New York Lifestyles Magazine - December 2016

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Vol. 2 #12 | December 2016

STYLE Glam Fashions To Brighten The Season




Our Annual Holiday Gift Guide To You

Luxury In Your Own Backyard

Great Hotels in DC Fab Beaches in DR


ALI & JOE TORRE Giving Children a Safe Home

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FEATURES 10 12 13 44 47

Publisher’s Note December 2016 Calendar Brooklyn Joe Torre: Behind The Pinstripes Through The Lens: Annie Watt Annual Holiday Gift Guide

FASHION & BEAUTY 18 Glam Holiday Style 20 Fashionable Holiday Gifts

TRAVEL 23 26 29 32 34

Live It Up In Punta Cana Luxury In The Other China Focus On DC: Inauguration 2017 Great Escape: French Manor Inn & Spa Postcard From Phoenix

REAL ESTATE & HOME DECOR 37 41 52 54 56 58 60

Timbers Resorts—A Private Residence Club A UES Game Changer 555 TEN One Great Jones Alley 51 Jay Street Real Estate Spotlight: David Amirian Real Estate Notes From DB

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Contents 64





94 HEALTH & WELLNESS 62 64 68 70 73

Celebrating The Best Of Beauty Spas: Making A List & Indulging Yourself Twice Mindful In Manhattan Healthy Eating During The Holidays Concierge Medicine

DINING 74 76 78 80

Restaurant Review: Bistro Le Steak High Tea At The Palm Court The Best Wine For Your Holiday Meal Seasonal Delicacies

THEATER & ARTS 82 84 88 90

On The Big Screen On Stage Reviews With Pat Collins Pat Collins’ Picks Of Home Entertainment About Books

NEW YORK, NY 91 92 94 96

Now & Then: The History Of St. Nicholas In NYC Remembering Richard Tucker Entrepreneur’s Corner: Helen Powers 15 Minutes With Sonja Morgan

Championship golf. Barns and riding trails. They epitomize the idyllic country life. Here among the rolling 1,200 acres at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club in central Florida, you’ll discover the Golden Life in stately, elegant surroundings. Find your estate at Exclusively Represented By 352.369.6969 Florida: Bonita Springs/Estero, Cape Coral, Captiva Island, Fort Myers, Naples/Marco Island, Ocala and Sanibel Island North Carolina: Cashiers/Lake Glenville, Highlands, Sapphire Valley/Lake Toxaway

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RuLE thE Vol. 2 #12 | December 2016 President / Publisher Bill Mason Executive Publisher Ernie Anastos

Editor at Large Nina Anastos Floyd

Vice President of Sales Lyle Seltzer

Director of Operations Kurt Nesheim

Marketing Director Phillip Anastos

Art Director Eric Duncan

Managing Editor Patricia Canole

Medical Editor Doris Day, MD

Arts & Entertainment Editor Pat Collins

Fashion & Style Columnist Miki Makrillos

Real Estate Editor Daniel J. Bollinger

Chief Photographer Annie Watt

Contributing Editor Clint Brownfield Contributing Writers Sarina Appel, Joan Bauer, Shari Bilt Boockvar, MS, RDN Kristen Carlucci, RD, Abby Ellin, Karen Feld, Judy Goss Gretchen Kelly, Mark Laiosa, Dr. Heather Loenser Kelly McFarland, Griffin Miller, Tina Mulqueen Jeannie Pawlowski, Anthony Rapacciuolo, Richie Realms Alicia Rohan, Baruch Shemtov, Jessica Shepherd, MD, MBA Patricia Stark, Jeffrey Stephens, Leigh Stringer Jeff & Stephanie Sylva, Mira Temkin, Leslie Termuhlen Diane Termin, Dr. Michael Woodward, Christal Young Internet Presence Scott Cuollo, Richard Austin Advertising BLUE VISTA 725 Sales Bill Mason Sr. - Director of New Business Development John Miller - Director of Sales - Travel Michael Stulmaker - Director of Sales - Real Estate Janneta Abunda - Senior Sales Manager New York Sales Office (646) 259-2651


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For subscriptions, address changes or back issues, call: (646) 259-2651 Facebook: /NYLifestylesMag Twitter: @NYLifestylesMag Instagram: @NYLifestylesMag All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue is expressly forbidden without permission of the publisher. Printed in the USA. New York Lifestyles Magazine is published 12 times annually. © 2016 New York Lifestyles Magazine

Cover photo by Annie Watt 239.689.7653 Florida: Bonita Springs/Estero, Cape Coral, Captiva Island, Fort Myers, Naples/Marco Island, Ocala and Sanibel Island North Carolina: Cashiers/Lake Glenville, Highlands, Sapphire Valley/Lake Toxaway


Ali and Joe Torre, Ernie Anastos

“New York Lifestyles Magazine is a continuation of my passion to share news, information and lifestyle about where and how we live. This commitment reflects a positive approach to offering compelling features with the highest quality presentation. As executive publisher, I am proud of our professional staff and my family who are helping to reshape the way you read and enjoy this exciting magazine.”

As always, I thank you for all the wonderful comments about our magazine. Your response has been overwhelming and it pleases us that our feature stories are really relevant. As our magazine motto goes, “Our City, Your Life” and I hope you enjoy each issue. This month’s cover story features a terrific friend, Joe Torre and his wife Ali. Many people may read this feature story and learn something very special about Joe for the first time. It is his personal passion to help children. Joe’s story is about growing up in a home where there was domestic violence that was difficult and left lasting scars. As an adult he began to speak openly about his childhood experiences and understood that too many children live in fear and are unaware of how to ask for help. He felt their pain and suffering, so he and his wife Ali founded the Safe At Home Foundation in 2002. You will be amazed to read about how many lives this wonderful organization has dramatically changed. It is a timeless story, but an especially good one for the holiday season. Thank you Joe and Ali for all you do! In the coming months ahead, we will keep you in touch with good stories and ideas that, we hope, will joyfully contribute to your own New York lifestyle experience.

-Ernie Anastos Executive Publisher

Ernie Anastos is a celebrated author and distinguished Emmy award winning TV news legend in New York. He is recognized as a champion for promoting more positive news and an influential voice in the world of media. 10 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

Support Central Park in Style Introducing a Central Park Conservancy limited edition silk scarf


In honor of its 35th Anniversary, the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy collaborated with world renowned artist Alexis Rockman to create a limited edition silk scarf featuring his beautiful watercolor Meadow. The funds raised from the sale of the scarf will help to restore the Conservatory Garden, Central Park’s six-acre masterwork of formal garden design. This 36” x 36” silk scarf with rolled edges, in a beautiful gift box, is available for $250 (plus tax and shipping). To purchase, please call 212.310.6675 or visit centralparknyc. org/wcscarf or the Conservancy gift shops in Central Park.

DECEMBER 2016 CALENDAR George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center



The Holiday Train Show New York Botanical Garden

5 th 7



Annual Merry Tuba Concert The Rink at Rockefeller Center


Winter Solstice Concert The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine





Menorah Lighting Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn Midnight Mass St. Patrick’s Cathedral


Mariah Carey in concert The Beacon Theater

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Merchant’s House

New Year’s Eve Midnight Run Central Park Bandshell



New Year’s Eve Comedy Festival AMC Theater (West 34th Street) Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night Apollo Theater New Year’s Eve Times Square

By Anthony Rapacciuolo | Photography by Annie Watt

sk someone from the Big Apple, or from almost anywhere in the world for that matter, what comes to mind when they think of New York. In fact, go ahead and ask yourself right now, you know you already did after reading that last sentence anyway. Maybe you’re thinking the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building or perhaps Central Park, but I’d venture to guess that within your top five will be either baseball or even more specifically, the New York Yankees. Over the past few decades, the Bronx Bombers have transcended both sport and athlete to become a globally recognizable brand synonymous with the city that never sleeps. New York Lifestyles Magazine had the privilege of speaking with Hall of Famer, Joe Torre, and his wife who rarely did sleep while he managed a Yankee Organization that won six American League Pennants, ten American League East Division Titles and four World Series Titles from 1996 to 2007. Believe it or not, however, our discussion didn’t focus on his legendary career or even baseball for that matter. We were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talk about the man behind the pinstripes. A man, who with the help of his wife and partner Ali, was able to transform a childhood riddled with mental and emotional abuse into the Safe at Home Foundation, a national non-profit focused on dealing with domestic violence. The organization currently has what they have named Margaret’s Place or “safe rooms,” in honor of Joe’s mother, in 11 schools across the country including New Jersey, California, and New York. Its focus is on educating adolescents about domestic violence and offering them a place where they can feel safe to talk about the issues they may be facing at home. Since its inception in 2002, more than 55,000 students across the country have received assistance with domestic violence related issues. The following piece is nothing short of inspirational, and I encourage our readers to visit the foundation’s website at after reading the story, to learn more and pledge your support during this season of giving.

“Before the Yankees, I managed three other teams, and I’ve always had a connection with the players.”


“It wasn’t until I was fired from the Cardinals in 1995, which was the third team that had fired me, that I realized something was wrong.”


Tell our readers about the inspiration behind the Safe at Home Foundation. Joe: My father was a New York City policeman, and I grew up in a very abusive household. While I was never physically abused, I felt the effects of my dad abusing my mom both physically and verbally. With my dad, it was always about control. I honestly thought I was born with an inner nervousness, fear, and low self-esteem, so I just dealt with these feelings as though they were normal. I didn’t have any confidence in myself, and matter of fact, I didn’t even try out for my high school baseball team because I didn’t think I was good enough. It wasn’t until I was fired from the Cardinals in 1995, which was the third team that had fired me, that I realized something was wrong. My wife Ali was eight months pregnant with our daughter and asked me to join her at a four-day self-help symposium called Life Success. It was very easy to say yes to my then pregnant wife, even though it was something I knew nothing about. On day three of the symposium, I found myself sharing with complete strangers and crying my eyes out. That was the turning point when I realized that I wasn’t born with these inadequacies, but that it was created by the fear that my dad brought to the house when I was growing up as a child. That was the revelation which inspired me to focus on domestic violence issues. I also felt I wanted to do something in my mom’s name because of what she endured. She was always there for her children, I am the youngest of five, and the price she paid was pretty steep. That’s the inspiration behind the Safe at Home Foundation and our safe rooms within schools which we call Margaret’s Place. Describe the Foundation’s programs and initiatives, specifically Margaret’s Place. Ultimately it was Ali’s decision to have the Foundation focus on education rather than being a care provider, and I’ll let her speak about our programs and focus. Ali: We learned through months and months of research, that there were very few programs or resources available for children dealing with domestic violence issues. When kids and families are dealing with abuse issues at home, many times it’s kept a secret, and people feel alone. We began our campaign entirely grassroots by going into a school in the Bronx and implementing our program. We created a safe space called Margaret’s Place, in honor of Joe’s mother, which is casual and welcoming environment open to everyone in the school. After evaluating and tweaking the program, we found that we were getting tremendous feedback both from school leadership and the students. It has since grown and now consists of a peer leadership component run by a Masters Level Counselor trained in domestic violence intervention and prevention, a curriculum within the school, and we also run four school wide campaigns a year to raise awareness. We’ve found that if you come from an environment of abuse, it becomes almost like normalized behavior, and you don’t look at yourself as being a victim which was similar to Joe’s experience. It’s not only physical abuse, but we focus on verbal, mental, emotional and now even cyber abuse one on one with these kids. DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 15

“People don’t realize how many different forms of abuse there are…”


Given the success and the growth of the organization since its inception, what do you feel is the greatest accomplishment of the Safe at Home Foundation to date? Joe: There was a young man who wandered into Margaret’s Place to see what it was all about. He ended up getting involved in the program, and we later found out that at the time he was considering joining a gang. Through the intervention of Margaret’s Place, however, he ended up pursuing a college degree rather than joining that gang. Ali: Recently we were in California at our newest Margaret’s Place, and a young woman came up to me and asked if I remembered her. It turns out she was a peer leader at one of our other schools and she told me how she had graduated high school and had been accepted to UCLA and it was all thanks to one of our Counselors and Margaret’s Place. The young lady had a history of sexual assault and gang violence, and to see her standing there after getting through those tragedies was awe inspiring to me. Tell us about the dynamic duo of husband and wife tackling this issue together? Joe: It’s a matter of mutual respect for each other’s opinions and never thinking you know all the answers. For me, because I’m someone people recognize, I began setting up speaking engagements and initially I got a lot of attention. People would come up to me afterward and say that it made a difference to have a man talking about a subject that was usually thought of as a women’s issue. People don’t realize how many different forms of abuse there are and that you don’t have to be black and blue to have been affected by violence. Ali is the nuts and bolts of the Foundation and more hands on. Ali: What’s been most rewarding and humbling to me is how many friends and people have come along this journey with us and are so dedicated to helping us. So many organizations have given up their time and money and enabled us to move in a really strong direction. We still have a long way to go, and that’s why we’re still at it. We’re going to continue moving forward and would love for other people to join us in our efforts. Given your tremendous ties to New York through the foundation, baseball, living here, etc. what in your opinion separates New York from the rest of the country? Ali: It’s such a large city, but there’s such a sense of community here. People looking in from the outside don’t understand that. I’m originally from the Midwest but now living here there’s such a sense of pride and an overwhelming spirit of generosity. Juxtapose baseball and the Foundation, do any ideals or values carry over from one to the other? Joe: Before the Yankees, I managed three other teams, and I’ve always had a connection with the players. I believe it’s made me a little more sensitive and aware. To me, managing is all about people, and you should never lose sight of that. I didn’t realize until I stopped managing that several of the guys looked at me almost like a father figure, and I truly did care about each and every one of them. I’d say that care of people and sensitivity is something that carried over into the foundation and vice versa. You’ve accomplished so much, what’s next? Ali: We’re interested in expanding into Staten Island, New York,

as well as many other locations we feel could benefit from our program. Long term, our goal is to be in as many schools and cities as possible, because we think that it is necessary, but right now we simply don’t have the resources. We host three fundraisers a year and also have our annual appeal where people can donate, and all of the funding is put to good use. Long term, we need to be strategic about partnerships and funding so that we can continue to expand Margaret’s Place. Sound Off! Tell Our readers something that they haven’t heard or read anywhere else? Joe: I think I’ve gotten addicted to Netflix. I travel a lot, and there are so many nights I don’t even turn on the television but rather watch old movies or TV Shows. I’m also trying to get back into golf, but I’m not sure if I want anyone to know that because it’s an ugly visual right now. Ali: I’ve told Joe that if he doesn’t get better at golf, then we’re going to take ballroom dancing lessons, so he’s been trying to get better every day! Personally, something most people don’t know about me is that I am the 9th of 16 children. Joe: I’ll tell you, that when we first met, the scrutiny of her nine brothers wasn’t easy to get through! • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 17


oliday celebrations are in full swing! Make a statement with a glam outfit that fits your personal style. Your selfexpression can run the gamut, from varying lengths to unique prints and textures. Bring in your holidays this year with a personal panache! All fashions available at Saks Fifth Avenue.


2. The Kooples Lace Yoke Pleated Dress ($385)

3. Milly Melody Cold Shoulder Silk Dress ($550)


1. Kendall + Kylie Lurex Dot Beli Sleeve Dress ($198)

4. Alice + Olivia Elsa Embellished Mermaid Gown ($1995)


5. Diane Von Furstenberg Aviva Wrap Maxi Dress ($998)

6. Alexis Florence Embellished Floral Gown ($1067)



7. For All Mankind Velvet Jumpsuit ($299)

8. Aidan Mattox Beaded Popover Cocktail Dress ($295)


10. Rachel Zoe Suzette Lace Dress ($395)

11. Nanette Lepore Get Lucky Sequin Lace Dress ($628)

12. Alexis Odette Off The Shoulder Lace Dress ($594)

9. Cushnie et Ochs Jaccqueline Stretch Cutout Jumpsuit ($1895)



‘Tis the season for gift giving! These trendy, fashionable gift suggestions will help you find the perfect match for him and her. All products available at Saks Fifth Avenue.


1. Moncler Wood Knit Scarf ($375)

4. Pryma Logo Embossed Over Ear Headphones ($499)

2. Saks Fifth Avenue Collection Deerskin Leather Gloves ($228)

5. Saks Fifth Avenue Collection Quilted Long Sleeve Jacket ($448)

3. Rag & Bone Britton Striped Pullover ($325)

6. Salvatore Ferragamo Ten Forty One Nero Leather Vertical Wallet ($240)

8. Michael Storrings For Landmark Creations Hand-Painted Saks Fifth Avenue Flagship Store 2016 Ornament ($115)

7. Moncler Woven Virgin Wool Beanie ($280)

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9. Burberry Sequined Heart Giant check Cashmere Scarf ($795)

10. Of Rare Origin Partridge In A Pear Tree Round Freshwater Pearl, Jade & Coral Drop Earrings ($1980)

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12. Minnie Rose Cashmere & Fox Fur Pom Pom Slippers ($135) 14. Portolano Fringed Leather Gloves ($225) 13. SAM Girl’s Hudson Fur-Trim Parka ($495)

15. Jo Malone London Christmas Cracker ($45) Saks Fifth Avenue | 611 Fifth Avenue | (212) 753-4000

16. DeCarlini 2016 Saks Shopper Ornament ($45)


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riendly people, a vibrant culture, miles of beaches and affordable resorts all beckon travelers to Punta Cana located on the eastern end of Dominican Republic better known as the DR. The Dominican Republic encompasses two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola (one-third is Haiti) and is home to the Caribbean’s highest peak (Pico Duarte), one of the finest beaches in the world (Playa Bavaro), and the oldest city in the New World (Santo Domingo). Visitors to DR should spend a day exploring the narrow streets and taking in the Spanish Renaissance architecture of Old Santo Domingo or bargaining for hand-crafted masks and indigenous amber jewelry at the local markets. Next day snorkel, deep-sea fish, windsurf, or scuba dive off one of Dominican Republic’s beaches. Hop in a jeep and explore the mountainous interior, where you’ll come across dozens of off-the-beaten-path villages.

