom at the turn of the 20th century. They are poets, actresses, painters, and writers. They fashion themselves and their lives, choosing who to be and whom to love, against laws and attitudes that dictated otherwise. The poet Lina Poletti discards her given name, Cordula, which sounded “like a heap of rope.” The actress Eleonora Duse plays the character Nora in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House—in life and in performance “clicking the door shut on a century of women whose only verb had been to marry.” For Sarah Bernhardt, also an actress, the ordinary is irrelevant: “She slept in a coffin and sailed in a hotair balloon over Paris.”

drive our motorcars and write our novels.” As the novel moves from the 19th into the 20th century, it has notes of Katie Roiphe’s Uncommon Arrangements—both books feature the lives of Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge—and an undercurrent of Virginia Woolf, who is instrumental to Schwartz’s project. Woolf wrote, “I want to make life fuller and fuller,” and the line reappears in After Sappho. Full lives are shifting, contradictory, wrestled. We are lucky when their fragments endure.

To study the poet-musician Sappho (c. 630–c. 570 B.C.E.), scholars have mere fragments to consult. “We live/… the opposite/… daring.” “You burn me.” “Someone will remember us/I say/even in another time.” Her words catch the light, sometimes honey-golden, sometimes cool and silver.

Only one complete poem from her nine books remains, we learn in the prologue to After Sappho

The chorus that Schwartz assembles gains strength in numbers: Sibilla Aleramo (formerly the obedient Rina Faccio), Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, Colette, Isadora Duncan, Eileen Gray, Romaine Brooks, Natalie Barney, and Eva Palmer, among many others. Daringly they test the contours of their worlds, taking on Sappho’s mantle, working toward becoming the women of her words: “not one girl I think/who looks on the light of the sun/will ever/have wisdom/like this.” After Sappho unfolds as a scrapbook of short, pleasurable passages. The stories intertwine, interspersed with Schwartz’s playful readings of manuscripts, articles, plays, civil codes set in context, and, of course, Sappho’s lyrics. The protagonists’ voices start soft, uncertain, selfconscious: “We began writing odes to clover blossoms and blushing apples, or painting on canvases that we turned to the wall at the slightest sound of footsteps.” But they change, curious and emboldened: “We had ivoryhandled knives and were no longer girls. In Odéonia we were acquiring manuals, atlases, translations of Greek tragedies with the choral parts printed on pages we cut open ourselves.”

This unified voice both maintains its ancient register and molds to the times. “Henceforth, we told Natalie Barney, Sappho would wear our clothes with buttons and collars. Sappho would

STILL PICTURES: ON PHOTOGRAPHY AND MEMORY by Janet Malcolm (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Janet Malcolm’s work was, and remains, unsentimental, profound, and precise. Throughout her illustrious career she wrote deeply researched journalism, criticism, and essays, and her gift for language elevated reportage to literature. In addition to writing such seminal books as The Journalist and the Murderer, she enjoyed a nearly 60-year career at The New Yorker. She died at the age of 86 in 2021.

Malcolm frequently wrote about photography, which she decided was a “medium of inescapable truthfulness… The camera does not know how to lie.” And so it’s fitting that her final work, Still Pictures: On Photography and Memory, published posthumously, is centered on that medium. Featuring photographs, letter excerpts, and quotes that also span family history, the book offers a privileged look into Malcolm’s life of the mind, and how she saw the world in her last days.

As Ian Frazier, a long-standing colleague at The New Yorker, notes in his introduction, Malcolm was ambivalent about autobiography and considered it indulgent. In keeping with this, in reflecting on her life, she chose to rely once more on photography so as not to fall into any revising of personal history. Each of her chapters features a single photograph from a particular time in her life, an entry point into her memories. First, we meet schoolmates as her Jewish family moves from Prague to New York in 1939, escaping the Holocaust; then, a gritty portrait of her girlhood and a direct, if not detached, assessment of her parents (the more affectionately treated is “Daddy”). As she matures, there are her early romances, and, later, her encounters with authors ranging from fellow writers for William Shawn’s New Yorker like Joseph Mitchell and J. D. Salinger to Hannah Arendt, Dwight Macdonald, and Kenneth Tynan, plus reflections on her marriage to the magazine’s courtly Gardner Botsford, and musings on Freud, Roland Barthes, and Chekhov, among others. We get a sense of New York émigré culture, often laced with sardonic Eastern European humor. Malcolm never waxes nostalgic, and not only frequently laments her “bare bones” knowledge of a relative, but regrets her ability to conduct a proper live interview. A journalist above all else.

The very best chapters are those which reprise the unmistakable voice of her brilliant profile of the artist David Salle, “Forty-One False Starts,” or Diana & Nikon: Essays on the Aesthetic of Photography, to ask: What does the viewer project onto an image? What is true? And exactly how much distance is necessary to see objectively? Malcolm deconstructs the mystique of images so astutely here that it’s hard to believe she was battling cancer at the time, and would soon lose that fight. In the afterword, written by her daughter, Anne Malcolm, we learn that she didn’t get to finish all she intended, and the book was compiled chronologically on her behalf. The pages are honest and vivid, and show Janet Malcolm once again recording life like no one else.

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AFTER SAPPHO by Selby Wynn Schwartz (Liveright)
74 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 GUTTER CREDITS TKTKTKTKTKTKTKTK; NICK REMSEN TAILS THE ESPRESSO-CHUGGING, BENTLEY-SPINNING, HIGH-LIVING HO SPITALITY TITAN DAVID GRUTMAN, THE MO ST WELL-CONNECTED MAN IN MIAMI, IF NOT AMERICA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NICK MELE HAPPY DAYS Entrepreneur David Grutman in the elevator of the Goodtime Hotel, which he opened in partnership with Pharrell Williams.

mornings are sacred. This is not because he’s necessarily a morning person (if anything, he’s an all-hours kind of guy). Nor is it because he’s a sit-and-savor-his-coffee-while-reading-the-paper type (he slams espresso shots and absorbs his news through Twitter). Rather, mornings are the sole time of day in which his core industry has, essentially, gone to bed: Grutman is the founder of Groot Hospitality, the renowned Miami Beach-based group behind some of the world’s most successful nightclubs and restaurants, including the ultrahotspot LIV at the Fontainebleau, and Komodo, the highest-grossing independent restaurant in the country in 2021. Mornings are his ostensible midnights. But this doesn’t mean Grutman is lounging. In fact, 99% of the time, he’s playing tennis.

