New York Lifestyles Magazine February 2024 Dr. Sharon Giese

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Vol. 10 #2 | February 2024








10 From The Publisher 12 Dr. Sharon Giese: Improving Looks—And Outlooks 19 Through The Lens: Photography by Annie Watt 27 Profile: A Love Story: Norman Hill & Velma Murphy Hill

STYLE 29 Life & Style: The Best Gifts Always Dazzle 31 Fashion Mose 1738: African Culture Meets American Style 32 Honda’s CR-V: Perfect For City Life & Road Tripping

TRAVEL 34 38 40 43 45


Belize: Ancient Ruins & Modern Luxury Adventures In Colorado Springs Henderson Beach Resort: Luxury On Florida’s Panhandle Treasured Islands: Rest…Relax…Romance Seesaw’s Lodge: Let’s Explore Authentic Vermont

REAL ESTATE & HOME DECOR 48 168 East 90th Street: Move-In Ready 49 485 Park Avenue: Magnificent City Views 50 750 Park Avenue: Exceptional Elegance

HEALTH & WELLNESS 52 Mindie’s Musings: Avoiding Life’s Pitfalls


FOOD & DRINK 54 56 58 60 62

Olio e Piú: A Dreamy Culinary Odyssey Great Bites: A Special At-Home Valentine’s Day Dinner Valentine’s Day Cocktails Dining A Deux: For The Love Of Romantic Nights Patisserie Vanessa: French Elegance In NYC


BroadwayHD: Celebrate Valentine’s Day and Black History Month Spotlight On Stage: Tracy Mitchell On The Big Screen On The Small Screen


PET LIFESTYLES 69 Winter Tips: Keeping Your Pet Safe & Healthy 70 The Final Word: Pet Edition

NEW YORK, NY 72 73 75 76 78

Entrepreneur’s Corner: Andrea Beach My New York Story: Joan Coukos Time Out With…Dom & Anthony Scaramonia Romance In The City Sean Patrick M. Hillman: The Final Word



WHAT IS IT? • A tool to suppress appetite for sustained calorie restriction to get that weight off! • A FDA approved medication for weight loss. FOR WHO? • Anyone who has seen their weight drift up (even as little as 8 pounds), who is having difficulty getting–and keeping–it off! • People with a BMI of 20-30, normal weight to medically overweight. • Otherwise healthy people with excess weight being their main medical problem. TESTIMONIALS: “It works! I had to stop because I didn’t want to lose any more weight.” “Flawless fit! Even in clothes that I have not worn for 15 years.” “Before beginning Dr. Giese’s Elective Weight LossTM program, I was not able to fit into my custom made, one of a kind, wedding dress. It has been less than two months, and not only do I fit into my wedding dress now, but look even better in it than before! Thank you Dr. Giese!”


ISSN 2474-770X


Vol. 10 #2 | February 2024 President / Publisher BILL MASON Co-Publisher/Managing Editor SEAN-PATRICK M. HILLMAN Editor-in-Chief Patricia Canole

Art Director Scott Cuollo

Health & Wellness Anne Akers

Entertainment Jenny Peters

Special Projects Norah Bradford

Theater Bonnie Comley

Chief Photographer NEIL J TANDY

Love is in the air this month! And for the thousands of New Yorkers that don’t have someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with, it is the pawfect time of year to volunteer at a shelter or rescue. Or, given the amazing number of animals that are now available for adoption, if you can foster a pet that would be even better! Now to the magazine… In the next month, Pet Lifestyles Magazine will release its first ever Celebrity issue. And while I cannot disclose who will be featured in it yet, I can tell you that some of your favorite stars and petfluencers will be in this edition of the magazine. In this issue, you will also find tips and tricks from Kate Perry of Kate Perry Dog Training to help you get through the winter months (some of Kate’s tips can also be found in my Pet Lifestyles story on Page 55 of this issue of New York Lifestyles Magazine); some fun new products for your furrever friend; advice on dealing with certain health issues related to the winter and more. We also have surprises in store for our readers over the next two months with new content and programming from some of our sponsors. In other words, we are looking forward to a PAWESOME 2024! And we can’t wait to take you along for the ride! To see what we are up to, head over to Stay pawesome! Sean-Patrick M. Hillman Editor-in-Chief & Co-Publisher, Pet Lifestyles Magazine 8 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | JANUARY 2024

Contributors Michael Alpiner, Mindie Barnett, Clint Brownfield, Melanie Carden, AP Connolly, Jenna Guarneri, Stewart F. Lane, Irvina Lew, Anne Raso, Jeff & Stephanie Sylva, Annie Watt, Pamela Smythe Woods.

Sales Bill Mason Sr. - Director of New Business Development Don Fetherman - Director of Travel Jamie Babbit - Sales Manager Internet Presence Michael McKenzie

Magazine Distribution The Garrido Group

New York Sales Office (646) 259-2651

Editorial/Sales Fax (212) 202-4888

For advertising inquiries, subscriptions, address changes or back issues, call: (646) 259-2651 Facebook: /NYLifestylesMag X: @NYLifestylesMag Instagram: @NYLifestylesMag All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue is expressly forbidden without written permission of this publisher. Printed in the USA. New York Lifestyles is published 10 times a year. ©2024 New York Lifestyles Magazine.

COVER CREDITS DR. SHARON GIESE Photography by Neil J Tandy


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s we turn the calendar, we welcome more light and longer days. A signal of change. While we can’t change the past, the future days can impact, influence, and change our present

This month we chose to profile noteworthy individuals who affect change and make a difference. Our cover feature on Dr. Sharon Giese alludes to physical change. Our interview with this board-certified physician focuses on her cosmetic surgery practice. She understands how improving body image positively affects the psyche and reminds her us that “cosmetic surgery is a way of respecting yourself and your body.” It is not superficial thinking; it’s powerful thinking and how it has changed so many lives.

Vol. 6 #8 | November/D

Chocolate certainly helps pave the way for romance this month. So, we sought popular chocolatier, Joan Coukos, and her two-decade plus company. You’ll enjoy our interview on what inspires her. When it comes to this sweet treat, whether you’re looking for the perfect savory bite, an extravagant gift, or just delicious, decorative delights, you’ll find what you seek at Chocolat Moderne®

ecember 2020





We couldn’t mention February without a nod to Valentine’s Day. Spice it up with a dinner for two at a new restaurant or old-time favorite. We have a few suggestions that are sure to fit the menu. Or, if you have the time, get away to a secluded inn or resort and soak up the romance.




February can bring bountiful pleasures in other ways. Celebrating the Lunar New Year (the Year of the Dragon) which culminates on February 10th is a fun way to visit Chinatown and participate in the Lantern Festival (February 24th). It celebrates family reunions and features ancient spiritual traditions with food and fun. There we have it! A short month, indeed, but long on memorable moments. I hope you find this issue informative and entertaining. Wherever February 2024 takes you, remember to focus on what really matters during this month—love and kindness. See you next issue…

-Bill Mason


Visit us at: For subscription or back issues, call:

(646) 259-2651




DR. SHARON GIESE IMPROVING LOOKS—AND OUTLOOKS By Patricia Canole | Photography by Neil J Tandy


orget everything you thought you knew about aesthetic enhancement—appearanceimproving options are being invented at a laser-quick pace. Are you troubled by wrinkles? A doctor can inject them with novel fillers or remove them with light. Want a little fat removed from your jawline? You can get it melted. Even a classic facelift has evolved from a primary nip and tuck to a more customized blend of boosting and volumizing.

Of course, consumer demand has driven this innovation: In a decade, more surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures have been performed in the U.S. Still, while exciting, the plethora of beauty-enhancing options is also confusing and overwhelming. Your safest strategy: Go with doctors at the top of their fields. THE BEST POSSIBLE CARE One such plastic surgeon is New York’s Dr. Sharon Giese, who employs a comprehensive approach to patient care in her private townhouse office steps from Park Avenue. This board-certified physician understands how improving body image positively affects the psyche. She reminded us that “cosmetic surgery is a way of respecting yourself and your body. It is not superficial thinking; it’s powerful thinking.” A fourth-generation surgeon, she is trained as a biochemist who is credited with groundbreaking research on the effects of large-volume liposuction to improve cardiometabolic risk factors and weight loss. Research is most definitely a passion. This and her art, medicine, and psychology background provide customized treatments for each patient. “Selecting a surgeon is very important and sometimes daunting,” she says. Giese is involved with every step of the process, and you will see her and her staff ’s professionalism. Her patients all want the same—to be better versions of themselves, from celebrities to soccer moms. This recognized plastic surgeon prides herself on being a top leader in her field. Consistently sought out for her expertise, Giese is determined to provide the best possible care and outcome for each client so that everyone can achieve a red-carpet look.

Her practice has the perfect procedural package for you regardless of your life stage. As a female plastic surgeon, she recognizes the aesthetic value women place on their bodies. Her practice offers a variety of cosmetic and nonsurgical procedures to treat your specific needs, from breast enhancement and facial rejuvenation to dermal fillers. Whether you want to lift sagging skin, enhance curves, smooth wrinkles, or improve symmetry, she can help transform your body—and life. Giese is best known for her Natural Lift, a minimally invasive alternative to a facelift that melts away neck and jowl fat. She says the procedure can buy patients an extra five years before they might need traditional surgery. When women come to her and tell her they want to look younger, one of Giese’s first recommendations is an upper-eyelid lift, which can be performed in less than half an hour and requires only local anesthesia. We recently met up with Dr. Sharon Giese, who sheds more light on the art of cosmetic surgery and her popular in-demand procedures, Body Sculpting, and Elective Weight Loss: The No Diet Diet.


Dr. Giese provides the best care to achieve a red-carpet look.


Why did you decide to get into the field of plastic surgery? Plastic surgery is the ultimate culmination of my skills and hobbies, combining the human element, health and empowerment. I studied classical piano (and taught) for 13 years and still enjoy playing today. I designed and sewed clothes for my Grandma and myself. I absolutely love fine fabrics and linens! I have always enjoyed gardening, flower arranging, and cooking. I am a student of art history and painting. Plastic surgery combined my creative and artistic skills and pleasure with manual dexterity. I am grateful for my unique, accomplished patients. Since I am doing what I love, I don’t feel like I’m going to work. Who most influenced your career choice and training? My father, an obstetric surgeon, was the first person to influence my career. Once I decided to become a physician, he knew I had a surgeon’s personality and perseverance. He thought I would like plastic, oculoplastic, or hand surgery. This led me to my first mentor in plastic surgery, Peter McKinney, at Northwestern University Medical School. He was the top aesthetic surgeon in Chicago, had authored six books and more than 100 publications, and was the past president of the Aesthetic Society. He was a gentleman and the ultimate example of how to be highbrow in an arena that can trend the other way. I am extremely fortunate for this early experience. What do you feel attracts patients to your practice? I am very hands-on and personal. People come to me to help navigate the myriad choices out there. They don’t want to be a Google or TikTok doc to themselves. My job is to satisfy their desires. Many times, patients don’t know what they want or what their realistic choices are. This is where I can help them find options in their recovery timeline and budget.

What is the most common misconception the public has about your specialty? Having plastic surgery is superficial. The massive presence of physical alteration—real or Photoshop—forces people to choose to do it. I respect both sides because it is an active decision. It empowers and enables some, whereas others have no need for it in their life. No one ever knows if you partook when it is done right. I never want someone to advertise that they had “plastic surgery,” Fillers or Botox. Why should patients seek out board-certified plastic surgeons? That is an absolute first-pass eliminator. Being a board-certified plastic surgeon means that person completed an accredited plastic surgery program, met the continued medical education requirements, the recertification testing, and most likely is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery has high ethical standards and serves to self-police its members. Essentially, that will weed out the “wannabes.” Unfortunately, it is a buyer beware market. Physician assistants often market themselves as ‘cosmetic surgeon.’ Describe the Natural Lift that is unique to your practice. The Natural Lift addresses the first signs of aging—a sagging neck and jowls. Excess fat in either of those areas drags down the face, making it look saggy, sad, older, and heavy. How the fat sits is genetic. It will not change with age but only get worse. It is also minimally affected by weight loss. Removing a little bit of neck and jowl fat removes the heaviness and naturally highlights the upper face, which appears lifted. It mimics what a facelift does, but non-surgically. It is also amazing for younger people who genetically have a full lower face or an obscured jawline. It’s great for people in their 20s to shift how they will age in the future, take away a double chin, and make them look 10 pounds lighter.


How do you help to ensure your patients have realistic expectations regarding their surgeries? I use and love before-after photos. I have a 20-yearold digital library of examples. I can almost always find someone with a similar problem that was corrected. I analyze real-time digital photos of a patient with them. Together, we decide what they want to improve and what is realistically possible. I learn a lot from this engagement, and expectations are set better than with digital manipulation of their face or body. What is best for a surgeon like yourself to deal with a patient’s unrealistic expectations? If my staff or I think a patient will be reasonable and realistic, I will not treat them. Instead, I gently explain that I am not the surgeon for them. Another innovative procedure you provide is the No Diet Diet. Tell us more. I love this addition to my practice. Elective Weight Loss (EWL™) has made hundreds of people happy and healthier. Adults young and old should stay closer to their lower weight as they age. It is healthier and will keep cardiometabolic risk factors lower for life. I primarily help non-obese patients who are overweight relative to themselves. They have yet to be successful at reaching their target weight. A few years ago, the power of natural appetite suppression was realized with semaglutide, the active ingredient of Ozempic® and Wegovy®. Ads and marketing tempt many people to eat more than they need to. There is an undue emphasis on food, particularly in NYC, because going to a bar or restaurant is a large part of socializing. This peptide helps to curb the desire to eat in excess naturally. It helps people stay on a calorie-restricted diet without feeling deprived. It diminishes ‘food noise.’ It prompts behavioral changes. As a society, we are so lucky to have this tool, particularly given the obesity epidemic in America and worldwide today. I have a large ongoing study showing its effectiveness for weight loss and weight maintenance, with the goal of getting off the medication. This refers to my early fat research in plastic surgery, which showed large volume liposuction could effectively be integrated into a weight loss program and have health benefits. Describe a case in which you changed a patient’s overall quality of life through surgery. Wow, there are so many! At one point, I thought I had a fertility clinic. So many of my body liposuction patients were getting pregnant. I viewed this as a testament to them feeling more confident and engaged with their partners. Similarly, with semaglutide, I have a number of gals who are using it to help them get back to their normal weight and have a healthier pregnancy. There are also the more mature men and women who want to stay competitive in the work market. That applies equally to my TV, Broadway, or social media star patients. I have many moms who have become happier, healthier, and more productive for their families. Every day, I see empowerment in every aspect of their lives. That is what makes me happy. For more information on Dr. Sharon Giese, visit 16 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | FEBRUARY 2024

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THROUGH THE LENS Photography By Annie


John Sanderson

Hugh Zaretsky, Alexandra Dana Gusita

Judy McLaren, Robert Maroney

Dawne Marie Grannum, John Sanderson

John Sanderson

John Sanderson, Mrs Sanderson

Kathleen Giordano, Dr. Penny Grant

Kathleen Giordano, Dr. Penny Grant



Ellen Scordato, Anna Bulkot, Anne Elser, Jay Sherwood

Tom Johnson, Judy Villard, Ron Flemming

The Rev. Andrew Kryzak, Alex Donner, Robert Wolterstorff, Elene White, Alexander White, Niles Parker, Matthew Rimi

Robert Wolterstorff, Michael Kovner, Niles Parker

Annabelle Fowlkes, Jean Doyen de Montaillou

Barbara Bender, Trip Dorkey, Stuart Bevan, Jan Whitman Ogden, Neville Carmichael

Matthew Rimi, Aaron O’Brien, Aaron O’Brien

Jay Sherwood



Carol Calicchio

Jeanne Roberts, Bruce Helander, Rochelle Ohrstrom

Andrew D Larochelle, Ambassador Robin Bernstein

Amanda Calicchio, Beau Parker

Kim Frisbee, Carol Calicchio

Mary Ann Cody

Eric Purcell, Gale Brophy, Peter Felfe

Susan Markein, Chad Wood



Rishi Narang, Michael Hebb, Dennis Hanno, Deogratias Niyizonkiza, Ali Wentworth

Ann Billingsley, Sharon Jacob, Nicole Salmasi

Cynthia Chapman, Berni Gilfond

Jill Harrington, Toni Trigiani

David Kratz, Ali Wentworth, Andy Wilson

Brian McClenahan, Ellen McClenahan, Jackie Ceonzo, Bill Jacob

Patricia Ceballos, Cary Sheren, Coleman McCartan, Ann Billingsley, Susan Quinn

Barclay Collins, Dan Farley, Claire Flynn, Jo-ann Farley, Isaac Thweatt



Jeanine Haidtman, Cheryl Rau, Dianne Falzarano, Katherine Summers.

