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Vol. 3 #11 | December 2017 / January 2018

Happy Holidays Geoffrey Zakarian exclusive

Delicious Dining Traditions

Broadway’s “Home for the Holidays”

Holiday Gift Guide

Jacques Torres Chocolate Temptations

SAVE UP TO 20% ON TICKETS!* *Valid on select seats and performances

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*Offer not valid on previously purchased tickets and cannot be combined with any other offer. 8 ticket max per order. Discount is calculated off of the original box office price. Service charges apply to telephone and internet orders. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice and is subject to availability. Other restrictions may apply. Offer expires December 29, 2017. Accessible and companion seats are available via the Disabled Services Department at 212-465-6034. Š2017 MSG Sports & Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved. ŠNew Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. Logo Illustration by Hugh Syme.


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FEATURES 12 14 15 58 62 65


Publisher’s Note December/January Calendar Celebrity Chef: Geoffrey Zakarian Through The Lens With Annie Watt Joan Hornig: Holiday Volunteers Holiday Gift Guide: The Art Of Giving

FASHION & BEAUTY 21 22 23 24

Celebrating In Holiday Style Meet Designer Sophie Bonvin Dazzling Dreams Glam Squad


TRAVEL 26 28 30 32 34 36

Greetings From Colorado Emerson Resort And Spa Philly Three Ways Best Places To Spend New Year’s Eve Australia’s Irresistible Lure Splendid Hamburg

REAL ESTATE & HOME DECOR 40 43 49 53 56 70 72

Notes From DB Serenity: Cleveland, Ohio The Level Comes To Brooklyn 211 Schermerhorn Street What Determines Value In NYC Residences Emerge212 Spotlight: Don & Katrina Peebles









FRANCE World No. 1

EGYPT World No. 2

EGYPT World No. 3

EGYPT World No. 4





EGYPT World No. 1

EGYPT World No. 2

FRANCE World No. 3

ENGLAND World No. 4



77 HEALTH & WELLNESS 74 77 80 82 84 85

Beauty In Aging Spa Scene: Guerlain Spa Veterans In Crisis Happy Moments... Happy Life New Year, New You Healthy Eating Resolutions


DINING 86 90 92 94 96

Jacques Torres: NYC’s Chocolate King Greenwich Steakhouse New Year’s Eve Restaurant Roundup Party Tips From A Celebrity Planner Holiday Cocktails

THEATER & ARTS 100 102 104 106 108

On Stage 30 Years Of Phantom Of The Opera On The Big Screen On The Small Screen Home For The Holidays


NEW YORK, NY 111 112 114 116 118

A Call For Unity The Best Gift Of All Paws Down, Tails Up Entrepreneur’s Corner: Olga Sweet My New York Story: Rachel Weinstein



SAVE UP TO 20% ON TICKETS TO THE SHOW* *Valid on select seats and performances

VISIT ROCKETTES.COM/FAMILY *Offer not valid on previously purchased tickets and cannot be combined with any other offer. 8 ticket max per order. Discount is calculated off of the original box office price. Service charges apply to telephone and internet orders. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice and is subject to availability. Other restrictions may apply. Offer expires January 1, 2018. Accessible and companion seats are available via the Disabled Services Department at 212-465-6115. Š2017 MSG Sports & Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved.

ISSN 2474-770X

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Vol. 3 #11 | December 2017 / January 2018 President / Publisher Bill Mason

Read Any of Our Issues In Digital Format on: | Apple Newsstand | Our Website

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

Entertainment Editors Jenny Peters, Lori Simmons Zelenko

Feature Editor Joan Hornig

Real Estate Editor Daniel J. Bollinger

Fashion & Style Editor Miki Makrillos

Contributing Editors Clint Brownfield, Ruth J. Katz

Chief Photographer Annie Watt

Contributing Writers Michael Alpiner, Dr. Scott Asnis, Shari Bilt Boockvar, MS, RDN, Norah Bradford, Trish Brown, Cecilia Connolly Karen Feld, Lee Gabay, Judy Goss, Ann Grenier Karen Jacobs, Tom Joseph, Peter Kalellis, Gretchen Kelly Julie Menin, Griffin Miller, Ellis Nassour, Anne Poulson Anthony Rapacciuolo, Anne Raso, Richie Realms Baruch Shemtov, Bill Spadea, Jeff & Stephanie Sylva, Susan Traub Rachel Weinstein, Stacey Zable, Camille Zamora Internet Presence Scott Cuollo, Richard Austin Advertising BLUE VISTA 725 Sales Bill Mason Sr. - Director of New Business Development Brett Caldwell - Director of Integrated Sales and Marketing John Miller - Director of Sales - Travel Michael Stulmaker - Director of Sales - Real Estate Francine Dingeman - Senior Sales Manager New York Sales Office (646) 259-2651

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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 11 times annually. © 2017 New York Lifestyles Magazine

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE “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.”

his is a very special time of the year when we remember our family, friends, and life as we know it. You don’t have to be a news journalist to know that we live today in a time of great uncertainty and unpredictability. Looking back on 2017, we have witnessed a world that sorely needs more positive ways to promote compassion, kindness, peace, and understanding. Each one of us can make a difference if we look for ways to stop prejudice, discrimination, violence, and bad behavior. We can find the resources to protect our children and society with a safer environment. Together we can foster good dialogue and better mental health programs and never forget the greatest power of all, love.

-Ernie Anastos

Executive Publisher New York Lifestyles Magazine “Our City, Your Life”

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. 12 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION


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WE ARE THE NEW NETWORK From breaking news, to entertainment and sports, ReachMe TV connects the screens you pass everyday with the screen in the palm of your hand. ReachMe TV is a multi-channel, digital TV network built from the ground up to satisfy the entertainment needs of modern viewers on the go. The network's delivery of compelling content in innovative formats has led to partnerships that have propelled ReachMe TV's total viewership, exceeding a reach of  over 100 million viewers per month in addition to a digital audience of over 30 million per month. Co-Founders Lynnwood Bibbens and Ron Bloom's have made their ReachMe footprint even greater by entering a 10 year exclusive deal with CBS Television whereby CBS provides access to its world-class  national programming and news as well as direct access to the entire CBS station group for local news, sports and weather. ReachMe TV's collaboration with CBS Television has led to the creation of, CBS ON THE GO!  An exclusive news, sports and weather brand for all of the CBS stations. This enables ReachMe TV to deliver fresh national and local news into every airport and hotel in their network on a daily basis. (* sources: Airport Council International, Nielsen and 3rd party research, 50%+ origination outbound)


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12TH – 20TH

A Charles Dickens Christmas Hear an actor dressed as Charles Dickens read the Christmas Carol in an elegant, festive parlor at the Merchant’s House

14TH – 20TH Winter Solstice Concert Celebrate the darkest night of the year at the secular Winter Solstice Celebration featuring musicians, vocalists, and the 25 dancers and drummers of the Forces of Nature Dance Theater in The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

Menorah Lighting Celebrate Chanukah nightly with live music and hot latkes at the Lighting of the Menorah, which is 32 feet tall at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn.

17TH Merry Tuba Christmas Hear Christmas carols and sing along at this annual concert at The Rink at Rockefeller Center.

21ST Handel’s Messiah The Musica Sacra Chorus and Orchestra performs Handel’s Messiah with a 30-member chorus and 20-player orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

21ST A Charlie Brown Christmas Based on the TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas features the famous Peanuts cartoon gang learning the true meaning of Christmas on stage at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City.




Christmas Eve Caroling Join the carolers and brass quartet at the annual Christmas Eve caroling from 5 to 6 pm at the arch in Washington Square Park.

New Year’s Eve/Times Square New Year’s Eve in Times Square has dazzling light, big-name music, balloons, confetti and a crystal ball that drops at midnight. To join the crowd seeing it live, be sure to arrive early

JANUARY 5TH Annual Three Kings Parade Children wearing crowns join real camels, sheep, a donkey, colorful puppets, and musicians, join together in the festive Three Kings Day Parade and Celebration in East Harlem.

18TH – 25TH JP Morgan Squash Tournament Of Champions See world-class athletes contend for the top prize held in Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal.


15TH MLK Day Concert Register online and arrive early for a seat at A Shared Dream tribute and concert, which includes a gospel singer, bands, and more at Brooklyn College.

26TH – 28TH New York Times Travel Show Hear travel talks by experts, browse more than 500 travel booths, taste international foods, and watch cultural performance at Javits Convention Center.

By Baruch Shemtov

elebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian has made a name for himself around the world as the chef and partner in restaurants including The Lambs Club in New York City, Georgie at Montage Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, and Point Royal at The Diplomat in Hollywood (FL). His restaurants have become a favorite destination for power lunches and power dinners, and influencers have taken note of his creative yet comforting cuisine. Beyond the kitchen, Zakarian has brought his personality and charm to television as a star on the Food Network, and has spread his philosophy of good food through his cookbooks, Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town/Country and My Perfect Pantry:150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients. He’s also inspired a line of Pro for Home kitchen products to empower everyone to embrace their inner chef. The tools include everything from storage containers to sous vide circulators, and are available on HSN, Wayfair, Sur La Table and ShopGZ.


I don’t dress like I’m 20 years younger because I’m not. It’s all about confidence.



Geoffrey Zakarian and wife Margaret Williams



While he has built his business on the foundation of fine cuisine, Zakarian is passionate about making sure everyone has something to eat, and he’s brought the concern to his role as Chairman of City Harvest Food Council where he works hard to combat hunger in New York City. As he gets ready to ring in 2018, Geoffrey took time out of his whirlwind schedule to reflect on all of his accomplishments. Congrats on your success with the Zakarian empire. What unifies all of your restaurants? I believe what unifies our restaurants is great management and warm hospitality in each restaurant. What role do you feel restaurants play in society? They feed people. And hopefully inspire a few people once in a while to embark on this industry. What did it take to become the Geoffrey Zakarian we know today?

That New York sensibility has undoubtedly influenced Zakarian’s approach to food, both as a chef and a connoisseur, from his first days at the legendary Le Cirque restaurant. He’s risen the culinary ladder with a sense of drive that’s influenced his menus at venues that have entertained clients everywhere from Miami’s Delano Hotel to the restaurants aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines ships. But while his menus have always been innovative, it’s ultimately satisfying to see what a chef really eats at the end of the day. What is the key to the perfect meal? Someone perfect to share it with. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Grilled Dover Sole and Chassagne Montrachet (very cold).

A lot of luck. A ton of work and a lot of missed vacations and holidays. Plus, did I say a lot of luck? How has New York influenced your cuisine? It’s the greatest metropolitan city in the world, and it’s actually quite small compared to London, Paris, or Tokyo. I am blessed to be in this great city that really helps you stay relevant because of the diversity of food and culture.

The Lambs Club


I am blessed to be in this great city that really helps you stay relevant because of the diversity of food and culture.


A STAR PLAYER On the Food Network, Zakarian has become a star player in an increasingly popular sector of food television. He’s an Iron Chef, a judge on Chopped, and a co-host of the popular shows The Kitchen and Cooks vs. Cons. With competition shows and cooking shows to suit every taste, fine food is now a part of popular culture, and Zakarian has been at the forefront of the movement every step of the way. How has TV and your many Food Network shows changed your life? I was already an established chef and restaurant owner. Food Network amplified that success and allowed me to share it with more people than I ever imagined. Why do you think viewers are so passionate about food-related programming these days? It has entered the realm of entertainment. Not just food. But the food is so good now it’s hard to turn away. It’s getting the viewer addicted to something they can actually achieve.

He’s risen the culinary ladder with a sense of drive that’s influenced his menus.


Geoffrey Zakarian & Baruch Shemtov

Now that we are enjoying the holidays, Zakarian is busy preparing The Lambs Club for a range of festivities, from Christmas Carolers during Saturday Brunch, to glamorous Sunday suppers during December. With a dramatic (and warm) limestone fireplace taking center stage in the dining room, the restaurant will welcome visitors from around the world who are reserving their spots at the The Lambs Club to celebrate the holidays. And, while he will certainly be entertaining his international clientele, Zakarian will also be taking some time out of the kitchen this season to ring in 2018 with his family. As we all enjoy the holiday season, what are your favorite Zakarian traditions at home? Lots of time is spent in the kitchen with my kids. Lots of outside activities. And of course way too much food. With Lebanese inlaws, we truly are spoiled. •

GEOFFREY’S FAVORITES What’s your favorite New York spot for… A Coffee? Sant Ambroeus Madison Ave. It has a classic Milanese style coffee and great people watching. Purchase a gift? Hermès. It’s gasp-worthy pricing, but giving that orange bag to someone always brings its own gasp! Dinner? Bond St., a perfect blend of Japanese high cuisine with chic New York attitude.


The Lambs Club

Some time alone? The bar at Bemelmans. A celebration? Balthazar, it’s Paris in the heart of New York.

To round it all out, Zakarian is also known for his stylish wardrobe, modeling his designer duds on television and the hottest New York red carpets. It’s a panache that infuses his personal and professional life in every way. We all get to see your sartorial splendor on TV. What’s the recipe for perfect style? I dress like myself. I don’t dress like I’m 20 years younger because I’m not. It’s all about confidence. I feel like style should be personal, not catalog-driven. HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 19

CELEBRATING IN HOLIDAY STYLE By Miki Makrillos | Photo Courtesy of Miki Makrillos

his holiday season dress to impress, and express your own personal style. According to the professional stylists at Esti's this is a time of vibrancy! Bold color, metallics, textured fabrics, fine details, and beautiful floral prints are all the rave this winter. There are no limits to your self expression and holiday cheer this year!


Alexander McQueen Skirt and Top Black with Silver $3,940



Giamba Dress $1,695


Elie Saab Long Dress Billiards $6,825


Fendi Bag Gold $2,300

Elie Saab Cocktail Dress Multi Color $8,400

Pamella Roland Gold Gown $6,985

Christian Siriano Copper Cocktail Dress $1,695

Fendi Bag White with Silver $3,750

Miki Makrillos is a commentator on style, fashion and lifestyle on her website; HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 21


orn and raised in Switzerland, Sophie Bonvin knew from an early age she had a passion for all things stylish. So much so that the young designer founded The Collector Geneva in 2014, a luxury handbag and accessories company. “I always loved nice things and so I decided that I wanted to get the style of life I was dreaming of, I will have to find my own way,” she recently told New York Lifestyles magazine.

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Her sought after designs are a worldwide sensation in the fashion world. Crafted from exotic skins including python, American alligator and South African ostrich, the interior of each bag is just as luxurious—lined with lambskin and finished in hardware of gunmetal or plated gold. Designed by Vietnamese-French interior and landscape designer Hom Le Xuan, the line’s essence is uniquely Swiss with skins selected in Paris and Italy from the best tanning and finishing companies.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT Like Sophie, Bill is an active philanthropist, whose charity organization The Bill Claps ScholarAthlete Award, grants scholarships to students on the basis of their academic and athletic performances. Additionally, prior to creating the Code Collection, Bill worked with Sophie during a 2015 charity gala event at Art Basel Miami. A handbag, customized by Bill with his signature Morse Code was auctioned by Sotheby’s, with proceeds benefitting the Make A Wish Foundation.


For this recent collaboration, Claps reflected on communication in the digital age by embellishing the handbags with the dots and dashes most often used in Morse Code communication.

For more information on the Code Sophie admitted that she loves to collaborate with Collection, visit • successful contemporary artists to produce limited editions of hand-painted handbags in addition to producing her signature line. “Art feeds my soul and makes me dream. I love fashion and feel so great while I am wearing special clothes.” One of her most successful collaborations was with Laura Chaplin—granddaughter of silent film celebrity Charlie Chaplin. Recently, however, Sophie celebrated the launch of their Fall/Winter Code Collection, in New York with artist Bill Claps. His work evokes mysterious and inspiring messages and combines beautifully with the luxury feeling exotic skins and special texture of his pieces. Bill, who hails from New Jersey, was trained at Harvard University and later studied painting and drawing at the Art Students League in both New York City and Florence, Italy. His paintings and drawings have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries around the U.S. and Europe, including the Salomon Arts Gallery, Aspen Fine Arts Gallery and Art Monaco, among others. 22 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

Sophie Bonvin, Bill Claps

DAZZLING DREAMS iamonds and pearls are both up there as classic jewelry box staples. Worn alone is stunning, but put them together and the effect is even more alluring. The two gems complement each other perfectly, with lustrous pearls softening the bling factor of diamond jewelry. Diamonds and pearls are truly a timeless pairing any woman will cherish forever. SEEING STARS Comet Diamond Ring by Angela Hubel

A STEP BACK IN TIME Edwardian Platinum Negligee Necklace

MAKE A STATEMENT Diamond Eternity Earrings

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DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER Art Deco Diamond Platinum Ring

PERFECT MATCH Rose Cut Chocolate Diamond Ring by Alishan

IT’S A WRAP Diamond Star Cuff Bracelet by Atelier Zobel (with brown, black and white diamonds)

GLORIOUS PEARLS South Sea Baroque Pearl Necklace

SPARKLE PLENTY Georgian Diamond Brooch

Diamonds and pearls are truly a timeless pairing any woman will cherish forever. ALL JEWELRY AVAILABLE AT AARON FABER GALLERY ( • HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 23

GLAM SQUAD aving the best for last: when is our style more on point than during holiday season? Here’s how to put some glamour into your makeup look! -The Editors at

STARRY EYED The holiday season is for most a beautiful time of year. Many of us are already impatient with the idea of imagining the first decorations. Like outdoor decorations in the form of angels, Christmas trees, and sparkling candles. It also is a beautiful time to make yourself shine as well. A big hit this season is applying metallic eye makeup such as a golden or silver colored e yeli ne r. Eye sha d ow s i n w ar m c ol ors such as ol ive, bu rg u ndy or bronze will bring a little color and glamor to your eyes. Finally, dabbing a highlighter will boost your complexion to perfection by bringing a subtle shine.

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GLITTERING NAILS During the holidays, it is finally the opportunity to bring out the varnishes with iridescent reflections! With brilliant particles and patterns, your varnish will compete with your baubles. For a discreet shine, apply the varnish of the color of your choice then choose a subtle shimmery effect top coat to put a little madness in your manicure while remaining classy. GLOW GIRL NOTE Cosmetics Sunglow Foundation Liquid Glow & Highlighter is a radiant liquid glow and highlighter formulated with ultra-fine, light reflecting pearls and designed to achieve a dewy, radiant complexion. The natural bronze sun-kissed look is excellent for all skin types (

MULTI-TASKER Nars Sculpting Multiple Duo twoin-one unit is foolproof. The darker shades blend effortlessly to create a contour enhancing the face’s natural features, while the illuminating shades provide a sheer color that illuminates the high points of the face. Both double up on eyes, lips, and cheeks ( 24 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

SHIMMER & SHINE Shiseido Makeup Shimmering Cream Eye Color glides over eyelids creating a luxurious and deeply pigmented look in an instant. There is no need to apply an eyeshadow base or powder shadow on top as the eye color delivers strong color definition with maximum performance as well as unique luster and lasting brilliance (

PLUMP UP GrandeLIPS Nude Collection provides long-term benefits with Volulip™ which soothes irritated skin while enhancing collagen and plumping effect. Hyaluronic acid also moisturizers and improves firmness (grandecosmetics. com).

HOLIDAY POUT It’s finally the time to slip into your evening gown and slink down those stairs in style. Dark red lips will pair exceptionally well with an evening gown. Carefully draw on your liner with a precision brush and accompany these two features with a porcelain complexion - the best of allies of the lips to make them center stage. If you opt for a lighter shade, you can experiment with a more sophisticated look and use darker shades on the nails!

NAIL IT Mischo Beauty “Own It” Nail Lacquer offers classic colors to show off during the holiday season and is a stunning testament to the grace and courage required to travel the road to success. Fiery, metallic gold “Through the Fire” will brighten up any holiday look (

NATURAL AND SUBTLE For an alternative to extravagant makeup, use nude shades. This type of makeup is ideal if you are already wearing a bright and colorful Christmas outfit. Apply a natural, brown eyeshadow to your eyes and nude lip-gloss. This elegant and tasteful make-up fits all the styles. TRESS RELIEF Mixed Chicks Styling Gel provides beautiful control to curly locks. The noflake defining gel holds hair in place, sculpts into any style as it thickens and adds texture. The result: healthy and manageable tresses (

HOLIDAY HAIR This season is all about sleek and straight hair. To accompany a statement dress and eye-catching makeup, hair must stay well kept. Use a smoothing shampoo and conditioner in the shower and follow up with a smoothing prep product like a leave-in conditioner. Blow dry in sections and heat up the straighteners— remember to apply a protection spray first! Once straightened, use a firm hold hairspray and spritz on a shine product to swish that hair with sass all night! LIP SERVICE Clinique Pop Matte Lip Colour + Primer is the one to catch if vivid color is to your liking, the moisturerich Pop Matte Collection has got you covered. Bonus: It comes with a built-in primer to smooth lips over (

BRIGHT & BEAUTIFUL Besame French Vanilla Brightening Face Powder is a cruelty-free, hand-made powder from Los Angeles. Use it to achieve a polished look which instantly brightens dark circles around eyes and can be worn over foundation to set or alone (



he romance of the Old West is alive and well. You’ll find it in the Colorado Rockies, where the sky seems endless and each night treats you to an astronomical display of stars; where the mountains are so high, you’d swear they could touch the sky. Although such natural sights may be awe-inspiring, you will also find the trendiest mountain resorts brimming with sophistication, culture and enough diversions that you’ll never want for something to do. So if you are game, the Colorado Rockies make for a stunning, memorable and a truly unique destination.

ASPEN No ot he r C ol or a do town offers more attractions and distractions than Aspen. Movie and TV stars hang out here— and why not? Nestled in the White River National Forest some 200 miles from Denver, this more-than-one-hundredyear-old former mining town really knows how to treat people. Aspen is chichi and every inch sexy. Winter vacations focus on world-class skiing, hot-tubbing, and dog sledding. Even if you’re not an expert powder hound, you can still see Aspen’s slopes up close. Mush with huskies on a sled into the wilderness, where the craggy mountains look close enough to touch. Float in a hot air balloon over the heads of cross-country skiers. Or rev up a snowmobile for a wild ride through the pines. Need a break from ski trails? Then stroll the downtown pedestrian mall to catch a global shopping experience. Everything from dazzling baubles to leather and western furnishings is displayed in more than 300 retail shops.



BEAVER CREEK Tucked away privately beyond a gated entrance this luxurious but laid-back resort is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. Celebs own homes here, and it draws a very international upscale crowd. The village of Beaver Creek is so selfcontained that once you arrive, there’s no reason to leave. Being pampered to the hilt seems to be the mantra of all who live and work here. While about 27 percent of the 146 trails at Beaver Creek are best suited to advanced skiers and 34 percent to beginners the remainder of slopes here are best for intermediates (that’s 39 percent). The mountain management are keen on daily grooming which makes the plethora of blue trails great cruising runs. And in true European style, you can ski village to village, touring the mounta in, visit neighboring communities of Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead and stop for refreshments along the way. It’s no fallacy that there are no lift lines at Beaver Creek, it’s an unbelievable reality! The only time you will ever see more than a dozen folks waiting for any chair is peak hour in the morning at the base of the main mountain.

BRECKENRIDGE The oldest continuously occupied town on Colorado’s Western front, Breckenridge was settled in 1859 by a party of prospectors who discovered gold in the Blue River. As the glittering veins faded away, Breckenridge itself began to edge toward obsolescence. But when the fledgling ski industry started lacing its slopes with lifts in the early 1960s, the town took its first steps back from the brink. By the 1980s, the town hit its stride with the regions’ first high-speed quad chairlift and an emphasis on innovative, kid’s programs. The success of the skiing enterprise caught on in town, where entrepreneurs opened shops in restored Victorian houses, and inspired chefs converted burro barns into gourmet restaurants. Breckenridge’s celebrated Main Street sets it apart from Summit County’s three other ski areas (Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Copper Mountain); it retains all the color of its frontier origins. Breckenridge’s beauty is its short runs—perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers. They’re home to a collection of steep-sides bowls above the timberline, well-groomed cruisers, and lots of slopes for first-timers.

