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editor's letter Georgette Gouveia
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When I was a child, about 2 years old, I would sit by the bookcase in my Aunt Mary’s home and pull the volumes from the lowest shelves. Holding them – upside down, no doubt – I would pretend to read. My aunt later said that she knew right then I would be a writer. I belonged to books, it seems, before they ever belonged to me. This month we explore the profound, enduring connection we all have with books – even if we don’t always appreciate it. You don’t have to tell that to the folks at Anderson’s Book Shop in Larchmont, Womrath Bookshop in Bronxville or Diane’s Books in Greenwich. They’re among those on the front lines of the independent booksellers, bucking the tide of superstores and e-books, as you’ll see in Mary Shustack’s terrific story. You don’t have to convince the powers that be at The New York Public Library and the Greenwich Library. They know they serve institutions that are in our own time what cathedrals were in the Middle Ages – cultural centers that help hold society together. And you certainly don’t have to explain the importance of books to self-styled bibliomaniac and satiric author Joe Queenan or literacy advocate and philanthropist Sandra Priest Rose. With pen, voice and heart, they’ve been extolling the joys of reading for years. But who has time to read books, or anything, for that matter, you say? Anyone who hopes to be sane and civilized. Books are portals and passports. They enlighten, entertain, charm, move, titillate, arouse, inspire and seduce. They’re both conversation pieces and conversations in themselves and often the best dining companions.
Far from being mere signifiers of solitude – not that there’s anything wrong with that – books are powerful catalysts for community and action. Think of the pamphlet “Common Sense” by New Rochelle’s Thomas Paine. As John Adams observed, “Without the pen of the author of ‘Common Sense,’ the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.” Nowadays, it’s de rigueur to signal the book’s doom. And yet, people keep congregating at its temples. Just visit Barnes & Noble on any given Sunday. You’ll find folks reading, writing, researching, chatting, arguing, savoring coffee and pastries and shopping for everything from Aristotle’s “Poetics” to a copy of E L James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” for a “friend.” (Oh, come on, you know you’re the friend. ’Fess up.) If you need further proof of books’ communality consider what happened during Hurricane Sandy. Libraries and bookstores stayed open late, enabling patrons to charge their cell phones and power up their tablets and laptops. The sight of a brilliant Scarsdale Library swathed in an inky cloak was both an evocation of monks toiling over illuminated manuscripts in the Middle Ages and a comforting reminder of what books were and still are – a light in the darkness.
In the December issue of WAG, we mixed up two photographs on the Wit page. Allison Madison and Ann Mead were switched. Apologies, ladies. And while we’re on the subject, we misspelled the name of Madison’s company. It’s Reinhard Madison Approach Staffing. Guess we weren’t so Wit-ty.
lightning Lit by
The book on books By Georgette Gouveia
Although Earth is several billion years old – sorry, Creationists – mankind can be forgiven for thinking the whole ball of wax got started some 5,400 years ago. For it was then that humanity spawned an invention that would become one of the world’s great turning points and dividing lines, defining the very nature of history itself. That invention was writing and, by extension, the book, which has gone from tablet (as in Sumerian clay) to tablet (as in personal computer), proving that the French were right when they said the more things change, the more they stay the same. That moment when the ancient Sumerians, who lived in what is now Iraq, began to record their business transactions in cuneiform pictographs on clay sounds pretty mundane. But it has proved to be akin to the heroic Prometheus defying the wrath of Zeus and eternal torture to bring fire down from Heaven to mankind. It’s a scene depicted – not so coincidentally – in Edward Laning’s painting on The McGraw Rotunda ceiling in The New York Public Library, with Prometheus in all his nude male glory shielding his eyes as he carries sparking lightning bolts to the astonished mortals. Certainly, self-styled bibliomaniac Jacques Bonnet sees writing this way. “With writing, and therefore reading, humanity did not just make a quantitative cultural leap, it completely changed the scale of human thought,” he writes in “Phantoms on the Bookshelves,” one of several recent books about books. “Humans became complex thinking beings.”
The paper chase
Alphabet writing began with the ancient Egyptians, who used papyrus to create sheets and scrolls for that purpose. Actually, though, the ancients wrote on whatever they could – stone, metal and tree bark. (The word “book” is related to the word “beech” in German, Old English and many Slavic languages.) The earliest writings were government, temple and commercial records stored in archives, the first libraries. Private libraries began around the fifth century B.C. with the Greeks, who also gave us the word “biblios” – meaning “book” – from the Phoenician port Byblos, where papyrus was transported to Greece. The early “tomes” (from another Greek word) persisted in scroll form through late antiquity, when the book as we know it – pages, covers – was developed, taking off among members of the growing Christian sect. This was partly because the book was more mobile than the scroll and therefore easier to conceal from official Rome, which did not approve of the new religion, to put it mildly. Ironically, when the Roman Empire collapsed, it was Christendom that kept the culture of Rome alive, with monks copying individual texts painstakingly by hand, creating jewel-colored illuminated manuscripts on parchment (vellum), made from animal skin. Copying texts has also been an important part of the other Abrahamic faiths, Judaism and Islam. Today, Judaism continues to mandate the use of a scribe to produce Torah scrolls. It was during the seventh century that Irish monks introduced spacing between words, which ultimately facilitated reading as an activity that could be done alone in silence. Six centuries later, the rise of the university created a demand for more texts and thus multiple copyists, who would work on the unbound pages of a book to speed up the process. But greater innovations that would revolutionize the book were already in the works. The Chinese – who first made paper as early as 200 B.C. – had invented the woodblock technique, which
could create and ink reliefs of pages for printing. Then in the late 1440s, Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type, regarded by some to be the greatest invention of the modern era. Communication became increasingly more fluid, inspiring and inspired by the speedier production of pamphlets, fliers, newspapers, journals, magazines and books, including the novel, which emerged in the 18th century with works like Samuel Richardson’s “Pamela,” about a virtuous damsel in great erotic distress.
A Chinese bamboo book.
The Gutenberg Bible. Courtesy of The New York Public Library.
The illuminated manuscript “The Shanama of Shah Tahmasp (The Persian Book of Kings)” (The Metropolitan Museum of Art).
The steam press at the beginning of the 19th century, the monotype and linotype presses at its end and the rise of the mass-market paperback in the first half of the 20th century all contributed to the popularity of books. But books’ technology remained virtually unchanged from Johannes G.’s time. Until now: The digital revolution has been one to equal Gutenberg’s. Bookworms can now download multiple works on their computers and devices like Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Sony’s eReader. The Guardian, a British newspaper, recently reported that in the United Kingdom, sales of Amazon Kindle e-books now outstrip the company’s print books – a phenomenon that has already happened on this side of the pond. Libraries, adopting an if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em attitude, were among the first to embrace the digital revolution with online card catalogs and works, laptops for loan and dedicated Wi-Fi spaces. The writing is on the wall, so to speak. Or is it? E-books require devices that in turn require power sources and are not always reliable, particularly if you spill something on them. And given the territoriality of the companies that produce them, e-books aren’t necessarily cheaper, although that may come as cold comfort to the writers who are making less in e-publishing than they would in print. Studies suggest that the jury is still out on the e-book. A recent sampling by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop found that children ages 3 to 6 lost the narrative thread when they read stories in enhanced e-books – which contain videos and other links – as opposed to in print or basic e-book form. In a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, respondents said that while they like the portability and availability of e-books, they prefer print when sharing a book with a child or others. Far from creating fewer physical books, print-on-demand devices like the Espresso Book Machine may create more in much the same way that the paperless office created more of a paper trail, Clive Thompson wrote in the December 2011 issue of Wired magazine. “When you make something easier to do, people do more of it.” Then there are those who are willing print to survive, like Tarrytown writer, humorist and bibliomaniac Joe Queenan, author of the new “One For the Books.” “Books possess alchemical powers, imbued with the ability to turn ennui into ecstasy,” he writes. “We believe that the objects themselves have magical powers. People who prefer e-books may find this baffling or silly. They think that books merely take up space. This is true, but so do your children and Prague and the Sistine Chapel.” He then tells the story – one that he writes would never work on Kindle – about a couple who carry out their love affair via books. She breaks it off, and he, devastated, casts aside her literary offerings until one day he relents, rereads – and rediscovers her. He keeps rereading the books but never finishes her final gift – having found a love that will last forever. n
Joe Queenan of Tarrytown (And why he hates this headline) By Georgette Gouveia Photographs by Bob Rozycki
f a good book is a delicious conversation among the author, subject and reader, then Joe Queenan’s new “One for the Books” will have you chuckling at “Hello.” Joe, of course, is the well-known humorist and Tarrytown resident who’s written features and columns for the likes of GQ and The Wall Street Journal as well as books with such titles as “Red Lobster, White Trash and the Blue Lagoon: Joe Queenan’s America,” “True Believers: The Tragic Inner Life of Sports Fans” and “If You’re Talking to Me, Your Career Must Be in Trouble.” Virtually nothing escapes his satiric gaze, not frontrunning, fair-weather Yankee fans from Barcelona or McMansion dwellers in neighboring, secessionist Sleepy Hollow or one-track scientists with no knowledge of the arts or one-track politicians with no knowledge of science. And certainly not reporters who identify their subject’s town of origin as if it were part of the person’s name. (Truth in advertising: Joe once chided me when I worked for a Gannett newspaper for identifying someone as Soand-So of Scarsdale as if he were John of Gaunt.) I still can’t resist Joe’s spot-on barbs. Here’s his opening salvo in “One for the Books”: “The average American reads four books a year, and the average American finds that more than sufficient.
Men who run for high office deem such a vertiginous quota needlessly rigorous, which is why they are sometimes a bit hazy on what Darwin actually said about finch beaks and can never remember which was Troilus and which was Cressida.” Upon further reflection at his home – a comfortable, book-lined affair with a sparkling view of the Hudson – Joe says that the four-books-a-year number is too generous, inflated by the female of the species. The average American man reads one book a year, he concludes. Reminded of Uruguayan novelist Carlos Maria Dominguez’s “The House of Paper” – in which a bibliomaniac tears apart the home he’s constructed of books to find the one requested by the woman he loves – Joe says that it could not take place in America. “An average American man wouldn’t have enough books to build a rabbit hut.”
Joe is not your average American man. Four a year? Try four a week. Well, maybe in some months. Joe averages a couple a week. Here’s a partial current (re)reading list – two Georges Simenon “Inspector Maigret” novels, a book on Leonardo da Vinci and Penelope Fitzgerald’s “Human Voices,” a novel set in World War II at the BBC where Winston Churchill inspired a troubled nation and
Joe once worked. The BBC building “made you feel like you were part of something bigger than yourself.” He also reads one profile a day in “The Scientific 100” – a tribute to the neuroscientist daughter working on her doctorate at Georgetown University. The most fascinating scientist he has come across? Isaac Newton, whom he describes as a crazy, grudge-carrying alchemist, albeit one who wasn’t in it for the money, even though he was a poor boy in a rich man’s game. “He was attempting to see what humans were capable of.” Joe’s also just finished rereading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” which he describes as a “truly great novel that’s hard to read.” “I think the most important thing is that (the adulterous Hester Prynne) comes back in the end and becomes a figure of veneration. This taps into a central truth that people need to be in the place where the crucial events of their lives occurred.” That’s why Joe lives in New York, to be near his native Philadelphia. He couldn’t be too far from Philly, unless he lived in Paris. Then to heck with Philly and New York. But back to Hester’s return to the scene of her onetime shame. Doesn’t the end also suggest that F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong when he said there are no second acts in American lives?
Let It Snow!
Children’s Book Art on view through February 24, 2013
Your Face Squared: Community Self-Portrait Project An exhibition created entirely by the public for the public
On view through January 27, 2013 Bruce MuseuM
Greenwich, CT | brucemuseum.org
Hans Wilhelm, Jolantha, 2011, Watercolor on paper. Collection of the artist
Greenwich, CT | brucemuseum.org
“That’s one of the things people lose sight of. If society is working properly, society evolves.” So when the papers are full of fiscal cliffs, Joe reflects instead on the re-election of an African-American president who was born in an era in which black men were still lynched.
Strangers on a plane
It may seem like a long way from Hester Prynne to Barack Obama, but that’s what great readers do: They connect the dots, sometimes in ways you wouldn’t imagine. So a conversation about Homer’s “The Iliad” and its antihero, Achilles (“the first cool guy in literature”), leads Joe to draw parallels between the godlike Achilles and Superman, and the all-too-human Hector and Batman. A discussion of Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain” – in which a contained personality trumps an expressive one – leads to a socioeconomic analysis of the novella. You soon realize that everything with Joe is socioeconomic. He had a hardscrabble childhood framed by a bookloving, alcoholic father and a mother whom he describes bluntly as “a ghost.” “It took me three years to get over my father’s death and 20 minutes to get over my mother’s.” Reading was an escape, not merely from something but to something – writing – for while great readers do
not necessarily become great writers, there is no great writing without great reading. From writers like Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Graham Greene, you can learn how to turn a phrase, structure a narrative, Joe says. He’s already thinking about writing a book about conversations with strangers on planes, where the central dramas of their lives are often revealed in the first 20 minutes. Clearly, Joe is haunted by a conversation he had on a transatlantic flight with a lovely woman whose passiveaggressive husband once again forgot to book her connecting flight – this time for a silver anniversary trip to Paris. And so she, hurt and angry, was going home to London. Joe talked to her for the course of the six-hour flight. “I thought it was a nice thing to do. Here was another creature in pain.” Sounds like the beginnings of a good novel, although one that may find itself in e-book form. While Joe talks a good game about the survival of print (see related essay on the history of books), he thinks the print book will be eclipsed by the e-book with the exception of some special editions. Yes, but didn’t radio survive the movies and movies learn to coexist with TV? “But they were not directly competing technologies. The big screen was made for Julia Roberts and Tom Cruise. It was not made for (TV actors) Jon Hamm and
David Duchovny.” Whereas the print book and the e-book are the same thing, except that the latter is preferred. Print books are
“The average American reads four books a year, and the average American finds that more than sufficient. Men who run for high office deem such a vertiginous quota needlessly rigorous, which is why they are sometimes a bit hazy on what Darwin actually said about finch beaks and can never remember which was Troilus and which was Cressida.” wedding cakes in a cupcake world, Joe concludes. “And how do you fight the zeitgeist?” n
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Sandra Priest Rose
hatâ€™s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. 20
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” Shakespeare has his passionate Juliet observe to ignite her Romeo. Still, there’s plenty in the name Rose, particularly if you’re talking about the family of builders, philanthropists, educators, writers and musicians. Their vision, talent, craftsmanship and money have created programs and buildings at New York’s leading cultural institutions – including the American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and The Metropolitan Museum of Art – making the family the 21st century’s answer to the House of Medici. Among their contributions is the renovated Deborah, Jonathan F.P., Samuel Priest and Adam Raphael Rose Main Reading Room – a sweeping, soaring space in The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street that is the epitome of both the richly ornamented Beaux Arts style and the democratic ideal that information, presented in beautiful surroundings, should be available to everyone. The Reading Room is named for the children of Frederick P. and Sandra Priest Rose, the late master builder and his widow, an educator. “Fred and I deemed it a privilege,” the longtime Westchester resident says of the projects they have funded. As she talks about how he took Peter Cooper and Andrew Carnegie as his philanthropic models – even during their modest beginnings – her husband smiles down on her from a portrait in her handsome blond wood-paneled library. (A more intimate space reveals additional books.) Rose’s library and home is like the woman herself – lovely, engaging and completely without pretension. It’s this no-nonsense approach that you sense has enabled her to forge ahead in a formidable cause that is clearly dear to her heart – children’s literacy. She is the founding chairman and treasurer of the Reading Reform Foundation of New York, a 30-year-old nonprofit that uses an integrated approach to train public school teachers to teach kindergartners through third-graders how to read. Says Rose: “It’s so old-fashioned,
it’s revolutionary.” The Reading Reform Foundation grew out of a meeting she had with a group of teachers more than 30 years ago and the needs they identified. “Schools of education do not teach teachers how to teach spelling, writing, reading, composition and comprehension,” Rose says. “It’s mostly socio-
down on the native Anglo-Saxons. And so a world of history and literature opens up, one in which the connected brain, eye, ear and hand each play a part. Under this system, the teachers are not merely given instruction by trainers, who are themselves in most cases retired teachers. They’re also mentored
the three rs – reading, ’riting and Sandra Priest Rose By Georgette Gouveia Photograph by Bob Rozycki
logical, psychological (training). That doesn’t help you in the classroom. You need practical stuff.” Drawing on the work of neurologist Samuel T. Orton – a pioneer in the causes and treatment of learning disabilities, particularly dyslexia – Reading Reform uses a multisensory method that emphasizes phonics and group reinforcement. The sounds of the letters and groups of letters forming the letters and putting them into words to make sentences.” So, for instance, the teacher would be trained to show the student how the “igh” combination creates a long “i” in the word “light,” what light means, how to use it in a sentence and how to write it. By the time the student was in third grade, he or she would learn the word’s Anglo-Saxon origins — and quite possibly, Rose adds, that many of today’s naughty words are Anglo-Saxon. That’s because, she says, the Normans who conquered England looked
by the trainers in twice weekly visits (that’s 60 a year) – which is unusual, Rose says. It costs the Reading Reform Foundation more than $25,000 to work with two teachers in their classrooms for a year. (The foundation charges the participating school $3,000 per classroom, with a minimum of two classrooms.) Reading Reform makes up the difference with contributions. This year, there are more than 1,600 students in all New York City boroughs except Staten Island and in Port Chester’s Thomas A. Edison School who are participating in the program, with 64 teachers receiving the training and 300 teachers taking Reading Reform courses. Since the foundation’s inception, more than 30,000 students in New York City and Mount Vernon have been taught, using the Reading Reform method; more than 20,000 teachers have attended the annual conference and taken graduate-level courses; and 1,200 teachers have participated in the