Michael Causey, Dana Ash, Alie Causey, Eddie Ash

NBC television journalist David Gregory and his wife Beth Wilkinson

Joseph McNamaram Annie Watt, Max McNamara

Curtis Polk, Amanda Polk, Jill Schecter, Matt Schecter

Montel Williams and his wife Tara Fowler

Siegel table

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Joanne K. Adams, BCCA Executive Director; Kathleen Noonan, 2023 Honoree and BCCA Advisory Board Member; Libby Imperio, BCCA President

Joi Garner, BCCA Board Member; Libby Imperio, BCCA President; Joanne K. Adams, BCCA Executive Director; Joan Hope MacNaughton, BCCA Board Member; Laura Barillaro, BCCA Treasurer

Ala von Auersperg, Fashion Designer; John Tiffany, Fashion Historian

Stephanie Pantelidis, Dr. Miranda Kofinas, Joanne K. Adams, BCCA Executive Director; Father Chrysostomos Gilbert, Irene Campbell, Helene Pangalos, Bess Nicholas

Dee Dee Scarborough, Susan Fisher, Soo Won Hwang Abrams, Mary Beth Tully, Sheila Heslin, Amelia Prounis, Soraya Gage, Liz Golden, Jeannie Trouveroy, Saundra Smith, Susan Gammage Munn, BCCA Advisory

Laura Barillaro, BCCA Treasurer; Vanessa Biondo, Joi Garner, BCCA Board Member; Nicole Chapoteau, Charlotte Clement Collins, Valerie Clement, Kathy Johnson, Anita Sudano

Tori McDonough, Tara Smith

John Tiffany, Fashion Historian; Ala von Auersperg, Fashion Designer






By Mindie Barnett

heir story demonstrates how love can truly conquer all. After Velma Murphy was knocked unconscious by a brick thrown by an angry supremacist, she was carried to safety by her now husband, Norman Hill. Their six-decade love story is filled with turmoil, tragedy, triumph, and inspiration as they battled (and continue the fight) for civil rights and fair labor. In their new book Climbing the Rough Side of the Mountain, the Hills share stories from the frontline when they faced racial segregation in the 1960s, working alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, and crossing paths with Malcolm X, among many others. Some of their most significant accomplishments happened here in New York City, where the duo calls home. We sat down with the Hills and reflected on some of their most incredible memories and what lessons they believe can be applied to today’s political climate as we battle for fairness and diversity. What made you author this book, and why now? Our extraordinary story of over six decades of life, love, civil rights, and labor activism would be exciting and informative. The movement’s history that we put forth provides essential lessons for current and future activists and can serve as a basis for confronting the movement’s current and future challenges. What are some uphill battles you fought decades ago that we are still fighting? In the early 1960s, through the local Congress of Racial Equality group, we pressed for integrating the Inglewood Public School system. Public school integration is a current unmet goal in cities throughout the country. Through the A. Philip Randolph Institute, we have conducted, coordinated, and directed voter participation campaigns to maximize Black turnout in local, state, and national elections. Such an effort needs to be continued through current and future elections. You stood alongside Dr. King and many other prominent leaders for diversity—what do you think they would say about our current climate regarding racial tensions? I think that our mentors, such as A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, would promote aggressive and militant action by minorities in such a way as to generate majority support through coalition politics. Coalition politics involve multi-racial action emphasizing common or mutual interests. They would emphasize a multi-racial thrust politically, focusing on common economic self-interests. Can you share some key events in New York City you participated in? What stands out, and what can still be learned? The most noteworthy event in which we were involved was the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. What stands out is the brilliant organizational direction of Bayard Rustin and the use of a coalition of Civil Rights, religious, and unions to generate a great crusade. What can be carried forward from the March on Washington is that the problems facing minorities are not merely ethnic but economic and social, requiring political action. Today, the economic and social issues need to be addressed, as was true then, on a coalition basis, with the essence or core of the coalition being an alliance between minority organizations and the labor movement. What are the top three lessons you hope your readers walk away with as it pertains to Black history and equality? First, any group that is mistreated, oppressed, or discriminated against must take the initiative to challenge the unfair and unjust status quo. Secondly, the pursuit of racial equality and economic justice requires aggressive militant action by Blacks in such a way as to generate majority support. Finally, the barriers that Black people have faced are both race and class and must be addressed simultaneously. For more information on Climbing The Rough Side Of The Mountain, visit Post Hill Press at FEBRUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 27

The Giving Back Gala


At The Rainbow Room, Rockefeller Plaza, NYC

For tickets and info, email



10 MAY





By Melanie Carden

ften we practice moderation limiting our independence in the name of health or humility. Valentine’s Day, however, is a lovely excuse to eschew all that for wildly romantic, luxurious, and memorable tokens of affection. Whatever the mood, there’s a fit here—from lavish leather goods to conflict-free rubies and even a few Galentine’s Day gifts as well BLUSHING PERFECTION From renowned house Veuve Clicquot, the La Grande Dame Rosé 2012 represents the ninth edition of this luxurious champagne. Made from its historic Grands Crus, this is a celebratory bottle of the highest caliber—worthy of a memorable Valentine’s Day. Info:

HIS & HER SCENTS-ATIONS We all know fragrance is an intimate gift. Now, selecting a scent or cologne at Scentbird--or exploring their scents is possible. Knowing fragrance is nuanced, you might opt for a monthly subscription, where your special someone can try name-brand scents via Scentbird’s mini-atomizers. Info: FASHION LOVER If your true love is a favorite fashionforward and dapper gentleman, he’s a Mezlan man. Mezlan crafts luxury leather goods for men, with an absolute mastery of infusing classic style with modern-day touches. Info:

ALL HEART What’s not to love? This minimalist-meetsromance sweater from Trina Turk is cute enough for Valentine’s Day gifting and allseason clothing. It’s 100 percent merino wool, ready for everything from date nights to snow days. Info:


RUBIES OVER ROSES This 14K White Gold anniversary band is stunning, but there’s more to its rubies than meets the eye. Charles & Colvard specializes in high-end labgrown diamonds, moissanite, ruby, sapphire, and emeralds. These conflictfree pieces come with a certificate of authenticity. Info:

RED CARPET WORTHY VELVET The perfect little pop of color in velvet, no less. As a Valentine’s Day gift, I love these sweet slipper-style shoes from Marsoreli because they’re a beautiful balance of refinement and style. Each pair is handmade in Italy, and the colors range from neutral to red carpet wow. Info:

GIVE A LIMITED EDITION The suede label of this immaculate bottle of Wolves Whiskey is just the beginning. Inside, you’ll find the brand’s Winter Run, Batch 3—a complex beauty boasting notes of cinnamon, black cherry, and dark chocolate. Founded by luxury goods veterans Jon Buscemi and James Bond, Wolves Whiskey is a connoisseur’s sip. Info:

CHOCOLATE BERRIES—WITH A TWIST This gift is the opposite of niche; it’s that bit of Valentine’s Day whimsy you need for everyone on your list. From teachers to friends and your special someone, these Rainbow Swirl Artisan Belgian Chocolate Strawberries are a much-needed refresh on this classic gift. Info:

LAVISH CHOCOLATE CHESS If you’re looking for a stunning, over-the-top gift, look no further than the Compartés Luxury Grandmaster Chocolate Chess Pieces Set. The edible chocolate chess set is handcrafted by chocolatiers in Los Angeles and shipped with a no-melt shipping guarantee. Info:

GENDERLESS JEWELRY In a word—stunning. The Joseph Duclos Lectoure Leather Bracelet is a unisex piece that is simultaneously timeless and edgy. Made in France, this collection is adorned with an 18th-century quatre-dechiffre—a symbol used by merchants of that time, updated with a modern wink. Info: 30 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | FEBRUARY 2024

FINERY FOR DISPENSARY GOODS Luxury has made its way to the canna experience. Soho’s new cannabis boutique, Dagmar, is said to channel the high-end experience of brands like Louis Vuitton. Similarly, the online brand Ukiyohi merges art and function with refined accessories like this gorgeous custom-crafted dugoutstyle smoking pipe. Info: CAVIAR—OF COURSE! Marshallberg Farms is a pioneer in ethical Osetra Sturgeon farming in the U.S. Most caviar originates from unregulated farms in China, which might involve hormones, antibiotics, or borax. Caspian sturgeon is critically endangered, so farming is a best practice, and these exquisite tins will wow even the most discerning aficionados. Info:





By Pamela Smythe Woods

hen you look at a bold, exciting new fashion collection, naturally the back story of the designer comes up. You expect to hear of apprenticeships with esteemed fashion houses or years of study at a prestigious design school, but not a background in social work and an acclaimed career in academia. That is the career path Fort Mosé 1738 founder and designer Maurice Gattis has traveled as a Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and a Fulbright Scholar working in South Africa. He never expected to be diverted into the fashion industry. However, that is where he is now and where he’s been since he conceptualized the idea of an American collection of contemporary African fashion after a trip to Ghana in 2021. HOW IT ALL BEGAN The roots of Fort Mosé 1738 took hold after a trip to Accra, the capital city of Ghana, where during a weeklong visit Gattis formed a friendship with his driver, Nathaniel. What began as one ride evolved into a tight connection after the weeklong trip and a meeting with Nathaniel’s wife, Faustina, the local couturier. It wasn’t long after Gattis’ return to the U.S. that the idea of a fashion collection designed for American audiences yet hand-sewn from exceptional hand-woven African fabrics was born. As Gattis observes, the American audience is diverse in terms of tastes and interests. However, he sees Fort Mosé 1738’s appeal as versatile everyday wear yet able to transition to a special occasion. Made from brilliantly colored, contemporary printed, and hand-woven, fabrics from West Africa, Kente cloth with golden threads as well as 100 percent cotton, the garments are authentically and locally produced by artisans in Ghana. Gattis emphasizes, “once you interact with the pieces you will fall in love with the colors. We encourage self-expression and so far, everyone who has been wearing the line feels they have taken on fresh confidence.” The looks include dresses, pantsuits, and jumpsuits for women.

FASHION FORWARD Fort Mosé 1738 is named for an 18th-century Spanish fort near St. Augustine, Florida, the first place in America slaves from West Africa gathered freely. It’s close to where Gattis was born and raised, Daytona Beach. Though well known for their annual Jazz and Blues concert series, Gattis only discovered the nearby landmark on a day trip to this historic city. Surprisingly, he reveals, “Fort Mosé represents a part of American history that I was not taught, even though the site is about an hour away from where I grew up.” Certainly, the look of African fashion has long been a favorite of celebrities from Idris Elba to Gwen Stefani. However, fashion from Ghana has occupied the spotlight recently with Ghana-born director of The Color Purple, Blitz Bazawule, wearing fashion looks from Ghana on the red carpet. Gattis is delighted to see these looks in the spotlight as he builds a solid foundation for Fort Mosé 1738, “slow and steady is the growth pattern I have in mind, in a few years we will have our own dedicated space, a small boutique but in the interim, we are not racing towards an imagined finish line. Growth is important but we would never want to lose track of our deep and authentic roots in Ghana.” For more information on Fort Mosé 1738, visit FEBRUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 31




By Jenny Peters

here’s been a lot to like about Honda’s CR-V compact SUV over the years, and now, with a complete redesign for the 2023 models, it’s even better. The CR-V has always been an excellent choice for city living, with its manageable size making street parking a breeze, yet meanwhile having enough interior space to haul ski/snowboard gear to the slopes, luggage to the airport, and all the Costco products you’ll need for a month. There are five iterations of the newly imagined Honda CR-V, beginning with the basic LX, which goes for about $30,000, and going to the Sport Touring Hybrid, which you’ll pay close to $42,000 to own. We tested out the EX-L ($37,000), one of three gas-only versions, on a four-day road trip of 1,000 miles across long freeway stretches and onto crowded big-city streets. ALL THE COMFORTS Part of the sleek new design is a roomier interior, with very comfortable front seats and a ramped-up infotainment system; the EX-L boasts a nine-inch touchscreen, wireless phone charging, and a center storage console. Dual heat and air-conditioning controls allow for individual tastes, and the seats adjust to numerous settings. The EX-L’s tinted windows in the back rows and rear window are a huge plus for hauling—and leaving—things in the cargo area (like suitcases on a road trip) because they make it almost impossible for outsiders to see in. That alone makes it an ideal vehicle for city living. The turbocharged 4-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine produces a peak of 190 horsepower, providing more than enough oomph to merge quickly onto the freeway, easily take hills, and maintain top speeds. It’s willing to drive as fast as you like to push it but be warned: the CR-V’s interior is designed to drive so smoothly and quietly that you can suddenly realize that you’re going 85mph in a 55mph zone!

SAFETY, TOO The CR-V is built for comfortable speed and safety as well. The vehicle comes with ten airbags, including front, front side, and side curtain ones, as well as knee airbags in the front seats and side airbags in the rear. It will even brake automatically when the Honda Collision Mitigation Braking System, designed to avoid accidents, kicks in when it senses an impending crash.