STEAMBOAT The town of Steamboat wears its history on weathered wood and brick buildings. Shuttle buses move skiers between town and the resort area, which together have more than 60 restaurants and bars for après-ski, plus a variety of shopping and e nter t ainment destinations. The most popular place in town after a day on the slopes is the rec center, where skiers warm their aching bones in generously sized pools fed by hot mineral springs. Novices will find a niche at the base of the mountain; w hi le i nter me di ate and advanced can look forward to lots of runs and some of the best tree skiing in the West.

TELLURIDE Gone are the days when dusty miners descended from the mountains around Telluride to brawl in the town’s bars, and Butch Cassidy practiced fast getaways on Main Street before robbing his first bank. Today, it’s home base for the country’s hottest ski scene, and the list of the rich and famous snatching up property just may rival Aspen. All this commotion can be blamed on the challenging ski slopes. Experts rank these mountains the toughest in the U.S., creating an après-ski social atmosphere that defies national statistics. But beginners rave about the resort as well, thanks to Sunshine Peak, a secluded paradise off the beaten track with lengthy runs reached by the longest high-speed quad chair. Ice climbing, cross-country skiing along the San Miguel River, snowmobiling to ghost towns in the San Juan Mountain range, and heli-skiing are just a few of the options available beyond traditional downhill skiing.

VAIL Gorgeous views are what Vail is all about. Just twenty minutes from Beaver Creek lies the sporty resort of Vail. It’s a favorite with the snowboarding crowd and has a lively young casual nightlife. Shopping is the Olympic sport here. Like Aspen, all the major retailers have outposts here, so you can melt down your credit card without flexing a muscle. The pedestrian malls are windowshopper friendly. In winter, no ski area tops Vail for size, style, and excitement. Though the valley offers the usual gross of activities, you’re cheating yourselves if you don’t explore the ski mountain first, then dip your toes into a hot tub, and enjoy a massage, spa, or indoor tennis. You won’t forget your sunset horseback ride, or a sunrise balloon trip overlooking the sleeping town. And nothing makes a winter night in Vail more special than a sleigh ride beneath a full moon! For more information on Colorado, visit •



alph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” The eager traveler packs a suitcase, takes one last sweeping look around the house, and prepares to leave the routine world behind. The road ahead is paved with hope and expectation, the images from a website or the recommendation from a friend.

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Yet, if that journey ends at the Emerson Resort and Spa in the Catskill Mountains, that eager traveler will soon discover that the words of the great writer resonate with truth. A scenic two-hour drive from New York City opens nature’s curtains with a backdrop of rolling hillsides and majestic mountain peaks, lush farmland, and small towns peppered with local shops selling fresh produce, antiques and crafts. It is impossible not to feel a twinge of Transcendentalism, the city air mixing with the clean, pure air of the Hudson Valley, and the humility of being small amidst the vast expanse of woods and sky.

SUPERIOR INTERIOR Dissolve into a world of the senses at the Emerson. The lobby itself is the first pebble on the path to relaxation and self-awareness, with ambient light, restful tones, comfortable seating areas, and the eloquence of Emerson’s philosophies fixed upon the walls, remind the wanderer to “live in the sunshine…drink the wild air.” Through the lobby, one reaches the entrance to the spa area whose threshold is framed by an original 17th-century Rajasthani palace door. Within, the Asian-inspired décor and soft spa music, complete the indulgent experiences. Among the massage services available are hot stone, Swedish, deep tissue, and aromatherapy. Additionally, one can dissolve in exotic herbal body treatments such as the seaweed body wrap, the Balinese coffee polish, and the hydrotherapy treatment. Sit back and relax as skilled estheticians address all facial, manicure, and pedicure needs. Afterwards, the newly-rejuvenated can lounge in a warm room with a cup of honey infused tea. These services are wellworth the additional cost. After all, Emerson himself stated, “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself.” 28 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

The rooms at the Emerson are spacious as if the architect took a deep breath before deciding on vaulted ceilings, balconies within earshot of the Esopus Creek, over-sized jetted tubs, and gas fireplaces that cast the perfect lighting for any mood. The décor sports earth tones, blurring the line between a luxurious spa and luxurious nature. On one wall, again, the words of Emerson reminding the world of the power of literate luxury. “Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us.” The Resort offers an indulgent food and beverage experience as well. The Woodnotes Grill menu is crafted with attention to health, taste, and local elements. The rustic room is ornate with flowers and light, artisan style décor featuring a fireplace to add to the already calming ambiance. The aroma of the pan seared salmon and the St. Louis ribs is as stimulating as their taste. Both are an example of what the chefs at the Emerson call “creative cooking.” Cocktails are hand-crafted using high-end artisanal spirits, bitters, freshly squeezed juices, and the finest ingredients—each expertly measured and designed. With a fully stocked bar, the Emerson understands that man (and woman) cannot live by wellness alone.

NATURE TRAILS & WATERFALLS The Emerson is technically located in Mt. Tremper, near some historic towns. Phonecia has some charm, but serves as more an appetizer to the entrée of Woodstock and Saugerties. Here, the bohemian spirit and “Summer of Love” aura is holding on with its galleries, specialty shops and forced nostalgia of tiedye shirts and tourist souvenirs for those looking to get “back to the land.” The best of the area is the numerous nature trails and waterfalls, visual gifts that have always been there. One such site is Kaaterskill Falls, whose prize of a scenic overlook can be accessed through a pleasant stroll through the wooded pathways. One nearby attraction that seems most fitting to the adventurer immersed in the wonders of nature is the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Cole, who first came to the Catskills in 1825, founded the Hudson River School of Art, and through his own perspective of the surroundings, reminded the world of the value within the emotional and rational appreciation of nature. One can visit his home and studio, and upon gazing at the living landscape, realize what inspired this great American artist.

Michael Alpiner’s writing and publishing includes travel/hospitality articles as well as fiction and poetry. His poetry is included in the anthology, Blood to Remember. Michael earned an MFA in Creative Writing, teaches college writing, and has served as a Writer-in-Residence for the Louis Armstrong Museum. He is co-founder of

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.” The Emerson Resort and Spa offers such a variety of landscapes, the ones created by nature, the ones we see with eyes closed as we indulge in spa services, or even the transporting experience of gourmet food and drink. For more information on Emerson Resort and Spa, visit •



here’s no question, New York City shines brightly during the holiday season. But if you want a break and change of scenery, why not take in the sights and sounds of Philadelphia. A quick weekend getaway to Philadelphia—a World Heritage City—is a the place to discover where this nation was born and the many sites related to our history, as well as art galleries, restaurants, and an abundance of shopping. One of these three properties is sure to make your visit memorable when exploring the City of Brotherly Love.

COURTYARD PHILADELPHIA DOWNTOWN You might miss the entrance to the Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown by simply thinking it’s one of downtown Philadelphia’s many historic buildings. Well, in fact, you would be right as the property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, enabling guests to start their historic tour right where they choose to stay. The lobby’s décor and furnishings are reminiscent of the 1920s, an homage to its history. Guests are met with warmth and welcoming service that starts at the front desk. Walk further into the hotel and guests will find a sundry/convenience market for snacks and drinks and a Starbucks for favorite coffees and light fare. The on-site restaurant Nineteen 26, featuring American fare and named after the year of the hotel’s establishment, serves three meals daily with an expansive breakfast buffet, including cooked-toorder omelets. Modern touches in the restaurant include booths with their own televisions and remote controls. Newly renovated large guest rooms (499 in total) boast 11-foot ceilings, fine linens, mini refrigerators, 42-inch LCD TVs, and iHome radio docking stations. Families traveling together will find that the two Queen bed guest rooms offer plenty of space and comfort for a family of four. The property’s location steps from City Hall is ideal, making it walking distance to Central City’s top shopping and dining, and fabulous historic sites. For more information on Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown, visit

THE PHILLY CHECKLIST Here are three of Philadelphia’s most popular attractions for visitors looking to see the most of the city. Go to for more details. • Independence National Historical Park (“the birthplace of American democracy”), which includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and more sites. • Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rocky Statue at the bottom of the steps (extra points if you run up the Art Museum steps like the fictional boxer). • Reading Terminal Market—housed in a National Historic Landmark building since 1893—including eating a Philly Cheesesteak (or plenty more delicious treats from one of the 75 plus vendors)


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THE RITZ-CARLTON, PHILADELPHIA Another historic option near City Hall is The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia set on the Avenue of the Arts. The building that now houses the luxury property opened in 1908 as The Girard Trust Company and was built as a reproduction of the Pantheon. The yearlong $25 million dollar renewal project, which was completed in 2016, updated but retained the original bank architecture including the breathtaking lobby with its 100-plus-foot Rotunda dome, 16 columns, and 9,000 tons of Georgia marble. Other touches of the original architecture can be seen in the outside columned façade and the paneled high-ceilinged former bank board room that is now the 30th floor Club Level lounge. Beyond history, other links to Philadelphia come in the form of incredible views in the Club Lounge as well as select guest rooms of City Hall—which stands just across the street from the property. Want more Philadelphia touches? You’ll find complimentary Philadelphia soft pretzels and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews in the lobby. The 300 renovated guest rooms are spacious, with high ceilings, and indulgent features that include exclusive Asprey bath products and large marble bathrooms with separate tubs and stall showers. Make it a special stay in Philadelphia by upgrading to Club Level. Access to the 30th floor lounge beyond experiencing the views include a dedicated concierge to set up your dining and sightseeing and to answer any other questions you have about exploring the city. You’ll also be able to drop in throughout the day to enjoy complimentary breakfast, light snacks, hors d’ oeuvres, beverages and evening chocolates. If you chose to dine in, the hotel’s Aqimero restaurant features an open kitchen and a wood-burning Latin grill. It too was part of the hotel’s renovation, with a June 2017 opening. After all the food indulgence, head to the hotel’s fitness center. The hotel also offers services at the Richel D’Ambra Spa & Salon. For more information on Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, visit

SONESTA PHILADELPHIA Contemporary design dominates the Sonesta Philadelphia, located in the upscale Rittenhouse Square district in Center City. A hotel renovation completed in 2014 transformed the Market Street property (once the Crowne Plaza) into the art-focused Sonesta, featuring its own Art Gallery. Included in Sonesta’s most recent renovation are the fully redesigned and updated 439 guest rooms and the addition of 22 suites by architect Eric Rahe of BLT Architects and designer Melissa Wylie of Sims Patrick Studio. The result is large guest rooms offering a pampering respite. You’ll be treated to modern furnishings and such welcomed amenities as a mini-refrigerator, flat screen LCD televisions, and iHome docking stations. When not exploring the nearby sites of the city, Sonesta provides its own in-house excitement. The Art Gallery is in partnership with the Center for Emerging Visual Artists and offers a rotating exhibition of local Philadelphia artists. The art theme continues at the Art Bar, a lounge where you can dine on local cuisines, small plates and art-inspired cocktails. If headed out the door quickly for a day of sightseeing, grab-and-go snacks and a coffee bar from the café in Art Bar are available all day. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse is open in the lobby for weekend brunch, weekday lunch and daily dinner. A truly special and welcomed surprise for guests, is the hotel also has its own 24-hour on-site fitness center, plus complimentary Philadelphia Sports Club passes. For more information on Sonesta Philadelphia, visit philadelphia. •

Stacey Zable is an award-winning veteran editorial professional with experience writing for both print and online publications. She has held senior staff positions at travel trade publications, and has freelanced for some of the industry’s top consumer travel magazines. Visit her website at



s the clock ticks down to the New Year, crowds gather waiting for a glittering ball to drop. But it’s not New York City. Instead, we’re in Hong Kong where everyone enjoys ushering in a brand New Year. Fireworks, street parties, dancing, with lots of food and drink make December 31st an especially great time around the world to celebrate. Of course, each destination has its cultural twists and distinctive setting. Here, our picks that will undoubtedly start your year right.

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AMMAN, JORDAN WHAT TO SEE An ancient city and capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Amman was in earlier times named Philadelphia by Macedonian ruler Ptolemy II. New Year’s Eve in Jordan offers visitors the opportunity to see ancient history and the influence of the Roman Empire, Islamic and TurkishOttoman Empires on the modern day Jordan. WHERE TO STAY Atop the highest of the seven hills is the Four Seasons Hotel Amman (fourseasons. com). Use this as your palace from which to experience and explore the souks, the museums containing the Dead Sea Scrolls or to travel to the ancient City of Petra. The Spa offers treatments using Dead Sea salts. Dine at La Capitale and enjoy a classic French Brasserie experience.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA WHAT TO SEE With LA’s round-the-clock party scene, why not indulge in the latest trend for—club crawls? Drop into some of the hot parties such as the 9th Annual Cleopatra Ball at the Egyptian Theatre Courtyard or the classic Hollywood Roosevelt New Year’s Eve celebration. The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is an ideal vantage point from which to celebrate New Year’s Eve fireworks and perhaps stay longer to see the first of the Hollywood Awards—The 75th Golden Globes on January 7th. WHERE TO STAY New Year’s Eve in the City of Angels has a new home at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills ( Located at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards the property has been designed by Pierre-Yves-Rochon with the aim of emphasizing the best of California luxury and lifestyle. It boats no fewer than three distinct cocktail lounges and a restaurant from Chef Jean-Georges. 32 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

MAYAKOBA, MEXICO WHAT TO SEE Before midnight strikes twelve, visit the Aztec ruins of Chichen Itza or the caverns and caves of Rio Secreto. In town visit the art galleries, the 3D museum of wonders or the Playa Aquarium. Alternatively get out on the water either for fishing, yachting or snorkeling.

WHERE TO STAY Round out your plans for New Year’s Eve with a relaxing beach vacation at the Rosewood Mayakoba ( Nestled in a nature reserve, enjoy the fantastic cuisine, party at the Agave Azul Sushi & Tequila bar, not to mention the luxurious accommodations. Be sure to experience a treatment (or two) at the spa, Sense, where the expert staff will soothe and pamper. There’s also the PGA Tour golf course El Camaleon. Alternatively, try the ultimate experience: Purchase one of the five-star residences and confirm your future New Year’s Eve plans!

MONTREAL, CANADA WHAT TO SEE Celebrating its 375th Anniversary of Foundation this year alongside Canada’s 150th celebrations this is the time to enjoy a cosmopolitan, almost Parisian experience of New Year’s Eve. On your New York doorstep is Canada’s second largest city. Visit the Old Port which has ice-skating and watch the fireworks display or visit one of the nightclubs for dancing such as Mad House or something a little more classique, the Montreal Ball.

BAHAMAS WHAT TO SEE Those relaxing beach days give way to wild nights as the Bahamas prepares to ring in the New Year. Most hotels offer guests in-house celebrations. However, the real fun begins when locals celebrate with Junkanoo. It’s the Bahamian version of Mardi Gras, complete with music, street performers, and colorful costumes. The fun continues as most of these parades continue into the next day.

WHERE TO STAY The Ritz-Carlton Montreal (ritzcarlton. com) is over a century old though keeps up with the pace with its iconic position as a contemporary five-star, five-diamond-rated travel destination. The cozy, yet modern accommodations will conspire to keep you in your room though the hotel boasts outstanding spa experiences such as an indoor rooftop saltwater pool as well as a centerpiece Maison Boulud restaurant. Not without a sense of humor one of the packages offered by the hotel includes a discount based on how many degrees below zero (Celsius—not Fahrenheit) the temperature is on your day of arrival.

WHERE TO STAY The sight of this pink fantasia known as Atlantis ( comes into view well before you cross one of the Paradise Island bridges. In fact, Atlantis is as much a tourist attraction as it is a resort hotel. At Dolphin Cay, interact with dolphins and stingrays. And at Aquaventure, a 63-acre waterscape, thrilling waterslides, as well as lazy-river tube rides, traverse the sprawling grounds. To be sure, Atlantis has the entire family covered with special New Year’s Eve events for kids, a festive masquerade ball for adults, and prime viewing of the Marina Village fireworks.

HONG KONG WHAT TO SEE New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong features one of the world’s best pyrotechnic shows, an extravaganza of light and sound that includes a fireworks show over Victoria Harb our and a “ Times Square” countdown, complete with a ball drop at midnight. However, the show begins with the Light Show display that illuminates 45 buildings across the Hong Kong skyline at 8 pm (it’s presented every night throughout the year). Best views can be seen from any of the tour boats in Victoria Harbour; and on land head to Avenue of the Stars in Kowloon.

WHERE TO STAY It’s no exaggeration to say The Peninsula Hong Kong ( is legendary. Opened in 1928, it has been providing luxury accommodations with white glove service for nine decades. The Peninsula is home to no fewer than nine restaurants and bars. Begin your New Year’s Eve celebration at Gaddi’s for it classic cuisine, then grab a table on the 28th floor’s Felix. Not only are there spectacular views of Victoria Harbour, but the hand-crafted cocktails will also delight. • HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 33

Australia Gold Coast


f you’ve never taken the admittedly long trip from New York to Australia, we’re here to tell you about what you’ve been missing. For the Land Down Under is truly a magical place, where the friendly locals speak English, the landscapes are breathtaking, and there’s always a spot to settle in for a sip of wine, a pint of beer and a locally sourced bite to eat.


Join us on a trip that explores two of Australia’s six states, encompassing areas on the East Coast of this massive island that roughly matches the United States in size and boasts 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites. The first-time visitor shouldn’t try to see the whole county in one vacation-sized trip. There’s always the next visit (or two!) to see Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the two key territories (the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory). For once you finally discover the magical Land Down Under, the moment you get home you’ll begin plotting out your next trip. For more information visit

NEW SOUTH WALES Sydney The city is a melting pot of people and experiences, a place that honors the indigenous peoples and celebrates its diversity. Choose one of our favorite hotels—the Four Seasons for the views, the QT Hotel Sydney for the cool vibe— then take in the must-see key sights of the city, including the iconic Sydney Opera House, the nearby Botanical Gardens, Circular Quay and the Rocks. Try climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge; visit Bondi, Manly, and Coogee beaches, for each, has its own distinct charm and surfside vibe; and then head to Barangaroo, Sydney’s new waterfront destination. Think shopping, restaurants, art exhibits, all in a former industrial dock area that in even earlier times was once a center of Aboriginal living; take a fascinating tour of the area.

Bondi Beach, Sydney ©Destination NSW


The Blue Mountains Find breathtaking natural beauty— which this country overflows with—by heading two hours east to the Blue Mountains National Park, the incredibly biodiverse UNESCO World Heritage area. See the Three Sisters rock formations, explore the vast Jenolan Caves and take a walkabout into the bush (a hike in the woods in Aussie speak) to see ancient Aboriginal rock art. Dine at Solitary (formerly known as the Fork and View) for its elegant fare and—you guessed it—incredible vast views of the park. The Hunter Valley, Byron Bay & Tweed Heads If your idea of fine art is found in a bottle of world-class wine, then add the Hunter Wine Valley to your NSW plan, a two-hour trip to the north. Australia’s oldest wine region with vineyards dating back to the 1820s is also a beautiful place filled with lovely inns, guesthouses and top-notch local restaurants like Circa 1876 in Pokolbin. Keep the adventure going to the north by continuing to beautiful Byron Bay and Tweed Heads. There the Tweed Regional Gallery includes a fascinating permanent exhibit on famed Australian artist Margaret Olley; you’ll find sophisticated farm-to-table eateries like the Harvest Café and Paper Daisy, as well as gnarly surf breaks and a chance to kayak with frolicking dolphins in the pretty bay. Stay at the elegant Elements of Byron beachfront resort or the sleek boutique Halcyon House Hotel on Cabarita Beach; both places will pamper you with spa treatments and attentive service. For more information on New South Wales, go to

QUEENSLAND Brisbane, Gold Coast & Hinterlands Twice the size of Texas, Queensland is a state with a lot to see, including the Great Barrier Reef and four other UNESCO World Heritage natural wonders. The southern end of Queensland is the state’s most populous area, with Brisbane the hub of a burgeoning arts culture. It’s chockablock with museums, galleries, theaters and more, a place where you can kayak the Brisbane River in the morning, shop the designer-filled Collective Markets in the afternoon and dine at the renowned, avant-garde restaurant Esquire in the evening. It’s a city that can be whatever your heart desires, sophisticated or sporty, elegant or casual. Nearby is the Gold Coast, where the surf breaks are legendary, and the sunny beaches are lined with skyscrapers filled with happy vacationers. Up above it all in the Gold Coast Hinterlands is the ultimate Aussie hideaway. Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, the luxury wellness-spa destination high in the hills boasts a world-class spa with 33 treatment rooms, which is part of their program of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation melded with nature hikes and yoga classes, all with the goal of helping you find a healthy life balance. It’s a must-do stop-and-smell-the-roses experience in the beautiful landscape of south Queensland. Tropical North Queensland The Great Barrier Reef extends for 1,400 miles (it’s the world’s largest) and is a spectacular tropical and underwater paradise that’s warm year round. There are numerous jumping off points to get out to the reef, which is a two-hour boat ride from land. To get the most of a visit to Tropical North Queensland, which also includes the ancient Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge, and Cape Tribulation, fly into Cairns as a base for adventures even further north and make the luxurious waterfront Pullman Reef Hotel your home. From there, it’s a short walk to catch one of the day boats that take snorkelers and divers to swim in the reef ’s warm waters and see the vast coral formations, giant schools of tropical fish and plenty of sharks, rays, sea turtles and other incredible undersea sights. Catch a Quicksilver Cruises day boat or go all in and spend a few days out at the reef, on Reef Encounter’s liveaboard ship; think three full days on the water, diving (or snorkeling) different sites four times a day, wining and dining, too. We love Port Douglas, too, about an hour drive north, the pretty coastal town with the famed 4-Mile Beach nearby (unlike Cairns, which has no beaches), a thriving art scene, terrific restaurants and plenty of boats headed out for full-day trips that go further north on the reef. From there, the Daintree, Mossman and Cape Tribulation are an easy day trip filled with crocodile sightings, biodiversity, and breathtaking wild landscapes. Splurge on a helicopter ride over this incredible landscape for an unforgettable experience, which will cap off your first adventure in Australia. We guarantee that it won’t be your last. For more information on Queensland, visit • HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 35


n the 1955 film Daddy Long Legs, the actress Leslie Caron, playing a teenage waif in an orphanage, is plucked out of her drab milieu and introduced to a posh life, where she can have just about anything. What she asks for is an “’amburger with chocolate sauce,” homing in on the most tasteful delicacy she can imagine. Many would still agree that a hamburger slakes a hunger, any time, any place. And where might that hamburger have come from originally? Why, of course, the city of Hamburg, Germany.


But that is not all the remarkably charming city has given us. It is Karl Lagerfeld’s birthplace, the home of Jil Sander, and corporate headquarters for Wempe Jewelers, Nivea face emollients, and Mont Blanc, makers of fine writing implements and luxury goods. The second-largest city in Germany, Hamburg is a verdant (bucolic parks weave through the city) and historic Hanseatic metropolis, and here are eight reasons why it should be on your bucket list.

ELBPHILHARMONIE The Elphi, sobriquet of the new, astonishing concert hall, opened last January. The undulating, entry “tube” housing the longest escalator in Europe—nearly 300 feet—transports guests to the marvelous asymmetric, organically flowing hallways and tiers of the hall proper. Conceived by Swiss architecture firm Herzog and de Meuron— and with rich sound engineered by acclaimed Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota—it is perched on the Elbe River, surrounded by a watery perimeter. The lower levels are red brick, vestiges of warehouses that up until the 1902 were repositories for cocoa, tea, and tobacco. With both curvilinear and rectilinear lines, the panels of glass on the upper floors reflect the water and skyline. Inside, the main concert hall seats 2,100 (with a 4,765-pipe organ!); a smaller recital hall, 500; additionally, there are countless terraces for viewing the stunning panoramas, several restaurants and bars, and capacious open space. 36 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

MUSIC SCENE Hamburg was a hangout and showcase for the Beatles in the early 60s. Today, it ranks third in the world, after New York and London, for musical theater. Rocky previewed here and currently, Aladdin and The Lion King are huge hits. The musical scene is rife with jazz clubs, alternate performance venues, the Hamburg State Opera, and after-hours boites. And if ballet is your passion, the highly regarded Hamburg Ballet (along with its school, Ballettzentrum Hamburg—John Neumeier) should not be missed.