in-school teacher-training program. “Inner-city students thrive on a demanding, intellectual curriculum,” Rose says. But literacy, she stresses, isn’t just an inner-city challenge. “Privileged and underprivileged children learn by these step-by-step, phonetic methods.” Rose, whose sense of humor is as selfdeprecating as it is earthy, was already a lifelong reader and self-described “middle-aged retread” when she resumed her education at Manhattanville College in Purchase. (She had just two years at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie when she married Fred Rose at 19.) “I love that place,” she says of Manhattanville. “They were so encouraging to their older students.” At Manhattanville, Rose developed her passion for history – American, Asian, European, all of it. It’s her go-to subject when she’s looking for reading material herself. Rose went on to obtain an advanced degree in learning disabilities at The College of New Rochelle. And she taught at Community School District 9 in the South Bronx at a time when the Bronx was burning. Her charges were junior high school students, a tough audience. But Rose sensed a hunger for learning. She beams as she recalls taking the students to The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s medieval branch in northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, where they would parse the differences between Romanesque and Gothic arches. Indeed, she has the true teacher’s delight in her students’ accomplishments. Her book “Sunday is for the Sun, Monday is for the Moon,” written with Glen Nelson, spotlights students’ compositions, reading-inspired artwork and testimonials. “Why do they call it Reading Reform?” one student wonders. “It should be called Reading Intelligence, because that’s how it makes me feel.” But Rose really gets a kick out of the saucy child who balked at being prompted to thank her for the gift of being able to read “The Odyssey.” “Why should we thank Mrs. Rose?” she remembers the child asking. “Homer wrote it.” For more on the Reading Reform Foundation, call (212) 307-7320 or visit readingreformny.org. n
Booking a room The Library Hotel
takes its theme seriously By Georgette Gouveia Images courtesy of the Library Hotel
ne block south and one block east of two of New York’s greatest Beaux Arts gems – Grand Central Terminal and The New York Public Library, respectively – stands the Library Hotel, 14 floors of sleek modernity, engaging whimsy and poetic imagination. As the name and location implies, the Library Hotel is a kind of a library, organized according to the Dewey Decimal System, beloved by libraries, bookworms and Type A personalities everywhere. The 10 floors featuring 60 rooms correspond to Melvil Dewey’s classifications of books, in which 000s represent general knowledge and journalism; 100s, philosophy; 200s, religion; 300s, social sciences; 400s, languages; 500s, math and science; 600s, technology; 700s, the arts; 800s, literature; and 900s, history and geography. But this being a hotel rather than a library, the Library Hotel has taken a bit of literary license with Dewey’s categories, says Adele Gutman, the hotel’s warm “honorary librarian.” Her actual title is vice president of sales, marketing and revenue for the Library Hotel Collection in Manhattan, which includes the Casablanca Hotel, inspired by the iconic film; the family-friendly Hotel Giraffe; and Hotel Elysée, a touch of Old New York where The Monkey Bar & Grill has welcomed everyone from Marlon Brando to Tennessee Williams. At the Library Hotel, the 000s through 200s are the 10th through 12th floors. Otherwise, the “library” would start in the lobby. This also allows for the bright, comfortable Reading Room on the second floor, which includes 24-hour beverages and goodies as well as complimentary wine and cheese from 5 to 8 p.m. Lined with general interest titles along with magazines and newspapers, the Reading Room is a favorite of business folks as well as bibliophiles, Gutman says. The boutique hotel – only 25 feet across and 100 feet long – has also had some fun with the Dewey system on the individual floors, whose classifications are announced by lit signage. On the seventh floor, you’ll find a room dedicated to Fashion Design (700.006), which technically is not part of the arts in the world according to Dewey. But who cares when Vera Wang herself picked out the books and
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accompanying artwork? This is one of two rooms that was not curated by Gutman and Hollywood set designer Jordan Jacobs, whose father, Stephen B. Jacobs, served as the hotel’s architect. The other is the Love Room (1100.006) on the 11th floor, whose accoutrements were selected by Dr. Ruth Westheimer. “People come from all over the world and say, ‘We want to be in the Love Room,’” Gutman says. Though it does include a copy of the “Kama Sutra,” the ancient Hindu sex manual, the Love Room contains “nice” books on the theme of amour, she adds. (Remember, this is the high-minded philosophy floor.) For the “naughty” love tomes, including another “Kama Sutra,” you’ll have to reserve the Erotic Literature Room (800.001) on the eighth floor. Whatever your intellectual passion, you’ll receive the same kind of accommodations – a sparely elegant room or suite with rich cherry wood, crisp bedding, spa-like bath and artistic and bookish appointments that entice without overwhelming. The interior design is by Andi Pepper, architect Stephen Jacobs’ wife and collaborator. Recently, the hotel updated the bedding and carpeting, adding a long brown pillow/bolster that bears the thought “Book lovers never go to bed alone.” The $1 million’s worth of wood is periodically refinished by John Craig. But none of it – the lovely surroundings, the clever theme – would work were it not for a dedicated staff that has taken the bibliographic ball and run with it, says Gutman, who was the first person hotelier Henry Kallan hired for the Library Hotel, in 2000. “What makes the hotel is an exceptional staff. They really feel as if they are part
of the surroundings.” Apparently, so do the guests, who each year tend to “borrow” a couple of hundred of the hotel’s 6,000 titles, originally purchased at the Strand Book Store, a Greenwich Village institution, for some $85,000. “Who knows where (the books) go,” Gutman muses. “But that’s OK. We need to refresh the collection.” What is clear is that the Library Hotel is a good place to refresh your spirit. The minute you walk into the lobby off the heart of Manhattan (Madison Avenue and 41st Street), you feel as if you’re in another world – a quieter, softer world where people offer information with a smile and go about their business thoughtfully. Which is not to say that the Library Hotel lacks liveliness. By day, the 14th floor rooftop Writer’s Den & Poetry Garden is an airy yet cozy respite for thinking. By night, the space turns into the Bookmarks Lounge, where the locals can sip such witty concoctions as the Jackie Collins (orange vodka, fresh lemon and lime juices topped with lemon-lime soda); The Hemingway (aged rum, lime juice, muddled mint, crowned with Champagne); and the Tequila Mockingbird (tequila, agave nectar, fresh lime juice and minced ginger). Speaking of Hem, you can make like Papa and belly up to the bar in Madison & Vine, the hotel’s intimate streetlevel restaurant, which is always packed with the lunch bunch and dinner crowd. (WAG was able to savor the butternut squash ravioli in a buttery sage sauce while getting in some quality writing time.) Says Gutman, “There’s something for everyone here that makes it a personal experience for them.”
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Literary lion The New York Public Library is one for the books By Georgette Gouveia
Patience, one of two lions at The New York Public Library. Photograph by Don Pollard. Courtesy of The New York Public Library.
It is perhaps no small irony that one of the most august institutions in New York is also among the city’s most democratic. The New York Public Library, as encapsulated by the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street in Manhattan, is the quintessence of the stately, richly ornamented Beaux Arts style that defined New York in the Gilded Age. But its enduring mission is to provide free information and enlightenment to everyone. “That’s how the library was founded,” says Ann Thornton, the warm, articulate Andrew W. Mellon director of The New York Public Library. “This was a very important facet in its founding. It’s even inscribed over the fireplace in the Trustees’ Room that the library should be ‘for the free use of all the people.’”
By way of introduction
The library – a private nonprofit that operates in partnership with the city – is, of course, much more than the iconic Schwarzman Building, a research library specializing in the humanities. There are three other reference libraries – the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library near the Empire State Building – along with 89 lending libraries throughout the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Brooklyn and Queens have separate library systems, because they weren’t part of New York when the library was incorporated in 1895. The five boroughs didn’t unite to become what we know as New York City until three years later. Still, The New York Public Li-
brary works closely with its Brooklyn and Queens’ counterparts, Thornton says. Second only to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., The New York Public Library system has 65 million items, including 14 million books as well as maps, photographs and other archival materials. It’s so vast that it can be hard to wrap your mind around it. But a tour of the Schwarzman Building with excellent guide Julie North Chelminski offers bookworms invaluable insight into how the library sees itself and how you might consider it.
The main floor
You breeze up the front steps past Patience and Fortitude, the stone lions who guard the library in noble silence, to step into Astor Hall, the library’s “front parlor,” if indeed a front parlor could be a vaulted space that achieves its soaring, timeless majesty through a series of cleverly placed Romanesque arches of Vermont marble. The hallway just beyond is made of Pentelic marble from the same Greek quarry that fed the Parthenon, which reinforces the beauty and democracy of the Schwarzman Building. Among the spaces on the main floor are an information desk, a café, The Library Shop, the Lional Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division and the D. Samuel and Jeane H. Gottesman Exhibition Hall, where through Feb. 17 you can view “Lunch Hour NYC,” the latest of the library’s superb visual arts offerings. (This writer remembers with particular rapture the poetic “Diamonds Are Forever” exhibit on baseball art and literature as well as a show on John Milton and “Paradise Lost.”) Pay close attention to the interior of the DeWitt Wal-
lace Periodical Room with its tributes to New York publishing by muralist Richard Haas. The room – which has 10,000 periodicals in 22 languages – was designed by John Merven Carrère and Thomas Hastings, the Schwarzman Building’s architects. They were the youngest and least experienced of the architects who were invited to submit plans for the library. But they had been trained at the prestigious École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and had worked at McKim, Mead and White, the leading firm of the day, one that did much to put a Beaux Arts stamp on New York. Carrére and Hastings proved to be the right choice. Their periodical room – with its stucco and plaster masquerading as wood and intricately carved to reveal putti, fruited garlands and arabesques – is the quintessence of Beaux Arts beauty.
The second floor is really set aside for scholars, writers and special collections that are not open to the general public. Nevertheless, just being able to peek at a desk that once belonged to Charles Dickens, to know that you are a heartbeat away from a collection dedicated to the Romantic poet Percy Shelley and his circle is enough to hearten the reader/writer. The third floor is really where the action is for library users. You may think it odd that the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room and the sweeping Rose Main Reading Room, named for the children of philanthropists Frederick P. and Sandra Priest Rose (see related story), should be located on the third floor. But this layout was key to the vision of John Shaw Billings, a prominent Civil War surgeon and the library’s first director, who wanted patrons to ascend to knowledge. This idea is crystallized by a re-
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verse apotheosis, painted on the ceiling of The McGraw Rotunda, in which Prometheus brings down fire from Heaven, symbol of the galvanizing power of knowledge. Billings was one of two men who shaped The New York Public Library, Thornton says. The other was its first president, John Bigelow – diplomat, bibliophile and an executor of former New York Gov. Samuel J. Tilden’s estate, which provided the financial resources for the nascent library. (The materials came from the private libraries of tycoons John Jacob Astor and James Lenox.) “Bigelow saw it as his purpose to build the Tilden library in Bryant Park,” Thornton says. And so The New York Public Library was created on the site of the old Croton Reservoir over a 12-year period, opening in 1911. The final cost was $9,002,523, or more than $205 million today.
Shelter from the storm
It’s on the third floor that one of those Prometheuscarried lightning bolts hits you: Libraries – and The New York Public Library in particular – are the equivalents of the medieval cathedral, serving as socio-cultural centers. Indeed, offering reference and lending materials is only one-third of what The New York Public Library system does. “There are public programs, classes and training sessions, with ESL (English as a Second Language) as a huge focus. The library is the place many children go to after school. It reflects the community’s wide interest.” This was never more apparent than after Hurricane Sandy. Most of the branches reopened the Thursday after the superstorm hit. “We were absolutely packed, with regular library activities and people just eager to get back into the community,” Thornton says. “There were regular users and first-time users, people searching for jobs, school assignments, people coming to plug in.” For some, the library remains their connection to bandwidth. The Edna Barnes Salomon Room has been transformed into a wireless Internet reading and study room where laptops are on loan. “We’re straddling both,” Thornton says of the print and digital worlds. “We’re still using paper, but there are also increasing demands for technology and access to electronic books.” The tension between print and digital was a backdrop to some recent articles on planned renovations for the Schwarzman Building, which would bring the deteriorating Mid-Manhattan Library into the fold, creating an additional 80,000 square feet and ultimately, the largest reference/circulating library in the world. But what would happen to the fabled seven levels of book stacks beneath the football field-size Rose Main Reading Room? Would materials be going the way of the e-universe? The cloud of controversy has dissipated. Thanks to a generous trustee and a revised plan, there will be additional stacks built under Bryant Park. The $300-million project will take five years, as the library will remain open. “Change is always very difficult,” Thornton observes, “especially when the change is as important as The New York Public Library.” But ultimately, it will be change for the better, she says, bringing the Schwarzman Building full circle. It had been a lending library until the economic crisis of the 1970s. Now The New York Public Library is headed back to its glorious future. n The Deborah, Jonathan F. P., Samuel Priest, and Adam R. Rose Main Reading Room, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, The New York Public Library. Photograph by Peter Aaron/Esto. Courtesy of The New York Public Library.
A global legacy Breaking barriers as pioneering journalists By Andrea Kennedy Photographs by Bob Rozycki
Seymour and Audrey Topping at their Scarsdale home.
Tucked away down a Scarsdale drive sits a dwelling with global treasures floor to ceiling. Buddhist statues from India and Mongolia, Tibetan prayer horns, Palekh boxes from Moscow, scrolls from China, jade from Taiwan and pictures – hundreds of pictures. They include oversize shots of faraway lands and some of the most notable political figures of our time – the Dalai Lama, Queen Elizabeth II. Tiptoeing through the sanctuary recalls lyrics from “The Little Mermaid” song “Part of Your World”: “How many wonders can one cavern hold?” Prominently placed on the music desk of a grand piano is the 1949 wedding photo – plus a recent shot 63 years later – of two of the most prolific international journalists of this century – Seymour and Audrey Topping. “They call me Top,” says the groom from his living room. He is casually distinguished at 91 with a wash of white locks and she is a graceful great-grandmother, bright-complexioned under a champagne-colored coiffure. The images displayed through the home are hers, taken over the last 60plus years as an award-winning photojournalist and foreign correspondent. The rest of the items come from regions she and Top toured on assignment or at one time called home. “They’re things we picked up all over the world,” Audrey says. “China, Moscow, London.” Though she stops there, the list goes on – Indochina, Berlin, India, Hong Kong. From the late 1940s through the late ’60s, the Toppings traveled eastern territories, reporting on some of the most high-profiled international events for stateside press. As if that weren’t enough, during those years they became parents, having four of their five daughters abroad. “At the time, we were just pedaling so fast to keep our heads above water that we didn’t actually realize what we were going through,” Audrey says. “When you finally have a chance to take a breath, you look back and say, ‘Wow – I did that.’ It’s almost like another lifetime. Lifetimes.”
Their lifetime(s) together began in a faraway place under riveting political unrest – Nanking, during the midst of the Chinese Civil War. Top had recently relocated from Peking (Beijing) to Nanking, Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist capital of China, as a war correspondent with the International News Service in 1946. Soon after, the fair-haired Audrey Ronning would land in Nanking to join her father, a minister-counselor posted at the Canadian Embassy. She was a student at the University of Nanking, English teacher at Ginling College and anchor at the U.S. Armed Forces radio station when a meeting at the American military officers’ club – so nostalgic an image – spurred romance. An engagement soon followed. But, as legendary love stories go, Audrey was forced to evacuate with her family back to Canada when the Communists descended on Nanking. Top stayed behind to report from the battleground for the international news service before the two reunited in Audrey’s Canadian hometown to marry. Then, back to civil war in China. “That took me traveling to battlefields all over China,” Top says. “Thereafter, I covered the French Indochina War for two years for the Associated Press. Those were the most challenging years as a correspondent.” Top details a number of his battlefront years and the couple’s career travels together in his latest book, a 2010 memoir recently released in paperback, “On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent’s Journal from the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam.” And those years came with their share of clear and present danger. “There were frequent cases where the reporters involved were exposed,” he says. “There was no way you could realistically tell the story unless you were out front. Quite a 28
Audrey Topping with a bust she created of her father.
number of my fellow journalists were killed in these operations or were wounded while covering these battles.” He recalls the Battle of Huaihai – the most critical battle of the Chinese Civil War, which secured the Communist takeover. “I was the only correspondent on the battlefield,” Top says. “I was with the Communists at one point on the battlefield, and the consequence of the defeat of the Nationalists in that battle was opening the way for Mao Zedong’s forces to capture Nanking and the Chinese mainland. So it was a turning point in the civil war.” And though Top stood “on the front lines,” he wasn’t the only Topping to feel the effects of the fray. “In Saigon, when Susan was born, the hospital was under fire,” Audrey says of her daughter’s birth at the nearby military hospital. “So that was rather stressful.” She chuckles in hindsight at the understatement. “But when you’re younger,” she adds, “you don’t have a sense of consequence. You’re immortal.”
On the Silk Road
Yet the coming years didn’t drain their sense of adventure. In 1966, Audrey would manage, to Top’s shock, to secure a visa to journalist-restricted China after applying as a travel-minded Canadian housewife. There, she was the first to report on the Chinese Cultural Revolution from the belly of the beast. Her story made the cover of The New York Times Magazine. The couple also covered the new Karakoram Highway from Islamabad, Pakistan through the Himalayas and over the 15,000-foot Kunjarab Pass that followed the Old Silk Road through treacherous terrain and lawless lands. “There were avalanches along the way,” Top says. “And rock slides,” Audrey chimes in. They had to be rescued by helicopter. Not only that, while traversing Rudyard Kipling’s famous Khyber Pass, Audrey had to charm armed guards in Afghanistan’s peril-
ous Peshawar region when facing gunpoint for snapping photos. After some quick thinking and a cartridge of souvenir Polaroid shots for the men, the truck sped away unscathed. Their story made the cover of Time in 1979. In addition to her 16 stories and four covers in The New York Times Magazine – plus several other covers and Top’s book “On the Front Lines of the Cold War” – Audrey has photographed many of the most important political figures of the last 60 years – Indochina’s Emperor Bao Dai, Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, the Shah of Iran, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, Chiang Kai-shek, Soviet Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev, the Dalai Lama, Israel Prime Minister Golda Meir, Presidents John F. Kennedy, George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton, and Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth, whose coronation both Toppings attended. Dozens of Audrey’s stunning portraits will be featured in her own book hitting shelves in October. “China Mission: A Personal History from Imperial China to the People’s Republic” is the story of Audrey’s missionary grandparents on mainland China, her father’s momentous diplomatic missions and her and Top’s times as journalists. “It’s the story of China over the last century,” she says. “A member of our family was there for almost every event of importance that happened during that century.”