Even if you enjoy driving fast, this SUV takes regular gasoline, holds 14 gallons, and averages about 30 miles per gallon without discernably guzzling gas at higher speeds. And if you choose the Sport Hybrid, expect to average 40 mpg instead.

The SUV has new safety features as part of the Honda “Sensing Suite,” with two favorites. We love the blind spot information system on the side mirrors that show the driver when another vehicle is nearby and the automatic high-beam headlights, which happily send the old clickon, click-off manual way into oblivion. It’s amazing how two such insignificant things are such welcome innovations. A not-so-small change for 2023 and beyond is the Honda Service Pass, which covers all Honda models. For two years or 24,000 miles, all standard oil and oil filter changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections are included in the car’s purchase price. With this redesign that makes the CR-V feel like a much more expensive vehicle than its price, it’s not too surprising that the SUV placed in Car and Driver Magazine’s 10 Best Trucks and SUVs ranking for 2023, alongside the Porsche Macan and the Genesis GV70. With its goodlooking exterior, nicely appointed interior, extensive attention to safety, and smooth, quick, and quiet driving experience, it is a well-priced compact SUV that will make you happy to get behind the wheel and go. For more information about the Honda CR-V EX-L (and other variations), visit





Article and Photos by Neil J Tandy

bucket list destination for many, I was delighted to recently visit the Central American jewel that is Belize, a country with unmistakable Caribbean influence and a cultural melting pot. From the dense jungle to the Caribbean shoreline, to the massive Belize Barrier Reef, dotted with hundreds of islands or Cayes, Belize is a country that offers so much for visitors, especially now that Jet Blue provides nonstop flights from JFK to Belize City three times a week. I was on the inaugural flight, following celebrations at Terminal 5 and the 4.5-hour journey makes it easier to get to than LA! Upon arrival in Belize City, what was to follow was five days of luxury accommodation, incredible food, fascinating visits and activities designed for all to enjoy. STAY Alaia Belize was first on the list of host resorts, a short 20-minute flight from Belize City. Located in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Alaia offers suites and villas, all with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea and a gorgeous sunrise every morning, from expansive balconies in the suites—sunset is always best viewed from the Vista Rooftop Sushi Bar. The welcome from everyone was incredibly warm, from general manager Scott to every staff member. Next up was Hidden Valley Wilderness Lodge, a 7200-acre private resort in Belize’s Mountain Pine Ridge area, around a 2-hour drive from Belize City. The Inn is nestled amongst the rolling hills, lush tropical forests and beautiful waterfalls of the region, many of which can be visited on the resort’s 90 miles of private trails. I stayed in a Valley View Villa, with a built-in fireplace, a screened terrace, infinity pool and outdoor shower, as well as full kitchen and living room area. The views out over the tropical forest and the hills of the region were magnificent and perfect to enjoy coffee in the morning. The third and last location was Naia Resort and Spa, a very comfortable 3.5-hour drive from Hidden Valley, on a private 200-acre private reserve on the Placencia Peninsula in the South of Belize, again, overlooking the gorgeous Caribbean Sea. Accommodation this time was a self-contained beach cottage featuring a beautiful bed, views of the ocean, an incredible outdoor shower and three steps from the bedroom doors to the beach. Mayan ruins at Caracol

Alaia Belize, San Pedro

EAT Food in Belize is a delightful amalgamation of cultures and ethnicities of the country, from Mexican/Central American to Jamaican/Anglo-Caribbean cuisines and we were fortunate enough to sample much of that at various restaurants and smaller food establishments. The national dish is rice and beans, often paired with a protein, usually stew chicken, pork or beef and is incredibly tasty. The stew chicken is colored a beautiful red orange, by the addition of Recado rojo, a blend of spices that also adds a wonderful flavor.

Fry Jacks for breakfast at D Family Diner, San Pedro

Among other local delights were Fry Jacks—a very popular breakfast staple, made of fried dough, cut into triangles and often served with a savory of some kind, garnaches (fried tortillas with beans, cheese, and sauce), various chicken-based soups, mild curries with plenty of coconut and incredible seafood for those lovers of marine cuisine. The culinary highlights were many, but a couple worth noting, were a walking food tour of San Pedro (well, we were driven around in golf carts), visiting local momand-pop establishments to sample various tasty foods and beverages, culminating in a chocolate-making class and sampling at the Belize Chocolate Company and an incredible special dinner presentation by Chef Sean Kuylen at Hidden Valley Inn, with sampler plates of local fare made in Chef Sean’s own style, accompanied by a Mayan blessing ceremony!


PLAY Luxury accommodation, wonderful hospitality, and palate-pleasing culinary experiences aside, the itinerary for our trip was packed with amazing activities and visits, which I could easily write a book about! As mentioned, there was a great walking food tour of San Pedro, but among the top highlights was a tour of the ancient Mayan ruins at Caracol in the Chiquibil Forest Reserve. The ruins, located in the foothills of the Maya Mountains, discovered in 1937, are truly impressive and one cannot help but feel the history, the mystery and the significance of the site and that felt amplified on the day we visited due to being in the rain forest, shrouded in mist and a steady drizzle of rain. This site is a must-see for any visitor to Belize— it can only be reached by vehicles with specialist tires and 4WD capabilities, but paved roads are being constructed, which will allow easier access. The following morning, guide Marvin took us to one of the many Hidden Valley trails and then led us on a 30-minute hike through the lush rainforest to Butterfly Falls, with a swim in the pool’s refreshing waters, the perfect way to cool off. A big highlight at Alaia Belize, was a fascinating molecular mixology class given by highly accomplished mixologist Subhash, including techniques such as infusion and spherification and making old fashioneds with cigar smoke. All ingredients were local, including the various liquors, fruits and aromatic seeds. All internal flights were courtesy of Tropic Air and a very special one was a flyover of Great Blue Hole—a giant marine sinkhole 1,000 feet across and 400 feet deep. Made famous by renowned French diver and explorer Jacques Cousteau, the site is a must-visit for recreational scuba divers, drawn by the chance of diving in sometimes crystal-clear water and encountering several species of fish, sharks, and other marine life.

View from the restaurant at Ray Caye Private Resort

Island hopping by boat is another popular activity and on the last full day, it was a 6.5 hour round trip to Silk Island for snorkeling and marine life watching in the clear, turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, with our guide Brian making sure everyone was safe and having fun. After an hour of snorkeling and fun, it was back on the boat and a quick trip to Ray Caye, a private island resort, for lunch and a tour of the gorgeous suites and houses available for romantic getaways or disconnecting from modern-day life for a few days. Leaving Ray Caye, back onto the boat, we headed to our final island, Moho Caye, an idyllic 12-acre, palm-fringed private island, where once anchored, Brian took everyone out snorkeling again. I stayed behind to watch the many pelicans hunting for their own lunch and to take photos of those amazingly fascinating birds. Our last night in Paradise was very special too, a bonfire on the beach at Naia Resort, with local Garifuna drummers, music and dancing—I confess to probably having the worst dancing rhythm of anyone in our small party, especially dancing on the beach and our teacher’s best efforts were likely wasted on me, but it was a ton of fun. All too soon, Monday morning arrived and it was time to reluctantly leave this piece of Central American heaven. This country has left me wanting to return to explore and discover much more and to immerse myself in local customs and culture. I will be back, You Better Belize It!

ENJOYNG BELIZE Whether you want to dive the Blue Hole, explore Mayan ruins and incredible islands, your trip planning is made easier with our quick guide to featured hotels, restaurants, and tour operators. See you in Belize! Jet Blue Airline: Belize Tourism Board: Alaia Belize: Hidden Valley: Naia Resort and Spa Placencia: Hidden Treasure Restaurant San Pedro: Tropic Air: Belize Food Tours: Palmilla Restaurant San Pedro: D Family Café San Pedro: Mayawalk Tours Ignacio: Go Sea Tours Placencia: Maya Beach Hotel Bistro Placencia: Last sunset at Naia Resort Placencia

La Dolce Vita Placencia:





By Melanie Carden | Photos courtesy of The Broadmoor

he Broadmoor is a spectacular experience in innumerable ways—from its 5,000 acres to its many restaurants and incredible experiences, ranging from falconry classes to ziplining. The hotel’s founder, Spencer Penrose, who made his fortune primarily in mining, was fully entrenched in the sport of polo and its Gilded Age lifestyle. He built four polo fields at The Broadmoor, and guests could rent ponies for games. On the heels of The Great Depression and World War II, however, the sport dwindled in popularity, and the fields were repurposed. This year, the second annual Broadmoor Winter Polo Classic returns to the Norris Penrose Equestrian Center in partnership with the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation on February 23rd and 24th. The exhibition-style event brings spectators together to watch the adrenaline-charged chukkers (4 periods, each 7 minutes long). Of course, the Norris Penrose Equestrian Center sells individual tickets, but why not take advantage of the hotel’s Winter Polo Package, which elevates the weekend to an immersive and oh-so-elegant experience? It includes accommodation, an invitation to the VIP Reception on Friday, transportation to and from the Norris Penrose Equestrian Center, priority seating at the polo match, and a welcome amenity. VIP access during the event includes entry into the Heritage Room, where you’ll find complimentary food, cocktails, and premium whiskey tastings from the folks at the locally famed Distillery 291. Polo enthusiasts will revel in the VIP event’s austerity, boasting the perfect balance of cozy, come-hither cocktails and the opportunity to chat with the players and event organizers. The next day, sit as close to the action as possible in the box seats as the ponies kick up the dirt. WHAT TO WEAR FOR WINTER POLO Friday’s VIP reception is an upscale casual event, so something you’d typically wear to a steak house would work well. If you lean toward jeans, pair them with highfashion footwear, blazers, or other elevated accessories. You’ll need to pay close attention to the weather for the day of the exhibition; February in Colorado Springs is a mixed bag. As cold as it may (or may not) be, the event is a chance to don a bit of winter flare—anything from classic layered Ralph Lauren looks to equestrianmeets-ski-bunny and luxe cowboy. Wear a sure-footed shoe or boot and get stylish with your layers and winter accessories.


MORE EXCITEMENT AT THE BROADMOOR You’ll want to keep in mind the many ventures The Broadmoor offers for optional activities like an E-Bike Tour through the Garden of the Gods, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, falconry classes, axe throwing, archery, and some of the area’s most incredible ziplining—ranging in distance from 250 feet to a spine-chilling 1,800 feet. Also, open year-round, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway travels 9 miles to the Pike Peak summit. You might see bighorn sheep herds, elk, deer, or even yellow-bellied marmots along the way. It’s no surprise that the adventurous property’s golf course, tennis courts, and pickleball courts are also open, weather permitting, and you can check with the concierge regarding horseback riding. THE EXQUISITE SPA I’ve been lucky enough to visit spas across the globe, and Broadmoor’s is truly top-notch. Even on a mild winter day, you can relax on the patio, overlooking the mountains. The sun is so bright and warm you’ll fall asleep in your plush robe. It’s a proper spa with a variety of spacious relaxation rooms with comfortable lounge seating. With over 35 treatment options, it’s the winter oasis your soul craves.

A DINING DELIGHT Besides its delightful smaller lounges and cafes, The Broadmoor has eight on-property restaurants. Overlooking Cheyenne Lake, Ristorante del Lago takes house-made to a new level. The handmade portions of pasta are sublime, but you’ll also get homemade gelato and honey from the Broadmoor’s hives. Culinary team members regularly travel to Italy to glean culinary insight and maintain relationships with authentic purveyors of fresh Italian goods. For example, the Prosciutto di Parma is sourced exclusively from the Pio Tosini family business, and it’s the cows of the Serra family in Emilia Romagna supply the Parmigiano-Reggiano Valserena. Set aside an evening to linger at a table here and chat with your server because so many of the restaurant’s ingredients have a beautiful backstory--far too much detail to print on the menu. Another stellar experience—one you won’t soon forget—is a causal lunch at The Golden Bee—a cozy 19th-century-style English pub. Choose between classics like Guinness Beef Stew, Chicken Pot Pie, and Fish & Chips, or grab a Colorado Blue Bison Burger. Their Crisp Polenta Wedges will forever replace the French fry as your comfort food craving. It’s the vibe and the food, but then they have this unique tradition that is as cute as it is memorable. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it involves the staff flicking puffy bee stickers, flicking with a masterful aim you must experience for yourself. For more information The Broadmoor, visit; for the Winter Polo Package, visit FEBRUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 39




aptain Leonard Destin set his sails and began fishing in the waters of the Gulf between 1835 and 1939. By 1845, he settled in the town that would eventually bear his name. The allure to Captain Destin was likely the same allure that attracts 3.6 million yearly visitors: white sandy beaches, geographical features that make it a prime fishing spot, a rich collection of birds and blooms, and a temperate climate. For those travelers not satisfied with mediocre, luxury travel becomes as essential as legroom on a long plane flight—one can make do by “roughing it,” but who would want to? Since Henderson Beach Resort is the only luxury resort in Destin, it seems a slam dunk for the discerning traveler. According to Andrew Lott, Director of Sales and Marketing for Henderson Beach Resort, “Guests are drawn here for the sugary sands of our beach.” Yes, Henderson Beach Resort is a shining example of the intersection between natural luxury and manmade luxury. IT’S ALL IN THE LOCATION Resting securely on Florida’s panhandle, a mere two-hour drive to Mobile, Alabama, Destin is one of the most centrally located southern destinations. Once upon the property of Henderson Beach Resort, visitors are immersed in a world where, according to their website, “Southern charm meets modern luxury.” There is an immediate feeling that this is Destin’s only place to stay. The rooms at Henderson Beach Resort have all the standard amenities; however, the actual quality of the rooms is the spacious accommodations, sunken tub with shutters to the rest of the space, the room designs, and how they match the steely blue waters of the Gulf. Speaking of the Gulf, most rooms have an unobstructed view of the Gulf of Mexico, which offers a unique snapshot of its beauty with every changing minute or passing cloud cover. Even at night, Destin’s warm air and halo of light are nothing less than ethereal. FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD A happy traveler is a well-fed traveler, and at Henderson Beach Resort, luxury is alive in the kitchen. Newly appointed Executive Chef Tyler Simmons brings two decades of culinary excellence to an already competent team, to whom he humbly gives all the credit. Simmons adds personal flair, creativity, and a commitment to a sustainable, locally sourced, and eclectic menu. All selections at Primrose, named after Destin’s first commercial fishing boat, burst with flavor, matching Simmons’ enthusiasm for his art.