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Facing page:

“I try to get out here every day of the week. I’m obsessed,” says Grutman, standing on the baseline of a private court in Miami Beach’s Sunset Islands, where he practices. He calls it the “Terrordome,” and it has just been upgraded with Prince-branded windscreens. (In addition to his hospitality work, Grutman is also the co-owner and creative director of the celebrated athletics brand.) “It helps me clear my head for the rest of the day and night, and I like that it’s a form of exercise that has a certain level of competition.” Even at casual 8am sessions, he tends to go big: Grutman brings high-profile guests such as tour players Genie Bouchard and Reilly Opelka, and regularly hit with the late, famed coach Jimmy Bollettieri. At his vacation home at Amanyara in Turks and Caicos, Grutman is known to book all the pros, both courts, and invite people to train with him. When he hits an especially good shot—most often on the forehand side—he says, “Buh-bye.”

Post-tennis, Grutman usually heads home to settle into an afternoon of calls, networking, and, frankly, helping people who want to experience Miami in as full and as fun a manner as possible. This includes visitors and locals alike. When I arrive at his apartment at 1000 Museum—the striking, exoskeleton-wrapped tower designed by the late Zaha Hadid and considered to be the most luxurious building in the city—he’s coordinating a private dining booking for his friend, the musician DJ Khaled.

“I probably speak to about 200 people a day on the phone,” says Grutman from his living room table, which offers a 180-degree view of Biscayne Bay, celeb-studded Palm, Star, and Hibiscus Islands, and Miami Beach beyond them. “I still truly enjoy it. I like connecting people. I like talking to people. And it’s not below me to help people book a table, or get them in when the restaurants are packed. It’s what keeps me motivated in this business. I genuinely want people to have a good time, and I like being able to make that happen.”

Grutman’s apartment features an open floor

plan, with curved balconies that give it a kind of light-filled sky cave feel (Hadid’s building is extraordinary—it’s clad in a concrete-fiberglass trim, no two pieces of which are the same, and all of which had to be forged one by one in Dubai before being shipped to Miami). The table acts as a kind of juncture between the modern kitchen and his art-filled sitting room. Grutman has an eye for Pop art, and collects pieces that are bright, vivid, and optimistic. He’s also started to acquire a few NFTs, some of which are displayed on a rotating basis on a recently installed LED screen.

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S COOL THE PLAYER The founder of Groot Hospitality starts every day perfecting his top spin. at home in Miami with his Pop art and the family cat, Kitty.

The table is also often the display console for a number of companies in which Grutman is invested, or at least interested. When I visit, there are boxes of Goodles, the healthy boxed macaroni-and-cheese company founded by the actress Gal Gadot. Grutman has a stake in it. Some collegiate-inspired sample Prince shirts hang on the back of a chair. There’s also a bottle of 818 Reserve, which is from Kendall Jenner’s tequila brand (he’s close friends with the Kardashian-Jenner crew), and a box carrying boots designed by Victoria Beckham, who happens to have a residence in this same building. These shoes have been ordered by Grutman’s wife, the Brazilian model, designer, and philanthropist Isabela Rangel Grutman. The two tied the knot in 2016, after Grutman proposed the

year before beneath the famed outdoor murals of Miami’s Wynwood district. Their wedding occurred in the same neighborhood—a star-studded event that many still talk about. The Grutmans now have two daughters, Kaia and Vida.

Back to business: success in hospitality has allowed Grutman to fund and partner with brands outside of the space, yet there always seems to be a tie back to people-pleasing. When I ask him about what draws him to an investment opportunity, he says, “I’m interested in ideas that serve popular, everyday needs. Things like apps, social media, wellness, food and beverage start-ups, and consumer goods.”

After a few more calls and a quick lunch of açai bowls and more espresso, we hop in Grutman’s ele-

gant Bentley Mulsanne. As we drive east across the bay, he fondly brings up his old boat, called Groot, for which he even had merchandise made over the years (including T-shirts designed by Virgil Abloh). That swag is a hot commodity in Miami these days, if you can get your hands on it. While the boat has been sold, a new one is under construction.

We’re traversing the MacArthur Causeway to get to the the Goodtime Hotel. On a typical day, Grutman may or may not visit one of his venues until nighttime—but today he’s en route to the Goodtime for a content shoot.

The Goodtime is Groot Hospitality’s first hotel property. It opened in 2021 in partnership with the multi-hyphenate talent Pharrell Williams. Williams is also a partner on a Groot restaurant called Swan,

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LIVING THE DREAM Grutman on his apartment balcony with Fly Girl by American artist Hebru Brantley; above: with his wife, the Brazilian model and philanthropist Isabela Rangel Grutman.
“I PR OBABLY SPEAK TO ABOUT 200 PEOPLE A DAY ON THE PHONE.”
JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 79 FROM TOP LEFT: GRUTMAN, WINDSOR, COSTA: THE LATIN AMERICAN FASHION SUMMIT: DIANA ZAPATA/BFA; GRUTMAN AND BECKHAM: JOE SCHILDHORN/BFA; GRUTMAN, KARDASHIAN, CHEBAN: JOE SCHILDHORN/BFA; GRUTMAN AND JR: DIANA ZAPATA/BFA; GRUTMAN AND HADID: DARIAN DICIANNO/BFA; GRUTMAN AND DIESEL: PAUL MORIGI/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE STRONACH GROUP; DAVID AND ISABELA GRUTMAN: MADISON MCGAW/BFA
…with
…with
…with Vin Diesel …with
…with JR …with
…with Isabela Grutman, Lady Ella Windsor, Francisco Costa, and Paula Bezerra de Mello
David Beckham
his wife, Isabella
Bella Hadid
Kim Kardashian and Jonathan Cheban
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“I C AN’T TURN IT OFF. I’M OK WITH THE L ATE HOURS. IT’S THE NATURAL HOST IN ME.”
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL Above: David Grutman relaxes at the Goodtime Hotel, and with his Bentley Mulsanne (below). Facing page: Grutman outside the Goodtime Hotel.

in the Miami Design District, and in 2024 Grutman and Williams will jointly debut a resort named Somewhere Else on Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Do not be surprised to see their joint ventures expand to other cities and regions in the near future.

