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Johnny Weir breaks the ice in Sochi

+ Mad Hatter: Susan Saas | Super Bowl Game Day Alternatives | Seymour Topping’s China Syndrome | Greenwich High Hall of Famers Steve Young and Sue Merz

January 2014 |


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high on super-latives • 12 32 • bend it like laxman icing on the cake • 14 34 • off-field fun hometown hero • 18 36 • north (salem) by northwest power and passion at play • 21 40 • hard knock life The mountains in Krasnaya Polyana. Sochi - capital of Winter Olympic Games 2014. Russia.


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WAG A division of Westfair Communications Inc. 3 Westchester Park Drive, White Plains, NY 10604 Telephone: (914) 358-0746 • Facsimile: (914) 694-3699 Website: • Email: All news, comments, opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations in WAG are those of the authors and do not constitute opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations of the publication, its publisher and its editorial staff. No portion of WAG may be reproduced without permission.WAG is distributed at select locations, mailed directly and is available at $24 a year for home or office delivery. To subscribe, call (914) 694-3600, ext. 3020. All advertising inquiries should be directed to Anne Jordan at (914) 694-3600, ext. 3032 or email Advertisements are subject to review by the publisher and acceptance for WAG does not constitute an endorsement of the product or service. WAG (Issn: 1931-6364) is published monthly and is owned and published by Westfair Communications Inc. Dee DelBello, CEO,

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new waggers

doug paulding

is a wine and spirits journalist and travels extensively throughout the world to hear winemakers’ stories and to learn of distillers’ production methods. He has written for Santé, a trade magazine for food and wine professionals. Doug is offering to help you taste your wine cellar trophy wines.


heather salerno

is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in USA Today, People, Glamour, The Washington Post and The Journal News. During her career, she has profiled a range of celebrities and newsmakers (from Martha Stewart to Mary J. Blige), written about 9/11 victims and their families, witnessed a kidney transplant and followed the New York Giants to the Super Bowl.

seymour topping

is a former correspondent and managing editor of The New York Times and now emeritus professor of international journalism at Columbia University. He is the author of a recent memoir “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.”





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editor's letter Georgette Gouveia

Recently, New York Times’ columnist Maureen Dowd described how, having retreated from her football-crazed family on holidays with Jane Austen for years, she finally learned to love football thanks to RGIII (Redskins QB Robert Griffin III), whom she likened to Austen’s heroine Lizzie Bennet. Maureen, I know just what you mean. I, too, came late to football, beguiled by another quarterback, Tim Tebow (although I think he’s more of a Jamesian heroine, a naïf done in by manipulators). I’m also fond of the doe-eyed Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers, though I’m not sure which literary heroine he resembles, possibly someone out of Hardy. Anyway, despite my uncles and male cousins’ best efforts to instill in me a youthful understanding of the merits of Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers, I must confess that I still don’t know what a down is. You say “down,” and I think “comforter.” And yet, that has not stopped me and our intrepid Waggers from tackling the gridiron in our super-duper “Super Power” issue, anchored by our salute to the first Super Bowl in our area. To that end, we have an interview with Al Kelly, the Harrison executive who’s spearheading the 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, and a profile of a Super Bowl MVP and analyst who’s also a local hero to the Greenwich that nurtured him, Steve Young. Young is part of our tribute to Greenwich High School and its stellar launch of a Sports Hall of Fame that features ground-breaking Olympic ice hockey star Sue Merz. The Milford resident in turn represents another theme in this issue, a homage to the Winter Games that includes cover guy Johnny Weir, the flamboyant figure skater/fashionisto who says he’s taking it down a notch now that he’s a commentator for Stamford-based NBC Sports’ Olympic coverage. You know us: We’re perfectly capable 10

of picking up the “super” ball and running with it. So you’ll find a super package on gold (King Tut’s relationship to the returning “Downton Abbey”), silver (Tiffany’s trophy lives, including the Super Bowl’s Vince Lombardi Trophy) and bronze (Valley Cottage sculptor Eric David Laxman, who loves to work in metal). There’s a superb milliner, Susan Saas; a superlative neurologist, Javier Cardenas, who’s trying to lessen head trauma in the NFL; superhero movies; and a mentalist, Marc Salem, who says his superpowers are more about super power. And speaking of superpowers, we weigh in on the always sticky Russo-American relationship that’s been so good for culture (think Van Cliburn, Bobby Fischer and Boris Badenov) while former New York Times’ Managing Editor Seymour Topping considers the next superpower, China. Topping is one of the new additions to WAG, along with celebrity reporter Heather Salerno, who profiles Weir here, and wine guy Doug Paulding. But as with any arrivals there are departures, and so we bid a fond adieu to Martha Handler and Jennifer Pappas, our own Class & Sass, as they pursue other ventures. We thank them for bringing their own “Ab Fab” style to the magazine and wish them continued success and happiness. So, new Waggers and a new theme that we plan to riff on in this our power year. Finally, if I may be permitted a personal note, you’ll notice that our website,, links you to my new blog, The Games Men Play, which is also the name of a series of sports-themed novels I’m writing. The first, “Water Music,” coming out Jan. 14, deals with four gay athletes and the way their professional fortunes color their personal relationships. It’s a story about how sports mirror politics and how the past bleeds into the present. But mostly it’s about how we learn to live with loss through love. And love is what I wish for all of you in the new year.

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High on super-latives By Georgette Gouveia

I have a friend – a vibrant woman and superb hostess – who always responds to good news in the same way. “Super,” she says. But what does that really mean and how and why has the word come to define modern times? Let’s go to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, shall we? There super is defined as “of high grade or quality”; “a generalized term of approval”; “very large or powerful” and “exhibiting the characteristic of its type to an extreme or excessive degree.” Unencumbered by any hyphen, it precedes four pages of compound words, everything from “superabsorbent” – that must be some really great paper toweling – to “superwoman.” In an age when the United States is often described as the sole remaining superpower and gourmands happily plunge into meals that are supersized, perhaps while watching the Super Bowl or taking in one of the deathless movies featuring a superhero, “super” has become, well, a super go-to word. Thank the Romans, says Rebecca Hyland at Yahoo! Answers. The word comes from the Latin, meaning “above,” from the defunct “insuper,” meaning “balance left over.” Along the way, super acquired a family that included insuperable and superior (14th century), superfine (15th century), superintendent (16th century), supernumerary (17th century), soprano and soubrette (18th century). It was not until the 20th century that super really took off. It began with George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman” (1903). Then Sigmund Freud added the superego (1920). At the end of that decade, Irving Berlin gave us the song “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” which includes the lines, “Dressed up like a million-dollar trooper, tryin’ hard to look like Gary Cooper (super-duper).” Then came Superman himself, born not on the planet Krypton but in 1933 Cleveland from the brains of high school students Jerry Siegel (the writer) and Joe Shuster (the artist), who sold their creation five years later to what became DC Comics. With Superman being “faster

than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound,” as the 1950s TV series told us, audiences got caught up in superpowers, his and those of other superheroes like Batman and Iron Man. While super and superpowers enhanced the escapism of pop culture, the words had real and deadly consequences in the tumultuous geopolitical landscape. There were superatoms, super bombs and super submarines, all controlled by the superpowers. Exulting in its superpower status, America went into, superdrive. Actors and athletes were no longer stars, but superstars. The Super Bowl, which has been contested since 1967, became a national holiday. And when you didn’t know how to describe your joy in the ineffable, you could simply say it was “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” a la the 1964 Disney movie “Mary Poppins.” So perhaps it was inevitable that super should encounter a super backlash. The obesity epidemic arising from supersized meals and drinks led to the 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” in which filmmaker Morgan Spurlock gained almost 25 pounds by deliberately eating only at McDonald’s for a month. It also spurred New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to try to ban supersized sodas. With the supersized recession of 200809, many sought to downsize their homes and cars as well. Bigger became far from better. Maybe it’s just time to return super to its rightful place as a word that measures quality, not quantity. In the new film “Saving Mr. Banks,” about Walt Disney bringing P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins” books to the screen, the starchy Travers (Emma Thompson) objects to the supersized spoonful of sugar approach taken by Disney (Tom Hanks), so much so that the songwriters hide the sheet music for “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” as she proceeds to lecture them – in very Mary Poppins-like fashion – about their penchant for madeup words. To which we’d like to say, calm thyself, Miss Travers: Disneyfied or not, it’s still a super story. n



on the cake Gold medalist Sue Merz skates through life’s challenges By Georgette Gouveia


Sue Merz at Chelsea Piers Connecticut. Photograph by Anthony Carboni.


atching the Olympics, you imagine that the most memorable moment for an athlete must be the one where she stands atop the podium, alone or with her teammates, or hears the national anthem played, knowing it’s not only for her country but for her. But for Sue Merz – the gold and silver medal-winning American ice hockey defenseman – the moment she will never forget occurred in the tunnel right as the American athletes were lining up for the Parade of Nations in Nagano, Japan in 1998. “At the end of the day it was the culmination of the pain and challenges and tragedies I had been through,” says the Milford resident, who honed her athletic skills, if not her stick work, at Greenwich High School. “And I real-

ized how lucky I was. It all came down to luck, skill and timing. I will never forget it.” Merz is talking to WAG at Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford, where she’s just finished a photo shoot on the ice. Each time she races toward the camera with her stick, chasing an imaginary puck. And each time she stops on a dime, cutting a trim, attractive blond figure, sheer joy written all over her face. “I was sort of fascinated by going fast and I could go faster on ice than on the ground,” she says. “If I grew up in Colorado, no doubt I would’ve been a downhill racer.” But Merz grew up in the Glenville section of Greenwich. Not much opportunity for downhill racing there, and as it turned out, not much opportunity for girls’ ice hockey either. Merz played with the boys until puberty made it inequitable. But still she per-

sisted. She skated with the Hartfordbased Connecticut Polar Bears, the first all-girl ice hockey program in the state. And she played field hockey and lacrosse at Greenwich High School where Coach Pat Mediate remembers her as a superb citizen-athlete. “As good as she was on the field that’s as good as she was off it,” Mediate says. So much so that when it came time to announce the inaugural inductees into the Greenwich High School Sports Hall of Fame last October, Merz was among a distinguished trio that also included NFL legend Steve Young and New York Yankees outfielder and umpire John “Zeke” Bella. At the dinner, Merz (Class of 1990) charmed the audience of 350 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich with her self-deprecating humor and candor. The teen years were difficult for her. Athletics got her through some tough times.