Concert Hall

City Hall Courtyard

THE PORT Hamburg is considered the secondlargest port in Europe, and its waterways, including both Inner and Outer Lake Alster, are worth an afternoon sail. Nearly a dozen companies offer boat tours around the warehouse areas and there is a hop-on-hop-off boat tour that is a good starter. An atmospheric “nighttime lights” tour at dusk is a delight and a tour of the working harbor will amaze. Additionally there is a very scenic “canal” tour, weaving through a few locks, under the city’s oldest bridges, and passing the massive Town Hall. If you are ambitious, the Fischmarkt is a Sunday morning (5 to 9 am) experience, featuring much more than fish— souvenirs, clothing, fruit and produce.

THE DAHLIA GARDEN (Dahliengarten) What a hidden gem, with 14,000 blooms that grace the city from mid-spring until the October frosts. Riots of color have been exploding all over the People’s Park (Volkspark) since 1920. With over 400 species of dahlias, it is a photographer’s and horticulturist’s delight—and entry is free.

MUSEUMS While there are several dozen museums in and around the city—including one dedicated to Johannes Brahms, one that showcases erotic art, another known as Spicy’s (a museum chronicling the global space trade), a children’s museum, and several port/maritime/naval/nautical museums—these two are a must: Museum of Art and Crafts (Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg) has extensive collections of everything from faïence to fashion, including period rooms, vast photography archives, and a world-renowned collection of musical instruments. At Hamburger Kunsthalle, one of the largest museums in Germany, you find seven centuries of European art with outstanding works represented in every era (including Manet’s Nana), from the Middle Ages (countless, priceless Old Masters) to post-1950 Pop Art.

WHERE TO STAY FAIRMONT VIER JAHRESZEITEN HAMBURG HOTEL In 1897, South German entrepreneur Friedrich Haerlin bought the Hamburg Hotel zu den Vier Jahreszeiten, a hotel designed for “four seasons,” as its German name suggests. Haerlin wanted his hotel to feel like warm and welcoming and he supposedly told his wife that “everything should be like it is at home.” As the hotel was enlarged, and as the next generation took over management, Haerlin’s mandate remained in place. (Today the hotel is a Fairmont). To stay here, is to feel at home—even in the kitchen! The lower level sculleries are designed as if they were in a private home—the patisserie kitchen has checkered curtains, floral tapestries, and elegant crystal chandeliers, amidst the necessary wrought-iron ovens; the spic-and-span butchery can be rented for private dinners; the kitchen for the twoMichelin-starred Haerlin restaurant is partially wallpapered. Guests are even allowed to tour the kitchens. Do not pass up dining in the amazing Nikkei Nine, a new addition to the hotel’s culinary offerings—it is a Japanese-Peruvian gastronomical surprise! And watching the bartender make elaborate cocktails is a theatrical experience; the restrooms feature life-like, painted fish tanks on the floor! The upper-level, elegant spa/health club is at once comfy and sophisticated; the beige furnishings, wood-burning central fireplace, cushy throw pillows, chockfull bookcases, and plush carpeting feel stylishly homespun, particularly in the handsomely furnished, casual lounge. From the roof terrace bar, one can see the Elbphilmaronie and at the gracious, street-level, outdoor café, you are adjacent to tranquil Alster Lake. Great care is taken to make guest rooms feel comfortable. Open the door to your room, and you will find—another door! Double hallway doors ensure quiet, so no chatter from the hallway breaches your sleep. Home, indeed. —RJK


Minature Wonderland

MINIATURE WORLD (Miniatur Wunderland) Billed as the world’s largest model railway, this attraction (75,000 square feet) features nine different railway systems, including those of Austria, Italy, the States, and diverse German systems. The longest train is nearly 50 feet, and in total, there are 10,000 rail cars on 50,000 feet of track. The topography is dotted with nearly a quarter-million “people”.

GETTING THERE Fly to and from Hamburg in comfort in Business Class (or even Premium Economy, as the extra inches make a difference), on British Air, with a stopover in the cosmopolitan Terminal Five. For more information on Germany, visit; for Hamburg, visit •

CHRISTMAS MARKETS Germany offers some of the most charming Christmas markets in Europe, where the tradition of outdoor holiday fairs is more than four hundred years old. Steeped in custom and dazzling in presentation—horse-drawn carriages ambling through cobbled streets, glittering lights, intoxicating aromas, engaging entertainers—Germany’s markets are worth a special trip. Consider a river cruise that will visit a half-dozen of so markets during the lead-up period to Christmas, usually starting with Advent. Hamburg alone has several, and its most charming is the Weihnachtsmarkt, in the shadow of Town Hall. I had the emotional experience to savor “opening night” in Nuremberg of Christkindlesmarkt (arguably the granddaddy of Germany’s holiday markets) on Hauptmarkt Square, in the city’s old quarter, brought alive magically, by the twinkling lights of the booths, with their candy-cane, red-and-white striped awnings. I will never forget being brought to tears by the angelic, dulcet tones of the boys’ choir, singing “Stille Nacht,” in the then-darkened town square, with just the spire of the Church of Our Lady resplendently illuminated; with a hint of falling snow, it was an idyllic, postcard-like moment. With over 200 stalls to visit, mulled wine—Glühwein—in a handcrafted souvenir mug, must be the first purchase. Armed with this hot toddy, explore the square, where there is everything from traditional spicy gingerbread and other traditional baked goods, to Christmas decorations, children’s toys, puppets, music boxes, handmade stuffed animals, candles, and countless native crafts. While over two million people are drawn to this market annually, it is the Cologne market that pulls in the largest crowd—four million-plus each year. And the Stuttgart market, with over three million visitors, is considered another landmark market, with stalls that stretch across Schiller Square and then some. There’s Father Christmas, traditional nativity figures, and splendid winter landscapes–it’s the booths in particular that delight visitors with their lovingly-decorated roofs. Each year prizes are awarded for the most enchanting stalls. During Advent, Stuttgart’s town hall is transformed into a gigantic Advent calendar and each day another “door” is opened, revealing the coats of arms of Stuttgart’s boroughs. In the Southern German town of Esslingen (15 minutes outside Stuttgart), the captivating Medieval Christmas Market should be a destination. Merchants in historical costumes vend their wares just as they did hundreds of years ago. A concert of medieval music in St. Paul’s Cathedral is a highlight, set against the atmospheric backdrop of timbered houses and romantic alleys. —RJK


Celebrity Stunner

Saddle River, NJ $5,900,000

Have a

Stunning Holiday Season!

Notable actress, comedian and philanthropist Rosie O'Donnell, offers this enchanting English Country Estate on over 5.7 manicured acres. 6 bedrooms, 7.2 baths+ guesthouse, lagoon pool, huge basketball court/additional parking area and generator. Elevator, 3-car garage and more! Staged by Mark Polo.

every Home is Special to us. office

Vicki Gaily realtor-associate®


MarketinG director

201 934-7111 • cell 201 390-5880 • VGaily@specialproperties.coM • specialproperties.coM follow us on instaGraM & facebook: @specialpropertiesnj information deemed reliable but subject to errors and omissions.

Grand Army Plaza ©TaggerYanceyIV

NOTES FROM DB By Daniel J. Bollinger

eality is starting to set in the NYC market. The rental market is still in lagging with more and more concessions being offered to both renters and brokers alike. The next play in the rental market is for lenders and borrowers to sit down at the table and refinance current debt obligations into longer terms to reduce payments. This will offer the chance for rental units to stop with the concessions game and start pricing rentals more affordably. NYC isn’t going anywhere, nor is our rental market. But if we can correctly adapt to the current market by pricing rentals more affordably, everybody wins. The renter gets a beautiful new apartment at a reasonable price, sponsors can fill up their building and have a steady rent roll (income). The banks will still get their money, albeit over a more extended period. In the rental market it is up to lenders and sponsors to negotiate new terms, but in the condo market, some owners and brokers are starting to see the light. In Brooklyn, a condo averaged 106 days on the market. For units priced at $2mm and above that number jumps to 249 days and with a 24 percent price cut (on average). The stats for Manhattan show a similar trend. These statistics alone should sound the alarm for anyone in our market that it is time to accept the truth and start pricing more realistically. There is some evidence that this is happening. Some examples of new reality pricing include: • 1060 5th Ave. #10B: Original list price $65 million, current list $34.5 million; 47 percent price reduction. • 1 CPW #47BC: Original list price $40 million, current list $27.5 million; 31 percent price reduction. • 143 East 63rd St.: Original list $18 million, current list $15.9 million; 12 percent price reduction (needs more reality pricing). • 146 Willow St.: Original list $18 million, in contract for $13.9 million; 23 percent price reduction. • 50 East 69th St.: Original list $72 million, purchased for $52 million; 28 percent price reduction. • 72 Mercer St. PH: Original list $17 million, current list $13.95 million; 18 percent price reduction. Most of these listings have spent one to four years on the market. Flippers in NYC should be rightfully concerned. There have been a handful of sales this year where would be flippers unloaded their asset at a loss. This trend will continue as the market softens. 40 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

This is good news. The market has been very unrealistic the past year or so, and now that reality is setting in with owners and brokers you will see market volume increase as prices become more realistic (decrease). It’s just a matter of time depending on how quickly reality sets in for sellers/ brokers. New developments might be weary of re-pricing their units publicly, but the statistics show that condo buyers are signing contracts at the high-end of the new development market at 15-20 percent lower prices than at the peak of the luxury market in 2014. If you are in the market now is a great time to start looking and putting realistic offers on units—we have seller’s ‘realistic’ ears. Speaking of good news...

MORE STREETEASY PREMIERE AGENT PUSHBACK Yet another deal has been struck to combat the monetization of listings that StreetEasy has implemented in NYC. This time The Real Deal and REBNY have partnered up to unveil a new free property listings platform for brokers. Scheduled to roll out this month, make sure you visit to see the new platform. The three main websites for searching for homes include:, and Let’s hope becomes the fourth. The best search engine for anyone in the market is to work with a knowledgeable broker. Daniel J. Bollinger Luxury Real Estate Expert Keller Williams Tribeca

ON THE MARKET FOR SALE ~ Caribbean Paradise

Calle Creek - Belize 14 Acre Yoga Retreat - 14 acre yoga retreat with main house, guest house, and 7 cabins. - On high ground with views of Xunantunich Mayan ruins. - Property serviced with electricity, water, and internet. - 20 minutes to San Ignacio.

Great opportunity to own in Belize.

New Development Expert Knows NYC & Brooklyn Relocation Specialist Commercial Experience

Daniel J Bollinger Licensed Real Estate Salesperson T: 646-677-0627 C: 718-662-9493 379 Broadway New York, NY 10013


Cleveland, OH

21,000+/- sq. ft. masterpiece


Breathtaking one of a kind custom ultra luxury showplace, true log home estate, built by one of the country’s top entrepreneurs for his own private family retreat. No expense was spared in the creation of this private oasis located near Cleveland in north east Ohio, USA. This truly magnificent 21,000+/- square foot masterpiece is situated privately behind security gates on 26 lush, scenic, rolling acres with 17 rooms of the finest top of the line luxury and modern amenities available for the ultimate serene experience within reach from every space. There are 5 bedroom suites, 8 bathrooms, 44 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | SEPTEMBER 2017

stunning kitchen and 5 fireplaces. The lower level features a fantastic saloon bar, wine room, second kitchen, game room, exercise room, dog kennel, 5-car garage, workshop and elevator. Outdoor in ground pool, Natural Stone Decks, Attic Storage and Extra Room, Dual Central Vacuums, Sprinkler / Irrigation fed from pond, Security System, Motion Detector, large Closets, Granite Jacuzzi, Granite Countertops throughout, Indoor Dog Kennel and Indoor Dog Bath, and a 19 ft Free Standing Totem Pole. The tremendous warmth and opulence of this exquisite Engelmann spruce log home . Initially built in Montana out of reclaimed timbers from forest fires and beautifully repurposed to craft this one-of-a-kind home.

Greeted by massive 13’ custom mahogany doors, enter the 29’ foyer of this estate, you find yourself embraced by the natural beauty of Engelmann Spruce timbers. Unique, custom crafted chandeliers and light fixtures are fitted throughout the home. Heated Mexican Saltillo Tile floors bordered in rich black walnut throughout the main floor.

Details, The finest materials in the hands of expert craftsmanship fill the home and reflect the surrounding outdoor beauty nature.

Additional Features: 2 Full Kitchens, Lower-Level Saloon, Wine Cellar, 5-Stall Horse Barn and Horse Arena, Clubhouse (wired with electric), Double Tiered Attic, 3-Floor Step outside to amazing spaces to explore, the Elevator, In-Ground Pool and Spa, 5-Car Garage natural springs and 30 foot natural waterfall in (geothermal heated) Stocked Lake & Active Farm picturesque woods and farmland. Rich Natural (livestock permitted). SEPTEMBER 2017 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 45

Call for pricing and to schedule a visit! Vanessa Andrews Realtor Cell/Text: 281-744-7252 USA


Marilyn Hoffman Broker/Owner Direct: 214-674-3961 Dallas: 214-698-1736 Lexington: 859-523-2812 Atlanta: 404-414-0690 London, UK: 44-203-05-14025 Monte Carlo, Monaco: 800-93498 Saudi Arabia: 966-8111-04-3807

Coldwell Banker Coldwell Banker Croldwell BBanker esidential rokerage residential Brokerage residential Brokerage

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Harrison, new York Only a short 35 minutes’ to Manhattan, this glorious Harrison estate feels like it’s in the country... on nearly 12 spectacular acres with stunning architecture, museum quality restorations, and modern-day appointments blend together in this spacious renovated There is an awe-inspiring great room with 30’ceilings & majestic windows arrison 12-room ewhome. ork capturing panoramic views of the park-like grounds. An English conservatory & a separate Only a short 35garden minutes’ Manhattan, thisnatural glorious Harrison estate feels likeinside. it’s inEIK the roomto invites the cheerful beauty of the surrounding gardens with Chef’s amenities and acres welcoming The sumptuous master suite features a country... on nearly 12 spectacular withfireplace. stunning architecture, museum quality vaulted ceiling, lovely fireplace, private terrace & his & her baths. Two additional living restorations, and modern-day appointments blend together in this spacious renovated spaces include the charming guest house w/ bedroom, kitchen & bath. The pool house 12-room home. There is an awe-inspiring great room with 30’ceilings & majestic windows with cabana room, spa bath, gym & a kitchen for summertime parties. One of the few capturing panoramic ofconsisting the park-like grounds. conservatory separate premierviews estates of 5 separate taxAn lots.English This magnificent home is&allaso private but yetthe withcheerful an exceptional location! $6,750,000 garden room invites natural beauty of the surrounding gardens inside. EIK




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©2017 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker Logo, Coldwell Banker Previews International, Coldwell Banker Previews Brokerage International logo and “Dedicated to Luxury registered and unregistered marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real EstateBanker, LLC. the ©2017 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved.the Coldwell Banker Residential fully supports the principles of theReal Fair Estate” Housingare Act and the Equal Opportunityservice Act. Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell ©2017 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully“Dedicated supports the principles ofEstate” the Fairare Housing Act and unregistered the Equal Opportunity Act. owned Operated by a subsidiary NRT LLC.LLC. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker Logo, Coldwell Banker Previews International, the Coldwell Banker Previews International logo and to Luxury Real registered service marks by Coldwell Bankerof Real Estate Coldwell Banker Logo, Coldwell Banker Previews International, the Coldwell Banker Previews International logo and “Dedicated to Luxury Real Estate” are registered and unregistered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.


Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is a family owned company with nearly 50 years of experience in providing quality vacation rental accommodations and real estate services on The Outer Banks of North Carolina. You can trust the knowledge and expertise that come from choosing to do business with one of the first and most well-known companies on the Outer Banks. Our work ethic, dedication and strong community involvement awarded us the honor of 2016 Small Business of the Year by the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce.

Vacation Rentals We offer rental homes in all of the popular Outer Banks beach towns of Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores and Duck. We understand the importance of your vacation and have carefully selected a wide range of homes to fit everyone’s needs and budgets.

Real Estate Sales Quite a few things have changed since 1968. One thing that will always stay the same is our commitment to you. Whether you are buying or selling property on the Outer Banks, open communication and team oriented decision making will guide you through the ins and outs of your transaction.

Open seven days a week 800-552-6257 or locally at 252-261-4444 •


here is a great new product on the market at 2 North 6th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Called Level, this 554 unit development comprised of studios to 3 bedrooms offers excellent views, great amenities, and competitive pricing. Opened earlier this year, it is located in the heart of Williamsburg three blocks from the Bedford Avenue subway station at North 7th Street and close to all the action that Williamsburg presents and just far away enough from it to enjoy the quiet waterfront.

VIEW FLOOR PLANS & PRICES Go to and snap a photo

This new rental development by Douglaston Development is a welcome addition to Williamsburg. The views can’t be topped, the apartments are well designed, and the amenities are super. There are high end finishes in all apartments and great design details. Large apartments with open layouts are standard. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide for some of the best views any building in NYC can boast. The double exposures in many corner apartments are fabulous. The kitchens have Whirlpool and Blomberg appliances and nice Sile Stone counters and backsplashes. The baths have builtin towel racks and ledges for accessories. There is a huge mirrored medicine cabinet in all baths as well. Two unique design details to call out are: in the medicine cabinet there is a lockbox for pharmaceuticals and in every master bedroom there is a hotel-style safe. The developers have built many hotels in their career, and they added these things that are in their design wheelhouse. Most units come standard with a Bosch washer/dryer package and all one bedrooms and up have great walkin closets. The three bedroom units are enormous for a rental and some are terraced. These apartments are currently being offered at some great price points, and their amenity package is one of the best. HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 49

AMENITIES & MORE Level has a slew of amenities located on the 9th and 41st floors. They have two of the most sought-after amenities in NYC: Pool and Parking. There is 3rd party parking available to all tenants. They offer an all-season pool, two, in fact, encased in a greenhouse-like glass shell. Windows can be opened in the summer months to allow for the breeze and closed in the colder months. Located on the 9th floor, there is also a 14 person hot tub and a steam room. The pool is situated on a corner of the building, so double exposure views abound. There is also a 3,300 square foot gym with outdoor space and even more views. The yoga room takes up a corner spot for more double exposures. The outdoor lounge features an outdoor fireplace, outdoor shower, and plenty of space for seating; the indoor lounge features an open kitchen for classes and demos. Tenants have use of comforts in the lounge with TV’s, a billiards table, and a library. There is also a party room available to rent out with a kitchen and terrace. A business center boasts computers for those who work from home. All of this is on the 9th floor. The 41st-floor rooftop lounge is just as great with 360 degree views. All in all, it is one of the finest amenity packages offered by a rental development in NYC.

CLOSE TO THE ACTION In a significant waterfront location, but still close enough to all the action is what Level is all about. Open layouts, highend finishes and appliances, and unique design details. And the prices are reasonable for such a central Williamsburg location. This is a great value play for a rental building. For more information on Level, visit •


LARRY SOTO, REALTOR License #0565617

Member of Luxury Home Council CELL: (732) 429-2294 OFFICE: (732) 494-7700 EMAIL: •

L uxury

homes in

N ew J ersey

Palatial colonial set on 6+ picturesque acres in desirable Freehold Twnshp was designed for lavish entertaining. Stunning Coffered ceilings,sweeping staircase custom woodwork throughout adds drama to 15 spacious rooms.2 master suits offers sitting areas,walkin closets steam shower chef kitchen,Home theater, maids quarters.

Inspired Craftsmanship Distinguishes this exquisite Georgian Colonial Home Built with Select Materials with the Highest Attention to Detail. This Home is the Pinnacle of Superior Craftsmanship. The 7000 SF of Bright 13 Spacious Rooms Brim with Sophistication and Comfort. 1St floor master bedroom Suit.


This stunning navigable waterfront property is located in Queens Harbour Yacht and Country Club in Jacksonville, FL. Queens Harbour is one of the few communities in the country with its’ own “fresh” water harbor. There is a Marina for docking your vessel; many homes such as this one, have private docks in the backyard. This home has a 50 ft. dock on the property. Leave your backyard through the unique and sophisticated Lock System in this community. Once going through the Lock System you will head to the Saltwaters of the Intracoastal Waterways. By water the Atlantic Ocean lies just 3 miles from the Queens Harbour Lagoon’s Lock System, via the ICW and the St. Johns River. Depending on the running speed of the vessel, a boater can be in the Atlantic Ocean 30 minutes after clearing the Lock System.

This exquisite custom 5173 sq. ft. home has 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and is breathtaking. The home boasts high ceilings, a gorgeous gourmet kitchen, 3 bedrooms and an executive office on the main floor. There is an additional full guest suite/office with private bath on the upper level. This space has a private balcony for enjoying magnificent water views and the evening breeze. You can also find an additional flex/ bonus room on the second level. This home is simply spectacular with panoramic views of the harbor, 40 year architectural roof, many new appliances, wonderful architectural detail and features, travertine flooring, central vac, water softener, Rinnai Water System for constant hot water, 50 ft. dock, very spacious screened lanai with $60,000 fireplace, heated pool & spa, outdoor kitchen, etc. The home has been immaculately maintained. This home has too many upgrades to list. Please contact agent for additional information or a private showing


MLS#: 844859


DIRECT: 904-534-6087 FAX: 904-339-9090 WWW.SHARONMILLSTEAM.COM

The penthouse at Oyster Bay

The Penthouse at Oyster Bay is the premier unit at the Lighthouse at Oyster Bay Beach Resort. The unit features 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths and each with its own balcony. Each balcony slider folds completely into the wall, the screens retract fully as does the drapery making the opening to the room about 12 feet. The layout of the entire unit affords a vista from every room and you will love the quiet and privacy of this special location. Natasha Laurent | CIPS Sales Associate/Rental Specialist RE/MAX Island properties Cell: 721 524 0640 Office: 721 544 4580

211 SCHERMERHORN STREET By Daniel J. Bollinger | Photos Courtesy of Alan Hill Design/Arc Media

wo blocks from Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue and close to most all subway lines is the brand new condo offering at 211 Schermerhorn Street. Just blocks from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Barclays, and Fort Greene Park.


This ground-up development by Oestreicher Properties and GPB Capital Holdings, LLC, and designed by Morris Adjmi consists of 48 one to three-bedroom homes. The project scores high in almost all factors that determine value in a NYC residence. The location, choice of materials and design details in the homes along with thoughtful amenities, beautiful layouts with smart pricing makes this one of the best value plays in Brooklyn. 211 Schermerhorn should be a model for all other Brooklyn developers.

THE BUILDING The building façade is of handmade Peterson brick. Peterson is a company from Denmark that has been making bricks since 1791. They are still made by hand, and every block has a thumbprint on it from being pushed out of the mold. With 8’ x 8.5’ casement style windows this building not only keeps in line with the areas’ architecture, but it also adds new architectural history to Downtown Brooklyn/Boerum Hill. HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 53

RESIDENCES The property offers a variety of layouts and floor plans, all are very well thought out. These Morris Adjmi-designed homes have open kitchen/living/dining room areas. Some homes feature gallery-style bedroom layouts; many have balconies, some even have a windowed office or home storage space off the entrance foyer. There are lots of walk-in closets. All residences have a full-sized Bosch washer/dryer package and are designed with entrance foyers, a testament to the designers for planning this out. The kitchens are classic and minimalistic; the cabinets have recessed handles. Kitchens feature solid white oak custom integrated cabinetry, Bertazzoni, Liebherr, and Wolf appliances all with vented hoods (another sign of thoughtful planning/design) and Lefroy Brooks fixtures. Neutral tones adorn the kitchen, and there is a large pantry as well as ample cabinet space. A refined but appreciated design detail in the kitchen is a marble shelf above the range. The baths are also minimal and classic with custom medicine cabinets, wet rooms in the master baths and tubs in the secondary bathroom. Even the one-bedroom homes have his and her sinks, a sign that Morris Adjmi Architects truly considered a diverse range of buyers and lifestyles. Kitchens and baths are adorned with various types of honed marble (Carrera and Calcutta). Abundant recessed LED lighting is featured throughout along with vertical zoned heat pumps resulting in quieter and energy efficient residences. Penthouse ceilings measure 10’ and all other floors have 9’ ceiling heights. All three penthouses have private rooftop terraces with barbecues and kitchenettes. There are two garden residences that have a spectacular outdoor backyard.