For more casual dining, the resort offers poolside delicacies at Sea Level. Whether frozen cocktails or fun finger food, guests will have a splash trying the different menu items and beverage choices. Likewise, Horizons offers expansive views of the Gulf and Henderson Beach State Park for a casual lunch or simply drinks with friends. ICING ON THE CAKE Enter tranquility. Henderson Beach Resort doesn’t skimp when it comes to spa luxury. With 10,000 square feet of space to rejuvenate the bodies and minds of its guests, Explore Spa offers a Himalayan Salt Suite and a Marine Mud Wrap among its core treatments. For a more hands-on experience, a wide selection of massages is available, as are treatments for lips, hands, eyes, hands and feet. Rounding out the many reasons to make Henderson Beach Resort a traveler’s “destin-y” is the available water activities, from the adult pool to the meandering, lazy river pool, where flotation noodles carry guests on an undulating and relaxing path that weaves around the pool area. For those who turn their attention to the more natural connections, yoga on the beach, paddle boarding, biking, kayaking, or simply lounging on the white sand will melt all the stress away. There is a reason why so many families and couples choose the vacation rental option. Condos with some of the best views in the country keep the guests returning for the guaranteed luxury and the ever-changing landscapes. The future for Henderson includes renovations and augmentations, though there is little upon which to improve. For more information on Henderson Beach Resort, visit





By Patricia Canole

ome romantics who choose an island getaway can’t do without a casino or a nightclub; others come to climb mountains, plumb the deep waters, or chill on a hammock. The marvel is that anything is possible. Each island has its own magical identity. The challenge is to pinpoint the island and resort that matches your needs. Here are four islands in the Caribbean which provide rest, relaxation, and lots of romance. ANGUILLA Romance Factor: Small enough to feel intimate, Anguilla packs a punch with endless stretches of beach. Only 35 miles long, it offers peace, quiet, and long, languid, pampered days and nights. Most sights on the island are of the natural variety. There’s exceptional scuba diving among the reefs, sailing and snorkeling. Be sure to hop on a ferry from Marigot. The 20-minute ride will leave you on the French side of St. Martin, where it’s easy explore the many duty-free shops and relax at a fine restaurant before returning to your Anguillan hideaway. Info: Best Stay: Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel If the state of being wonderfully spoiled had a capital, it would be called Cap Juluca. Don’t believe us? Enter your villa high above powdered sugar strands and coves and be mesmerized by the showstopping sunsets. The Mediterranean-style resort offers couples an oasis with food and wine of the highest quality. All rooms are tucked away in private villas and the main lodge. Understated island luxe is accented with treasures from around the world. For dining with a view, you can’t surpass Pimm’s for romantic dinners and its views of the turquoise sea. Info:

JAMAICA Romance Factor: Jamaicans have a word for feeling happy and alive—it’s irie—and that’s how you’ll feel after letting the Jamaican ambiance soak in. You’ll want to see the entire island, but you’ll find plenty of views if you choose the island’s famous north coast, including Montego Bay. Here, you’ll find every kind of recreation, from water sports, horseback riding, golf, and tennis to mountain climbing, river rafting, and canoeing. Info: Best Stay: Half Moon, Montego Bay Luxury-savvy sybarites rank Half Moon at the top of the world’s “pure heaven” list. That’s why this chic resort, with more than 400 acres of manicured gardens and two miles of silky-white beach, is the hideaway choice for those in the know. There’s a championship course for golfers, while equestrians will enjoy a gallop through the nature reserve. Tennis buffs can practice their swing on one of 13 courts. Have you had enough? Then, indulge in a well-deserved massage at the Fern Tree Spa, where European treatments and hydrotherapy will soothe those weary muscles. There’s a wide variety of dining options. Be sure to include the Sugar Mill which boasts views of the historic water wheel of the former Rose Hall Sugar Plantation. Info: FEBRUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 43

GRENADA Romance Factor: Nicknamed the “Spice Island,” Grenada is picture-postcard perfect. With close to 50 white-sand beaches, it’s easy to find secluded strands where the only footprints in the sand belong to the two of you. The varying terrain of high mountain ranges, velvety tropical forests, playful waterfalls, and bumpy country roads offers no end to romantic outdoor excursions. Info: puregrenada. Best Stay: Laluna, Morne Rouge Laluna offers something for everyone, including lodgings cut right into the hillside and sheltered by foliage. The cool digs give you plenty of room to hide out and feature king-sized beds, open verandas, and an ambiance that hints more of Bali than the Caribbean. Add to that all the luxurious amenities you expect, antiques scattered throughout the resort, and soothing plunge pools, and you’ve got a resort that invites you to leave the world behind. Seagoing activities are on tap or hit the beach, where trees offer shady parking spots for you and your sunscreen. When the day’s fun is done, dine by candlelight at the seaside restaurant, serving exceptional Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Now head back to your cottage and count the stars as you dip in the plunge pool. After all, it was made for two. Info:

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Latin flair is in the air in DR. It is full of warm hospitality, the grace of days gone by, and the sophisticated vivacity of the 21st century—all cloaked in plenty of Spanish charm. Legendary resort towns like La Romana, Punta Cana, Cap Cana, Samana, and Puerto Plata dot the coastline, offering plenty of tropical fun. Try your hand at river rafting or opt for some mountain biking. Get out into the countryside for opportunities to meet with locals and even visit a sugar plantation. Raw sugar never tasted so good! This is an island where memories are around every corner! Info: Best Stay: Eden Roc Cap Cana Unquestionably, this all-suite boutique hotel with interior decor straight from the French Riviera is glamorous. Interiors juxtapose French classicism with sleek modern accessories. Guest rooms similarly boast sumptuously comfortable beds with fine linens, and outdoor and indoor showers with multiple shower heads. These glorious sanctuaries (with private pools) are ideal for romantic getaways. The Solaya Spa and Wellness Center has yoga, indoor/outdoor cabanas, and a juice bar. Later, reserve a table at the at the resort’s restaurant for its exquisite cuisine. Info: 44 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | FEBRUARY 2024




By Jeff & Stephanie Sylva

outhern Vermont has long been a favorite destination for many New Yorkers, whether it’s an opportunity to hit the slopes in winter, peep at the foliage in the fall, or enjoy the cooler weather and many outdoor activities during the warmer months. We recommend making Seesaw’s Lodge in the village of Peru your destination. Why? Because both Seesaw’s Lodge and Peru are so Vermont.

Seesaw’s Lodge is a charming, recently renovated 100-year-old inn located at the base of Bromley Mountain. The exciting aspect of Seesaw’s is how three families joined forces in 2015 to completely renovate and revitalize this historic property in a way that fully embodies the classic Vermont mountain vibe yet affords guests all the modern comforts they crave. In 2018, following a thoughtful re-imagination of what was once the Wonder View Log Pavilion, Seesaw’s Lodge opened with an invitation of “All Comers Welcomed.” ALL IN ONE Seesaw’s Lodge is a mountainside campus consisting of seven buildings—the Lodge, three Cabins, Johnny Seesaw’s Restaurant, the Event “Barn” building, and a Warming Hut built out of an old sugary house moved from a nearby farm. Every room and building incorporate preserved architectural elements, furniture, memorabilia, and wood salvaged from the original 1924 building. (Note Johnny Seesaw’s Restaurant with its awesome circular fireplace and wood ceiling beams.) The main Lodge features six spacious suites with modern spa-like bathrooms, gas fireplaces, seating areas, and balconies with mountain views. A local tree inspires each suite and features that specific wood (i.e., Maple Suite, Birch Suite, etc.). Each suite has its own private outside entrance as well as indoor access. Rooms in the Lodge can be booked individually, or the entire Lodge can become an excellent place for a large family or group gathering. The main floor common area is a spacious, open-plan living area with floor-to-ceiling windows, a wood fireplace, a large dining room, and a fabulous chef ’s kitchen. Each Cabin has three bedrooms, three baths, kitchenettes, useful mudrooms, and comfortable seating areas with gas fireplaces and fabulous mountain views. Individual rooms or floors, as well as an entire cabin, can be reserved. As comfortable and inviting as the accommodation is, you must go outside and enjoy what Seesaw offers. In the winter, the old tennis courts are transformed into an ice-skating rink, which serves as the bocce and corn hole courts in warmer months. Fire pits and cauldrons are ablaze in the late afternoon and evening, perfect for roasting s’mores. Enjoy the après frivolity at The Hut, a whiskey or wine tasting, or some live music in The Tavern. FEBRUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 45

WHERE TO DINE We have two recommendations that are sure to please. Johnny Seesaw’s Restaurant is much more than a re-imagined rustic eatery that was a traditional gathering place for many locals. The restaurant’s menu celebrates Vermont by elevating comfort food that incorporates local ingredients with a fresh twist. Try the Vermont Pork Schnitzel with Bavarian potato salad, Brussels sprouts in bacon vinaigrette, apple butter, and Beef Bourguignon. Both were outstanding. If you like pasta, you must dine at Mystic in Manchester. A selection of hand-crafted pasta made fresh inhouse with the freshest ingredients is presented daily. The Spaghetti Alla Chitarra with Crab, confit tomato, Calabrian chili, lemon, basil, and Parmigianino was amazing. And the Tagliatelle with Bentley Farm Pork Ragu, fennel, and Parmigiano Reggiano was divine. Mystic also has a beautiful selection of fresh seafood entrees and appetizers.

WHAT TO DO Hiking is popular, as the Appalachian Trail is accessible right from Seesaw’s property and has numerous trails. Being in the center of the “Golden Triangle” of Bromley, Stratton, and Magic Mountains, as well as a short drive from Okemo or Killington, this part of southern Vermont is a mecca for skiers. The area also offers many opportunities for kayaking, biking, and leaf-peeping. The town of Manchester, a short 15-minute ride down the mountain, offers a variety of activities and cultural attractions. The Lincoln Family Home, Hildene, comprises Robert and Mary Lincoln’s 1905 Georgian Revival summer home and the surrounding estate of 412 acres, which include 12 miles of walking trails, formal and productive gardens, a working farm and cheesemaking facility, and a 1903 restored Pullman railcar. A few unique experiences in Manchester are the Land Rover Off-Road Driving Experience and the Orvis Fly-Fishing and Wing Shooting Programs. Accompanied by an expert instructor, we drove the challenging—sometimes extreme—terrain of Land Rover’s private natural trails and were quite impressed with the Land Rover’s technology and off-road abilities. Manchester has many shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. There are several factory outlets stores as well. But you can shop in those stores anywhere. While in Vermont, you should enjoy a more authentic shopping experience—the country store. One of the most iconic is the 8,000 square feet. Vermont Country Store in Weston, about a 15-minute drive from Seesaw’s. This is one of the “originals.” Three generations of Ortons have continued the family principle of selling products that are “useful, work, and make sense.” Their business motto is The Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find. For more information on Seesaw’s Lodge, visit 46 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | FEBRUARY 2024


168 EAST 90





By AP Connolly

elcome to townhouse vibes at a fraction of the price. This is a move-in-ready 3 bedroom, 3 bath duplex with a private backyard—located in a well-established cooperative with low monthly costs.

This home has been extensively renovated beyond the original details, such as exposed brick, decorative fireplaces, and soaring ceilings. Details include brand-new hardwood flooring, new baths, and an updated kitchen. THE RESIDENCE The residence at #1W offers the primary bedroom with an ensuite bathroom fully equipped with a steam shower and heated toilet seat. On the same floor, the second bedroom is generous and can accommodate a queen-size bed. The adjacent bathroom has been completely renovated and includes a charming clawfoot tub. The hallway between the bedrooms feels like a mezzanine and opens up onto the double-height living room, providing soaring ceilings and extra light to the lower level. This level features a large living room, a dining area off the kitchen, a gourmet chef kitchen, and an extra room that can be used as a bedroom or flex room: office, den, TV room, playroom. The kitchen will delight every cook in town with a commercial Thermador stove with two ovens and six burners, a matching Thermador vented hood, a fridge with a French door, and a sink garbage disposal. You will also find an additional bathroom, ample storage under the staircase, and a laundry room. This home comes with central AC. With minimal maintenance and the excellent financials of the co-op, this apartment offers what every buyer is looking for today in this high-interest rate environment: Excellent value.

THE AMENITIES This is a meticulously run, three-building cooperative nestled on a quiet tree-lined residential street between Central Park and the Second Avenue subway. Accessible to the 4/5/6 lines, Whole Foods, Carl Schurz Park, and excellent shopping. The building offers free laundry, a beautiful, large roof garden with sunny views, outdoor furniture, and lush flower and herb gardens.24-hour security cameras provide tenants with video security at the front door and a video feed accessible online for shareholders. For more information on 168 East 90th Street, visit Brown Harris Stevens at Asking price: $1,795,000 48 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | FEBRUARY 2024




By AP Connolly

magine a total of 5,500 square feet of living space occupying the entire 11th floor of this magnificent building. It’s possible. Built in 1922, 485 Park Avenue is an exceptionally run fullservice co-op, considered the gem of Park Avenue.

THE RESIDENCE Off a private landing, enter a grand gallery that opens to the formidable, regal living room. Measuring over 33 feet long and nearly 25 feet wide, this stunning room with 11-foot ceilings features a marble fireplace, new herringbone floors, custom ornate moldings, and floor-to-ceiling French door windows with expansive Juliet balconies overlooking Park Avenue. Off the living room through French doors is the South and Park Avenue facing corner library with oversized windows letting light stream in. The library also boasts a fireplace, powder room, and wet bar with an extra refrigerator. The oversized corner formal dining room faces north and onto Park Avenue and has cove ceilings, a fireplace, and antique mirrors. It is connected to the kitchen through a vast butler’s pantry with an extra sink and dishwasher. The eat-in chef ’s kitchen features a marble checkered tile floor, a Thermador refrigerator, a Wolf double oven with six burners, a grill, and a Sub-zero wine cooler. With four bedrooms and 4.5 baths, the primary bedroom faces East and South, providing light all day. In addition, there is a large walk-in closet and en-suite primary bathroom with plenty of room to add the double vanity. Two bright secondary bedrooms boast substantial walk-in closets and en-suite bathrooms. Completing the bedroom wing of the home is another bedroom, a large office currently set up as a home gym, and a small, windowed office.

THE AMENITIES In addition, the apartment features a laundry room with a vented washer, dryer, and sink, unbelievable storage throughout the apartment, central AC, soaring ceilings, and beautiful hardwood floors. For more information on 485 Park Avenue, visit Brown Harris Stevens at; the asking price is $4,995,000 FEBRUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 49




By AP Connolly

his brand new, never lived in, two thousand square feet residence boasts not one but two terraces. Built in 1951 this 19-story cooperative building is conveniently located at the southwest corner of

Park Avenue and 72nd Street, amidst New York’s finest shops and restaurants, one block from Madison Avenue and two blocks from Central Park and Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile. THE RESIDENCE Step into Residence #6 BC and its beautiful entry gallery with a large coat closet. The sun-flooded “great” room with floor-to-ceiling windows faces onto Park Avenue and is a fantastic enfilade of rooms perfect for entertaining and relaxing. The living room has a fully appointed wet bar and direct access to one of the two terraces. The adjacent dining area opens into a separate media room with a fireplace, access to the second terrace, and custom millwork built-ins. The exceptionally renovated, windowed chef ’s kitchen features custom cabinetry, Mont Blanc marble stone countertops, a vented Viking stove and dishwasher, and a Subzero refrigerator. There is a separate breakfast area as well as counter seating. The oversized primary bedroom boasts two closets, including one large walk-in, and a spa-like en-suite windowed primary bathroom complete with double vanity, smart mirror, and custom stonework. The spacious, sunny second bedroom faces onto Park Avenue and has a built-in desk and storage area and an en-suite bathroom.