HOME RUN Consider yourselves hard-core baseball fans? You’ll be right at home in this country, which is so passionate about the game it produces more professional ballplayers than anywhere else in the world. There’s a sandlot in every town—as well as a budding major league star. In the Dominican Republic, they’re known as the “boys of winter” and the professional baseball season runs from October to February. Play ball!

DELIGHTFUL SURPRISES Punta Cana days are sun-filled and slow. Nights are filled with the pulsing beat of meringue—DR’s musical gift to the world. Those who crave adventure in the sun love Punta Cana and its surrounding areas. You can hike up mountains, windsurf, scout for humpback whales, snorkel and scuba dive with a colorful array of fish and bike through the countryside. Try your hand at deep-sea fishing for recordbreaking game fish like blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, and white bonito. For guys and gals who love to hit the links, this golf-crazy island is a hole-in-one choice. Real adventurers will want to learn the survival skills for eco-sports. The craze combines nature with sports— think cascading (rappelling through a waterfall) and canyoning (a combo of canyon climbing, cascading and swimming). Iguana Mama Adventure Tours ( has many programs available throughout the year. Extremists flock to Cabarete, windsurfing capital of the universe. This spot is famous for its high, steady winds and numerous outfitters will provide equipment and lessons. Mellow travelers head to Punta Cana and its surrounding areas where beaches are lined with bronzing bodies. DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 23

NATURAL ASSETS Punta Cana is home to the longest stretch of whitesand beach in the Caribbean and, trust us; you’ll never want this paradise to end. The golden beach is fringed with swaying palm trees and a string of luxury resorts. The entire length of the strand is public, and you can expect to find a diverse mix of local vendors selling art and handmade item, as well as small bars and fish shacks. Breakaway from the luxury of your haven and explore some fabulous off-shore islands. Escape to nearby Isla Saona, a mostly uninhabited islet, mere minutes from the tiny fishing village of Bayahibe on the southeastern coast. The islet is a relaxing getaway for the day with entirely white, sandy beaches.

TASTY BITES The local cuisine is called comida criola, a spicy island flavor that fuses African, Indian and Spanish influences, focusing on seafood and just-caught fish. Carnivores will have a field day with the abundance of beef, pork, goat, and chicken in the Dominican. Be sure to try the national dish, sancocho (a soup made of meat and root veggies such as yucca and sweet potatoes), and mondongo (a tripe-based soup). As on most other islands, the staple dish is arroz con habichuelas (rice and beans). Also try cassava (sometimes called yucca; it’s similar to a potato), and plantains (a greenish starchy fruit which is often fried). Drinks of local fruits are refreshing and very popular. Presidente is the locally made beer and a favorite brew. But the beverage of choice is coffee—brewed strong, stronger and strongest, and served around the clock. 24 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

FEEL THE RHYTHM The meringue is the DR’s contribution to Latino music and dance—and is at the soul of the country. Merengue is to Dominicans what the samba is to Brazilians; a seductive beat so pervasive, you’ll see it, hear it, and dance to it all over the island. In its pure form, a meringue band is composed of three musicians who play instruments that are symbolic of the multi-cultural island. They include the Tambora, a long drum (originally from Africa); the Guiro, a gourd scraped with a stick (from the ancient indigenous Taino Indians); and the Melodeon, or accordion from Europe.

BEST STAY It would be difficult to find a more perfect setting than Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort ( tucked in the silky sands of Bavaro Beach. In fact, Barceló properties have gained notoriety for being located on spectacular stretches of beach in the world—and the reason so many flock to the luxurious resort. The result is a sprawling resort that hugs the coastline complemented by a vast majority of rooms within steps of the beach over a mile long. The all-inclusive resort encompasses four hotels, an 18-hole golf course, a 24-hour casino, and plenty of water sports to keep most delighted. For families, there’s the Family Club at Barcelo Bavaro Palace that allows each family member to have fun their own way. Supervised activities with qualified recreational leaders plus free access to the water park make for fun days. •

THE REAL THING Of course, you won’t want to go home without bringing back something to remember. Best bet: amber, which the Dominican Republic produces in great abundance. Note: Before you buy a piece of this old and valuable fossil resin, be sure your selection can pass these two authenticity tests. Real amber will float in a glass of water or club soda. Also, real amber turns a bluish color under ultraviolet light. Any reputable jewelry store will have this particular lighting available for its customers. DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 25

San Want Residences Penthouse Bedroom

LUXURY IN THE OTHER CHINA By Mark Laiosa aiwan punches beyond its weight: Off the coast of Mainland China, this small island has world-class attractions—museums, natural wonders, shopping and sights to be seen nowhere else.

A THUMBNAIL HISTORY The Chinese Civil War broke out at the end of World War II, Mao Zedong led the People’s Liberation Army and Chiang KaiShek, his Kuomintang Army. Mao gained the upper hand and Chiang Kai-Shek with his troops, fled to Taiwan, with historical artifacts. Many objects left behind were destroyed by the Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution. Fortunately, Taiwan’s National Palace Museum in Taipei displays approximately 650,000 items in changing exhibitions, the majority from Beijing’s Forbidden City. Sign up online for one of the two daily English-language guided tours ( 26 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

Taipei National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

THE BEST STAY Taiwan’s capital, Taipei has over 800 hotels. One unique property is the San Want Residences, 81 rooms that give a nod to Taiwan’s colonial past, ending with Japan’s defeat in World War II. It overlooks Lien Park. Pampering is experienced before you arrive at the San Want Residences. They will arrange transportation from the airport via Skoda or MercedesBenz, and for your entourage, a luxury coach. Upon arrival, you are personally escorted to your room and greeted with a welcome tea, sweets, and fruit tray with 24/7 fruit peeling services. Room service is available, and if required a butler will take care of your needs. The smallest preferences, like meal seating, banquet or chair, food choices and allergies are noted. A pillow menu can add comfort, along with a plush lounging robe or Japanese-style pajamas. There are in-room coffee and tea service. Further evidence of Japanese influence is a soaking tub and bath salts. After a quick shower and a relaxing soak, you’ll be ready for a refreshing night’s sleep. To keep in touch with your business needs, each room comes supplied with a fax machine, computer, and printer.

San Want Residences Penthouse Bath Room



Morning greets you with the English language Taipei Times, nestled in a felt door hanger. Breakfast can be ordered, or explore Chinese, Japanese and American cuisine at the buffet. If you find yourself returning in the early afternoon, there is a lounge with complimentary fresh fruit and an assortment of hot and cold drinks. The main floor lounge with comfortable seating options has Japanese-style snacks and hot and cold tea throughout the day, and a selection of magazines and newspapers. The lower level holds a modest gym with equipment featuring English language displays. On the way to the gym, you’ll pass through a collection of contemporary art created by Asian artists, crowned by a chandelier that rises three stories. Many people in Taipei speak English, and the San Want Residences continue your pampering by offering a complimentary loaner cell phone. Think of it like a life-line to the front desk, a virtual local tour guide. The San Want Residences is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Visit them at


TAIPEI 101 One site, not to be missed is Taipei 101, at 1667 feet, the tallest building in Taiwan. An international mall fills the first five floors with a food court on the lower level. After a quick elevator ascent, you arrive at two floors enclosed with a 360-degree viewing of the city and surrounding mountains. When winds are low, the 91st-floor outdoor observation deck is available for spectacular viewing. Taipei 101 can be seen from almost every part of the city and come evening is a colorful accent to the skyline, lit with a different color each night. HOT SPRINGS For an exciting break, experience Taiwan’s hot springs culture. Less than an hour outside of Taipei is Beitou, filled with hotels, world class restaurants, and day spas with hot springs, a refreshing day trip from Taipei. NIGHT MARKETS Near the San Want Residences is the Si Ping night market. Take in a glimpse of Taiwanese culture with its fascinating foods or see the assortment of jade in every shape and size. TEA WITH A VIEW A trip to nearby Maokung will sweep you off your feet, via the glass bottom Gondola that quietly soars over a lush green mountainside dotted with tea gardens. In twenty minutes you arrive into a land of tea shops, a tea museum, tranquil temples, local and touristy restaurants.


Taipei’s cultural and natural offerings with luxury accommodations are not to be missed! • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 27


aving grown up in Washington DC, Presidential Inaugurations have long been a part of my life–first as a dazzled teenager invited to JFK’s gala, and beginning with Jimmy Carter, as a committed journalist. I am no longer impressed; frazzled is more like it. But an Inauguration is a historical and memorable event, and in addition to politics a new administration. There’s plenty of pageantry and tradition on January 20, 2017. And it may even be eye-opening for New Yorkers. Inauguration time in the Nation’s Capital is about celebration. Political junkies put politics aside and celebrate the office of the President of the United States—in this case, a New Yorker in The White House. Elephants and donkeys get along, at least at the 58th Presidential Inauguration. So bring an open mind. It’s all about entertainment, partying and a glimpse into the mood and style of the next four years. The new First Couple sets the tone. Regardless of political affiliation, Inaugurations are a cattle

call. Inaugural Balls—official or not—resemble a senior prom rather than a Royal wedding. When you hear “Ball,” don’t think Cinderella. Think Black Tie pep rally. Anticipate gridlock, metal detectors and non-stop music blaring, tacky souvenirs, and perhaps a glimpse of the new First Family. But it’s also a moment in history, the final Inaugural flourish! The President will parade the 1.7-mile route from the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue to The White House. If you’re not part of the entourage in front of the Capitol, you’ll want to find a good viewing spot. Prime real estate are the hotels along the parade route including the Hay-Adams and JW Marriott among others. Many corporations and law firms with ideal window views often host elegant brunch and parade watch parties if you can creatively snag an invitation. The same goes for corporate suites in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, The Canadian Embassy and the Newseum. Of course, there’s always the option to stand outside with the crowd jostling for advantage and lining up to sip overpriced cups of listless wine.


WHERE TO STAY Discover the best for parade viewing, history, luxury and culinary arts. Most hotels offer Inaugural packages with a five-day stay.

Willard InterContinental Ten presidents-elect stayed at this Beaux Arts landmark while awaiting inauguration, and Charles Dickens, Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are other prominent past guests. The carpeting, columns, and furnishings reproduce the original décor, and the rooms are decorated in turn-of-the-century style. The hotel dining room is one of DC’s most prestigious eateries, as is the nearby Peacock Alley, its grand central corridor. The hotel lobby was once a favorite brandysipping spot for Ulysses Grant (

Hay-Adams Filled with history and ideally located across from The White House and St. John’s Church, where you may be able to grab a glimpse of the president-elect as he attends a morning service before being sworn in at the Capitol. Off The Record, the downstairs bar is always a lively favorite of newsmakers (

The Watergate You know the infamous history. Even “the burglars” wouldn’t recognize it now. It’s reopened with a sleek modern look following a decade of renovation. The “Unapologetically Presidential” Package starting at $20,000 includes “Very Presidential” spa treatments at the ultra-modern in-house Argentta Spa. Check out the Whiskey Bar décor in the lobby (

JW Marriott Washington, DC The Presidential Ovation package, for $2.5 million invites guests to create their fete for 300 friends, including private viewing party on the terrace overlooking the parade route, a craft bourbon barrel tasting and $400,000 food and beverage credit.

SURVIVAL TIPS FROM A DC INSIDER • Leave your best gown and heels at home. It’s a crush at the balls—and with security tighter than ever—plan to do a lot of walking. As a NewYorker, you’re accustomed to that. • Fashion Tip: Take a hint from fashionistas and pack a jumpsuit. Dress in layers for frigid temps. • Don’t count on being able to check your fur or any coat for that matter. Many went astray during the Reagan Inaugural. • Don’t wear anything that will set off security detectors and delay lines. • Best places to go to accessorize your party attire: Ann Hand and Keith Lippert Gallery. Located in Georgetown, both shops have exquisite designs and cater to the political, social, and diplomatic communities. • Remember to study names, faces, and titles. Bone up on the news of the day. • Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with the person pushing past you. He/she may be the next cabinet appointee! • To protect your reputation, add to gossip but don’t initiate it. Washington is still a small southern town at heart with most folks attempting to be politically correct at least on the surface.


St. Regis Washington Newly renovated and dependably elegant, they offer an $85,000 Inaugural package. The Presidential Suite with handmade Italian beading on the upholstered walls has been around for 90 years. The hotel is an elegant destination for afternoon tea.


Oval Room Directly opposite The White House, this staple for power lunches for two decades consistently excels in presentation and fresh cuisine including a delightful white truffle risotto prepared by Chef John Melfi (

Top of The Gate This comfy and sleek oasis overlooking the monuments and Potomac River sits atop The Watergate Hotel. It’s ideal for a night cap ( Just have fun! You’re participating in a historic moment in time! • Plume Located in The Jefferson Hotel DC, you’ll find dishes inspired by the gardens of Monticello combined with Thomas Jefferson’s refined palate (

The Dabney Trendy and hip with a terrific menu including tapas for sharing (

DC MUST-DO’S • The Creative Coalition Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts, an A-list event is expected to be packed with recognizable figures from the entertainment world including the non-profit’s president, Tim Daly ( • The newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall ( • “Louder Than Words,” exhibit at The Newseum in collaboration with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame explores the power of rock to change attitudes about patriotism, peace, equality and freedom ( • Savoring French Champagne is pure entertainment: Watch the White Glove ritual and then sip bubbly at the Willard InterContinental’s dining room, one of DC’s most prestigious eateries. The hotel is within close proximity to the White House. Karen Feld, a longtime syndicated personality columnist and TV “talking head,” is an award-winning journalist, engaging speaker and Washington insider. Visit her at DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 31

FRENCH MANOR INN & SPA By Jeff & Stephanie Sylva

alling leaves, a chill in the air, and shorter days—these are the first signs of the fast-approaching holiday season and its many celebrations and family gatherings. But with the holidays also comes the frenetic pace of shopping, planning and preparing for the bustling season. One remedy to prepare for the onslaught of the hectic days ahead—or to recover after the holidays—is to steal away to a quiet, romantic hideaway for some quality “alone time.” A perfect place to escape is The French Manor Inn and Spa, located in northern Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains in South Sterling, just a two hour’s drive from Manhattan.

FRENCH AMBIANCE Nestled atop Huckleberry Mountain, the enchanting stone chateau of The French Manor brings to mind the elegant manor houses of southern France. This is what mining magnate Joseph Hirshhorn had in mind in the 1930’s when he decided to build a “summer retreat” in the Pocono Mountains similar to his large manor house in France. Using natural lumber and fieldstone from local quarries, Hirshhorn’s craftsmen and artisans labored meticulously for nearly six years in creating this enchanting chateau. After passing through various owners including Samuel H. Kress (of the Kress & Co. variety stores) and Bucknell University, the manor house was converted into a bed and breakfast in 1984 by Dan and Carolyn Balish. It was in 1990 that the current owners, the Logans, envisioned the French Manor as an opportunity to create a uniquely elegant inn. The transformation of the manor house to a full-service inn brought many changes and additions to the property, but never at the expense of the classic feel and true country flavor of the manor house.

OLD WORLD CHARM Upon your first glimpse of The French Manor and its elegant Romanesque arched entranceway, the inn’s charm is immediately evident. Enter the Great Room to view two massive stone fireplaces and the beautiful woodwork of the high vaulted ceiling. Breakfast and dinners are served in this beautiful room, and weather permitting a terrace provides a tranquil spot for casual al fresco dining—and stunning views of the Pocono Mountains. The upscale dining experience at The French Manor is a major component of the inn’s long-running status as an AAA Four-Diamond property which has been featured in Gourmet Magazine. A full gourmet breakfast is included in the regular room rate. And for dinners, Executive Chef Adam LaFave oversees an exceptional menu featuring both classic and nouvelle French cuisine. A knowledgeable staff complements the excellent cuisine providing diners with a memorable experience. 32 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS This luxurious haven offers guests 19 bedrooms in four buildings—14 of which are spacious suites. Of particular note are the Turret Suite, a two level suite with fireplace and beautiful mountain views, and the La Maisonneuve Suites all with fireplaces and jacuzzis in addition to their impressive views of the Poconos from a private balcony. In addition to the gourmet breakfast, room rates include afternoon tea, a complimentary cheese and fruit plate, a decanter of sherry, and daily turndown service. Guests at the French Manor can find an oasis of relaxation at Le Spa Foret. The fitness room boasts state-of-the-art equipment for an invigorating workout, and the indoor salt swimming pool and hot tub are inviting and relaxing. The full array of green treatments offered at the spa provides a perfect chance to ease the stresses of a hectic holiday season. Opt for a romantic Relaxation Massage in the couples’ treatment room and fireplace.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE A relaxing getaway to The French Manor can be further enhanced with one of the inn’s special packages. The Enchanted Evenings mid-week package, includes a bottle of chilled champagne, fresh flowers, and chocolates. Also included is a credit of $120 per couple, per night for use in the Dining Room, a full gourmet breakfast each morning, and more. The Couples Mountain Spa Retreat Package includes a $100 per person spa credit per day in addition to the regular amenities. Offered during December, the Christmas Tree Weekend Package includes a two-night stay with a $120 dinner credit one night, breakfast each morning, afternoon tea with Christmas cookies, and a complimentary Christmas tree (or wreath) for each couple to take home. Guests will be escorted (or given directions) to nearby Olsommer Tree Farm to pick out their tree and enjoy some hot chocolate by the bonfire. Midweek guests can add on a Christmas tree to their stay for $30. For more information on The French Manor Inn & Spa, please visit • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 33

Saguaro Four Seasons


tatuesque saguaros, lush golf courses, and magnificent mountains welcome visitors to more than 300 days of sunshine each year in this desert paradise. Phoenix brings those seeking solace from the elements a chance to chill, as in relaxing, without the freezing temps. Before you get bored with all the cold and white stuff this winter, get “straight outta the Big Apple” to the divine Valley of the Sun. Here, seven reasons to visit this fascinating city.