Top, of course, encountered his own wealth of military and political figures during reporting exploits, including Khrushchev and Communist leaders at Mao Zedong’s headquarters – a particularly rare feat. In 1951, the young Congressman Jack Kennedy specifically requested Top to brief him during a fact-finding visit to Saigon. Top served The New York Times for 33 years – as international journalist, chief correspondent in Moscow and Southeast Asia, foreign editor for three years and managing editor for a decade – before becoming administrator
of the Pulitzer Prizes for nine years. He’s been praised not only as a distinguished journalist but as a keen observer of diplomatic affairs. The recognition, he says with deep respect, is something he shares with his wife. “Many of the things which I did as a correspondent I would not have been able to do if I didn’t have Audrey at my side, actually participating with photographs and impressions of what we were experiencing,” Top says. “We made a pretty good team, I think.” The Center for International Journalists agrees: In 2002, the center awarded the couple the first GreenwayWinship Award for Service to International Journalism. Today, Top is president of emeritus professors at Columbia University in Manhattan and teaches journalism courses on covering regional conflict, but the duo’s legacy abroad continues. The couple still lectures in China, where they hold honorary degrees from two universities. Last year when Top turned 90, 1,000 college students serenaded him with “Happy Birthday” in their native tongue. And when recently visiting a school begun by Audrey’s grandparents in Imperial China – so revolutionary at the time for allowing females that only one student showed up on the first day – Audrey was welcomed upon arrival to cheers from the school’s current student body, now 6,000 boys and girls strong. And their travels aren’t over, nor hopefully their stories. Audrey points to a cover she did for National Geographic on the discovery of China’s terra-cotta army, those famous figures surrounding the still-buried tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. “I was the first one to have the privilege of taking pictures and writing the story,” she says. “If they start excavating the tomb, I’m there.” Perhaps she’ll return with a new memento to adorn their treasure trove of a home. There’s room for one more wonder, after all. n
Seymour Topping with one of his books.
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More than words By Mary Shustack Photographs by Bob Rozycki
t Pretty Funny Vintage, a charming Tarrytown shop that specializes in antiques, vintage finds and other “curious goods,” books are sold for more than just reading. When you enter the shop – which fills two floors of a spacious 1890 Victorian perched on South Broadway – your eyes might dart to an impressive mantel anchored by a few editions with elaborately marbleized covers. Owner Stephanie Leggio explains that those finds, of Italian origin and more than a century old, serve as a fitting “backdrop for antiques.” A few steps away, a quartet of random titles bound in complementary shades of greens and yellows stands beside votive candleholders in the same hues. “This we set up, as people like to buy ‘in color,’” Leggio says of the vignette. Indeed, some of the books sold at Pretty Funny Vintage are used solely for decorative purposes, so that plays into how Leggio sources her merchandise. She hits the road every three weeks or so, visiting antiques centers and shops, fairs and markets up and down the Northeast from Pennsylvania to the famed antiques fields of Brimfield, Mass. “We’re not looking for first editions. We’re looking for inexpensive books that add a focal point,” she says, noting that most books she carries fall into the $10 to $35 range. But there’s another aspect to the books carried at Pretty Funny Vintage – and that’s where the fun really begins. “The covers sell, because they’re perfect hostess gifts,” Leggio says. Indeed, the titles of many of the books found at Pretty Funny help create memorable gifts – gifts often served with a helping of humor, wit and sass. As with the nature of any vintage shop, the selection is ever changing. There are, though, some constants, such as books with proper names in their titles. “If you have a friend named Peter and you give him a Peter book from the 1930s, he couldn’t be happier,” Leggio says. And it’s a gift, she adds, that’s “not going to be duplicated.” For a couple moving into their first home, pick up “The New York Times Complete Manual of Home Repair” and they’ll see how things were done in 1966. A new bride might like “1,001 Ways to Please Your Husband.” (It’s a cookbook, folks). And for that sick friend, perhaps a fitting choice would be “Speaking of Op30
Stephanie Leggio is the owner of Pretty Funny Vintage in Tarrytown.
erations.” Its cover shows a patient in bed, surrounded by oversize tools. “Look, there’s saws,” Leggio says with a laugh. “Just what you want to see the night before the surgery.” The books, clearly, work best for those with playful personalities. “If you’re buying for a close friend, you know their issues,” Leggio says. She and shop associate Mary Schnog take turns flipping through pages of a few books, which offer advice on everything from nutrition to exercise to grooming and etiquette. Reading aloud phrases such as “Health and charm often go hand in hand” and “Thick soup makes an ideal luncheon choice” elicit the expected laughs. More titles join the fun. There’s an edge of danger (“Smoke of the .45”) and a bit of mystery (“I Am Gazing Into My 8-Ball”), some romance (“Kindled Flame”) and a touch of naughtiness (“Overheard”). Some are just plain quirky, such as “Wild Animals I Have Known” and “Wild Oat.”
(As Leggio says, “Just the one. That’s all you get”). But she adds that the books themselves are more than just gags. They also offer glimpses into earlier times, when a female author, she says, might go by the name “Mrs. Herbert Brown.” A volume called “Polite Society at Home and Abroad” offers woefully outdated commentary on travel, while books designed for young women in the 1950s and ’60s often are filled with advice on topics ranging from how to apply lipstick to how to flirt. As Leggio sums up the advice, “Basically, any problem that became too tough: Just find yourself a fella.” And sometimes, it’s just the illustration that catches her eye, such as the finely detailed picture of a handsome young man in uniform on the front of “A District Messenger.” “This I bought because of the image. So beautiful,” she says.
Leggio stays away from the clichéd choices, such as the traditional “Dick and Jane” books that are both plentiful and often reproduced. Instead, she sticks to offbeat originals, in good condition. “It hasn’t become ‘a thing’ yet, which is kind of exciting,” she says, though admits it’s not easy to find titles that are both fitting and also pass that all-important “smell test.” Even after 25 years of hunting and road trips that might yield only a handful of good books to bring back to the shop, Leggio’s enthusiasm hasn’t lagged. “That’s why this is so thrilling to me,” she says. “You can go out and buy titles and genres that people never heard of. ” That is, of course, until they visit Pretty Funny Vintage. Pretty Funny Vintage is at 80 S. Broadway in Tarrytown. Call (914) 631-3368 or visit home.prettyfunnyvintage.com. n
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A river runs through him Harold McMillan on books and fly-fishing Story and Photograph by Patricia Espinosa
Harold McMillan with his books at Housatonic River Outfitters.
ew pastimes stir the writer’s soul quite the way fly-fishing does. (Norman Maclean’s “A River Runs Through It,” anyone?) Harold McMillan’s desire to understand fly-fishing’s mystique and rich history, as well as the passion of its participants, became the impetus behind his book collection. “It’s a sport of opinions and very few facts,” says McMillan, who owns Housatonic River Outfitters – a hunting and fly shop in Cornwall Bridge, Litchfield County. He also works as a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley in its Westport office. “Fly-fishing has always attracted great thinkers like professors, lawyers and doctors who seem to love to write about why they did this or why they did that,” he explains. McMillan began buying books on the subject along with antique fishing tackle 17 years ago. In the beginning, most of the collection was kept at his fly shop so customers could enjoy it as they sat and read in the store’s cozy library, which has a wood-burning stove that McMillan uses to cook stew for his customers in the wintertime. Selling books was something McMillan never expected to do. When customers began asking if they could buy the books on the shelves, he told them “no” at first. Then he changed his mind after a few customers got upset. So what began as an interest in fly-fishing ignited a passion for collecting and selling books. “There was no eBay back then to really buy things. So I put the word out in my store that if people were selling collections, I was interested in buying them.” It wasn’t long before the bibliophile began going to regional auctions such as Lang’s Auction in Waterville, N.Y., which specializes in fishing antiques. In the beginning, his focus was on fishing and hunting books. But as he started to go to estate sales, he found that people wanted to sell their books as a collec-
tion. “So I’d walk into one of these houses and I’d have to buy 1,000 books to get the 20 I wanted.” As luck would have it, he began to discover the value of the other books in the collections. “As these collections came in, it expanded my knowledge base by my having to research them and find their comparative value in order to sell them.” New England is imbued with some 400 years of history, which McMillan says makes it an ideal place for finding rare books. “Some of these houses, especially in Litchfield County, have been owned by two, three or four generations, and the books have been on the shelves having never been read and so most of them are in very good condition. You’d get a lot of books from the 1700s and 1800s. People want to get rid of them so you end up having to buy 1,000, 2,000 books at a pop.” Today, his collection is divided into two groups – his personal collection and his selling collection. The personal collection is comprised of things that interest the outdoorsman. Not surprisingly, there are books on fishing and hunting, but he also unearthed a love for Gothic literature and early-20th century authors like F. Scott
Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. He found first editions of Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” and “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” and Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” for $2 each at a tag sale. He’s also amassed a fairly large collection of cookbooks, because, he says, “Cooking is my weakness. I probably have 500 cookbooks I’ve never even opened.” Books in his personal collection are off limits and not for sale. But then again, “for the right price, everything is for sale,” he admits with a huge smile. The selling collection includes hunting, travel, fly-fishing, history, gardening and cars. One of his best-sellers, he recalls, was a Ferrari book collection that was in mint condition, with more than 200 Ferrari books, printed in English, German and Italian and a lot of magazines. He acquired the collection in a trade he made with a longtime customer who wanted fishing equipment from his store. Most of the Ferrari books sold on his eBay store went overseas – to Italy, France and especially Norway. “These books were expensive, ranging from $300 to $1,000 each,” he says. All in a day’s work. Other notable finds include a first edition of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham,” which is worth $800 and an earlier but lesser known, “The 500 Hats
of Bartholomew Cubbins,” written in 1938. The fun part, he says, is researching the provenance of a book and discovering what makes it valuable. Like the time he scored a first edition novel of Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” for $2 at a tag sale. At the time, he knew it was a first edition but didn’t recognize the cover. In his research, McMillan came across a littleknown story about Kesey rewriting the book after he was sued by the woman who was the inspiration for the tyrannical Nurse Ratched. McMillan owns one of only 1,000 copies of the original version, which he says is worth at least $15,000. The Internet has increased his bookselling business exponentially, with McMillan selling most of his books today on eBay and Amazon. “In the old days, we had mail-order catalogs, or people had to come to our store,” he explains. “The digital age has created a demand for books, and it’s also created the avenue to sell them. We’re seeing a lot, especially through the hedge fund guys, mostly men, wanting to build collections. Whatever their passions are, they’re building these big, beautiful libraries, and they want to fill them with books, mostly with collectible, obscure and limited editions. But
it’s usually about their passion or interest.” The book dealer makes a distinction between wanting to read a book and enjoying whatever value it has for you. “The Internet has allowed people to read books much more efficiently, but
“The digital age has created a demand for books, and it’s also created the avenue to sell them. We’re seeing a lot, especially through the hedge fund guys, mostly men, wanting to build collections.”
people who collect books, they’re like King Midas. They want to hold them. They want to see them on the shelf. It’s a possession.” The book you buy on your Kindle, he says, is not a possession. “The people who are buying from me want to hold the personal commodity. They want to hold it in their hands. So that’s where the value is.” n
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A community’s Greenwich Library is where the town’s action is By Jane K. Dove Images courtesy of the Greenwich Library
W Widely regarded in the community as a treasure trove of services and programs, Greenwich Library is thriving in its 104,000-square-foot building at 101 W. Putnam Ave. in the town’s business district. With more than 1,000 programs and events per year, Greenwich Library aspires to be the “cultural and intellectual crossroads” of the community and it appears to have succeeded. Greenwich Library has 40,000 cardholders, a total circulation of 1.4 million items and is well-ensconced in the digital age. In 2009, Greenwich Library was named a five-star library, the highest ranking, by the Library Journal. “Area residents see us as a vital resource in the community,” said Kate Petrov, the library’s public relations officer. “We offer a wealth of programming, along with the very latest digital communications technology for use in research. We have 100 computers available for public use. We also have a highly specialized Bloomberg terminal in our large business reference section.” All of the library’s programs and services take place in a bright, soaring space with high ceilings and an open floor plan featuring plenty of well-placed tables, comfortable seating and scores of outlets for members of the public to use with their own digital equipment. “During the recent hurricane, we became a real hub for the community,” Petrov said. “Our open and spacious layout along with our capability to allow residents to easily access the Internet made us one of the most popular places in town. We served at least 6,000 people, many of them families with children, when so many people were without power.” The library got its start in the 1800s as a small book-lending institution, operating out of the Second Congregational Church and another building at 113 Greenwich Ave. In 1884, the library moved to larger quarters in the Ray Building across the street and later to the Greenwich Avenue site of Saks Fifth Avenue. In 1907, the library was officially granted its current name – Greenwich Library –by the state legislature. The year 1929 saw a substantial addition to the building, but by the mid1950s, the library had outgrown its space and so raised funds to enlarge the Greenwich Avenue building. Library officials decided instead to purchase and remodel the old Franklin Simon department store building and on March 14, 1960, the library moved to its present locale. Additions followed over the years, including the Cole Auditorium and a café on the lower level. But the best was yet to come. In 1992, the library received a $25 million bequest from the estate of Clementine Lockwood Peterson, the largest gift ever made to a community library in the United States. Library trustees decided to stay at the present site and add a 32,000-square-foot wing to be integrated visually and function-
ally with the old building. The firm of Cesar Pelli & Associates (now Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects) was chosen as architects. The new Peterson Wing officially opened June 12, 1999, and extensive renovations to the existing building were completed in 2000. The end result is a magnificent structure that has become a Greenwich landmark and resource for residents of all ages. A walk through the Greenwich Library reveals why it’s so popular. The architects designed the Peterson Wing in a modern style with airy space and huge windows that let in ample light. There is quiet space for individuals as well as space for groups to congregate. “This is not a hush-hush library environment,” Petrov said. “We want it to be well-used and open and inviting to all. Our open floor plan gives us a great deal of flexibility, which we love.” Greenwich Library boasts impressive reference and print collections, along with a specialized business reference section and a health information center. Programs abound. A small sampling from dozens includes “Authors Live,” a Friday film series, children’s activities, yoga, concerts, a chess club, blood pressure screenings and a knitting group. The second floor of the library houses thousands of CDs and the Flinn Gallery, sponsored by the Friends of Greenwich Library, which presents exhibits throughout the year. Teen Central offers books, periodicals, DVDs, test-prep resources and a group study room with comfortable chairs and tables. The third floor is devoted to children. Decorated to reflect the changing seasons, the large space is home to an array of activities and programs, age-appropriate books, storytime presentations and tables for craft projects. “We have a special Constellation Room with a starry sky for some of our story hours and movies for smaller groups of children,” Petrov said. “This is their special place and both children and parents love to come here.” The library’s lower level has Elton’s Café and a technology training center where residents can learn or perfect their web search and social media skills. “We teach at all levels, from beginners to advanced,” Petrov said. Looking back over the impact of Hurricane Sandy, she said the Greenwich Library operated at full tilt to bring relief to residents. “There was a real sense of community among our staff and the thousands that passed through,” Petrov said. “People needed to be able to connect with their families and businesses and do things like file insurance claims. We helped make this possible as well as provide activities like movies and crafts for the kids. Our community really pulled together during that very difficult time and we were happy to be of help.” For more on the Greenwich Library, call (203) 622-7900 or visit greenwichlibrary.org. n
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Getting the word out Exploring today’s world of book publishing
By Andrea Kennedy n Espresso machine is whirring in SoHo, but nary a bean is in sight. It’s not the coffeehouse kind this time, but the Espresso Book Machine at independent bookstore McNally Jackson. And it’s churning out chapters to self-publishers’
delight. The machine, which has printed more than 21,500 books since its installation in January 2011, is just one symbol of a shifting paradigm in book publishing. Once this was a realm reserved for agents and publishing houses. Now first-time authors need only their manuscripts and the “interwebs” to get the process going. Deep pockets are not necessary. “It is very cost-effective to publish a printed book because of print-on-demand publishing,” says Leigh Cunningham, executive director of the Association of Independent Authors (AIA). Leigh suggests new authors employ online publishing tools like Lulu, Outskirts Press or Amazon subsidiary CreateSpace. When a manuscript is complete, authors must pass their pages to a professional book editor for proofing – a process costing around $2,000 that’s nonnegotiable for any serious writer. “We always feel that an objective person is a wise investment,” Leigh says. “If you’re going with that DIY (do it yourself) process, that is just one expense we don’t think you can do without.” Meanwhile, users can outsource a cover design starting at around $500 or stick with the indie approach and produce their own using free and funky-named software, GIMP. Once pages and cover are complete, a simple upload to one of the print-on-demand websites – or machines – prepares the book for hard copy. When readers order the book, the site
will print and send it, bidding good riddance to the days of mandatory mass ordering just to have dust-collecting volumes sit in the garage. So what could be easier than that? E-books, Leigh says – the next generation of publication. A recent AIA member survey shows most members in fact veer the way of virtual words. “You’ll find that going back three years or so, 75 percent of all books sold were printed books,” Leigh says of the industry. “Now it’s closer to 25 percent. So it makes perfect sense to simply publish an e-book.” The medium, it seems, is less important than the product itself. And the product won’t sell, she reminds us, unless authors do the legwork to sell it. The marketing component need not be costly but rather, strategic. Think submitting to niche reviewers and award programs or participating in audience-targeted web communities. “Say you write science fiction,” she says. “Go to numerous websites and blogs out there that are all focused on science fiction and participate in the community – not flogging your book, but getting a profile and actually participating. People will get interested in you, and therefore, your book as well.” Self-published success stories include Hugh Howey and his novel “WOOL,” a sci-fi narrative that’s sold 300,000 copies in the United States and been optioned by film director Ridley Scott. When traditional publishing houses started offering seven-figure advances, he in turn – already enjoying a 70 percent royalty rate – offered them a “Thanks, but no thanks.” Still, many authors would jump at the chance to be picked up by an agent. Many, like Howey, tried tirelessly before diverting themselves to the path of self-publication. And for good reason: Having an agent has its perks if
you can get one. “We are the liaison between the writer and the publisher,” says Thornwood-based literary agent Gail Fortune with the Talbot Fortune Agency. “It’s my job to sell my clients’ projects, but also to shepherd them through the publishing process.” And the process can be a lengthy one – at least 12 months during which agents earn their 15 percent. The yearlong course begins after fruitful pitching has, in a perfect world, found a match for the manuscript. This is followed by contract negotiations, marketing implementation and general cheerleading all the way to store shelves. “I think writers need somebody on their team who is always there for them, and that’s what their literary agent is,” she says. And a teammate like Fortune is imperative for authors who want their books to wind up with names like Putnam on the spine. “If your goal is to be published by Putnam or Doubleday or Knopf, you need an agent,” she says. “They don’t take unsolicited manuscripts.” So to live a dream where your paperback is front and center at Barnes & Noble, Fortune suggests starting with a polished manuscript before using the stepping-stone of self-publishing to get noticed or simply persevering at landing an agent best suited for each work. Writers with beloved books grasped tight will likely send more than 100 queries – Fortune receives 50 to 75 a day – but just one agent needs to love it as much as its creator does. “If your agent isn’t in love with your book, then how are they going to convey that enthusiasm to the editors – who you really want to love your book?” she says. “That’s why finding the right person is the key.” Then again, there’s always a shot at Espresso. n
PAULA ZAHN, co-host of Thirteen-WNET’s “NYC-ARTS.”
VALERIE SALEMBIER, senior vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer at Town & Country.