From the hotel’s pink, gold, and wicker-accented library, Grutman scans the clearing as a waiter brings me a spicy Jaja margarita and him a green juice. “I mean, look at this,” he says. “It’s the best. It really shows what we try to do with all of our spaces. Not only great food and great drinks, but also world-class entertainment and eye-catching decor. We want our experiences to be high impact—and we want them to be shareable.” A few minutes later, I count at least two people taking selfies, no doubt destined for Instagram stories.

Groot Hospitality’s restaurant roster is expanding substantially. In addition to those aforementioned, there’s also Papi Steak, a high-energy intimate steakhouse in Miami Beach’s tony South of Fifth neighborhood; Strawberry Moon, a Mediterranean restaurant located at the Goodtime Hotel; Gekkō, a high-end Japanese-inspired steakhouse opened in partnership with the recording artist Bad Bunny located in Brickell; and the Key Club, a clean and contemporary take on an all-American bistro, nestled in Coconut Grove. Komodo will soon open its second iteration in Dallas; many more restaurants, overall, will follow in the coming years. One compelling point to consider here is that Groot is owned in part by Live Nation, the entertainment company that—shrewdly—sees the value of aligning talent with hospitality as a major pull for patrons. Grutman, however, noticed this long ago.

It’s now twilight—about 7pm, a few hours after wrapping at the Goodtime—and we’re sitting in a booth at the Key Club, surrounded by wood-paneled walls and a colorful, uplit mural. I ask Grutman about the seemingly ever-increasing confluence of hospitality and entertainment—of the supercharge that celebrity can add to a space. “I first saw the power of it years ago,” he says. “This was the era of pre-social media. By a long shot. And you know who it was that made me see the potential? Janet Jackson. Of course, celebrities in nightclubs have always been a thing. Ian Schrager and Studio 54? Legends. But this felt different. The way people approached Janet, asking for pictures on their phones, obtaining a portable memory from a moment. I thought, ‘This is just the beginning.’”

The sentiment underscores what Grutman told me back at the Goodtime: he’s not engineering an outing based on one pillar. It’s more that he excels at creating a world within a world. Through this, he strives to make everyone in the room feel as important as the next, and, in doing so, imparts a bit of Magic City electricity through all of it—food, drink, sights, sounds, proximity to fame, and, mostly, purpose of fun.

“I can’t turn it off,” he says. “It’s the natural host in me. I’m OK with the late hours. I want to make sure people are taken care of. It makes me happy when my guests are happy.” With that, he gets up, and heads out into a night still young.

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Many of Palm Beach’s chicest women were already familiar with the designer when he touched down on the island three winters ago. But Valley, who has been crowned the “King of Pants” by The , quickly became an indispensable part of the social infrastructure. When he’s not jet-setting off to fittings in Montecito or Monaco, the 49-year-old designer can be found in his store along Via Mizner, or holding court in his usual booth at Le Bilboquet on Worth Avenue. Eligible men interested in pursuing Valley are going to need to be social, sophisticated, and willing to be put on the hot seat by the designer’s gaggle of loyal female followers—and by Valley himself. DO:

DON’T: Wear socks with your boat shoes or—God

Bettina Anderson Every town has an “It” girl and in Palm Beach, it’s Anderson. A Columbia University graduate and third-generation Palm Beacher, this 36-year-old model and passionate philanthropist is a young patron of the Everglades Foundation, an active member of both the Society of the Four Arts and the Norton Museum of Art, and a cofounder of the Paradise Fund, a charity she helped launch with several young locals, including her siblings, Loy and Kent. Anderson has also made a name for herself online with a popular Instagram account that is littered with witty captions and pictures of the statuesque beauty around town.

DO: Suggest hitting up a museum.

DON’T: Be camera shy.

ALVIN VALLEY: BENJAMIN LOZOVSKY/BFA; BETTINA ANDERSON: NICK MELE LOOKING TO PAIR UP WITH SOMEONE IN PALM BEACH THIS SEASON? WHETHER YOU WANT TO GO LOCAL, VERTI-COASTAL, OR YOU’RE WILLING TO SETTLE FOR A SNOWBIRD, CARSON GRIFFITH HAS ROUNDEDUP THE SOCIAL SET’S MOST ELIGIBLE. 82 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 The Uncommited

Joseph Hernandez Hernandez isn’t your typical right-brained biotechnology entrepreneur. His love of Hemingway runs so deep that he attempted to open a restaurant at the Esplanade last year named after the Cuban fishing village the writer frequented. The 40-something is also the founder and CEO of Blue Water Vaccines, a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing game-changing vaccines, and holds three master’s degrees, including one in biostatistics from Yale University. When he’s not nose-deep in American literature or saving our country from the next pandemic, you can find Hernandez out and about—he’s a popular fixture on the Palm Beach social scene.DO: Bone up on The Old Man and the Sea. DON’T: Be an anti-vaxxer.

Scarlet Stallone It wasn’t just legendary actor Sylvester Stallone who came to Palm Beach when he purchased a $35 million mansion here in 2020: he brought his three stunning daughters with him. The youngest—20-year-old Scarlet—has yet to pick a partner, but from the sound of things, young men will need more moves than the characters her father plays on-screen to capture her heart. “When you date one of us, you date the entire family,” Sistine, 24, explained on her podcast, Unwaxed, which she shares with her older sister, Sophia, 26. “So if you don’t have all of our approval, you just cannot come into the home. But, if you can pass the test of our entire family and get all four yeses across-the-board, then you must be a stand-up guy.” DO: Express a genuine interest in the fam. DON’T: Reveal how you rank the Rocky movies.

SCARLET STALLONE: KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES; JOSEPH HERNANDEZ: NICK MELE

Spencer Schlager One of the biggest forces in Palm Beach’s real estate market may also be one of the youngest. Schlager, 30, is a cofounder of Palm Beach-based CS Ventures. The only reason this budding tycoon doesn’t have a boyfriend seems to be his busy schedule: since the company’s formation, it has purchased more than $100 million in properties in the area, including two office buildings at Royal Palm Way. Schlager moved from New York City in 2019 to form the real estate acquisition company, but his love of the area is in his blood: he is the grandson of Judith and S. Lawrence “Larry” Schlager, founders of the Schlager Family Foundation. DO: Send a calendar invite and stay on schedule. DON’T: Endlessly compare Florida to NYC.