BASEBALL SEASON IN FULL SWING Fifteen major league baseball teams train in Arizona’s Cactus League throughout the Phoenix area from February to April. Watch a game in Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise and Tempe, all within a 47-mile radius. That means you catch one team in the afternoon and another team at night, totally under the desert sky. With the World Series Champion Chicago Cubbies training at Sloan Park in Mesa, there’ll be plenty of exhilaration in the air as the season opens. For more information, please visit

ADVENTURE AROUND EVERY CURVE Surrounded by the scenic landscape of the Sonoran Desert, you’ll find many memorable ways to find a welcome in the dry, desert air. Phoenix provides the ultimate in outdoor recreation with spectacular golf (more than 200 courses), mountain biking, rock climbing and hiking. Revel in the beautiful backdrop on a thrilling Pink Jeep Tour or horseback riding. Or take to the skies on a great hot-air balloon ride, glider or helicopter.

A CULTURAL WONDERLAND You won’t miss a beat of the culture scene with live shows at the Phoenix Theatre, the Phoenix Symphony, and Ballet Arizona. Visit the Heard Museum, filled with fascinating Native American history and art. For families, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix features more than 300 hands-on, interactive exhibits for children up to 10. Tip: The museum is free the first Friday of every month from 5-to-9 PM. 34 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

Hyatt Gainey Ranch

EXQUISITE SHOPPING With modern malls, outlet centers, unique boutiques and art galleries, you’ll find many reasons to shop until you drop. The Biltmore Fashion Park, Scottsdale Fashion Square and Kierland Commons are just a few of the upscale offerings.

CULINARY DELIGHTS Satisfy your cravings with utterly delectable cuisine from steak houses to traditional Mexican to Asian fusion and more. In the Valley, there’s tremendous emphasis on local, farm-to-table fare, so you’ll find food that’s fresh and delicious. Try Legends Steakhouse in the Sheraton Mesa ( for a hearty NY strip, grilled asparagus and potato au gratin. Top it off with one of their decadent desserts and see why this is one of Mesa’s finest dining experiences. For possibly the best breakfast in Phoenix, head on out to Over Easy ( Have a hankering for a waffle dog or banana nut French toast? Chef Aaron May offers a delicious way to start your day. Open for breakfast and lunch at multiple locations.

EXCLUSIVE SPA TREATMENTS Natural botanicals, blended with Native American traditions, provide inspiration for different healing treatments. More than three dozen luxurious resorts are scattered throughout the area, many with spectacular spas that offer special treatments you won’t find anywhere else. Visit the Center for Well-Being at The Phoenician ( and indulge in the Desert Serenity Scrub, Wrap, and Massage. Get the Jojoba and Prickly Pear Body Polish at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale ( at Troon North. The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass ( in Chandler offers a Native Sun Wrap at the Aji Spa, featuring the only authentic Native American spa menu. The Phoenician, Pool

Centre For Well-Being, The Phoenician

NEW HOTELS Like the desert flowers in bloom, new hotels keep popping up to tempt visitors with luxury, desirable amenities, and new experiences. Just opened is FOUND: RE (, a new 105-room boutique hotel that offers a true one-of-a-kind lifestyle, inspired by contemporary art, culture, fashion and music. Art is the focus that features an impressive collection of contemporary art from local artisans as well as creative guest experiences. Visitors have been awaiting the opening of the newly remodeled JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa (, offering the epitome of luxury, including four acres of shimmering pools and lazy river, a fullservice spa, 36 holes of championship golf and six dazzling restaurants. AC Hotels, from the signature vision of Spanish hotelier Antonio Catalan, makes its debut in Greater Phoenix with the recent opening of the AC Hotel Phoenix Tempe ( AC Hotel provides thoughtfully-designed, contemporary design, innovative beverage and cuisine, and locally-inspired stays. The Camby Hotel ( which offers a playful mix of the professional and the avant-garde, is Arizona’s first and only hotel from Autograph Collection Hotels. Inspired by the name of the city’s iconic Camelback Mountain, the Camby Hotel blends timeless beauty, contemporary design, and on-trend services. The hotel features 277 luxury guest rooms, three innovative restaurants, rooftop pool, boutique spa and state-of-the-art fitness center. Greater Phoenix will become one of 12 destinations worldwide to house Hyatt Hotel’s luxury boutique hotel brand, the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa ( Overlooking Camelback Mountain, the hotel features 201 eclectic bungalows inspired by the desert canvas, three tranquil pools and the Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen that puts a contemporary twist on local flavors. A unique element is the nearby Cattle Track Arts Compound, which creates a collaboration between guests and local artists, musicians and designers. The desert beckons. There is much to discover and explore. Plan to make Phoenix your winter escape this season. For more information, please go to • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 35

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Castello di Casole, Italy


ometimes it’s hard to decide where to go for a getaway with the family. Walk the beaches of Hokuala, Kauai or enjoy the soul of Italy’s Tuscany and all it has to offer. With winter holidays approaching quickly, a fun-filled ski retreat in Vail or Aspen can be one of the most joyous ways to cherish the season. While it can be hard to decide where to make new memories next, Timbers Resorts—one of the largest independent developers and operators of private boutique resorts— presents a rare opportunity to both experience and own some of the most sought-after areas of the world.

LOCATION, LOCATION Those lucky enough to experience time with family at Timbers Resorts are granted one-of-a-kind experiences and services, as well as the ability to trade vacation time with other destinations in the portfolio. This means you don’t have to decide where to go; you just have to find the time to visit them all. With fifteen properties and growing, Timber Resorts owns and operates excellent boutique hotels, residence clubs and resort communities in some of the most sought after destinations in the world. Current Timbers Collection properties can be found in Italy, Hawaii, Northern California, Colorado, Mexico and other coveted locations in Arizona, Florida, and the US Virgin Islands.

Dancing Bear, Aspen, Colorado

What makes Timbers unique in that they represent more than a luxury vacation package. Since its start in 1999, Timbers has been committed to being authentic, unique and respectful of each destination. Also, representatives of Timbers have sought to create unforgettable experiences for the whole family where memories will continue to be made and the gift of time spent together will be cherished forever. With Timbers’ quality and service never compromised, owners experience Paradise Perfected at whichever property they visit. These unique aspects of the company are just a few reasons why Timbers has tremendously grown their portfolio of award-winning properties in the most sought-after high barrier-to-entry markets worldwide. Their talented team of professionals has worked to perfect every aspect of ownership and the experience since the start.


The Sebastian, Vaill

REAL INNOVATION David Burden, co-founder of Timbers Resorts, and CEO, Greg Spencer, have worked together to establish this unique model for private vacation residence ownerships and their success has largely revolutionized the fractional real estate industry. What started as an idea while living in Aspen and enjoying the slopes surrounded by multi-million dollar homes only being used two-to-three months of the year, has led the Timbers team to develop a “better use” concept for these beautiful assets. Spencer has used skills he learned at Columbia University while studying for his Masters of Real Estate Development and has aided with the successful growth of Timbers Private Residence Club concept. The development of this groundbreaking idea, where one could match “usage to need” in a more profitable and efficient way, has been created for a lifestyle that allows owner flexibility through a rare exchange program. Referred to as the Timbers Reciprocity Program, ownership provides the opportunity to trade vacation time with other owners and experience destinations throughout the entire Timbers’ portfolio. The Timbers Collection Travel & Lifestyle Partners programs are designed to ease and enhance the ownership experience, allowing owners to focus on what is most important—treasured time with family and friends. Depending on preference, there are different types of ownership levels available. Options include a deeded residential interest through an exclusive residence club or 100 percent ownership of the desired vacation house. And for the true visionary, there is the opportunity to build a dream getaway on one of the available private estate properties in Timbers’ portfolio. 38 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

Castello di Casole, Italy

THE BEST OF EVERYTHING Aside from this revolutionary concept, the item that sets Timbers apart is The Timbers Touch. Timbers professionals work to make each guests stay effortless so that they can spend as much quality time with family and friends. Unrivaled amenities make every moment of your stay rewarding and welcoming. Award winning spas, fitness facilities, pools with breathtaking views, and irresistible spots for dining and cocktails make residents looking forward to their next trip to a Timbers Resort. Timbers also show the utmost dedication to the preservation of land. For example, at Castello di Casole in Tuscany, the estate is comprised of organic and biodynamic olive orchards and vineyards. At The Preserve at Botany Bay in St. Thomas, USVI. Timbers works with archaeologists, botanists, and local historians to preserve, protect, and enlighten those who visit. All of Timbers locations offer an opportunity for experiencing the culture, people, and history of each unique destination.

Hokuala, Kauai

Timbers not only provides a rare opportunity to invest and own in some of the most exclusive locations in high-value real estate markets, but the 5-star lifestyle experiences are free of the hassle and worry of typical ownership. To learn more about their options or to invest and become an owner, visit • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 39

A UES GAME CHANGER By Daniel J. Bollinger

ocated on First Avenue, between East 72nd and 73rd Streets, The Charles is like no other building in the Upper East Side. The neighborhood has long been known for its rich architectural splendor comprised of brownstones with many boasting the classic limestone facades so popular in the early 20th century. Today, glass façade buildings grace the UES but none quite like The Charles. It’s the interior that is the real game changer: Private, full-floor loft residences boasting over 3,300 square feet of space.


High-Rise Luxury Living Phoenix, AZ

Esplanade Place Residence #505

High-Rise Luxury Living at it’s Finest at the ultimate Phoenix High-Rise Address with the best services & amenities! Unit #505 with 2,417sf has new hardwood floors and wainscoting! Three Bedrooms, 2 baths, many high-end finishes, gas fireplace, gourmet kitchen! Valet parking, roof-top pool & spa! 2 car spaces, 24hr lobby desk, full fitness center club & more!

SPACIOUS LIVING All 32 floors feature four bedroom/four bath residences. The bedrooms are all generously proportioned with en-suite bathrooms and separately controlled heating/cooling systems. The master suite has floor-to-ceiling windows, separate sitting and dressing areas, and custom pocket doors with nickel and glass inserts. The en-suite master baths all have waterfall marble bathtubs and sinks with polished chrome fixtures throughout and heated floors. Secondary baths are also marble clad with either shower or tub. Kitchens are large and boast a center island with plenty of room for dining. Miele and SubZero appliances compliment the white polished Corian countertops and backsplash. The overall design of the lofts are contemporary, but the quality of materials and appliances add a touch of refined elegance. The real deal clincher in these lofts is the Great Room—appropriately named for a few reasons. The dramatic city views are wonderfully enjoyed with floor-to-ceiling windows. Ceiling heights range from 9-to-11 feet and more pocket doors, crafted with nickel and glass complete this picture. Think about it: Residences this size are rare in New York City.


Susan Polakof CRS Associate Broker Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


The flow of each floor has been laid out nicely with kitchen and great room on one side of the residence and bedrooms on the opposite side. And of course, there are amenities to be enjoyed by all. A children’s playroom and exercise room. Having a resident manager on premises to go with a 24-hr staff attended lobby is a plus. There is also a package room and a refrigerated storage room for perishables. At press time, only six units were remaining for sale. For more information on The Charles, please visit •

Minutes to Manhattan! Gated 3.5+ acre estate offers 16,000 sf of resort living. Conceived by renowned architect John Stonehill, this sprawling Villa incorporates Mediterranean-style courtyards and loggias to enhance the indoor-outdoor living experience. Fabulous indoor pool.

European Villa

Franklin Lakes, NJ


Within 30 minutes from Manhattan… Mahwah, NJ

River Oak Farm Over 45 breathtaking acres! English Country Estate offering hand cut stone facade with slate roof, indoor & outdoor pools, basketball court, soccer field, 20 stall barn/huge loft above, indoor riding arena, acres and acres of paddock & riding trails. Price upon request.

Mahwah, NJ 23 + Acre Riverfront Estate $5,995,000 5 bedroom Hampton’s style shingle & stone residence offers high volume and expansive views. The 9-stall barn opens to a limestone jumping area, paddocks & trails. Above the stalls is a massive artist's loft. Infinity pool, hot tub & patios.

Saddle River, NJ Brand New Hamptons Style $4,195,000

Saddle River, NJ La Maison de Rêves (The House of Dreams)

Sleek and stunning stone and cedar colonial at the end of a country lane in a 2 acre cul de sac setting. 6 bedrooms, 6 1/2 baths, theater area, wine tasting, elegant woodworking, wrap around mahogany porch, and more! Move right in!

Gated, palatial estate on a private 2 acre enclave, minutes from NYC. Handcut stone facade, slate roof, copper enhancements and incredible architecture. Elevator, custom mahogany windows, pool, spa & pergola. Price upon request.



201 934-7111 • CELL 201 390-5880 • VGAILY@SPECIALPROPERTIES.COM • SPECIALPROPERTIES.COM Information deemed reliable but subject to errors and omissions.




Kami Lightburn, Anna Safir, Eleanora Kennedy

Jean Shafiroff, Cece Black, Elizabeth Stribling, Ann Van Ness

Mary Hillyard, Amy Hodley, Geoffrey Bradfield, Roric Tobin

Kirk Henckels, Donald Tober, Fernanda Kellogg, Barbara Tober

Roric Tobin, Ann Rapp

Dino Rivera MD, Dr. Penny Grant, Kathleen Giordano, Michel Cox Witmer

Doubles Club Holiday guests

Doubles Club holiday dessert table


June Tanner Jaffee, Jane Macon


Valerie Lisa Brunson, David Gebbia

Gloria Gebbia, Mark Lilling, Marsha Lilling Beautiful French American ladies

Bill van Ness, Ann Van Ness


Patricia L. Francy, Jane Macon, Nancy Peterson Hearn, Robert P. Mazzarella


Gerard A. Winstanley, Anna Galtarossa, Constantino Castellano, Elizabeth Ives Hunter,Ambassador Gina Ambercrombie-Winstanley, Christopher Hyland, Maestro David Hayes


Barbara Tober, Donald Tober

Diana Niles King, Lucy Tower, Kirk Henckels, Fernanda Kellogg


Olympia Dukakis, Tony Lo Bianco, Joseph Sano, Alyse Lo Bianco

John Riordan, Nancy Riordan, Bob Orr, Marge Escolano, Dominick Chirlo, Nancy Chirlo

Maestro David Hayes, Joseph Vella, Christopher Hyland

Bishop Barnaba Yousif Habash, His Beatitude Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Christopher Hyland

Karen Klopp, Stephanie Clark, Carol Holmes Delouvrier

Tara Zabor, Steven Bond, Joseph San

Steve Caron, The Grand Chancellor H.E. Baron Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager

Klopp Table

Father Francis Gasparik, John Catsimatidis, Olympia Dukakis, Joseph Sano, Margo Catsimatidis

Simmons Family

Bob Hardwick

Ernie Anastos, Tony Danza DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 45

Made in Italy. Designed in New York. Step up your shoe game. Visit us at 35 Christopher Street in the West Village, NYC. Get FREE shipping & returns by entering NYLMSHOEGAME at checkout when you shop


ome of us love to plan and keep the holidays in mind all year long. Then, there are those of us who are last-minute shoppers who head out into the seasonal craziness armed with a last-minute list of optimism. Well, whichever type you may be, here are a few suggestions to enhance the pleasure of giving. After all, generosity is the spirit of this holiday season!

FOR THE GUYS ORIGINAL PENGUIN This undeniably addictive fragrance opens with a refreshing, exhilaration surge of crisp bergamot, and fresh lime peel. Effervescently marine and refreshingly green. The 5-piece gift set has all the essentials he needs (

VICTORINOX SWISS ARMY This is for the guy who loves living in the fast lane. The Airboss Mach 9 Black Edition Watch has been inspired by aeronautics—it knows no headwind and is ready for any adventure. Victorinox Swiss Army guarantees he’ll be on time and meet every challenge in sleek style (


PATRON 2016 LIMITED EDITION This limited-edition Silver Tequila is inspired by Mexico’s rich heritage of art deco design. The bottle is topped with a crafted cork closure in black and silver. Inside, ultra-premium tequila from the highest quality Blue Agave and distilled in highlands of Jalisco, Mexico (

For the truly adventurous, this camera will take him to all heights—even underwater. The incredible ruggedness and easy handling make the waterproof, shock resistant, winterized and dust sealed camera the perfect companion for all winter and summer excursions (

ONE BLADE Taking the best attributes of single and double-edged safety razors along with a pivoting head, the One Blade Razor stands apart as a high-performance tool. Its military grade coating provides corrosion resistance, simple cleaning, and feel. Leather Gift Box contains Steel Razor, Stainless Steel Stand, and 10-Pack of Blades ( •


FOR THE GALS NATURAL SAND DOLLAR NATURAL SAND DOLLAR The perfect gift to evoke memories of a favorite day at the beach. These Natural Sterling Silver Sand Dollar Earrings are layered to a gemlife, domed finish (

ARYA ESSENTIALS The Treasured Body Experience leaves skin hydrated, soft to the touch and incredibly nourished. Infused with the soothing oils of Jasmine and Vetiver, the Bath Salt and Body Scrub calms the body and mind. The Body Oil, rich in Coconut, Sesame, and the prized Brahmi oil is the perfect post-bath treat to relax and glow (

TRIANGLE TOP TOTE JLEW’s signature shape that is designed to seamlessly take you from workout to work to weekend in style in tote form. The two oversized pouch pockets allow you to store exercise gear, high-heels or a bottle of Champagne! JLEW totes are made in New York, with the manufacturing processes and leather sourcing taking place in Brooklyn (

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555TEN By Daniel J. Bollinger

nother excellent development by the Extell Development Corporation: The Kent, The Carlton House, One57 are all examples of Extell’s exciting developments. What makes 555Ten different than their other projects is that it is a rental building—and they’ve not lowered their standard one bit. Located in Hudson Yards—Manhattan’s new neighborhood for a new generation—it was built from the ground up and is a triumph of culture, commerce, and cuisine. A technological marvel that pairs style with sustainability, it is a convergence of parks and public space.