AMENITIES For a 14-story building, 211 Schermerhorn certainly has a “high-rise” package of amenities. A rooftop deck with barbecue grills, a kitchenette, seating, and of course some views. The amenity floor includes 13’ coffered ceilings, billiards, children’s room, gym and yoga room, laundry, bike storage, wet bar, and media room. For a boutique offering, this is an excellent amenity package. One design detail to call out are the coffered ceilings on the amenity floor. It adds a sense of luxury and prewar stateliness to the floor.

RECAP The new 211 Schermerhorn is a model for development in NYC. The architecture is unique and offers great light into the homes and views out. The choice of materials gives rich architectural detail to the building. The homes are all well laid out with great air/flow for maximum use of space, feature superb design details, with a classic prewar-like aesthetic that will never go ‘out of style.’ Another example of the well thought out design is there are two elevators in this building. For a fourteen-story building that is a lot, considering there are only four units per floor max. The best part of the offering at 211 Schermerhorn is the price. There is a lot of value here. As the market continues to shift, projects like 211 Schermerhorn will continue to win. For more information on 211, visit • 54 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION


This truly magnificent log home is one of the area’s most admired properties boasting over 6000 sq/ft of sumptuous living space, perfectly designed for comfort and grandeur entertaining. Drive through the gated pathway to this spectacularly landscaped residence boasting two water features, open air covered front porch, 888 sq/ft deck in the rear of the home made of “Mangaris” decking product overlooking the very private back yard. Lower level has full bar, separate exercise area including built in 10 person dry cedar sauna, hot tub, and room for a vast amount of equipment. Attached 3 car garage measuring 36’X26’with radiant heated floor and solid log finish inside and out. Full walk up attic above that could be finished for additional living space. 10x 16 detached shed & 8X10 attached shed that matches the home. Extremely low taxes for this prestigious development. Astonishingly low heating costs. THIS PROPERTY COULD NOT BE DUPLICATED AT THIS REMARKABLE PRICE. 20 minutes from famous Lake Wallenpaupack, local skiing, all Pocono Resorts, Kalahari and 2 Casinos. Don’t miss out, call Connie today at 570-983-7434 for your private showing. $829,000

An Equestrian’s Dream

Connie Seagraves, Realtor

Coldwell Banker Town & Country Properties

109 Church St., Moscow, PA 18444 Cell: 570-983-7434 Office: 570-842-9531

Cream Ridge, NJ Situated on 8.13 acres on a quiet winding country road. Set amongst homes of similar stature. As you enter this elegant home through the French country door, into the foyer & cinderella staircases, you are captured by the great room. 32 ft. kitchen with Woodmode cabinets, granite countertops, commercial Wolf range & the list goes on. Dining room with butler’s pantry & fireplace. Library w/ fireplace & covered porch. Master bedroom w/ in-suite bath; 3 more generous bedrooms and 2 more bathrooms. Media room and gym. Walk to the barn. 72x120 indoor arena with lighting, crushed rubber footing, 36x84 heated stall area w/6 stalls, wash stall, 24x36 observation lounge, bath/laundry, tack/feed rooms. 5 lush paddocks. Offered at $1,899,900.

Barbara Ann Wagner

RE/MAX Homeland Realtors Office: 732-462-2222 Mobile: 732-371-7212


urchasing a condo/co-op in NYC can be a daunting task. With the vast amount of inventory on the market today (and more new development in the months to come) there is indeed so much to choose from. So, what determines the value of a residence in NYC? Eight characteristics assess value. These components are going to help your investment not only hold its value but also increase its value in years to come.

LOCATION I’m sure you have heard the adage “location, location, location.” This is true, but seeing that we’re in one of the safest cities in the entire world for value retention—and as a hedge against inflation in investment terms—let’s break this down a little more. Yes, location is essential—but do you want to live on the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, in Chelsea, the West Village, or maybe Tribeca? Each area of the city has its own charm and cultural definition. But other things may be necessary to you. For example, how important is it to be close to a major subway line? Do you want to be close to Central Park (or maybe the river)? Do you want to live on a primary avenue or would you prefer to live on a cross street? Everyone has their own desires and wishes when it comes to location.

AMENITIES This is a new category that is born out of all the new development that is happening in NYC. One of the principal selling points of new development always includes their amenities package. Standard amenities in today’s structure include bike storage, fitness centers, rooftop lounges, and children’s playrooms. But some higher amenities include pools, concierge services, parking, valet services, home theater rooms, soundproof music rooms, and much more. What amenities would you like in your building?

Another interesting fact about location in NYC is neighborhoods can grow from obsolete into one of the most desirable in all of the city. One example is Williamsburg, once considered an abandoned slum in the 1990s, it is now one of the hippest communities in Brooklyn. Also, consider Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights real estate which has certainly become some of the most valuable in all of Brooklyn. Watch for this trend to continue in areas like Bushwick, East New York, Flatbush, and East Flatbush. In Manhattan, Hudson Yards is an entirely new neighborhood being built right in front of our eyes. Through the new development, areas like Hell’s Kitchen and West Chelsea have seen vast improvement and growth where new development abounds.

LIGHT How much natural light does the residence provide? Natural light is not only a healthy choice, but it also makes our apartments seem more significant and most certainly brighter. That is why you read in many ads, “floor to ceiling windows for maximum light exposure.” Northern exposures are cooler and clearer (less burning than southern exposures). Northern exposures are better for fighting fading on fabrics and artwork. Southern exposure is just the opposite—it’s more for those who want to bask in the sunshine all day. Southern exposure also heats your residence more. East and West are pretty simple: are you more of a sunrise person (east)? Or do you prefer sunsets more (west)?

VIEWS It’s a personal choice: Some people want them, still others don’t care. I have dealt with people who were perfectly content looking at the tops of trees in their third-floor apartment. And some others who wanted to live in penthouses to enjoy the majestic views. One thing that is very important to research is the air rights around the buildings’ vicinity. Today you may have a beautiful view of the park, river, etc., but tomorrow’s construction may cut that view. Something you and your real estate agent should be aware of when making a long-term investment decision since it can seriously change the value of your investment and your quality of life. 56 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

DESIGN DETAILS This is another new category. The one thing that makes this modern age of development different than the past few decades is that developers, designers, and architects are finally starting to “get it.” In years’ previous developers built four walls, put a bathroom and kitchen in it and called it a day. But now you see new condos on the market with design details that are very well thought out. The XOCO building in SOHO has excellent design details featuring recessed floating walls with curved edges made of sculptural plaster which give their residences an open sense of space and great ‘flow’ throughout the units. They are the only development that I know of that has taken the bathroom niche outside of the bathroom and put them in both the master bedroom and kitchen—brilliant in my opinion. Additionally, 252 East 57th has thoughtfully laid out their units with a huge great room with a curved glass picture window for panoramic views of the city and then designed the kitchen/ dining area as an intimate family space for people who know that dinner time is family time. Their decision to size these rooms appropriately for use is just another example of the thoughtfulness of architects and designers in today’s market. The property’s automated parking garage is a technological wonder as well.



The architecture in NYC is vast and beautiful. You may hear a lot about pre-war buildings which refer to buildings built 1900-1939. They are magnificent in that the architects and builders used masterful designs and construction materials and techniques to accommodate the swelling population at that time. The result was sturdy brick and stone buildings with high ceilings, which created a New York-style of architecture that was built for great form, function, and endurance. That is why the pre-war conjures images of high ceilings, thick walls, plaster ornamentation and generous layouts. Other factors to think about: Do you want to live in a large building with a lot of neighbors or do you prefer a small, boutique building? Does a walk-up bother you or are you looking for an elevator building? Is the architecture itself vital to you? Do you want a new development that probably has smart technology pre-wired into the building?

SPACE How much space do you need/want? One bedroom, two bedrooms, or more? How much square footage do you seek? How big of a living room/den do you want? Do you want a chef ’s kitchen with a lot of space? Do you entertain often and need a large formal dining room? These are the types of questions you should ask yourself to help find the residence that fits your needs.


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AIR/FLOW Air refers to the floor plan and air circulation throughout the apartment. Air is sometimes also combined with the term “flow” which refers to the layout of the apartment. In other words, how each room flows into another? Do you like lofts with their open layouts and high ceilings? Would you like a spacious kitchen/ living/dining room which is quite popular in new development? Do you prefer a gallery layout with master bedroom on the opposite side of your residence than the secondary bedrooms? These are the eight essential traits of a residence that most agents will advertise and market about a property. I recommend working with a buyer broker who not only understands these terms but can also apply this knowledge to each residence that you tour. Identifying these characteristics not just in the home that you are viewing but even being able to compare these to other homes on the market will help evaluate the value of each residence. These traits not only determine the value of your home but also help hold its value in the future. •

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he days may be short, the weather less than welcoming but that seems to have little effect on how many visitors flock to our city for their winter holiday. There isn’t another city in the world offering as much diversity, the variety of entertainment, cultural institutions, fantastic food or shopping opportunities. So why not do like the tourists and consider a New York “staycation” with a volunteer component as part of your holiday plans this year?


Thinking of others at holiday time is well ingrained in our collective psyche. Thirty percent of charitable donations are made during the last month of the year. But aside from the traditional ways of giving back (i.e., check writing, gifts of toys, donations of warm clothing, helping out in food pantries, etc.), I was curious about other opportunities, I could discover in my search for new ways to give back right here at home. I started my investigation with a simple question to Google: “What are the volunteer opportunities available during a winter vacation in NYC? “It took less than three seconds to get lots of great ideas. Despite having lived here over 35 years and having been immersed in the non-profit philanthropic world for half of them, I realized I hadn’t even scratched the surface of options.

BIG APPLE GREETER I discovered Big Apple Greeter (, a non-profit that provides free a welcome-visitor service from NYC volunteers in partnership with NYC & Company, the Make a Wish Foundation® of Metro New York, Inc., and Global Greeter Network. It piqued my interest because volunteers get to share in visitors’ vacations! In 1992 Lynn Brooks, the founder recognized that almost everyone she met wherever and whenever she traveled wanted to visit New York City. But many of them felt intimidated at the prospect. To New Yorkers our vast megalopolis of diverse neighborhoods, stores, restaurants and entertainment venues coupled with throngs of people is familiar territory, but to visitors, it can be overwhelming. We may grumble about things like potholes, traffic, subway meltdowns and being overscheduled, but we are experienced navigators of the city regardless of what hurdles come our way. 62 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

This is where Big Apple Greeter, a free welcome visitor service provided by a NYC volunteer fills the void by connecting visitors with knowledgeable and enthusiastic local NYC resident volunteers! Designed to build bridges between people and cultures, promote cross-cultural understanding, offer a friendly, inviting and manageable image of NYC, bolster tourism and foster economic growth, there is also a reciprocal benefit for the volunteers. New Yorkers looking to make friends from around the world, practice foreign language skills, discover our city’s hidden treasures, engage in purposeful (and healthful) walking excursions can also join a community of like-minded volunteers proud of where they reside. With over 300 volunteer Greeters, more than 7,000 visitors a year are welcomed and get to experience more than 100 neighborhoods throughout the city with real-life locals. Volunteer opportunities are open to everyone at Big Apple Greeter regardless of race, color, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status or disability. One of the ancillary benefits of becoming a volunteer is the participation in Greeter Outings which enhance leadership skills and knowledge of our city. Neighborhoods and cultural sites in all five boroughs are explored. There is even an Access Program matching visitors with disabilities with volunteer Greeters knowledgeable about accessible travel options, public transit, and American Sign Language. After learning about this fantastic program, I have decided to dive right in. Perhaps you will too, and we’ll meet in the future as hosts to visitors as we explore the hidden gems of our city!

RESCUING LEFTOVER CUISINE If being a tour guide isn’t your thing but food and alleviating hunger are, why not consider becoming an Emergency Food Rescuer under the auspices of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (rescuingleftovercuisine. org)? RLC is a national non- profit food rescue organization which operates in 12 cities and is headquartered here in New York City. Food waste is a serious problem with some scary facts: 1,160 pounds, of food on average is lost to the garbage pail each year by typical American families. 40 percent of food gets tossed every year in the U.S. which could feed 2 billion people. The $162 billion worth of unconsumed food in our country could serve 58,064,516,129 meals a year. That is not a typo by the way! When I considered all the food wasted during holiday celebrations, I became more interested in exploring RLC’s volunteer opportunities. RLC ‘s protocol helps prevent excess wholesome cuisine from being wasted by linking volunteers through a technologically proven approach to identifying, obtaining and delivering good food efficiently. Communities in need, as well as homeless shelters, restaurants, hotels and catering companies nearby, are identified. The food resource providers are then enlisted to help and RLC “crowdsources” volunteers to provide the transportation for getting the food to the needy. Technology is leveraged to facilitate the identification and safe handling of excess food. Partner food providers report when surplus food is available, and a web application is then used to engage the volunteers. On average, it takes only 30 minutes to rescue an average of 50 pounds of food which helps feed 40 people! This efficiency is impressive—it requires rescuers to commit less than an hour of their time to help, and they can set their own schedule—daily, weekly or sporadically. Coupled with an easy to use daily website calendar, no matter what your appetite for getting involved, something on RLC’s menu can satisfy your craving to help. Big Apple Greeter and Rescuing Leftover Cuisine are just two examples of volunteer-driven organizations which reinforce some of the best things about being a New Yorker—whatever our circumstances we can give a lot in a lot of different ways and we are at our best when we are working together. It’s part of the reason so many visitors want to come here for the holidays and why we are lucky to be able to enjoy “staycations” right here at home. • Joan Hornig is a New York-based Jewelry Designer, Social Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist. She left a Wall Street career 15 years ago to create a jewelry line at Bergdorf Goodman, where 100 percent of her profit is donated to the charity of the purchaser’s choice. HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 63


ome of us are Type A shoppers who keep the holidays in mind— and eyes peeled—for the just-right gift all year long. Others of us are the last-minute power types, heading out into the seasonal fray armed with a scribbled list, plenty of optimism, and a healthy dose of determination. Whichever category you happen to fall into, here are some suggestions meant to enhance the pleasure of giving. After all, generosity is the essence of the season—and the spirit of life. That’s why a thoughtful, well-chosen present brings such joy to both the giver and the receiver alike.

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AROUND TOWN From Bond No. 9, the company that has interpreted Gotham’s various nabes with provocative and romantic scents, comes the newest fragrance, “New York Night.” Bond No. 9 (

SOUL ON SOLE Inspirational messages like “Dance It Off ” and “I Love You” make these colorful Peruvian pima-cotton foot fashion a must-have. Posie Turner (

ALWAYS IN VOGUE A stunning lattice-work bracelet boasting a veritable network of pearls, amethysts, and diamonds. Tara Pearls, available at Bloomingdale’s (

THE WRITE STUFF There is nothing as thoughtful as a handwritten note on fine stationery. This fun “Subway Collection” is an homage to The Big Apple’s underground. Dempsey & Carroll (

HI-TECH GOES LUXE The French firm Jean Rousseau, best known for its extraordinary handmade watchbands, also creates small leather goods in exotic leathers (ostrich and alligator) like this iPad case in fuchsia. Jean Rousseau (

GOING GREEN Rare-colored Seafoam Tourmaline adorns 18 kt gold necklace and matching earrings. Jemily Fine Jewelry (

ISLAND GIRL Fragrance that invites you on a journey to places you love (or places you dream of) are these scents inspired by the Caribbean flowers; there are a series of six fragrances. Nateeva (

FACE OFF The perfect way to remove grit and grime is with Mia 2, which cleanses and polishes to perfection. Clarisonic available at Amazon (

FOR HER MIRROR, MIRROR Perched on a stand, this amazing Sensor Mirror Pro also features 10X magnifier for facial fussing. Simple Human (


OPEN AND SHUT CASE Finally, a simple-to-use umbrella with both auto-open and auto-close. Shed Rain’s e-Motion motorized and rechargeable brollie keeps you dry (46-inch arc) and folds up to 14. Shed Rain (

FOR HIM SMOOTH AS SILK For true connoisseurs who appreciate the finer things: Balvenie’s single barrel, sherry cask-aged Scotch whisky. Balvenie (

SMOKIN’ HOT This “Cuban Cigar” Collection featuring four different warm and woodsy scents will please his every mood. Fragrance (

IT’S A WRAP Known for his cutting-edge designs, Ben Sherman introduces the latest in leather accessories. Ben Sherman (

GENIUS It’s like a flash drive for your iPhone and iPad. DataTraveler Bolt Duo with USB Lightning connector (and protective case) creates extra storage space and data back-up for your pix. Kingston (

SEEING DOUBLE This mini-printer produces two different pictures (of the same print) It’s a snap to use: Connect your smart phone right to the Kodak Dock printer and within minutes, it produces 4” x 6” prints with one touch. Kodak (

MULTI-TASKING “The Wine Master” from Swiss Army is a multi-tool with corkscrew, two-hinged lever (opens bottles), serrated foil-cutter, and more. Available in a leather storage case. Swiss Army ( HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 67


FLAVORFUL TRIO A trio of perfect balsamic vinegars, aged in juniper, cherry, and oak wood; each takes on the flavor of the cask and delivers a tangy punch. Dean & Deluca (

TEA FOR TWO The Hendrick’s Gin BoomCase has all you need for tea service—with gin! Best of all, the case is a rechargeable boom box in a vintage case. BoomCase (

INCREDIBLE EDIBLE A delish centerpiece to eat or bring as a hostess gift is Etsy’s “Merry & Bright,” which can be customized in an assortment of fabulous flavors. From master baker Adrienne Harding-McBride ( STAR OF WONDER This edible, majestic chocolate star from La Maison du Chocolat embodies the season’s symbolism. Everything from this confectioner is amazing; the entire holiday “Starlit Night Collection” features nuts, fruits, and appetizing flavors. La Maison du Chocolat (

GAME ON York Street Studio’s new 28-inch backgammon set can be customized to suit your taste. The standard interior is made with fine-grained calf leather that allows the oak game pieces to slide smoothly across it. York Street Studio (

COME AND GET IT! A Barnes & Noble exclusive, Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks– Come and Get It! features recipes and photos of tantalizing meals and snacks for the cook who enjoys sitting down with family and friends for a leisurely meal. Barnes & Noble (

MAKE A STATEMENT The glamorous “La Rosa” serving bowl from Alessi’s newest Brass Collection features a burnished golden tone with a protective coating for food safety. Alessi (


SMOKE GETS IN YOUR FOOD Breville’s Smoking Gun Pro is a handy appliance that delivers the smokehouse flavor and taste to your meats, cheeses, dips, and more with applewood or hickory wood chips. Breville ( or Amazon (

THE SPICE OF LIFE The ultimate collection of sea salts, The Daily Chef contains three favorites—making it the perfect gift for any chef. Hamptons Salt Company ( •

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Founding Sponsors



LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust

The William O. & Carole P. Bailey Family Foundation on behalf of the St. Bartholomew’s Conservancy, Inc.


EMERGE212 By Michael Alpiner

rofessionals spend about one-third of their waking hours at work. So it seems only logical that one would want to immerse themselves in as much physical and emotional comfort as he/she TAKE A VIDEO TOUR & VISIT can during that time. Some companies have provided this by allowing Go to and snap a photo their employees to bring their pets to work, do their laundry between board meetings, or even relax during breaks with a high energy game of ping pong. These augmentations to workspaces parallel the way luxury travel is catering to the specific and individual needs of its passengers and clients. James Kleeman pondered the same problem as companies like Google and Amazon. How can I elevate the standard office spaces to maximize business’ production and augment the work experience? With a Master’s degree in real estate and a passion for joining the fields of real estate and marketing, Kleeman sought to elevate the concept of office space to include hospitality, comfort, productivity, technology, and emotional balance. He infused all these elements with a splash of nature, design, continuity, and the arts. Even the first moment a prospective client exits the elevator, he/she is met with attractive and congenial front desk personnel, white mints, and a unique waiting area of both classic and modern design elements.

PREMIER OFFICE SPACE Kleeman turned the standard idea of rented office space on its ear by creating Emerge212, New York City’s premiere operator of full-service office suites. Instead of a patchwork of banal cubicles, Emerge212 offers fully-furnished spaces in a variety of sizes, shapes, and atmospheres, each equipped with the technology, mood, and flexibility to allow for optimized work experiences. Some of the spaces are modest in size but offer a dazzling view of Manhattan. Others are more spacious to accommodate a larger staff and the need for more office furnishings. Moreover, the rooms are designed to be adjusted to enable a meeting to turn into an after-hours social gathering. Most of the tables collapse and move easily (by Emerge212 staff) to allow businesses to use the space as a multi-functional office. Though they already have two established locations (2 Columbus Circle and 125 Park Avenue), Emerge212 has unveiled its newest site at 1185 Avenue of the Americas near Rockefeller Center. Situated in a Class-A high-rise building on the southern tip of Corporate Row between 46th and 47th streets. These private offices come complete with a sleek and sophisticated aesthetic, unsurpassed technology 70 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

and infrastructure with the highest level of administrative support, and a prominent New York City address for both occupying and virtual clients. Kleeman proudly stated, “We promise to give all our clients, including our virtual clients, the same advantages, and experiences. This is why there is a consistent aesthetic running through the entire floor of offices and suites.” In addition to a wide range of modest workspaces, there are five main rooms in the 6th Avenue location which embody the design elements of famous artists such as Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollack. Kleeman stated, “These rooms, rather than being decked out with the artists’ sculptures and wall art, suggest the artistic elements through shapes, colors, and patterns.” For instance, the Picasso room only has one coffee table book about Picasso, but upon gazing at the ceiling design, furniture styles, and general angularity, one notices and even feels the sharp geometric quality of the father of cubism.

AN ELEVATED EXPERIENCE Inspired by the best in hospitality, design, and technology, Emerge212 works to provide its clients with an elevated experience that other office space providers simply do not. Businesses have access to their own, privately leased space which can grow and contract based on the needs of their business, while consistently having access to the resources and amenities afforded by large organizations. The floorplan includes common areas for workers to relax, grab a coffee, or discreetly listen to music on their Spotify playlist. One such area offered four egg-shaped chairs with Bluetooth technology that hooks into one’s mobile device for discreet downtime. Kleeman reinforced, “We want to allow for our clients to feel a sense of ownership over the space, but also be considerate of the others.” As pioneers in the growing co-working landscape, one of Emerge212’s brand promises has been to provide what today’s companies need most. Since launching the business in 1999, the operator has believed in continuously evolving its level of service to accommodate the ever-changing needs of companies year-over-year. Recent growth in the category signals that more business leaders recognize the value proposition of this model for their new and growing businesses. Emerge212 has met this increasing demand for spaces and services that make them a real partner for their clients versus merely a landlord. “Not all shared office spaces are created equal, nor should they be. What sets Emerge212 apart is that we seek to define where office meets design and hospitality,” says Kleeman. “We strive to create uniquely sophisticated spaces and serve as your partner in productivity and continued business growth. As with our previous locations, 1185 Avenue of the Americas offers our clientele privacy, professionalism, and truly the best-in-class infrastructure to power their businesses, all while doing so from a highly designed and innovative environment that all their clients and investors will envy.” A central location for commuters, 1185 Avenue of the Americas is within walking distance to Bryant Park, Times Square, Grand Central, Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The building also has direct access via the main lobby to 15 subways, numerous buses, and trains and is directly connected to Rockefeller Center’s underground concourse. For more information on Emerge212, please visit or for leasing inquiries, please email •

HIGHLIGHTS OF EMERGE212 Here, some features of the latest location at 1185 Avenue of the Americas. • 56,000 square feet, occupying the 2nd and 3rd floors • Suites ranging from 1 to 30-person workstations; equipped to accommodate a variety of companies and needs • Bold design elements including a floor-to-ceiling moss wall • State-of-the-art cafe areas complete with IT outfitted tables and charging stations • Serenity Rooms with noise-canceling Bluetooth Beatnik Sound Station Chairs • Beautifully appointed conference rooms and event space

Michael Alpiner’s writing and publishing includes travel/ hospitality articles as well as fiction and poetry. His poetry is included in the anthology, Blood to Remember. Michael earned an MFA in Creative Writing, teaches college writing, and has served as a Writer-in-Residence for the Louis Armstrong Museum.  He is co-founder of HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 71

DON & KATRINA PEEBLES By Elizabeth Darwen

hey are that rare combination of a power couple individually possessing intellect, compassion, and entrepreneurial values that come together with the aim of making the world a better place in which to live while striving to make an impact. They are Don and Katrina Peebles.