SUZYN WALDMAN, Yankees Radio Color Commentator for WCBS.
POWERFUL WOMEN COMMUNICATIONS in
Here are three of the powerful women in communications scheduled for the ever popular BUSINESS JOURNALS and WAG magazine roundtable. What an opportunity to hear what these fascinating women have to say. HOST JUDITH HUNTINGTON president The College of New Rochelle MODERATOR ELIZABETH BRACKEN-THOMPSON partner Thompson & Bender
JANUARY 17 11:30 a.m. Lunch Program begins at noon
29 Castle Place
Register now. Space is limited. Email Alissa Frey at email@example.com or go to westfaironline.com
Ramon Lascano uses old books, catalogs and other papers for his one-of-a-kind works of art.
Paper re-shaper Ramon Lascano turns old books into works of art By Mary Shustack Photographs by Laura Straus and courtesy Carolyn Marks Blackwood
ooks are featured in the newest exhibition at Piermont Straus, a gallery and bookstore in the Hudson River community of Piermont. But don’t expect to find them on a shelf – or ready for reading. Instead, the pages of the books, along with catalogs, maps and other random paper finds, have been transformed into fanciful works of art that hang on the walls and alongside doorways or perch on the counters. “Ramon Lascano: Reclaim, Recycle, Reimagine” features the varied creations of the Tivoli-based artist, who has been exploring the use of books and paper in his artwork for the past decade. “It’s very contemporary, but there’s something very Old World about it,” says gallery owner Laura Straus. Straus is also a photographer and photo editor who grew up in Purchase and now lives in Piermont with her husband, John Alexander. She met Lascano through Alexander, a private banker with many artists among his clients. “He came home one day and said, ‘You have to meet Ramon,’” she says. She did – and offered him the opportunity, almost immediately, to have a show in her Rockland County gallery. Straus still savors the introduction provided by her husband. “As a couple, there’s something so lovely when your worlds collide.” Straus says the exhibition is providing a memorable moment for both her and the community, as Piermont was especially hard hit by Hurricane Sandy and is slowly rebuilding. Lascano’s works, once mounted, brought a renewed vibrancy to the gallery.
“It just sort of came alive,” she says. Showcasing another artist from the Hudson Valley was a priority for Straus, who opened her gallery in October 2011. “We like to keep it regional and we like to have different voices.” As with most shows at Piermont Straus, there is an effort to tie things together with related materials. During the holiday season, Straus also displayed and sold ornaments fashioned out of paper by Ashley CroyleMankoski and Laura Herron. Lascano’s work, Straus adds, is all about taking lost objects and giving them a new life. “We have books about what he does,” Straus says. “We have books on recycling, reclaiming, repackaging.” In a way, Lascano’s work offers a fresh perspective on the written word. Works with names ranging from “Japanese Fans” to “Wall Book,” “Badlands” to “Burst” captivated those attending the opening-night reception in early December. One work to the next was labeled with details of ma-
terials used, from books to wood, maps to tracing paper, book catalogs to ink and twine. “This I use a lot of, encyclopedias,” Lascano says, pointing to one large-scale work. “People don’t want (them) anymore.” Throughout his work, he says, there is that underlying theme of recycling and repurposing. He is working with things often discarded by others. “I don’t destroy the books, I give a new life.” Lascano often sources his encyclopedias at library sales, but now established in his specialty, he often has people coming to him with raw materials. By now, he knows what type of paper will age well, what works best for his intricate creations. “You discover, working with paper, the quality of the paper, the thicker, the thinner,” he says. At the start, Lascano says he was taking books and folding them into shapes that resemble tops. “I started folding and one thing took me to another,” he says of his work’s progression. But on the opening night at Piermont Straus, people were particularly drawn to works that featured wooden spools with artfully torn strips of paper where thread had once been. More than one gallery guest was seen to be examining the pieces closely, trying to read the words. So, is there a deeper meaning? Does Lascano craft the works to embody a deeper story? Is he reading each strip of paper as he applies it to a work? No, the Argentine-born artist says with a hearty laugh. “English is my second language. If I read, I don’t work.” “Ramon Lascano: Reclaim, Recycle, Reimagine” continues through Feb. 1 at Piermont Straus, 530B Piermont Ave., Piermont. Call (845) 459-3124 or visit piermontstraus.com. n
Icon In ‘KATE,’ Moss plays everyone but herself By Andrea Kennedy
Photograph by © Inez and Vinoodh/ trunkarchive.com
40 Photograph by Juergen Teller
he’s a global style icon whose recent hardcover release had fashion devotees waiting with bated breath. But at her public romp of a book launch in London, she was also caught saying, “Well, I didn’t actually have to write anything.” The quote, first run in fashion pub WWD, has since been repeated across celebrity and fashion gossip sites, even the Huffington Post—with a subtle snort between the lines. The source of the quote was Kate Moss, so the fact that she didn’t write anything had nothing to do with her lack of contribution. “KATE: The Kate Moss Book” (Rizzoli) is almost exclusively a photo memoir of her career. Most of the 300 color and black-andwhite images representing the model in either photograph or multimedia were reportedly selected by Kate herself. As far as words go, what pittance of paragraphs there are, Kate did supply. And, for the record, she did write the introduction – a heartfelt, though not necessarily sharp, tribute in first person to the collaborators whose work is represented in the images. The remainder of the book’s written portion –twoand-a-half spreads relaying a redacted conversation with longtime chum and former Storm model agency booker Jess Hallett – took the words straight from the horse’s (potty) mouth. Hype, however, seems to have rallied around “KATE” as some sort of porthole into her personal story. And to the extent that it reveals some previously unreported thoughts and events from her work life, the dialogue with Hallett is certainly anecdotal. Kate reminisces about early days in the industry – strapping on Vivienne Westwood “prostitute shoes” and micro shorts at age 15 to frequent clubs with singer Boy George and friend John Galliano, feeling lonely while jet-setting, admiring creative directors like “KATE” editor Fabian Baron, working with dueling art directors and hating her boobs. Also, loads of name-dropping. But amid the banter, Hallett uses a few lines to draw a line in the sand, saying that no personal, private content can be expected within the pages. But are we surprised? Or just disappointed? Kate has never been known as a public talker, hardly even defending herself in the midst of her cocaine scandal or anorexia allegations. She credits former beau
Johnny Depp with the credo “never complain, never explain.” Kate never has complained or explained. So did we expect her to start now? Instead, “KATE” offers a kind of anti-autobiography, fitting for this “anti-model” of the early ’90s. Indeed, she states in her introduction that the book isn’t really about her. Rather, it’s about the photographers, designers and artists who created the 300 images with her. The statement, though humble, is also a wink and a nod from someone who knows that her own effortless enigma has helped keep her in the game for the last two dozen years. Though not impressive in word, “KATE” does what Kate does best, leaving the story she wants to tell to the images. There, she bares all, brandishing her model persona in color and monochrome with, naturally, a ton of T&A. Included are images from her first famed magazine shoot for The Face, during which, at 16, photographer Corinne Day made her go topless. Though the images show that adorable and illusive grin of her youth, Kate cried over the ordeal, she told Vanity Fair in a more verbose exclusive by James Fox that ran concurrently with the book release. Hundreds of other shots show Kate performing narrative to the camera – Kate as sex symbol, Kate as a waif, Kate sans makeup, Kate drunk on the ground, Kate with a snake, Kate by Lucian Freud, Kate as Warhol’s Marilyn, Kate as Bowie, Kate as the devil and Kate as a nun. Kate as something other than Kate. “I don’t want to be myself, ever,” she says in VF. “I’m a terrible snapshot.” The world can collectively disagree with the latter, but the former is far more interesting. Longtime collaborator and friend John Galliano tells Fox that Kate needed a narrative, a persona, even before walking down the aisle at her own wedding. “I don’t really think that anyone knows who she is today,” he says. Perhaps daughter Lila Grace? Husband Jamie, to whom the book is dedicated? What’s certain is that readers reaching for the artful coffee table book are more interested in her story than she is in telling it. “KATE” still keeps quiet, giving up just enough for the public to want more. Lucky for them, there is also talk of an upcoming documentary. A silent film, perhaps? n
Kate by the numbers • Born Jan. 16, 1974 in Addiscombe, Croydon, London. • 5 feet 7 inches tall. • Thinking thin: Weighs between 101 and 112 pounds. • Star is born: Discovered at JFK Airport at age 14 by Storm Model Management founder Sarah Doukas. • Wedding bells: Married guitarist and singer Jamie Hince in July 2011. • Love child: Daughter Lila Grace was born in 2002. Baby daddy is Jefferson Hack. • Broken hearts: Johnny Depp and Pete Doherty. • Hocus-pocus: An admitted fan of magic. • Earnings: Second-highest paid model behind Gisele Bundchen. • Big heart: Helped launch the SamandRuby Charity in March 2006, which is named after friend Samantha Archer Fayet, and her 6-month-old daughter RubyRose who were killed by the tsunami while visiting Thailand. The charity provides money for the education and shelter of Thai children. She also lends support to British-based charities Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. • Last month, she was named the new face of Stuart Weitzman’s spring 2013 campaign. The Greenwich shoe designer has begun a retail expansion to bring his shoes to all corners of the world.
Book cover photographers: first column - Mario Testino, Mert & Marcus, Inez & Vinoodh and Mario Sorrenti; second column - Corinne Day, David Sims, Craig McDean and Juergen Teller.
Where the sunA literary also rises tradition lives on at Bedford House
Story by Houlihan Lawrence Photographs by Tim Lee Presented by Houlihan Lawrence
BEDFORD HOUSE at a Glance
• Bedford Corners • 12,400 square feet • 8.3 acres • Bedrooms: 6 • Baths: 8 full, 1 half • Amenities: Gated entry, beautifully designed gardens, lake view, heated pool, pool house, two-bedroom guest house, close to major roadways, village center and rail station. • Price: $6.75 million
erhaps the first drafts of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” were first read here on the grounds of Bedford House. The setting that surrounds this magnificent new home was once part of a vast estate, the country retreat for members of the Scribner family. In the first half of the 20th century, they were responsible for publishing some of America’s most acclaimed authors. One of many country estates created in this area at the turn of the last century by New York’s social elite, this serene setting continues to impress today with its picturesque landscape, featuring rolling lawns, majestic old trees and scenic views of Howland Lake, just steps away. Amid this breathtaking natural beauty sits Bedford House, a sprawling estate home that carries on the tradition of a grand country house with its Old World elegance and expansive scale.
Few modern-day residences display the artistry and craftsmanship that distinguish the home designed by L. Scott Johnson, a master designer responsible for some of the region’s most prestigious estates in the Hamptons and Greenwich. At Bedford House, Johnson’s signature artistry has never been more apparent. Starting with a handsome structure preserved from an old Scribner barn, Johnson and his team created a modern-day masterpiece, melding classical architecture with a sublime landscape that is truly glorious throughout the seasons. Inside, regally scaled formal rooms – resplendent with walnut-bordered oak floors, classical columns, fine moldings and paneling and seven hand-carved fireplaces – offer a sophisticated backdrop for grand living and entertaining that is elegant yet not overly formal. A dramatic entrance hall, refined living and dining rooms, a tour-de-force kitchen 45
and a music room with a fountain are among the many standout spaces, which also include a dazzling library, the perfect spot to relax and read some of Charles Scribner’s Sons’ most famous novels. An inviting family room and an expansive master suite with a luxurious bath inspired by a hotel spa are other examples of the lavish appointments in this 12,400-square-foot home. Adding to the estate’s many special features is a 1,900-square-foot, two-bedroom guest cottage with two baths, a large kitchen, living room and a two-car garage. The 1,200-square-foot, all-season pool house is perfect for large-scale entertaining, and a 45-foot heated pool is framed by beautifully designed gardens. While the Scribner literary connections are part of its rich past, Bedford House is ready to become part of a new story in the 21st century as it takes it place as one of Westchester’s finest estate properties. For more information, contact Angela Kessel at Houlihan Lawrence Bedford Brokerage at (914) 234-9099, ext. 359; (914) 841-1919; or at firstname.lastname@example.org. n 46
Annabelle Siegel and Tim Greeman, from left, at Anderson’s Book Shop in Larchmont; Gene Sgarlata of Womrath Bookshop in Bronxville. Previous page: The window at The Village Bookstore in Pleasantville.
Against the tide Regional bookstores find ways to thrive Story and photographs by Mary Shustack There’s something special about stepping into an independent bookshop. It might be the greeting you get, the handwritten recommendations that accompany some editions or maybe the way the familiar owner seems to know just what you want, even before you do. “Each bookstore has its own personality,” says Annabelle Siegel, a longtime manager at Anderson’s Book Shop in Larchmont. And that is certainly true. Unlike chain stores, where uniformity is desired, independent shops reflect the personalities of their owners, the needs of their communities – and offer a respite in today’s big-box world. When a shop closes, a community loses something. Susan Hodara, a Chappaqua-based journalist, memoirist and author, was one of many locals who frequented The Second Story Book Shop. Though it closed several years ago, people still talk about the Chappaqua institution noted for its selections and customer service. “Definitely, it is a loss,” Hodara says. “An independent bookstore, to me, feels like a venue for community.” But Hodara is well aware of the challenges that face today’s shopkeepers. Her new book, “Still Here Thinking of You: A Second Chance With Our Mothers,” written with Vicki Addesso, Joan Potter and Lori Toppel, is due out in March from Big Table Publishing. As it’s on a small press, the authors are at work figuring out the promotions. “Bookstores are a low priority, whereas five, 10 years ago, they would have been a key source,” Hodara says. Bookshops aren’t a go-to place for most 48
people anymore, she says. “It’s one of the things that we’re losing in the process of gaining a lot of other things,” she says. Still, she and her fellow authors do indeed hope to do some book readings and signings. She hopes that the independent bookshops will continue to be around, sticking it out in the face of many challenges. “A bookstore has a special feeling to it,” she says. And a random tour of our area’s indie shops over a few days proved that to be true. Customers crowded around the register on a recent morning at Elm Street Books in New Canaan, asking for staff suggestions and help. Later that day, people streamed in and out of Books on the Common in Ridgefield, where a bowl of water outside the entrance welcomes four-legged visitors, while banners in the window proclaim: “Find it here. Buy it here. Keep us here.” And “Eat Sleep Read Local.” Of course, everyone has his or her favorite shop. Following is just a random sampling, a meandering tour through a few of our area’s finest.
A family affair
There’s a sense of family at Anderson’s Book Shop in Larchmont, and that’s not surprising. The shop is owned by Tamara Greeman, whose son Tim often stops by to be sure things are in tip-top shape, as he did on a recent morning. He was there checking in with Annabelle and Jenny Siegel, the motherdaughter team that has managed the shop for years. (Annabelle proudly
shares she’s a 30-year employee). Open shelving adds a contemporary feel to the spacious shop, tucked around the corner from bustling Palmer Avenue. And while books are the heart of the offerings at Anderson’s, which is edging toward
A sign at Books on the Common in Ridgefield urges shopping local.
its 70th anniversary, there is plenty more. “We’ve done gifts for the last 10 years and they keep expanding,” Annabelle says, pointing to the collection of chic Baggallini bags, Crane & Co. stationery, Mudlark personal-care products and the like from “companies carried by upscale stores.” People are just as likely to grab a frame, puzzle or children’s earrings from local en-
trepreneur Elka Raved as they are to pick up the latest best-seller from a national author. The children’s section is expansive, complete with petite table and chairs and all kinds of crafts and toys (“with an educational angle,” Annabelle notes) surrounding the books for all ages. Story times are offered twice a week. A miniature Radio Flyer red wagon stands on a shelf, ready to be customized with a selection of books that makes it a wildly popular baby gift. A large tween section – a book by Lauren Conrad or one on Kate Moss are featured among the accessories – adds appeal for those a bit older. Throughout, local authors always have a place with shelf space, even for self-published efforts, near the counter and frequent signings. A glass case just outside the front door puts the local authors in further spotlight. “They can walk by and see they’re actually in a bookstore,” Annabelle says. “You want to encourage writers. You’re a local bookstore and you want them to have a home for their books.” Antiques, a special interest of the owner, add a personal touch, with book-themed choices – think varied and interesting bookends – always in the spotlight. There are also custom consignments, such as framed vintage New Yorker covers. “It adds something,” Annabelle says. And that’s why customers keep streaming back. Anderson’s Book Shop, 96 Chatsworth Ave., Larchmont. (914) 834-6900.
It could be a few weeks or a few months between visits to Bruised Apple Books &
Chris Stephens, left, is the owner of riverrun bookshop in Hastings-on-Hudson. Scott Sailor has owned Bruised Apple Books & Music in Peekskill since 1993.
Bruised Apple Books & Music is an iconic Peekskill shop.
There are step stools for reaching higher shelves and cartoons dotting the walls, quirky seating areas complete with velvet chairs and elaborate lamps and hand-written section labels throughout. It all echoes Sailor’s commitment to his chosen field. “Books are iconic,” Sailor says of his tens of thousands of volumes. “Books aren’t going anywhere.” A stalwart in the northern Westchester area drawing book and music lovers from all over the region, Bruised Apple remains strongly independent.
“There’s not too many of us left,” Sailor, who opened the shop in 1993, says with a wry smile. “We kind of draw our own audience, so to speak… We’re fortunate because we’ve been well-loved by the book community for a long time.” Bruised Apple is officially a used-book store, though a large music section has come into its own as well. “We actually have new books, but we don’t sell them as such,” Sailor says, noting they have a steady supply of review copies and other books where “the binding’s not even been cracked.” “We have rare, collectible stuff, but we are really more of a bookshop that has an eclectic approach and hits all the needs.” Sailor always makes room for local-interest books, with a section right near the front dedicated to books on local history and regional titles. “Those are the only new books that we stock,” he says. To be approaching the 20th anniversary is something, Sailor acknowledges, in a business that’s far from routine. “It’s still changing and it’s kind of hard to know exactly where it’s going now,” he says. “My guess is that certain kinds of books will become fetishized, kind of like vinyl records. I’m kind of wondering which areas of the books will do the same thing.” No matter what changes have come, Sailor says he’s long felt community support when it comes to local business. “Westchester County has enough educated people, people who are educated enough to realize that every dollar is a vote, and how you spend it determines what your world looks like.” And Sailor plans to be around serving those customers for a long time – with something that will never go out of style. As he says, “Sometimes you just want a good old-fashioned book in your hand.” Bruised Apple Books & Music, 923 Central Ave., Peekskill. (914) 734-7000 or bruisedapplebooks.com.