OVER THE TOP Extell Development is a great contributor to this fabulous new neighborhood. 555Ten is a 650-foot-tall structure with 478 rental units from studio to three bedrooms and lofts. It is very pet-friendly like Ava DoBro in Brooklyn with their pet amenities and is geared toward younger professionals. Their units start on the 14th floor so all of the units have views. All the apartments are beautiful as you would expect from Extell and are laid out very well. The two bedrooms are all gallery layouts. Even the studios are spacious. They have open layouts with kitchen and living rooms combining for a large living space. The open drop shelving in the kitchens is exceptional. A very nice design detail that creates a separate space for each room but also allows for the combination of these two rooms. The deep sinks in the kitchen are also an excellent design detail. GE appliances and Fisher & Paykel fridges are in all kitchens. The apartments have almost floor to ceiling windows which allow for lots of light to emanate throughout the units, and there are views galore in each space. All units come with a Bosch washer/dryer in each unit as well. There are plenty of closets, and all are built out with sturdy construction. 52 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

LIVING LARGE IN MANHATTAN Even the studios have large walk-in closets that are built out with nice custom shelving. The bathrooms all have rain shower heads, custom vanities, great tile work and large medicine cabinets. The tubs are even custom made as they are deep soaking tubs and have rounded tops. Some of the apartments are so large they have vestibules in the entrances. All apartments come with solar shades in the living room and blackout shades in the bedrooms. If this isn’t enough, it is the amenities that are over the top. There are a host of amenities on the rooftop and lounge floor as well as pet amenities. There is an entire floor dedicated to health and wellness which includes an attended fitness center with a private studio which hosts a variety of exercise classes, a cardio area, weight room, and indoor saltwater lap pool. There is also a rec area called 555PLAY which has a private bowling alley, arcade, and children’s playroom. The rooftop has another saltwater swimming pool, a bar, and lounge with an indoor/outdoor fireplace, and an outdoor

sundeck with private cabanas and chaise lounges. The views from the rooftop are phenomenal. For the pet lovers, there is a covered outdoor dog park and full-service on-site pet care provided by Throw Me A Bone including pet grooming, play groups, and visiting vet services. For those who travel and have a pet, Throw Me A Bone can either take care of your pet in their kennel or visit your dog daily in your apartment. There’s a 24-hour doorman, concierge staff, indoor bike storage with a bike service station and a mobile app to manage building services are additional amenities. Over the years, Extell has been impressive with their condo developments like The Kent and The Carlton House. Now they have proven that they can also build rentals and do it right in New York City. For the young professional who is looking for a rental in Manhattan 555TEN is now available. The spaces are gorgeous and well designed. Their amenities are top notch and very pet-friendly. The Hudson Yards location is going to be a happening spot once additional developments start opening their doors. For more information, please visit • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 53

ONE GREAT JONES ALLEY By Daniel J. Bollinger

ith a secret alley entrance, One Great Jones Alley is a private paradise with exclusive residences. It is strategically located on a street only two blocks long which connects East and West 3rd Streets. This location straddles the East and West Villages and borders SoHo. The New York history of Great Jones Street is also unique: Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat made this street their home, making it the epicenter of the NoHo art movement. The great jazz bandleader Charles Mingus also lived here a generation before. One Great Jones Alley is a boutique condo building. With only 16 units it has been designed very thoughtfully and keeping with the area’s industrial and artsy history. Floors 1-7 have split floor residences, 8-10 feature full floor residences with one duplex penthouse. Madison Realty Capital and BKSK Architects have not only “themed” out a great design plan keeping true to the industrial and artsy past of this street but are executing it greatly. Their theme is Wood…Earth…Stone using more Industrial feel materials with art- inspired execution. We had the pleasure of getting a complete tour of the design and sales gallery with Dan Cobleigh, Managing Director of Design & Development of Madison Realty Capital.

UNIQUE FEATURES Let’s start with the secret alley entrance. One of the most unique features of any building in NYC is this porte-cochere. One of the last downtown alleyways (called Great Jones Alley) this offers a secluded and private entrance very rarely found in NYC. The entrance features naturally oxidizing Corten steel (Industrial) referencing the industrial past of the neighborhood. This private gated alley provides privacy from any paparazzi. The street façade of the building features hand glazed (Art) terra-cotta (Earth) fins that are unique to the neighborhood but also enhance the façade by referencing nearby historic buildings in the area. The residences are large and laid out wonderfully. The kitchen, dining, and living rooms are an open concept living area. With 11-to-12-foot ceiling heights, it creates a grand living space perfect for family time and entertaining. The floor-to-ceiling 10-foot window walls create an indoor/outdoor experience. All units have either terraces or Juliette balconies with 10-foot sliding glass doors that also contribute to this experience. 54 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

THE LATEST TECH The kitchens will have many fantastic design details with Gaggenau appliances. Gaggenau is the best. Gaggenau has been the pioneering brand for home appliances for more than 300 years and the leading innovator in technology and design. Gaggenau launched the first combination steam oven for domestic use more than 15 years ago. Since then, Gaggenau has maintained its leading role in this area through consistent further development. Their latest technical innovation in 2015 was a fully automatic cleaning system that is activated at the touch of a button. Gaggenau also is the only company to offer a refrigerator that is stainless steel on the inside. This fridge has LED sidewall pillars, one motorized glass shelf that is adjustable when fully loaded, a temperature controlled drawer, and stainless steel hinges that hold up to 200 lbs. When a developer installs all Gaggenau appliances, it is making a statement that they pride themselves on being the best. The kitchen features fully integrated kitchen cabinets with bleached Nordic Oak (Wood) with an artisanal custom vertical staved pattern to match the façade (Art) with stainless steel accents at open shelving with toe kick (Industrial). The kitchen marble is Calacatta marble (Stone) mined from the same quarry as Michelangelo’s David. It is not sold to any other manufacturer in the world. The bathrooms are equally impressive with the master bath described as “Opulent Minimalism.” The wet room has an oiled Teak (Wood) Japanese Soaking tub and a full height steam rain shower encased in custom glass with Teal surround (Wood). Custom double vanity and a huge recessed medicine cabinet with integrated lighting make this a luxury bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling Taj Mahal quartzite (Stone) walls, slab floor and coutertop complete the room. All Dornbracht rose gold plated fixtures (Industrial) throughout. The powder room has a fascinating Scandinavian wood sink (Wood). One Great Jones Alley has excellent amenities. The private gated alley entrance paved with Belgian block (Stone) is surely one of the unique amenities that any building offers in NYC to date. Some common amenities include a 24-hour doorman/concierge, Jay Wrightdesigned fitness center with movement studio, second floor landscaped terrace by HM White, residential and bike storage, and oversized laundry facilities. They also have a full-time on-site superintendent—a good sign that the sponsors care about their residents and building. A rare amenity is the curated, rotating art exhibitions by noted gallerist Eric Firestone. But the greatest comfort is their serene water spa featuring two thermal baths of varying temperatures, cold plunge pool, heated plinth, and windowed steam room and private treatment center. These are all located on the cellar level. A beautiful architectural detail is the threestory glass-encased staircase that connects the cellar spa level with the second-floor garden. This allows natural light to flow all the way down to the cellar private spa and permeate throughout the lobby as well. The design-rich interiors coupled with the best materials and appliances executed in an industrial and artsy way all combine to make One Great Jones Alley one of the unique new developments in NYC. • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 55

51 JAY STREET By Daniel J. Bollinger

ocated in the heart of DUMBO (it stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is 51 Jay Street. The neighborhood recently became the borough’s most expensive neighborhood for home sales at the end of 2015. And rightfully so because it is one of the coolest areas in Brooklyn. Its proximity to Manhattan (one subway stop); close, tight-knit community and its plethora of great coffee shops, restaurants, unique shopping and art scene all combine to make DUMBO a very hip place to call one’s home. The property was once a glass plate factory and is being converted into a luxury 75-unit condominium consisting of studio to four - bedroom residences. At press time, 51 Jay Street was still under construction and slated for completion at the end of this year. Co-developers Slate Property Group and Adam America Real Estate are doing a great job.

LIGHT THE WAY The huge windows across the façade of this building have been incorporated into the design of this building wonderfully. On the first and second floors, some of the duplexes boast 13-foot windows. The fourth-floor apartments have floor-to-ceiling windows. With thermally treated casement windows and highperformance energy-efficient low-E glass, it makes for smart design. An enormous amount of light entering all of these spaces makes for an open, airy feel. The layout of the kitchen, dining, and living rooms is enormous— great living space for those who like to entertain. It is very open with high ceilings creating a very loft-like feel. The developers were very thoughtful in their curation of fine appliances and in the kitchen you will see all Gaggenau appliances. This is a sign that the sponsors are making a statement about the quality of their project since Gaggenau is highly rated. As well, homes have either a Bosch or Electrolux washer/dryer. All closets come with quality custom built-ins. The bathrooms are beautiful as well. One design detail that I love is the wet room in the master bathroom. The shower area is encased behind a glass wall, and the tub is set inside this space. 56 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

DESIGN DETAILS Another excellent design detail in both the kitchen and baths is the custom cabinetry. These custom designs add to the décor of the industrial feel of 51 Jay Street. The kitchens have custom wood cabinetry by Aster Cucine featuring antiquated details and stainless steel hardware. The bathrooms have custom vanities and medicine cabinets. The master bathrooms have a custom high gloss lacquered dark brown vanity with copper trim and custom copper pulls with a walnut brown honed marble countertop. They have a matching medicine cabinet also featured in high gloss lacquered dark brown with custom copper pulls. The secondary bathrooms have huge medicine cabinets that are a work of art with nickel trim and a mirror insert, and the custom vanity is white oak with a Tundra Gray honed marble countertop. They are all very subtle design details that make 51 Jay Street unique. Open loft-like layouts, custom cabinetry in very well designed bathrooms, gallery layouts, and the highest quality appliances all help to define 51 Jay Street as a quality development and a sound investment. Though you are in the heart of DUMBO, the residences are silent. The only additional features to the list are the long list of amenities that the development offers. They are as follows: a 24-hour concierge; fitness & yoga room; children’s playroom; residents’ lounge; rooftop terrace with outdoor kitchen, fireplace, and outdoor showers. A landscaped central courtyard designed by Steven Yavanian Landscape Architecture is a beautiful touch as well as bicycle and resident storage; pet washing/grooming station; a large capacity laundry room and offsite condominium parking units (available for sale). This is an impressive project. Everything is top notch in its design and execution. DUMBO is an excellent location. The price points are very reasonable. I would classify this a Value Gem: Value for the price points of the offerings and a gem because of its location in one of the prime areas of Brooklyn and NYC overall. • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 57


avid Amirian is a true American success story. After graduating college, he began his career at HRH Construction in 2001. His first project was in Oakdale, Long Island, which was primarily getting the faxes, coffee and sweeping the floors. At night, David attended the NYU Real Estate Program to obtain his Masters. Along the way, David met Anthony Rafaniello, Sr. who became his mentor. Anthony, the General Super for HRH Construction, brought David along to help build The Gateway Plaza Mall in East New York and The Marc at 900 8th Avenue, the Moinian Group’s first ground-up project in New York City. In 2006, David was named the Director of Construction at 40 Broad Street and helped convert the Office Building in The Setai NYC, a multi-million dollar mixed-use project. Building on his successes working for others, David started his own company in 2010. What were some of your first projects? The first three projects were mostly started at the same time. Amirian Equities and Wonders Works Construction partnered to build The Robyn at 316 East 3rd Street and 540 West 49th Street. The Robyn was a ground-up rental building in the Lower East Side. 540 West was a ground-up luxury condominium building in Hell’s Kitchen. The last project was 16 East 10th Street - a single family conversion of a 10,500-square-foot structure in Greenwich Village. What projects are you working on now? I am currently developing 117 West 21st Street in Flatiron and 436 and 442 East 13th Street in the East Village. What do you think of the current market? The market is very tough in all areas. You have to look at each segment of the market from the top down. Commercial Office tenants are leaving old spaces and going to new, hip locations with new technology like downtown and Hudson Yards. Any buildings that are not updated are going to be tough to re-sign; tenants have much more options these days (if they are willing to move locations). Retail This segment has taken a tremendous jump. There is no need to be on Fifth or Madison Avenue anymore. Retailers are willing to be on a side street because of the high rental rates for avenue space. They are willing to be on side streets because they want to be profitable. Soho is currently experiencing a 30 percent vacancy rate because of this. Condo/Sales Resale is phenomenal right now. The average price is $1.07 million, and the market is on fire. New development is hurting just a little; inventory is increasing. Most inventory is priced above $2500 a square foot at a cost of $5 million and higher. The glut of inventory on the market is making this segment very tough. How many $10 million buyers are there to put a dent in this market? There are over 570 apartments for sale at this price point that will that will take four years to sell and that is not counting new units coming to market. Crazy! 58 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

Thirteen East + West Dining Room

Thirteen East + West Exterior Rendering

What are you doing to stay competitive? I price all of my projects more competitively. For example, at 117 West 21st Street, all of my condos are four bedrooms. The average price on the market for a four bedroom unit is $7.45 million. All of mine are priced in the $6 million to $7.3 million range: I’m offering more value at that price point. And the same goes for my project on East 13th Street. My units are priced at $1,750 a square foot while the area average is between $1,900 to $2,300 a square foot. I’m offering luxury product well below market values for comparable units.”

The Twenty1 Entry

The Twenty1 Exterior

The Twenty1 Great Room The Twenty1 Penthouse Terraces

What makes you a better developer? There is a difference between a developer and an investor. Developers put up buildings and only care about the bottom line. Investors put up buildings and care about their name. Developers are fast and cheap. Investors believe in constructing beautiful buildings and their reputation. Reputation is more important because it translates into longevity. Because of my construction background, my team is very hands-on with project management. With the slowdown in the market, you will see a “flight to quality.” Our developments are not compromising on quality. For example, four bedrooms in Chelsea are rare, and we undercut the market on price. The same applies to our East Village project—they are larger units than most in the East Village. Where do you see the market heading? I don’t have a crystal ball. I wish I did. All I know is that we hit the top of the market and we do not see flattening across several sectors. I believe the next push will be Affordable Housing with city support in Long Island City, Brooklyn, and Queens. What else are you working on? We are very strongly researching retail opportunities and actively looking for affordable housing development opportunities. How do you give back to the community? I have built two schools for free in Gramercy Park. They are the Preschool of the Arts with Chabad of Gramercy Park on 2nd and 19th Street and 22nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. I also donate 10 percent of my profits to charity. I have also partnered with the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter which provides job training and job placement. • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 59

RE NOTES FROM DB By Daniel J. Bollinger

MARKET NOTES The New York City real estate market has officially cycled out of the inventory shortage which we have been experiencing since record lows in 2013. With 4,978 active listings on the market at the end of the 3rd quarter, and 5,432 active listings at the peak in July, we are finally approaching “normal” levels. Unlike conversations in previous quarters, the inventory we are talking about is not on Billionaire’s Row, although numerous cranes still dot the Manhattan skyline as mega development projects churn on. We can finally speak with conviction about a return of real inventory for real people. The slow climb back since the Spring of 2013 has kept supply well below what was needed to meet demand. While still not the record high levels of 2009, the supply numbers are much stronger than the record low levels of 2013, and a good indication of strong inventory in the resale market (homes that are not new development or converted buildings) supports a continuing stable market. We have gone from a severe drought to a steady stream, but not yet a flood. This is an important distinction. There is supply in the middle market, but not oversupply like what the luxury market is experiencing. Buyers now have more options where they didn’t have any. Homes are spending more time on the market, but if well priced, they are still selling at robust levels. Sellers can expect solid transactions with real buyers who are serious about finding a property to call home. The increase in supply may require managing expectations of sellers who are still hung up on aspirational pricing folklore of quarters past, as we all become more accustomed to a more normally paced market. 60 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

MY NOTES “Managing expectations” and “aspirational pricing” are key words in this report. The market is beginning to cycle from a ‘sellers’ market’ to a ‘buyers’ market’. A buyers’ market occurs when the housing market favors home buyers. This is a time when it is more important than ever to hire a Buyer Agent. Most home buyers do not know that all representatives’ in a home sale have a fiduciary duty to the seller. Hiring a Buyer Agent is important so that you have someone on your side. Look for someone who knows the inventory so that they can identify the value in the offering. The rental market is experiencing the same increase in inventory levels which is why rental buildings are offering concessions like no fees and free rents. In this market I would recommend negotiating broker fees. • If you would like more information, I can always be reached at DanielJBollinger@ or 718-662-9493.

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veryone wants to put their best face forward for the holidays. It’s the most festive time of the year and a time to look back and celebrate your accomplishments of the past year as well as a time to plan for a better year to follow. When it comes to health and beauty, it’s so important to know that your skin is a powerful reflection of your overall health and well-being and that beautiful, radiant skin is an excellent representation of the care you take of yourself. The good news is that your skin is very forgiving, it’s designed to tolerate fluctuations, and it recovers quickly compared to other organs of your body. So even if there have been times of stress in the past, there are ways to manage to minimize the impact on your skin and also on your body as a whole. The goal is to help you understand the power you have within yourself to be your best in every way: mind, body, soul, and with it comes true beauty. Your appearance is not vanity, and it’s okay and even healthy and positive to want to look your best. The good news is you don’t have to break the bank to get there. There are outstanding products and treatments available to help you look and feel your best every day of the year. There are new cutting edge non-surgical treatments with minimal downtime that can get you looking your very best in the most gentle and natural way. The single most important thing you do for your skin to prevent premature aging and the discoloration, blotchiness, lines and wrinkles that come with it is to be sun smart. Yes, even on that cold, snowy day you need sun protection if you’re spending time outdoors, especially if you’re skiing since UV rays are more intense at higher altitudes. UV rays are present every day all year round, and they are responsible for 90 percent of how your skin ages. Beyond that, the colder drier weather can be very hard on the skin so be sure to avoid harsh deodorant or antibacterial soaps as they are especially harsh on your skin, compromising your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Instead, opt for mild, fragrance-free makeup removers and cleansers. Here are more of my favorite tips:

GIVE YOUR HANDS & BODY TLC Moisturize your hands every time after washing. Trade in traditional hand sanitizer for a combination sanitizer that contains moisturizer or lotion. The FDA has now banned triclosan and other antibacterial ingredients, but you may still have these products at home so be sure to discard any remaining product in your cabinets. Skin can be extra dry during cold winter months, look for rich, creamy moisturizers and know that the best time to apply is right after the bath or shower or after washing or doing dishes. There are also excellent laser treatments to help remove sun spots from the hands and to improve skin texture. As the hand skin ages, the veins become more prominent and visible as well. There is now a soft tissue filler called Radiesse that has been FDA approved for rejuvenation of the hands. It helps your hands look younger and more beautiful in just one treatment.