Hollis Pica This PR ace can be found working around the clock for the private relations and concierge firm Altima PR (as the vice president of public relations and events). In fact, the chic Georgetown grad, who was a buyer at Ralph Lauren and an events and PR honcho in Washington, DC, before heading south, might be the hardest working person in Palm Beach. Along with her day job, Pica sits on the junior committee for both the Hope for Depression Research Foundation and the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. When she’s not putting in the office hours working, you can find her front and center on a bike at the SoulCycle in West Palm Beach, or watching the sunrise first thing in the morning—no matter how late she was out the night before. DO: Know the difference between a blini and a Bellini. DON’T: Complain about your busy schedule.

GUTTER CREDITS TKTKTKTKTKTKTKTK;
SPENCER SCHLAGER: NICK MELE; COURTESY HOLLIS PICA

Nic Roldan He has been called everything from the “Face of American Polo” to his sport’s version of David Beckham, but the one moniker the 40-year-old equestrian has yet to bear is “husband.” Tying this one down may be tough, however, as Roldan is quite busy. Although most famous as a world-renowned athlete (he won the U.S. Open Polo Championship at just 15), Roldan has launched both a liquor company (High Goal Luxury Gin) and a personal apparel brand. He’s also ventured into the world of real estate by diversifying his portfolio of properties and getting a realtor’s license. If you’re interested in wrangling this handsome horseman, it helps to be a fellow equestrian and have a famous last name—his ex-girlfriends include Jessica Springsteen and Hannah Selleck, both of whom sport their fathers’ recognizable monikers. DO: Know how to handle a riding crop. DON’T: Order a martini with vodka.

Lisa Yom Forget Jeff Bezos. The person to know from Amazon right now is Lisa Yom, a self-described “e-commerce and digital media maven.” The New York snow bird may be too humble to brag about it herself, but this well-traveled, well-dressed beauty has made her mark in some of the most culturally significant cities across the globe. When she’s not honing her figure on a Pilates machine or her art knowledge at the hottest galleries, you can usually find the 40-year-old Yom on a plane. This will be the third year in a row that she has called Palm Beach home—at least for the winter.

DO: Share your best adventure story.

DON’T: Mention you just bought a Google Assistant.

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NIC ROLDAN: NICK MELE; LISA YOM: BILLY FARRELL/BFA

Ultimate

Frisbies

TWO GENERATIONS OF THE FRISBIE FAMILY HAVE JOINED FORCES TO BECOME TITANS OF PALM BEACH REAL ESTATE, PRESERVING AND REVITALIZING WHEREVER THEY GO. CARSON GRIFFITH UNCOVERS THE GROUP DYNAMICS

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In an era when people are constantly being beat over the head with the idea that making your workplace your “family” creates toxic effects, the Frisbie Group’s enterprise is their family. And this collaborative, one-for-all and all-for-one mindset has set up the family-owned, Palm Beach real estate giant for success.

“It means a lot more when it becomes your own,” says Rob Frisbie Jr. one morning, as he sits in the company’s sleek, modern office situated in the center of Palm Beach. Sunlight floods the room, while well-produced videos of current Frisbie projects roll across a large white wall like a big-budget blockbuster. “It’s not like working for the man, quote unquote. You’re really trying to see everything succeed, because you’re so personally invested in it. So, it doesn’t really matter if you’re talking about work at 8 AM on a Sunday versus 12 PM on a Thursday—it’s all kind of part of the same.”

The Frisbie Group, the real estate investment company which has been preserving and revitalizing the Palm Beach and West Palm Beach areas for nearly three decades, is not your stereotypical, suit-and-tie development corporation. Of the company’s 25 employees, 13 of them are family members, with three of those being its founders (David, Robert Sr., and Rick). Born and raised in New York, the brothers bought and restored their first property together—a brownstone in Boston—while at Harvard in the early ’70s. The

trio eventually turned their eyes to Palm Beach, where they completed their first property in 1996.

None of the employees at the Frisbie Group carry business cards or have specific job titles. Instead, the company divides the employees by “Gen 1” (short for Generation 1) and “Gen 2,” with about two-thirds of the Frisbie family members falling into the latter category. The “Gen 1” set—made up of David, David’s wife Suzanne, Robert Sr., and Rick, all senior directors at the firm now—has owned and operated the Frisbie Group since its inception, and has steadily expanded as Gen 2 has trickled in, starting in 2013 when Robert Sr.’s daughters, Katie Frisbie Crowell and Franny Frisbie Criddle, joined followed by his son Rob Jr. in 2016 and the rest of Gen 2 shortly thereafter. Many of the Frisbie family members live within walking distance of both the Frisbie Group office and each other in one of their development projects, Via Flagler.

“I think if you look at more conventional workplaces, you will see people attempting to succeed individually within that environment, because that’s how you excel and get promoted,” opines one of the original founders, David Frisbie, who goes by Dave. “What’s unique here is that within this family business, we don’t have the same dynamic, because everything we do is for our family—so we don’t need to set individual goals. Instead, it’s always about what can we do for the whole? How do we make decisions that are moving our family forward, and that are in the best interest of the family?”

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PLAYING FRISBIE Right: Suzanne and Dave Frisbie. Facing page: first row (from left), Philip Trapani III, Michaela Frisbie Facchinei, baby Margot Facchinei, Richard Frisbie, Kim Frisbie, Robby Frisbie; second row (from left), Rick Frisbie, baby Carver Wingate Crowell, Katie Frisbie Crowell, Cody Crowell, Suzanne Frisbie, Dave Frisbie, Franny Frisbie Criddle, Ashley B.C. Frisbie, Rob Frisbie Jr., Robert Frisbie. Previous spread, left page: brothers Robert Frisbie, Rick Frisbie, and Dave Frisbie; and previous spread, right page: first row, Richard Frisbie; second Row (from left), Rob Frisbie, Franny Frisbie Criddle, Katie Frisbie Crowell; Ashley B.C. Frisbie, Cody Crowell; third row (from left), Philip Trapani III and Michaela Frisbie Facchinei.

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Rob Frisbie Jr., who serves as a project manager on luxury residential developments and large-scale, mixed-use revitalizations, admits that the mindset is not for everyone—even members of his own family. “My brother works at a consulting firm, and he cannot understand,” Rob says. “He’s like, ‘It’s Saturday! What is Rob doing going into the office?’ That’s part of our life. It’s so ingrained. And it’s not a negative. We don’t ever see it as a negative. It’s sort of that you’re so passionate about everything that you do that there’s no Monday through Friday and 8 to 6. It just sort of becomes your life. And you’re happy to discuss it. It gives everybody energy and excitement to discuss work and projects.”