It’s a good bet that if you’re at riverrun bookshop in Hastings-on-Hudson, you meant to be there. After all, the of-another-time shop is set smack in the middle of a steep hill that makes its way down to the Hudson River. You can reach it easily, for sure, from the town’s main shopping district, but this isn’t a place where you’ll wander by accident. And that’s almost fitting, since owner
Chris Stephens says his customers are often serious about their purchases. “Books are not an impulse,” he says. “We’re definitely a destination.” And it’s a destination for a dedicated group that has been seeking out riverrun for more than three decades. “We get a wide variety of people,” Stephens says, which is reflected in the inventory. Selections might touch on topics ranging from Americana to economics, medi-
EXPERIENCE. SOMETHING. REAL. JANUARY & FEBRUARY at THE CENTER
Pictured: John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey. Photo © Jazz Guy.
Music in Peekskill, and a visitor will find that not much has changed. And that is not a complaint. This classic space, complete with hardwood floors, tin ceilings and a laid-back sensibility that reflects longtime owner Scott Sailor’s personality, is ideal whether you have to run in for a quick gift – or want to while away a few hours getting lost in the soaring stacks filled with most everything you might imagine. “We’re still kind of all about the browsing experience,” Sailor says.
Tokyo String Quartet Their farewell tour January 27, 3pm
Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal
Innovation meets classical ballet February 9, 8pm
The fresh new face of chamber music February 16, 8pm
John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey Manhattan nightclub royalty February 23, 8pm
See it here first January 22 & February 5, 7pm
cine to music, philosophy to architecture, travel to sports. Some volumes may date from the 17th century, while others are just a few decades old. Art books are very popular, as are “big books on little subjects that are not going to be done again.” Those, he says, catch the eyes of a collector. These days, Stephens says he does do between 60 and 70 percent of his business online – a well-written blog is another shop feature well worth a visit – taking orders from around the world at all hours. “They come in day or night, if somebody’s in France,” he says. There are, he says, investors, who might want to collect books that will go up in value, but he cautions them. “You have no idea what is the next generation going to like,” he says. Authors with staying power, from Hemingway to Steinbeck to Fitzgerald, have passed the test of time. The stock is ever-changing as Stephens is constantly traveling to seek out new finds. “Basically, I buy books out of houses,” Stephens says. And when looking at the books, should there be some artwork, antiques or even jewelry for sale, he might also buy some of that for the shop. It adds up to a wonderfully eclectic mix that makes for a discovery at every turn, whether it be a Mario Lanza poster for his latest album to a porcelain tea service to a stand of tin soldiers. In addition to the books, Stephens has a collection of some 20,000 postcards plus assorted memorabilia such as campaign buttons. “We like the old things,” he says. And so do we. riverrun bookshop, 12 Washington Ave., Hastings-on-Hudson. (914) 4781339 or riverrunbookshop.com.
Of books – and brushes with celebrity
Gene Sgarlata is a Bronxville notable. And that’s to be expected, since he has owned Womrath Bookshop for 28 of its nearly 75 years. “My kids when they were little said ‘Dad, how come they all know you?’” he says. And he would reply simply: “Because they shop in the bookstore.” That is still true, though things have certainly changed over the years. “It’s much harder than it used to be,” Sgarlata says. “At first we were up against the big chain stores. Then we were up against Amazon.” Now, he adds, it’s the electronic competition. “Each level has nicked just a little bit… But it’s made us, I don’t know if I would say better business people or smarter business people.” He says he sees what the changes are doing – and feels he’s able to react. “We hustle,” he says. “We place orders every single day… You have to monitor the 50
inventory continually so you’re sure you don’t have dead wood on your hands.” And his shop is filled with an eclectic, timely mix, from a Will Shortz puzzle book to a Neil Young memoir, with wrapping paper, reading glasses and other bookrelated gift items in between. Sgarlata says he’s always tried to adjust to the times. “I feel lucky that we do have a lot of town support, but I’m not fooling myself,” he says. “Many of our customers in this affluent community have e-book readers.” And so many, he adds, simply opt to shop online. “When customers do that they don’t realize the money they’re spending is going to some far-off space. It’s not staying in their local community.” And the effects trickle down, no matter the economic bracket of a community. “There’s no more small pharmacists. There’s no more hardware stores. You know it’s… it’s just created a world of bigbox everything.” But Sgarlata still feels the community has a soft spot for Womrath for its history and the fact he is a neighbor, too. “We know each other and there’s a bond of some kind,” he says. “We’re interested in each other.” Special events both on and off site, including a very popular “Where’s Waldo?” treasure hunt that drew some 150 young participants, keep things interactive. Sgarlata is already looking forward to being a host store for World Book Night, an international event in April designed to spread the love of reading. Though the shop doesn’t do many author signings these days, there is still room for a bit of celebrity spotting. Sgarlata delights in telling of how two recent film crews were in town. Both Kevin Bacon’s “The Following,” a new television thriller, and Tina Fey’s movie “Admission” had the stars filming in the shop. So even Hollywood’s heard of Womrath now. Womrath Bookshop, 76 Pondfield Road, Bronxville. (914) 337-0199 or womrath.com.
Sign here, please
There’s a fun “game” you can play at Diane’s Books of Greenwich, and it will keep you both charmed and busy. Once you notice the white walls are covered with the most artistic of scribblings, you’ll be hooked as your eyes dart from one to the next. No, it wasn’t some children gone wild but rather the uniquely effective way owner Diane Garrett decided to commemorate the countless authors that have visited her shop over the years. No need for a stuffy guest book. Writers from Mary Ann Hoberman of Greenwich to classic teen author S.E. Hinton (“The Outsiders”) have just taken up a felt-tip pen and added their praises,
Diane’s Books of Greenwich is all about finding the right book for each customer.
commentary and often, cartoons and drawings to the walls and ceilings. It’s a singular decorating touch that signifies just how much this incredibly bustling shop means to both the authors it supports and the readers it fuels with books of every kind. The shop is abuzz on a recent afternoon, as customers crowd the children’s section, where stuffed animals and other toys surround book selections for all reading levels and interests. For older readers, there are stacks and shelves and even an upstairs getaway called Diane’s Garret. Handwritten suggestions (“For the Downton Abbey lovers”) abound, with employees at every turn. There are experts for each section, each possessing a wealth of information readily and enthusiastically shared. It’s all as Garrett had envisioned when she opened her doors in November of 1990. Though she has a master’s degree in library science, she never worked in a library. “I realized instead of putting books on the shelf, I wanted to get books off the shelf,” she says with a laugh. She calls her shop a family bookstore. “The majority of lifelong readers are from families that are readers,” she says. After a customer picks out a book for
her child, Garrett says, “We always say to her, ‘Now, what about you, and what about your husband?’” Books, she says, simply add something to life. She wants people to stop in her store and find a “real treasure.” “It’s all about storytelling,” she says. “It’s all about imagination. It’s all about getting lost in a story.” Garrett, though acknowledging the economic challenges, says books continue to be published as an incredible pace. “I don’t think I’ve ever had so much selection,” she says. “If independents aren’t thriving, there’s something wrong.” For her, though, the goal remains broader. “The only thing that matters in my store is that we put the right book in your hand,” she says. “It’s not about the cash register. It’s never been the cash register.” And those who have signed their names to the walls and ceilings surely feel that, too. “We’ve gone through the walls three times,” she says. And you can bet a fourth one is on the way. Diane’s Books of Greenwich, 8A Grigg St., Greenwich. (203) 869-1515 or dianesbooks.com. For profiles of Arcade Booksellers in Rye and The Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, visit wagmag.com. n
Judging a book by its cover By Bob Rozycki
orget the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy when it comes to enticing book covers. A necktie? Come on. Handcuffs? Cli-shaaaaay! Some Italianate mask last seen in “Eyes Wide Shut”? Really? If you want a cover that will sell books, you have to look back to the paperbacks of the 1950s and ’60s. Those pulps of fiction oozed sleaze out of their covers. “Grey” pales to “Slum Virgin” by Richard Geis, whose cover of a voluptuous, dark-haired beauty in a Brigitte Bardot bikini looking longingly at a shirtless hunk tells us, “Another man to Gail was like slipping on another pair of shoes. She had decided from the beginning that Eddie’s fears would only make him an easier conquest.” Shoes, indeed. Make that a size 12, she has big feet. It was “The Baby-Sitter” by Vin Fields that said “buy this book” by presenting a bobbed-blonde in a knotted shirt exposing her ample nurse-maiden skills and short-shorts showing off her tanned lithe legs. Holding a couple of textbooks in her right hand is a nice touch, gives it that bad schoolgirl quality. (Think Britney Spears in her “… Baby One More Time” video.) And in case you didn’t get the picture as to the extracurricular pursuits of this bedroom-eyed babe, then read the type just below her hip: “She was jailbait … a teenage man-trap with a talent for trouble and a weakness for married men twice her age!!” The ellipsis and double exclamation point said it all. “Amateur Night” by Peggy Swenson
gave us “The love story of a confirmed lesbian and a blonde nympho.” She was no run-of-the-mill lesbian, she was confirmed! (Unsure who handled such confirmations.) Judging by the two women’s lack of attire, the cover appears to be the dressing room of a strip club. It must be break time because the brunette is sipping from a martini glass and the blonde is taking a draw on a cigarette. Protecting the blonde’s left nipple is a pastie that appears to be made out of medieval armor. Good luck getting through airport security with that, babe. Sheba was the girl who would “sell anything if the price was right.” Taking a page from “The Merchant of Venice,” author Orrie Hitt told us Sheba was “the candid story of a seductive salesgirl who traded on her charms – then had to pay her pound of flesh!” On this cover, Sheba is a portrayed as a fiery redhead with cigarette in hand sitting on the railing of her brownstone casting a demure look at a man in a suit with a fedora fixing his necktie. Could this be her Shylock looking for his pound of flesh or two? OK, I’ve been told by a female of the species looking over my shoulder that my coverage of book covers shouldn’t be so lascivious. Are there no other book covers from years past that are memorable? More memorable than the aforementioned? My immediate answer is no. Upon further reflection, my answer is … no. I’m standing up for the salacious cover, not necessarily the best drawn or creative. These are the covers that sold books, marketing aiming at the basest
of human behavior. Today’s authors, and I use the term loosely to include the grammatically and language-challenged who populate e-books and self-published mélange une terrible, compete with millions of other storytellers. For point-of-purchase advantages you have to separate yourself. In an apparent attempt to help the self-published to separate themselves from the rest, the British newspaper The Guardian posted a story in August 2012 titled, “Scent of a kitten: the 20 irrefutable theories of book cover design.” Designers Jon Gray and Jamie Keenan offered up their thoughts on how to create a killer book cover. From “Turd theory” – more artsy fartsy than excremental as one might infer – to “Textual plasticity” – which just means dropping letters from the title and letting the readers fill in the blanks – Gray and Keenan just overthought the whole process. As one who used to work in a bookstore, the books that sold well were either science fiction titles (Philip K. Dick, Philip José Farmer, Ray Bradbury) or the bodice rippers that cleaved to the cleavage canon and came with titles such as “Savage Surrender,” “Sweet Savage Love” or “Savage Ecstasy.” Colorful and bold always won out over just a typographical presentation, the one exception being perennial book leader, The Bible. So if EL James wishes to continue her “Grey” stories and increase sales, she could learn from these covers and perhaps mix metaphors as well as in “Deadly Desire”: “She was only a bus stop pickup, but passion is a fickle flame.” Indeed. n
S AV E T H E DAT E T H U R S DAY, A P R I L 2 5 , 2 0 1 3
Celebrate 120 Years of Exceptional Care with White Plains Hospital G A L A E V E N T A N D R U N WAY FA S H I O N S H OW
presented by O S C A R D E L A R E N TA
in partnership with M A RY JA N E D E N Z E R
F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N C A L L 9 1 4 . 6 8 1 . 2 2 6 4 W P H O S P I TA L .O R G
Thread & wire Technology makes the clothes in new FIT show
By Andrea Kennedy Photograph courtesy The Museum at FIT
Yoshiki Hishinuma, black sheer polyester polyurethane dress, fall 1999, Japan.
Did that dress just move? You bet. And it wasn’t because the model put one high-heeled hoof in front of the other. In his spring 2007 collection, two-time British Designer of the Year Hussein Chalayan stunned Paris runway crowds with a set of couture dresses that seemingly had a mind of their own. Zippers zipped, hemlines rose, sleeves shortened – but by no means of their own accord. It was a feat of fashion fused with technology, a concept currently on display in “Fashion and Technology,” an exhibit at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in Manhattan that documents the evolution of innovation in fashion leading up to achievements like Chalayan’s. “Chalayan had collaborated with some of the people who were doing mechanics for Harry Potter to create these mechanized garments, which were controlled behind the scenes,” says the show’s cocurator Ariele Elia. Other than employing the magic of Hollywood, the bulk of the designs on display from the museum’s permanent collection illustrate the magic of modernization starting with the Industrial Revolution. Historic inventions in their day like sewing machines, synthetic dyes (purple) and plastics simulating tortoiseshell and ivory represented the peak of progress. Tough to imagine, but even rubber was revolutionary at one point, adorning early iterations of ecru-colored Keds. But some of the real fun – it may not surprise – began in the 1960s. “The next place people would be vacationing was space,” says Elia, directing eyes to a plastic eggshell dress with matching boots and goggles. “So André Courrèges wanted to create a very fashionable piece if you are going into space.” Cut to the ’80s, where we all have Marc Audibet to thank for his development of that Lycra-based wardrobe lifesaver, stretch fabric. “One thing we take for granted is the bi-stretch material that Marc Audibet was working with,” says Emma McClendon, the show’s other co-curator. “He was the first to apply Lycra to this high-fashion level.” The manipulation of polyester indicated another progressive move in high fashion. Note a sheer, black polyester and polyurethane masterpiece by lauded textile innovator Yoshiki Hishinuma. His fall 1999 tube dress used a heat application process to create an avant-garde texture and volume with “rubberized” features and sporadic peaks.
The last 15 years represented in the show emphasize the increasing incorporation of tech elements into couture lines, yet also an increasingly blurred line of where fashion ends and technology begins – whether in tech-inspired garments, interactive apparel or space-age attire. Take Jean Paul Gaultier’s 1996 cyber graphic spandex jumpsuit inspired by the sci-fi flick “Mad Max.” The “second skin” sports a computer-generated polka dot print that contours to the female form. Simon Thorogood drew inspiration for a hooded dress from futuristic pilotless drones and Balenciaga’s enamel-coated frock taps into what the designer calls a “futuristic vision of femininity.” Technology is incorporated into designs now more than ever. “While they’re two very different fields, they’re also very similar,” Elia says. “When you look at fashion in technology there can be kind of that missing link sometimes. You can create a completely wired garment, but there is no fashion in it – or vice versa.” For a practical blend of both, turn on the museum’s Luminex blouse, made with fiber optic technology that lights up like layers of linear constellations, and imagine the ease of a jacket prepped to play music or answer a call from its sleeve – equipment Elia calls “pretty mainstream now.” Branding fits especially well into fashion’s tech mix. Take a gander at Burberry’s holographic catwalk at the opening of the Beijing flagship store or the ultra fashionable, ultra transformable Max Mara Cube Coat complete with its own iPad app, with which users can select interchangeable accessories to fulfill multiple style needs. “In thinking about a futuristic wardrobe, people always think about seamless things – one garment,” Elia says. “This kind of goes along with that idea.” And keep your eyes peeled for one of the newest digital devices hitting the fashion market – the LilyPad, a microcontroller board designed for wearables and e-textiles. Its creator, MIT professor Leah Buechley, already proved its fashion functionality. “She’s a cyclist who’s put LED lights into her garment,” Elia says. “If she works her left hand, her left blinker will blink. And if she works her right hand, her right blinker will blink. She has a stop sign as well.” Talk about clothes that stop traffic. “Fashion and Technology” runs through May 8. For more, visit fitnyc. edu. n
Tips for the stylish bookworm By Debbi O’Shea
When WAG asked me to write about what fashionable women wear when relaxing at home with a good book (or not), my first thought was my own stripped-down, go-to outfit – Lululemon yoga pants and a Majestic T-shirt. What else would there be to write about? Apparently, plenty. I was fascinated by the array of answers I got when I posed this question to my clients at Richards in Greenwich. I think some of the answers were rooted in tradition and others were trailblazing along the way. The interesting thing was that my clients were still dressing with a purpose, even in their own homes and among family. Here are some of the responses that I got: “Now that we are empty-nesters, I feel it’s respectful to my husband to sit down or go out to dinner in whatever attire I wore during the day. I’m still active in the community and I sometimes travel with my art group to the city. He’s working hard all day, very often still in a suit. I want to look pulled together when he gets home, not like I have been lounging while he toils.” ••• “With four kids, I sometimes feel like my day is just beginning when they get out of school. With sports, homework and staying on top of everyone’s schedule, I am always on the go. Still, I want to look pulled together and fashionable. My new go-to line is Vince. The leggings look chic, but they are incredibly comfortable. Whatever tops and sweaters they make are always just right for the season and the palette usually goes together. I know my girls are proud that their mom looks somewhat cool and I like the fact that I don’t look like I’m trying too hard.” ••• “We are a very athletic family and I am a bit of a workout fanatic. Basically, I am always in some form of exercise clothing and that just seems normal to everyone. I’m also not one for a lot of makeup and most of the time I will just pull my hair back in a ponytail. When we get dressed to go out to events, inevitably someone always says, ‘Wow. You clean up well.’ When they were younger, my kids were confused by it. Now they just laugh.” ••• Lastly, “I’ve always been a jeans, boots and T-shirt or cashmere sweater type. I’m from out west originally and that’s how I grew up. It’s my uniform. My husband is the clotheshorse and I know he would like me to change things up, but what you see is what you get. If he had dreams of changing me, I hope he’s not disappointed. Opposites attract I guess, because we are going on 23 years of happy marriage.”
The model sports an outfit from the Vince collection, available at Richards in Greenwich and 56 Mitchells in Westport.
I’ve always said, “You never know what’s really going on in someone else’s bedroom or bank account.” Evidently, I can include closet to that adage as well. For more beauty and fashion from DivaDebbi, please visit DivaDebbi.com. n
Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson Breakfast In America Tour
Saturday, January 12
A Gala Event with Open Bar, Dinner by the Bite and Silent Auction with hits The Logical Song, Give a Little Bit and more!
A Night of Comedy Headliners
Blue Öyster Cult Sunday, February 3
Sunday, January 13
CLARK CONSTRUCTION COMEDY SERIES
Starring Rich Vos, Gary Gulman and Bonnie McFarlane
Three top headliners in one amazing show!