YOUR NECK AND CHEST Your neck and chest age more poorly, scar more easily and are much harder to fix than your face. There are new creams and products designed and tested just for this area to help brighten and rejuvenate. In office treatments such as chemical peels and fractional resurfacing, lasers can also work magic in contributing to improving the quality and strength of the skin in this area. Ultherapy has also been FDA cleared to tighten and improve lines and wrinkles on the chest and decollete the face and neck as well. The treatments should be done or supervised by an aesthetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon for the safest and best results. 62 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

YOUR FACE Of course you want to put your best face forward for the holidays and every day. No one wants to look old. We talk about aging gracefully and accepting the process, which is great on paper, but looking old doesn’t mean you’re aging gracefully, and having a few lines and wrinkles doesn’t mean you look old. The best way is to have a great skin care routine every day and then treat yourself to an in-office session with your dermatologist for specialized treatments. Since the first Hyaluronic Acid (HA) soft tissue filler was FDA approved in the US in 2004, we have had ten new products approved in the country and hundreds available around the world to help you look soft, smooth and contoured. It’s been a game changer for those who want to enter the rejuvenation market without undergoing surgery, but there’s a lot to know before you get started. When considering a treatment-and deciding where to go to have it done-it is vital to consult with a board certified aesthetic physician such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for optimal outcomes.

USE YOUR SENSES The holidays are also about a lot of beautiful fragrances and aromas. These should be in candles and potpourri, not in your skin care products since the number one cause of allergies to products is from preservatives and fragrance. Avoid irritants often found in everyday products by selecting fragrance-free or dye-free options. Unscented means there’s a masking scent, and this is just another form of fragrance... designed not to have a smell.


BEAUTY FROM THE INSIDE The best high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables are readily available and fresh during the holiday season. Some of my favorites are cranberries, blueberries, pumpkin, pomegranate, and squash. These foods will help feed your skin from the inside out and keep it looking its youngest most beautiful best. Many of these are packed with water and can help you stay hydrated this holiday season.

BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE Nothing makes a person more beautiful than gratitude and doing service for others. Life is full of ups and downs but remembering to be thankful of what we have brings out the best in how we look and feel. There’s strong science behind the power of positive thinking and positive expression. Even just smiling makes you look younger and feel happier—and it brings out the best in those around you too.



Your skin naturally repairs and rejuvenates while you sleep. You can apply creams and serums to help enhance the process, but there is no cream, serum, or pill that can replace what sleep does. Do your best to get a good seven-to-eight hours sleep during this special season, or take catnaps during the day to make up for extra hours of revelry.

ALCOHOL AND YOUR SKIN Alcohol can dehydrate the skin and on top of that if you add the salty foods most people eat when they drink, it’s a perfect recipe for puffy eyes and dark circles when you wake up in the morning. Keep track of how many glasses of eggnog, wine or other drinks you have and try to match each ounce of alcohol with one glass of water. This will help you avoid dehydration and that hangover headache the next morning.


In the months to come, I’ll share my favorite treatments and concepts of beauty and also my favorite ingredients for you to look for, Happy Holidays! • Dr. Day, a dermatologist, is affiliated with NYU Langone Hospital. DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 63


ith the holiday countdown underway—marked by relentless “to do’s” lying in wait behind every nook, cranny, menorah and Christmas tree—“me” time has become a coveted thing. Or so the Scrooges of the world would have us think. A visit to a five-star day spa or a throw-caution-to-the-wind in-home version can bring a sleigh full of comfort and joy—not to mention sanity.

BLISS 49 SPA Spa devotees in and around New York City hit the trifecta when it comes to finding their bliss. SoHo is home to the company’s flagship Bliss while Manhattan’s West Side is covered by Bliss 57. And then there’s Bliss 49, the only one located in a hotel: the ultra-chic W New York on Lexington Avenue. Fortunately, the Bliss 49 experience is not limited exclusively to hotel guests. According to spa director Jocelyn Flotteron, Bliss 49 attracts a sizable local clientele thanks to both brand recognition and the Midtown East neighborhood’s bustling dynamic. To reach spa central you enter through the street door (Bliss banner and Bliss’s signature Lemon & Sage scent mark the spot), opening to a bright downstairs space where mani/pedis take center stage and a mind-blowing retail boutique entices. “Backstage” there’s a single treatment room that beckons the time impaired with things like the 30-minute Rapid Rub Targeted Massage. Upstairs—the elevator is in W’s lobby—you get even more of a sense of what makes Bliss tick. The vibe skews young and savvy; the staff, from the front desk to the aestheticians, is accommodating, knowledgeable, relaxed; the lounge is expansive, with comfortable seating, copious magazines, and quite the selection of healthy snacks. You can’t help but love the unplugged lunacy that went into naming some of the treatments, including the acne-centric facial No ‘Zit Sherlock, Betweeny Wax, and the Head Over ‘Peels” Scrub + Rub. In keeping with the program, I embarked on Blissage 75 Full-Body Massage that defies the 60-minute treatment rule by adding an extra 15 glorious minutes and comes with a bonus paraffin foot wrap. Apres Blissage, I am happy to report it was transformative, particularly for someone like me whose days are spent bending over a laptop for hours without a break. Kudos to Ben, Swedish massage virtuoso. For the record, Blissage 75 is the spa’s second most popular treatment after the Brazilian Bikini Wax with its proven reputation for being nearly ouchless. Taking third place is the anti-aging Youth as We Know It Facial. 64 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

BLISSFUL EXTRAS Seasonal Sensation Got feet? Want to make them happy for the holidays? Then give them the gift of a Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Pedi, a delicious foot scrub concoction of fruit enzymes and antioxidants. Served with sparkling cider and lots of good cheer! Members Only Guests of W Hotel are privy to a handful of spa-related perks like in-room treatments and priority booking. However, a gaggle of goodies await should you sign up for Bliss Spa membership. Imagine scooping up a monthly Blissage 60 Massage (or Fabulous Facial) as well as service and product discounts and two guest passes a year. Check out the particulars at Bliss 49 Spa 541 Lexington Avenue (between East 49th & East 50th Streets) 877-862-5477

HOME (SPA) FOR THE HOLIDAYS The idea of putting together a home spa has always appealed to me in a “classic recipe” sort of way. There are your basic ingredients and then there are individual touches: a seasoning... a garnish... something totally nouveau or retro reinvented. As I was translating this sadly simplistic slant from food to personal pampering, it occurred to me that, with very few exceptions, people know their own basic ingredients by heart. You know what kind of music soothes you and what scents make you happy. You also know that baths are relaxing, loofas exfoliate, and cucumber slices on your eyes reduce puffiness. So instead of stating the obvious, logic suggests the best way to ratchet up Home Spa 101 is to go for the garnishes: the coolest, the newest, the “who knew”?

Head Start Recognizing the need for a secure, longlasting shower cap, Colleen Bellitti created Dry Divas, a line of bouffant, highly whimsical shower caps that keep your hair dry and last. Available online (drydivas. com) and, as of this year, at Neiman Marcus (Christmas catalog and in stores). Sweet.

Good Spirits While the beverage du jour at most day spas is infused water or herbal tea since we’ll be spa-ing in the privacy of our own little havens, why not treat ourselves to something a bit more decadent. I’ve found a nice choice during the winter months to be liqueur - a comfort quaff if you will. Recently I discovered Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur imported from Sicily. Nice in a snifter, but also lovely with Prosecco or turned into a Solerno Cosmo. I could go on (

Face Off Exfoliation is one hot topic these days and not just for the body (that’s loofa territory), for the face. Until recently, super-soft, young skin was the domain of celebrity estheticians who specialize in “derma planing,” (i.e., the removal of dead surface cells and unwanted peach fuzz from the face). Now the same results can be achieved at home with a hand-held tool called DermaFlash, designed to painlessly jettison skin debris (be the first kid on the block to add this to your home spa’s anti-aging arsenal!). To further enhance results, DermaFlash has teamed up with Perricone MD for a unique four-step process (

Step In The Right Direction When I first tried on a pair of OOFOS sandals (flip-flop style), I had no idea they were designed with recovery technology for runners. I just knew they were the most comfortable sandals I’d ever worn... and after nearly a year of wearing them, I can also say they’re the sturdiest as well. The graphite and black sandals are a New Yorker’s staple, but they also come in myriad colors and styles, including clogs. OOFOS’ slogan is “Your Feet Earned This.” They have indeed ( • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 65

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Escape to your own private country estate at The Lodge at Woodloch, an all-inclusive destination spa resort just 95 miles from Manhattan. Reservations: 866.953.8500

MINDFUL IN MANHATTAN By Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, Ph.D.

f you haven’t noticed the rapid rise of mindfulness in the city, you may need to work on being more present! Over the last two years, interest in the practice of meditation has been rapidly weaving itself into the fabric of New York life. From neighborhood meditation studios to group seminars to weekly meditations at the office, it’s more than likely you have at least had some exposure to the rising trend. Mindful meditation is certainly not a new phenomenon. In fact, it may be one of the oldest rituals in human spirituality. Similar to Yoga, modern versions of the practice have their roots in the ancient Hindu tradition as well as Buddhism, but with a much more secular twist. Many credit The Beatles with introducing Transcendental Meditation to U.S. audiences in the 1960’s and microbiologist Jon Kabat-Zinn for spearheading the use of mediation in managing pain (referred to as MindfulnessBased Stress Reduction) in the 1970’s. However, these practices never caught on in mainstream America.

A POPULAR PRACTICE Fast forward to January of 2014 when TIME Magazine featured a young woman meditating on the cover with the title The Mindful Revolution, marking the dramatic increase in mainstream popularity. That same year the New York Times featured a profile of healthcare giant Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini and how he has not only championed various mindfulness practices within his company but also commissioned studies to research the benefits. And, those benefits were quite remarkable. The following year market researcher IBISWorld estimated that the mindfulness industry had reached nearly $1 billion in revenue. Interest in this ancient phenomenon hasn’t just been limited to private practitioners and business leaders. The academic world has also taken note, including some of this county’s most prominent universities including MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania. According to the American Mindfulness Research Association, only 12 academic studies on mindfulness were published in the year 2000. In 2014 that number jumped to 383 studies. Just two years later that number nearly doubled to 674. With the proliferation of mindfulness apps, and even corporate seminars the rise in popularity is undeniable. As always New York City has been at the forefront of this trend. According to Pandit Dasa a former monk who lived in a monastery in the Lower East Side for 15 years “meditation has been present in New York since the ‘60s, but gradually started gaining popularity with the help of Yoga over the last 5 to 10 years.” He points out the last three years have seen the sharpest increase with “meditation studios starting to pop up all over the city just like yoga studios.” One such studio 68 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

is MNDFL which offers a wide variety of daily sessions designed to help ease the stress that often arises from the fast-paced New York lifestyle. The Greenwich Village-based studio boasts a healthy roster of over 20 experts including guest sessions from such gurus as New York Times bestselling author Sharon Salzberg. So, this begs the question: Why so much interest in mediation? Dasa, who goes by the moniker The Urban Monk, notes that “there are a variety of reasons why people are meditating. Some are doing it for stress relief while some are looking to increase their focus and remain calm during difficult and challenging situations. Others are seeking to get more in touch with themselves and their spiritual aspirations. While many look to it for all of the above.” Jeff Wald a life-long New Yorker and President and co-founder of WorkMarket, a Manhattan-based company that specializes in software for managing the contingent workforce has been a long-time practitioner of meditation and actually believes in its value both personally and professionally. Wald believes that part of the recent rise in popularity, particularly for New Yorkers, is the robust findings from all the academic research. He notes that “when you talk about increasing connections in the brain and enhancing function and productivity that is a great sell to the New York City crowd. The fact is there is not a single study that says this is not a good thing to do.”

MEDITATION AT WORK Beyond his personal practice Wald also supports meditation at the office. Every Monday morning at 9 AM he leads a group meditation session in their conference room. The session is entirely voluntary and open to anyone. Wald notes that one of the fascinating byproducts of Meditation Mondays is the strengthening of bonds between the attendees that allows for a more open and honest dialogue. He points out that there are just so many distractions for everybody today that they don’t take the time to center themselves to be present with their team. The ability to just get everybody together in a safe place where they can talk about their feelings is incredibly helpful. Amy Buckner Chowdhry, CEO and CoFounder of Answerlab with offices in both New York City and San Francisco agrees that meditation is a great way for dealing with the distractions of New York life. Buckner Chowdhry notes that her walking New York office commute “is a complete obstacle course

filled with a cacophony of noises and construction.” Although a regular practitioner of mindfulness she admits finding calm in the city can be tough. For Buckner Chowdry “my personal retreat is Madison Square Park, where I take meditative walks along the paths, study the art installations, watch the dogs play, and wonder over the diversity of people I pass.” Dasa is quick to point out that the practice is not a quick fix and it’s important to find a practice that works for you. Dasa explains that “meditation helps to train the mind to think more positively especially when things aren’t going our way. It can help us become more emotionally balanced which can, in turn, contribute to improving our relationships. For these benefits to be experienced, meditation needs to become part of our life, like breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” • Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, Ph.D. is an organizational psychologist and executive coach based in New York. He is the author of the Amazon top-selling book The YOU Plan and a frequent guest expert in the media. Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter at @DrWoody or on LinkedIn at DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 69


t’s holiday time once again, and that means food served in delicious abundance and our glasses overflowing with celebratory beverages. We should enjoy the many celebrations, but there are easy ways to make smart choices. Here are some of my favorite tips:

EAT BEFORE YOU GO “Why would I eat before a party? Shouldn’t I be saving my appetite for the meal?” You are better off having a protein and fiber-based snack about a half hour before you go. This way you won’t be ravenous and will be less tempted to overeat when appetizers are being served. Try this • An Apple + one hard-boiled egg • Four whole grain crackers + one tablespoon peanut butter • Greek yogurt + a handful of berries

BRING A HEALTHY DISH Offer to bring your host a deliciously prepared appetizer, entrée or dessert. By doing so, you will know there is a healthy option. You can offer to show your host a few recipe options so they can make sure it complements the rest of the meal. Try this • Crudité plate with side of guacamole and hummus • Grilled chicken parmesan platter • Make your fruit sundae bar with bowls of berries, chopped nuts, chocolate syrup, and other toppings


APPETIZERS Here’s the tricky part. What you choose at a cocktail hour can set the theme for the rest of the party. Choose wisely, and you can easily enjoy your choices without overdoing it before dinner has even arrived. Try this • Shrimp Cocktail (or anything from the raw bar) with lemon and cocktail sauce • Any protein on a stick (grilled chicken, beef, etc.) with a small side of sauce for dipping • Veggies with two tablespoons hummus or guacamole

ENTRÉES By now, if you have had your pre-party snack, you shouldn’t be tempted to overeat at the main meal. You may not have a choice but if you do, here are some good options. Try this • Lean protein such as sliced turkey breast, fish or pork tenderloin • Mix a small amount of pasta or rice with a heap of veggies • Sauces and gravies should be a drizzle instead of a pour

DESSERTS There’s no reason to pass on dessert. It’s a sweet way to end your meal and can be enjoyed without the guilt. Try this • Make a fruit sundae with a crumbled cookie on top • Go for a small scoop of sorbet or ice cream and top with berries and nuts • Enjoy a cappuccino or make a latte with milk and coffee

A FEW MORE TIPS Watch your beverage choices Remember that a glass of wine or Champagne is about 20-to-30 calories per ounce so if you pour an average glass you are looking at about 100-to-150 calories. Even better, enjoy a wine spritzer mixed half-and-half with seltzer. Drinks with sugary mixers can be well over 300 calories per serving.

Eat slowly and savor Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Sometimes we are so hungry we gobble up everything so fast that we don’t take the time to taste and relish our meals. Eat like a wine connoisseur. Take small bites and savor all of the different flavors and textures. In the end, you will likely enjoy more and eat less. Exercise Always important, not only at holiday time, exercise can keep you on track with your fitness and nutrition goals. If you are keeping up with your fitness plan, you may be less likely to overindulge at your meals later. This will also help to burn those extra calories consumed. Weight maintenance I usually tell my clients that maintaining (not losing) weight is a more realistic goal during the holidays. This way, when New Year’s resolutions come around you will have less to work off. It’s just a few meals If you do the calculations, there are three meals a day seven days in a week equals 21 meals in a week. If two-to-three meals in a week are not “picture perfect” it will have minimal effect on your overall intake. By eating healthfully for the other 19 meals, the holiday season won’t be as bad on your waistline after all! •

Shari Bilt Boockvar, MS, RDN is a Nutritionist in the Tristate area. She specializes in nutrition counseling and consulting for weight control and fitness and can be found blogging on her favorite products and recipes. Visit her at NutritionShari on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 71

Sprinkle in hot tea, on top of your Greek yogurt, or add to your kid’s peanut butter sandwiches for a sweet and mess free treat.


At home easy pour bottle

For more information and recipes, visit


aving it your way is what we see when it comes to convenience, flexibility, and access. And as we move into a new era of health care, our needs have certainly changed. So much so, that medicine is now catering to those needs with concierge medicine.