“At the end of the day it was the culmination of the pain and challenges and tragedies I had been through. And I realized how lucky I was. It all came down to luck, skill and timing. I will never forget it.” — Sue Merz


Over coffee at Chelsea Piers with her wife, Margaret Mullen-Merz, Sue Merz elaborates. “My mother died when I was 9,” she says. “My mother figure died when I was in 10th grade. I didn’t have that emotional outlet. My outlet was sports.” It was also her ticket to the University of New Hampshire, which she attended on a hockey scholarship. After college, it was time to make the decision every graduate faces – get a job or pursue your dream. Merz was already on the national team. With her father’s support, she decided to go for it. The Merzes are Swiss-American and with her dual citizenship, Sue Merz was able to join SC Lyss (the Skating Club of Lyss) in Switzerland. Her two years there weren’t all hockey. She worked in a kitchen – which led to another passion, cooking – and in a metal factory. Then it was off to Toronto, Canada, in 1996, to train with the very women she would one day play against. While she had played on several national and world championship teams, Merz was in for a rude awakening. Just before “worlds” in the spring of 1997, she was cut from the team, along with her best friend, Jeanine Sobek. Merz held a brief “pity party.” Then she got into the best shape of her life and took herself off with her friend to train at Boston University. That August, Merz tried out for the Olympic team and made the cut of 25. She remembers the date, Aug. 30, in part because it was the day Princess Diana was fatally injured in Paris. Still the team had to be pared down to 20. Merz found out she made the team before Christmas. Her friend Sobek was let go. That’s why as she stood in that tunnel in Nagano, Merz realized that she, like Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” was a product of all that she had met. Nagano represented the first time women’s hockey was being contested in the Olympics. The American team 16

Margaret Mullen-Merz and Sue Merz before the Greenwich High School Sports Hall of Fame dinner last fall at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. Photograph by Georgette Gouveia.

was ready. “I had never been on a team of such selfless individuals where each person had one goal,” she says. “It was awesome, and I’m still close friends with many of the people who were on the team.” Nevertheless, it was going to be tough to beat the Canadians, who had proved a little bit better, winning seven of 13 encounters. In the final of the round-robin pools, the Canadians were up 4-1. It’s another date Merz won’t forget – Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day and wife Margaret’s birthday, “though I didn’t know Margaret yet.” “Our coach called us over and said, ‘Let’s just do it.’” The U.S. team answered with six unassisted goals and a 7-4 victory. “It was nuts,” Merz says, and it set up a rematch in the gold-medal game. The night before, she says, “I was a wreck.”

Merz talked to a sports psychologist who helped calm her nerves. The next day, the U.S. went out and beat Canada 3-1 for the first-ever gold medal awarded in women’s Olympic hockey. The following Olympics, the team was even better, she says. “But there wasn’t as much of a gel there and it wasn’t a great experience overall.” Team USA fell to Team Canada in the goldmedal round. You win a bronze medal, Merz says of an Olympic truism, but you lose a silver – meaning that winning a silver medal in a team sport is more about losing the gold. “It was very painful losing to Canada.” The loss was less about talent and more about a lack of chemistry, says Merz, who knows a thing or two about chemistry on and off the ice.

She has found it with Mullen-Merz, an IBM marketing leader. Indeed, to see the way Mullen-Merz looks at her as she speaks or the way Merz asks her, “What’s a better word for…” is to see two people in love. The couple wed Sept. 8, 2012 in Milford on a yacht that remained moored thanks to a tornado in Brooklyn. But despite Mother Nature’s bluster, they were bolstered by the support of family and friends. Today Merz is a senior territory manager for I-Flow, a division of Kimberly Clark that makes nonnarcotic, postoperative pain management devices. Merz knows a lot about pain, having had two cervical disc fusions. Regardless, she plans on getting back on the ice for fun. “I know it will be painful,” she says, “but I’ll do it, because I love it.” n

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Hometown hero Steve Young comes back to revisit his Greenwich roots By Georgette Gouveia


n the city by the Bay – the one Tony Bennett left his heart in – Steve Young is regarded as the legend who succeeded another legend, Joe Montana, as quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. But in another town that overlooks another ocean, Young is remembered as the local boy who made good, the one who mowed the neighbors’ lawns and delivered the newspaper, the one who didn’t complain when the grandmothers pinched his cheeks, the one who never forgot his roots. As he donned the yellow jacket for his 2005 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, he said his mind flooded with images. But they weren’t the images of a tumultuous, triumphant NFL career that was crowned by being named NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP in the same season (1994). Rather they were the images of a kid who wanted to play quarterback for the North Mianus Cowboys, his Greenwich elementary school team, and a teen who starred in football, baseball and basketball at Greenwich High School. “Why were those the images?” the ESPN analyst wondered aloud before a crowd of 350 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich in October as he was enshrined in the Greenwich High School Sports Hall of Fame. “It’s your roots.

It’s where you became who you are. If it takes a village to raise a child, you were that village for me.” Young came to Greenwich by way of the West. A greatgreat-great grandson of Brigham Young – second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for whom his descendant’s alma mater, Brigham Young University, was named – Jon Steven Young was born Oct. 11, 1961 in the Mormon stronghold of Salt Lake City. But his father’s career, as a lawyer for the Anaconda Wire and Cable Co., would bring Young east. The Mormon tradition is one of discipline and few are more disciplined than Young’s father, LeGrande. Not for nothing is his nickname “Grit.” “Steve’s was no (wealthy) back-country upbringing,” said Pat Mediate, a phys ed instructor at Greenwich High who coached Young in the late 1970s. LeGrande Young instilled in his five children the sense that if you wanted something in this world, you had to earn it. Steve, the eldest, mowed lawns and delivered the Greenwich Time. He worked at country clubs and ice cream parlors. He studied the Bible in Scarsdale. That was in addition to academics and athletics. At Greenwich High, he took a heavy load of AP classes, was a National Merit Scholar, won the Harvard Book Award

for English, captained the football, baseball and basketball teams and still had time to date a future Miss USA, Christy Fichtner. Blessed with natural athleticism, a strong if as-yetundisciplined left arm and terrific, deceptive speed, Young excelled at sports. In his senior year, he averaged 15 points a game as a point guard, batted .384 and was 5-1 as a hurler, including a 3-0 no-hitter against New Canaan High School. In two seasons as quarterback, he ran the ball 267 times for 1,928 yards, earning All-Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference West Division First Team honors both years and Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference honors his senior year. “As good as he was on the field, that’s as nice as he was off the field,” Mediate says. Young was, then, a golden boy. But that’s not how he saw himself. “I was nothing special,” he said. “I was a good athlete who played hard.” In that he was spurred not only by his father, whose flintiness was balanced by the protectiveness of his mother, Sherry, a woman perfectly capable of running out onto the field during Young’s elementary school days and warning another kid about hitting her son.

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“The coaches were tough guys,” he said, “and they prepared me for tougher situations. It wasn’t like they were critical. It was honest.” Young would need all that toughness and honesty as he zigzagged his way to the top of the pile. At Brigham Young University, which he entered two credits shy of sophomore status, Young struggled with his passing game in the shadow of the record-setting Jim McMahon yet went on to set NCAA records, be named an All-American, win the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award for best collegiate signal-caller and score the game-winning touchdown as BYU took the 1983 Holiday Bowl from Missouri 21-17.

“League of Denial,” which aired on PBS’ “Frontline,” suggests that after suffering a concussion in 1999 in a particularly brutal blitz by Arizona Cardinal Aeneas Williams, Young walked off the field and never looked back.

It was a pattern that would follow Young throughout his career – rocky start, brilliant finish. He signed a record 10-year, $40 million contract with the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League only to see the USFL go bust in its second season. It’s a measure of Young’s character that he chipped in to pay the team bus driver, whose paycheck had bounced, to get the players to a game, then took snaps from the shotgun formation, because the Express had no healthy running backs. From there, things could only improve. But Young’s time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was mediocre at best and he was traded on April 24, 1987 to the 49ers to back up Joe Montana, whom many experts consider to be the greatest quarterback to date. It was, Young recalled, “the ultimate challenge.” Still, he shone as the 49ers took Super Bowl XXIII and XXIV. Then things got sticky. Montana hurt his elbow and Young became the starter for the 1991 season but struggled with an injury of his own. Despite a very good season, the 49ers finished out of the postseason money for the first time since 1982. At the start of the 1992 season, it looked as if Young’s starting gig was in peril with Montana set to return. But he didn’t make an appearance until the season’s final game. By then Young had ratcheted up the kind of numbers that earned him his first MVP award and first trip to the Pro Bowl. By then, too, the team was divided over who should lead them, as recounted in Adam Lazarus’ highly readable “Best of Rivals: Joe Montana, Steve Young and the Inside Story Behind the NFL’s Greatest Quarterback Controversy.” 20

Photograph courtesy of ESPN Images.

Something had to give and it did when Montana was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in the spring of 1993. From then on, the 49ers were Young’s to lead and he did so superbly, setting franchise records in 1993 and then navigating the 49ers through a dream season in 1994 that saw the team win Super Bowl XXIX. Young threw six touchdowns, breaking Montana’s Super Bowl record of five. He had also broken Montana’s single-season passer rating with a 112.8. The monkey was off his back. But Montana’s presence wasn’t the only challenge Young faced in his NFL career. Known for his toughness and running ability, he was a natural target for opposing teams, suffering several concussions that went back to BYU. “League of Denial,” which aired on PBS’ “Frontline,” suggests that after suffering a concussion in 1999 in a particularly brutal blitz by Arizona Cardinal Aeneas Williams, Young walked off the field and never looked back. But the book that inspired the riveting documentary – in which ESPN investigative reporters Mark FainaruWada and Steve Fainaru consider how the NFL sought to bury links between concussions and a form of early-onset dementia known as CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy – paints a more complex picture. As an entire nation – from the 49ers and sportswriters to the elderly ladies who came up to touch his face – urged him to retire, Young faced perhaps his most wrenching decision, go on to play for the Denver Broncos and risk winding up punch-drunk or retire with his mind intact.