Blood, Sweat & Tears
109 Cheese & Wine Evening of Art, Wine and Jazz
A great night of their biggest hits including Spinning Wheel, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy and more! CHEESE & WINE JAZZ SERIES
Thursday, January 24
The Official Blues Brothers™ Revue Saturday, February 16
Veteran Stand Up Comedian and Star of HBOs Curb Your Enthusiasm! ROCK SERIES
Thursday, February 21
Friday, January 25
Reliance Merchant Services "Get Real" Series for Families & Teens
Playing Floyd’s hits with dramatic lighting and video! ROCK SERIES
The Cast of Beatlemania
ENTERTAINING CONVERSTATIONS SERIES
The Cast of Beatlemania recreates the sights and sounds of the Beatles so faithfully - you’ll swear you were listening to John, Paul, George and Ringo! ROCK SERIES
Tony Award Winner
Listen to the man behind the anti-bullying movement. 5:00pm Screening of Film "BULLY", 6:30 pm Cocktail Reception, 7:30pm Event with Lee Hirsch
An Evening of Conversation with
Saturday, January 26
Saturday, February 23
ENTERTAINING CONVERSTATIONS SERIES
An on-stage interview by award winning journalist Morton Dean, with the most important artist to work in the American Musical Theater over the past half century.
Christine Ebersole BROADWAY & CABARET SERIES
This live concert show combines the comedy and hits from the original movie, and pays homage to Chicago’s rich history of blues, gospel and soul music.
Lee Hirsch Director “Bully”
Performs Pink Floyd
Sunday, January 27
Join us at 7:15pm in the lobby for a complimentary wine and cheese tasting. Grammy Award Winning Vocalist with hits “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Crush on You” and more!
DAN AYKROYD, JUDY BELUSHI and Musical Director PAUL SHAFFER Present:
CLARK CONSTRUCTION COMEDY SERIES
Thursday, February 7
Friday, January 18
Legendary hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult returns to The Ridgefield Playhouse! With hits “Don’t Fear The Reaper,” “ Burnin’ For You” and more!
Sunday, March 3
Singing popular standards, Broadway tunes with behind the scenes stories!
Bowfire presents an "All Star Show" of the finest lineup of fiddle and violin virtuosos ever assembled on one stage.
Don’t Miss our Valentine’s Day with Michael Bolton Thursday, February 14 at 6:30pm
Free champagne, hors d'oeuvres, chocolate fountain and rose for every lady! With hits “That’s What Love is All About,” “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” and “When a Man Loves a Woman.”
THE RIDGEFIELD PLAYHOUSE 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield, CT • (203)438-5795 • www.ridgefieldplayhouse.org
Elie Tahari, a modern classic By Patricia Espinosa
Elie Tahari seems to have a sixth sense for what women want to wear. After four decades of dressing women, the designer continues to delight with sartorial creations that flatter the feminine figure and celebrate her natural beauty. For this he has earned a legion of loyal customers, making the designer’s clothes one of the most successful fashion brands in the world. Recently, the fashion mogul took time away from his busy schedule to answer my questions: This year marks your 40th anniversary in fashion. In a notoriously fickle business, how do you explain your longevity? “I credit my longevity to adapting with the changes and trends but still staying true to my classic designs and heritage. I want all women to feel beautiful in Elie Tahari. I truly love what I do, designing is my passion and I think that shows in my collections.” Is it true you launched your career by selling tube tops to women in the ’70s? “That is very true. A fashion manufacturing error occurred and resulted in a pile of fabric tubes. Some of these mistakes ended up in a New York boutique. I knew right away they were going to be a hit. I brought a pile of them for $2 apiece and resold them for $4. I snuck into a trade show with my bags of tubes and no credentials and pictures showing how to wear them. By the end of the day I had thousands of orders. That was the beginning of my wholesale career.” Tell me about the inspirations for your spring collection? “The spring 2013 collection was inspired by the architecture of Richard Neutra homes in Palm Springs he designed during the ’50s and ’60s. I also referenced those amazing Slim Aarons photographs and was inspired by the beautiful people. I could see the woman wearing Elie Tahari in the modern-day version of those photos.” How would you describe the collection? “The collection is a mix of modern sophistication injected with vibrant, lively colors such as tangy melon, lime, coral, sea palm and flamingo pink. At the center of 58
the collection is an assortment of luxurious materials, including chiffon, organza, cashmere and suede.” What do you think attracts people to the brand? “I design classic silhouettes but still with a modern edge. I pride myself in using the finest fabrics. All of our leather is handmade Italian. When a woman purchases an Elie Tahari dress, she knows it will become a staple in her closet and that she can wear it for years to come.” Style is obviously impo\rtant, but how critical is fit to your line? “Fit is crucial. The designs can be amazing, but if the fit is off, so is your entire collection. I actually fit my collection on members of my staff. I design clothes for real women with real figures, not just the size 0 supermodels.” Do you have any style icons? “I love the ’80s and disco era. I think Bianca Jagger, Elle MacPherson and Brooke Shields are classic beauties and style icons. Today, I love the way Angelina Jolie looks and dresses.” You recently served as a guest judge on “Project Runway All Stars.” What was that experience like? “It was a wonderful experience. I always love working with emerging talent. I had the opportunity to host a challenge at my design studio. It was great to mentor the young talent on the show and interact with my fellow judges – Isaac Mizrahi, Joanna Coles and Carolyn Murphy.” January WAG is all about books, so tell us what types of books do you like to read. “Slim Aarons is one of my favorite photographers. I have all of his books: ‘Once Upon a Time,’ ‘A Place in the Sun’ and ‘Poolside with Slim Aarons.’ I also love the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) books; ‘American Fashion Designers at Home,’ ‘American Fashion Cookbook’ and ‘IMPACT: 50 Years of the CFDA.’” n
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the skinny on men’s skin By Zoë Zellers Images courtesy of Lush Cosmetics
“They say you start developing wrinkles when you’re 20 years old,” says Barry Nelson, assistant manager of Lush Cosmetics at The Westchester in White Plains, “and I think you should always treat your skin like the adult you are.” “I love skin care for men. I’m all about grooming…. I believe in listening to your skin. Watch how it’s behaving and know what it needs,” Barry says, adding that at Lush, “No product is specifically for women, no product is specifically for men. Every product is totally how you want to use it and how it’s going to benefit you.” That said, guys should consider taking an unintimidating spa-like visit to Lush to pick up these natural, handmade grooming must-haves:
For the face
Barry recommends the mild Coalface Facial Cleanser ($13.50 for ¼ lb.) that he uses daily. The black-colored bar is actually made with licorice, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and deep-cleansing charcoal, which Barry calls “an oil-eater.” Men shouldn’t be afraid of using a yearround facial mask a couple of times a week to deep-cleanse and help post-shave irritation. For winter months, Barry suggests Lush’s extra-hydrating BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask ($6.95 for a pot), which guys can share with their girlfriends, too. In addition to its ground almond shells, which scrub away dead skin and even skin tone, “there’s a lot of seaweed in it – actual flakes of seaweed – and that’s really, really moisturizing and nourishing, and tons of aloe, which is wonderful if you’re irritated. It’s a best-seller.” Continue to mix up the daily routine to winter needs by scrubbing away at dead skin with Lush’s fantastic Ocean Salt Facial and Body Scrub ($19.95 for 4.2 oz./$34.95 for 8.8 oz.), which leaves skin feeling polished, refreshed and surprisingly not dried out. Blackheads be gone. Before shaving, men (and women) should exfoliate and lift hairs. Lush’s scrub “smells like a margarita,” Barry jokes. It uniquely blends fine and coarse sea salt, vodka, lime and grapefruit to tone and brighten the skin – a perfect remedy for the short daylight hours ahead – and moisturizes with avocado and cocoa butters, seaweed and soothing violet leaf absolutes. Step up your shaving routine by remembering less is more when it comes to blade count and by switching to Lush’s 60
Big Tease Hair Gel, $18.95
Daddy-O Shampoo, $29.95 for 16.9 oz.
BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask, $6.95
Dirty Hair Styling Cream, $14.95
popular nourishing, natural Dirty Shaving Cream ($12.95 for 100g). Barry calls it a “for-everyone shaving cream,” because it’s made of hydrating oat milk (great for sensitive skin), soothing shea butter, honey and calming lavender and sandalwood. Once skin is clean, the Lush philosophy is to apply a toner before moisturizing. “It’s that last-minute way to open up your pores and get your skin nice and dewy and wet, making it much easier to work with.” Lush carries a variety of toners, but oilyskinned and acne-prone men should liberally spritz Tea Tree Water Facial Toner ($8.95 for 100 ml/ $19.95 for 250 ml). The tea tree refreshes skin and attacks breakouts, while its grapefruit and juniper juices act as enzymatic aides. “That’s going to break away the oil as opposed to something like alcohol, which is a little too harsh for human skin.” Follow with the moisturizer that’s right for you, but Barry recommends that in winter men use Skin’s Shangri-La Moisturizer ($49.95). “It’s our richest moisturizer and it’s beautiful for mature skin. It’s great for sensitive skin as well. …I always switch to this come wintertime.” After shaving all men could use an aloe lift to prevent irritation. You might try the ultra-soothing Cosmetic Lad Moisturizer ($22.95) with softening shea and cocoa butters, healing aloe vera and calming lavender honey water, chamomile, wheatgrass and cold-pressed virgin almond oil, topped with
a light scent of tangerine and sandalwood. Or as Barry says, “Eat your vegetables and wear them, too.”
For the pits
“Men tend to sweat a little more,” Barry acknowledges. But Lush doesn’t want that to stop. “We as humans want to sweat. It’s natural. That’s our body’s way of releasing toxins from our body.” The company doesn’t believe in nowconsidered controversial antiperspirant deodorants but instead retails fabulous guys’ and girls’ deodorant options (in the true sense of the word “deodorant”). T’eo Deodorant ($7.95) is a packagefree, preservative-free bar that blends odor-killing lemongrass and tea tree oil, detoxifying juniper oil and fresh grape juice, which acts as an astringent. Try The Guv’ner Deodorant ($9.95 for 1.4 oz.). It’s a dark green charcoalbased powder, so please apply before dressing. But this bizarre-looking stuff really works at absorbing oil. “You’re smelling charcoal, sage, lavender, rose and vetiver. We’re all about healing with herbs,” Barry says. “These are probably the two most popular deodorants for men because they’re heavy-duty yet sensitive.” All of Lush’s unisex-friendly fragrances come in a variety of concentrations based on packaging. But men on-the-go might like throwing Dirty Solid Perfume ($9.95) in their pocket and layering throughout the day. “You’re smelling spearmint, tarragon,
Dirty Solid Perfume, $9.95
Cosmetic Lad Moisturizer, $22.95
thyme, and it’s really minty and guys love that….It’s just really fresh.”
For the hair
Some men love Lush’s purple-colored Daddy-O Shampoo ($9.95 for 3.3 oz./ $19.95 for 8.4 oz./ $29.95 for 16.9 oz.), which blends lemon and lime juices, organic coconut oil, nutritious seaweed and lovely violet, bergamot and rose scents. (Apparently some use Daddy-O as shower gel, too.) “Daddy-O was invented by Mark Constantine, Lush’s co-founder, because he was graying and wanted to gray a little bit more gracefully… Daddy-O is really great for bringing out your blond, bringing down brassiness and brightening it up and that’s what the lemon does for you.” Finish your fresh-faced, well-groomed bathroom routine with Big Tease Hair Gel ($18.95), a light styling cream that smells like energizing, shine-inducing jojoba, lemon and mandarin oils and orange flower absolute topped with peppermint that literally stimulates and volumizes hair follicles. Dirty Hair Styling Cream ($14.95) is for the man who likes more of a pomade texture in his hair. Barry uses this and says it’s “really heavy, moisturizing, heavy-duty and my hair feels very, very soft.” Visit Lush at The Westchester, because, as Barry says, “Everyone’s skin is so, so different. But all of these products can help to banish winter skin and hair damage and keep you smelling and feeling fresh.” For more, visit lush.com. n
Refuge between the covers By Sarah Hodgson
hat does a dog trainer and writer read when she’s not training or writing? When I told my husband I was writing a column on books, he asked if I would be writing about my books. Granted, I’ve written several, including “Puppies for Dummies” and the humorous but helpful “Miss Sarah’s Etiquette Guide for Dogs and People,” and I’m deeply proud of all of them. But I think it would be more revealing to learn what’s sitting on my bedside table. Therein lies the secrets of my dog-training success. First, a personal glimpse into my world. Dogs are not my only passion. I strive for a Martha Stewart-esque type coziness in my family’s little den here in Katonah – cooking, gardening and entertaining. Though we share our lives with enough pets to fill a barn, I keep a pretty tidy ship. There is no cat odor. Everyone is trained to keep
very close tabs on the litter box and keep it clean at all times. Everyone pitches in, including my 5-year-old who, for some reason, likes to wear his Star Wars costume when it’s his turn. Whatever it takes. The dogs are brushed based on need. They know what to chew and not to chew and sleep on mats to reduce the fur flow. I’m proud of – and occasionally exhausted by – the order. But enter the bedroom and you’ll see a bit of a mess. My bedside table is a mash of papers, books, kids’ toys and magazine clippings. It’s not neat or even particularly well organized, but it comforts me. It represents everything that I hold dear. Near the top, there’s usually a best-seller. This is my escape. Beneath that, you’ll find “Animals Make Us Human” by Temple Grandin. This is my guide to compassionate dog training. Stuck inside the pages of her book, you’ll find a few recipes from the Pampered Chef, one or two of the kids’
report cards and some notes on current and future blog posts. Today there are a few children’s books leftover from last night’s bedtime reading and several current catalogs of holiday goodies. Anchoring the pile is neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp’s “Affective Neuroscience” (a tip of the hat to my college science studies) and a compelling and persuasive loaner from my neighbor called “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.” On the floor you’ll find more children’s books as well as a collection of books about children. Another secret of my book list? I’ve gleaned the better part of my unique, kindly but effective dog-training and puppy-raising inspirations from the best of the best parent books – “Blessing of a Skinned Knee,” “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” and “Siblings Without Rivals.” Of course, I filter the information as pets talk
a different language. But like children, dogs long for acceptance and understanding. I call it human-pomorphisizing – imagining yourself in their place. I consider it as important a quality for parents as it is for pet owners. Though it took more than two centuries for scientists to catch up with what I’ve always believed – that dogs have the mental capacities of young children – it’s now a widely held belief that the same blend of structure, love and consistency that works to enhance a toddler’s life also works for a dog. And did you know? Dogs are being enlisted to help kids read. Programs found at some libraries and schools pair dogs with young children to develop reading skills. The nonjudgmental presence of a pet inspires confidence in kids of all ages. Now only if we could teach dogs to read. n
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Hey doll face, get ready for some hard-boiled flicks By Sam Barron
he rat-a-tat dialogue. The sleazy cases. The murders for hire. The fedora hats. The characters, so cool you would think they were a jazz recording. All will be on display in the Jacob Burns Film Center’s “Pulp Fictions: The Hardest Hard-Boiled Crime Novels on the Big Screen” series, which runs from Feb. 7 to 28 in Pleasantville. The series features such pulpy classics as “The Long Goodbye,” based on the Raymond Chandler novel, and “The Maltese Falcon,” from the Dashiell Hammett novel. Authors like Mickey Spillane, Elmore Leonard and David Goodis are also represented, along with directors such as Robert Altman and Steven Soderbergh. The Burns seeks to showcase the best adaptations of pulp crime novels and hard-boiled fiction. The series is curated by Christopher Funderburg, a programmer at the Burns. “These are some of my personal favorites,” Funderburg says. “I wanted to show movies that we haven’t shown before and give an audience a chance to see them.” Funderburg, who says he noticed that he began reading more pulp as he got older, thinks these novels are easy to adapt into movies. “You can take them and make them into whatever movie you want to see. These movies are accessible and audience-ready. You can improve them and sharpen them the way you want.” Calling the movies “sexy,” Funderburg adds that they have all the elements audiences want to see. “Murder, violence, affairs, adultery: These are real page-turners. They are compelling in a very basic way.” Funderburg says that many pulp writers don’t get the respect they deserve for their compelling, engaging novels. “It’s more difficult than they get credit for. These are good books that have apparent virtues.” While many of these movies are available on DVD, it’s rare to find 35-millimeter prints of the films like “Cockfighter.” Some of the movies will be shown in their original prints. The age of the blockbuster has killed off a lot of these small-time gritty crime movies, which Funderburg calls a tragedy. “A movie like ‘Friends of Eddie Coyle’ would never get made today. It’s too small a story. All these stories about small-time crime, there’s not massive criminal conspiracies. They don’t have car chases and bazookas. These books are about real crimes that really could be committed. They’ve completely fallen out of favor.” Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone helped kill off the small drama as films had to have more special effects to stay relevant. While Bruce Willis’ “Die Hard” series has morphed into an action franchise, the original “Die Hard” was based on the Roderick Thorp pulp series “The Detective,” which was also turned into a Frank Sinatra movie in 1968. “The original ‘Die Hard’ is so much more intimate and small scale,” Funderburg says. “No one is jumping on a jet. Every action hero now is an expert in mixed martial arts.” Funderburg thinks that Olivier Megaton, who directed the recent hit “Taken 2” and also made similar movies like “Columbiana” and “Transporter 2,” could learn a lot
by reading or watching pulp fiction. “These movies don’t have to be so paint by the numbers,” Funderburg says. “Hollywood can’t let its action heroes and crime movies be real.” With the film series set to launch, Funderburg hopes this encourages the Burns’ audience to see a bunch of good movies that turn them onto good books.