PERSONALIZED ATTENTION When we think of concierge medicine, we believe A-list clientele and celebrities who subscribe to dedicated care at the tip of their fingers. But now the concept of concierge medicine is changing and can be obtained by everyone with reasonable rates such as $59 for monthly memberships. When looking at the roughly 5,500 concierge practices nationwide, about two-thirds charge less than $135 a month on average and, according to Concierge Medicine Today; it is adding offices at a rate of about 25 percent a year. This allows patients to be seen more readily, without long waiting times and without insurance ever being billed. It also permits more personalized attention by doctors in a country club-type fashion. The catalog of services is often posted in a menu-style format with prices for services and requiring payment up front. What is appealing to the practitioner when it comes to concierge medicine is that it can eliminate up to 40 percent of the practices’ overhead expenses, enabling them to keep fees low. Cost savings also play a factor, and when some services can offer exceptional care for $40 or $50 a month, it may just turn out to be cheaper.

SAVING MONEY Many people question, “how can this save me money?” These concierge practices can charge flat fees that include basic checkups, treatment of minor ailments and tests like electrocardiograms (EKGs). When looking at annual costs, membership fees range from about $1,650 to $1,800. In comparison to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which costs an average of $307 a month (or about $3,600 a year), the costs may not account for specialists and expensive imaging/testing, but the availability makes up for that in a big way. The beauty of concierge medicine is that there is not the overbooking and long lines of patients loads for clinicians to see which allows for some VIP treatment. Physicians feel with less of an insurance struggle to keep up; they can take on fewer patients and spend more time with each, often guaranteeing appointments within 24 hours. The feeling of control by third parties is totally minimized. In a survey done on the adoption of concierge medicine, approximately 17 percent of physicians under the age of 45 indicated in a study that they would switch to a direct pay/concierge practice. Fewer patients is a plus. Today, for many doctors having 500 patients is more advantageous to better patient care whereas in a traditional setting having 2,000 patients is less than desirable. So with the merger of technology in modern medicine, the real question is what will your doctor’s office look like in 5 or 10 years? • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 73

BISTRO LE STEAK By Griffin Miller

ick Jakupi walks fluidly between the tables of Bistro Le Steak, glancing lightly at the customers, like a father making his nightly tucked-in rounds. He stops at one of the larger tables, filled with a group. Hugs all around; they make room; he joins them for several minutes and then returns to his circuit. It’s this warmth and attentiveness, spilling over to his handpicked staff and a perfectly designed menu that creates a genial atmosphere. This isn’t just an intimate neighborhood eatery; it’s a place where locals, newcomers, artists, and celebrities can kick back and be themselves. No pressure. “I can teach someone to be a waiter, I’m happy to show them,” said Nick. “But personality is the critical part of the ambiance. If they’re friendly and welcoming, I can work with them.”

QUALITY IS EVERYTHING Clearly Nick is a hands-on owner, buying the restaurant’s two top entrees—fish and steak—at Hunt’s Point Market. “I go there three to four days a week,” he said, going on to note that when his suppliers moved from South Street Seaport to the Bronx, he followed them. “I just continue the same friendships with the same’s routine to me. It’s very important to put quality food on people’s plates.” By virtue of the restaurant’s name, we made the assumption that beef would be the biggest attraction, but Nick reports that fish and steak run fairly parallel in terms of popularity. The menu features a 10 ounce Sirloin; a 10 ounce “Naturally Raised” Sirloin; Filet Mignon (also 10 ounces), a New York Cut Ribeye and a New York Cut Sirloin. Being a pescatarian, I left the steak ordering to my husband, Richard (the Naturally Raised Sirloin) , while I turned my attention to the fish category, boasting eight seafood entrees: Pan Seared Brook Trout, Scottish Salmon, Almond Crusted Filet of Sole, Potato Crusted Cod Fish, PEI Mussels Mariniere, Pacific Jumbo Shrimp Brochette and Sea Scallops and Jumbo Shrimp. I went for the Broiled Swordfish with garlic mashed potatoes and spinach. 74 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

DIVINE DINING At the recommendation of our server, for starters we shared a House Salad with the restaurant’s celebrated homemade vinaigrette and a mushroom dish—one of the evening’s specials. While we dined, Nick sat with us offand-on, answering our questions and filling in details of Bistro Le Steak’s history. We were especially curious as to how an Albanian found himself the sole owner of a French bistro. He explained that he initially teamed up with two partners who owned Italian restaurants and when the former restaurant resident of the southeast corner of 75th Street and Third Avenue closed, they got the idea to turn it into a brasserie. “The chef from Le Steak started working for us,” said Nick, who wound up with sole proprietorship when his partners opted out for restaurants like Dallas BBQ. “That was 14 years ago,” he added. When asked if the look of the restaurant, had changed much from the day it opened, he said, no—it remains roughly 90 percent the same. “I have to do some renovations... add some curtains because of the lights,” he said turning a critical eye to the glare from the street. “And I’m changing the awning outside.”

A HINT OF FRANCE From a guest’s point of view, the Bistro Le Steak is charming: two very different rooms, each with a distinctive French sensibility. We were seated in the outer room, with dappled Monet-esque flowers on the walls, a fabric draped ceiling and several works of art by one of the restaurant’s regulars—and, naturally, a friend of Nick’s. The inner room reads more classic brasserie: brass fittings, dark woods, tin ceiling and an impressive tile floor. What stands out hanging against the far wall, however, is an original drawing of Dondi (from the comic strip that ran from 1955 to 1986), presented to Nick from the strip’s artist Irwin Hasen who passed away last year at the age of 96. “He was just a wonderful guy with a smile and an answer for everything,” Nick recalled. “One year he had an exhibition, and we had a party here that I catered. The next day he came in with that picture of Dondi.” A raconteur who loves his business and especially his customers. Nick maintains, “If you love to do something, you never work.” As for our dinner, we topped it off with a slice of flourless chocolate cake—almost too, too decadent. Almost. Highlighting the rest of our meal: no fritte nor mushroom nor cake crumb was left uneaten. We’re already planning our next visit.

Bistro Le Steak 1309 Third Avenue (at East 75th Street) 212-517-3800

“So the what are the dishes that people return again and again for?” we wanted to know. From the appetizers the Escargots and Frogs Legs Provencale Nick told us, adding a couple of our new favorite things: the “Magnifique” Provencale Steak Sauce, and the salad dressing. And what is the best table in the house? “Well, everybody knows which one is [Mayor] Bloomberg’s table. People come in and ask to sit at it,” then after a beat, Nick adds: “We’re just an ordinary brasserie, not glamorous—but the name speaks for itself.” • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 75

The Palm Court Interior Bar Area Photo by Oleg March


t’s difficult to miss one of New York City’s iconic architectural wonders sitting on Central Park South at 59th Street. Across from Central Park is the Plaza Hotel which has set the standard for luxury for more than a century. Timeless elegance can be seen in the building and most particularly in The Palm Court. The dining venue serves breakfast, afternoon tea, and an evening service complimented by the recent addition of a bar and craft cocktail menu. Beautiful decor coffered ceilings, and a stained glass dome help make the Plaza and Palm Court worthy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. So, during the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, why not stop in for a relaxing mid-day refresher?


The Palm Court House Tonic with Gin Photo by Oleg March 76 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

The popular choice is (naturally!) the Gatsby Mint Julep. Served in a tin cup with ice piled high above the rim and a large sprig of mint on top it’s everything a Gatsby inspired drink should be. Cold, bold, and very strong with both Four Roses bourbon and Hennessy VSOP cognac. The menu claims it was The Great Gatsby’s libation of choice at the Plaza. The Hemingway Daiquiri is also a treat: Real McCoy white rum with maraschino liqueur, cherry juice, and a cherry in the drink is sweet and good to the last drop. Legend has it that the drink was created for the author at the El Floridita Bar in Havana, Cuba.

AFTERNOON TEA The dishes served for afternoon tea include a sampling of many different sandwiches and savories, scones, and pastries and sweets. They are served quite eloquently on a multi-tiered tray with the perfect amount of food to satisfy your appetite. Three different varieties are offered: The New Yorker Tea, The Champagne Tea, and The Children’s Eloise Tea. The New Yorker Tea is comprised of many of the classic eats that NYC has made famous: Lox and bagels with cream cheese, turkey with grain mustard on whole wheat bread, and New York style cheesecake just to name a few. The Champagne Tea has some more sophisticated eats like thyme roasted prime rib with horseradish aioli on an onion roll; foie gras torchon with white peach mustard on a toasted brioche, confit new potato with chive crème fraiche and American sturgeon caviar, and for dessert peach and Champagne savarin with almond frangipane. The Children’s Eloise Tea has typical children’s items on it like organic peanut butter and jelly, chocolate and vanilla blondie, and pink cotton candy. All three “teas” have six different kinds of finger sandwiches and seven different varieties of desserts to sample. All three are served with freshly baked warm season scones with double Devonshire cream, lemon curd, and preserves.

Gatsby Mint Julep

HIGH TEA The Palm Court prides itself on its tea assortment from black, green, and oolong to red, white, and Pu-Erh teas. Here, some favorites. Big Ben English Breakfast is a beautiful blend of black teas from Yunnan (China) and Assam (India). Both mild and invigorating, mellow and spicy, it is a successful blend of the main characteristics of both teas. It’s high caffeine content make it an excellent morning tea. Jukro is unique. The cocoa, vanilla bouquet evoke the rich not of the Chinese Keemun Mao Feng teas, but it’s strength, richness and intensity take us more in the direction of the best dark oolong teas from Taiwan. Very aromatic! The Des Alizes is a green tea enlivened by flower petals and delicately scented with pieces of white peach, kiwi, and watermelon. Wonderfully balanced. Jasmine Pearls (from Grands Crus Green Tea selection) is a jasmine tea must. This tea produces a beverage of the highest quality. The softness of the green tea is the perfect complement to the subtlety of the jasmine. Silver Needles (White Tea) is a Chinese white tea of incomparable delicacy. Made up exclusively of silver buds, it evokes ripe grapes and has astonishingly delicate fragrances. It is the most prestigious of the Chinese white teas. It is only harvested at a particular time of year when the buds are at their peak.

The Palm Court Small Bites Plateaux Photo by Oleg March

High Tea at the Plaza’s Palm Court is certainly one of New York’s must-do experiences this holiday—and for that matter all year long! The décor is reminiscent of a gilded age, the food is fantastic, and the assortment of teas is unparalleled. For more information, please visit • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 77


hen I was a kid, we had a holiday tradition. Every year during celebratory meals, the children in my family were invited to partake in the adult festivities by having a glass of wine. Only, there was just one wine offered (if you could call it wine). The sparkly red accompaniment more closely resembled a wine cooler, and I remember it was about five dollars a bottle at the local grocery store. Perhaps this was my parents’ genius and the reason I didn’t drink until I was much, much older. If you’re looking for something a little more refined to offer your guests, but aren’t sure where to start, we have you covered. We connected with our friend Keith Belter, a wine expert and restaurant wine buyer, to craft some perfect pairings for traditional holiday dishes.

MAIN COURSE TURKEY AND PINOT GRIS Time-honored turkey recipes with mashed potatoes and gravy tend to be heavy, so you might consider pairing them with a lighter bodied wine. “White wine with high acidity, like Pinot Gris, can balance out the fat and salt from a turkey feast,” says Keith. Because you’re searching for a Pinot Gris (or Pinot Grigio, depending on the region) with high acidity, you’ll want to gravitate toward areas that harvest the grape early, such as Italy and Germany. Or, if you’re looking to buy local, you might seek out a Pinot Gris from a Finger Lakes label. As an alternative to Pinot Gris for those averse to white wines, consider a Rose. HAM AND RIESLING If ham is the center of your holiday meal, think about how it’s prepared when you’re selecting wine to pair. If you’re serving a honey ham, for example, you’ll want to ensure your wine is not too sweet. While the Riesling grape has a reputation for being ultra-sweet, typical Rieslings are actually on the dry side. A dry Riesling with just a touch of residual sugar can help to balance out the saltiness of a ham dinner. The Riesling grape flourishes in the Finger Lakes region, so you’re apt to find a great bottle right here in New York. LAMB AND CABERNET SAUVIGNON “Lamb tends to be a bit gamey, so you’ll want to pair it with a full-bodied red,” says Keith. A big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon, such as one you’d find from the Napa Valley region, works well with lamb. If you’re not a Cabernet Sauvignon fan, a Syrah or Red Zinfandel are other reliable options. Look for a moderately tannic wine to bring out the flavors in the meat. 78 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

DESSERT PUMPKIN PIE AND DRY SHERRY “A dry dessert wine, like Oloroso Sherry, pairs well with the sweet baking spices typical of pumpkin pie,” says Keith. Oloroso Sherry is not generally very sweet, and it picks up the flavors of oak casks that it’s aged in. The oak influence will enhance your pumpkin dessert without assaulting your taste buds with an overabundance of sugar. To that end, avoid cream and sweetened Oloroso Sherries and Oloroso blends for this pairing—you should be able to find these designations on the label. FRUITCAKE AND ICE WINE For some reason, fruitcake still pervades our winter season celebrations. From festive holiday baskets to potluck offerings, it seems this faux-dessert can’t be avoided. If you, like me, are hoping to make fruitcake more tolerable, pair it with an ice wine. Because ice wines are produced from grapes frozen while on the vine, they produce small batches of highly concentrated, very sweet wine. Since fruitcakes are dense, and not exceptionally sweet, the ultrasweet ice wines will enhance subtle fruit flavors. Ice wines can be hard to find, however, because their production is dependent on the weather. If you have trouble finding an ice wine, a Ruby Port will do the trick. GINGERBREAD AND STOUT While we tend to gravitate toward wine for holiday meal pairings, there’s no denying the unique relationship between gingerbread and stout. Flavors of ginger, cloves, and cinnamon are wellcomplemented by the dark beer. You won’t have much trouble finding a dark, winter beer given the prolific nature of micro-brews throughout the region. • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 79


one are the days when you might have even dared to bring that fruit cake to a holiday party! Today, with so many extraordinary gourmet emporiums dotting the streets of New York City—not to mention the international flavors online—there are endless possibilities to satisfy any palate this holiday season. Here, our picks for gifting family and friends—and, of course, your own home as well!

MONEY ON HONEY The favorite all-natural confections are sweetened only by pure honey and cane sugars and blended with real cream and butter. Finally, it’s finished with Fair Trade certified dark chocolate and a sprinkling of French sea salt creating a premium, delicate, and more healthful alternative to other caramels in the market, From Droga Chocolates (

SALT & AYRE Each piece of Salt & Ayre is handcrafted using only the finest ingredients with flavor notes gathered from the world’s four corners. The 16-piece assortment includes Caramel garnished with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt; Almond Butter Crunch Toffee enhanced with Chipotle Sea Salt; Crystallized Ginger topped with a Thai Ginger Sea Salt to name just a few. From Harbor Sweets (

PEPPERMINT SWEETS Ring in the season in style with a gathering of white chocolate drizzled peppermint popcorn; white chocolate peppermint bark; white chocolate caramel peppermint pretzel sticks; milk chocolate peppermint truffles; and three old-fashioned lollipop twists all gift-wrapped in a wooden crate and ribbon. From Olive and Cocoa (

LOTSA LAVA These lava-licious fudge cakes are so rich—they just may become a tempting favorite throughout the year. It’s a perfect blend of the brownie with premium fudge placed at its center. The result of placing this lava cake in a microwave for a few seconds is quite honestly—pure joy. A tin of 13 makes a great gift. From Penn Street Bakery (


FRUITS & NUTS This bestseller “Rose” will be a welcome gift this holiday season. The hand assembled tray feature large pears and peaches, fancy apricots, ruby red plus, cashews, almonds and colossal pistachios. From Torn Ranch (

THE SWEETEST APPLE Celebrating Hanukkah is fun when you give (or get) this Dark Chocolate Cashew Jumbo Caramel Apple topped with a dreidel. This scrumptious treat is a juicy orchard-fresh apple dipped in buttery caramel, then rolled in the finest-quality cashews and finished with a dark layer of chocolate. A sweet celebration! From Mrs. Prindables (

PASSPORT TO GREECE The Authentic Flavors of Greece Gift Basket captures the very essence of the Greek Isles—blue skies, warm weather, and great food. A few of the packaged delights are Manouri (sheep’s milk “cream cheese”), Kasseri (a cheese made from sheep and goat’s milk), Mixed Greek Olives, Feta Cheese, Taramosalata (made from fish eggs), stuffed grape leaves, stuffed with rice, onions and fresh dill. From iGourmet (

A PICNIC IN THE PARK The oversized Central Park Gift Basket will impress. The hamper, lid with leather strap can be used to picnic when the weather becomes warmer. You’ll find Hickory smoked sausage; assorted specialty crackers; raspberry honey mustard pretzel dip...and even more, delicious goodies. From Adorable Gift Baskets (

SWEET THINGS Wearing a knitted cap, scarf, and mittens, this three-tiered snowman is a bundle of confectionary fun. Hidden inside are dozens of treats including bite-sized cookies, brownie bites, frosted tree cookies, and chocolate-covered sugar cookie bites. From Mrs. Fields ( • DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 81


LA LA LAND RATED PG-13 Iconic Hollywood musicals such as Singing In The Rain, Top Hat, and Bandwagon inspired director Damien Chazelle to create a contemporary romantic musical comedy set in LA. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling who previously co-starred in Crazy Stupid Love and Gangster Squad reunite again to play lovers struggling to find success in a town overpopulated with similarly motivated young talent. Mia Dolan (Ms. Stone) is an aspiring actress who works as a barista. Mr. Gosling’s character Sebastian Wilder plays piano in dingy bars. Both stars have good singing voices although Ms. Stone appears more comfortable bursting into song. She received positive reviews for her Broadway debut in Cabaret two years ago. Those in the know predict Ms. Stone will be Oscar nominated.