THE AMENITIES Additional features of this fantastic home include a powder room with marble floors and a custom-made sink from Europe, a separate laundry room, and hardwood floors throughout. The building offers 24-door attendant service, a live-in resident manager, a laundry facility, and a package room. For more information on 750 Park Avenue, visit Brown Harris Stevens at; the asking price is $2,500.000 50 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | FEBRUARY 2024




By Mindie Barnett

ellness coach, author, and speaker Mindie Barnett answers your questions about life, navigating these stressful and uncertain times, and steering you down a more straight forward path. We welcome your questions and invite you to contact Mindie at: Mindie is available for in-person and virtual wellness therapy sessions via her Executive Health by Mindie Barnett wellness coaching practice. Her expertise is in interpersonal relationships, overcoming depression, coping with anxiety and avoiding and overcoming burnout among many other wellness areas. Life coaching and career coaching are also areas she excels in. For more information or to schedule a session visit

© Chris Ruetten

Dear Mindie, I am really starting my New Year off on the wrong foot. I have had nothing but setbacks and have had a rough time accomplishing the resolutions I set for myself. Some of the things I was hoping to change this year include increasing the amount of sleep I get each night, eating healthier meals and exercising at least five times a day for thirty minutes. So far, I’ve stayed up late most nights due to a variety of stress-related family issues, have not made it to my gym more than once a week and have been eating an abundance of sweets, due to my stress and because I feel down about myself. I’m starting to feel like I am in a downward spiral. It’s only February! Please help! Sincerely, Down with Luck Dear Down with Luck, I have never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. For most of us, they only set us up to fail. It’s very understandable that you’d want to start the New Year off on the “right foot” by eating healthier, working out more and getting better rest. They are all commendable goals! They are also healthy edits for anyone’s life. That said, since we don’t know, what life is going to throw at us at any given moment (and it sounds like you were hit with some stressful family stuff) we never know what we will realistically be able to accomplish. My advice would be to scale back your targeted behaviors so that you are able to reach a desired goal, and feel a sense of accomplishment, pride, and confidence. Then, after you’ve met that finish line a few times, increase your targeted behavior. For example, you shared that you wanted to go to the gym five times a week and workout for thirty minutes but say you have only made it there once a week. This left you with four days of not meeting your goal. Instead, set your goal to work out two times a week for thirty minutes and maintain that pace for a few weeks. If you can make it to the gym once a week, as you have been, adding a second day will not be as daunting as fast-forwarding to five days. Eventually, in time, you will reach your initial target of working out five days a week. Setting small goals rather than one big one is always a recipe for success. 52 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | FEBRUARY 2024

In connection with your healthy eating or lack thereof, you are finding some comfort in sweets and using food to help you cope with your reported family stressors. That’s a common tactic many take but not the healthiest solution for numerous reasons. Instead of food, try and find solace in talking to a friend, taking a walk, or sitting quietly and focusing on your breath. Likely you are not even hungry, but the stress you’re feeling is triggering you to hit the pantry or freezer for a “pick me up.” Instead, train your brain and body to find comfort in other avenues, like the mindfulness practices I shared. This will take some time and perseverance, but you soon will lean into these practices instead of chasing the sweets when you feel out of control or anxious. Another benefit of this practice is that not only will your cravings for sweets when stressed subside, but your mind will also be better rested and body relaxed, which will yield to a better night’s sleep. Take it one day at a time, be kind to yourself and remember small steps lead to giant leaps. Sending you love and light! I wish you and your family love and peace for the New Year! Love, Mindie xo





By Jenna Guarneri

n the heart of Manhattan’s West Village, Olio e Più has been a beacon of Italian dining excellence for over a decade. Established in 2010, this contemporary trattoria has become a cherished gathering place, offering a taste of the old-world charm of Italy with a metropolitan flair. Known for its rustic décor, patio seating, and seasonal menu, Olio e Pi has become a staple for locals, romantic date nights, and social gatherings with friends. Founded by Emil Stefkov in 2010, it is set to bring the concept to Chicago and Washington, D.C. Each new location will transform historic landmark spaces into restaurants with breathtaking design, promising to capture the essence of Italian dining in these vibrant cities. INSPIRED BY NEAPOLITAN CUISINE The essence of Olio e Più lies in the simplicity of Neapolitan cuisine. The trattoria brings Italian tradition and a true sense of Mediterranean liveliness to the community. The culinary focuses on classic Italian dishes, emphasizing house-made pasta, hand-stretched pizza, and time-honored favorites like Caprese Salad, Fritto Misto, and Tiramisu. The seasonal menu reflects the changing flavors of the year, ensuring a fresh and dynamic dining experience. The open dining areas, rustic interiors, and carefully curated wine and cocktail lists at Olio e Più transport guests to old-world Italy, creating an atmosphere that complements the authentic flavors of the cuisine. CULINARY ARTISTRY AT ITS BEST Olio e Più boasts an exceptional culinary team led by Corporate Executive Chef Maxime Kien and Executive Chef Danilo Galati. Chef Kien’s culinary journey began in the Côte d’Azur region of Southern France, and his career has taken him through finedining establishments in Europe and the U.S. With a focus on modern and traditional dining, Chef Kien’s creations tell a story on each plate, providing guests with a memorable experience.

Executive Chef Danilo Galati, hailing from Imperia, Italy, draws inspiration from his grandmother’s homemade pasta recipes. Trained in esteemed European culinary institutes, Galati’s culinary style seamlessly blends traditional Italian flavors with contemporary influences, emphasizing sustainability and locally sourced ingredients. Additionally, Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Baptiste Scordel, born in Southern France, brings a sweet touch to Olio e Più. With a background in Michelinstarred restaurants, Chef Scordel’s passion for pastries and dedication to simplicity shines through in his creations. LA DOLCE VITA The “La Dolce Vita” concept is more than just a saying—it’s a way of life. The restaurant encapsulates the essence of Italian living, inviting guests to savor the moments that matter most, especially at the dinner table. Olio e Più presents the beautiful Benvenuti a Casa, a book to share the magic of Italian homestyle cooking. This literary journey explores the culture of Italian cooking, offering cherished recipes for antipasti, pasta, and roasts, allowing diners to recreate the pleasures of the Italian table in their homes. As Olio e Più embarks on a new chapter of expansion, its commitment to bringing a sweet life to every guest remains unwavering. Whether in the West Village, Chicago or Washington D.C., Olio E Più continues to be a beacon of Italian hospitality and culinary excellence, inviting diners to experience the warmth and richness of the Italian dining tradition. For more information on Olio e Piu, visit






By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

s the economy shifts and inflation is still driving up the cost of everything, a number of folks are looking for Cupid’s Hallmark Holiday to take place at home this year. I suggest a romantic, homemade meal using some of the best ingredients and products from some of the most amazing culinary outposts in New York. I reached out to some friends of mine at ONENESS Hemp Wellness Drops, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, Il Mulino New York, and ROYCE’ Chocolate for a unique and romantic experience in meal planning. First off, let’s talk décor. Yes, the cheesiness factor is extra important. After all, that flying imp known as Cupid wouldn’t want it any other way! So, lots of reds are a must! My advice: lit white ribbon candles, red rose petals and a traditional table setup with a red runner and/or red chargers are perfect. A single, long-stem red rose across the charger or plate with a hand-written love note seals the deal. A romantic playlist of your favorite love songs together playing softly sets the mood. Now, onto the food!

COCKTAIL ONENESS Hemp Wellness Drops Let’s start off with something a little unexpected—a non-alcoholic, hemp-based “mocktail” for your dinner. The folks at ONENESS Hemp Wellness Drops have a lovingly delicious recipe just for you to make at home. Info: The Rose Cocktail • 1 oz Rose syrup • 1 oz Kev Lime juice • 1 mL Oneness Bright Day Rose Key Lime drink drops • 8 oz sparkling water

APPETIZER Brooklyn Dumpling Shop My pal, Stratis Morfogen, owns Brooklyn Dumpling Shop which sells their dumplings, frozen, on-line for at-home use. I would recommend either the Chicken Parmesan or Thai Curry Vegetables or Pork & Cabbage Dumplings to start. If you get the chance to go to one of Brooklyn Dumpling Shop’s locations, please do. Info: brooklyndumplingshop/shop


THE MAIN EVENT Il Mulino New York What could be more filling, warm and delicious than a traditional Spaghetti Pomodoro from legendary Il Mulino New York? There is a reason this restaurant has been at the top of their game for over 40 years! They shared their recipe for you to use at home. Promise me you will use their amazing sauce! Info: Spaghetti Pomodoro Ingredients · 1 jar of Il Mulino New York Pomodoro Sauce · 1 lb. Imported Spaghetti pasta · 1 oz. Butter · 10 leaves of fresh basil · 2 tbsp. coarse salt · 4 oz. grated Parmigiano Reggiano Preparation 1. Boil 2 gallons of water with salt 2. Add the pasta and cook as instructed on the box 3. In the meantime warm up the sauce in a pan 4. Add the pasta and stir well 5. Add the butter, half of the basil and half of the Parmigiano Reggiano, stir for one more minute 6. Serve and add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and the remaining basil.

SWEET TREATS ROYCE’ Chocolates Lastly, is the dessert. ROYCE’ Chocolate has some of the most amazing and delicious chocolate. A couple of things you need to know about ROYCE’—they have some products that are only sold in their boutiques due to limited quantities, etc. My Valentine’s Day pick is one of those products. Secondly, their core offerings are available online and you should order them now! For your Valentine’s Day dinner, I recommend Chocolate Selection “ROYCE’ Sweet Season which includes Popcorn Chocolate "Original", Fruit Bar Chocolate, Jagaimo Chocolate, Pure Chocolate "Creamy Milk", Pure Chocolate "White", Bar Chocolate "Nut", Potechi Crunch Chocolate, Chocolate Wafers "Hazel Cream", Chocolate Wafers "Tiramisu Cream", Baton Cookies "Coconut", and Baton Cookies "Hazel Cacao". You can serve this amazing plethora of chocolatey yumminess with an aperitif or coffee. Info: Sometimes the best gifts are those that are made by the person giving the gift. In this case, the gift of a beautiful, delicious and romantic meal is sacrosanct to Valentine’s Day. Bon Appetit!




COCKTAILS By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

alentine’s Day is the notorious Hallmark holiday where a fat, little cherub cheeked imp is supposed to create love connections in the most violent of ways…hitting us with his arrow. I have a much more “spirit”-ual way to achieve exactly the same result…incredible cocktails created by some of the most talented mixologists around. And I could not think of a more apropos day than Valentine’s Day to highlight the fact that bartenders and mixologists around the world, and throughout history, are infamous for creating love connections.

LOVE POTION NUMBER 9 (Available at Hard Rock New York’s Sessions Restaurant & Bar) We all know the song. We all know the myth. Now experience a legendary cocktail of the same name. It is sure to help you make that love connection! Ingredients: • 1.5 oz Vodka • .5 oz Lemon juice • .5 oz Chambord • .25 oz simple syrup • Sparkling Rose • Pink Cotton Candy Instructions: Mix the vodka, lemon juice, Chambord, simple syrup and sparkling rose in a glass over ice, add cotton candy to a coupe glass, and pour over the top.

ROSALITA By Delmonico’s Celebrate Cupid’s arrow at America’s first fine dining restaurant which just re-opened after a three-year pandemic closure. Ingredients: • 1.5 oz Blanco Tequila or White Rum (Bacardi Superior preferred) • .75 oz Cocchi Rosa • .25 oz Campari • .75 oz vanilla syrup • .25 oz pomegranate syrup • .75 oz fresh lime • 1 dash burlesque bitters • 3 dashes fee foam (or egg white) Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and give it a dry shake (without ice). Then add ice and give it another shake until cold. Double strain into a coupe glass.


ADULT STRAWBERRY EGG CREAM By Sara Jimenez, Somm in the City The Egg Cream profile mixed with strawberry makes for a perfect Valentine’s Day and throwback-inspired cocktail! Ingredients: • 2oz Mozart Chocolate Strawberry Liqueur • 1.5oz Coconut Milk • 5oz Seltzer Water • Ice • Garnish: Dehydrated rose petals Instructions: In a highball glass, combine strawberry liqueur and coconut milk. Add ice, and then top with seltzer. Top with dehydrated rose petals.

THE PINK LADY By Tequila Komos This cocktail is certain to deliver on its name. Pink, frothy and packed with flavor…now THAT is a cocktail to celebrate love! Ingredients: • 2 oz Tequila Komos Reposado Rosa • 1/2 oz Cointreau • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice • 1/4 oz simple syrup • 1 egg white Instructions: Hard shake all ingredients together over good ice in a shaker tin until the egg white is frothy and emulsified. Double strain into a coupe and garnish with raspberries.

DIAMOND JUBILEE At The Regency Bar & Grill (Loews Regency Hotel New York) You can’t go wrong with this beautifully crafted, upscale love-inspired cocktail made by The Regency Bar & Grill, famous for their “power breakfast” and incredible fare. Ingredients: • 1oz Patron El Alto Tequila Reposado • .5 oz Aperol • .5 oz Lillet Blanc • .5 Oz Fresh Lemon Juice • .5 Oz Citrus Honey • 1 Oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice Instructions: Mix all ingredients together, pour in a rocks glass, top with champagne and dust with gold flakes.

SPARKLING STRAWBERRY By NOEL Tequila Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. And this one delivers on simplicity and flavor for that love rendezvous! Ingredients: • 1.5 oz NOËL Reposado Tequila • 0.5 oz Lemon Juice • 0.5 oz Strawberry Syrup • Champagne Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, add Reposado Tequila, lemon juice, and strawberry syrup. Shake and strain into a champagne flute and top with champagne. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.

MIDNIGHT KISS Steal away to that midnight rendezvous with your loved one topped with a beautiful kiss to celebrate Cupid’s day! Ingredients: • 1 part Hudson Whiskey Bright Lights Big Bourbon or Short Stack • .5 part triple sec • 2 parts apple cider • 3 parts chilled Champagne Instructions: Mix the whiskey, triple sec and cider in Champagne flute and top with chilled Champagne. Garnish with apple slice.