Recognized as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the nation, R. Donahue (Don) Peebles is Founder, Chairman, and CEO of The Peebles Corporation, one of the country’s few national privately held real estate investment and development companies. His portfolio of projects spans New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Miami Beach, San Francisco and Charlotte, North Carolina. The Peebles Corporation is well known for its signature projects including The Royal Palm Hotel and The Lincoln in Miami plus 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington DC.

REAL ESTATE & POLITICS Building on the success of the organization, new projects are under development in locations on the West Coast, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Don contends that real estate is a local business. “It is a highly regulated business, so there is an element of politics—land use, for instance, is highly political. And real estate is a key component of our overall society.” As he further explained, “It provides shelter and locations for businesses. In every major city in the country, the biggest industry to contribute to local elections are the real estate developers. Real estate is highly political.” As if that weren’t enough, Peebles is a top-selling author of two books, The Peebles Principles: Tales and Tactics from an Entrepreneurs Life (2007) and its sequel The Peebles Path to Real Estate Wealth (2008). Profiled in media publications such as Forbes Magazine, Don Peebles is a regular guest commentator on news and business channels including CNBC, CNN, and the FOX Business Network, as well as a highly sought-after speaker and was the recipient of the prestigious Reginald F. Lewis Award for successful AfricanAmerican entrepreneurs under fifty in 2009. Don reflected, “I started off interested in politics. I worked in the most political environment in the country, the United State Congress as a page in the House and as an intern when I was in high school.” Aside from his real estate/publishing interests, Don is also an avid supporter for the mentoring of underprivileged youth by exposing them to the value of entrepreneurship. He is the former Chairman of the Board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, is on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Greater New York, was a two-time member of former President Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee, and the former Chairman of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. 72 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

The Royal Palm and The Residences

The Bath Club

LOVE & DEVOTION Don Peebles’ shining star is equally balanced with his wife, Katrina. They married in 1994 and have two children. Son, Donohue, a Columbia University graduate is now working as a Senior Associate of Development in the family business, while daughter Chloe is a top equestrian competitor. In the early 90s, Katrina spearheaded the Peebles Corporation real estate tax appeal business, which grew into the most successful real estate tax appeal firm in the entire District of Columbia. In the mid-1990’s, after the launch of Peebles Atlantic Development Corporation, Katrina began preparing responses to requests for proposals and guiding marketing efforts and promotions for mixed-use developments in Florida. Although she has invested substantial professional time in the Peebles Corporation, Katrina has always found it essential to give back to her community and has also sought to contribute her time and skills to various charities including Honey Shine, and is a former co-President of the Women’s Cancer League. She has always expressed an interest in politics and has hosted and contributed to political fundraising for over 25 years. But despite politics and charity organizations being a significant interest to Katrina, she also has a love and devotion to art and design and was able to combine her commercial and artistic passions in the historic restoration of The Bath Club in Miami Beach, Florida. Katrina has taken over the responsibility of the family’s philanthropic priorities while working at the Peebles Corporation. She currently sits on the board of directors for CARE Elementary School in Miami, as well as the NYC Mission Society.

Katrina Peebles, Don Peebles, Chloe Peebles.

Don Peebles, Katrina Peebles, Don Peebles Jr.

The Bath Club

For more information on the Peebles Corporation, please visit •


Marilyn Monroe


se one word to describe any of the following women: Christie Brinkley, Halle Berry, Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch, and Sophia Loren. The number one answer that will always come to mind is “beautiful.” This makes us all critics, and for this, we often feel we have the right to judge how they stay beautiful as they age.


Everyone has their own sense of how far is acceptable to go to maintain or attain beauty, and, of course, there are those among us who impose their views on others. In this day of soc ial media, a friend innocently posted an article on their Facebook page announcing Christie Brinkley’s partnership with Merz in which Christie discussed certain aesthetic treatments she’d chosen to have, using their products of course. I wish I could say I was shocked by some of the woefully uninformed comments that followed. It was especially upsetting to see this since I had the pleasure of having worked with Christie on her skincare line and found her to be not only stunningly beautiful but also one of the nicest people I’ve met—and a great mom to boot! Sure she has excellent DNA, but you don’t get to where she is, especially at her age, without also being smart and working very hard.

OURSELVES VS. OTHERS In some cases, we are hardest on ourselves. In others, we impose our views on those around us, especially celebrities and models. There are a few women who beat the system and are recognized and celebrated for their beauty even as they age. My hope is they will set the tone for the rest of us. One example that comes to mind is Jane Fonda who looks beautiful for any age—even if she’s had the help of some very talented aesthetic physicians along the way. I met her once, well not actually met, but used to see her way back in the late 1970s at a gym called the Manhattan Cardiac Institute. It was in the time before there was a gym on every corner. You were assigned a trainer and needed a doctor’s note to attend. I was there because my dad wanted me to lose weight and Jane was probably there because it was the best place in town, known for no-nonsense, intense workouts. Jane was on the mat next to me, stretching and doing our standard 100 sit-up warm-ups, and then she went to work with her trainer, and I went with mine. I was 17, she was…not. I couldn’t help but notice her workout kicked my workout’s butt! She also took great care of herself over the years, and so have most, if not all, of the women you see who look great as they age. 74 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

Sophia Loren

IT HAS ITS CHALLENGES Up to 90 percent of how your skin ages is from sun exposure and other lifestyle choices you’ve made over the years. The skin thins, discolors, and wrinkles and genetics also kick in—and kick out hormones of youth and reproductive potential. Thick flowing hair thins and grays. The brows and corners of the mouth drop and lines and wrinkles settle in. As words on paper, that doesn’t conjure up the ideal image of beauty. To make matters worse, most of us did not win the DNA beauty queen lottery at birth, but we all have beauty, and it’s normal to want to make the most of it and to hang on to what we have. Sadly, it’s sometimes even harder for those very few who did win the genetic beauty lottery. Many of these women end up being commoditized and unable to see their own beauty because it’s always defined in comparison to others and is eventually in comparison to a younger version of themselves. Embracing aging does not mean letting your hair go gray or avoiding aesthetic treatments any more than it means letting go of a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet and exercise, sleep and sex. There is also no aesthetic treatment that will recreate the beauty of a life fulfilled, but it can enhance and more accurately reflect it. Beauty and the word “beautiful” change as we age and take on richer meaning as the years add on. Jane Fonda Christie Brinkley

LIVING & LOVING LIFE There is no greater beauty than the beauty of a life lived, and loved, with gratitude and inner peace. It’s satisfaction that you made it this far and are still here to tell the tale. For many women, aesthetic treatments help them look as good as they feel, or sometimes as good as they want to feel. Treatments can help repair the damage of indiscretions from earlier years when the lack of sunscreen and sleep have seemed like a small price to pay for a good time at the time, but accelerated the aging process and added artificial and distracting layers to aging skin years later. Know this: It’s no one’s business what you or anyone else does, or how much you choose to tell (or not to tell). You have options—enjoy what you see or turn the page! •

Raquel Welch

Halle Berry Doris Day, MD, FAAD, MA, is a board certified dermatologist who specializes in laser, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. She is affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and is a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University Langone Medical Centers where she was presented with the award for Dedication and Excellence in the Teaching of Dermatology. For more information on Dr. Doris Day, visit HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 75

HEALTH AND WELLNESS HAVE COME TO SKIN CARE. Today’s skincare brands provide a spectrum of skin care products and treatments. Some tone, smooth and exfoliate. Others moisturize and repair damaged skin. There are even “anti-aging” formulations that temporarily plump or fill wrinkles. Individually, or taken together via a facial treatment or spa protocol, these products can make your skin look and feel great. But not a single one addresses the actual underlying health of the skin. Until now. Columbia Probiotics has developed a line of products that employs probiotics, plant stem cells and peptides to build healthy skin from the bottom up--from the dermis to the epidermis--by actually feeding it with the nutrients it needs to regenerate itself naturally.

HOW IT WORKS This natural complex of beneficial probiotics, botanicals and peptides keeps the bacteria in and on your skin balanced by promoting “good bacteria” at the expense of “bad bacteria.” The result is that the renewal of skin cells is naturally stimulated and accelerated, making the skin function more efficiently and promoting more rapid cell turnover to mimic the activity of skin younger than it is.

OUR PATENT-PENDING PROBIOTICS The probiotics in Columbia’s patent-pending formula are specifically made to be used topically, but work on your skin much like they do in your digestive tract. By facilitating the body’s natural processes of renewal, regeneration and rejuvenation, you will achieve naturally-improved, healthy functions. The same functions that slow down when we age, or lack proper nutrition, sleep or water intake. So, just as proper foods, water and rest heal, restore and rejuvenate your body, Columbia’s topical complex does the same for your skin.

MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME Don’t wait to bring your skin back to the optimal healthy state of its youth. Combine a healthy diet, regular exercise, sleep and a core skin-care regimen with Columbia Concentrate and Columbia Serum.

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COLUMBIAPROBIOTICS.COM email us at, or call 1.914.337.5131 |

SPA SCENE: GUERLAIN SPA By Griffin Miller, Spa Editor

inatra’s “Strangers In the Night” crooned from invisible speakers as I took in the orchid-embellished reception area of the recently unveiled Guerlain Spa at The Plaza. Decadently poised in a comfy chair sipping Champagne, my mind wandered to the mosaic of treatments taking place in the eleven flawlessly appointed treatment rooms just around the corner, sparking optimum anticipation.

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It was a busy Friday evening at Guerlain, yet the atmosphere was laid back and tranquil. Nothing forced or controlled, just layer upon layer of seamless pampering, from a killer peanut butter macaroon presented on a silver tray (alongside my complimentary Champagne!) by spa attaché Jeanette, to the soothing way aestheticians address one’s needs and desired results.



A dash of elegance laced with inviting contemporary details and relaxing earth-tones distinguishes Guerlain Spa at the Plaza from its former Waldorf-Astoria home (currently closed for major renovations). Here, white orchids tumble in greenery behind the reception desk. They nearly overflow recessed niches, while a statement orchid tree stands flanked by bookshelves featuring vintage Guerlain jars and beakers. Walls are lined with photographs “…showcasing how Guerlain sources ingredients from nature… enhancing the understanding of our cutting-edge therapies,” according to spa director Jennifer Kirby, referencing close-ups of honeycombs, and the lush forest habitat where the spa’s signature orchids come to life.

Always luxurious and sparked by innovation; each treatment is created and executed to fulfill Guerlain’s trademark personalization. This explains not only the Spa’s multigenerational appeal— the clientele while during my stay ranged from Millennials to Boomers, and I suspect beyond—but also why the customized Signature Massage remains the most popular service. Still, I couldn’t help but be seduced by a couple of Guerlain’s recent additions to its opulent menu: the 60-minute Orchidée Impériale the Black Orchid Treatment, a wrinkle-diffusing miracle. Even in a single session, the promise is reclaimed smoothness in terms of skin texture and wrinkle reduction, courtesy of the treatment’s crucial precious ingredient: Orchidée Impériale Black Cream. And then there’s the even more intense (90 minutes, no intermission) Orchidée Impériale the Black Orchid Cure, described as “...a masterpiece of luxury skincare and aesthetic expertise” employing “..a combination of ultra-powerful ingredients”. Considering New York’s erratic weather conditions of late, and the


GUERLAIN SPA AT THE PLAZA PERKS Champagne and macaroons aside, a visit to this luxury spa offers a wide array of perks, including complimentary… • Access to the spa’s new state-of-the-art workout center • Make-up touch-ups après spa services at the intimate Guerlain Boutique* adjacent to the spa [Note: Full make-up sessions with make-up specialists are also available by appointment] • Clothes steaming (so you never have to leave rumpled) • Shoeshine *Guerlain has also introduced a second Make-Up Center/Boutique (offering the same services and products) on the first floor of the Plaza in the shop area. way they play havoc with every aspect of our skin: pores, elasticity, cracks, crevices, and other miscellaneous objet d’face, the obvious choice would seem to be the Cure. But as an inveterate navigator of the indulgent, I find it’s often best to take the incremental path, so in the end, the Orchidée Impériale the Black Orchid Treatment won out. The overall experience begins in the spa’s upscale changing room: dark wood lockers, pristine counters and sinks, cushy robes and— thanks to the attentive staff—a bit of a celebrity vibe with you in the role of superstar. From there it’s off to the inviting lounge, where you can kick back in style until you’re led to your treatment room.

THE PAY-OFF In the end—which comes way too soon—the results speak for themselves. A finite youthful glow with barely a whisper of wrinkles. If you’re anything like me, you’re bound to come away wishing you could encase the entire experience in amber. For more information on Guerlain Spa at The Plaza, visit •

As for the soothing wrinkle metamorphosis, it comes in a beautifully textured, perfectly lit treatment room: Your choice of music; your skin profile; your level of comfort. Finally, come the tiers of facial indulgence, blending delicate massage with the masterful step by step application of Orchidée Impériale Black Cream, as if your face were a work of fine art.

Griffin Miller specializes in spa travel and New York theater. Her resume includes writing for The New York Times, For the Bride and Hotels. She also creates promotional materials for the Metropolitan Opera, BAM, and Guggenheim Museum. A member of The New York Travel Writers’ Association, she is a playwright and award-winning collage artist.

SPA GIFT GUIDE You don’t have to be a spa aficionado to crave a little pampering, especially when the weather outside is frightful. So I give you a few new spa-inspired items I’d like to find under the tree this holiday season! FLAWLESS PADS Powerful and portable, these pre-soaked pads are laced with Glycolic, Lactic, Citric and Salicylic acids—a combo (along with Vitamin B3 and Sodium Hyaluronate). Daily in-home use boosts collagen while attacking pigmentation, fine lines, skin tone and pretty much anything standing in the way of complexion perfection. Instytutum ( RELAXATION AROMATHERAPY ORB So special on so many levels, this scent diffuser (think fragrant essential oil mist)—with a multi-colored glow, no less—ups the must-have ante with its integrated speakers that pair wirelessly with smartphones, tablets, or any other tech-friendly device housing your favorite music. Hammacher Schlemmer ( ELKE BROW CRÈME SERUM/ADVANCED FORMULA Get ready for some seriously impressive eyebrows within one to two weeks. Easy to apply with clean fingers or with the Slant Brush. And while you’re waiting for results, keep in mind you can use your favorite eyebrow make-up immediately after applying. ELKE ( BODIPURE®’s KERATIN GLOVES® and SOCKS Dubbed as “the first waterless, all-in-one manicure-pedicure treatment” these excellent hand and feet rejuvenators that had— up until now—only been available to professional nail salons and spas, are now waiting to moisturize your skin and strengthen your nails in the decadent spa privacy of your home. Bodipure ( 78 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

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e lived as a virtual shut-in. He couldn’t ride the subway, avoided crowded places and needed a friend just to venture outside his own home. For 20 years, that was life for Rodney, a veteran who could not find the right kind of treatment for his PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He spent years in and out of various treatment programs, only to drop out each time.

LEARN HOW YOU CAN HELP Go to and snap a photo

Eventually, he found the Man O’ War Project, a one-of-a-kind equineassisted therapy research program developed and administered by Columbia University Medical Center, which changed his life. The program has the potential to change thousands more. As many as 30 percent of returning veterans are affected by PTSD, a highly disabling condition marked by symptoms such as situation avoidance, nightmares, anger issues and negative thoughts, all of which can contribute to debilitating anxiety, depression and even suicide.

A PROMISE TO OUR VETS According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 20 veterans die by suicide every day in the United States. Such frightening statistics make it abundantly clear that we are not providing veterans suffering from PTSD the range of options they need to find a treatment that works for each individual. With today’s conventional treatment options, half of all veterans with PTSD do not seek treatment, and of those that do, approximately 80 percent drop out. Although there is good evidence for traditional therapies delivered in group or one-on-one settings, these are often experienced as overly demanding or too painful, as veterans are asked to “relive” or directly address their traumas. Doing so is a harrowing experience for anyone and many cannot take it. The result is that thousands of veterans with PTSD struggle to manage their symptoms on their own. Equine-assisted therapy offers great promise to help these veterans get the treatment they deserve. 80 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

A RESEARCH DRIVEN APPROACH The Man O’ War Project got its start as a question, posed by Ambassador Earle I. Mack, a former U.S. Army officer, thoroughbred racehorse owner and aftercare advocate. “I approached my friend Dr. David Shaffer from Columbia University Medical Center and asked, ‘Can horses help veterans with PTSD?’” recalls Mack. “He brought the idea to his colleagues, who were intrigued. So we created the Man O’ War Project to find out.” Many equine programs exist that provide valuable benefits for veterans, but no one knows how equine therapy actually works, if it provides a true clinical benefit or how it should be properly administered. Without answers to these questions, equine therapy will never achieve the same treatment status as traditional therapies, which will therefore limit its broader application and also funding for the treatment. Led by Yuval Neria, Ph.D., Professor and Director of PTSD Research at Columbia University Medical Center and Prudence Fisher, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Columbia, the Man O’ War Project is the first and only universityled clinical research trial aimed specifically at veterans diagnosed with PTSD to determine the effectiveness of Equine-Assisted Therapy for treating PTSD (EAT-PTSD) and to establish uniform, manualized guidelines for the application of EAT-PTSD. “To test equine-assisted therapy, first you have to understand what exactly it is and how it works,” says Dr. Fisher. “Through our study, we are collecting the first research data to examine its effectiveness and how it should be applied, so that in the future thousands more may get the treatment they need.”


WHY HORSES? When veterans sign up for equine-assisted therapy with the Man O’ War Project, they experience a completely new approach to therapy. For 90 minutes per week, over an eight-week treatment period, they are not trapped in a therapist’s office. Rather their “learning” partner is a horse. Horses and veterans actually share much in common, including a mission mentality. Military life revolves around a given mission. Whether on base or deployed in a war zone, soldiers always have a defined mission before them. When they retire from military service, many veterans often feel lost or listless without this sense of mission. Horses have careers too and are accustomed to working. So when life as a racehorse or some other role ends, these noble animals also need a chance at a second career with a sense of purpose. In this unique way, equine therapy is of mutual benefit to the veteran and horse. In addition, veterans and horses are both hyper-vigilant—veterans because of their combat experiences, and horses because they are prey animals. Horses act as mirrors to human emotion and behavior, responding in ways that humans can recognize and learn from to better understand their own behaviors and actions.

The treatment begins with simple introductions—the sniff of a hand, a touch on the nose, to eventually guiding the unbridled horse in the ring. Each step challenges veterans to go beyond their comfort zone to earn the horse’s trust, thereby gaining confidence and an understanding of how their behaviors impact the horse, and in turn, those around them. All of this is done under the strict supervision of specially trained mental health therapists and equine specialists who use these interactions to help veterans re-acquire the life skills they need to live healthy and productive lives. “What is surprising to me is the magnitude of the effect of the program,” explains Dr. Neria. “We see improved mood and reduction in many PTSD symptoms. We see this as having great potential to change the lives of many veterans.” To date, Columbia University, through the Man O’ War Project, has produced the first ever standardized manual for the application of EAT-PTSD, and is actively testing the manual with groups of veterans. The clinical results have been extremely positive, with veterans expressing great enthusiasm for the program. “I’m doing things I never thought I’d be able to do again, and trying new things too,” says Rodney. “I’m taking a computer class, learning to fly fish and can walk through a crowd to get to where I need to go. For more information on Man O’ War Project, visit •

Anne D. W. Poulson serves as President of the Man O’ War Project (a 501c 3 organization). A lifelong horsewoman, she is former President of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association and former Chair of the Virginia Racing Commission. HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 81


wo annual and significant events tend to enrich human life. Christians of every denomination recognize the birth of Jesus READ MORE BY DR. PETER M. KALELLIS Christ as one of the most significant events in all of history. There Go to and snap a photo is unspeakable profundity in the fact that God, although a spiritual being, out of infinite love took on human form and appeared on earth as one of us. He became a human being that humans were able to know and relate with their creator, the God who loves and cares for them. Christmas then could also be called The Celebration of Love. Music, presents, songs and dances, dinners and parties are ways that we express our love. Within a few days, we will move from the agony of anticipation that all goes well for us to the ecstasy of our satisfaction. The excitement and joy of Christmas are followed by the celebration of the New Year, one of the most internationally recognized holidays. Different countries and cultures celebrate the arrival of the New Year. The common thread is a gratified goodbye to the previous year. You might be celebrating with your family or a few close friends. The hope is that your celebration will be pleasant and will offer some new ideas and plans that feel promising. The old year, 2017, is about to expire. We feel a sense of nostalgia as we reflect on the events that took place in our lives in the past 12 months. At best we can reflect on the lessons that our past have left with us. It is time to celebrate and leave behind pleasant or unpleasant events, and be prepared to welcome 2018 joyfully.

REMEMBERING WHAT WAS Celebrations, as exciting they can be, eventually come to an end. But life continues its course, presenting us with exciting challenges and new opportunities to explore. Being mindful of the passing time, we become aware of how precious is each hour of the day, each moment. What we have left behind, what we produce in the future will have less importance than what we are doing right now, this very moment, for our wellness and peace. The present moment is our best friend. In the morning as we wake up and it just happens to feel tired or moody, we can take a look at our self in a mirror, smile at the image that we see and then get back in bed and stay under the covers for a few minutes. Prop up our head with a comfortable pillow and rediscover the smile we had just seen as we looked in the mirror. If we continue to look tired or moody, our day will be sad both for the people we will encounter and for us. A handshake accompanied by an anxious and worried face evokes anguish, but a handshake accompanied by a smiling face conveys pleasant and kind feelings. If kindness comes from our heart, it will give us good feelings. But when kindness is offered out of obligation it lacks dignity. 82 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

LIVE IN THE PRESENT To be a happy person, you need to gain mastery over yourself. You may need to concentrate on the present moment as if this were your last moment in life. The quality of time that you lived yesterday is lost in time; the quality of time that you may be planning to live tomorrow is unpredictable; the quality of time that you choose to live today, not only will give you joy, strength, and motivation, but it will inspire those around you. Regretting the past or dreading the future can make anyone fearful and sad. But being happy this present moment makes us stand tall. However your personality may be at this reading, you can make a choice. The present moment, as short as it may be, is more important, for it gives you the opportunity to become aware of your strengths and to use them wisely. Whoever you are, you have a little effort to make each day to rediscover people with who you could establish a friendly relationship or who need a helping hand. It is today, this very moment to begin having positive thoughts, speaking a kind word, making a gesture of sympathy or friendship to give meaning to the present. All of us must make an effort to be like oxygen purifying the air and sustaining life around us. Allow me to add a few thoughts here to help you get started: Just put this magazine down and take a fifteenminute walk in your neighborhood. Leave your cell phone home or wherever you happen to be. There’s something to be said about being completely unreachable. Who’s to say that we’re available whenever someone needs us? You are. Nothing matters right now. Look around and enjoy the grandeur of Mother Nature. Look at the trees how they grow and how their branches reach out. Look at the sky and as you continue walking, take a few deep breaths of the fresh air and feel refreshed and revitalized. Resist the urge to see what is on your Email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Remember, you are not doing this to ignore someone, but you are paying attention to yourself. Later make a phone call to someone you love. After your walk making a short and simple call will nurture your soul and will make someone happy. That someone is you. This is an easy one that can take as little as five minutes. •

SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS • A style of a happier life can be as you direct your energies to discovering the values that exist within you. Do not be mean or cold to others, instead be kind and seek the riches that live in everyone. For better relationships, your initiative is essential. • All humans are vulnerable. We need to know our strengths and our weaknesses and accept them as part of our human condition. We may be spiritual people, but we also are subject of our physical self. Sometimes, we are not able to exercise a valid and efficient control. • The day is today that you will discover your fundamental qualities; those inherited developmentally from your home life, from your education, and from your environment. Then you can employ them each day, each hour for your wellness and the benefit of others.