It’s a good thing he chose the latter, for Young has had a splendid second act. When Salt Lake City was awarded the 2002 Winter Olympics, he was among the first volunteers. He was part of the group that received the Olympic Flag after the 1998 Nagano Games, and he carried the placard for Great Britain in the opening ceremony of the 2002 Games. Today, he’s not only a commentator on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and pitchman for Van Heusen dress shirts, but managing director of Huntsman Gay Global Capital, a private equity firm, which he runs, along with his Forever Young charity, in California. There he lives with his wife, the former model Barbara Graham, and their four children. On the dais, he is a captivating storyteller without notes. You can imagine him as a trial lawyer and he does have a J.D. from the BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School. That wasn’t a help, he said in his self-deprecating manner, when he signed a contract to go to Disneyland after the 49ers won Super Bowl XXIX. He never realized it would mean actually going to Disneyland. As the parade ended, with him and Mickey Mouse atop a float, two little boys looked up at them. “You can’t get near him,” one boy told the other about Mickey. “The big guy won’t let you.” “There you have it,” Young said with the relish of a man who appreciates life’s twists and turns, “from Super Bowl MVP to Mickey Mouse’s bodyguard.” n

power and passion at play By Georgette Gouveia

“You can’t script life,” Pat Mediate says. But then you think, maybe you can. Start with a longtime high school coach, a nice guy, a compassionate man, who’s a phys ed instructor at the same school where he once played. Let’s call it Greenwich High School. And let’s give him a mission – to spearhead the establishment of a Sports Hall of Fame honoring some of the fine citizenathletes who have graced the school’s field of dreams. Let’s make them a charismatic quarterback, we’ll call him Steve Young; a groundbreaking gold-medal Olympian, we’ll call her Sue Merz; and a beloved postwar New York Yankee and umpire named John Bella whom everyone will know as Zeke and whose story will bring a tear to the eye in the third reel as they come together for the induction ceremony. No, you can’t script life. But sometimes it plays out like a movie script. The Greenwich High School Sports Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction ceremony and dinner – which drew 350 friends and faithful to the Hyatt Regency Greenwich Oct. 20 – was, even to this outlier, just as Mediate describes it months later. “I had so many people call and say, ‘I’m glad you did this,’” he says. “The Hall of Fame isn’t about me, but about a family. … Everyone knew each other. It was a big reunion.” Both Young, the legendary quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers and MVP of Super Bowl XXIX, and Merz, part of the American team that won the first-ever gold medal in women’s hockey at Nagano, Japan, in 1998, and a silver medal at the following Salt Lake City Games, charmed the audience with their self-deprecating remarks. But it was Bella, Class of 1947, who stole its heart as he tearfully accepted his award from a wheelchair. Less than a month later, he died from the complications of a fall. “He had come full circle,” Mediate says with a rueful smile. Helping people navigate that circle is what his life has been all about. You can see that as he leads a group of freshman through a phys ed class. This isn’t your grandpa’s gym class with a jump rope and a punching bag. It’s more like a health club with sentinels of weight benches, treadmills and rowing machines that seem

to dwarf the freshmen, who look so fragile and well, young, in their exercise clothes. Fortunately, Mediate is there to guide them. “Hey, no more than a setting of three,” he calls out to some of the treadmills’ keener enthusiasts. “You’re supposed to be walking on it, not running. I don’t want to be picking you up off the floor.” What makes a great teacher, a great coach? Perhaps it’s partly the same quality that makes a great parent – attentiveness. Mediate puts on some background rock

“I had so many people call and say, ‘I’m glad you did this.’ The Hall of Fame isn’t about me, but about a family. … Everyone knew each other. It was a big reunion.” — Pat Mediate

(Kansas’ “Carry on wayward Son” and the Stones’ “She’s So Cold” really get the juices flowing) and deals patiently with each interruption – a request to go to the ladies’ room, a request to go to the men’s room, an issue of inappropriate gym attire and a question from a student who’s not part of the class but has been given permission to work out with the weights about why he’s experiencing pain as he lifts. “Have you eaten?” Mediate asks. “You gotta have protein to build muscle.” As the student goes off to consider this as if for the first time, Mediate tells his story. He was once as these students are now. He grew up in Greenwich and went to Greenwich High, where he played football and graduated in 1973. His coaches had names like Dick Canfield and Ed MacDowell. They inspired him to be what they were. He went off to Central Connecticut State University – the first person in his family to pursue higher education – and played defensive end. He was asked to come back to Greenwich High by head football coach Mike Ornato. Mediate

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has been at it 37 years, 35 as a track and field coach. He spent almost a quarter of a century as a football coach, a run that ended when he was hit in the face by an errant baseball bat. He points to the barely detectable edge of the metal plate in his right cheek. The accident wasn’t without its upside: He wound up taking a course in coaching weightlifting at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and being invited to the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, where he helped out at the Visa Olympians Reunion Center. “What an experience that was,” he says. Like an athletic Mr. Chips, Mediate has seen students come and go over the years, people like Steve Young (Class of 1980) and Sue Merz (Class of 1990). “They were two of the nicest athletes,” he says. “They were good citizens.” Character is as important to Mediate as talent. If Tim Tebow were his to coach, he says, he’d put him on the team, because of his leadership ability. That’s why the Hall of Fame, which Greenwich High Athletic Director Gus Lindine asked him to oversee, is important, too. It’s a way to honor those who are athletes in full. Mediate is planning the next ceremony for May 2015, which will allow for more preparation and fundraising for the hall’s foundation. Down the road, he hopes the Hall will have its own building. But that’s in the future. Mediate’s present is taken up with his life in Fairfield, which he shares with wife Lori, a health administrator, and their children Tina, Patrick Jr. and Colin. Mediate also sings tenor and plays rhythm guitar in The Fairfield Counts, just as his father once did. And always there’s teaching and football. He still helps out at the games. The world has changed a lot since he first stepped on the Greenwich gridiron. Today’s students are more programmed, more pressured. Football has become more high-tech, creating a false sense of invulnerability. That’s where the teachers come in, he says, to demonstrate proper technique. And to do something more. “Be a good role model,” he says. “Follow through on what you believe and live it.”

Pat Mediate


For more information about the Greenwich High School Sports Hall of Fame, call (203) 625-8013. n

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China As we look to the future, to our security in a turbulent world, there is no greater imperative than determining how the United States will relate to the People’s Republic of China as it rises to economic, political and military superpower status. Will it be a mutually beneficial partnership, as President Barack Obama has proposed, or a rivalry harmful to peace and global economic stability? As of now, there is no certainty. There are paradoxes and misconceptions that cloud the future relationship. Americans in general have diverse views on China – admiration for its economic development (some 600 million of its 1.4 billion people have been lifted out of poverty), concern about impairment of human rights by its authoritarian government and trepidation about its large-scale military buildup in the Western Pacific.

The economy

To fully appreciate what has been accomplished, one must look back at the living conditions common under the Chiang Kai-shek regime. I witnessed those conditions as a correspondent from 1946 to 1949 when I covered the Civil War between Chiang’s Nationalist forces and the Communists led by Mao Zedong. I recall vividly the depressing scenes of 1946 on the cobblestone streets of Beijing. Numerous beggar families roamed the city or camped beside the walled houses of the more affluent, hoping for scraps of food to be thrown to them. The traffic, apart from cars of foreign officials, was made of ramshackle old European vehicles, animal carts, rickshaws, bicycles and occasional caravans of camels and donkeys in from the Gobi Desert. Conditions in the outlying villages bossed by warlords and corrupt local officials were abominable. In contrast, in Beijing today, as in other major cities, there are no longer beggars on the city streets and people generally are well-clothed and look vigorous. In the shops, you see evidence of a growing, vibrant consumeroriented middle class. The heavy street traffic reflects the country’s position as the largest car market in the world. Modern office buildings and high-rise housing frame attractive tree-lined avenues. China’s economy now ranks second in size only to that of the United States. There are analysts who predict that China will overtake the United States in the next few years. This seems to me unlikely, given the severe internal problems confronting the country, which will tend to hamper growth unless major restructuring reforms are undertaken. The new skyscrapers, smart shops and shopping malls obscure the reality that a huge income gap persists between the wealthy and the majority of the population. Some 128 million peasants were recently listed as poor. The One Child Policy has left China with an aging popu24

lation. Growth will also be limited by basic internal endemic problems, such a lack of natural resources, notably fossil fuels for energy, and a critical shortage of usable water, particularly in the northern part of the country. Wen Jiabao, a former prime minister, has said that the shortage of water threatens the “very survival of the Chinese nation.” A monumental water project is now under way to divert water from the Yangtze River to the Yellow River in the north. It will not solve the overall problem, which continues to be aggravated by pollution of the river systems. Choking pollution generally has become even more severe since 1971 when Premier Zhou Enlai characterized it as the country’s most serious problem. During 2011, China spewed an estimated 27 percent of the global carbon dioxide emission and is expected before long to double that of the United States. Economic growth is now faltering from its extraordinary rate of recent years, having spurted dramatically with the introduction of free urban consumer market reforms in the 1970s by Deng Xioping. However, this market has continued to operate within the framework of state ownership of banks and major industries. It is a stifling form of state capitalism, depressing private initiative and innovation, which has also given rise to corruption among managers that the government and Communist Party are openly struggling with. Paradoxically, despite its internal problems, China is the largest holder abroad of U.S. Treasuries, worth about $1.28 trillion. The accumulation stems largely from a highly favorable balance of trade, as evidenced by the broad range of Chinese goods found in American shops. The Treasury holdings – together with large investments in the United States, everything from apartments in New York City to software companies – has given China a large stake in the continuing health of the American economy. That’s why there were expressions of alarm recently in Beijing when the debt ceiling political deadlock in Washington, D.C. raised the specter of default.

The politics

In 1946, I visited the caves of Yenan, Mao’s headquarters during the Civil War, and interviewed Communist Party leaders about their plans for future development. They emphasized the need for adherence to the Leninist thesis, that given the physical burdens of supporting China’s enormous population, the Communist Party must exercise absolute sovereignty – total control of the society to ensure the stability needed to attain the required development goals. Political opposition was not to be tolerated. This has translated for the Chinese people politically and ideologically into one-party rule, a judiciary subordinate to party officials, strict censorship of the media and curbs on free speech. In recent years, hundreds of citizen pro-

tests, mainly by peasants demonstrating against seizure of their land without adequate compensation by local officials, have been put down harshly by security forces to maintain so-called stability. In mid-November, under the leadership of President and party boss Xi Jinping, a Third Plenum meeting of the top leadership of the Communist Party concluded with promises of major economic and social reforms, although without relaxation of the absolute political controls of the party or of its censorship policies. Indeed, to implement the restructuring reforms meant to bolster the sagging economy, the absolute power of Xi Jinping is to be further strengthened and centralized. Still, the Plenum proposals call for wider free market participation by private interests in areas now dominated by state-owned enterprises. Farmers will be freer to sell or mortgage their land and curbs will be imposed on the arbitrary controls of agricultural land exercised by local officials. Alarmed by the prospect of an eventual shortage of young labor, the One Child Policy will be eased to allow two children for couples where one parent was born an only child. The current aging of the population in the absence of the traditional family customs will not provide an adequate standard of living for elders. The notorious “Re-education Through Labor” camps – which have been used to incarcerate an estimated 200,000 people, including political and religious activists, as well as petty criminals, usually without trial – will be abolished. The search for reliable resources abroad, such as oil, rather than ideology, has been the dominant motivating factor in Beijing’s foreign policies. The expanding presence of China in Latin America and Africa has been looked upon with suspicion in some capitals. Yet there is little evidence that these policies are designed to gain influence for political purposes. The aims are more efforts to consolidate access to raw materials, notably oil. The motivating factors in the volatile disputes with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines over possession of the tiny islands in the East and South China seas, which have also heightened tensions with the United States, has more to do with intentions to exploit the potential of resources, such as oil and gas from below off-shore waters, rather than for strategic purposes. Internally, repression of the Tibetan self-rule movement has more to do with assuring retention of the yet largely unmined mineral wealth of the region than political or cultural differences with the Buddhist population. A seven-year survey that began in 1999 revealed vast deposits of metal ores in Tibet.