ENTREBESOS SPRITZ By ENTREMANOS Tequila: (Between Kisses) You have to love a creative cocktail from a tequila that understands the art of love…Brilliant. Ingredients: • 50 ml ENTREMANOS Tequila • 20 ml of lemon juice • 30 ml of honey syrup • 20 ml pomegranate juice • 5 drops of saline solution • 50 ml whole milk • 40 ml Prosecco • 1 – 2 dashes of Peychaud’s Instructions: 1. In a container, mix the Entemanos Tequila, lemon juice, honey syrup, pomegranate juice, and saline solution to obtain your clarified liquid. 2. Filter this mixture though a coffee filter and refrigerate. The mixture should have a light red hue from the beginning; if it´s not clear, pass it through the coffee filter again. 3. Put whole milk in another container. Add the 150ml of clarified liquid to the container with whole milk and mix. 4. Add 40 ml of Prosecco and 1 or 2 dashes of Peychaud´s to the mixture of clarified liquid with whole milk. 5. Mix in a glass with ice and enjoy! FEBRUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 59




aris might be known as the world’s most romantic city, but New York is no slouch for showing the love. Its dining scene is filled with date night options to satisfy any palate. Searching for the perfect spot, however, can be overwhelming, with an abundance of French, Italian, American, Greek, Mediterranean, and every other ethnicity serving fine cuisine. We’ve covered all the bases regarding the best options for Valentine’s Day. Here are a few of our favorites— guaranteed to impress for a romantic night. AMALI NYC There’s a reason so many visit the Mediterranean for a relaxing getaway: the region has provided the backdrop for some of history’s most iconic love stories. Discover the same ambiance at Amali NYC for its sumptuous Mediterranean cuisine consisting of a sustainable menu. Chef Alex Tubero’s Valentine’s Day Prix-Fixe menu will feature Stracciatella with shaved truffle, Colorado Lamb Chops, and Wagyu with Lobster and Caviar. With an extensive wine list, you’ll find the perfect bottle. Info:

© Amali NYC

© Le Bernadin Daniel-Krieger.

LE BERNARDIN Eric Ripert has won over discriminating diners for over two decades with his creative skills in preparing seafood. The main dining room at Le Bernardin focuses on a formal experience with an impressive 15,000-bottle collection. Embark on an exquisite evening at known as one of the Most Romantic Restaurants in NYC. This Valentine’s Day, immerse yourself in a world of culinary sophistication and create unforgettable memories with your loved one. Info:

ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY SEA Set in the 1767 carriage house once owned by Aaron Burr, this West Village favorite exudes romance: candlelit tables, fireplace, live piano music, and decadent Prix-Fixe menus are just the start. This culinary gem has earned its place among the city’s most romantic hotspots. Renowned for its timeless menu and exquisite decor, this establishment stands out as the epitome of romance in NYC. Info:

© Hortus NY

© One if by Land, Two if By Sea


HORTUS NYC Step into a culinary realm that transcends expectations at Hortus NYC. It is a romantic restaurant with a bold vision to reinvent modern Asian cuisine. This is more than a meal. It is a journey through a melting pot of cuisines expertly combined into a fresh, unparalleled menu. Its design-forward atmosphere and menu that pushes the boundaries of culinary creativity are welcomed by diners who indulge in flavors of China, Thailand, Korea, and beyond. Hortus’ commitment extends beyond the plate, embracing sustainability and seasonal ingredients. This ensures every bite is an adventure in taste and an ode to culinary innovation. Info:

LIMANI NEW YORK Embark on a sensory journey at Limani New York, a culinary haven among New York romantics. Revel in the essence of clean Mediterranean flavors, featuring daily arrivals of whole fish from the Mediterranean Sea. Immerse yourself in an ambiance adorned with white marble, displaying two open kitchens and a mesmerizing blue infinity pool. The restaurant invites you to a world of flavors and elegance, where every moment is a romantic celebration of the finest of Mediterranean cuisine. Info: © Avra Group

AVRA ESTIATORIO ROCKEFELLER CENTER This new Rockefeller Center restaurant joins its Madison Avenue and Midtown locations and is inspired by the glamour of the Greek Isles; it’s the epitome of a dazzling date spot, and the location is incredibly convenient if you’re catching a Broadway show or concert at Radio City. Located in the former Time-Life Building, it delivers fresh seafood, which means you and your date can select from an abundance of East Coast oysters, grilled octopus, and fresh fish by the pound. All their dishes are made for sharing, and with more than 30 options of wines by the glass and an extensive dessert list (hello, chocolate yogurt cheesecake), Avra is a perfect restaurant for celebrating love. Info: © Limani

LOULOU Loulou is a stunning French Bistro and Speakeasy in the heart of Chelsea. It’s also one of the most photographed restaurants in town due to its colorful, floral-laced exterior and gorgeous dining room and bar. Signature menu items from Executive Chef Carl Alioto include Duck Leg Confit, or a Loulou Burger made with grass-fed beef, cheddar, and caramelized onions. Start your romantic evening with one of the signature cocktails to get in the mood. Try The World is Yours served in a globe-like vessel, a Menage a Trois, or French Kiss made with Mezcal Joven, tarragon, Butterfly Pea Tea Infused St Germain, Lillet Blanc and extra dry vermouth, which you can indulge in Loulou’s sexy main dining room or by entering the restaurant’s Speakeasy via a vintage Coca-Cola vending machine door. Info:

© Le Coucou

LE COUCOU Le Coucou is a little sliver of Paris located here in NYC. This chic, brickwalled restaurant’s comfortable setting boasts grand chandeliers, white tablecloths, and candlelit tables. It hums romance. Try Le Coucou’s most admired rabbit dish, Tout le Lapin, a rustic delicacy where the rabbit is prepared three ways: legs gently braised in a meat and vegetable stock, elegantly prepared roulade, and pan-roasted with a delicious mustard sauce. All three preparations bring you the incredible essence of traditional French cuisine. Leave room for dessert. The La Poire—poached pears with nutmeg cream and vanilla meringue—is terrific. Info: © Loulou

L’ARTUSI This two-story restaurant features a cheese bar, a traditional bar, and a walk-in wine cellar where you can dine privately to celebrate a special someone. A definite must is The Roasted Mushrooms, which is incredible— you may order a second helping! For the main event, we recommend the Roasted Chicken. The skin is crispy, the meat is juicy, and the simple buttery sauce it comes with is sinfully delicious. Order the famous Olive Oil Cake with golden raisin marmellata, madeira, and crème fraiche to end your romantic dinner. This slice of heaven is so popular it is now shipped nationwide. Info:

© L’Artusi





By Irvina Lew

ome of you are familiar with my affection for Provençal food, which I enjoy wherever I find it, including in New York City, where there are wonderful places reminiscent of Provence. One example is Boulud Sud, across from Lincoln Center, another is a new pastry shop in a corner of a landmark townhouse in Carnegie Hill, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Patisserie Vanessa presents more sweet than savory selections in an intimate pastry shop designed to bring Provençal aesthetic elegance to the heart of the city. The classically modern décor reflects the colors of the coast, complete with terra cotta ceramic decorative items and the colors of painted fisherman’s boats. A FAMILY AFFAIR The patisserie is a mom-and-pop endeavor. Vanessa, the only female pastry maker in NYC with her own unique venue, grew up in Marseille, where she was always cooking and baking for her loved ones as a way of expressing herself and delighting others. After graduating with a degree in marketing, she moved to New York and worked for major global brands before starting an intensive oneon-one training with Anna Notari from L’Atelier des Chefs in Aixen-Provence. She established her own wholesale business providing French pastries to coffee shops, delivery services, and restaurants. Ten years later, her dream of a brick-and mortar flagship location has became a reality. Her husband and business partner Marc Silengo, a former marketing executive for high end brands, brings his enthusiasm and marketing expertise to the effort. The vitrine is beautifully stocked with fluffy French croissants, a variety of chocolate goodies and Madeleines, the little cakes made famous by Proust. And Macarons Vanessa are her personal interpretation of the famous melt-in-the-mouth meringue treats filled with ganache or jam, inspired by Vanessa’s trips to Paris during her childhood; on display, there are salted caramel, pistachio, lemon, and raspberry macarons. I arrived at noon and enjoyed a light goat cheese quiche Provençal with zucchini served with roasted cherry tomatoes and a leafy green salad, which featured figs, niçoise olives and pumpkin seeds and topped with a fresh-tasting olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Then, I sampled La Tropézienne Vanessa, velvety mousseline cream in vanilla flavor, housed in a soft yet dense brioche. I continued to indulge with Le Canelé Vanessa, the small pastry from the wine region that has a slightly custardy center, a lightly caramelized, perfectly golden crust, and is flavored with a touch of white rum.

LOVE THE CHOCOLATE Valentine’s Day and chocolate go hand in hand Vanessa. Clients welcome Le Hot Chocolate Vanessa using Vanessa’s signature chocolate ganache, the same chocolate ganache used for the Macaron Chocolat and the Trésor Chocolat. Vanessa’s ganache is a crafted blend of three chocolates: a dark chocolate as a nice and even classic chocolate base, complemented by a milk chocolate for a touch of creamy sweet notes and an extra dark chocolate for robust cocoa flavor. Here, it is generously melted into milk, upon order, for an intense, pure chocolate taste and is served with Vanessa’s Chantilly cream and chocolate shavings on top. The pâtisserie’s most popular Valentine’s Day item is a special heart-shaped Charlotte surprise for the occasion. The iconic ladyfinger French Charlotte Cake celebrates the owners’ beloved Hazelnut Praliné, which was the very first recipe that Vanessa learned to bake as a child, and she prepares it in flavors of raspberry bavaroises (a Bavarian cream—with milk, sugar and egg yolks—thickened with gelatin into which whipped cream is folded). She also prepares it with jam, milk and dark chocolate mousses, or lemon chiboust. Crème chiboust was a pastry cream lightened with Italian meringue or whipped cream and created in 1847 by the pastry chef M. Chiboust on Rue St. Honore. Another popular pastry, La Tarte Aux Pommes Vanessa, was launched for the winter season. The classic fruity French apple tart showcases slightly nutty, soft layers of thinly cut apples, over a light almond cream. For more information on Patisserie Vanessa, visit Many items are available in individual dessert size and a larger celebration size (6-8 people).





BroadwayHD has thrilling performances ready for you to stream in February, including new releases like The Wiz Live! and Anything Goes. For more information on BroadwayHD, visit to learn more! ROMEO AND JULIET This production, starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad as Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers, was captured during its 2013 Broadway run. Set in Verona, Italy, the Capulets and the Montagues have been engaged in an ancient feud that has been lost to time. However, when Romeo of the house of Montague and Juliet of the house of Capulet meet and fall in love, nothing can stop them from being together, not even death.

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill is a jukebox musical featuring several of Billie Holiday’s most famous songs. Filmed before a live audience at Cafe Brasil in New Orleans, it features six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald in her historymaking, tour-de-force performance as jazz icon Billie Holiday.

THE WIZ LIVE! The Wiz Live! brings the wonderful world of Oz to life like never before, featuring a star-studded cast of performers and the awe-inspiring Cirque du Soleil Theatrical. Whisked away from home by a tornado, young Dorothy is transported to the magical Land of Oz, where she sets off to meet the powerful Wizard and find her way home. This star-studded cast features Ne-Yo, Common, Uzo Aduba, Mary J. Blige, Amber Riley, Stephanie Mills, and more. ANYTHING GOES This light-hearted musical comedy with multiple entangled love stories is the perfect date night watch! As the S.S. American heads to sea, etiquette, and convention head out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set a course to true love. But destiny needs some help from singing sailors, comical disguises, and good old-fashioned blackmail. Directed by Kathleen Marshall, this production of Cole Porter’s classic musical comedy features Sutton Foster, Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal, and Gary Wilmot.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: THE OPERA Brokeback Mountain is the heart-wrenching tale of ranch hand Ennis del Mar and rodeo cowboy Jack Twist, two young men who meet and fall in love on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming in 1963. Based on Annie Proulx’s extraordinary 1997 short story, Brokeback Mountain was subsequently made into an Academy Award-winning film directed by Ang Lee, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger. Composed by master operettist Charles Wuorinen, this marks one of the most ambitious and significant works in his long and storied career. Teatro Real’s production is helmed by Tony Awardwinning Ivo Van Hove, known for his gritty and ground-breaking direction PIPELINE Based on the classic novel which inspired the 1955 movie starring Fred Nya, an inner-city public high school teacher, is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son Omari opportunities they’ll never have. When a controversial incident at his upstate private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away? This critically acclaimed play by Dominique Morisseau is a must-watch.




By Bonnie Comley

racy Mitchell enjoyed 25 years as an award-winning film and television producer before moving on to act two, in which she stepped into the role of Executive Director of the notfor-profit Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, Long Island. Today, some 15 years later, Sag Harbor is benefiting from Tracy’s desire to utilize the inimitable ability of theater to strengthen community bonds while presenting live entertainment. For Tracy, the task of managing the creative, financial, and operational aspects of a venue like Bay Street Theater means interacting with a host of people, including board members, fellow producers, agents, audience members, performers, crew members, stage managers, and individuals working in marketing, ticket sales, and theater maintenance. Having navigated a non-profit theater through the fiscal crisis, hurricane Sandy, and most recently, the pandemic and its after-effects, Tracy, like most successful producers, knows there is always a new challenge regarding theater. It keeps her ready to take on such challenges while keeping an eye on future offerings for Bay Street Theater. We met with Tracy Mitchell to find out more about Bay Street Theater. How far ahead do you try to book productions, and what are the first steps? We often read scripts with Artistic Director Scott Schwartz years in advance. Each year, through our New Works Festival, we are fortunately inundated with over 300 new scripts from new voices from around the country. This is often an exciting time of discovery—to read a new story with a new vision and perspective. Of course, much happens between that discovery and an entirely produced production, which can take years. As life changes around us, so do the stories we tell, how we tell them, and whose voices are doing the telling. What does theater bring to the community, and what does the community bring to the theater? I love this question because theater is so much about the greater community at large. What is happening in the world? How are people feeling? What do they need or think they need now? Perhaps more conversation is required following a complicated story. We believe that the audience is the final piece in creating any production. And the proof of good theater is that it leaves the audience talking and having further conversations about the story. Who inspired you to get involved in the production aspect of entertainment? Going back to childhood, I was a singer in a group that performed worldwide for presidents and dictators and across stages, large and small. I’m dating myself here, but I performed with Wayne Newton on the Kraft Music Hall Christmas Special, which used to air every year. During our rehearsal, a woman came out with a clipboard and was fully in charge—correcting things that were wrong, making sure the team was in place, and that we were all moving in the right direction. It was an a-ha moment for me. I loved that she was making us better, that we all felt safer, and that everyone knew what would happen next.