Yes, Rob’s brother is also a Frisbie, but that doesn’t mean just because he shares the same last name that they work together. This is something Dave stresses. Before a family member can be considered for employment at the Frisbie Group, they must work someplace outside of the company first and show a passion for something which would be additive to the group as a whole. “If you decide this is something you’d like to come join, then we’ll evaluate whether you can,” says Dave. “It’s very clear to everyone in this room that just because your last name happens to be Frisbie, that doesn’t award you anything. You have no guaranteed rights to a job. You don’t just get a check. Not at all. You get what you get because you live and breathe it and make it better on a daily basis. And we’ve had the conversation for everybody that shows up. Look, I’m your uncle and I’m always going to love you. But if you’re taking energy away from others, I will have to say, ‘I’m sorry, but you can’t work here anymore.’ So, as a boss, I will fire you.”

And while this tight-knit infrastructure may not be for everyone, the Frisbie Group doesn’t want it to be. Bringing someone into this dynamic isn’t something that is done lightly. Employees are “adopted,” according to Suzanne, who has a specific focus on residential sales, acquisition, and development through most of coastal Palm Beach County. “So, they have to comport themselves as family.”

“When you’re trying to differentiate between family and nonfamily, it’s just an awkward conversation for us,” says Rob Jr. about employees of the Frisbie Group. “The secret to our business is that we are all one extended family. And so, when we take someone on and they become a member of it, it’s a really big deal for us. It’s not a temporary thing. You want to really retain that employee for a long time.” The Frisbie family could be called untraditional traditionalists—or, perhaps, traditional untraditionalists— due to the equal priority they put on innovation and preservation. Since the three brothers joined forces in 1973 in Boston, the firm has become a formidable force in both imaginative developments and preservation in Palm Beach County. Some of their commercial and residential projects in Palm Beach include South Flagler House; Worth Avenue condominiums; the 10,000-square-foot townhouses at South Ocean Boulevard; Via Flagler by the Breakers in Palm Beach; and the Islands of Islamorada, a club resort on seven acres which may be recognizable to those who are fans of the Netflix

television show Bloodline. The Frisbie Group also has worked on properties outside of Florida, such as the Harborview Nantucket, selecting these projects simply based on areas where they like to spend time.

A prime example of the equal consideration they give to imaginative development and preservation, Ashley Frisbie points out, is the South Flagler House luxury condominium project. “How do we use the tools that we all know so well about construction and design to create a space that brings a community together? How do we use materials and choose materials that are reverent to historical precedents, that are warm and inviting, but are also timeless in their aesthetic?” she asks. “These sound like simple ideas, but when you put them all together, you end up with a project that is leading by example, and it becomes a landmark that exudes this positive energy, that has lead ratings in terms of sustainability, that has wellness ratings in terms of how future residents are going to live a healthy lifestyle within that building.”

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THE SECRET TO OUR B USINESS IS THAT WE ARE ALL ONE EXTENDED FAMILY.
AND SO, WHEN WE TAKE SOMEONE ON AND THEY BECOME A MEMBER OF IT, IT ’S A REALLY BIG DEAL FOR US.”
ROB FRISBIE JR.
THE HOUSE THAT FRISBIE BUILT From top, aspects of the South Flagler House, the waterfront condominiums in West Palm Beach developed by the Frisbie Group. SOUTH FLAGLER HOUSE RENDERING: COURTESY FRISBIE GROUP, THE BOUNDARY, AND NOË & ASSOCIATES

Another particularly impressive project in the Frisbie Group portfolio is 5400 North Flagler and Bezos Academy in West Palm Beach. The educational institution has been created in conjunction with Jeff Bezos and will be located on the first floor of the essential housing project, which was inspired by South Flagler House and the boom of people moving to Palm Beach and the Florida area in general.

“People are moving north. They’re moving west. They’re moving south,” explains Cody Crowell, who guides the company in investment organization, focused on placemaking, revitalization, and large-scale, mixed-use developments. “We decided to take a project that is best suited for luxury condominiums, because it’s on the water in a very convenient location, and go vertical with the internationally-renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, and create this essential housing. And not just do so in a mindless way, where we’re just building as inexpensively as possible, but instead prioritizing water views for all the residents,” As the company was conceiv-

ing the project and reaching out to the community, the question of schools became increasingly pressing. “We found over the course of the last two years, as more and more people are coming in, education is a big issue. And so, we’ve gone out to numerous different operators and educators. In that building, we’re planning the Bezos Academy on the first floor of the building—and the school’s free. So, you have the usual amenity deck that a beautiful condominium would have. You have a world class architect. And this is for essential housing, whether you’re a fireman, nurse, first responder, policeman, you name it.”

This is just another example of putting the greater good above the individual, and heralds back to the Frisbie Group ethos that Dave says powers everything the company—and each person in it—does. “It has to be a major positive for the community,” he says, then pauses. “We don’t do projects that aren’t good for our community.” For what is a community, after all, but a very large family?

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A FAMILY AFFAIR: First row (from left), Philip Trapani III, Kim Frisbie, Robert Frisbie, Michaela Frisbie Facchinei, Rick Frisbie, Richard Frisbie, Katie Frisbie Crowell; second row (from left): Rob Frisbie Jr., Franny Frisbie Criddle, Ashley B.C. Frisbie, Cody Crowell; third row (from left): Dave Frisbie and Suzanne Frisbie.

Unless you’ve invented something useful, or have $100 million kicking around in pocket change, the price tag of a home on the island of Palm Beach might seem to range from the exorbitant to the stratospheric. However, just across the bridge is the mainland, West Palm Beach, which has been undergoing its own renaissance of late. And so, for mere mortals who work at a hedge fund but don’t own one, West Palm Beach seems to have become the new landing pad for erstwhile New Yorkers.

For those of us who have lived here since the ’90s, we knew we were in trouble when West Palm Beachers started naming their neighborhoods. For many, the most desirable are clustered around Flagler Drive, including historic El Cid (which can rival Palm Beach for popularity, if not price tag, these days), the upand-comer Northwood, and the already arrived SoSo (whereas SoHo is south of Houston, SoSo is south of Southern Boulevard). Meanwhile, College Park in Lake Worth, which borders the Southend, has become the Park Slope of Palm Beach.