The military

The world drew an uneasy breath when China purchased an old Russian aircraft carrier, fearing the begin-

– the next superpower By Seymour Topping

nings of a navy that would challenge American maritime supremacy in the Western Pacific. In reality, lacking naval strength, China looks to the U.S. Navy to protect the sea routes to its vital Middle Eastern oil sources from piracy or other disruptions. China tankers supply about 58 percent of the country’s huge and fast-growing volume of oil imports. The focus of China’s military buildup, however, has been on implanting anti-ship missile launching sites along its coasts capable of demolishing U.S. naval vessels should they be deployed to resist any attempt by the mainland to take over Taiwan militarily, or in a wider conflict, blockade the exposed Chinese coastal ports. The expanding China armory also includes anti-satellite weapons and long-range missiles capable of striking American Pacific bases. According to a Pentagon assessment, these developments add up to the most active land-based ballistic and cruise missile program in the world. China also fields 2.3 million active military personnel, the largest armed forces in the world. No doubt many of these units are intended for internal security and control. While Washington’s tensions with Beijing persist over continued delivery of American arms to Taiwan, the fact is that danger of armed conflict over Taiwan has lessened. Relations between the mainland and Taiwan have improved dramatically with large investments by Taiwan in the mainland and a vast increase in business and tourist cross-strait traffic. Beijing has adhered to a policy of “peaceful attraction,” first publicly stated by Premier Zhou Enlai in an interview with me in 1971. The possibility of an outbreak of military conflict between China and the United States also seems very remote when consideration is given to Beijing’s blessing the presence of more than 125,000 of its brightest youngsters in American educational institutions. Or consider that China is still the best customer for U.S. Treasuries and the major importance of trade to both countries. Nevertheless, there is a competition for influence in the Western Pacific where the United States has been the leading power. Taking account of the Chinese military buildup and as a backup to regional allies such as Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, Obama has asked Congress to shift the emphasis of military armaments spending to Asia-Pacific in what has been dubbed the Pivot Policy. Construction has begun on a new base in Australia to be garrisoned by about 2,500 Marines. The Obama Administration dramatically underlined the American intention to remain a leading power in the region in November when, in a surprise move, China demarcated a section of the East China Sea as a new airdefense zone. Its so-called zone extended over the tiny Senkaku islands to which both China and Japan lay ter-

ritorial claim. Beijing promulgated regulations, requiring pilots of all foreign aircraft to identify their planes and flight plans upon entering the zone. Washington responded quickly to this usurping of international waters by sending two B-52 bombers into the area ignoring the regulations, which call for reporting of their presence to China monitors. Japan and South Korea followed the American lead. China scrambled fighter planes, which spotted the planes but took no hostile action. The episode did, however, raise the specter of a possible miscalculation that could lead to armed conflict.

The future

There is no absolute formula for ensuring that there will develop a lasting partnership, as Obama proposes, even as China continues to ascend to global superpower status. Competition and differences to some degree between the world’s two great poles of economic and military power may be inevitable. Yet peace and mutual well-being can be assured through frequent and comprehensive dialogue between Beijing and Washington and free economic and cultural exchanges between the two countries. Basic cooperation between the two great powers is a prerequisite for the safeguarding of the planet in this age of sectarian conflict, nuclear proliferation and global warming. Progress is, in fact, being made on these priorities. n



hen it comes to great geopolitical relationships, you might think U.S.-U.K. U.S. and Russia? Not so much. It wasn’t always that way. Catherine the Great, that cagey czarina, was actually a big fan of the American Revolution – in part because it so bedeviled her British rivals, especially George III, whom she detested. Catherine may not have actively aided the colonists, but she didn’t hinder them on the world stage either. During the American Civil War, though, Russia went the extra step as one of the few countries to support the Union publicly. Funny thing about revolutions and civil wars: As Peter Stone’s Benjamin Franklin observes in the musical “1776,” “a rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as ‘our rebellion.’ It is only in the third person – their rebellion – that it becomes illegal.” So once the Russians staged their own revolution in 1917, the relationship headed south as they were all about communism, we were all about capitalism and it doesn’t take a John Maynard Keynes to figure out that the two don’t mix. Even when the U.S. and Great Britain allied with the Russians in World War II and Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously told Winston Churchill that Joseph “Uncle Joe” Stalin may be a bastard, “but he’s our bastard,” there was a mistrust that some experts believe is what’s really at the heart of the relationship. The minute the Axis powers were defeated, all bets were off. What followed was a series of crises, conflicts and wars played out in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America, with the two remaining superpowers – the British Empire having dissolved at the end of World War II – fully engaged or pulling strings behind the scenes. More subtle but just as deadly was the check-checkmate of the “Cold War” – thank you, George Orwell – with its spy game, arms escalation, on-and-off nuclear test-ban treaties and space race that kept the world on tenterhooks. But the roiling political climate nevertheless gave culture a new urgency and piquancy. When American pianist Van Cliburn won the International Tchai-


From Russia with(out) love By Georgette Gouveia

Catherine the Great (1763, oil) by Fyodor Rokotov. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

kovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958, it wasn’t just a young Texan staking an artistic claim. It was America – still smarting from the Soviet Union’s launch of the first Sputnik satellite – taking it to the Russkies on their own aesthetic turf and winning rapt hearts and minds through the transcendent power of art. Even Soviet Premier Nikita “We will bury you” Khrushchev said Cliburn deserved the prize. Would this have been the first sentence of the pianist’s obit this past February

without the Cold War tensions? Would Rudolf Nureyev’s and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s leaps over the “Iron Curtain” – thank you, Winston Churchill – have resonated in 1961 and 1974 respectively in quite the same way without them? Think of what the Cold War – and even the post-Cold War frisson – has done for the Olympics. Sure, everyone loves the “Miracle on Ice” at the Lake Placid Games in 1980, in which an amateur U.S. hockey team defeated a Soviet juggernaut before taking the gold from

Finland. Months later, the U.S. would boycott the Summer Games in Moscow over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But some of us Olympic aficionados have a soft spot for other ice wars in which figure skaters vied and cried and judges were accused of favoritism. Remember when Jamie Salé and David Pelletier lost the gold to Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze in the pairs competition at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and then were awarded the gold as well after it was revealed that French

judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne voted for the Russians in exchange for Russian support of a French skater? (OK, so Salé and Pelletier are Canadian, not American. But still. They’re North American.) How about the moment in the 2010 Vancouver Games in which Russian singles skater Evgeni Plushenko stepped on the top spot of the podium en route to receiving his silver medal to express his displeasure with American Evan Lysacek getting the gold? Hollywood couldn’t make this stuff up. Not that Hollywood hasn’t tried. Indeed, one of the upsides of the Cold War, if you can call it that, was that Madison Avenue and Hollywood had a new villain to exploit and they ran with that Bolshevik ball. Some of the results were hilarious in the best sense of that word, beginning with Greta Garbo as an icy Communist who warms to the Gallic charms of Melvyn Douglas in “Ninotchka.” Some

20 years later, the satiric cartoon series “The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show” brilliantly skewered the Cold War with episodes revolving around Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale – the no-goodnik agents of Pottsylvania – and their bungling attempts to foil true-blue Rocky and Bullwinkle. The 1966 film “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” uproariously imagined what would happen if the Russians invaded – a New England town. Meanwhile, novelists like John le Carré (“The Spy Who Came In From the Cold,” “The Russia House”) and Martin Cruz Smith (“Gorky Park”) mined a more serious vein in a political chess game that even inspired a musical (“Chess”) with shades of Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky’s 1972 showdown in Reykjavik, Iceland. Elsewhere, the results were mixed. James Bond’s encounters with the Sovietlike SPECTRE in such films as “From

Russia, With Love” seem terribly dated now, in part because of their portrayal of women. Wendy’s 1980s sendup of Russia as a nation of battle-axes – with a frumpy model sporting daywear, eveningwear and swimwear that consisted of a housecoat and babushka accented by a flashlight and beach ball – was clichéd and mercilessly funny. Perhaps equally amusing (though unintentionally so) in the decade of the three Rs – “Rocky,” “Rambo” and Reagan – were those Sylvester Stallone films, in which the icy-blond Soviet villains outNazied the Nazis. “Rambo II” was Cold War porn. “Rocky IV” ended with red, white and blue Rocky defeating the Soviet machine and realizing “that if I can change and you can change, everyone can change.” Gorby must’ve heard him. Mikhail Gorbachev – the anti-Khrushchev – made Soviet premiers sexy, intelligible

and human. Under his leadership, the Iron Curtain came down, the Soviet empire fell away – and Hollywood had a villain problem. But not for long. Unfortunately, terrorists of every stripe were ready to step into the void. Still, there’s hope for the Bad(enov) old days under President Vladimir Putin, who brings some oldstyle Soviet swagger to those topless pix of himself doing macho stuff like splitting logs. What with the Russians putting a halt on American adoptions, welcoming our rogue whistleblowers and warning gay athletes to keep it zipped at the Sochi Games, we might be entering a whole new Cold War. To those fantasists who can only dream, the words of 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli apply: “There are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.” n


Tut, tut We walk like

an Egyptian to play ‘Six Degrees of Downton’ By Georgette Gouveia

“Downton Abbey” has returned to PBS’ “Masterpiece Classic.” And though we’re thinking of avoiding Season 4 altogether – in mourning for a certain character who really made the series for us – you know we just can’t resist the upstairs-downstairs drama of the tested Crawleys and their equally tried servants. They’ve proven to be golden for PBS, which recorded its highest viewership with Season 3 (24.1 million). What you may not know is that the Crawleys are related – in a “Six Degrees of ‘Downton’” kind of way – to another golden phenom, King Tut.

In the spirit of the Olympic Games, we offer our own play-

ful take on the metals behind the medals. First up is gold with King Tut, then the silver from Tiffany and finally bronze from sculptor Eric David Laxman.