What we have left behind, what we produce in the future will have less importance than what we are doing right now, this very moment, for our wellness and peace. Dr. Peter M. Kalellis is a psychotherapist, marriage and family therapist, lecturer, and writer. He has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is the author of many books. He maintains his practice in Westfield, New Jersey. HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 83

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU By Dr. Scott Asnis

t’s that time of year again. With holidays parties and events around every corner, you need to be sure your smile is cameraready. It also can mean dental emergencies and patients requiring quick relief and fixes. Dental365 was founded with patient comfort being at the center of the design. It has many locations throughout the New York Metropolitan area that are open 365 days per year. Dental365 is committed to making it easy for patients to obtain the dental care they need. If a patient is heading to a company holiday party on a Thursday night and breaks a tooth, they can walk into Dental365 and be treated immediately without making a fashionably late entrance to the party. During the holiday season, Dental365 sees lots of busy New Yorkers coming in for services to improve their smile, but we also see many patients coming in with emergencies such as crowns that have come off, abscesses, wisdom teeth complications, traumatic injury, and grinding/bruxism.

QUICK & EASY The holiday season is the perfect time to get that smile you’ve always dreamed of. Why put it off any longer? Make your smile your new year’s resolution! Below are some ways professional dentistry can quickly and easily improve your smile. Teeth Whitening There are many things you can do to improve your smile depending on what you are looking for. Teeth whitening has become very popular in the past few years, and with good reason. It enhances the appearance of teeth by removing surface and deep stains. Professional whitening versus over-the-counter products is much safer and lasts much longer. Your dentist can also make sure that the gums do not get irritated from the whitening agent.

ONE-STOP TO A BEAUTIFUL SMILE Surprisingly, we see more cases of bruxism during the holidays than any other time of year. All too often we carry our stress in our jaw, which can lead to bruxism otherwise known as grinding. Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth together during the day, or clench or grind them at night (sleep bruxism). If you find yourself having any of the symptoms listed below you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. • Worn tooth enamel • Face pain rooted at the jawline • Earache-like pain • A headache in the temple area • Sores from chewing or biting the inside of your cheek If left untreated bruxism can lead to more serious issues including TMJ, teeth damage, and sleep deprivation. Take time this holiday season to slow down and enjoy your friends and family. Remember to take deep breaths and find moments to relax during your day. 84 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

To receive the best result, it is essential to remove any plaque buildup or tartar on your teeth before whitening. Pre-cleaning and an exam to ensure you will get the most from your whitening experience are highly recommended. Orthodontics Your New Year’s resolution may also be to correct an abnormal bite or crowded teeth. Braces not only improve the aesthetics of your smile, but they also improve your overall oral health. Restorative Procedures The New Year may be the right time to begin or complete restorative work such as crowns, implants, or fillings that you have been putting off. Doing so will help preserve your tooth structure and maintain proper tooth alignment, which will improve your oral health and overall smile. For more information on Dental365, visit• Dr. Scott Asnis is the founder and CEO of Dental365. He graduated from New York University College of Dentistry and completed a general practice residency at the Brooklyn Veterans Administration Hospital in 1984. In 2014, Dr. Asnis founded Dental365 and continued the expansion of this practice in the metropolitan New York area which accepts walk-ins with little or no waiting time for adults and children.


ach year as the New Year rolls around, resolutions are made for healthier eating. Goals come and go, and with that, frustrations frequently appear by midyear. Wouldn’t it be great to find just a few ways to make healthy eating easy and tasty? Here, some goals I try to use in my own life on a daily basis.



Do not fear fat, but do make sure to choose those that are beneficial for our health. These fats will help us absorb fatsoluble vitamins, keep us full longer by slowing digestion, can be heart and skin friendly, and most importantly taste great. The big key here is portion control. No more than 1 tablespoon of oil, 1-2 tablespoons nut butter, ¼ avocado, and a handful of GIVE IT A TRY: Angelic Bakehouse nuts per serving. Premium Wraps, Back to the Roots Organic Stone Ground Flakes and Barilla Whole GIVE IT A TRY: Almonds, walnuts, avocado, wild Alaskan Grain Pasta. salmon, and olive oil. You’ve heard it time and again. Eat whole wheat and whole grain carbohydrates. But what should we look for on the nutrition labels? Here’s what you need to look for the next time you are shopping for cereal, pasta, and other grains. Try to find ones with at least 4-5 grams of fiber per serving (for bread find those with 2-3 grams of fiber per slice). Scan the ingredient list and look for brands that use simple ingredients, especially ones that you know and recognize.


There are so many great products out there, but unfortunately a lot of them contain added sugar. By choosing dairy products that are not highly processed and made from natural ingredients, we can quickly increase our protein at breakfast as well as other meals and snacks. GIVE IT A TRY: Good Culture Cottage Cheese, FAGE Greek Yogurt or any organic milk variety.

EAT THE RAINBOW Kids hear it often, but adults should be doing this as well. Each time you go to the market, be sure to choose different colors. A variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you are getting the necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that play a role in maintaining optimal health and disease prevention. They can help provide the nutrients needed for proper functioning of your brain, vision, healing, blood, bones, skin and energy levels. Consider them nature’s multivitamins! GIVE IT A TRY: Dragon Fruit (pitaya), Cherimoya, Rambutan, Jackfruit and Kiwano Melon.

LEAN PROTEIN SWAPS You don’t have to give up meat or poultry. Simply choose leaner versions especially when you are dining out at a restaurant. There are many sources of lean protein that will also provide iron such as sirloin, filet mignon, pork tenderloin, shellfish, turkey breast, chicken breast, and fish (although some fish are higher in fat; these are beneficial).

GIVE IT A TRY: Not a meat eater (or Shari Boockvar, MS, RDN simply for a change of pace), substitute is a Nutritionist in New dairy, beans, lentils and non-GMO York and the Tri-State area. edamame as excellent sources of protein. She specializes in nutrition counseling and consulting for weight control and fitness. Shari can be found blogging about her favorite products and recipes at NutritionShari,, Instagram: @NutritionShari, and

CONSIDER A “JUNK FOOD” BUDGET Most of us love our snacks and dessert foods. One of the biggest mistakes my clients make is trying to avoid sugar and junk food altogether. If you are one of the few that can do this longterm without an issue, by all means, go for it. This can, however, be difficult to maintain over an extended period. This year, try enjoying your snacks by limiting them to no more than 150-250 calories a day from sources such as cake, cookies, candy, pie (you get the picture, any snack that wouldn’t be considered nutritious). You can save your budget for a nighttime dessert or split it up throughout the day. In that way, you will be able to enjoy them, while limiting the total amount. GIVE IT A TRY: Halo Top Ice Cream (1/2-1 cup), Made Good Granola Minis, Kashi Soft Baked Cookie or Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars. •



or as long as he remembers, Jacques Torres’ passion has always been chocolate. Glorious chocolate which brings smiles to young and old alike who marvel at the smooth taste to savor bite after bite.

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Naturally, this is the reason Jacques prides himself on specializing in fresh, hand-crafted chocolates using premium ingredients free of preservatives and artificial flavors. In fact, he’s the first artisan chocolatier to start from cocoa beans to make his own chocolate. Then, in 2000, Jacques opened his first chocolate factory, Jacques Torres Chocolate in Brooklyn. Today, he oversees a growing chocolate empire of retail stores throughout Manhattan. Jacques’ story begins in a small town in France, located in the southern region of Provence. At an early age, he was inspired to start a culinary career thanks to his love for food--and making people happy. With only a three-year apprenticeship, Jacques landed a job with Michelin two-star chef Jacques Maximin at the Hotel Negresco, starting a relationship that would last nearly a decade and take him around the globe. In 1988, the young pastry chef ventured to the U.S. as the Corporate Pastry Chef for Ritz-Carlton. A year later, Sirio Maccioni invited Jacques to work at New York City’s the legendary Le Cirque restaurant as the Executive Pastry Chef. For 11 years, Jacques served presidents, kings, and celebrities in his everyday work at the iconic restaurant. New York Lifestyles recently caught up with Mr. Chocolate to find out about the chef and his sweet delights. Many countries are famous for their chocolates (Belgium, Switzerland, Italy), which countries chocolates do you love the most? I like American. But every country has a different profile. France, Spain, and Italy love stronger dark chocolates and a little less of the milk chocolates. It’s all about the flavor; they love chocolates just like coffee—strong! America has the taste profile of Switzerland and Belgium—relatively mild, good flavor, dark as well as milk chocolates. After so many years as a pastry chef at Le Cirque, tell us what you learned there? Le Cirque was really at the center of the restaurant business at the time I was working there. I was meeting so many people because of the restaurant; it was truly unbelievable. Le Cirque was a powerhouse at the time and hosted the most important people. Everyone from the King of Spain, to all of Hollywood, the Pope—everybody was dining there and it was amazing. I also learned that truly understanding the ingredients was so crucial to what I do. 86 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

Photo courtesy 530Medialab

What inspired you to open a chocolate shop? I needed a change after 25 years into my career, but I also wanted to translate my love of working with chocolates that is loved by all ages, gender, and races into something bigger. What makes a good chocolate bar? To make good chocolate, we need good cocoa beans, which in turn are transformed into chocolates with proper techniques and procedure. As a whole, good chocolate is one that you, the consumer, will love. I can describe and explain the taste profile of chocolate as much as I want, but if you don’t like it, then you don’t like it. Good chocolate is a personal decision. How does one go about picking new flavors in a chocolate collection? You can mention that association of flavor is something that I have done for the past 20+ years with a history of cooking and now making chocolates. There are classic flavors like chocolate and orange and some that are a little more innovative like lemon and chocolate. I consider spices, exotic fruits and exciting combinations that surprise the consumer. Do you have a favorite chocolate in the Collection? Every chocolate that I have on my menu is there for a reason so if there is chocolate that I didn’t like—I remove it. I can’t pick a favorite. They’re all delicious! Are there any new projects on the horizon? Of course, but you’ll have to wait and see! For more information on Jacques Torres Chocolate, visit •

Every chocolate that I have on my menu is there for a reason so if there is chocolate that I didn’t like—I remove it. I can’t pick a favorite. They’re all delicious! HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 87

FROM TREE TO BAR If you’re holiday shopping this season for your favorite chocolate delights, stop in at Choco-Story New York: The Chocolate Museum and Experience. It is Manhattan’s first chocolate museum located at the famed chocolatier’s flagship store on Hudson Street. Opened earlier this year, visitors discover chocolate and its journey from bean to bar through artifacts, premium tastings, kids’ corner and a bonbon-making class, offering a delicious—hands-on experience for the entire family. “I can think of nothing better than having the opportunity to share my knowledge and its history,” says Jacques. For this venture, Jacques partnered with Eddy Van Belle, chocolate aficionado and founder of four other Choco-Story museums around the world, from Belgium to Uxmal. Choco-Story New York traces the history of cacao and chocolate by telling the story of its origin and evolution through authentic artifacts from the Mayan and Aztec civilizations to 19-century Europe and follows the timeline to the present.

©Kevin Chiu ©Kevin Chiu

For more information on Choco-Story New York and to purchase tickets, visit ©Kevin Chiu

©Kevin Chiu


©Kevin Chiu


hile I enjoy many types of cuisines, I have a special place in my heart for grand steakhouses. The Greenwich Steakhouse does not disappoint. Chef/owner Victor Chavez honed his chops over at the legendary Smith & Wollensky, and what he learned there helped him make Greenwich Steakhouse the very best it could be. If you love an intimate dining atmosphere with dreamy art on the walls, prime quality fare, GS is the place to go. It blends the traditional with the modern, and their seafood menu is as strong as its beef selection.

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Before you ask, yes—there are fantastic selections for vegans and otherwise health-conscious folks. Chef Chavez tells New York Lifestyles in a candid moment, “We always face difficulties catering to the vegetarians and vegans because we are mainly a steakhouse! Our kitchen concept has always been to use non-GMO products. The food industry is cloudy; it’s so hard to know as a customer where your food originates. We try to identify that and be more in touch with the conscious farmer!”

REFINED ATTENTION For those of you who are jaded when it comes to NYC and its many great steakhouses (we’re probably the world leader in this arena), the cuts are exceptional. My guest and I were impressed when our large 48-ounce Porterhouse was brought to the table. It’s sliced at the table, and if you like Peter Luger’s porterhouse steaks, you will love this same cut at GS! It is well worth the steep price tag, and you get something that no one else serves along with their porterhouses—a giant bone with the marrow already scooped so that you can just take a fork (or spoon) to it. Many cutting-edge eateries sell the marrow on its own these days, and getting an extra-large helping of marrow along with the 48 ounces of succulently grilled porterhouse is a perk! 90 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

For our sides a generous helping of sautéed mushrooms and onions as well as grilled asparagus, so tender and flavorful. The veggies at GS are locally grown and taste as if they were just picked within the past couple of hours. In fact, Chef Chavez has staff that personally hand select produce. He reveals, “We want to just keep up with the seasonal vegetables available to us. We like to follow the seasons and change our side dishes with all the great markets in New York!” I almost forgot to add that we started our sumptuous meal with a crab cake and onion soup—both done to traditional recipes. The crab cake was incredibly delicious with large chunks to savor; the onion soup must have had 1/4 pound of melted Gruyere on top. I have to mention that unlike most onion soups, this batch was not overly sweet— there definitely is no sugar added to GS’s recipe for this French favorite. There really was a pure onion taste. One hallmark of a great steakhouse is their cheesecake. Their cheesecake was dressed with a scattering of strawberries and a drizzle of homemade chocolate sauce— absolutely divine. The graham cracker crust is buttery to the taste. My dining partner selected the homemade gelato and sorbet—I snagged a couple of bites of the mango sorbet, and it was simply incredible (not too sugary and full of fresh mango flavor).

FRENCH FLAIR When asked what he felt was his most significant achievement, Chef Chavez says with a chuckle that it is his family rather than his ability to present some of the world’s most beautiful steak dishes! He feels that GS is special not just because of the quality but also because of their creative and solidly skilled kitchen staff ’s French flair. He states matter-of-factly, “We are a French-inspired steakhouse. So we try to use French techniques in the way that we cook and serve our dishes!” But he concludes with a smile that the success of GS can only be attributed to one factor: “A good steak will always be a good steak!” Greenwich Steakhouse has a very young crowd, and you can find a lot of investment bankers discussing the ups and downs of the business, but you’ll also find a large percentage of food lovers from all walks of life. The staff makes you feel welcome, but they also know when to keep their distance and when to ask you if you need anything. They are truly inviting and want you to feel their establishment is your second home. Reservations are recommended. For more information on Greenwich Steakhouse, visit • Anne Raso is a New York Citybased freelance journalist. She is the former rock columnist for the Sunday New York Daily News and has contributed travel articles to Time Out New York and foxnews. com. Anne currently edits the lifestyle website luxelifenyc. com and contributes to Discovery Girls Magazine. HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 91


elcome the New Year in style! Whether you’re looking for a party scene full of revelers or a more romantic space to share a midnight Champagne toast with someone special, we’ve compiled a list of the top restaurants in New York City.


KELLARI Kellari has been a mainstay for the freshest fish and Greek delights for over a decade. And, according to owner Stavros Aktipis, only fresh sustainable abounds at his perennially popular Midtown institution. Come New Year’s Eve, Kellari will offer a three-course dinner for $95 per person served with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. Main course options will include Halibut Fillet with orange caper sauce and squid ink risotto; Paidakia, grilled lamb chops with oregano lemon potatoes and horta; Astakomakaronada, Greek-style pasta with lobster; and more. Chef ’s selection for the table will be served for dessert. For more information on Kellari, visit

T-BAR STEAK AND LOUNGE A classically-chic Upper East Side eatery, T-Bar Steak and Lounge offers outstanding cuisine in a casual yet elegant space. Under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Ben Zwicker the menu features a delicious range of dishes, ranging from well-cooked renditions of classics, to refined and inventive plates, providing the ultimate dining experience. The restaurant’s enchanting charm is brought to life in the sophisticated dining room, with a soft candlelit glow. On December 31st, T-Bar will be serving a three-course $140 pre-fixe dinner. A DJ, dancing and Champagne toast will highlight the evening. For more information on T-Bar Steak and Lounge, visit

THE RUSSIAN TEA ROOM Dine at The Russian Tea Room this New Year’s Eve and enjoy a six-course prix fixe menu for $500 per person. This unforgettable experience includes half an ounce of Siberian Caviar served with buckwheat blinis and traditional accompaniments, Baked Oyster Rockefeller filled with béchamel and spinach topped with bread crumbs and baked. Entree selections include Pan Seared Langoustine Tails with Saffron Risotto, Shellfish Broth and Caviar Topped with Gold, Seared Scallops with Parsnip Puree, Fried Brussels Sprout Leaves, Champagne Broth Truffle Mashed Potatoes and Cabernet Sauce. This decadent meal will end with Champagne sorbet and your selection of one dessert which includes over the top options like Famous Tea Room Blintzes with Cherry and Cheese Blintzes with vanilla ice cream, Chocolate Molten Cake with cherry syrup and cherry ice cream, Baked Alaska with Vanilla ice cream encased in meringue and flambéed. For more information on The Russian Tea Room, visit 92 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

LA PULPERIA With its three locations (Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown and Upper East Side), La Pulperia continues to serve an eclectic European-influenced menu with Latin American flair. A special $120 three-course dinner will be topped with a Champagne toast at midnight and live DJ music as well. Chef Carlos Barroz’s menu is both inviting as well as adventurous, Signature menu items include Las Tablas, which allows patrons to choose from a variety of perfectly grilled proteins such as their famous Pulpo (grilled octopus); Pacu Fish Ribs, which are a rarity in New York, is made with grilled Brazilian fish ribs, served with orange chipotle BBQ sauce and coconut rice; and Moqueta Mixta which includes a mix of fresh squid, shrimp, mussels, white fish, scallops, soybeans, Spanish Chorizo, Bacalao and Green Coconut Rice. Hungry diners will relish with La Pulperia’s dessert menu, which features dishes such as the Spice Chocolate Mousse, made with Herradura Anejo tequila, olive oil flourless cake, popcorn toffee, espresso crumbs and 24k edible gold flakes. End the dining experience with Mango & Lychee Tres Leches, a citrus sponge cake, topped with coconut mousse and sake soak, topped a dollop of vanilla whipped cream, white chocolate shavings, mango and lychee Pico de Gallo. For more information on La Pulperia, visit

LINCOLN SQUARE STEAKHOUSE Within walking distance from Lincoln Center, in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Lincoln Square Steak is a classic steakhouse designed with a nostalgic decor that is reflective of the 1960s era. The restaurant offers steaks that are dry-aged to perfection, succulent seafood dishes and an extensive global wine list that features 30 bottles under $30. For one of the best deals in town, head to Lincoln Square Steak to avoid a price-fixe experience and dine a la carte on New Year’s Eve. Enjoy a live threepiece band and a complimentary glass of Champagne at midnight after indulging in a dry aged porterhouse for two, family-style Italian and fantastic seafood. For more information on Lincoln Square Steak, visit

IL GATTOPARDO This favorite hot spot will be serving a Jazz Brunch (from 11:30 am to 3 PM) along with its seasonal a la carte menu to ring in the New Year. At the 10 pm seating, a party atmosphere will ensue along with a toast from owners Gianfranco Sorrentino and Paula Bolla-Sorrentino. Chef Vito Gnazzo is known for his “farm to table” approach to Southern Italian dining, something that attracts locals and visitors alike to Il Gattopardo and its sister restaurants The Leopard at des Artistes and Mozzarella & Vino. Signature dishes include the Homemade Buckwheat Fettucini served with grilled eggplant, scented with fresh basil; Pan-seared veal loin scented with fresh thyme, served with fingerling potatoes and porcini mushrooms; and Artisanal Ravioli filled with wild pheasant, partridge and robiola cheese in its own sauce. Those with a sweet tooth will relish in Il Gattopardo’s dessert menu, which features dishes such as Tropical Symphony, a crumbled praline alle mandorle layered with cream of fresh mango and lime, topped with passion fruit mousseline; and Golden apple and walnut tart served with artisanal vanilla gelato. For more information on Il Gattopardo, visit • HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 93


his holiday season, plan a party out of the ordinary with tips from celebrity event planner Larry Scott of Lawrence Scott Events who has been planning one-of-a-kind-events for over two decades. A signature Lawrence Scott Event offers guests a chance to enter a magical environment that allows them to escape and connect in a magnificent space unlike any other. All of Lawrence Scott Events’ services are in-house, so clients receive only the best-customized décor, food, flowers and entertainment which blends to make a perfect event.


A native New Yorker, Lawrence Scott Gottesman started his business in 1989, and instantly gained a reputation for his exceptional, one-of-a-kind celebrations. “From the ridiculous to the sublime,” A Larry Party™ brought families and friends together for life’s most memorable moments and milestones. Twenty-eight years later, he continues to bestow only the best. We caught up with Larry who shared some valuable tips when hosting your party at home. He assures New York Lifestyles readers these hints will make your holiday gatherings a more enjoyable and relaxing experience. • Make sure food is in abundance. And if there are leftovers, they can still be enjoyed during the next few days or put in the freezer. • Serve either family-style down the center of the table or set up a buffet. This way guests have several choices and even the most discerning dinner guest will be pleased. • If not using a wait staff to help, make a self-serve bar on the kitchen island. The reason is simple: It gives the host the convenience and ability to enjoy the holiday with guests. Spending an evening running between the table and the kitchen is never enjoyable!

A CATERED AFFAIR For those who prefer, Lawrence Scott Events can personalize the entire party. Customized events are offered throughout the Tristate area and the East End. Larry has always believed that “more is more” and nowhere is this approach better showcased than in his impressive displays and gourmet food offerings. There are as many varieties of the delicious dishes and drinks served as there are event themes. Part of what sets his style apart from others is his innate understanding of his clients and guests while making everyone feel comfortably included. To him it is all about the mix—the high and the low, the formal and the relaxed—that comes together to make a truly standout celebration. Perfect timing coupled with precise choreography is what Larry’s signature parties are all about. While known for his non-stop innovation and trendy approach, Larry is equally known for his philanthropic efforts. Larry’s commitment to community has spanned decades of support for charitable causes including Make–A–Wish, The Feinstein Institute, Live Out Loud, City Of Hope to name a few. Larry’s reputation is that of a generous and charismatic man who considers his employees “family” and treats his clients with the utmost respect. They return to him time and again to celebrate all of life’s important occasions knowing their party will be like no other and one that they “will never, ever forget!” For more information on Lawrence Scott Events, visit •

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The Most Refreshingly Civilized Places To MeetTM

stablished in 1990, Lexington Bar and Books was the third of the growing Bar and Books family, located on New York City´s Upper East Side, adjacent to the city´s most exclusive shopping avenues, Madison Avenue, and the expensive residential Park Avenue.

The decor is sophisticated and in keeping with its neighbors , allowing them to feel at home away from their homes. The whimsical features and characteristics are featured in all five locations and are consistent here.

Lexington Bar and Books caters primarily to Upper East Side residents, their friends, and visiting guests. The dress code is strictly enforced; casual yet stylish proper attire is requested.