WEST PALM BEACH

Clematis Street About 30 years ago, a revitalized Clematis Street, just at the center of West Palm, became a hub of retail activity, with a Saturday morning farmers market that’s gaining a reputation for being one of the best in the country.

Predating this is Pioneer Linens, where islanders have been getting their luxury towels and tablecloths for the better part of a century, and whose owners have seen the ebb and flow—and the current massive tidal wave—that has brought people to Palm Beach. As told by Penny Murphy,

the current owner, the store was started by Max Greenberg, an Austrian immigrant who came to the United States in 1905 and worked for a time in New York City. He had family in Daytona—where Henry Morrison Flagler had established one of his first resorts. When Greenberg discovered that they were giving away land in Lake Worth, he decided to open a hardware store there, living in a nearby tent. Between the hurricane of 1928, the crash of 1929, and some exercises in branding, West Palm Beach surpassed Lake Worth, and Greenberg’s hardware store evolved into Pioneer Linens, which has remained in its current location since 1930. Murphy, Greenberg’s granddaughter and current owner of Pioneer Linens, is the third-generation proprietor of the famed linen store (her daughters are the fourth generation involved in the business), and has observed the influx of New Yorkers who now call the Palm Beaches home. “Our secret is out,” she said. “We have always had a very special place to live—not only do we have the beach and the ocean and the weather, but we have so much to offer. People are just discovering that.”

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STREET: RICHARD GRAULICH/THE PALM BEACH POST/ZUMA WIRE/ALAMY; GREENMARKET: COURTESY WEST PALM BEACH GREENMARKET
CLEMATIS

Antique Row Among those discoveries is a stretch along Dixie Highway known as Antique Row, where stores such as Hive showcase everything from coastal to, well, modern coastal design. Mecox Gardens, an outpost of the Napa Valley, Hamptons, and Manhattan Mecox Gardens—and all points in between—is where many an islander not only gets their home goods, but also their floral arrangements. And nearby there’s Aioli, where the owners have pioneered an industrial gourmet café, with pastries and cakes rivaling any found in New York, or indeed Paris. Chef Michael Hackman and his wife, Melanie, the duo behind the ever-popular restaurant, were quick to note the shift in the area. They founded their restaurant based on Michael’s clientele on the island of Palm Beach where he worked as a private chef, and the restaurant’s location, at the epicenter of West Palm Beach, seemed only natural. “There’s been an influx from the Northeast,” said Melanie. “We noticed during the middle of Covid, a large group of people stayed and liked it.” Michael joked, “Some people say it’s the sixth borough.”

For people looking to be healthy healthy, Celis Juice Bar has filled our life with smoothies, shots, and juices—though the burgers at the nearby Dixie Grill & Brewery helps us cancel them out. And for anyone wanting slightly more formal fare, Kitchen, just off of Belvedere, specializes in American food presented with a fresh and sophisticated twist—the dream child of Chef Matthew Byrne, Tiger Woods’ former personal chef—as an outpost of the original in Palm Beach Gardens.

Norton Museum of Art Between all of this is the Norton Museum of Art, which is rapidly earning a reputation as one of the best museums in South Florida. Though the museum has been a mainstay since the ’40s, the 2019 expansion—a bold, contemporary form framing an 80-yearold banyan tree—houses a permanent collection with more than 8,000 works of art, divided into European, American, Chinese, contemporary, and photography galleries. Modern masters range from Matisse and Monet to Georgia O’Keeffe and Jackson Pollock. This winter, for anyone missing their Met Costume Institute, “A Personal View on High Fashion & Street Style: Photographs from the Nicola Erni Collection, 1930s to Now” is on exhibition at the Norton Museum through February 12, while outside in the Pamela and Robert B. Goergen Sculpture Garden the 37,200-squarefoot, Norman Foster-designed grounds showcase several works by artists such as Keith Haring, Antony Gormley, and Ugo Rondinone, all under a canopy of a tropical panoply.

In addition to the Norton is the Bunker, a private art space in a 20,000-square-foot Art Deco building, formerly a toy factory. Here can be found the private collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody, an art visionary known for her passionate support of emerging and little-known artists. This season, DeWoody invited Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Brooklyn Museum director, Anne Pasternak, to reinstall the Bunker’s largest space. Artists include Calida Rawles, Jay Lynn Gomez, Kennedy Yanko, and Jaune Quick-to-See

Smith, all of whom were championed early in their careers by DeWoody.

Waterfront The Ben is redefining the hotel experience, if not the skyline, in West Palm Beach. This boutique hotel, situated on the waterfront, is within walking distance of West Palm’s main shopping streets, and has a rooftop bar with expansive views of the intracoastal waterway. With its modernist take and downtown vibe, it’s quickly becoming popular with those visiting to dip their toes in the Palm Beach area.

In terms of restaurants, anyone looking to get in touch with their inner islander need look no further than E.R. Bradley’s, which has been around since 1984, on South Clematis Street. It takes its name from Colonel E.R. Bradley, who founded a casino on the island of Palm Beach. Whereas the original Bradley’s was known for its good food and high-stakes gambling, the current outpost evokes a more laid-back vibe.

JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 | AVENUE MAGAZINE 95 THE NORTON MUSEUM:
NICK MELE; COURTESY THE BEN WEST PALM
GO WEST PALM, YOUNG MAN West Palm Beach’s flagship art museum, the Norton Museum of Art; bottom: The Ben, the neighborhood’s only waterfront hotel. Facing page: Clematis Street in downtown West Palm; below: fruit at the neighborhood’s farmers market. Previous spread: aerial shot of Palm Beach and The Breakers.

PALM BEACH

Worth Avenue Back in Palm Beach proper, there’s the world-renowned Worth Avenue, home to some of the Palm Beachiest of brands (think Stubbs & Wootton and Lilly Pulitzer) and where many an afternoon stroll leads to a slightly lighter wallet. With Tiffany & Co. and Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Bottega Veneta, Worth Avenue is where many who have what Thorstein Veblen described in his book The Theory of the Leisure Class as “pecuniary repute” like to get their reputiest.

Via Mizner Indeed, Worth Avenue is dotted with vias—winding passageways replete with Spanish stucco, antique stone, and terracotta tiles. If you’re going to pick one, pick Via Mizner, named after Addison Mizner, whose architectural style can be seen in nearly every last pilaster in Palm Beach. Indeed, the via gets its name because Mizner’s onetime home is situated at the center.