The dots connect thusly: “Downton” is filmed in part at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England, home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Lord Carnarvon’s great-grandfather was George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, the fifth earl, who married Almina Victoria Maria Alexandra Wombwell, reportedly the out-of-wedlock daughter of millionaire banker Alfred de Rothschild. It’s here that you can see parallels between Highclere and “Downton,” for Lady Almina’s fortune was said to buck up Highclere, just as Downton is preserved by the fictional Earl of Grantham’s (Hugh Bonneville) marriage to the American heiress Cora (Elizabeth McGovern). Lady Almina’s dowry – 500,000 pounds, about $30 million today – plus her annual income also shored up the spending habits of Lord Carnarvon, whose asthma would lead them to the warmer climes of Egypt. It was there that the earl became enamored of Egyptology and excavation, joining forces with the archaeologist Howard Carter. The first 10 years of their working relationship bore little fruit as the accident-prone Carnar28

Funeral mask of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Did it hold the key to the manner of Lord Carnarvon’s death? Photograph by Jon Bodsworth.

von and the testy Carter couldn’t immediately get the concession on the archaeologically rich Valley of the Kings, where Carter was convinced that the intact tomb of Tutankhamun could be found. Once the pair acquired the rights in 1917, the war had sapped some of Carnarvon’s resources. He was about to throw in the shovel in the summer of 1922, when Carter proposed using his own funds to continue their work. Carnarvon made the decision to stake the archaeologist to another season. The gamble was soon rewarded. On Nov. 4 of that year, Carter sent Carnarvon a telegram: “At last have made wonderful discovery in the Valley, a magnificent tomb with seals intact; recovered same for your arrival; Congratulations!” When Carnarvon and his daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert, arrived three weeks later, it was time to go to work on what we would call today the big reveal. As Carter later wrote in “The Tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen”: “…presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the

mist, strange animals, statues and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. …when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ‘Yes, wonderful things.’” There were alabaster vessels, faience figures and everywhere gilded masks, j e w e l r y, statues, furnishings and shrines, all of which would be carefully removed and tagged. Here’s where the story gets strange. Carnarvon, never the healthiest of men after a car accident, cut a mosquito bite on his face while shaving as he prepared to leave Cairo in March of 1923. The bite became infected, blood poisoning turned to pneumonia and Carnarvon died April 5, 1923. His death in those early morning

hours was the dawn of the so-called curse of King Tut. The press went wild. At the precise moment of his death, it was said, his dog howled back at Highclere and keeled over. Every odd happening was attributed to the curse. Even the current countess, Lady Fiona Carnarvon, author of “Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey,” told PBS she sees some “spooky” parallels between her husband’s ancestor and Tut. “The golden mask of Tutankhamun is of such beauty and quality and made of such equal weight of gold throughout, apart from on the left cheek, which is exactly where Carnarvon was bitten by the mosquito, and it turns out as well that malaria in mosquitoes probably had a major part in the death of Tutankhamun, which was, again, one of

the major part(s) of the death of Lord Carnarvon. There are points that link them,” she said. Dan Stevens, who played Downton heir Matthew Crawley for three seasons, told Britain’s Daily Mail that all kinds of Carnarvonian accidents have happened to the cast. Michelle Dockery, who plays Matthew’s beloved Lady Mary, went to the hospital after she dropped a knife on her foot. Zoe Boyle, who played his fiancée Lavinia Swire, broke her wrist falling off a bus and Laura Carmichael, Lady Mary’s sister Lady Edith, broke hers at a wrap party. But, you say, “Downton” doesn’t really have anything to do with Highclere and thus Carnarvon and Tut. It’s only partially filmed there. Ah, but that’s because the servants’ quarters now house a permanent exhibit of Carnarvon’s Egyptian treasures. Additional source: “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” (National Geographic) by Zahi Hawass. n Signet ring with cartouche for Tutankhamun inscribed “Perfect God, Lord of the Two Lands.” Musée du Louvre. Photograph by Guillaume Blanchard.


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The Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy.


The United States Open Tennis Championships Trophy. All images courtesy of Tiffany & Co.

Trophy triumphs Tiffany is the creator of the Vince Lombardi and many other championship awards By Georgette Gouveia

When the winners of Super Bowl XLVIII hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy at MetLife Stadium, they will be lifting an award that has special significance for this area. The sterling silver trophy, featuring a regulation football in kicking position on a three concave-sided stand, is made by Tiffany & Co., specifically its Holloware Shop in Parsippany, N.J., making it, like the game itself, a truly N.Y./N.J. Collaboration. Founded in 1837, Tiffany seems to have been destined for a sporting life, designing the New York Yankees’ iconic logo before it ever belonged to the team. It was a New York City Police Department award that ultimately became the property of the Bronx Bombers. But Tiffany’s association with sports begins in 1860 on the bluegrass of Kentucky with the Woodlawn Vase. Later this trophy was presented to the Maryland Jockey Club for the winner of the Preakness Stakes, making it the oldest continuously contested trophy in the United States. In 1897, Tiffany was commissioned to design the August Belmont Memorial Cup for the Belmont Stakes, named for financier and event founder August Belmont. The richly patterned and textured cup, embellished with images of the founding sires of the American Thoroughbred, is emblematic of the kind of ornate designs Tiffany made in the 19th century. The Viking Rowing Trophy

conjured a Viking ship down to its rippling pennants, authentic rigging and 14 great oars. Yachting trophies like the Goelet Cup featured waves, naiads, mermaids and dolphins. For America’s pastime, Tiffany created the first world championship baseball trophy in 1888. Today, using elements of gold vermeil, Tiffany makes the World Series Championship Trophy, one of its most exhilarating designs, with 30 flags flying, one for each team, and latitude and longitude lines to symbolize the Earth. The World Series MVP Trophy is another Tiffany creation. Indeed, there doesn’t seem to be a sport that doesn’t have the emporium’s imprimatur. The Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy, renamed in 1984 for former National Basketball Association commissioner? Check. How about the Women’s National Basketball Association Championship Trophy? Ditto. The Samuel Rudin Trophy awarded to the male and female winners of the New York City Marathon? You bet. The United States Open Tennis Championships Trophies in the style of classic loving cups with cast handles and spun finials, all made entirely of sterling silver? Uh-huh. Then there are the Citizen Cup, awarded to the winner of the Defenders Series leading to the America’s Cup Race; the PGA Tour FedExCup Trophy and EDS Byron

Nelson Championship Trophy; and the Triple Crown of Polo Championship Trophy. But the one everyone will have their eyes on is the Lombardi, named in 1970 for the legendary coach who led the Green Bay Packers to victory in Super Bowl I and II. The trophy had been conceived on a cocktail napkin during a lunch between then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and Tiffany Vice President Oscar Riedener. In 1971, it was presented for the first time as the Lombardi to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V as they defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13. Over the years, the seven-pound, 22-inch trophy has moved from being awarded in the winning team’s locker room to an on-the-field presentation and has seen its NFL logo modernized. Otherwise, each winning team still gets its own, with the players receiving smaller versions. The one exception ironically was the Super Bowl V trophy, the first-ever Lombardi, which the city of Baltimore wrested from the Colts in a legal settlement after the team giddy-upped to Indy in 1984. But since then the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore’s new team, the Ravens, have won Super Bowls, so presumably everyone’s happy. The only question is: Which team and which city will be happy with the Lombardi this year? n

1 1 1 4 E P U T N A M AV E . G R E E N W I C H , C T 0 6 8 7 8 / / 2 0 3 - 6 9 8 - 6 9 8 0 / / A N E X T R A O R D I N A R Y H O T E L A T Y O U R F I N G E R T I P S / / W W W . J H O U S E G R E E N W I C H . C O M 31

Bend it like Laxman By Patricia Espinosa


Eric David Laxman in his Valley Cottage studio. Photograph by Patricia Espinosa.


ith clean lines, smooth joints and elegant contours, Eric David Laxman’s highoctane sculptures take their design cues from classicism, yet are at once unique and modern. “Whether it’s Roman, Greek or Egyptian art, there’s something so riveting about that work and it speaks through so many years of time. ...There’s something archetypal about what comes through,” Laxman says about the great civilizations from which the ancient tradition of sculpting first emerged. Today, the art form continues to captivate the eye. “I’ve always been inspired by that and I’ve always felt like it’s been such an in“Humming Birds 1”- Wall Relief. Photograph by George Potanovic. credible calling.” With that calling, though, comes the need for the artist to tap into the zeitgeist and affirm that through his art, whether figurative or abstract. The Valley Cottage resident’s diverse body of work includes a wide range of pieces – wall sculpture, entry-landing sculpture, large public commissions, custom furniture and decorative metal. He chooses to work with nonferrous metals, which include stainless steel, bronze and aluminum. “My signature work is a combination of metal and stone and integrating them together,” he says. There have been numerous commissions that have graced the homes and gardens of Hudson Valley and Connecticut estates, as well as pieces in the collections of some company headquarters and select American art galleries. In 2007, Greenwich Hospital commissioned a figurative cast bronze sculpture of mother and child for its maternity-visiting lounge. Recently, the artist’s worked appeared on the CBS cop series “Blue Bloods” and the Netflix comedy-drama “Orange Is the New Black.” Rather than having a fixed concept and executing it, Laxman says it’s the process of working that informs the art. “I like the idea of having an idea and having something that I’m trying to express and I may not even be completely aware of what I’m trying to express, but in the process of working and in putting things together, things emerge and if you’re open to what’s hap-

pening, it develops its own life and its own raison d’etre.” He explains, “You’re revealing something at each stage of the process, uncovering something instead of just working to complete the thing.” In the art world today, it’s very common for an artist to make a maquette and hand it over to a big fabricator so he can create a large-scale version of the model. There are plenty of technical challenges involved in that translation, Laxman says, but the primary reason he doesn’t like to work this way is because it ceases to be the artist’s journey in the process of making the object. “What’s interesting about my work is I’m doing a real range of things. I’m doing my own work, which has become more experimental. I like to take more risk, because in the commissions and furniture – functional things – you have a script.” With the commissioned work comes the inevitability of having to conform to a predetermined plan, so that’s why he says his own work provides an antidote where he can be more open-ended and free to be in the moment and make spontaneous choices. “True art is always some kind of an experiment, ” says the Tufts University graduate, who earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and planned to be doctor until he took a stone-carving class his junior year and traveled to Vermont that summer with his teacher for a threeweek trip visiting quarries and stone carvers. As he explains, “You have some kind of thesis you are exploring and you delve into it. And there’s usually some question in your mind, something that you want to express, and how you’re going to achieve that and what you’re going to put together – the alchemy of transforming the materials into something that resembles the original materials but becomes something else.” His experience studying chemistry and physics has given him a greater appreciation, if not a greater knowledge, of those materials. “That’s where the science comes in. Any time I’m making something, you know, I’m bending a piece of steel to make it fit something. I have to manipulate it to do something I want it to do. I have to understand what the materials can do. I use all my experience with different technology, figure out how to go from A to Z to create something. And each step of the way you have these choices to make and problems to solve.”