What gives you the most joy about a production where all the pieces fit together nicely? It’s triumphant when it all comes together! And it’s usually after much work, many issues having been resolved, solving problems that arise, and just dealing with everything and anything that gets thrown at you—big or small. Does the electricity go out? Better find power. A performer gets in a car accident on the way to the theater. First, find out how they’re doing, then determine if they can be replaced if an understudy does not exist. Many things happen, and one needs to keep level-headed while realizing the show must go on. The pandemic may be behind us, but COVID is still prevalent. What precautions are you still taking for safety? We still take COVID seriously, as the last thing we want is our staff, cast, volunteers, or audience members to get sick because they’ve come to Bay Street. So, we do remain vigilant. If someone on the production team has it, then we begin regular testing with the cast and stagehands, as they, too, work in close quarters, and we want to catch it quickly before it spreads. We continue deep cleaning and still utilize hand sanitizers around the theater space. We also encourage audience members to feel free to wear masks as they wish and provide them if they have forgotten them. For more information on Tracy Mitchell and Bay Street Theater, visit FEBRUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 65




PG-13 Take a reclusive spy novelist (Bryce Dallas Howard) and throw her into the midst of a nasty crime syndicate and this action-adventure is off to the races. Henry Cavill is Argylle, with an all-star gang joining in— Samuel L. Jackson, Bryan Cranston, Ariana DeBose, John Cena, Dua Lipa and Catherine O’Hara round out the cast.


R Two young women on a road trip is all you need to know about this action comedy starring Margaret Qualley and Beanie Feldstein. As they run into some very weird criminals (Pedro Pascal, Colman Domingo, Matt Damon are in the mix), you’ll find yourself laughing along the way.


Not yet rated A clairvoyant paramedic (Dakota Johnson) meets up with three pretty women who are not quite what they seem in this latest comic-book adaptation from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sidney Sweeney, Emma Roberts and Isabela Merced co-star in this action-packed flick.


R Dirty military action fills this tale of a Delta Force team caught up in a mission gone wrong. If a movie full of tough men is your idea of fun, this is it. Starring Liam and Luke Hemsworth, Milo Ventimiglia, Ricky Whittle and Russell Crowe.


PG-13 It’s 1989 and the name Frankenstein is back, in this wiggy comedy written by Oscar winner Diablo Cody (Juno). This comedic horror adventure marks the directorial debut of Zelda Williams, Robin’s now 34-year-old daughter, and stars Kathryn Newton as Lisa and Cole Sprouse as her reanimated creature.





FX Ryan Murphy follows up his award-wining 2017 Bette Davis-Joan Crawford Feud with this look at Truman Capote (Tom Hollander) and the outsize women that ruled New York City society from the 1950s to the 1970s. First his friends and later sworn enemies, the women are played by Naomi Watts, Diane Lane, Calista Flockhart and Chloe Segivny, so watch for sparks to fly!


Apple TV + Follow fashion in the time of the Nazis in this stylish series, as Christian Dior (Ben Mendelsohn) rises to fame in the 1940s. Add in Coco Chanel (Juliette Binoche), Pierre Balmain (Thomas Poitevin) and Cristobal Balenciaga (Nuno Lopez) and this one looks like a fashionista’s dream show.


Prime Video The TV series version of the popular film, this version stars Donald Glover and Maya Erskine as the couple that spy, assassinate and sometimes dance together. Add in exotic locations and some different plot twists from the original and let the action sequences begin!

THE SILENT SERVICE Prime Video Based on the Japanese manga comic books of the same name, this live-action series follows a Japanese nuclear submarine helmed by a slightly deranged captain, who decides to make the sub a sovereign nation. Tense times follow as the rest of the world’s superpowers don’t really like that idea, in this action-packed underwater drama.


CBS Jeffrey Deaver’s novels about Colter Shaw come to the small screen in this adventure series starring Justin Hartley (This Is Us). He’s a roaming professional tracker who finds missing persons while himself living off the grid, making for some tricky situations across the USA. Mary McConnell (Major Crimes) co-stars.





By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

inter is always a challenging time for New Yorkers. Being stuck inside and keeping your furrever one calm, healthy and fit when it is too cold and wet outside are all norms during the winter in the Big Apple.

Whether it’s because of too much snow, colder-than-average temperatures, or a mix of the two, we’re here to help you get through what is allegedly a harsh winter ahead. Kate Perry, the owner of Kate Perry Dog Training, one of the best trainers in the country, and a columnist for Pet Lifestyles Magazine has some fun, innovative indoor tricks and games for when it’s too cold to walk outside and to prevent your dogs from going stir crazy: • Maintain your regular schedule as much as possible. Dogs love a good routine. They depend on it. Even if it’s cold out, stick to your dog-walking routine when possible. But shorten the time outside! • Protect your dog from the cold with a waterproof Velcro fleecelined coat. An easy-to-put-on coat is best. • Protect paws with Musher’s Secret, which aids in protecting your dog’s paws from salt, chemicals, and ice build-up. Just rub it into paws and between toes. If you prefer boots, Kate recommends waterproof Pawz Dog Boots, which allow your dog to feel the ground naturally. • Be sure to wipe down paws, legs, and bellies to remove salt and dirt. • If it’s too harsh outside, create indoor fun! A snuffle mat or puzzle toy are perfect for physical and mental enrichment as dogs search for treats. • Pet-safe brand Busy Buddy twist and treat toys provide hours of boredom-busting. One example is Frozen Kong, which becomes a yummy, challenging project for any dog when filled with snacks or food. • Set up an indoor agility course with tunnels and other fun obstacles. You can also hide treats around the home for fun nosework. • Socialization is crucial—every day! Set up play dates in building lobbies or at a friend’s place. Wintry weather can lead to isolation, which is unsuitable for social animals like dogs. • One of Kate’s favorites is to teach dogs to spin on a towel after coming in from wet, snowy days. It’s not only fun but is also very practical to wipe their feet. You can then combine both a spin and rollover trick on the towel. And voila! Your dog has dried itself off on the towel. This trick is featured in Kate’s book, Training For Both Ends Of The Leash (available on Amazon)!

MORE TIPS During the winter months, you often run into health or wellness issues with your dog because they can’t exercise as much or don’t want to be outside in the freezing cold for more than a few minutes at a time. Try these tips for a healthier pooch during the winter months: • Make sure that your building is using pet-friendly snow melt or salt—if they aren’t, or you walk your dog around the city streets, you should consider a barrier for their paws, like pet boots (i.e., PAWZ Boots) or wax (i.e., Mixlab, Mushers, etc.). You should also contact your building’s management to see if they will switch to pet-friendly snow melt. • You must be careful about walking through puddles, curb “ponds,” and snowbanks because of potential dangers hidden underneath, especially when it comes to the water’s temperature because it can harm their paws. • If it’s cold for you, it is cold for your pet. If it’s frigid, you must ensure they have a coat or insulated barrier like a fleece or heavy sweater. • Be sure to monitor calorie intake. You may want to consider feeding them a little less food or cutting back on treats so that they can maintain that svelte figure. • If it’s dry season, use olive oil in their food and consider extra bathing with a conditioner. It would help if you made sure to keep their coat shiny. Along those lines, monitor nail length; you may need to get them trimmed more often. As a rule of PAW, always remember that if it is too cold for you, regardless of their fur coat, it is too cold for them to be outside for long periods. It’s better to rug up and stay warm than be too cold!





By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

he pandemic changed so much for so many. Especially for the most vulnerable, the voiceless-our furrever friends. During the shutdowns of COVID-19, the animal rescue and advocacy communities’ dreams of empty shelters and rescues came to fruition.

Before the pandemic, animal advocates (yours indeed included) spent over a decade fighting to increase adoption rates at shelters and rescues. And we largely succeeded with adoption records being broken every year. Then COVID-19 hit. We all thought a miracle happened: every shelter and rescue in the country reported record adoption rates as people sought companionship during their forced stays at home. A TRAGIC END Whether it was kittens, cats, puppies, dogs, or rabbits, virtually every facility in the country was met with deafening silence as their populations went to what everyone thought were loving and responsible homes. Then, the human condition reared its ugly head. Once the pandemic was over and people began returning to their desks, they also returned their pets to the shelter or rescue they came from. Yes, you read that correctly. Humans, who claim to be caring, return animals to shelters and rescues as if they are returning a Gucci bag that no longer works with their style. Why? According to multiple sources, it was because many felt bad leaving their dog or cat alone when they returned to work. Um, are we kidding? So, these heartless hypocrites feel bad leaving them alone…what about feeling bad that they are going to be euthanized? I have had pets my entire life. Historically, I have always had a very chaotic and packed schedule with my various business and social commitments. That never precluded me from having any pets. Yes, dogs require more time, energy, and resources than cats. I’ve had both. You figure it out like you would with a child. This isn’t rocket science. All it takes is a heart, some initiative, and creativity.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY An animal is not an accessory. They are, in fact, sentient beings—a life—regardless of what the legal hypocrites in our world believe: they are property. When you adopt a pet, you take responsibility for a life, just like when you have or adopt a child. You take responsibility for that life. To illustrate my point, let’s role play for a second here. Let’s say that you are a dog that finds yourself in a shelter in a 10 x10 cage. Alone. Your only regular interaction is with a volunteer who walks you maybe twice daily and someone who puts a food bowl in your cage. You meet many humans excited to see you, which gets you excited and happy, but they pass you by and don’t adopt. That can lead to emotional and mental fatigue. Then, after being “incarcerated” for over a month, you finally strike gold, and a couple takes you home with them. They play with you, scratch you, feed you, love you, and keep you warm and healthy. You sleep in bed with them at night. In other words, you believe that these humans are now your pack, your family. Bear in mind, on average, it takes roughly three months for an adopted dog to feel completely comfortable in their new home. For the sake of this story, let’s say the adoption took place in December of 2021. By the Spring of 2023, 18 months later, the pandemic was over. That is when many people began returning to the office or resuming their pre-pandemic routines. Because of the return to work and not wanting to pay for daycare or a walker, your family has decided to surrender you. You are returned to the same cage you were in almost two years prior. Alone. About to be euthanized. How would you feel? Folks, I have been a student of pop culture and the human condition my entire life. I have seen some of the most unique and wonderful things happen while witnessing some of the worst atrocities. Yet, those atrocities seem so insignificant in the face of an animal being ripped from the home they’ve come to love and trust back into a cold and lonely prison cell. For what that’s worth these days, have some humanity and help the animal rescue community today. I highly recommend donating to, volunteering for, or adopting from Best Friends Animal Society ( Stay pawesome!





By Andrea Beach

e recently met with highly acclaimed life and business coach, Andrea Beach, a leading authority on human behavior. She combines the best of a business leader and entrepreneur to deliver incredible results for companies and individuals. With this success, Beach has created dozens of successful programs for relationship transformation. Here’s what we learned about love and relationships. As Valentine’s Day unfurls its romantic allure, there exists a subset of individuals whose aspirations extend beyond fleeting expressions of love. For those who cherish deep intimacy, seek long-lasting connections, and bask in the glow of an elevated lifestyle, Valentine’s Day is not just a celebration but a canvas upon which the artistry of profound relationships is painted. If done right, with intentionality, celebrating this age-old holiday transcends mere romantic gestures and focuses instead on growing together into the future both partners want, and provides a vision and road map for enjoying the kind of love that withstands the tests of time. INTIMACY BEATS SOCIAL MEDIA We have all seen those perfectly curated Valentine’s Day posts subtly showing off or bragging about how great their partner did in making them feel special or what they’re doing that day. It is perfectly normal to feel envious and even sad or frustrated that you don’t have something equally as impressive to share. But I challenge that many of these posts only show the best, most prized moments, carefully leaving out the fighting, the feelings of loneliness one can experience inside a relationship, and all the disappointment and heartache not shown in those pictures and videos. Satisfaction in a love relationship comes not from showing the world how great you are together but from genuinely feeling that way daily when you are most honest with yourself. Deep intimacy comes when partners feel seen, understood, and unconditionally loved. For couples like this, Valentine’s Day is not merely an annual ritual but a reminder to be fully present in the relationship and give it the same thoughtful planning and ongoing maintenance senior leadership would invest in a thriving business. Often, wives put more effort into organizing and executing a school project for one of their children or planning a neighborhood event than their romantic relationship. Husbands may put more effort into planning a golf outing or fishing trip than focusing on and conducting thoughtful plans for their love life. Why do we do this? Behavioral science reveals that when we are comfortable, we get lazy. It goes against our natural tendencies to keep working, striving, and investing in something we feel we have arrived at. So, I challenge you this Valentine’s Day to recommit putting a detailed vision in place for the rest of your lives together and then taking daily steps toward the reality that we never fully arrive at.


BEYOND ROSES & CHOCOLATES While flowers and candy may hold their charm, pursuing a deeply connected, fulfilling, and enjoyable relationship for the long term requires more than just these cultural expectations. Actively transform the holiday by focusing less on material gifts and more on expressions of love through shared experiences and meaningful moments. Schedule time for a couple’s spa day together or try a new adventure, like a cooking class or salsa dance lessons. Creating these shared experiences will bring you closer together today and pay dividends over your lifetime in the stories you share and memories you fondly reflect on. A RITUAL OF REFLECTION Make Valentine’s Day a time for recalibrating the relationship and reflecting on what has worked well and the things that were challenging in the last year. Be intentional about navigating those challenges and giving each other freedom and a haven for sharing vulnerable thoughts and feelings. From sunset strolls with deep conversations to handwritten letters expressing appreciation, try sharing reflective thoughts on the past year and innovative ideas for the future you look forward to creating together. These are powerful ways to show your partner you are attuned to their needs and desires and are powerful ways to express and solidify your love. As Valentine’s Day approaches, let us reimagine this celebration as more than a day of romantic gestures. For those who value deep intimacy and seek long-lasting love, it is an opportunity to reconnect, reflect, and plan together. This makes you a team and helps protect your relationship from outside forces, including the sneaky ones we often overlook, such as neglect, assumptions, and apathy. May this celebration remind you that love, nurtured with care and intention, can transcend the ordinary and become a masterpiece. In the pursuit of a deep and lasting love, let every Valentine’s Day serve as a brushstroke you both make on the canvas of a love story that transcends the ages. For more information on Andrea Beach, visit or andreabeach. me.