Just past the Vilebrequin store, a winding passage leads you to Aerin Lauder’s island outpost, Aerin Palm Beach. Around the corner, there’s the handbag store Lana Marks. If the shopping is making you hungry, then you mustn’t miss Renato’s—an elegant Italian eatery that’s a perennial favorite. The risotto, if not the courtyard where it’s served, is the stuff dreams are made of. For those en famille, and if pizza and pasta are more up to the kiddies’ speed, then perhaps the neighboring Pizza Al Fresco would be a better bet. From the corner table you can see some real Palm Beach trivia—two small tombstones, one that Mizner built for his pet, Johnnie Brown, a spider monkey that traveled on his shoulder, and the other, belonging to Our Laddie, the dog of the villa’s subsequent owners. After dinner, for anyone with a sweet tooth, there’s Piccolo Gelato just at the end of the via.

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VIA PARIGI: NICK MELE; THE COLONY, THE COLONY HOTEL: CARMEL BRANTLEY COURTESY THE COLONY HOTEL; COURTESY RENATO’S ISLAND LIFE Above: Via Parigi on Worth Avenue; right: Renato’s, nestled in Via Mizner; top: the pool at The Colony, the place to see and be seen. Facing page: The Breakers Hotel; and inset, the Drawing Room in the Flagler Museum.

The Colony Hotel The Colony Hotel—a pink jewel box of a hotel just a block away from Worth Avenue—has become the eminently Instagrammable hot spot for young Palm Beach. On Monday nights, most of the under-30 set gather around the pool bar for trivia night. For those looking to hit the beach, the Colony offers a “beach butler” service—no longer do you have to worry about packing up a picnic, towels, water, or sunscreen when you head to the beach; now they’re all provided in branded pink Yeti coolers and canvas totes. Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the storied hotel, which has counted among its patrons the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, and Sophia Loren (Aerin Lauder, Rachel Zoe, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, and Rebel Wilson are some of the more recent guests seen under their bespoke de Gournay wallpaper), has undergone a sumptuous refurbishment, featuring the work of Kemble Interiors, Society Social, Schumacher, Brown Jordan, Farrow & Ball, and Matouk, all thanks to the vision of owner Sarah Wetenhall.

south of the Plaza Hotel—pâtés, a caviar station, a raw bar—and, if you look up and to the west of the ceiling, you’ll see the old upstairs area where, the story goes, alcohol was served during Prohibition. It’s the ultimate resort experience, where families seeking a one-stop vacation shop can plant themselves in the cabanas or on the poolside lawn, sipping daiquiris while knowing the kids are nearby.

South County Road South County Road, a street that bisects the island, is dotted with various stores certainly worthy of an afternoon stroll. After breakfast at SurfSide Diner, check out P.B. Boys Club, the store where islanders have been purchasing school uniforms—and surfboards, board shorts, and all the apparatus you’d need to legitimately declare “Kowabunga!” on an expanse of the open ocean—since this writer was in elementary school. For anyone interested in secondhand finds from some of the estates of Palm Beach, the Church Mouse, a resale store operated by and benefiting the church of Bethesda-by-theSea, is one of the top resale stores in the country. Classic Bookshop has been a mainstay of those seeking reading material on their trip. Down the street is the Carriage House, a new

member’s club located in an Addison Mizner/ Maurice Fatio building. With several dining areas and chic interior spaces, the historic edifice is the vision of Michael and Paula Bickford. And around the corner is the Chesterfield hotel, undergoing a renovation thanks to the Oetker Collection, who count among their properties the world-famous Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc.

The Royal The Royal Poinciana Plaza—or “The Royal,” for short—has become the epicenter of the Palm Beach experience, revolutionizing what shopping, dining, and strolling has meant to Palm Beachers. With enough art that gallerists have nicknamed it “Little Chelsea”—think Pace Gallery, Acquavella, Lehmann Maupin, among others—the Royal is also home to brands such as Saint Laurent, Hermès, and La Ligne. It’s most definitely worth a meandering afternoon.

Just down the street from the Royal are stores and galleries, and the home to White Elephant Palm Beach and its LoLa 41. Don’t forget Trevini Ristorante—another fine Italian eatery around the corner. And with Cucina, Almond, and Henry’s, there are enough dining options to allow you to roll away home.

The

Museum, otherwise known as Whitehall, was the grand Palm Beach home of Henry Flagler, a partner in Standard Oil who had the idea of building a railroad all the way down the east coast of Florida to Key West (some of the original lines can be seen on a drive down to the southernmost points of Florida). A National Historic Landmark, the Gilded Age estate predates the Mediterranean style that Mizner popularized. To channel your inner Edwardian, you can have afternoon tea at the Café des Beaux-Arts, and make sure you don’t miss Flagler’s personal train carriage—a testament to the era before airline miles.

The Breakers The Breakers hotel—unmissable in its grandeur—is just down the street. Founded by Flagler in 1896, rough drafts of the hotel were felled by a series of fires in 1903 and 1925, leading to the current building, which was created by Schultze & Weaver, who later went on to build several of New York’s grandest hotels. And though the current edifice is approaching its 100th anniversary, don’t let that fool you. The atmosphere brings the Roaring Twenties right into the 2020s, with so many restaurants it would take a long weekend to work through. Seafood Bar has a spectacular view of—and equally spectacular food from—the very breakers the hotel was named after. Flagler Steakhouse, just off the golf course, has a comfortable clubhouse atmosphere, and the Circle is known for one of the grandest Sunday brunches

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Henry Morrison Flagler Museum Henry Morrison Flagler
THE DRAWING ROOM, © FLAGLER MUSEUM; THE
BREAKERS: NICK MELE

Risky Business

If one wants to be intrigued by a criminal mind, look no further than Meyer Lansky: casino magnate, businessman, and mafioso, writes Aria Darcella

As a culture, our thirst for true crime is unquenchable. While all feature colorfully unsavory characters, each contains something specific for every interest. Murder stories have mystery; cult stories seem out of this world. And mafia stories have math—or, at least, the tale of Meyer Lansky does.

Largely considered to be the mob’s accountant, whom The New York Times once referred to as the “financial wizard of organized crime,” Lansky headed up a criminal enterprise that extended as far as Cuba, and had long-standing friendships with the likes of Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel. But where his counterparts met untimely, work-related deaths (it’s a risky business), Lansky lived to the ripe old age of 80, retiring in Florida with hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly hidden away.