Laxman doesn’t make a distinction between his own art and the functional art, like the superlatively crafted hand railings he produces for clients. “My art informs the commercial work and the commercial work informs my art and it’s all fodder for the creative process. I don’t distinguish the source. “The idea that you can be an artist and make your living entirely from the process of being creative is a very unrealistic goal, because art isn’t meant to be just a commodity. It’s a spiritual calling, I think.” The artist doesn’t want all the pressure of his livelihood to depend on the creative process because, he says, “It kills your creativity when you’re worried about paying your rent and you’re going to go to the studio and create a piece of art? You can’t. There’s no way to squeeze art into a business model. The actual act of making art is completely separate from the transaction of putting it out there, selling it, making a living.” But Laxman isn’t exactly choosing between being a “suit” or a “creative.” His yin-yang approach to business and art strikes the right balance. “I found a way to be interested and curious and treat that (commercial art) as much as part of my art as anything else.” He acknowledges, however, “When I first started working as an artist, and I was a student, the idea of doing railings was like, ‘Forget it, I’m an artist. I’m not doing railings.’ But over a period of time and having different experiences, people starting asking, ‘Can you make a table for me?’ Then I went to the International (Contemporary) Furniture show at the Javits Center and I saw what artisan furniture makers were making and the light bulb went off.”

“Healing Embrace.” Photograph by Sal Cordaro.

The artist’s work will be featured in the upcoming show “Unusual Art” at The Belskie Museum of Art & Science, 280 High St., Closter, N.J., from Jan. 5-26, with an artist’s reception 1-5 p.m. Jan. 5. For more information, visit n 33

off-field fun Al Kelly and company pull out all the stops for a ‘Super Bowl of firsts’ By Georgette Gouveia

Growing up in Crestwood and attending Iona Prep and Iona College in New Rochelle, Al Kelly was a Green Bay Packers’ fan. It’s safe to say though that Kelly is now a NY/NJ football fan with equal allegiance to the Giants and the Jets. Indeed, delivering the keynote speech at the Westchester County Association’s Annual Leadership Dinner in November, he playfully chided president Bill Mooney for sporting a jersey bearing Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s number (10), using salty language to muse about what Jets’ owner Woody Johnson would say. There’s good reason for Kelly’s interstate gridiron bipartisanship: He’s the president and CEO of the 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, charged with overseeing the activities leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Noting that the Super Bowl is the annual crowning moment of America’s most popular sport, Kelly, former president of American Express, is flush with enthusiasm. “This is a phenomenal opportunity for the region and a platform for the things that are valuable to the region.” It’s a viewpoint he shares with Johnson and Giants’ owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, with whom, he says, he’s had good chemistry from the moment he was brought to their attention by a search committee. “This is a Super Bowl of firsts,” Kelly, a Harrison resident, says. And of dualities. It’s the first time a Super Bowl has been hosted by two teams and two states that, he observed at the WCA dinner, are captained by not-so-retiring governors, New York’s Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey’s Chris Christie. It’s also the first Super Bowl to be played in cold weather outdoors. But don’t expect Kelly to be checking the long-range forecast. “I can only control what I can control by preparing for different types of weather,” he says. Rather than worry about what’s beyond them, Kelly says he and the host teams decided to concentrate on what they could do. Since it is a Super Bowl of firsts, he remembers all of them thinking, “Let’s jump on the bandwagon and make it really different from the others.” 34

Photographs Courtesy of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee.

The way they have done that is to go Broadway – literally. From Jan. 29 through Feb. 2, Broadway will be closed to traffic from 34th Street to 48th Street to become Super Bowl Boulevard, complete with the full range of offerings – arts, retail, sports, media – that the region, a cultural juggernaut, has to offer. But the action won’t be confined to Broadway. There will be hockey at Yankee Stadium and college basketball at Madison Square Garden. Nor are activities limited to the week leading up to the Super Bowl. There’s the “Join the Huddle Tour,” a four-truck caravan winding through 48 sites – 24 in New York, 24 in New Jersey – that’s filled with

memorabilia and exhibits, including an exploration of legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi’s New York roots, two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning’s jersey, a display on Joe Namath and the Jets’ stunning triumph in Super Bowl III and a glass case ready to contain the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which is made by another New York institution, Tiffany & Co. (See related story.) The caravan will be on the move until February when it will be parked between 35th and 36th streets on Super Bowl Boulevard. Then there are the charity initiatives, like the nonprofit NY/NJ Snowflake Youth Foundation, which the host committee created to develop after-school activities for area youngsters; coat drives with New York Cares and Jersey Cares; and blood drives

with the American Red Cross, the New Jersey Workplace Blood Donor Coalition and the New York Blood Center. All of this takes manpower (about 11,000 volunteers) and money ($60 million raised through corporate and individual sponsorships). But the Super Bowl of firsts is also expected to generate about $550 million for the region. Yet it’s not just about making money or even showcasing what the region has to offer. It’s about being hospitable. And so, Kelly – who’s duties won’t end until the police escort delivers the competing teams to MetLife Stadium and the NFL show kicks in – is happy to strike that delicate balance as he straddles the Hudson River. “My job is many things,” he says, “but ultimately I’m an ambassador.” n


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The filmmakers plan a shot... and an escape route. Photograph by Andy Wright,


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North (Salem) by northwest A filmmaker heads out in search of the white stuff By Mark Lungariello

Joe Carlino, one of the premier snowboarding filmmakers in the business, grew up in North Salem, a town whose nearest answer to a mountain is a mysterious 60ton boulder residents call Balanced Rock. In the American Northeast, snow sports are seasonal activities usually undertaken by so-called “weekend warriors.” In this area of the country, the mountains are short and stout, the snow sporadic and the hills often covered more by ice than snow. Carlino’s parents, Maria and Sal, taught him to ski when he was 3 years old and after years of bangs and bruises from attempting jumps and stunts, he switched to snowboarding at age 17. Carlino had a near-religious experience as a teenager the first time he visited Colorado, with its marathon slopes and endless snow. He dreamt of moving there, like a snowboarding frontiersman seeking better conditions. “It’s like the gold miners going out west: They have the dream about finding gold. We have that dream about riding powder,” he says. “You move out west to the real moun-

tains, to the real snow, to the real powder.” Carlino graduated North Salem High School and lasted about a week as a student at Westchester Community College in Valhalla before he decided he wanted a more “hands-on” education. He took some money he had put aside for his higher education and instead used it to buy his first video camera, a computer and filmediting software. Then he headed to California to make it in the industry. He even appreciated what the natives there viewed as off-days on the slopes. “I remember so many times once I went out to California, people would say ‘Man, it’s icy today,’” he says. “And I remember telling people, ‘You guys don’t know what ice is, this is soft.’” When he first headed west, Carlino found that Bear Mountain in Big Bear Lake, Calif., was looking for a videographer. “After a month or two of annoying the marketing manager there, he gave me a job,” he says. Carlino ended up shooting video for Transworld Snowboarding, one of the

“It’s like the gold miners going out west: They have the dream about finding gold. We have that dream about riding powder. You move out west to the real mountains, to the real snow, to the real powder.” — Joe carlino

Joe Carlino with snowboarder Halder Helgason. Photograph by Andy Wright.

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Lori Nix (American, b. 1969) Lori Nix Studio, 2013 Mixed media Courtesy of the Artist and ClampArt Gallery © Lori Nix


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Snowboarding cinematography takes more than composing a shot, Carlino says, with the challenge sometimes just getting to your filming locations. Photograph by Joe Carlino.

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largest magazines of its kind in the world. After a stint that lasted from about 2006 until 2010, Carlino freelanced for a year, then entered the next stratosphere when he was hired by Nike Snowboarding in 2012. With Nike’s big name – and big wallet – Carlino and other scene insiders have been taking to a wider audience. Carlino recently worked on Nike’s “Never Not” films. Part 1 was a more “Inside Baseball”-style video with recognizable names in the industry and strong song selection, aimed at an audience already wellversed in the nuances of the stunt snowboarding game. Part 2 of “Never Not” was aimed at a more mainstream audience, filmed in a more standard documentary style. It was submitted to film festivals and Carlino’s hope is that it will strike a chord with people that were like him as a teenager. “Hopefully, it inspires them to snowboard or be involved in the culture,” he said. “Then you think about it when you wake up, and you think about it when you go the bed.” One benefit of being a filmmaker working for a large brand is that Carlino has been able to focus on his craft without worrying about the same things filmmakers in other genres might. There’s an oversaturation of DIY snowboarding films and loads of free content on the Internet with filmmakers, like those in many other industries, rethinking their business models as sales decline. “Working for a brand, it doesn’t matter if the movie doesn’t sell a million copies so long as people see it and it has a

million views,” he said. Still, getting those views is a challenge and shooting snowboarding video is more than just pointing and shooting. A large portion of the challenge is just getting to a backcountry location, like a recent shoot in Alaska. A snowmobile or helicopter is needed just to get you there, dangling sometimes feet away from a 3,000-foot cliff. Temperatures are cold, as cold as 30 degrees below freezing; lights can fall over during a critical stunt; cameras might get damaged from snow; and after it’s all done, the filmmaker has to be able to snowboard down the same slopes as his subjects. Carlino has witnessed a snowmobile getting stuck and later having to be pulled out of the snow using a helicopter. He’s seen a snowboarder break his leg in the middle of the blank canvas of a remote mountain slope where cellphone service is only available through satellite and avalanches are possible, even if unlikely. And of course, there’s the possibility of a freak storm. “It turns into survival just to get out before you get whited out,” he said. His biggest fear though as he gets older is not the potential danger or not being able to keep up as his subjects get younger, but that he might get bored. So far he has no plans to branch out beyond snowboarding. “A lot of people ask me ‘You going to do music videos or commercials?’ and I’m like I don’t know,” he said. “I’m worried about that one day that I’m just not excited about what the riders are doing, but it hasn’t happened yet.” n

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Hard knock life Doc wraps his head around the NFL’s concussion problem By Jane K. Dove

“The object of the game of football – getting from one end of the field to the other – can be achieved without hurting players, whether it is on the NFL, high school or college level,” says Javier Cardenas, a neurologist and brain injury expert with Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. Cardenas specializes in diagnosing and treating traumatic brain injuries and serves as an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant (UNC) for the National Football League. “This is the first season for UNCs,” he says. “Two are assigned to each of the 32 teams in the NFL. We attend each game and are there to assist team medical staffs in the diagnosis and management of suspected concussions or spine injuries that may occur during the game. We serve both home and away teams. I am usually at the Arizona Cardinals’ games but can go anywhere.”