Lexington Bar and Books has a private salon that hosts a big screen TV and which can be used for private events of up to 50 guests.

Lexington Bar and Books Open daily: 5pm - 4am 1020 Lexington Avenue (212) 717-3902 @ 73rd Street, New York 10021


osting a holiday party or just having a festive night at home? Whip up one of these delicious drinks. No matter what you’re celebrating, this is the perfect time of year for sharing a festive cocktail with family and friends. We’ve got you covered with this roster of classic—and new favorites—every one of which is worth cheering.

CHAMPS ELYSÉES 1 ½ parts Courvoisier® V.S. Cognac ¾ part Yellow or Green Chartreuse® Liqueur ¾ part lemon juice 1 dash of Angostura® Bitters Lemon for garnish Mix all ingredients in a shaker, add ice and strain into glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

HOLLY JOLLY PUNCH 2 parts Pinnacle® Original Vodka 1 part DeKupyer® Triple Sec 3 parts cranberry juice 6 parts ginger ale 2 parts orange juice Cinnamon allspice Nutmeg Sugar Sliced oranges Add ingredients to a punch bowl and stir. Slowly stir in orange juice concentrate as it melts. Add spices to taste, and garnish with orange slices.

CINNAMON TEQUILA TODDY 1 ½ parts Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila 5 parts hot water ¾ part cinnamon bark syrup ¼ part honey ¼ part fresh lemon juice 3 dashes vanilla bitters Cinnamon sticks Combine equal parts sugar and water and 3 cinnamon sticks in a saucepan and bring to a boil to create cinnamon bark syrup. Remove cinnamon sticks from the mixture and combine the remainder of the ingredients in a coffee glass. Stir and garnish with a cinnamon stick. 96 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

WAKE UP CALL 1 part Hornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila 4 parts hot coffee ½ part simple syrup Whipped cream Chocolate shavings Combine all ingredients in a coffee glass and stir. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

SNOWFLAKE CHILLER 2 parts Pinnacle® Original Vodka 2 parts heavy cream 3 tablespoons melted white chocolate ½ teaspoon almond extract ¼ teaspoon coconut extract ¼ teaspoon nutmeg Shredded coconut or granulated sugar crystals Rim edges of glasses by dipping in melted white chocolate and then in either coconut flakes or sugar crystals. Combine vodka, heavy cream and extracts. Shake and strain into the glass. Tip: The white chocolate and sugar rim gives this cocktail a touch of sweetness, but if you like your cocktails on the sweeter side, add a bit of simple syrup to taste. •

Help Cure Food Insecurity Food Insecurity happens when the poor, the disabled, the elderly – wonder whether they will have enough food to feed themselves and their families. St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters have strived to eradicate food insecurity by feeding the children who play in your neighborhood parks, the working poor, the lonely and marginalized with the welcoming respect that St. Francis epitomized. It all starts with confronting food insecurity. Then, doors are open to so many more ways we can serve our neighbors in need.

St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters

Feeding, clothing and counseling families in need. Tel: (212) 279-6171

YOU can donate. YOU can volunteer. YOU is the key word. Everyone of ‘YOU’ has something special and unique that you can contribute to the cause.

St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters, New York’s answer to food insecurity.

Positively Ernie


ON STAGE By Lori Zelenko

FARINELLI AND THE KING Treat yourself to the gift of music this holiday season and head to Broadway’s Farinelli and The King for a bounty of beautiful melodies wrapped in a fantastic story. We recently met with playwright Claire van Kampen who revealed more about this exhilarating experience. Let the season ring!

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Imagine if your world was dark, pitch black, and music became the light. Such is the vision of Farinelli and The King; the West End hit coming to Broadway in time for Christmas Revels. The tale of a mad king and the music that saved him is a “treasure trove” as playwright Claire van Kampen calls this true saga staged as a transformative theatrical experience. The characters were unearthed as she was researching the ancestors of the inhabitants of her favorite getaway spot “a tiny little Caribbean Island.” She won’t name for fear it would be overrun by tourists or worse paparazzi in pursuit of her husband, Academy Award Winner Mark Rylance (Best Actor Oscar for Bridge of Spies in 2015 and acclaimed recently for his role in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk). He stars as the music-besotted King in this straight from sold-out shows in London production by Shakespeare’s Globe. Farinelli and The King arrives on Broadway on December 5th for a 16-week limited engagement (through March 25, 2018) at The Belasco Theatre (111 West 44th Street). Making her Broadway debut as a playwright, van Kampen has been lauded throughout her career as a composer and musician; she was head of music at Shakespeare’s Globe during the tenure of her husband, actor Mark Rylance, as artistic director. In addition, she was the Globe’s Founding Director of Theatre Music, creating both period and contemporary music for more than 35 of the Globe’s productions. She has continued to be the Globe Associate for Early Modern Theatre Music since 2007, creating music for nine productions directed by the Globe’s now former artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole, who helped her find the nugget in her sprawling Caribbean opus that was whittled down to become Farinelli and the King. Her original scores for Matthew Warchus’s Tony Award Winning Broadway productions of True West (2000), and Boeing-Boeing (2008) are simply high notes in her phenomenal body of work spanning theatre, film, and television.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS Farinelli and The King evolved as van Kampen set out to chronicle the lives of the slaves who worked on one Caribbean Island’s sugar cane fields; the ancestors of the families still living on her adored Island. In searching out their roots, she found herself captivated by the success of the sugar trade emanating from the Caribbean, the trading ships crossing the Atlantic to Spain began to take her along on a journey. And so, as she puts it, “by nefarious means,” discovered the mystery of how two brilliant, beguiling but broken people came together to illuminate one another’s lives. Music unites these spellbound souls: King Phillippe V of Spain (he held the throne during the 18th century from 1700 to 1746) and Farinelli, the castrato (considered then to be “irresistible” and so magnetic). For 3,600 performances (the better part of a decade) Farinelli sang Handel arias to the troubled King enabling Phillipe to rule the country and through the power of music, escape the shackles of his mental illness. “Phillipe became a man-made functional” through Farinelli’s music explains van Kampen. “The king is trapped in a place where he can’t show his hand—he’s someone who has a great sense of truth, but he can’t be himself,” van Kampen says. “And he meets someone who feels the same way—Farinelli, who was damaged at the age of 10 by being castrated, and has become a celebrity but feels like a fake celebrity because he was not born with that voice. They meet headlong.” Van Kampen’s voice as an author rings true; her portrait of mental illness was inspired by someone dear, “a relative of mine who lived with us when I was growing up served as inspiration. If anything, the accounts of mania are watered down from what I remember living with. I wrote the play from my own knowledge and my own heart.” 100 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

A DELIGHTFUL EXPERIENCE She calls the play “a magical thing,” and indeed it is. Magic envelops the audience from the sheer etherealness of the angelic castrato voice to the staging entirely by candlelight, conveying the flickering realities Philippe experienced. “When the audience comes in and sees the candlelight and hears the music, it’s like nothing else. As a piece, it’s not a classic, and it’s by a playwright no one knows,” she says. “But they’ve heard of Mark (Rylance), thank God! It’s a helluva spectacle. And for Mark’s performance, every time he does Broadway he does something different and presents a different side of himself. People know that, and that is what they are coming to see.” After all, Rylance is a three-time Tony Award winner. But it is not only the words that are “magical,” the audience will experience the most splendid operatic arias, mostly by Handel. Farinelli is voiced by Iestyn Davies praised as having “one of the most glorious sounds to be heard on the opera stage today” by the Express (London) and described as “superb” by The New York Times. Iestyn Davies is a Grammy Award-winning and Olivier Awardnominated countertenor. Sam Crane, however, acts the part, playing Farinelli as he did in the London hit. “For a layperson who might be suspicious of the play, perhaps they never go to the opera and don’t know about baroque music, it will go straight to their hearts. You don’t have to be clever to understand this play. I know the Broadway audience will be moved by it,” van Kampen confides. This play unfolds as King Philippe V of Spain (Mark Rylance), plagued by insomnia (a manic symptom of his severe bipolar disorder), lies awake in his chamber. The Queen, Isabella Farnese played by Melody Grove (Much Ado About Nothing, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart) is desperate for a cure, hears of Farinelli—a castrato with a voice so divine it has the power to captivate all who listen to it. Philippe is astonished when Farinelli sings and begs him to stay. But will Farinelli, one of the most fabulous celebrities of his time, be content with a life of solitude over fame and fortune in the opera houses of Europe? You’ll have to see the play to end the suspense. Farinelli and The King.

ACCESSIBLE TO ALL Like Broadway’s Twelfth Night and Richard III, this contemporary work is presented in the signature style of Shakespeare’s Globe. Not only do the actors perform by candlelight but traditional baroque instruments are played live in a gallery above the stage and to complete this remarkably intimate yet exhilarating experience the audience can sit onstage. Over 200 seats at every performance of Farinelli and The King have been set aside to be sold for $32. These tickets include seating on all levels of the theatre, as well as a selection of seats on stage. For more information on Farin el li an d T h e King, v i sit • Lori Simmons Zelenko grew up in NYC skipping school to go to an afternoon of theater so it’s no wonder that she’s dedicated to telling the stories of Broadway to the New York Lifestyles audience. With an eye towards pop culture, she seeks to bring a point of view that’s fresh and fun. She is also a brand storyteller creating compelling marketing communications campaigns for start-ups and established brands. Her website is HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 101


ixteen years ago, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart’s The Phantom of The Opera became the longest-running show BUY TICKETS in Broadway history, surpassing Webber’s “now and forever” Go to and snap a photo Cats’ 7,485 performances. On January 26th, POTO continues its reign into a fourth decade, seemingly “now and forever.” The Tony-winning Best Musical, with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe and his book with Webber, surpassed a whopping 12,500 performances before 18 million at the Majestic Theatre—where it opened in 1988 with a thenrecord advance of $18 million. Four years earlier, the show, based on Gaston Leroux’s Le Fantôme de L’Opéra, premiered on London’s West End, where it’s still thriving. The show has won more than 70 theater awards, including seven 1988 Tonys and three London Olivier Awards. Since 2010, thousands of high school and university productions have been licensed through R&H Theatricals.

BEHIND THE MASK Though London advance sales and audience reaction during previews suggested an unstoppable hit, Webber states, “I wish I could say I had the best time of my life during those heady days. Phantom is the only show I’ve done that was entirely unchanged during previews. Our brilliant director Hal Prince was so certain we’d be a hit that he suggested we take a holiday and return for the opening. “At openings,” he continues, “even when you feel you have the public with you, you’re at your most vulnerable. I couldn’t bear to sit through the show.” Cameron Mackintosh, coproducer, with Webber’s Really Useful Company, found him and got him back for the curtain call. Amid the thunderous applause, Webber yearned to have loved ones around him. But (then) wife, Sarah Brightman, playing Christine, was basking in audience adulation with her Phantom, Michael Crawford. “While all were celebrating,” Webber says, “I felt alone and frightened.” It didn’t help when the first review, by the London Sunday Times critic read, “Masked balls.” “Those were the only words uttered,” Webber notes. “Most composers, let alone producers, would be suicidal to receive something like that from a major newspaper. It didn’t faze Cameron one bit. He called while having a jolly good breakfast and said nothing any reviewer wrote could alter the fact that Phantom had chimed with audiences.” Webber, even after blockbuster hits Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, and Evita was used to critical snipes. He points out POTO’s reviews “were wildly polarized between those who really did or really wouldn’t surrender to the music of the night.” What was most upsetting was ruinous gossip that Brightman, an alumna of the West End Cats who’d been onstage since her teens, got the role because she was his wife. Ellis Nassour writes on the entertainment business. He’s a veteran of The New York Times, New York Daily News, and  Playbill;  the author of the  definitive biography Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline and the hit revue Always, Patsy Cline. 102 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

MUSIC OF THE NIGHT “The fine line between success and failure is perilously small,” Webber states. “I’m struck 30 years hence with the phenomenon Phantom has become. Much credit goes to the late Maria Björnson for her dazzling design and costumes. And would another choreographer have understood the period as well as former prima ballerina Dame Gillian Lynne (Cats)? Many said the chandelier moment could never work. It turns out to be the most theatrical moment I ever conceived—a moment that can only be achieved in live theater.” It’s estimated 140 million people in 35 countries (15 languages) have surrendered to what many feel is Webber’s best score. The two-disk original cast album spent five years on trade charts; a single-disc highlights recording spent over six years on Billboard’s Pop Album chart. Multi-Tony winning director Prince says he was instantly hooked on the idea that Leroux’s classic was musical material. “The secret to the show’s unparalleled success was the team of consummate professionals— producers, musicians, our super-prodigious choreographer and fabulous designer—who were always ready for anything. Andrew’s idea to make the emotional center of the show a love triangle struck a chord with audiences. It’s the crucial difference between our musical, the novel, and other versions of the story.” There’ve been 15 actors in the title role. Returning to the cast is Platinumselling Swedish recording artist Peter Jöback (January 15th - March 31st). No stranger to the part, he donned the mask on the West End and Broadway. Co-starring are Ali Ewoldt as Christine Daaé (the first Asian-American actress to assume the role) and Kyle Barisich as Vicomte de Chagny Raoul. For more information on the 30th Anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera, visit •


BLOCKBUSTERS FOR ADULTS AND KIDS STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI Not yet rated The Star Wars saga that began back in 1977 with Episode IV: A New Hope continues with this new adventure. It’s Episode VIII if you are still counting, with Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey, who learns more about the Force while joining with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher) in a fight against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the rest of the Empire’s evil leaders. Fans of the long-running saga already have their tickets, no surprise considering the previous episode, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is the highest grossing movie of all time in America.

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JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE Rated PG-13 It’s been more than 20 years since Jumanji burst onto the silver screen with Robin Williams in the leading role. Now the updated tale of a game (this time it’s a video game, instead of a board game) that literally sucks players into its reality is back, with Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart leading the way. Karen Gillan of Dr. Who fame joins them in a jungle adventure that’s filled with wild escapades, slightly scary moments (thus the PG-13 rating) and plenty of comedic moments along the way. Designed to delight teens and bring a nostalgic tear to the older generations’ eyes, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle also stars comic favorites Jack Black and Missi Pyle, as well as teen heartthrob Nick Jonas. FERDINAND Rated PG Ferdinand the Bull first entered children’s consciousness in 1936, when the book by Munro Leaf captured the imagination of that generation and beyond. Now he’s come to the big screen in this animated feature that goes far afield from the bucolic original story. With an all-star vocal cast that includes Kate McKinnon, Bobby Canavale, Gina Rodriguez, John Cena (who plays the title role), David Tennant and Anthony Anderson, Ferdinand is perfect for the littlest members of the family. From Blue Sky Studios, the same crowd that brought the world Ice Age, Rio and The Peanuts Movie, so if you and your kids love those, put this one on your holiday must-see list. PITCH PERFECT 3 Rated PG-13 The Bellas are back, and why not, considering that Pitch Perfect 2 was a huge hit? The collegiate singing group has graduated, going far and beyond their earlier exploits, but one thing remains the same— there’s plenty of A capella singing to satisfy the most rabid fans of the first two flicks. The group returns in force, led by Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rainn Wilson, with Aussie Ruby Rose thrown in this time as a foil for the troupe, who get the chance to sing on a USO tour. Needless to say, hijinks ensue, which are certain to make Pitch Perfect fans sing a happy tune. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN Rated PG Hugh Jackman tackles the role of P. T. Barnum in this brand-new musical created for the big screen. With no relation to Barnum, the 1980 hit Broadway show, The Greatest Showman boasts eleven new songs written by Benj Pasek and Justin Long (La La Land). The film follows Barnum’s rise to fame and fortune, along with the various talented performers that he shepherded to stardom in the various variety shows and circuses he created. Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya and newcomer Rebecca Ferguson (as Jenny Lind) round out the vocally gifted cast. 104 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

OSCAR WATCH THE SHAPE OF WATER Rated R From Pan’s Labyrinth to Hellboy, director Guillermo del Toro has always been a fascinating filmmaker. And a filmmaker fascinated by fantasy, often melding fairy tale and stark reality in his work. With The Shape of Water, he brings us a surreal tale of the Cold War that explores the concept of love with the proper stranger. Sally Hawkins stars in a performance that is likely to snag another Oscar nomination for the talented English actress, while fellow previous nominees Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer co-star. THE POST Not yet rated When a gaggle of former Oscar winners get together to make a film, it’s only natural that that movie becomes an Oscar frontrunner even before anyone has seen the picture. The Post is a movie like that, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and not due out until January in wide release. But New Yorkers and Angelenos will have a chance to catch this saga of the Washington Post’s breaking of the Pentagon Papers scandal in 1971 a bit early, as it opens just for Oscar consideration in late December. Expect multiple nominations for this timely tale of real news and the importance of a free press in American society. MOLLY’S GAME Not yet rated When Oscar- and Emmy-winning scribe Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, West Wing) finally takes the helm of a film, Hollywood is bound to take notice. Add in two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain as the title character, the real-life Olympic skier who ran an illegal high-stakes poker game for a decade before the FBI stepped in, and you’ve got a flick that is already making Oscar waves. Molly’s Game also stars Academy Award winner Kevin Costner, along with Idris Elba and Michael Cera; watch closely for Sorkin’s cameo, an homage to Alfred Hitchcock. FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL Rated R Is Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool the movie that finally gives Annette Bening her Academy Award? She’s been nominated four times already and is one of the great actresses of our time. Ironically, she plays an actress, Gloria Grahame, the Hollywood star whose film noir work (The Big Heat) is most remembered; this follows her personal story of her late-in-life romance with a decades-younger actor (played by Jamie Bell). It’s a Hollywood scenario that has a familiar ring to it from Bening’s own life, as her husband Warren Beatty is 21 years her senior. Will it be enough to push her to the top? Tune in on Oscar Sunday, March 4, 2018, to find out. WONDER WHEEL Rated PG-13 After straying far afield from his original muse—New York City, we mean—in his last few films (think Hollywood, France, San Francisco, Barcelona, Rome) Woody Allen returns to his home with a thriller set in 1950s Coney Island. The four-time Oscar winner has, as usual, packed his movie with talented actors (he does not appear himself, however), including Kate Winslet, whose role as a faded actress working in a clam house is garnering Oscar buzz. She’s joined by Jim Belushi as her carousel-operator husband, as well as Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple, David Krumholtz and Max Casella in this sad, bittersweet story. As a longtime freelance journalist, Jenny Peters covers beats that range from entertainment to lifestyle topics. She writes on film, television, travel, restaurants, wine, design, architecture, beauty, spas, cars, fashion and celebrity events for USA Today, AARP, New York Magazine and many other domestic and international outlets. HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 105



DARK Netflix Something strange is happening in a German town, as a young boy is kidnapped. That happens in the present day, or so it seems. For as the Dark intertwined family saga unfolds in ten eerie episodes, time begins shifting, old secrets are unearthed, and the mystery deepens before all is revealed. A kind of Twin Peaks meets Stranger Things vibe is at work here, but with a Teutonic twist, for this mystery series created by Swiss writer-directorproducer Baran bo Odar originally aired on German TV.

AMERICAN CRIME STORY: THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE FX American Crime Story anthology creator Ryan Murphy returns with another limited true-crime series (The People v. O. J. Simpson was the award-winning first season), this time exploring the shocking 1997 murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace. The Assassination of Gianni Versace stars Edgar Ramirez as Versace, singer Ricky Martin as his partner Antonio D’Amico, an almostunrecognizable Penelope Cruz as his sister Donatella and Darren Criss (Glee) as his murderer, Andrew Cunanan. In ten emotional episodes, Cunanan’s insanity builds as he begins a series of spree killings that culminates on the steps of Versace’s mansion in Miami. With this all-star cast and the creative genius of Murphy, the man responsible for Nip/Tuck, Glee, Scream Queens, and Feud), this one is sure to be another must-see television event. 106 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

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THE ALIENIST TNT Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Caleb Carr that was originally published in 1994, The Alienist has had a long road to the small screen. Once planned as a feature film (that never materialized), the new 10-episode series takes place in New York City in the 1890s, as a serial killer is on the loose. Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty) is the city’s police commissioner, who enlists the aid of an alienist (Daniel Bruhl)—what used to be a psychiatrist at the time—and a reporter (Luke Evans) to help solve the crimes. A fascinating historical thriller that provides a window into a changing world, this one reminds us of the Murdoch Mysteries, the hit Canadian detective show set in the same time period. And that is a very good thing.

WORMWOOD Netflix This six-part mashup of fact and fiction springs from the mind of Errol Morris, the Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker. Here he enlists Peter Sarsgaard as his protagonist, a man searching for the reality behind his father’s mysterious life and death. With real facts about the Cold War, the CIA and the U.S. government’s covert activities melded with Morris’ fictional vision of the son who needs to find the truth, Wormwood goes to dark places looking for answers. Also starring Molly Parker, Tim Blake Nelson, and Bob Balaban.

HARDCORE HISTORIES GUNPOWDER HBO What happens when you become the breakout star of Game of Thrones? If you’re Kit Harington (Jon Snow of House Stark), you get the chance to produce and star in a three-part miniseries for the BBC all about one of your own infamous ancestors, that’s what. Gunpowder, which will air on three consecutive nights in December on HBO, follows the story of Robert Catesby (Harington’s relative), who helped orchestrate the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, which is now known as Guy Fawkes Day in London and beyond. Filled with intrigue, violence and personal sacrifice, this real-life story is an explosive, exciting tale. KNIGHTFALL History Channel Return to the Middle Ages to discover the story of the Knights Templar that true-life Catholic military order whose mission was to protect the European Christians who made their way to the Holy Land for a pilgrimage to where their religion began. Key fighters in the Crusades, rich with patronage from both the Pope and French royalty, the knights were free to cross borders and wage wars against any and all unbelievers. In this historically based 10-episode costume drama, Tom Cullen stars as Landry, the leader of this fighting force dedicated to the cross.

CRAZY COMEDIES HAPPY! Syfy Fantasy meets reality in this wiggy series about a cop turned hitman and his imaginary companion, a perky (happy!) flying blue horse who convinces him to help save a girl in trouble. Sound weird? It is, especially with Law and Order: Special Victims Unit longtime star Christopher Meloni in the lead role, joined by Patton Oswalt as the voice of the animated horsey. Based on the Grant Morrison graphic novel, this is a slightly twisted Christmas story that will make comic-book lovers rejoice. JEAN-CLAUDE VAN JOHNSON Amazon With tongue planted firmly in his cheek, Jean-Claude Van Damme arrives on the small screen in his first television series, an action (surprise!) comedy that sets up the 57-year-old star as a character who is a parody of himself—and also a superspy. As the aging actor reminds people of his past glory days, his alter ego, Jean-Claude Van Johnson, gets out and helps save the world from bad guys. It’s a funny conceit that wowed Amazon audiences with its pilot, shown back in August 2016; now fans can catch the Muscles from Brussels in five more episodes of this series from the mind of Dave Callaham, creator of The Expendables. • HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 107


his holiday season, three of the most famous voices of their generation, winners of American Idol, The Voice, and America’s Got Talent come together to form Broadway’s newest Holiday concert tradition, Home For The Holidays.

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Candice Glover, winner of American Idol (Season 12), Josh Kaufman, winner of The Voice (Season 6), and Bianca Ryan, winner of America’s Got Talent (Season 1), perform more than 25 beloved Christmas classics. “The opportunity to build such a rich, joyful concert experience for three winners of America’s favorite singing contests has been a tremendous pleasure,” said creator Jonathan Tessero. Home For The Holidays presents the most beloved Christmas favorites performed by a never before assembled, world-class group of performers.” The show also stars Kaitlyn Bristowe, star of The Bachelorette (Season 11), film and stage star Danny Aiello, and YouTube sensations Peter Hollens & Evynne Hollens.