By Patricia Canole

s Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Chocolate certainly helps pave the way for romance on Valentine’s Day— or any day. After all, it’s been related to passion since the Aztecs. When it comes to this sweet treat, whether you’re looking for the perfect savory bite, an extravagant gift, or just delicious, decorative delights, you’ll find what you seek at Chocolat Moderne®. Today, Joan Coukos’s company, Chocolat Moderne®, occupies a wholesale and retail space on West 20th Street in Manhattan. The handmade chocolates are available in specialty stores, online, and in her shop. We recently visited Joan Coukos’s atelier in Chelsea, where she makes and sells chocolates, and learned more about chocolate’s magic. Why did you decide to open an artisanal chocolate business? Before launching Chocolate Moderne® in 2003, I had a 20-year career in commercial banking, working for a top-tier financial institution in New York, with a 6-year stint in Moscow from 1994 to 1999. Then, in December 2000, on a trip back to Moscow via Brussels to visit former banking friends, I fell under the spell of exquisite handmade chocolates. First, I read about a celebrity chocolatier, Pierre Marcolini, in an in-flight magazine. The following day, I had an epiphany at La Place du Grand Sablon, a medieval square. I stumbled upon antique chocolate molds and took this as a sign that I was being led to explore chocolate. I brought home two antique molds for old-world inspiration and began to teach myself the art of European-style chocolate making. After much home practice and a couple of classes taught by world-renowned chocolatiers, I founded Chocolat Moderne® with a mission to create visually stunning, hand-crafted confections filled with perfectly balanced, on-trend flavors presented in distinctive packaging. Art to Eat! Where do you source your raw chocolate? First, it is essential to note the distinction between being a chocolatier who makes chocolate confectionery from purchased chocolate and chocolate makers who source the beans and make chocolate from scratch. As a chocolatier, I make delicious treats from chocolate made by Valrhona, a 100-year-old chocolate maker in France. They source their cacao from South America, the Caribbean, Madagascar, and Ghana in Africa. We use a combination of their blended and singleorigin chocolates. Our favorites are Venezuela and Madagascar. FEBRUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 73

What makes good chocolate? Making good chocolate starts with superior beans. From there, the overall process of creating the chocolate is quite complicated and entails many steps and much expertise and practice to create a product with exceptional flavor and texture. As a chocolatier, whether it’s dark, milk, or white chocolate, I am looking for delicious flavor with no ‘off ’ flavors that could result from inferior processing. And just as important is a smooth, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. I am also looking for the snap that comes with the appropriate amount of cocoa butter for dark chocolate. The chocolate used by chocolatiers is technically called couverture. It has a higher percentage of cocoa butter, which requires it to be “tempered” so that when it is at room temperature, it will be brittle enough to have a snap and a beautiful sheen. Of course, I’ve just been talking about the chocolate itself, but what makes each piece special is the uniqueness of the flavors we create. I was exposed to exotic ingredients as a child raised by Greek immigrants from Lesvos in the Eastern Mediterranean. As a young adult, I taught myself to cook mainly from Julia Child’s cookbooks. Becoming a chocolatier enabled me to let my imagination run wild! At Chocolat Moderne®, we have over 85 specialty fillings, some of which are also sold as caramel sauces. What would you say is unique about the business and products? First, the flavors. I love recipe creation, and I’m quite sure we have more flavors available at any one time than almost any other chocolatiers. Our repertoire spans the classics and encompasses cutting-edge new flavors. How does one go about choosing new flavors to make a Chocolate Collection? My undergraduate majors were Russian and French language and literature, and that background has given me a love for themes. Hence, the Kimono Collection and the Greek Revival Collection are where I researched the possible indigenous ingredients that would taste great with chocolate. We also do seasonal collections like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and Hanukkah. The fillings and the designs are all themed to the specific holiday. Our Valentine’s Day chocolates are beautiful, colorful, hand-painted hearts, while our Easter collections include Easter eggs that represent my Greek and Ukrainian heritage. Do you have a favorite chocolate on the menu? I don’t have just one, and I indulge every day. Most of the time, I am in the mood for either a ganache or a nut praline. Sometimes, I revisit a flavor I have not enjoyed in a long time and am pleased to rediscover how good it tastes. Are there any new projects on the horizon? We started making a vegan line of bonbons and bars four years ago, and we will continue to add flavors to the line and experiment with recipes as new non-dairy milk and butter are created. Last year, we updated our overall packaging in honor of our twentieth anniversary and will continue adding new items. I am planning a new heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day 2025 and some other sizes in our newly designed packaging. For more information on Chocolat Moderne, visit 74 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | FEBRUARY 2024




By Clint Brownfield

ust a few steps down, in the space that used to be the commissary of Kaufman Astoria Studios, is Sac’s Place. One could say—it’s a new and exciting Italian restaurant—with a 35-year history. Or hundreds of years of history if you begin counting when the family started honing their cooking skills in Italy many years ago. Just across the street is the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. The money for that was made possible by Tony Bennett and his wife Susan, both devoted patrons of Sac’s Place. And, let’s face it, Tony knew his way around a bowl of great pasta. When a couple of good friends and I arrived at Sac’s Place on a recent Sunday afternoon, we were greeted at the bar by Domenico (Dom) Sacramone, who along with his brother Anthony, are the driving forces behind this must-visit eatery. The restaurant somehow manages to pull off a homey and spiffy atmosphere at the same time. They began their Astoria food odyssey in 1989 with Sac’s Pizza, which is still just around the corner. Sac’s Place would move into its present location in September 2019. Dom told us, “Our family is from Orsogna, a small town in the Abruzzo region of Italy, but we were born and raised in Astoria. We grew up in a house of love, laughter, and family dinners cooked by our mother, Maddalena,” explained Dom. “Staying faithful to the Abruzzo tradition of using simple flavors and the freshest ingredients from the land and sea, our mother passed on the secrets she learned in our Nonna’s kitchen in Abruzzo. Handmade pasta, pizza made with homemade dough, vegetables, and herbs from our garden were the norm. Tomato sauce was made daily.” This family food history continues to form the essence of Sac’s Place today.

FRESH IS BEST Years before “farm to table” became a buzzword, they began transporting fresh produce from a farm in Pennsylvania—plum tomatoes, salad greens, herbs, and the like. All soft pasta is made in-house. Dry pasta is imported from Italy, as are artichokes for frying, olive oil, and canned tomatoes, which are tasted each year before buying. Like vintage wine—tomatoes vary from year to year. As we sat and talked with Dom that Sunday afternoon, we had samples of nearly everything on the menu. I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first taste of their lobster and crab ravioli in a brandy cream sauce. I looked at Dom and said, I could drink this sauce by the glass. He replied—you’re not the first one to say that! Meanwhile, I had a bite of my friend’s rigatoni with a simple, fresh tomato sauce (Tony Bennett’s favorite…) and said I thought it was too al dente. She said it was perfect. Then Dom uttered one of the best food lines I’ve ever heard: “When it comes to food, we’re our own best critics.” Indeed! As we completed our way through the menu, I realized that Sac’s Place is also a story of survival—35 years in the NYC restaurant world. Dom and Anthony have weathered all the ups and downs in that world, but also curve balls such as the COVID lockdown, the recent months-long actor/writer strikes that shut down Kauffman Studios, and continuing changes to the minimum wage laws. But they have persevered and managed to grow and thrive. During our time at Sac’s, we were vaguely aware of a nearby table of multigenerational family members and their friends. Before we were getting ready to leave, servers appeared at their table and sang “Happy Birthday” to a lovely woman as the staff brought out a beautiful cake. We later learned it was her 97th birthday. We couldn’t help but think how wonderful it was for her to be surrounded by family and friends at a place like Sac’s Place, just a few steps down—in Astoria, Queens. For more information about Dom & Anthony Sacramone and Sac’s Place, visit FEBRUARY 2024 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 75




By Patricia Canole

ew York City may be known for its mile-high skyscrapers, Broadway theaters, world-class shopping, and restaurants offering incredible cuisines. But it’s also one of the most romantic cities in the world. A good reason you and your significant other should plan a unique date night. This year, we have several winning New York-style ideas. © Neil J Tandy

LOVE TAKES OFF With its soaring architecture, mod shapes, and primary hues—it’s easy to see why this was once the hallmark of a new era in aviation. Once the TWA Flight Center is now the TWA Hotel in Queens—just a quick 12 miles from Manhattan. One of the best symbols of this inspiring design age was the Eero Saarinen-designed, the TWA Flight Center, opened in 1962 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (then called Idlewild Airport). Its curvilinear cement “wings” made you feel you were already taking off to lands beyond. Those futuristic curved walls of windows, tube-shaped corridors, and flowing, doorless interiors captured an American moment— until TWA closed. Two decades later after lying dormant, the landmark flight center was transformed into the spectacular TWA Hotel. 76 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | FEBRUARY 2024

No matter where you stand in TWA Hotel today, the iconic Chili Pepper Red—the fiery hue Saarinen made famous in the Flight Center—is highlighted throughout from the upholstery in the Sunken Lounge to the carpeting. The hue makes it perfect for a romantic Valentine’s getaway night with a retro 1960s flair. Consisting of two wings, many of the 512 guestrooms look out onto the runways. Of special note: seven layers of soundproof glass assures your sleep will not be interrupted. The hotel is also perfect for spending a night before you take off for a romantic beachside weekend in the Caribbean or a European getaway. JetBlue’s Terminal 5 is next door and can be easily accessed by elevator. For its top-flight menu, reserve a table at the Paris Café, the Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant on the mezzanine. It is a subtle mix of sunny and subdued colors with views of the runway and control tower. End the evening with a visit to Connie, a 1958 Lockheed Constellation transformed into a cocktail lounge. With year-round access to the pool—it is heated to 95 degrees during the winter months—blending the thrill of viewing planes is enough to make you hope for a layover. Also, look for a gym and a room devoted strictly to the game Twister (now that’s romantic!). The TWA Hotel stands out because it isn’t simply occupying a former historic place. Since its opening in 2019, the hotel has breathed new life into a once-storied space and recreated the allure and romance of travel. It’s a feast for the senses. Info:

ROSES ARE FOREVER Flowers are a great gift, but admittedly not a lasting one. Enter these real roses that last an entire year (or more) and, even better, require no watering or maintenance. Seema Bansal-Chadha and her husband, Sunny Chadha, founded Venus et Fleur in 2015. The couple who exchanged gifts on Valentine’s Day, among them flowers, soon became disenchanted with most floral arrangements. They looked to elevate the floral industry with luxury gifts and flower arrangements that contained real flowers that would last. Sound impossible? Today, Venus et Fleur features beautiful arrangements of Eternity® Roses placed in a classic Parisian-inspired hat box. Artfully arranged in assorted sizes and shapes, the roses will continue to feel and smell fresh. It’s a beautiful way to make your significant other remember you all year. The flowers are picked at full bloom and using a proprietary process, colors are removed using a non-toxic solution and treated with non-allergenic wax and natural oils. This formula effectively dehydrates the roses to help preserve them. Each made-to-order arrangement is designed by a floral design specialist and guaranteed to last a year without any care whatsoever—including watering! See these beauties in person and visit Venus et Fleur’s World Trade Center or Columbus Circle locations for a unique, personalized experience. Knowledgeable Venus et Fleur associates are delighted to answer your questions. Both stores are perfect for finding the ideal gift. Info:

NYC’S LOVE BOAT Are you looking for a unique perspective of the Manhattan skyline? Then, set sail on the Bateaux, the city’s premier dining cruise. The vessel features glass ceilings and walls to offer unparalleled views of Manhattan and its sights. Bateaux departs from Chelsea Pier 61 and offers a variety of cruises, including brunch, lunch, and dinner. However, for an unforgettable romantic night, we recommend the dinner cruise. Sip wine and signature cocktails (there is an extra charge) from the bar, savor creative cuisine from the dinner menu, and enjoy attentive service throughout the evening. Live music is provided. So, with New York City as the backdrop and romantic music to set the mood, all you need is love! The prix-fixe sumptuous dinner menu will please even the most discerning palate. All food is prepared daily with choices that include a variety of chicken, beef, vegetarian, and fish options. A gluten-free menu is available, and guests with specific food allergies are encouraged to make special requests when making reservations. Throughout the three-hour cruise, you’ll glide along the Hudson and East Rivers waters, passing The Lady in New York Harbor and sailing under the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges. The cruise also includes fabulous views of Brooklyn. Bateaux brings an unmatched level of sophistication to New York sightseeing that can only be experienced from this unique perspective. It’s a cruise even die-hard landlubbers will love. For more information on Bateaux New York, visit





By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

hen I say that love does exist in this city, it does! While many media outlets espouse stories of how hard it is for singles in New York, they don’t tell you why. People are too focused on things that should not be paramount to building a romantic relationship. For example, any cursory view of the plethora of dating apps shows a laser focus on specific profile statistics and the promise of “being taken care of” by so many. Folks, not to sound like a geezer (I am only 47, after all), but in my day, before I got married, you could easily find love, or at least a romantic encounter, at local restaurants, bars, pubs, and events. We didn’t need an App. We needed personality, charisma, a killer opening line, or at the very least, a seemingly confident introduction and a reason to believe. That reason could be simple: being attractive, your personality, what you wear, etc. It did not necessitate wealth. It necessitated conviction, which is sorely lacking in today’s generation of dating folks. Maybe lose the App and focus more on who you are rather than what you have and what you spend. I was at Rosemary’s East in StuyTown a couple of weeks ago. I was sitting at the bar. I watched two different scenarios unfold, which are perfect for my argument. The first was beautiful to watch. A gentleman approaches the bar, sees an attractive woman, and begins a charming, approachable conversation. His attitude was warm, confident (but not overly confident), and amazingly simple. Her response was incredibly warm, kind, and engaging. The two clicked. They then asked the bartender if they could get a table. The last time I saw them, they left hand in hand after dessert. The second scenario was an App date. It was a disaster from the onset. He clearly wanted a hookup for the night. She wanted Prince Charming. He was anything but. The personal approach often works better than the App one simply because of the nature of human beings. We were never meant to have our love dictated by a bunch of ones and zeroes (binary code used by programmers). This reminds me, folks, stop staring at the blue screen in your hands and spend time investigating real life, especially at a bar, restaurant, or pub. You never know what or who you will find! LOVE IN THE “BAD OLD DAYS” When people talk about the “bad old days” of New York, love is not exactly a word that would be used in conjunction with any conversation about that period. Unless you are talking about loving to loot, pillage, and plunder. Yet, one of history’s most successful tourism advertising campaigns, “I Love New York,” debuted in the ’70s. The word “LOVE” was everywhere when I was a kid growing up in the Big Apple. We need that to come back. Think about this: during one of the most violent and turbulent periods in American history, brands, governments, and municipalities were using the word “LOVE” to try to calm the population. Since it worked back then, my question is, why aren’t brands and governments doing this now? 78 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | FEBRUARY 2024

Especially in a city as divided and broken as New York. If “LOVE” were used now the way it was then, we might have fewer stabbings in the subway, cars being stolen, etc. Yes, I know how that sounds. However, that doesn’t preclude it from being true. Perhaps if Mayor Wannabe Swagger, Governor Hokum, and City Council “Members” like Little Keithie Powers used this philosophy, many residents wouldn’t hate their guts. Okay, maybe that is going a bit far. People will hate these crooked career politicians no matter what the psychology deployed to reverse it. YES, LOVE DOES EXIST IN THE BIG APPLE I am the consummate romantic. I believe in love at first sight. There is someone out there for everyone. After all, I did ask Kylie to marry me three days after meeting her for the first time. And we’ve been married for over 20 years. What does that tell you? Happy Valentine’s Day, Kylie. I love you, always and forever.

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