“In this vein, the National Football league’s UNC program, in my view, is a quantum leap forward,” he says. “It sprang out of the 2011 players’ agreement with the NFL. Players advocated for themselves and this is one of the results.” As a UNC, Cardenas focuses on player protection. “I serve as a sideline consultant and assist in identifying collisions that may result in concussion or other neurological injuries. Whether I am on the home or away sidelines, the team’s medical staff uses my unbiased opinion in the event of a suspected concussion.” In addition to watching for suspicious hard collisions, Cardenas looks to see how the players are behaving on the field. “During sideline assessment, I look for abnormal eye movements, imbalance, trouble with memory, concentration and processing information.” “Fortunately, we have an entire team working on this process, including an athletic trainer in the video booth, support on the ground and access to game video like the officials have. It is a team effort to maintain player safety.”

Spotlight on a problem

The establishment of UNCs comes at a time when the NFL has tentatively agreed to a $765 million settlement over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players. “Football is the number one sport for concussions, simply because it is the highest contact sport,” says Cardenas, who received his medical degree from the University of Arizona in 2004. “With literally millions of young people playing, it is a ripe environment for concussions, but it is only recently that the matter has really come to be forefront of public interest and discussion. The interest has been sparked largely by the focus on what has happened to many NFL players who have sustained multiple concussions followed by long-term damage.” As a result, fans and the players themselves started to ask questions and the NFL was forced to respond. Initially the NFL published its own studies saying that returning to play after a concussion did not involve significant risk of a second injury in the same game or during the rest of the season. But the league backtracked when a host of independent studies contradicted its findings and injured players started to come forward to tell their stories. “Returning to the field too soon after concussion injury is the leading cause of long-term problems,” Cardenas says. “We call this second-impact syndrome. The first impact may be relatively minor, but even a minor concussion causes swelling of the brain. If a player goes back to playing before the swelling has completely gone down and a second concussion occurs, he can be in serious trouble, including being at risk for dying.” Cardenas says that on a national level about a halfdozen young football players die each year from secondimpact syndrome. Multiple concussions, often experienced by NFL players, can lead to a host of prolonged and debilitating symptoms over time. These include loss of brain function, chronic headaches, attention disorders, depression, amnesia, dementia and symptoms like those of Parkinson’s disease. “One now-documented condition, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, has actually resulted in some 40

Concerns for young players

Javier Cardenas, MD. Courtesy of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

player suicides,” Cardenas says. “Victims are plagued by behavior and personality changes, alternations in their ability to think and a range of physical symptoms. Unfortunately, CTE can only be diagnosed during a brain autopsy after death.”

Coming to grips

Cardenas says now that the problem of football concussions has come to the fore, the NFL has invested many millions of dollars in research on CTE, concussion recovery rates, long-term consequences and the starting of the UNC program. The league has also changed game rules and instituted the use of high-tech helmets to lessen the chances of concussion injuries.

In addition to his role as a UNC, Cardenas created the nation’s first comprehensive concussion prevention, treatment and education program for young athletes. Called the Barrow Concussion Network, it includes resources for concussion education, voluntary pre-injury testing and post-injury medical follow-up. Cardenas also created the Barrow Brainbook, an interactive module for student athletes on the signs, symptoms and dangers of concussions and how to take preventive action. Using the program, the state of Arizona became the first in the nation to require that all male and female student athletes undergo concussion education and pass a formal test before playing any sport. “Fortunately, most football games, whether it’s the NFL or at the high school level, come and go with few or no injuries,” Cardenas says. “There are actually more injuries in the pre-season before players have been fully conditioned and honed their skills.” On the youth level, Cardenas says that both parents and their children need to educate themselves on the dangers of concussions. “Young athletes need to know they need their brain to work properly throughout their lives and parents need to know the signs and symptoms of concussion. When injured, young players, as well as adults, need more time to heal. The younger the players, the more at risk they are. Second-impact syndrome is completely preventable. My mantra is ‘When in doubt, sit them out.’ The child’s health obviously outweighs the outcome of the game.” Cardenas says he is encouraged by recent positive developments related to concussions in football. Shining a light on the subject has proven beneficial. “The game is here to stay, but it needs to evolve,” he says. “Rules are changing for the better every year. We need to focus on making this a safer sport for both adults and children, and I believe we are well on our way to seeing a much-needed cultural shift in attitudes toward serious neurological injuries.” n


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fitness center designed for a life time By Georgette Gouveia


or those who want to do everything from train like a Super Bowl champ to grab a healthy lunch, there’s a new wellness oasis in Westchester. Life Time Athletic in White Plains is set to have its grand VIP opening Feb. 6. Just don’t call it a typical fitness center. Life Time The Healthy Way of Life Co. was founded in 1992 in Brooklyn Park, Minn., by Bahram Akradi, who left Iran shortly before the 1979 Revolution and worked his way through the health club industry to found a billion-dollar business based on an individual approach. There are 110 Life Time facilities in North America, with five in the Northeast. It is the personal touch that makes Life Time different from other fitness centers, says Susan Setna Mistri, senior general manager. “When you join many health clubs, they’re happy to take your money, point you toward the treadmill and you’re off,” she says. Not at Life Time, where the motto is “the best places, people and programs.” Each member meets with a Life Time-trained adviser for two free consultations. The first, she says, is a physical analysis. The second includes a finger-prick blood test to determine what’s going on inside the body. “It’s all about knowing what a member needs and what we must do to meet those needs and channel (members) to their area of passion.” To corral those passions, Life Time’s design team has built a $70 million-plus, 206,000-square-foot resort-style facility on the site of the former Journal News plant in White Plains that will employ 300 to 400 people. It will be serving 8,000 to 10,000 members, each of whom will pay $159 per month, $40 more for the tennis facilities. There are 10 indoor tennis courts, a tennis lounge and a pro shop. There are also two indoor and two outdoor 25-meter pools, two whirlpools, a dry sauna and two full basketball courts. Other offerings include yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Insanity, indoor cycling, squash, kickboxing, core work and Alpha Training, not to mention rock climbing on two walls. With all this exertion, you’ll want to take a break at the bar or at the Life Café, which will feature organic fare. Or you may want to enjoy a mani-pedi or a facial at the Life Spa. (Both the café and the spa


Photographs courtesy of Life Time Athletic.

will be open to nonmembers.) Members can also receive discounts from Life Time advertisers and training for Life TimeTri, the company’s triathlon series. Perhaps best of all, parents don’t have to feel they have to leave the kids at home to enjoy a concentrated workout. The Life Time Kids Academy will have enrichment classes for children ages 3 months to 11 years in everything from baby yoga to sign language for the toddler set to school skills for the older crowd to swim lessons for all. “You don’t want to have to go here for yoga and another place for Zumba and another place to drop off your kids,” Mistri says. “We want to be your first and last stop.” Life Time Athletic, 1 Westchester Park Drive (formerly Gannett Drive) in White Plains, opens to the public Feb. 7. Hours are 4 a.m. to midnight daily. For more, call (914) 290-5100 or visit lifetimefitness. com. n

“You don’t want to have to go here for yoga and another place for Zumba and another place to drop off your kids. We want to be your first and last stop.” — Susan Setna Mistri

Johnny be good

Weir expects to put his flamboyant side on ice for NBC gig By Heather Salerno


t was bright and balmy one morning last August outside the Ice House in Hackensack, N.J. But inside the world-class skating facility, Johnny Weir was cold, wet and bruised. The flamboyant three-time U.S. figure skating champion and two-time Olympian had been training hard, gunning for a third chance to represent this country at the 2014 Winter Games. He was on a strict diet and monastic sleep schedule, practicing toe loops and jumps over and over in twice-daily sessions and working on new programs to highlight his graceful athleticism, theatrical personality and, most likely, a few trademark over-thetop costumes. An extreme fashionisto, both on and off the ice, Weir has a penchant for sequins, lip gloss and Balenciaga bags. He once posed for a photo shoot in six-inch stilettos and gleefully called one of his head-turning skating outfits “a Care Bear on acid.” He knew an Olympic comeback would be tough. At 29, Weir himself admits he’s “ancient” by elite skating standards. Nor had he competed much after finishing sixth at 2010’s Vancouver Games, focusing instead on an array of entertainment projects, including a reality show and fashion line. Yet this Olympics, which kicks off Feb. 7 in Sochi, Russia, was different. This round was about more than a final chance at a medal. A self-proclaimed “Russophile” – Weir speaks the language and has talked often about the great influence Russian skaters have had on him – he desperately wanted to finish his amateur career in a host nation that he’s adored since childhood. “Russia is a very special place to me,” he says. “I had to at least give it a try.” But during practice on that late summer morning, as he lay sprawled across the ice after a fall, Weir realized it was time to hang up his skates. “It was a beautiful day outside, warm and sunny and I was in a dark, dingy ice rink


freezing my butt off,” he recalls. “I looked up at the ceiling and it was just this moment of peace and kismet where I said, ‘Johnny, you gave it a good shot, but this isn’t for you anymore.’” Two months later, Weir officially announced his retirement from competitive skating, but his Olympic dream didn’t end there. Not only is he still headed to Sochi, he’ll remain in the spotlight. The skating star will just swap the ice rink for a broadcasting booth, serving as an expert analyst for Stamford-based NBC Sports and its multiplatform Olympic figure skating coverage, along with 1998 gold medalist Tara Lipinski. “I’m so honored that I will still be there, that I won’t have to give up the excitement of an Olympic Games,” he says. “There’s nothing really like being on the ground at the Olympics.” For a recent phone interview, Weir was calling from outside a mall near his Bergen County home. He was getting ready to do some holiday shopping, but the location seemed like an appropriate place for this question: What can viewers expect to see style-wise as he shifts from performer to pundit, considering his usual Lady Gaga-worthy wardrobe? “I don’t know how I’m going to be that anchor that wears puffy coats and sneakers,” he says. “I’ve got my sable fur and I’ve got my minks and I’ve got my tight jeans. I’ve got everything that makes me comfortable.” It’s been very uncomfortable for Weir lately, however, because he’s been caught up in the controversy surrounding Russia’s newly passed anti-gay laws. In June, President Vladimir Putin signed legislation that outlaws “homosexual propaganda,” implying a ban on gay rights events and same-sex public displays of affection. That has put Weir – who is such a big celebrity in Russia that his marriage to attorney Victor Voronov, the son of Ukrainian immigrants, was front-page news two years ago – in an awkward position. Despite being proudly gay,

he’s had to defend his vocal opposition to an Olympic boycott. His decision to join NBC as a commentator also angered activists, who feel he should avoid traveling to Russia in protest. Weir called the cry for a boycott “an idiot’s mistake,” one that would only harm the hard-working athletes who have sacrificed so much for a “one in a million chance” to compete. As for going to Sochi, he believes that his highprofile presence there shows support for the Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. “If there’s anything I can do … to show that the community is normal and solid and hard-working and just as able as any of our counterparts, then that’s what I’m planning to do,” he says. “I don’t need to pour out vodka in front of the Russian embassy. I don’t need to protest. I don’t need to wear a rainbow flag.” In early December, members of gay rights group Queer Nation picketed in front of Barnard College, where Weir was giving a talk about the role of Olympic athletes. Demonstrators held a banner reading “Weir: Russian Olympic Clown,” and the skater later referred to the protestors as “idiots.” He apologized afterward for the remark in his regular column for the Falls Church (Va.) News-Press, and NBC issued a statement in support of that apology. Weir insists that he has no plans to address the new Russian law at all while at the games. If asked about it in interviews, he says he’ll be “diplomatic.” That closed-mouth tactic may shock those used to an irrepressible, outrageous Weir, who has gained fans and critics over the years by saying and doing whatever he likes – and not caring what anyone thinks. When he was competing, Weir refused to abandon his dramatic costumes, face paint and edgy routines, even though some speculated that his over-the-top antics cost him points with