Born Maier Suchowljansky in 1902 in what is now Belarus, Lansky immigrated with his family to New York in 1911, settling on the Lower East Side. What he lacked in stature—he stood at only five feet, four inches tall—he more than made up for with brains. Lansky was notably a good student, especially when it came to math. But these skills didn’t save the adolescent from falling in with a bad crowd.

Lansky befriended Siegel in his teens and the two began running dice games. With illegal activities now on the table, the pair’s money-making options grew. They resold stolen cars, helped bootleggers camouflage their vehicles, and got into bootlegging themselves—which is possibly how they were introduced to Luciano.

The duo eventually founded the Bugs and Meyer Mob, which, in addition to rum-running, provided violent goons for hire. At some point, Lansky was introduced to Arnold “The Brain” Rothstein (the man credited with organizing

98 AVENUE MAGAZINE | JANUARY—FEBRUARY 2023 BETTMANN/GETTY IMAGES
NOTORIOUS NEW YORKERS
THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS Meyer Lansky outside a courthouse in 1973. All charges were eventually dropped due to his poor health.

crime in the first place), who saw the young man’s potential as a protégé, and helped guide him in the underworld.

Lansky followed in Rothstein’s footsteps by focusing his business on odds-based gambling. His understanding of probability and how the house always wins meant that he could successfully run “clean” games—ones that weren’t rigged—and still turn a profit. This made him trusted among gamblers, and, thanks to his reputation, they flocked to his casinos in the New York area.

As the ’30s progressed, so too did Lansky’s gambling operation. He expanded across the state, out to Newark, and went as far south as Cuba and the Bahamas. Meanwhile, he teamed up with Luciano to further evolve the mafia from small warring groups to a national syndicate. This became a major step to the New York crime families opening hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. In Nevada, money laundering and nefarious schemes could be hidden under legal gambling and hotel enterprises, as well as a thick layer of glamor provided by celebrities such as Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

The development of Las Vegas as a glittering vacation destination is one of many quirks in Lanksy’s career. A life of crime wasn’t only lucrative, it also led him down some strange paths.

For example, during World War II, Lansky helped set up a deal between Luciano (then in prison) and the United States Navy to help guard New York’s docks, and weed out possible undercover enemies. In exchange, Luciano was released from prison and deported back to Italy—where he was able to resume running his businesses. It would not be the only time that global politics had a direct impact on Lansky’s dealings.

Thanks to a friendly relationship with Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, Lansky was able to open hotels and casinos in Cuba, raking in millions

of dollars in profits from gambling and tourism— all of which vanished the moment Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries rolled in. The hotels were seized, casinos were smashed and looted, and, in 1960, gambling was made illegal in the country. To this day, Lansky’s heirs are trying to get compensation for the loss of the Riviera hotel, one that he was particularly proud of. “It was a great spot,” Lansky’s grandson, Gary Rapoport, told CNN in 2016. “Any businessman would be terribly crushed if someone just came along and took it.”

Despite being more business-minded than most of his peers, it didn’t change the fact that Lansky was ultimately a criminal. And while he was generally more low-key in his endeavors, law enforcement kept a close eye on him.

Lansky’s only real stint in jail was when he was nabbed for running a gambling operation in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1953. But, in 1970, he faced a far more damning case which threatened to bring him down for a number of crimes, including tax evasion. He fled to Israel, citing the country’s “Law of the Return” for Jews, which created a diplomatic mess.

“The episode posed a dilemma for the Israeli government,” The New York Times explained in

Lansky’s obituary. “Had it allowed him to stay, it would have been criticized for harboring a reputed criminal. And when it asked him to leave, it was criticized for turning away a Jew who had asked for refuge.”

After two and a half years, Lansky was forced to return to America, and was arrested upon his arrival in Miami. But, in the end, all charges were dropped due to his declining health. Lansky died in Miami in 1983, at the age of 80, from lung cancer. It makes him one of the few top mafiosos who didn’t succumb to occupational hazzards. But even in his final years, Lansky maintained a shining business sense. It is assumed that he passed away with upwards of $300 million stashed away in bank accounts around the world, though authorities have never found a dime.

Like many mid-century mobsters, Lansky’s legacy has been immortalized by Hollywood, but arguably no film or television show has captured his most fascinating quality: his mind. True crime stories are at their best when covering anomalies, things regular readers can take solace in knowing they likely won’t ever have to encounter. The unlikely tale of Meyer Lansky is surely one of the finest of the genre.

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LANSKY HEADED UP A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE THAT EXTENDED AS FAR AS CUBA, AND HAD LONG-STANDING FRIENDSHIPS WITH THE LIKES OF LUCKY LUCIANO AND BUGSY SIEGEL.
MURDERER’S ROW From left, gangsters Paul Ricca, Salvatore Agoglia, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, John Senna, and Harry Brown in 1932.

ON THE

THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED

All good things must come to an end! Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten—and his fabulous friends—bid adieu to the Mercer Kitchen, which first opened in 1998.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten Ellen von Unwerth and Justin Theroux Ann Dexter-Jones and Prabal Gurung Lois Freedman and Alan Cumming PHOTOS BY BFA

PHILANTHRO-FANCY

Several Lauders were on hand at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s reception at Neue Galerie (Ronald and Gary are on the Foundation’s Board of Governors, while Josh is on the Young Professionals Committee).

PHOTOS BY BFA
Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder Micki and Lanny Edelsohn Laura, Josh, and Gary Lauder Bal Agrawal and Joel Florin Glen and Cindy Edelman

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

The art world gathered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its annual Acquisitions Gala, which featured cocktails followed by a seated dinner in the Temple of Dendur.

Tory Burch and Pierre-Yves Roussel Dana Blumberg and Robert Kraft Roger and Sloan Barnett Di Mondo Wendi Deng Murdoch and Dr. Samantha Boardman
BFA
Titus Kaphar, Kristina Newman-Scott, and Tavares Strachan PHOTOS
BY
Max Hollein and Thelma Golden Aerin Lauder and Eric Zinterhofer Diana Taylor and Michael Bloomberg David Schultz and Jordan Casteel Grace Fuller and Huma Abedin Charlotte Santo Domingo, Eugenie Niarchos, Karlie Kloss, and Dasha Zhukova Niarchos
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