HIDDEN FIGURES RATED PG During the 1960’s Cold War three brilliant African American women made an invaluable contribution to NASA’s space program. Their little-known accomplishments are the subject of one of the year’s, must see films. Physicist and mathematician Katherine Johnson (Taraji B. Henson), math genius Dorothy Vaughn (Oscar winner Octavia Spencer) and engineer Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) calculated flight rocket trajectories for Project Mercury in 1969, the Apollo 11 flight to the moon, and John Glenn’s 1962 Friendship 7 mission. This guaranteed him a place in history as the first American to orbit the Earth. However, the earthbound black female team which helped America win the space race was segregated from the white women working for NASA. Hidden Figures is based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s nonfiction book of the same name and directed by Theodore Melfi. Eleven-time Grammy winner Pharrell Williams co-produced the film and wrote the original music for it as well. Kevin Costner plays Space Task Group Director Al Harrison. The remarkable real life Ms. Johnson is now 98 and a recipient of the Presidential Medal Of Freedom.


SING RATED PG A 3D computer animated musical comedy (think American Idol with both barn and wild animals) features anthropomorphic creatures competing for the top prize in a singing competition. Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey. John C. Riley and Scarlett Johansson are on board to entertain a family audience and those who just want to hum along. Stevie Wonder added an original song to the score of more than 80 classics. 82 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

The first of many awards honoring the best films of 2016 will be broadcast on Sunday, December 11 at 8 PM (EST) on A&E.

PASSENGERS RATED PG-13 Jennifer Lawrence playing a journalist and Chris Pratt as a mechanical engineer are on board a huge spaceship which once it is airborne functions no better than Sandra Bullocks and George Clooney’s space shuttle in Gravity or Matt Damon’s Mars Ascent Vehicle in The Martian. A love story unfolds as the two figure out a survival strategy. Of course, both charismatic, physically fit stars are up to the task.

FENCES Denzel Washington and Viola Davis who took home Tony Awards for their electrifying performances in the 2010 revival of August Wilson’s play reprise their roles in a film version directed by Mr. Washington. Mr. Wilson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony in 1987, and like the others in his Pittsburgh Cycle, Fences examines racial inequality in a segregated America. Troy Maxson (Mr. Washington) and his wife Rose (Ms. Davis) are a hardworking, middle-aged, lower middle-class married couple with a teenage son. Troy, a sanitation truck driver, was a star player in the Negro Baseball League. He was denied the opportunity to move on to the majors because of the color barrier which existed before 1947 when the sport was integrated. That disappointment adversely affected every aspect of his life from then on. Before his death in 2005, Mr. Wilson stipulated that a movie version of Fences must have an African American director. He could not have asked for a better man for the job than Mr. Washington. Academy members and journalists greeted the film with a standing ovation at an LA screening and Oscar buzz is building for the movie and its stars.

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Millions of Star Wars fans will turn out in full force on December 16 to be among the first to experience the prequel to George Lucas’ 1977 groundbreaking blockbuster. Rebel spies Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) are involved in a plot to steal top-secret plans which will prove essential to Luke Skywalker when he destroys the Death Star in the franchise’s first film Star Wars: A New Hope. The legendary James Earl Jones again supplies the voice of Darth Vader. Director Gareth Edward’s film is Felicity’s first outing in an action movie. She was Oscar nominated for the hit indie film The Theory Of Everything. FYI: Over the years Mr. Lucas’ first film has grossed a total of over $775 million at the worldwide box office.

PATRIOTS DAY RATED R For Mark Wahlberg who was born and raised in Boston, bringing Patriots Day to the big screen was a way to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and the city’s police force led by its Commissioner Edward F. Davis (John Goodman). The film based on Casey Sherman and David Wedge’s book Boston Strong recreates the horrific events of April 15, 2013, and the manhunt to capture the terroristsChechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. In addition to co-producing, the film Mr. Wahlberg plays police sergeant Tommy Saunders. The cast also includes J.K. Simmons, Kevin Bacon, and Michelle Monaghan.

COMING SOON: My list of the best and worst movies of 2016 will be in the January 2017 issue. • About Pat Collins Pat Collins is a three-time Emmy award-winning film, theater and entertainment critic/reporter. Her outstanding media credits include WCBS-TV, Good Morning America and WWOR-TV. She is a contributor to CUNY-TV’s Arts and The City program and the host of several Broadway specials including Kinky Boots On Broadway, Fiddler On The Roof: Back On Broadway, and The Road To The Tonys. DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 83


THE PRESENT Ethel Barrymore Theatre Previews Start December 17, 2016 Cate Blanchett who has two Oscars (Blue Jasmine and The Aviator) makes her Broadway debut in an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s first play Platonov which is one of its four titles. Russian lit majors familiar with Chekhov’s less well-known work probably could name all the titles, but that knowledge will not guarantee to get a better seat at the Barrymore Theater. Put purchasing tickets at the top of your to do list now. Ms. Blanchett previously appeared on the New York stage in Hedda Gabler, A Streetcar Named Desire, Uncle Vanya and The Maids but the aforementioned were not Broadway productions. The good news is she is at last eligible for a Tony Award. That is bad news for the other women in the best actress category next spring. The Present is set in post-perestroika Russia at a 40th birthday for Anna Petrovna (Ms. Blanchett) a once wealthy widow after whom the titular skirt chasing Mikhail Platonov (Richard Roxburgh) has lusted. Like many occasions where vodka and champagne flow this too involves conversations about regrets and unresolved relationships. Director John Crowley also helmed the Oscarnominated film Brooklyn. “The production’s journey to Broadway began with the Sydney Theater Company which counts Ms. Blanchett and The Present’s playwright Andrew Upton among its most distinguished members. The limited engagement is scheduled to end March 19, 2017.

CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK BROADWAY There are more than 30 productions to choose from, but I suggest seeing one or more of the following musicals before they close: on the dates listed bellow: Fiddler On The Roof December 31, 2016 Something Rotten January 1, 2017 Matilda January 1, 2017 Jersey Boys January 15, 2017 Holiday Inn January 15, 2017


IN TRANSIT Circle In The Square Theater There is no orchestra to applaud at Circle In The Square because its new production directed and choreographed by three-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall is Broadway’s first a cappella musical. Kristen Anderson-Lopez who won an Oscar for Disney’s Frozen co-wrote the show’s music and lyrics and Deke Sharon, who was the music director for Universal’s two Pitch Perfect movies, created the vocal arrangements. The unusual romantic comedy focuses on the lives of 11 ambitious straphangers in pursuit of success, love, and adventure. Some 55 years ago Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Jule Styne wrote the musical Subways Are For Sleeping. In 2016 subways are for anxiety attacks. The In Transit holiday performances are Christmas night at 7 PM, December 26th at 2 and 8 PM. In related cold weather events, Ms. Lopez and her husband Robert are developing Frozen for Broadway.

SPECIAL EVENTS Once a year two time-honored productions brighten the holidays for everyone from 5 to 105.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular Radio City Musical Hall Runs until January 2, 2017 Price: $45 to $250.

THE BODYGUARD THE MUSICAL Paper Mill Playhouse The new musical is based on the 1992 Oscar nominated film with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner as former Secret Service agent Frank Farmer who falls in love with the music superstar he was hired to protect. The late Ms. Houston played the intended victim Rachel Marrow. R & B singer/songwriter Deborah Cox has the leading role in the stage production. The score includes the film’s memorable charttopping hits including “I Will Always Love You,” “Saving All My Love For You,” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” The last performance is scheduled for January 1, 2017. THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BROADWAY: VOLUME 3 Dress Circle Publishing Is the Belasco Theater haunted? Which opening nights were disasters?

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker NYC Ballet at The David H. Koch Theater Runs until December 31, 2016 Price: $79 to $285

Where is the secret tunnel Hugh Jackman once discovered linking the Broadhurst and Schoenfeld theaters? Author Jennifer Ashley Tepper has the answers and more revelations in her third book in the series. Even my colleague Michael Riedel, the New York Post columnist praised Ms. Tepper’s book (rarely is he complimentary). The interviewees in this installment include Peter Gallagher, Barbara Cook, Elizabeth Ashley, Mary Louise Wilson and Patti LuPone.


TERMS OF ENDEARMENT 59E59 Theaters Molly Ringwald, who starred in Pretty In Pink, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles in the 1980’s is almost old enough to play the mother role of Aurora Greenway in a stage production based on the 1983 Oscar winning film and Larry McMurtry’s book. Hannah Dunne best known for Amazon’s Mozart In The Jungle makes her OffBroadway debut as Aurora’s daughter Emma whose early marriage to a man Aurora dislikes is one of Emma’s many ill-considered life changing choices. The bond between outspoken mother and argumentative daughter is strengthened by a life-altering turn of events. The limited engagement is scheduled to end December 11, 2016. •

HAMILTON Even Santa cannot get tickets for the phenomenal Tony-winning mega hit. However, The Hamilton Shop has a variety of gifts from T-shirts, to shot glasses and hats and more to give the theater lover on your Christmas list. The shop is located across the street from the Richard Rodgers Theater on West 46th Street where LinManuel Miranda’s musical is playing. Store hours are Mondays noon to 6 PM; Tuesday-Saturday noon to 8 PM; and Sundays noon to 6 PM.




- Roma Torre, NY1


AND PLENTY OF IT! - Rex Reed, NY Observer


Light Up Your Holidays! LIMITED RUN NOV. 22 - JAN. 8


Musical Hollywood’s The


Tough Guy in Tap Shoes



-America’s Got Talent


“AN AMAZING MUSICAL!” - Steve Schonberg, WNBC-TV

- N Y Tim e s

Photo: Carol Rosegg


Westside Theatre 407 W 43rd St 212-239-6200 Groups 212-757-9117 or 212.239.6200 212-239-6200 New World Stages 340 W 50th St.

For groups or birthdays call 866.642.9849

New World Stages 340 W. 50th St.


Photo: Matt Crockett


PAT COLLINS’ PICKS OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES BRIDGET JONES’ BABY RATED R The 2016 version of Bridget books guests for a London TV talk show. Despite her demanding job, she remains the adorably irrepressible and often irresponsible single woman who makes questionable decisions concerning her personal life. One of those decisions results in an unexpected pregnancy and the question is who the father is—her now divorced old flame, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) or an American billionaire businessman Jack Quant (Patrick Dempsey). Ms. Zellweger volunteered to gain the 20 required pregnancy pounds—that alone should qualify her for an award. Emma Thompson, who plays Bridget’s imperturbable gynecologist, also authored the screenplay. Unlike a nine month pregnancy the movie’s plot is predictable but nonetheless the comedy delivers for Bridget fans. FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS RATED PG-13 Florence Foster Jenkins was to opera what the Kardashians are to reality television. Devoid of talent but not lacking in self- confidence Mrs. Jenkins (Meryl Streep), a New York socialite in the 30’s and 40’s, spent a considerable amount of her inherited fortune on presenting a one-woman concert at Carnegie Hall. Her longtime domestic partner, and Shakespearean actor St. Clair Bayfield (a splendid Hugh Grant) persuaded the press and cafe society to attend the much-publicized event. The night was a public humiliation for Mrs. Jenkins. Years later Marilyn Horne the renowned mezzo-soprano remarked: “Maybe she did not know how badly she sang.” Subtle comic relief is provided by Simon Helberg as Florence’s shy accompanist. Mr. Helberg who plays Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory more than holds his own with the film’s multi-Oscar winning star. Marvelous Meryl who has a first-rate singing voice delivers another extraordinary performance as the millionaires who could not carry a tune. Despite a first-class cast, Florence Foster Jenkins—directed by Stephen Frears—never strikes an emotional chord.


BFG RATED PG A lonely child is befriended by an unusual creature and with him sets out on a life-changing adventure. That brief plot summary describes Steven Spielberg’s remarkable classic ET as well as his less memorable BFG. Its 8-year-old heroine, whose home is a dreary London orphanage, is abducted and transported to Giant Country by its only non-flesh eater—The Big Friendly Giant—a digitized Mark Rylance. The BFG’s efforts to save the plucky, quick thinking Sophie Ruby Barnhill from an unfortunate fate will entertain grammar school children 7 and up—and their parents too. After many narrow escapes, Sophie writes Queen Elizabeth warning of the existence of killer giants and their monstrous plan to destroy Buckingham Palace and all of London. Rest assured the Giants are no match for the feisty Queen, her young and brave subject and the BFG. Miss Barnhill delivers an excellent performance, and there are never enough superlatives to describe Mr. Rylance—one of the great film and stage actors of our time received an Oscar for Mr. Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies.


IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) Director Frank Capra’s acclaimed 1946 classic with Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Henry Travers as George Bailey’s guardian angel Clarence. A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951) There are three versions of the Dickens classic, but I prefer this British film with Alistair Sim as Scrooge. A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983) This movie is based on humorist Jean Shepherd’s memoir of asking Santa for a Red Ryder Bb Gun when he was a kid in the 1940’s. HOLIDAY INN (1942)The musical comedy with Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Virginia Dale, and Marjorie Reynolds singing and dancing to an Irving Berlin score that includes White Christmas. ELF (2003)The comedy starring Will Ferrell as Santa’s helper looking for his dad in NYC. NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION (1989) The 1989 Griswold family’s disastrous holiday starring Chevy Chase. SCROOGED (1988) Don’t miss the modern comedic version of A Christmas Carol with Bill Murray. JOYEUAX NOEL (2005) A brief Christmas Eve truce between French, Scottish and German soldiers on the front lines during the First World War. The film is an excellent French language movie with subtitles. POLAR EXPRESS (2004) A child’s wish to see Santa Claus on Christmas Eve is granted. HOME ALONE 2 (1992) Macaulay Culkin’s character and the rest of his family are separated for the holidays when he mistakenly boards the wrong plane. LOVE ACTUALLY (2003) Holiday-themed romantic comedy with Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Alan Richman, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson and Kiera Knightley.

JASON BOURNE RATED PG-13 My favorite amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne and the memory challenged fish Dory have something in common. Both learned the truth about their respective parents in commercially successful sequels. Mr. Damon’s anti-hero, acting on information contained in classified CIA documents provided by fellow agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), resolves to find and kill those responsible for his father’s murder. Returning for his fifth Bourne movie, Mr. Damon, reunited with Paul Greengrass, the director of the Bourne Ultimatum and the Bourne Supremacy. The latter remains the best in the series. Tommy Lee Jones brings his reliable I’m-in-charge-here-gruff on screen personality to the role of Bourne’s boss, CIA director Robert Dewey. Alicia Vikander, an Oscar winner for The Danish Girl, is a new Langley analyst and Vincent Cassel’s character, “The Asset,” briefly appears in a failed attempt to bump off the title character. How many writers did it take to come up with that codename for the CIA’s asset in Athens? Once again Mr. Damon, in top form, spends 80 percent of his time racing from one European destination to the next. This fifth installment is entertaining except for the last 20 or so minutes during which Bourne and agency hit men engage in an unexceptional gun blazing showdown at a Vegas convention. What are the Vegas odds on a sixth Bourne movie? Zero if Mr. Damon declines the offer. RAY DONOVAN SEASON 4 The fictional LA fixer played by the Emmynominated Liev Schreiber resolves or eliminates the messy problems of LA’s one percenters. During the show’s hiatus Mr. Schreiber and fellow Tony winner Janet McTeer raise the temperature at the Booth Theater as former lovers who conspire to destroy the reputations of their unsuspecting victims in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The limited run ends January 22.

SUICIDE SQUAD RATED PG-13 One of the year’s worst movies stars some of Hollywood’s best but not even an impressive ensemble cast can save this film with its absurd plot and risible dialogue. Viola Davis’ character Amanda Waller, a scheming high ranking government intelligence officer, gives a team of DC comic book super villains a temporary get out of jail card and promises to reduce their sentences in exchange for using their unique skills to complete a dangerous assignment. Deadshot (Will Smith) Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and their fellow antihero squad members are sent on a secret mission to Midway City—a thinly disguised NYC—where zombies, a decidedly nasty creature named The Enchantress, and government forces have converged for what is an underwhelming showdown. Harley’s motivation to participate in Waller’s plan is predicated on Waller’s promise to reunite Harley and her lover, the imprisoned psychotic Joker (Jared Leto). On the villain rating scale, he registers a one with blame assigned to director David Ayer and not Mr. Leto. Note to the good people at Warner Bros. Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight will never be matched. Mr. Leto should be the last to be cast in the role. Despite nearly universal negative reviews, Suicide Squad is a mega hit. Its global box office take is $745 million and counting.

FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK Adam Nimoy’s documentary about Mr. Spock was intended to coincide with Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. Instead, it became a tribute to his father’s life and career after Mr. Nimoy’s death in February 2015. A self-made Renaissance man, Mr. Nimoy was an author, photographer, songwriter, and director. He directed Equus on Broadway, the movie comedy Three Men And A Baby, and two Star Trek films. Adam’s documentary features interviews with the new Enterprise crew—Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, and Simon Pegg. Also, William Shatner, director JJ Abrams who revived the Trek movie series, and astrophysicist Neil De Grasse Tyson. Last year an asteroid was named in Mr. Nimoy’s honor. For The Love Of Spock is available on DVD Blu-Ray, VOD, and iTunes. •



everal years ago, I wrote a poem to young readers about why I read: Why do I read? I just can’t help myself. I read to learn and to grow, to laugh and to be motivated. I read to understand things I’ve never been exposed to. I read when I’m crabby, when I’ve just said monumentally dumb things to the people I love. I read for strength to help me when I feel broken, discouraged, and afraid. I read when I’m angry at the whole world. I read when everything is going right. I read to find hope. I read because I’m made up not just of skin and bones, of sights, feelings, and a deep need for chocolate, but I’m also made up of words. Words describe my thoughts and what’s hidden in my heart. Words are alive—when I’ve found a story that I love, I read it again and again, like playing a favorite song over and over. Reading isn’t passive—I enter the story with the characters, breathe their air, feel their frustrations, scream at them to stop when they’re about to do something stupid, cry with them, laugh with them. Reading for me, is spending time with a friend. A book is a friend. You can never have too many. These two books have become friends. They are perfect for holiday or anytime gift giving.