“I hope they all decide to read ‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’ and read Charles Willeford books,” he says. The Jacob Burns is partnering with the Westchester Library System during the series. Library cardholders will get two tickets for any screening at $6 member prices. For more, visit burnsfilmcenter.org. n 63
For a good read about plastic surgery… Michael Rosenberg, MD
It’s amazing how obsessed our culture seems to be with all things plastic surgery. There has been a fascination with the procedures, the people undergoing the procedures, their motivations and even with the practitioners themselves. My own favorite was the television series “NIP/TUCK,” but that’s only the surface. “Extreme Makeover” (not the home edition),” Dr. 90210” and other reality shows have all had their day in the sun and many movies deal with plastic surgery or surgeons. As for popular literature, the latest best-seller I am reading, Vince Flynn’s “The Last Man,” has a subplot of a spy completely changing his identity through plastic surgery. But popular culture aside, where can we look for real information about plastic surgery, the procedures and the
surgeons? Although there are many self-help books on the subject available, the discerning reader might be better served taking a closer look at source material. Specifically, there is an unbelievable amount of information available online on the topic of plastic surgery and anyone with an interest in the topic should begin his investigations here. Generally speaking, there are four different sources of material to investigate. There are some general governmental agencies that provide information and that can be a good place to start. Each of the major surgical societies can be a source of information, and almost all of them have a section with information (and often photographs) specifically directed towards the public. The third major source of information are the different companies that make the
products, from lasers to fillers, that play such an important role in modern plastic surgery (and which we have been writing about for the past two years). Always keeping in mind the bias of the source. But the companies can often be a wealth of information (plus, the material on their sites is subject to review by government agencies, such as the FDA). Finally, there is the information available from consumers themselves, other people who may have gone through the very same procedures you are considering. Before sharing some specific information about these different sources, however, let me share a caution: Caveat Emptor or “Let the buyer beware.” Always be mindful of the source of the material you are looking at, try to get at the same information from several different sources and remember that information can be a commodity, too. Among its other duties, the FDA, or Federal Drug Administration, is charged with regulating medical devices, which include everything from the lasers we use for hair removal or resurfacing, to the implants we use in breast augmentation or reconstruction after cancer. Both manufacturers and the physician community have to present data to the FDA on the safety and efficacy of the devices we use, and much of this information is readily available to the public. The website of interest here is fda.gov. There are links there to much of the research material behind its findings, if you are inclined to a more technical read. Another good government site for links to current research is the National Institutes of Health, available at nih.gov. Although neither site is specifically designed for sharing information with the layperson, the information can help guide your research. The next stops I recommend on your reading list are the professional society websites. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons was founded in 1931 and is the organization representing boardcertified plastic surgeons in the United States. Its website, plasticsurgery. org, has sections, including news and resources, information (and pre- and post-operative photographs) about the
procedures we do and links to other information sources. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, founded in 1967, focuses on those plastic surgery procedures that are directed at cosmetic (as opposed to reconstructive) surgery and can be found at surgery.org. A good source for information on laser procedures can be found at aslms.org, the website of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. These are all good starting points and have links to additional sources as well. For information about specific devices or products, the companies that manufacture the products we use are all sources. For the Thermage device, thermage.com is an interesting site. For implants, the two big manufacturers are Mentor Corporation at mentorwwllc.com and Allergan at allergan. com. (Since Allergan also makes Botox and Juvaderm, there is plenty to see on this site). Medicis, the maker of Restylane and Dysport, has a site at medicis.com. They were recently purchased by Valeant, the maker of Sculptra (Valeant.com). Another good source is Merz, the maker of Radiesse, at Merz. com. There are many others as well, but this listing should give you a good start to most of the different products we commonly use (and have written about in this column). The consumer sites include those that are specifically designed to pass information on to consumers, bypassing the professional societies and the manufacturers. One good one is Realself. com, which posts questions and photos from the public for its plastic surgeon members to then answer. It can be interesting to see the perspective of multiple surgeons. This site is just one of many that provide similar information. There are also multiple consumer rating sites, but as mentioned previously, be aware that the information on these sites is not always accurate and should only be part of your research. Finally, I do get some inquiries from my readers and I would be happy to discuss your questions or issues at any time. Please send any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. n
Reading – as essential as breathing Erika Schwartz, MD
zac and Steinbeck, London and Wilde, Proust and Byron: Are their works heading for oblivion? In the past decade, many of the small bookstores went out of business. Then big chains like Borders Books and Music closed down. The publishers are pulling their collective hair out as the business is losing ground and literary agents are looking for a change of day jobs. The era of Kindle and electronic readers is here to stay. I guess it’s like the moments when human beings transitioned from the carefully handwritten parchment pages of centuries ago to printed words and presses, from typewriters to computers as well as audio and video. Transitions are hard for those who know there is a transition afoot. For those who are born after the change, most don’t even know what went before. The methods of reading have clearly changed and keep evolving, but the fact is, we need to read. It may be an e-book rather than a print one. Still, reading is as important as breathing if we want to grow as people and are curious about more than just what’s in front of our noses. As adults we can choose what we read. In school we are given a list of recommended and required reading that often makes no sense to us and seems to serve only the role of destroying our vacation times. Not quite. There is a reason we must read. Reading will teach us that we are neither the first nor the last to experience this world. Reading will teach us how others before and just like us now see and interpret what is going on in their lives. Reading tells us stories from the past – which is part of the present and future. When you read, you expand as a person. You absorb ways of seeing your world you cannot when you watch TV or go to the theater or a movie. You have to use your imagination. And imagination is where the health and growth of a human being meet. I always recommend books to my patients. They are rarely medical books. Medical books are limited to diseases and diagnoses. Most patients can find
their own sources of medical information without my help. I recommend they read books about economics, statistics and philosophy, love stories and famous old books. The books I recommend help disconnect us from imminent worry and transport us to a world where as observers we can learn how to live our lives with perspective and courage. Here are a few – Gerd Gigerenzer’s “Reckoning Without Risk,” Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers,” John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” and Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time.” Just a few, to start with. For more information, email Dr. Erika at Erika@drerika.com. n
When you read, you expand as a person. You absorb ways of seeing your world you cannot when you watch TV or go to the theater or a movie. You have to use your imagination. And imagination is where the health and growth of a human being meet.
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In our age of Google and sound bites, reality TV and vanishing old-fashioned storytelling, you have to wonder if there’s still any place left for sitting down and reading a good book. As an author of four books – I’m almost finished with my fifth – I find tremendous pleasure in writing. Sharing experiences and stories with others makes me feel more connected, more in touch. I write, because I believe the information I have accumulated over decades of living and practicing medicine should be shared with those I don’t personally know. Truth is, I really like to write as a method of communication but also as a great way to relax and gather my thoughts, put perspective on my life and just stop running. But how does that apply to those I hope will still read books? Does reading help heal, calm us down and give us information that may help us cure cancer or prevent heart attacks? Certainly. Is reading a beach activity or a way to continue learning? Both. Or have we reached a point where watching TV or surfing the Net is a better way to gather the information in our frenetic lives? Is reading heading for obsolescence? Are we just becoming illiterate as a result? I hope not. I remember when “Cliffs Notes,” “Idiot’s Guides” and shortcuts for everything from housekeeping to classic literature, mathematics to brain surgery made their entrances into our lives. First, it was a shock. But then for many, “Cliffs Notes” certainly obviated the need to read an entire book. At the same time, the Encyclopedia Britannica appeared to give everyone who owned the set access to everything without having to put in much reading effort. As long as you bought the entire collection of books, it came with services that provided you with summaries and reports on any topic you wanted. That was 40 years ago. Now we have Wikipedia, Google, Ask, YouTube and, of course, all the social media to keep us informed and enable us to carry on a semi- intelligent dinner conversation. So what happened to the real books? Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky, Bal-
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The winter queen Glorious St. Petersburg By Cappy Devlin
Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 67
ecently, I went to see the movie “Anna Karenina.” Based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy, it stars Keira Knightley as an unhappy wife whose fateful sexual awakening plays out as she – and we – are transported from St. Petersburg to Moscow and back. For a few hours, I was immersed in imperial riches and reminded once again of my own, happier journeys there. I have been to Russia several times – working in Moscow, but always eager to take the Sapsan highspeed train to St. Petersburg in less than four hours. Arriving in St. Petersburg, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, I like to go exploring with a driver/guide from the banks of the Neva River to the Nevsky Prospect, Petersburg’s main thoroughfare; to St. Isaac’s Square, which spreads out between the Mariinsky Palace and St. Isaac’s Cathedral; to the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, its colorful, crusted ornamentation crowned by spiraling onion domes. St. Petersburg is a city rich in history and culture, founded by the forward-thinking Peter the Great in 1703. A private VIP tour of the State Hermitage Museum, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, and its high-tech art vault is an extraordinary experience. Over the span of 250 years, the museum’s collection has grown to more than 3 million items, including works from the world’s noted artists. Ushered in through a private entrance, I began my exclusive exploration of the fabulous collections. The Hermitage Storage Facility covers more than 357,000 square feet of floor space. After you clear security, you can marvel at the imperial carriages, the opulent Romanov dynasty furniture collection and the fascinating glassfronted displays of priceless art works, tapestries, icons and sculptures. I am always awed by Peter the Great’s throne, the breathtaking Raphael loggias, the imperial carriage, the Scythian comb (circa 500 B.C.) and works by many of the world’s greatest artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne and Monet, among this unique collection. 68
In the evening, I would dine at the Tsar restaurant, which is in a historic mansion. During the day, take a half-hour hydrofoil voyage to the Peterhof Palace, Peter the Great’s former summer residence. This is a splendid palace, surrounded by some of the most magnificent gardens in the world, with terraces, fountains and gilded sculpture. Returning to St. Petersburg, I like to attend an evening performance at the venerable Mariinsky Theatre, which has a long tradition of excellence. It’s where both George Balanchine and Mikhail Baryshnikov got their start. Today that tradition lives on and the Mariinsky name continues to mean the finest in performance art – with world-class artists from around the globe appearing on one of the world’s largest stages. Then I enjoy a late dinner at the wellknown 1913 restaurant. The next day, take in the Winter Palace, a former residence of the czars with a most unusual room. Constructed of amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors, the Amber Room was given to Peter the Great by a Prussian king in 1716. Installed at the Catherine Palace in neighboring Pushkin, it was later extended to cover nearly 600 square feet with more than six tons of amber. During World War II, German soldiers disassembled the room and it was never seen again. In 2003, a painstaking reconstruction – partly carried out by craftsmen at the American Museum of Natural History’s landmark 1998 amber exhibit – was completed, enabling visitors to savor its brilliance once again. Before leaving St. Petersburg, try to squeeze in another opera or a performance of traditional Russian folk songs and dancers and then have dinner at Ocean, a famed restaurant on the bank of the Neva. Leave-taking will be difficult. St. Petersburg has all the ingredients for an unforgettable travel experience – high art, lavish architecture, an extraordinary history and rich cultural traditions that have inspired and nurtured some of the modern world’s greatest visual art, music, choreography and literature. For more, visit Cappy’s Travel at 195 N. Bedford Road, Mount Kisco. Call (914) 241-0383 or email Cappy@travel-by-net.com. n 69
Sit back and uncork a good read By Geoff Kalish, MD
ith all the wine books and cookbooks out there – even with the marked decline in new titles over the past few years – how unique or helpful are new market entries? And how do they compare with the classics in the field? These are the questions I asked myself a while ago and set out to answer by scouring the shelves of bookshops in Westchester and Manhattan.
ington Ave. (at 94th Street.)
For the home chef
In a world in which everything seems more complex and convoluted, Michael Ruhlman’s “Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, A Cook’s Manifesto” (Chronicle, $40) and “Ina Garten’s Foolproof: Recipes you can trust” (Clarkson Potter, $35) stand out for clarity and simplicity. Author of two excellent books about his experiences at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Ruhlman makes “Twenty” a must for serious home chefs – essentially distilling successful cooking into 20 reliable, reproducible, basic techniques – clearly explained in text and demonstrated in more than 300 photographs. Also a far cry from the classic volumes by Escoffier and Julia Child, the latest in the “Barefoot Contessa” series by Ina Garten not only provides easy to follow recipes but explains in text and photos what the dish should look like when served and how to avoid pitfalls in its preparation. Also included are suggestions for timing considerations when incorporating a dish into a meal – an important element missed in most other cookbooks.
For the serious oenophile
My only regret about Evan Dawson’s critically acclaimed “Summer in a Glass: The Coming of Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes” (Sterling Epicure, $15) is that it wasn’t published before I visited the Keuka and Cayuga Lakes wine areas two years ago. Told in a surprisingly easy reading style for such a well-researched book, it would have provided me then with great insight into the wines and winemakers of the region. And while probably too detailed for novices, this book makes earlier attempts by others writing on the same subject seem boring and/or amateurish. Narrowly focused, “The Vineyard at the End of the World: Maverick Winemakers and the Rebirth of Malbec,” by Ian Mount (Norton, $27) is not for those seeking to find the latest, greatest bottle of any wine. In fact, unlike many other books that focus on a particular wine varietal, there are no specific recommendations here. On the other hand, the author provides a comprehensive documentary of the geographical, financial, social and political happenings over the past 400 years in Argentina that allowed for the emergence of Malbec as the country’s standard-bearing brand. Some, like me, will find the story fascinating. Others looking for wine-buying advice, however, may not make it through the first chapter.
For the wine-challenged
If you think there’s nothing new under the sun in wine primers, then check out “The Drops of the Gods, Volume I”
For a no-nonsense approach
(Vertical, $15) by sister and brother Yuko and Shin Kibayashi, written under the pen name Tadashi Agi. A megahit in Japan, China and Korea for the past decade, but only translated into English this past year or so, this book is the first in a series, written in comic book style, that primarily follows the exploration of the world of wine by its hero, Shizuku Kanzaki, who has rebelled against his famous wine-critic father. While the premise sounds off the
wall, it’s far more instructional and fun than anything that’s been published since “Wine for Dummies,” and far more readable than the Alexis Bespaloff’s classic, “Signet Book of Wine.” It even offers good tips for the wine-knowledgeable reader on issues like decanting and deciphering a label. Difficult to come by in Westchester and Connecticut, it’s available at specialty bookshops in Manhattan like Kitchen Arts and Letters at 1435 Lex-
Already a best-seller at the Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, “How To Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto” (Morrow, $25), by New York Times critic Eric Asimov, provides a common-sense approach to enjoying any vintage. Asimov tells his well-written tale through a series of personal experiences as a kid growing up in the 1960s and ’70s who knew little about wine. His basic premise is that the anxiety brought on by blind tastings and being able to accurately describe the olfactory and gustatory sensations of wine have little to do with its enjoyment, which he feels is accomplished by opening a bottle and drinking its contents. Not a unique concept but still, it’s quite a departure from all the books, magazines and newsletters reporting on blind tastings with numerical ratings and frequently incomprehensible, somewhat silly descriptions of wine. n
when&where now THROUGH SUNDAY MARCH 3 ‘EXTREME HABITATS: LIVING DESERT DRY’
An exhibition exploring plant and animal adaptations to desert living, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays; Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich. $7, $6 students and seniors. (203) 869-0376, brucemuseum. org.
FRIDAY JANUARY 11 THROUGH SUNDAY FEBRUARY 3 ‘THE UNEXPECTED GUEST’
A performance of the Agatha Christie play, show times vary; The Dressing Room Theatre, 1349 Newfield Ave., Stamford. (203) 461-6358, curtaincallinc.com.
SATURDAY JANUARY 12 ‘SHAKESPEARE IN THE CHURCH: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’s DREAM’
The Red Monkey Theatre Group performs the Bard’s classic star-crossed comedy, 1:30 to 3 p.m.; Saint Paul’s Church, 897 S. Columbus Ave., Mount Vernon; (914) 667-4116.
FRIDAY JANUARY 18 STILL HUNGRY TOUR
John Pinette performs stand-up, 8 p.m.; Ulster Performing Arts Center; 601 Broadway, Kingston. $37.75. (845) 339-6088, bardavon.org.
SATURDAY JANUARY 19 ‘THE MET: LIVE IN HD’
The Metropolitan Opera, in collaboration with Fairfield University, simulcasts Gaetano Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda,” with a discussion 45 minutes prior to the first broadcast, 1 p.m. live, 6 p.m. encore; Fairfield University, Quick Center for the Arts, 1073 N. Benson Road, Fairfield. $25, $20 se-
“East Harlem Street Scene” by Colleen Browning.
niors, $10 children and students. (877) ARTS-396, fairfield.edu. (For other “Live in HD” venues, visit metoperafamily.org.)
SUNDAY JANUARY 20 ‘PACO PEÑA’
Flamenco music and dance, 7 p.m.; Bardavon, 35 Market St., Poughkeepsie. (845) 473-2072, bardavon.org.
THURSDAY JANUARY 24 THROUGH SUNDAY MARCH 24 CELEBRATING SEVEN DECADES OF WORK
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 1 ‘A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM’
The musical comedy is at the Kweskin Theatre through Feb. 23, show times vary; 1349 Newfield Ave., Stamford. (203) 461-6358, curtaincallinc. com.
‘ALL AMERICAN SONG’
Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe – acclaimed for her Fricka in The Metropolitan Opera’s new “Ring” – performs, with Warren Jones on the keyboard, 7:15 p.m. pre-performance discussion, 8 p.m. concert; Fairfield University, Quick Center for the Arts, 1073 N. Benson Road. $55, $45, $35. (877) ARTS396, fairfield.edu.
Fairfield University rediscovers the career of AngloAmerican Realist painter Colleen Browning with two exhibitions, mounted by the Bellarmine Museum of Art and the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery at Fairfield University, 1073 N. Benson Road. (203) 254-4046, fairfield.edu/museum.
SATURDAY JANUARY 26 ‘BANG ON A CAN ALL-STARS’
The concert includes a pre-performance discussion with Bang on a Can’s artistic directors, 8 p.m.; Fairfield University, Quick Center for the Arts, 1073 N. Benson Road, Fairfield. $35, $30, $25. (877) ARTS-396, fairfield.edu.