BIANCA RYAN By the age of 11, Bianca Ryan had already made history and won the hearts of millions of Americans that called in to vote for her to become the very first winner of the NBC hit show America’s Got Talent. Now 23, the Philadelphia native, has gained the respect of some of the most prominent icons in the music industry including Simon Cowell who proclaimed Bianca to be one of the “best singers I have ever heard in my life.” She has been sought out with some of the most gifted songwriters, producers, and recording engineers in the music industry including Quincy Jones and David Foster. Over the years, Bianca has not only established herself as a top-notch singer and performer but considered one of the most gifted songwriters too. In 2015, Bianca Ryan Records was established by the young singer-songwriter; her first single, “Alice,” clocked over 1.7 million. This year, she’s released singles including, “One Day,” “Man Down,” and her new single “Don’t Wanna Come Down.” The songbird continues to perform and tour throughout the world.

CANDICE GLOVER A native of St. Helena Island, South Carolina, Candice is an R&B/Soul recording artist who was crowned the winner of American Idol. Since then, Candice has taken the music industry by storm and has headlined at live events to soldout crowds. Candice also had the honor of singing at several sporting events around the country. In addition to the release of her debut CD Music Speaks, she has co-starred in Hallmark Channel’s original Christmas movie, Northpole. Candice has captivated the hearts of many with her heartfelt performances and phenomenal voice. She’s currently working on her second CD.

JOSH KAUFMAN As the winner of The Voice, Josh Kaufman, the Indianapolisbased singer-songwriter, is also a guitarist and piano player. His recently released self-titled EP channels his rich vocal work into a gracefully engaging blend of soul, rock, and classic pop. Growing up in a musical family in Florida, Kaufman first got his start singing in church. The family moved, and while attending high school in Blacksburg, Virginia, Kaufman began playing in bands and writing songs, inspired by Lenny Kravitz. Kaufman kept up with his music throughout college. He realized how important it was to keep on pursuing music; he needed a jumpstart. That jumpstart came in the summer of 2013 when Kaufman auditioned for The Voice. “Music creates this deep emotional connection that transcends explanation,” he says, “and that, I think, is what keeps me making music.” 108 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION


The opportunity to build such a rich, joyful concert experience for three winners of America’s favorite singing contests has been a tremendous pleasure!

From the small town of Leduc, Alberta to the global stage, Kaitlyn Bristowe is the Canadian girl making waves—in a big way. Perhaps the most controversial and wellliked Bachelorette Kaitlyn started out with big dreams and ballet shoes. Kaitlyn is a natural born entertainer! She has taken the social media world by storm (with over 1 million loyal Instagram followers) which resulted in landing her appearances on network talk-shows including the likes of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America, and Entertainment Tonight.


Jonathan Tessero

She’s a singer primarily known for her online videos on YouTube. A native of the Pacific Northwest, she resides in Oregon with her husband, Peter Hollens and is a performer, teacher, and artistic director. In 2001 she co-founded Divisi— University of Oregon’s female a cappella group, featured in the best-selling book and is the inspiration for the hit feature film Pitch Perfect.

PETER HOLLENS An American pop singer and producer, Peter Hollens is best known for his work on YouTube as an a cappella cover artist. With 1.6 million subscribers, his videos have reached nearly half a billion views on Facebook and YouTube since 2011. Hollens has collaborated and performed with several outstanding artists including Brian Wilson, Jason Mraz, Hunter Hayes, and Gladys Knight. He has released well over 125 digital singles and continues to release new music. He has been involved with music since 1999 when he co-founded the University of Oregon’s male a cappella group On The Rocks.

DANNY AIELLO Actor and critically acclaimed singer Danny Aiello, a native New Yorker, has a reputation for performances that brim with emotion. His many roles in over 100 films include Godfather Part II, The Purple Rose of Cairo, A Brooklyn State of Mind and his unforgettable portrayal of Cher’s jilted fiancé in Moonstruck. When the award-winning actor is not performing in the theater or making movies, he’s touring with the jazz band he affectionately refers to as “Joe Geary & the Guys.” In addition to his film and music credits, Danny Aiello has received many awards for his numerous philanthropic endeavors. He has worked with Stand Up to Cancer as well as The Lustgarten Foundation on behalf of pancreatic cancer research from which his son, Danny III, passed away. Home For The Holidays continues through Saturday, December 30th at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue). For a complete schedule and more information on Home For The Holidays, visit • HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 109








n unprecedented assembly of ecumenical leaders representing 12 Christian communions gathered to host a mass, which called for tolerance and unity in a world where terrorism, prejudice, and division are rampant. The event, held November 1, 2017, at Saint John the Divine Cathedral in Manhattan, commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation—and marked the milestone with a historic interfaith call to action for an era of unity, embracing diversity and inclusion.

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The Rev. Dr. Robert Alan Rimbo, Bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, presided over the mass, which commenced with a performance by the United Nations Choir. Following the performance, a procession took place into the Cathedral with religious leaders representing churches including Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Episcopal, Presbyterian, United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Moravian Church, American Baptist, and African Methodist Episcopal Zion. “This historic event recognized both the enormous significance of the Reformation and increasing unity among Christians, as well as all members of the community regardless of faith, politics, ethnicity, age, gender or sexual identity,” said Bishop Rimbo. “In a bitterly divided world, we can all be who we are fully through new paths that embrace diversity and foster unity,” he added.

EMBRACING DIVERSITY In his sermon, Bishop Rimbo referenced where the division has brought us: Shameful displays of white supremacy and anti-Semitism; reckless threats of war; attacks on women and immigrants; vicious homophobia; impassable division even among Christians. In his sermon, Bishop Rimbo urged Christians to continue on a progressive path of shared faith and values that collectively serves the greater good. He prayed that all people commit themselves to seek visible unity. In 2000, Bishop Rimbo advocated for change that led to the acceptance of full communion relationships in which Christians of different denominations can receive Communion at one another’s services. Fourteen years later, Bishop Rimbo began officiating samesex marriage despite opposition from other Christian faith leaders. Then in 2015, the Synod formally adopted and funded measures to further its commitment to confronting racism in the church and society, upon which Bishop Rimbo appointed an Anti-Racism Task-Force to design, implement and fund anti-racism training. Earlier this year, seeing the increased threat to immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers, the MNYS declared itself a Sanctuary Synod committing itself to the accompaniment, advocacy, and awareness-building. The Metropolitan New York Synod is a regional expression of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a member church of the Lutheran World Federation. MNYS has nearly 200 congregations in the NY Metro area and 60,000 members with 20,000 of those engaging in church services every week. MNYS ministries and programs include a Sanctuary for Immigrants, Committees for Anti-Racism, Multiculturalism, Environmental Stewardship and Hunger Relief, a Commission for LGBTQ+ People, a Domestic Violence Awareness Task-Force, relationships with Global partners, and a Youth Ministry. • HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 111

THE BEST GIFT OF ALL By Camille Zamora

s an opera singer, my work begins and ends with breath. Vocalized breath is the first indicator of human life, as any newborn’s cry will tell you. It exists across all nations and eras, connecting us all, as simple as it is profound. And it is this pre-verbal, connected state that we tap into when we share music and art.

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This sense of connectedness—harmony, in all senses of the word—is a powerful tool for healing, learning, and transformation. It can quite literally provide hope for our shared future. And it is this ideal that inspired the origins of Sing for Hope, the New York Citybased “artists’ peace corps” the non-profit that I founded over a decade ago at Juilliard with my best friend and fellow soprano Monica Yunus. Sing for Hope traces its roots to a bright early autumn morning indelibly etched into the memory of every New Yorker: 9/11. Juilliard shares its city block with a firehouse—Engine 40 and Ladder 35, on 66th Street and Amsterdam Avenue—and on that crisp September morning in 2001, those firefighters were among the first responders on the scene. Twelve of the thirteen men who left their Lincoln Center firehouse that morning never returned.

HEALING VOICES For me, as for so many New Yorkers that day and in the surreal weeks following, the world seemed upside down. What had made sense only the day before no longer did, and emotions were raw. For those of us studying at Juilliard, there was a consuming desire to try to move beyond the sanctum of our practice rooms and see if there was some way, anyway, that we could bring something of value to the chaos and suffering outside of our school’s doors. This impulse—if nothing else, a desire to mitigate our sense of powerlessness—led us to sing at the firehouse during that first nightmarish week. What astonished us was the effect that our simple songs had on the firefighters on duty, and on the people gathered in front of the firehouse, waiting for news of their loved ones next to a growing pile of flowers and handwritten messages. It was as though our music cleared an emotional pathway for them, allowing for the release of emotion, and tears, which had been blocked until that moment. In sharing our music on the street that day, and in the months that followed at various firehouses throughout the city, we musicians were the ones receiving the greatest gift. We were given the reassurance that the world does, in fact, need our art, and one more artist, even one more soprano, is indeed necessary. We experienced firsthand, and for the first time, how art can be a change agent and a delivery system. And something as simple as a song can connect us and generate hope. 112 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

ART FOR ALL Fast forward sixteen years. What started as a couple of Juilliard sopranos with an idea is today a New York City-based national organization serving thousands and poised to scale in increasingly impactful ways in the years ahead. To date, Sing for Hope has partnered with 250 nonprofits, involved 3,500 artists in community volunteerism, brought creative arts programming to 12,000 hospital patients and 42,000 schoolchildren, and, in our signature “art for all” project, placed 400 artist-created Sing for Hope Pianos throughout NYC’s parks and public spaces for anyone and everyone to play. This year, we are proud to partner once again with the NYC Department of Education to bring 50 pianos to 50 public schools, reaching 16,000 school children through our artist-designed instruments and programming. Our goal for 2018 is to expand our programs so that we can keep up with this demand and reach at least half of the 150 schools currently on our waiting list. The act of sharing art in the community has become an integral part of so many of our artistic lives. For me, it dovetails in vital ways with my performance career in opera and on the concert stage, informing all of my work and, I believe, bringing aspects of authenticity and connectedness to my performances. It has become my heart’s answer to my mind’s questions about audience development, cultural relevance, and the mysterious alchemy of the artistic process. The bottom line is that the arts fuel our imaginations and tap into parts of ourselves that nothing else can. The foundation of positive change (whether societal or individual) starts with the vision: To create change, you must first imagine it. There is no better tool for honing the imagination than the arts. The arts help us to form the lens through which we can first envision, and then build our best world. For more information on Sing for Hope, visit •

ABOUT CAMILLE SAMORA Soprano Camille Zamora has been hailed as “a singer blessed with intense communicative ability who blazes with passion” (Opera Magazine, UK), bringing “dignity and glowing sound” (The New York Times) to “luminous, transcendently lyrical” performances (Opera News) that “combine gentility and emotional fire” (Houston Chronicle). Camille has appeared with the world’s leading ensembles, including London Symphony Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, LA Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Camille is the Co-Founder of Sing for Hope, the country’s leading “artists’ peace corps,” which presents projects—including NYC’s summertime street pianos—that make the arts accessible to all. A leading voice in the “citizen artist” discussion, she has presented and led panels at Skoll World Forum, Harvard University, The Aspen Institute, and The Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit; has received a Hispanic Congressional Caucus Citation and a UN Torchbearer Award; and was named one of the Top 50 Americans in Philanthropy by Town & Country Magazine. For more information on Camille Zamora, visit


Photo courtesy of

PAWS DOWN, TAILS UP By Lori Simmons Zelenko and Susan Traub

What do Fido and Fifi want for Christmas? That’s what every pet parent is asking themselves at this time of year. So we polled our fur babies and came up with our favorite fun and fabulous gifts from for all who’ve been naughty or nice. A PLACE OF THEIR OWN The best gift we can give our pets? Keeping them safe from harm. Toxin free beds and pet care for dogs and the humans that love the. Sit, Stay, Forever (

BUY FABULOUS PET GIFTS ONLINE Go to and snap a photo

TREE HOUSE FOLLY Finally a tree your cat can’t knock over. Eco-friendly cat bed made in Nepal keeps artisan traditions alive. Distinctly Himalayan (

IT’S A MATCH Snuggle with your fur baby in matching PJ’s. Could the Holidays get any cozier? Ready to make all your Christmas dreams come true. FabDog (

THE BEST SUPPORT Eucalyptus and sage Rescue Candle cast in concrete so you can re-use as a planter. Every purchase equals a donation to your chosen shelter: A mother puppin’ win! Dogly (


FASHION FORWARD PETS For the elf in every dog. Holiday outfits your pampered pooch will love. Fashion forward looks for the pet that’s treated like royalty. Royal Animals (

MAKE IT PERSONAL Your pet at the dinner table without guilt. Custom place cards and other stationary with the image of your adored companion. Picketts Press (

WORK OF ART Cats rule, no doubt about it. Pet portraits based on photos and your imagination. Customized masterpieces to cherish. Splendid Beast (

A SANTA FAVORITE Whimsical hand-hooked Dog Stockings to hang from your mantel. Roomy enough to truly spoil your favorite child ( on Christmas morning! And yes, you can personalize. Orvis (

IN THE SPIRIT Can’t get enough Christmas Cheer? Get the whole family in the holiday spirit. Puppy-prints and more of the most outlandish clothing the world has ever seen. Shinesty (

A YEAR OF CHEER For the dog that just hates being tied up outside Starbucks, a cup of their own. Stuffed toys and other goodies to entertain your pup for next 365 days. BarkBox ( JAVA JOLT When you need a cup of coffee to walk your dog after holiday partying try some of this. It’s an eye-opener to know that 20 percent of all proceeds go to the animal rescue partner located closest to you. Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. (

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE Holiday throw blanket for pets and pet parents to cuddle under together. Ten percent of proceeds help pets in need through December 25, 2017. Pet Smart (

Lori Zelenko and Susan Traub have teamed up to reveal exclusive personal insights into the luxe life of pets in New York City and beyond. Each a devoted dog owner as well as an entrepreneur, Lori and Susan are mutually dedicated to improving the well-being of pets. To learn more, email ©2017 Lori Zelenko and Susan Traub, All rights reserved. HOLIDAY EDITION | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 115


lga Sweet believes that a portrait must first and foremost be tasteful. Her responsibility as a portraitist is to capture the likeness and expression that best reflect her subject’s character—and life story.


“I am fortunate to be in this profession.” she recently told us. “I feel an enormous responsibility to my clients to create a portrait they love, and that has artistic value,” the Moscowborn artist says. Her home is filled with portraits of various sizes; most are done in oil, but there are also graphite drawings that are just as beautiful and expressive. Sweet, who studied at Moscow University during the turmoil of the last days of the Soviet Union, came to the U.S. to pursue her Ph.D. studies. “I fell in love with people’s faces. All our fears and loves are so clearly displayed in our faces. You just have to find the expression that really shows that,” she says. How would you describe what you do as an entrepreneur? I am in a fascinating business—painting people. Commissioning a portrait within a family is an expression of love. What better to give someone who has everything, than a portrait of a loved one? Many of my Manhattan clients await the portrait of their child with more anticipation than they await almost anything else, even jewelry! Portraits accentuate love. Why did you choose to paint portraits? I like painting many things in many different ways, but even more I really like people’s faces. Most of us are so transparent in showing our feelings and traits: it is fun to find that perfect way of describing the sitter. It is not easy, and sometimes I have to start over, to struggle—to decide never to paint again!—but eventually, I find the solution. The feeling that I created an image that is close to the real person—accomplished or not, young or old—is very gratifying. And no city is more fun for a painter than New York: it is hard to find a dull person in this town! Is it true that the longer you paint, the better the portrait? Not at all! An excellent portrait accentuates the sitter’s qualities, and it may take a sitting or two to find that turn of the head or pose, or the colors that describe him or her best. But the actual painting should be done quickly—or at least feel spontaneous and not “dusty,” not overdone. How do you manage to be an artist and an entrepreneur? It is hard. For many artists, painting is a consuming passion and thinking of marketing, bills, and other practical matters often feels like a burden. But you have to have discipline to be an entrepreneur: no way around it. Passion, yes, but also discipline. You have to find a buyer, to sell at least something to survive financially. So then it’s like running any other business? Yes and no. If you cannot sell what you make, there is no point in making it. While that is The Rule in business, it is sometimes not true for artists. Many artists feel that they have to express something no matter what because it is so important to them, and often no one buys what they create. And, yes, sometimes once in a hundred years one is discovered, and one’s work sells for millions—but that borders on fairytales and unicorns. You make a choice. I have tremendous respect for artists who have the confidence to create something just for art’s sake.


How did you start and who was your first client? I came to the U.S. from Russia on an International Research Exchange Scholarship (of Princeton). I had studied art and philosophy at Moscow University, which is one of the more extraordinary schools in the world. I then studied with one of the more phenomenal painters in the world, Ronald N. Sherr. My first client was an elderly countess from London, Mary Bagsster-Collins, who at the time lived in Millbrook, a magical place with gorgeous hills, fancy stables, fox hunting, and a rich history. While sitting for me, she told me stories of her life in London, including of her elegant house overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral. She passed away a few days after our last sitting at the age of 99. Her relatives said they treasured the portrait more than any photographs of her. You now have clients throughout the world. Do they all have something in common? Yes: they all love art, love the tradition of portraiture. Also, they look for something unusual in a portrait, something new and unexpected. I love all my clients: I have never had a bad one. Any funny stories to share with our readers? Yes: of one of my favorite clients, Nacho Figueras. I delivered his portrait to the Bridgehampton Polo Club (which no longer exists). The game had not yet begun, and so we chatted as usual. Then, I unwrapped the portrait right then and there and gave it to him. Nacho said that it was “awesome” and—being a chivalrous man, like all Argentinian polo players—he nodded to kiss my hand symbolically. Not many American men have that habit, and I certainly did not expect it. It was only then that I remembered the large bandage across the back of my hand! But he was such a gentleman and said nothing.

Presenting to President Carter

Another memorable moment: When my eloquent and courageous six-year-old son started to teach President Carter how to distinguish a liar from an honest person—and President Carter thanked my William with great seriousness “for such good tips.” Then, there was the time I once spent three days agonizing over how best to wrap a Christmas present for a Duke: it had to be nothing less than perfect! And I think it was… For more information on Olga Sweet, visit • President Obama Dr. Frances Fergusson

Elon Musk

With Jean-Georges


MY NEW YORK STORY By Rachel Weinstein | Photos Courtesy of VOA-GNY

he questions New Yorkers inevitably ask each other when meeting for the first time are, “Where do you live?” followed quickly by “Have you always lived in New York?” My short answer is “Yes, this is home,” though I always hesitate a split second. I was born in Virginia, attended elementary school on Long Island, moved to Greece for two years with my family, and then back to Long Island. My parents moved to France as I headed to college in upstate New York and Virginia. That’s the long answer.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED WITH VOA-GNY Go to and snap a photo

Because my family moved quite a bit, New York City, and specifically the Upper West Side, where my maternal grandparents lived, was home base. New York City is where we gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving and see the Macy’s Parade and the balloons inflated the night before. It’s where I saw The Nutcracker and Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts for the first time. Community service and engagement were a large part of my childhood. My family was involved in helping to desegregate housing on Long Island. My mother worked as a volunteer teacher’s aide for preschoolers with Down syndrome. When they were short staffed, I came and played with the children. We moved to Greece just in time to experience the military coup of 1967. There, my parents ran the only “free” printing press and helped dissidents leave the country safely. We returned to Long Island two years later, but my parents never lost their zeal for activism. Just one year before he died, my father spent a night at Zuccotti Park with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

SERVING OTHERS This tradition of acting on one’s beliefs and serving others was deeply ingrained in me at a young age. When it came time to choose a career path, a brief but pivotal experience pushed me in the direction of social work. As my grandmother’s health declined, I met a patient, compassionate, and truly angelic social worker who helped us cope with the reality of death. My decision to continue studies in social work and go on to work in hospital settings was undoubtedly influenced by that experience. After 15 years in social work, I went back to school and earned another degree and a post-graduate certificate. I worked on Wall Street for another 15 years before having my daughter at 40. It wasn’t long before we were spending time at the Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and in the thickly carpeted Gem Room at the Museum of Natural History. When she started school, friends of mine began serendipitously passing along freelance projects. My career shifted again, and for five years I planned meetings for a diverse range of clients ranging from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Meredith Corp to The Commonwealth Fund, Breast Cancer on Long Island and Volunteers of America—Greater New York (VOA-GNY). When I decided it was time to return to work full time, I had two job offers—one with the possibility of exotic travel, research and writing, and the other offering me the chance to impact the lives 118 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | HOLIDAY EDITION

of people right here in my community. I chose VOA-GNY, not realizing it was an organization my parents had been faithfully donating to for years. They were very proud to tell their friends that I would be working for VOA. When I started, I toured VOA-GNY’s many programs to familiarize myself with the enormous range of services offered. I visited a domestic violence shelter, a school for preschoolers with developmental delays, a residence for people living with HIV/AIDS, apartments for older adults with disabilities who had survived abuse at Willowbrook State School. I was so impressed by the commitment of the staff that I knew I had made the right decision. Though Volunteers of America, Inc. is one of the oldest and largest social services organizations in the nation—founded in New York City in 1896—it does not dictate to its local affiliates, like ours, but rather encourages us to address the needs of the local community. VOA founders Maud and Ballington Booth pledged to “go wherever we are needed, and do whatever comes to hand.” I loved that. The day I visited our family shelter on the Upper West Side, I was disturbed to find children getting on a bus to go to school completely empty-handed. As a mom who had just gone backto-school shopping for my own child, I was particularly struck by the inequity of the situation. Rachel Weinstein's family at Bayard Cutting Arboretum on LI

SO LITTLE MEANS SO MUCH In the long tradition of the Booths, we went and we did. From the very beginning, Operation Backpack had complete support from the organization. Now, 15 years later, thanks to VOA and the incredible generosity and community-mindedness of New Yorkers, we are outfitting every child living in city shelters—even non-VOA shelters—with much-needed school supplies. Operation Backpack provides more than just calculators, pens and notebooks. It helps these kids feel more like their peers, and less like children in need. It gives them the confidence they need to be academically prepared and a step closer to ending their family’s cycle of poverty and homelessness. This year, 18,000 fully-stocked backpacks were distributed to children living in or entering shelters and, since its inception, we estimate nearly 160,000 children have benefited from the program. That doesn’t happen without a lot of help! Operation Backpack is 100 percent dependent on contributions from the public and from its 250+ corporate and community partners, whether it’s through financial support or donated supplies. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to gain the support of several celebrities including Paige Davis, Kevin Bacon among others who take time out of their busy schedules to promote a cause they believe in. It’s clear I made the right choice to join VOA-GNY. My role has helped satisfy my commitment to community service and the city I love. I’ve seen VOAGNY’s offerings grow exponentially from 35 social service programs to 90 today. And I’m proud of how diverse our work has become as needs across the city change. In response to the affordable housing crisis, we are building more permanent supportive housing. As one of the largest providers of services to veterans struggling to reintegrate, we are establishing a program that certifies veterans to become peer counselors. And soon, we will begin exploring the possibility of opening a program for pregnant women who are substance abusers, with the goal of breaking the cycle of addiction in families and babies born addicted.

Two girls at Bronx Early Learning Center, a VOA-GNY program

Operation Backpack 2017 kids showing off new backpacks

Operation Backpack 2017 our friends from Duane Reade and Walgreens, longtime corporate Operation Backpack sponspors

VOA-GNY board chair Gerry Cunningham, VOA-GNY board memeber Paige Davis, Rachel Weinstein, VOA-GNY President and CEO Tere Pettitt at Operation Backpack

CARING FOR YOUNG & OLD As the seasons change, we encourage everyone to support VOA-GNY’s holiday drives that provide food vouchers for families in need and gifts to many of the same children who received backpacks. Our gift drive for the elderly, Burt and Barbara’s Gifts of the Heart—which is named for two extraordinary members of the VOA-GNY community—is another thoughtful way to make sure that those who are aging alone in our care are not forgotten during the holidays. I believe VOA-GNY is in a unique position to be a leader in volunteer opportunities for the whole family. By engaging youth, and helping them experience the joy of serving others, we can inspire the next generation to be one that gives back. •


Wishing You Every Happiness This Holiday And Throughout The Coming Year! The Staff of New York Lifestyles Magazine


New York Lifestyles Magazine - December 2017 / January 2018  
New York Lifestyles Magazine - December 2017 / January 2018