THE THING EXPLAINER By Randall Monroe Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET Words by Matt De La Pena. Pictures by Christian Robinson Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Young Readers Group This book is a triumph of love, hope, and attitude. It’s a story that counters negativity in our world for it gently models thankfulness, and at the end, I guarantee, you will want to hug the grandmother who knows how to turn the frustrations of her grandson into moments of wonder. The boy, C.J., has so many questions as he and his nana take their weekly bus ride: How come we don’t got a car? How come we gotta wait for the bus in all this wet? How come we always gotta go to this place? How come I don’t have what he’s got? The “how comes” keep coming as C.J. views the world by what he hasn’t got, but his Nana is all about seeing what they have. There is healing and transformation here as this wise grandmother helps her grandson discover the hidden beauty of people and places in his neighborhood. If we weren’t all graced with having a Nana like C.J.’s (happily, I was!), we could at least take a listen to her wisdom about life and longing and looking at the world through the lens of appreciation and thankfulness. How we look at something matters, and C.J. learns the quiet lesson until it fills him up. This is a lovely book to share and to read out loud to children. It reminds young and old that hope and attitude do make life magical. Last Stop on Market Street won both the prestigious Newbery Medal and was also a Caldecott Honor award winner. Matt De La Pena’s words rise and fall like poetry, and Christian Robinson’s vivid artwork is packed with goodness. •

Randall Monroe, creator of the webcomic xkcd and author of the number 1 New York Times bestseller What If? has created a book that explains through line drawings and common words how complicated things work and why. Those simple words are among the one thousand (or as Munroe calls them, “ten hundred”) most common words used today. This limitation offers charming discoveries. From bridges to data centers to the solar system to clothes washers and dryers to what’s “under a car’s front cover.” Munroe has made it impossible for anyone to feel dumb. Here we have the ultimate explanation of NASA’s Apollo spacecraft that landed on the moon. We clearly see “the part that fell off…” “the feet that go on the ground of the other world...” “the part that flies down to the other world with two people inside.” In fact, Munroe created this book “because it made me let go of my fear of sounding stupid.” This is a wildly fascinating book that’s a lot like walking through a cool museum with a funny guy who knows how to help you get what you’re seeing. The flap copy boldly proclaims this book “is for anyone—age 5 to 105—who has ever wondered how things work, and why.” I have given The Thing Explainer to doctoral students, a rabbi, an actor, a college professor, and I know any number of younger people who would love it as well. Buy an extra copy for yourself. You might never need to use a big word again. 90 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

Joan Bauer is a New York Times bestselling novelist and winner of the Newbery Honor Award, the LA Times Book Prize, and two Christopher Awards. Her latest novel is Soar, published by Viking/Penguin Random House. Connect with her on Twitter @joan_bauer or at


n Christmas Eve of 1823, Clement Clarke Moore, a wealthy landowner and Columbia College professor, after a trip by sleigh down to the Washington Market on the Lower Westside to buy a turkey, completed a Christmas poem called A Visit From St. Nicholas, to read to his children. He penned the mirthful verse, which would be a significant departure from his great and respected writings in Greek and biblical literature—from a desk at his comfortable, snowcovered mansion, which the family called Chelsea. At that time it was all about St. Nicholas. Santa Claus, as we know him today, wouldn’t appear on the scene until the 1850s. One of the first artists to depict Santa Claus’s modern image was Thomas Nast, an American cartoonist of the day. In 1863, an illustration by him first appeared in Harper’s Weekly, depicting the jolly and rotund figure. The Moore’s surrounding farm was well above the city center, which at that time was concentrated from the tip of Manhattan up to what is now Houston Street. The farm was named Chelsea by his grandfather, Major Thomas Clarke, an English officer who stayed in the colony after fighting in the French and Indian War. And this neighborhood, between West 23rd and 14th Streets, from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River, still bears that name. To say that the Clarke/Moore families were major Episcopalians would be the understatement of the last few centuries. Clement’s father, Benjamin Moore, was the rector at Trinity Church, where, among other duties, he administered the last rites to Alexander Hamilton after his unsuccessful duel with Aaron Burr. Both Moore and Hamilton are buried in the cemetery at Trinity Church (

Clement Clarke Moore would later donate several blocks of the Chelsea estate for what would become and continues to be The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in the United States, located between West 20th and 21st Streets and Ninth and Tenth Avenues. Today, the seminary shares space with the modern High Line Hotel (, which each year, lights a tree in his honor and offers readings of the poem for children in the area. At the bar, apple-themed drinks are served as a reminder that the land was originally an apple orchard. Nearly two hundred years later, the reading of the poem on Christmas Eve, has become one of America’s most time-honored traditions. We present to you the poem in its entirety. Please read it aloud surrounded by loved ones this coming Christmas Eve. •

A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS By Clement Clarke Moore ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds; While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave a lustre of midday to objects below, When what to my wondering eyes did appear, But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer, With a little old driver so lively and quick, I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!” As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; So up to the housetop the coursers they flew With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too— And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight— “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 91

Richard Tucker Music Foundation Concert


sk Barry Tucker if he likes opera, and he’ll laugh heartily. “Do I like opera? I’m spoiled,” says Barry, 78, a financial adviser at JPMorgan Chase, and the founder, along with his mother, Sara, of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. “I like 31 operas that Richard Tucker performed in. That’s enough.” That would be Richard Tucker—his father—one of the most famous opera singers in the world. An Orthodox Jew who was “discovered” singing at the Brooklyn Jewish Center, Tucker was so beloved that his January 10, 1975 funeral was held onstage at the Met before 3,000 mourners. A few weeks later, a concert was held in his honor at Carnegie Hall. Luciano Pavarotti did card tricks for Barry’s two children after their grandfather’s death. “Pavarotti performed for the Tucker Foundation nine times for free,” says Barry. “He never did benefits for other people. “So many people at the funeral came up to me and told me how good my father was to them,” he continues. “I knew my dad used to loan money to chorus members, orchestra members, stagehand guys. He never took back a penny. He felt—if you have enough to put bread on the table, share it. He was right.” Photo by Cosi

WALL STREET BEGINNINGS Richard Tucker had firsthand experience—he knew what it was like to not have enough to put bread on the table. His family—he was the was the youngest of five children—was so poor that he left high school during his sophomore year and became a runner on Wall Street (“runners” literally ran between different brokerage firms delivering stocks and bonds). He never returned to school. The young Barry, the oldest of three boys, was very close to his parents; he often traveled around the world to watch his father perform in Paris or Rome. “He liked to have his family around him,” Barry says. “When I was in college, he would fly me to Europe, we’d eat lunch together, I’d watch the opera and then I’d fly home.” Barry was seven when he first saw his father perform, at the Al Jolson Theater on 7th Avenue (between 58th and 59th Streets). It was a Saturday afternoon, and he was performing La Traviata. Sitting with his mother, he asked her “how come Dad is kissing a woman on stage?” His mother assured him it was a fake.


FAMILY FIRST Richard never sang at home; he didn’t like to talk about himself. “He was more interested in us—how we were doing with sports, with our friends, how we were getting along. Nothing about himself,” Barry says. Richard first auditioned for the Met in 1944 but didn’t get in. They wanted a baritone, and he was a tenor. But he remained on their radar, and one Friday night the general manager, Edward Johnson, went to hear him sing at the Brooklyn Jewish Center. The 1,500-seat Synagogue was packed. Johnson returned the following morning. After the service, Johnson invited him to re-audition. “He did, and they hired him on the spot,” says Barry. “Just like that.” Still, he didn’t want his children to go into show business. “He always said, ‘Unless one of my sons sings better than I do, I don’t want anyone going into the business. I don’t want anyone to compare him to Richard Tucker.’ He was very protective of the family.” In fact, Barry didn’t realize that his father was a big deal until he was about 15 years old, and his father was interviewed on a hugely popular television show called Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow. Years later, Barry would see his father perform with all the great divas—Joan Sutherland, Leontyne Price, Maria Callas, who made her debut in Verona with his father. “She loved him,” says Barry. “To us, she was a pussycat.” (It was Sara Tucker, says Barry, who encouraged Callas to marry her husband, Giovanni Battista Meneghini.)

Nikita Khrushchev was another fan. “The Russians would come backstage and meet my father in his dressing room,” he says. “They’d say, ‘How come you don’t sing in Russia’? He’d say, ‘I’ll sing in Russia tomorrow. But every time I sing for you I also need to sing for the Jews in the ghetto.’ He ended up on their blacklist. They would never allow it!” At Barry’s urging, Richard entertained the troops in Vietnam. He also raised thousands of dollars for charity. And he was very proud of being an American.

Richard Tucker and wife at home

HE LIVES ON In fact, when it came time to commemorate his father, Barry knew he would do something to help other American opera singers. Not long after Richard’s death, Barry and his mother founded the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, a non-profit organization which supports young American opera singers and brings opera into communities. Rene Fleming, a Tucker Award winner, and Anna Netrebko were among the artists who performed at this year’s gala, held October 30th at Carnegie Hall, with a dinner afterward at the Plaza. What’s more, nearly 400,000 people in 125 countries and 4,000 cities worldwide watched it online live and on Facebook through “Opera is alive and well!” says Tucker. Although his son and daughter don’t attend the opera often, they are committed to helping sustain the Foundation. “They know that I’ve worked for 42 years building the best organization in the world for nurturing new generations of American opera singers,” he says. Somewhere, Richard Tucker is smiling. And singing. •


ENTREPRENEUR’S CORNER By Judy Goss • Photos by Peek Photography

elen Powers is a supermodel. She’s has been flown to Japan, Europe, and China to model—several times on a private jet—getting paid thousands of dollars for a few hours of work. She has been recognized on an international scale as one of the top models for her industry and is in demand with countless couture designers for her body type. What kind of supermodel is Helen? She is one of the top models in the Fit Modeling industry, which is considered a behind-thescenes kind of occupation. Helen is a professional model whose career spans several decades longer than most working models. Typically, only supermodels get paid the big bucks beyond their 20’s, and if you keep working at that ripe old age, then the work is sporadic and tends to pay a lot less. Except if you’re Helen Powers.

DECADES LATER An exception to the rule, Helen has been working steadily for decades as a model maintaining a salary of close to $500,000 per year continually for 30 years. But Helen didn’t grow up having dreams of strutting down the runway in her head. She studied fashion to be a buyer and shortly after graduating with a fashion merchandising degree she moved to Los Angeles where she heard the junior and denim markets were emerging. These markets were of particular interest to her, and she figured getting experience in a secondary market first would benefit her until she was ready to start interviewing for buying positions back in her hometown of New York City. As she worked her first job as a showroom manager in LA, Helen got another offer to model the clothes for the showroom designer after they had discovered she was the perfect fit for the job. She worked both jobs for a while, and upon discovering she was the ideal size for fit modeling with other companies also, she began working full-time as a model in Los Angeles and never looked back. Her education in fashion greatly benefited her in the fit modeling industry because she not only was the perfect size for the job but knew the difference between the types of fabrics and the way they should drape and feel on a person. Fit modeling is not limited to only trying on clothing but also having a broad knowledge of the kinds of fabrics used, where they are made, and how they come together to make the ideal outfit for a customer. Fit models are often called “technical consultants” as well. 94 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

MISSING THE BIG APPLE As many New Yorkers know, Los Angeles isn’t for everyone and Helen was missing her family and friends back in New York. At the peak of her career in California, Helen abruptly quit and came back to the Big Apple. But she had already established her name as a highly regarded fit model out west, and her career was about to explode exponentially with the top names in the fashion industry in New York City such as Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Max Mara and Saks Fifth Avenue to name a few. Upon her arrival back in New York, Helen got representation at IMG and began building a career that eventually took her around the world on private jets and to first-class hotels. She was flown to Hong Kong for three weeks at a time, to Paris where a Lear jet would take her to Florence for a day fitting and Northern Italy to “try on a pair of jeans” for a few hours. Max Mara even sent her to Italy for 24 hours from New York to perfect their pant fit for their major brand. She was living a jet-set life much like any supermodel and being paid for it handsomely. But unlike typical supermodels who can gain a few pounds here and there and still work, all throughout Helen’s career she had to remain “the perfect fit” within one-quarter of an inch of her measurements or she would start losing work instantly. Given Helen’s ambition, education and an intense passion for fashion, it’s not surprising that while maintaining such a demanding career she also added the title of “designer” into her experience. She invented the “Power Bag” which was a stylish tote bag that separated shoes from other belongings inside of it, instead of carrying multiple bags around. And as Helen does nothing halfway, she got her Power Bag featured in O (personally selected by Oprah herself) and Shape magazines, on FOX-NY, the Wall Street Journal, Newsday and even got nominated for a design award by the Fashion Group International in the process.

DESIGNING WAYS Becoming a handbag designer was the beginning of a design career that would be picked up again several years later morphing into interior design. After the purchase of her home in Greenwich, Connecticut, and West Palm Beach, Helen started to enjoy flipping houses on weekends between her modeling gigs and realized her talent for fashion and design had organically expanded to interiors. Everything she learned up to this point was culminating into a new career, while three decades later she was still modeling as though nothing had changed, including both her measurements and her salary. Helen got certified with The Academy of Home Staging and is currently working with a company in Boca Raton called “Restyle HOME.” She expressed that “I have taken my knowledge of fashion, color trends, and proportion to design homes now…for example, when I’m working with a designer and look at an article of clothing for them, the pocket has to be in a particular area, and everything must be done according to proportion. Well, so does the inside of your home. It’s all about color stories, fabrics, textures, mood, attitude - all this comes into play when designing a house.” Giving back has also been profoundly important to Helen, so when she had the opportunity to lecture on fashion marketing last summer in Paris for the University of California’s study center, she accepted enthusiastically. As a single mom raising her daughter on her own from a very young age, Helen is determined to help forge paths for women’s success. And for now, this supermodel will be living Helen Powers-style, jetting back and forth between Florida and New York every week, working with the interiors of client’s homes on the weekends in West Palm Beach and modeling in New York City during the week. • Judy Goss is currently the radio show host of What Women Want with over 500,000 downloads and is a published author of St. Martin’s Press. She is also an entrepreneur who founded the nationally acclaimed networking organization Over 40 Females® with its 20 chapters from New York to California. Judy is also a freelance journalist who interviews people about her favorite topic; their personal stories and what inspired them to be who they are today. DECEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 95


fter years on the New York social circuit, Sonja Morgan gained international fame as a star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City. As the show gears up for its ninth season, Sonja has been balancing a full TV filming schedule with her fashion line Sonja Morgan New York, and recently took the stage, starring in the off-Broadway production of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. As her star continues to rise, Sonja took a moment to reflect on her glamorous New York life. What was your life like before The Real Housewives of New York? Very discreet! I’m laughing because now I am recognized everywhere by people I don’t know but who feel know me. Before I was only known on the philanthropic circuit or when traveling to family homes to ski or boat and then, of course, my Manhattan neighborhood. I have a rapport with my shoe repair man, my UPS guy, dry cleaner, tailor newspaper guy, deli man, garage guy and my favorite restaurants. It’s very New York as we love to walk everywhere and soak up the cultures of our neighbors. How did the show change your life? The show has helped my charities that I had already been involved with for decades. Under my umbrella comes children, animals, artists, and the LGBT community. There is a lot of crossover! I find it hard to say no to many efforts. But I must as I have a young daughter with great ambition and my businesses that are being newly built since starting over as a divorced mom. The show has just kept me current and vibrant. In touch with and part of pop culture. It is good to be helpful to young people at times due to my experience. Very gratifying. What’s been your favorite part of doing the show? Again working with the young people who know so much about technology, media, digital. I’m a marketing major from way back at The Fashion Institute, so I find the mix of business, tech and artistic creativity fascinating. What’s been the biggest challenge in doing the show? The biggest challenge has been juggling schedules. Some things can be filmed. And others can’t. You want to show as much as possible, so the viewer gets to know your “story.” But not every friend, work partner, or family member will be up for it. Then you have the other side of the coin. There are people you know who just want face time or to be with you to exploit their wares on camera and just be with someone famous and connected. It can be isolating being in a fishbowl and people counting their invites with you. I was used to that before the show and before my marriage as a young girl jet setting and doing public relations. So I was equipped to deal with it. 96 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | DECEMBER 2016

It’s still a challenge. Some can let it go to their ego and lose the run of themselves. I try not to. You recently brought your talents to off-Broadway in Sex Tips For Straight Women From A Gay Man. What was that experience like? I was completely flabbergasted. I came to a standstill in time. Asking myself if it was real or a joke. They didn’t ask me to have it on my show. I wasn’t filming at the time. Not that they told me to film it. In my conversation with the producer and director, it was clear they thought the part was perfect for me. They had heard from other production teams from some cameos on comedies I’d done that I was a natural and professional. So they asked me. I also have an international following. As do they. My daughter was impressed with the play and said you have to do it! The team was great. It was a wonderful enriching New York experience. As you build your brand, what defines the Sonja Morgan lifestyle? A timeless, season-less luxury fashion lifestyle for every day. What inspires your collection? Travel, culture, ease of wear and upkeep. It has longevity. You’ve pursued so many different projects and lived a very exciting life. What still motivates you? Friendships that last. Relationships in business that build and transcend. Travel and sharing cultures. Tradition. What’s next for Sonja Morgan? I’m excited about my daughter’s success at boarding school. Though I miss her, I’m excited about this new chapter for me too. It’s an opportunity to lighten up things at my home and start a new page for myself. I’m preparing to travel more and more. I’m continuing to build my online fashion jewelry and swim collections slowly. I am looking to see how I can branch from there into home and hospitality in the best manner for my brand ID. For more information on Sonja Morgan, please visit: •

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