From left, WJO musicians David Brandom, Jay Brandford and Jason Rigby
MONDAY JANUARY 28 ‘METROPOLITAN LIFE’
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 2 ‘TOP POPS’ An open forum with writer/humorist Fran Lebow- Westchester Jazz Orchestra (WJO) celebrates folk itz as she discusses her many opinions about modern life, 8 p.m.; Fairfield University Quick Center for the Arts, 1073 N. Benson Road. $45. (877) ARTS-396, fairfield.edu.
and pop music with a concert featuring the songs of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carole King and Billy Joel, 7:15 pre-concert talk, 8 p.m. concert; Irvington Town Hall Theater, 85 Main St., Irvington. $40, $35 seniors, $15 students. (914) 861-9100, westjazzorch.org.
worthy INDEPENDENDENT and RARE BOOK STORES ALEPH-BET BOOKS 85 Old Mill River Road Pound Ridge, NY (914) 764-7410 alephbet.com
BOOKS ON THE COMMON 404 Main St. Ridgefield, CT (203) 431-9100 booksonthecommon.com
KOSMOS BOOK SHOP 132 N. Broadway Tarrytown, NY (914) 564-6527 kosmosbookshop.com
URSUS BOOKS 699 Madison Ave. New York, NY (212) 772-8787 ursusbooks.com
ANDERSON’S BOOK SHOP 96 Chatsworth Ave. Larchmont, NY (914) 834-6900
BRUISED APPLE BOOKS & MUSIC 923 Central Ave. Peekskill, NY (914) 734-7000 bruisedapplebooks.com
THE MYSTERIOUS BOOKSHOP 58 Warren St. New York, NY (212) 587-1011 mysteriousbookshop.com
VILLAGE BOOKSTORE 10 Washington Ave. Pleasantville, NY (914) 769-8322
DIANE’S BOOKS OF GREENWICH INC. 8 Grigg St. Greenwich, CT (203) 869-1515 dianesbooks.com
OBLONG BOOKS & MUSIC 6422 Montgomery St. Rhinebeck, NY (845) 876-0500 26 Main St. Millerton, NY (518) 789-3797 oblongbooks.com
ARCADE BOOKSELLERS 15 Purchase St. Rye, NY (914) 967-0966 arcadebooks.com ARCHIVIA BOOKS 933 Lexington Ave. New York, NY (212) 570-9565 archiviabooks.com ARGOSY BOOK STORE INC. 116 E. 59 St. New York, NY (212) 753-4455 argosybooks.com BARRETT BOOKSTORE 314 Heights Road Darien, CT (203) 655-2712 barrettbookstore.com BAUMAN RARE BOOKS 535 Madison Ave. New York, NY (212) 751-0011 baumanrarebooks.com BEAR MOUNTAIN STATE PARK VISITOR CENTER AND BOOKSTORE Palisades Interstate Parkway (between exits 16 and 17) Bear Mountain, NY (845) 786-5003 BOOKS OF WONDER 18 W. 18 St. New York, NY (212) 989-3270 booksofwonder.com
E.K. SCHREIBER 285 Central Park West New York, NY (212) 873-3180 ekslibris.com *By appointment only. ELM STREET BOOKS 35 Elm St. New Canaan, CT (203) 966-4545 elmstreetbooks.com HIGH RIDGE BOOKS INC. P.O. Box 286 Rye, NY (914) 967-3332 highridgebooks.com J.N. BARTFIELD 30 W. 57 St. New York, NY (212) 245-8890 bartfield.com JONATHAN A. HILL BOOKSELLER INC. 325 West End Ave. New York, NY (646) 827-0724 jonathanhill.com JUDITH L. BOWMAN 98 Pound Ridge Road Bedford, NY (914) 234-7543 *By appointment only
PAULETTE ROSE, FINE & RARE BOOKS 10 E. 70 St. New York, NY (212) 861-5607 *By appointment only. PICKWICK BOOK SHOP 8 S. Broadway Nyack, NY (845) 358-9126 PIERMONT STRAUS 530B Piermont Ave. Piermont, NY (845) 459-3124 piermontstraus.com RIVERRUN BOOKSHOP 12 Washington Ave. Hastings-on-Hudson, NY (914) 478-1339 riverrunbookshop.com STRAND BOOK STORE INC. 828 Broadway New York, NY (212) 473-1452 strandbooks.com
THE VORACIOUS READER 1997 Palmer Ave. Larchmont, NY (914) 630-4581 thecoraciousreader.com WILLIAM REESE CO. 409 Temple St. New Haven, CT (203) 789-2911 reeseco.com WOMRATH BOOKSHOP 76 Pondfield Road Bronxville, NY (914) 337-0199 womrath.com
W an te d
Ba ch elo rn om ina tio ns
Wanderlust Women Travel & The Westchester Broadway Theatre PRESENT
ac ce pt ing
Girls Night Out Bachelor Auction to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy
Warm-hearted men will brave the auction block to light up your Valentineâ€™s Day Join us for tasty snacks and delicious men from 6:30 - 8:30pm Music provided by DJ Rich Drinks available
Bachelors Auction and Silent Auction begin at 7:30 pm
All proceeds from the auctions to benefit the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy relief in the tri-state area . To suggest a bachelor or donate items for the silent auction and more information, please call Wanderlust Women Travel at 914-777-5451
To purchase tickets call the box office at 914-592-2222 You must be 21+ to attend and/or participate
All bachelors & winning bidders will be required to sign waivers at the end of the auction releasing all sponsors & related parties from any liability The American Red Cross name is used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, express or implied, of any product, service, company, individual or political position. For more information about the American Red Cross in Greater New York, please call 1-877-REDCROSS or visit us online at www.nyredcross.org
Sponsored by: 73
wit wonders: If your life were a book,
what would the title be?
“Never a Dull Moment” “The Nine Lives of Holly Anderson” –Diane Kozel – Holly Anderson-Bender Director of marketing, Fletcher Thompson, Director of sales and marketing, Marriott, Shelton, Brookfield resident Cromwell, Milford resident “Enjoy Today, Look Forward to Tomorrow” “Lessons Learned” –Anthony Rampersaud –Jill Crowe Senior vice president, Aon, Manhattan, Director of executive administration, Westchester resident Centerplate, Stamford, Stamford resident “Gentlemen”
–Anthony DeCandidio Senior manager, McGladrey, Stamford, Stamford resident
“It’s been a Long, Winding Road” – Brian Ryba Director, McGladrey, Stamford, Old Greenwich resident
“Just Do It” “It’s Getting Better Every Day” – Mia Schipani –Maria DeMaio VP business development, RMS Companies, Accountant, Fletcher Thompson, Shelton, Stamford, Stamford resident Seymour resident “My Life in a Nutshell”
– Tammy Janezic Resident of Cheshire
– Jonathan Totton Vice president finance operations, Triple Point Technology Inc.,Westport, North Haven resident
Compiled by Holly DeBartolo. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. 74
watch A dream of a ball
More than 700 guests attended Stamford Hospital’s eighth annual Dream Ball at the Tully Health Center. The evening featured cocktails, dinner, dancing, a silent and live auction and a giving tree. The event was emceed by former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez, with attendees treated to entertainment by Edie Brickell and Paul Simon. The night raised $700,000.
It was standing room only at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Open Door Family Medical Centers in Brewster. Following an introduction by Lindsay Farrell, president and CEO of the Open Door Family Medical Centers, the new site was blessed by Bishop Martin McLee of the NYAC United Methodist Church, the Rev. Richard Gill of the Church of St. Lawrence O’Toole and Rabbi Solomon B. Acrish of Temple Beth Elohim. Speakers talked about the incredible teamwork that went into making the dream of bringing a community health center to Putnam County a reality.
1. Committee co-chairs, Lisa Molinaro, Carol Fedele and Ginny Landle 2. Brian Grissler, president and CEO of Stamford Hospital, and George Sarner 3. Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
14. Lindsay Farrell, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell; Lillian Jones, regional vice president, American Cancer Society; Loretta Molinari and Vinny Tamagna. 15. Dr. Jay A. Zaslow
Saying it with music
The American Austrian Foundation presented the annual “Music for Medicine” benefit concert with members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan. The funds raised will provide qualified individuals with fellowships to pursue postgraduate education in medicine. Photography by Star Black. 9
4. Michele Langer and Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky 5. Dominic and Nella Habsburg 6. Dr. Donald D’Amico 7. Joel Bell and Marife Hernandez 8. Ambassador William vanden Heuvel and Melinda vanden Heuvel 9. Katharine Eltz-Aulitzky and Daisy Soros 10. Dr. Thomas J. Fahey Jr. and Eleanor Fahey 11. Thomas and Diahn McGrath 12. Drs. Susanne Binder and Laurie H. Glimcher 13. Ambassador Hans Peter Manz and Drs. Alan R. Cohen, Willibald Nagler and Richard A. Polin
All photograph identifications are from left unless otherwise noted. 75
watch A nonprofit holiday
The Nonprofit Holiday Party held at Dorf & Nelson L.L.P. was co-hosted by Daniel R. Alcott, partner and head of the law firm’s not-for-profit tax exempt organizations practice area; Markham F. Rollins III, co-chairman, CEO of Rollins Insurance and Risk Management Solutions; Otis B. Ellis, senior vice president and investment solutions specialist, Key Private Bank, N.A.; and Robert Cordero CPA, senior manager at O’Connor Davies L.L.P. 1. Stephen Paletta and Helen Gates 2. Kofi A. Boateng and Alisa Kesten 3. Nancy F. Levin 4. Samuel N. Wender 5. Susan Dishart, Michael S. Satow and Daniel R. Alcott 6. Jeanne Blum and Markham F. Rollins 7. Nancy Woodruff Ment and Jon A. Dorf
Neiman Marcus marked the opening of its Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry department with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres the evening of Dec. 5. Photographs by Bob Rozycki. 8. Stacy Geisinger and Beth Sharkey 9. Nancy Finnigan and Line Olsen 10. Claudia Hilbert and Louise Cunningham 11. Models Khiara and Iruna
Fashion and beauty recently joined forces for a runway show benefitting TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) at NoMa Social in New Rochelle. Models were dressed by April Marin Custom and had their makeup done by Heather A. Among the models was WAG alum Jené Luciani, author of “The Bra Book.”
Making beautiful music
The Music Conservatory of Westchester and Music & Arts recently co-hosted “A Day of Clarinet,” an interactive educational event for clarinet players of all skills featuring a master class taught by Stanley Drucker, recently retired principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic and Naomi Drucker, former principal clarinetist of the North Carolina Symphony. 12
12. Stanley Drucker, Lora Streett and Justin Stanley
13. Megan Hernandez, Sarah Hreyo, Jackie Groccia, Christina DeLeon and Jessica Pinckney; photography by Peter Giannone 14. Maria Lago, Heather Adessa and Marcella Milio; photography by The Image Maker, Photography as Art.
A nut-free night
No one had to worry about what they were dining on at the 15th annual Food Allergy Ball at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan recently. Guests were treated to a dinner free of peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish dinner inspired by Ming Tsai, as well as a special performance by Lilla Crawford and Anthony Warlow, stars of the Broadway musical “Annie.” The black-tie affair, which attracted nearly 400 supporters, is a signature event for FARE, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to food allergy research and education. Photographs by Patrick McMullan and Julie Skarratt.
1. Abbey and Steven Braverman 2. Carol Schrager and Bruce Gitlin 3. Liana Silverstein Backal and Arthur Backal 4. Nina Rennert Davidson 5. Dr. Hugh Sampson, Dr. Rosanna Mirante, Dr. Neil Minikes and Nancy Minikes 6. Stephen McKenna and Amie Rappoport McKenna 7. Mary Jane Marchisotto and John Lehr 8. Actors portraying Newsies 9. Sharyn Mann, Stephen Mann and Tamara Mann Tweel 10. Leslie Cornfeld and Bill Etkin 11. Alain Sailhac, Alfred Portale, Ming Tsai, Drew Nieporent and Daniel Boulud 12. Rev. Raymond Kahng, Inja Kim Kahng, Roslyn Jaffe and Elliot Jaffe 13. David and Julia Koch 14. David and Helen Jaffe
A tasty evening
Westchester’s Food Bank hosted its 23rd annual fall event, “An Evening in Good Taste,” recently at Robert P. Weisz’s 1133 Westchester Ave. in White Plains. More than 25 top chefs and caterers donated their time, talents and goodies for the evening, which raised $20,000 to fund children’s anti-hunger programs. 15. Cathy Tirschwell and Sheri Seiler 16. Mark Ianucci, Jean Marie Connolly and Richard Vecchia 17. Robert Scher, Toby Ives and John Ulrich 18. Scott Boilen and Bonnie Boilen 19. Neal Bronzo and Spencer Barback 20. Alison Awerbuch and Ronnie Barback 21. Peter Bassano and Nancy Lyons
watch Record-setting gala
Arc of Westchester Foundation held its annual “A Matter of Taste” event at the historic CV Rich Mansion in White Plains. Some 320 guests attended the event, which raised more than $140,000, a record-breaking amount for the annual affair. Proceeds will support Arc of Westchester programs for people with autism and other developmental disabilities.
1. Alex Masket and Dana Stein 2. Amy and Cynthia Ferguson 3. Robert Mankoff, cartoon editor of The New Yorker, and Anne Sweazey, Arc of Westchester Foundation executive director 4 Joan Mashet and Steven Masket, Arc of Westchester Foundation board director
Saluting patient care
Trustees from hospitals in the Hudson Valley region gathered at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tarrytown to learn more about the crucial role trustees play in the changing health care environment. The Regional Trustee Briefing, sponsored by the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association, paid tribute to hospital quality and patient safety initiatives that NorMet members selected as the most outstanding of 2012. 5. Joyce Lavecchia, Annie Ikin, Meg Moore, Deborah Marshal, Nicole Richmond and Jeanne Boydston 6. Jackie Kavouras, Pam Rhodes, Lori Armstrong and Michelle Tierney 7. Judy Flaherty, the manager of clinical operations at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, accepts the NorMet Quality Award from Steven Kelley. 8. Sue Kenny and Susan O’Boyle 3
A Dickens of an affair
A recent stroll to festive homes had a Victorian flavor. And why not? The event marked the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens and raised money to benefit the Ossining Children’s Center, which provides youngsters with nurturing care and educational enrichment while mom and dad are at work. About 150 attended the luncheon and 275 the stroll of the four homes on the tour – three in Briarcliff Manor and one in Tarrytown. 9. Carol Welsh, Joan McGinty, Madeline Ricciardi and Natalie Gorlin 10. Julissa Almanza and her son, Danny Garcia 11. Becky Samberg, Agnes Hassell and Dorothea Swope 12. Christine Spears, Maggie Solin and Hannah Berkowitz 13. Sue Bicksler Taubwith and Katie Taub 14. Maggie Heyob, Lydia Small, Pam Bringsjord and Mary Jo Bramson 15. Stephanie Kloss, Trish Morgan and Assemblywoman Sandra Galef
Honoring a music man
Silver Hill Hospital honored music man Neil Sedaka recently at a black-tie gala at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan. The 520 guests were treated to a special performance by Sedaka, during which he debuted a song written for the evening. The gala raised more than $900,000 to provide financial assistance for individuals who need Silver Hill’s longterm residential treatment programs but are without adequate resources to cover the costs. Photographs by Patrick McMullan Co., Adriel Reboh and Owen Hoffmann.
1. Coco Rocha 2. Leba Sedaka 3. Jaime Gleicher 4. Jamie Tisch 5. D.J. Cassidy and Johnny Podell 6. Joan Collins 7. Michael Cominotto and Tamara Mellon 8. Dr. Sigurd Ackerman 9. Dennis Basso and Nina Griscom 10. Neil Sedaka performing 11. Amy Fine Collins 12. Michele Herbert
Empire City delivers Christmas spirit
Timothy J. Rooney, president and CEO of Empire City Casino in Yonkers, recently made a donation of $500,000 to the Catholic Charities Hurricane Sandy Relief and Recovery Fund. He also presented the organization with hundreds of toys and coats collected through Empire City Casino’s annual Christmas Spirit Toy and Coat Drive. Photographs by Justin Grasso. 13. Shelley Mayer, Tim Rooney, Mike Spano and Kevin Plunkett
Greenwich’s own Stuart Weitzman was honored with The Lifetime Achievement Award for his many successful years as a luxury shoe designer by Footwear News at The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Among his many fans and clients around the world is Beyoncé Knowles, who taped a video tribute for the occasion. Weitzman and Beyoncé have collaborated together for years on her performance shoes, so this made the celebratory evening even more special for the designer. Photograph by Getty Images. 14. Jane Weitzman, Stuart Weitzman, Andrea Wynn and Steve Wynn
Want to be in Watch? Send event photos, captions (identifying subjects from left to right) and a paragraph describing the event to email@example.com. 79
class&sass Are you a paper or electronic reader? While I immensely enjoy the texture and smell of a “real” book, the extra baggage charges I incur due to the weight of my tomes has convinced me to use my Kindle while on vacation (though I do get really miffed when I’m forced to “power down” and I’m left with nothing to read but SkyMall magazine. And seriously, am I really to believe that my little Kindle could interfere with the plane’s GPS system?). The good and bad part about electronic readers is how simple it is to order books. Previously, I filed away my favorite book reviews and when I was ready, I’d grab one or two and head to the nearest bookstore. Now, if a book sounds even remotely interesting, I download it to my Kindle in a nanosecond. This indiscriminate ordering caused my first really indecent e-reader moment. Before going away, I’d downloaded four books that had been voted Best Erotica of the year, along with a host of other books. A week later, I was poolside in Mexico when I ran into an old boyfriend and his wife, neither of whom I’d seen in 25 years. Kindles had only recently hit the market, so they asked to see mine. When they simultaneously turned pale and quickly handed it back to me, I realized that the first books listed had rather spicy titles. to be quite honest I prefer paper books, but J Well, because my eyesight has begun to fade away like a dazzling sunset (I am still grieving its departure), I’ve started reading on electronic devices, like the Kindle. It was a truly thrilling moment when I realized that I could increase the font size. And to be able to carry around hundreds of books, literally in my back pocket, is not only convenient but an advance in technology that is beyond my scope of understanding. I still look at it in amazement. I’m currently reading Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.” Besides feeling remiss in having passed it up for all of these years, I really wanted to know what that white whale had “going on,” getting all those swarthy sailors to chase after it so enthusiastically. “Call me Ishmael” – or you can just text me. I recently heard a joke about a man telling anothM er man that he’d recently taken a speed-reading course and had read “Moby-Dick” in under an hour. The other man asked what the book was about and he replied, “a whale.” Speed-reading is what it would take for me to finish all the books I own before I expire. At any one time, I’m simultaneously reading four to six books. Currently, I’m listening to “Steve Jobs” in my car; on my Kindle, I’m reading “Inside of a Dog” (hint: you aren’t the alpha dog, you’re simply the food supplier and pass on those dog DNA test kits because they’re a rip-off); and beside my bed I have “Travels with Epicurus, A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life.” Epicurus, who was far from a gourmand (he actually preferred plain, boiled lentils), believed “It is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.” I absolutely love this small gem of a book that so wisely considers what later life should look like.
By Martha Handler and Jennifer Pappas
Enjoying a good read at the quaint Books on the Common in Ridgefield, CT.
(Hint: Rather than run from the natural aging process, embrace it.) I’ve actually been reading quite a bit of poetry J lately and loving it. Not only is it an exercise in acuity (at times you feel like you are trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube), but an extremely stimulating one as well. For example, here’s the beginning of the great William Carlos Williams’ “Young Sycamore”: “I must tell you, this young tree, whose round and firm trunk, between the wet, pavement and the gutter, where water is trickling, rises bodily into the air with, one undulant thrust…” I say, who needs “Fifty Shades of Grey” when you have titillating, engaging and sensual literature like that.
You’re my new favorite poet. I’m savoring your “Poetry in Motion” album. It’s an amazing collaboration.
Wag Up • Cross-country skiing – let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. (M) • Hot toddies, hot fires and hot poetry to read, while in front of the fire. (J) Wag Down • Ice – As a kid I loved skidding across any patch of ice I could find, and now I’m scared to death of the stuff. (M) • Snuggies – Those things are so itchy, thin and not snuggy. Talk about false advertising. (J)
Email Class&Sass at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also follow Martha and Jen on Facebook at Wag Classandsass or access all of their conversations online at wagmag.com.
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