“I don’t know how I’m going to be that anchor that wears puffy coats and sneakers. I’ve got my sable fur and I’ve got my minks and I’ve got my tight jeans. I’ve got everything that makes me comfortable.” — Johnny weir


the judges and overshadowed his skating skills. He held a press conference during the Vancouver Olympics to address remarks made by two Canadian commentators who joked that he should be asked to take a gender test. That same year, he publicly claimed he wasn’t hired for the “Stars on Ice” skating tour because he isn’t “family friendly,” which the show denied. And his rivalry with gold medalist Evan Lysacek – who Weir dismissed in 2010 as a “slore” (a combination of “slut” and “whore”) – is said to have inspired the Will Ferrell-Jon Heder comedy “Blades of Glory.” By contrast, Weir, who legally shares a surname with his husband, now says that he doesn’t know whether Voronov will accompany him to Sochi. That’s partly because he’ll be working throughout the trip, but he also doesn’t want to call attention to their relationship. “While I’m not afraid of getting arrested going solo, I think it would be a little bit provocative if I brought my husband,” he says. “If we entered the country with the same name, shared a bed in the hotel? Anything could be weird.” And getting back to that fierce fashion sense? He’s actually planning to dress down during the games. Weir insists that strategy isn’t about “covering up my gayness.” Rather, he prefers to be a “smart traveler” and avoid a “bad situation” by adapting to local customs. 46

“If I go to Canada, if I go to Japan, I’m full-on Johnny Weir, Birkin bag crazy,” he says. “But in the more sensitive countries, like in China or Russia – even when I go to the middle of my own country – I tone myself down.” So after years of embracing the part of provocateur, why is Weir seemingly playing by the rules all of a sudden? Well, the skater says, there’s a huge difference between this Olympics and those he’s previously attended. Before, Johnny Weir was representing Johnny Weir. Now, he’ll represent NBC. “For the most part, I’ve made a career out of promoting myself and being myself and working for myself exclusively,” he explains. “Now I’m working for somebody else.” No one at NBC has schooled him on how to act, Weir says. He’s simply being professional. “Like anybody else who goes into any job, you have to be aware of who you’re working for and I don’t want to upset my boss,” he says. “I don’t want to be outrageous just for the sake of being outrageous and getting attention.” NBC Olympics Executive Producer (and Fairfield County resident) Jim Bell says Weir understands his role at the network, and he’s done well on the figure skating telecasts leading up to the games, including the ISU Grand Prix series. “We hired Johnny to analyze a sport

that he excelled at for 16 years,” he states in an email. “We expect our viewers to enjoy his colorful commentary.” Raised in Quarryville, Pa., where there is a strong Amish community, Weir began figure skating at the relatively late age of 12. He became interested in the sport after seeing Oksana Baiul on television at the 1994 Olympics, and taught himself how to skate on the frozen cornfields behind his home. By the time he was 16, he’d won the world junior championship. In his new position as an analyst, Weir says the biggest challenge has been adopting the mindset of a cheerleader after so many years as a competitor. He used to watch other skaters and see adversaries. Now, he’s learning to appreciate their abilities. In particular, he’s looking forward to having a frontrow seat for performances by Canadian Patrick Chan, the current favorite to win gold in Sochi. “I’m in a position now where I have to be very formal and address each skater in a very positive way, even if I hated their guts before because I was competing against them,” he says with a laugh. Weir isn’t leaving the ice behind completely, though. He still plans to perform in shows and following the Olympics, he’ll join group tours of Russia, China and Japan. He hopes

that the Winter Games and his NBC gig will generate new interest in figure skating in America, with the possibility of staging his own tour.

“If there’s anything I can do … to show that the community is normal and solid and hardworking and just as able as any of our counterparts, then that’s what I’m planning to do,” he says. “I don’t need to pour out vodka in front of the Russian embassy. I don’t need to protest. I don’t need to wear a rainbow flag.” — Johnny weir

“It’s been a while since we really sold out a building,” he says. “And I want to bring that back – not just for myself, but for my sport.” n




Rabbit Hill offers Hudson Valley elegance Story by Houlihan Lawrence Photographs by Tim Lee


Presented by Houlihan Lawrence

RABBIT HILL at a Glance • Scarborough • 13,242 square feet • 16.29 acres • Bedrooms: 8 • Baths: 8 full, 2 half • Amenities: Eat-in-kitchen, exercise room, fireplaces, guest/caretaker cottage, high ceilings, master bath, privacy, tennis/paddle court, view, walk-in closets, water views, wet bar • Price: $9.8 million


ew properties share the grandeur and provenance of Rabbit Hill, a circa-1928 architectural treasure. The grand Georgian-style country house is set on more than 15 acres overlooking the Hudson River. It was designed by Mott B. Schmidt, master of American Georgian Classicism. Schmidt was a favorite of the Astor, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt families, for whom he created some of the era’s most illustrious homes. At Rabbit Hill, he reimagined the quintessential English country house complete with the stately proportions and restrained classical elegance for which he was known. Distinguished by beautifully scaled, au-

thentically detailed living spaces, the lightfilled home displays the exquisite style and artistry of important period architecture while remaining eminently comfortable for modern living. Masterfully restored and improved upon by the current owners, the home’s timeless beauty has been preserved with gleaming marble, brick and randomwidth wood floors, original paneling and moldings, one-of-a-kind fireplace mantels and memorable formal rooms, including a vastly scaled walnut-paneled library. French doors in all the main rooms flow out to the terrace offering endless opportunities to enjoy the mesmerizing river views that set the home apart. Complementing the formal rooms are 49

a variety of more casual spaces including an expansive kitchen, comfortable family room and a stunning Arts & Crafts-style recreation/media room that is sure to become a favored gathering spot for family and friends. The beauty of the home is matched only by its resplendent surrounds, an idyllic blend of breathtaking river vistas and intoxicating natural beauty. The gated grounds, nestled aside the Sleepy Hollow Country Club and across from the conserved Rockefeller family holdings, are enhanced with formal gardens and enjoy beautiful unobstructed prospects in virtually every direction. Further highlights include a brick carriage house with a spacious apartment, a heated pool, large brick pool house, tennis court and greenhouse. Unrivaled for its scope, amenities and privacy, Rabbit Hill provides an unforgettable backdrop for grand living and entertaining in one of the Hudson Valley’s most beautiful settings. For more information, contact David Turner at Houlihan Lawrence, (914) 9536010, (914) 234-9099 ext. 22365 or n 50

Mind games Does Marc Salem have a superpower or a super power? By Andrea Kennedy


hen Mike Wallace took “60 Minutes” to Marc Salem’s Broadway show “Mind Games,” cameras caught the TV host with his jaw on the ground. Wallace took a dollar bill from his wallet, and Salem correctly guessed the bill’s serial number. He later pinpointed the location of an audience member’s last vacation and while blindfolded correctly detected objects held by folks onstage. And without so much as laying a finger on it, he turned the hands of Wallace’s watch a half-hour forward. Most would call Salem a magician, a mentalist or mind reader, but he never would. “I often maintain that if I have a sixth sense, it’s my sense of humor,” he says. Delightfully droll – just one trait that encourages comparisons to Jason Alexander – the New York entertainer who performs from Westchester to London and Australia even programmed his voice mail to say, “I knew you were going to call.” But though he plays up his bewildering talent that leaves audiences speechless and critics just the opposite, he squelches any suggestion that what his does is otherworldly. “What I do isn’t supernatural and it’s not occult,” he says. “I’m not a mind reader. I’d say it’s most accurate to call me a thought reader. “I don’t even know what a mind reader is, but let’s assume a mind reader can go into your mind and pick up anything. I need to be able to focus on specific things and then I get them.” If that sounds like splitting hairs, consider the source is an academic highly trained in minutiae – particularly of kinesics, the study of nonverbal communication. “Kinesics is everything, including paralinguistics, how things sound,” he says. “So a simple response like a yes or no gives me a great deal of information, or the rapidity at which somebody breathes. So I’m picking up cues constantly and I’m not even necessarily processing them. I’m using what we call intuition.”

small screen as “The Mentalist,” those skills can also help solve crimes. “I do everything from jury selections to working with the TSA to international consulting,” he says. His client list includes the Rand Corp. the FBI, CIA, the U.S. Department of Defense and foreign governments. “I don’t let it get heavy,” he says. “I just train people.” On the flip side, for almost a decade he worked as director of research at “Sesame Street.” Salem’s enveloped in education and is just as interested in developing – and studying – the minds of students, teaching kinesics and group behavior at universities all over Manhattan. To Salem, it’s just a different kind of stage.

The power of influence

Speaking of which, back to Wallace’s dollar bill and mysteriously moving hands on his watch. All things considered, it still sounds a lot like clairvoyance. “I think it has to do with influence,” Salem responds. “(The hands) may not have moved at all. I sometimes am able to influence people to see things that aren’t there. Now understand, I don’t do hypnosis in my show, but we’re constantly in a state of high susceptibility.” He says audience members and the general public are subject to “the tyranny of the visual,” leading people to reach conclusions based almost entirely on their sense of sight. “We live in a culture that too easily believes that everything is exterior,” he says, “that there are supernatural or extrasensory things that are beyond your

senses. No, this is part of your senses.” And after decades of sharpening his senses and honing his intuition – an acute and inherited trait, he acknowledges – Salem applies an almost Sherlock-ian sense of deductive reasoning. “It’s picking up not so much the mind as how people think,” he says. You could call it the difference between claiming superpowers or a super power, though some of his sensory training techniques sound like something from the mind of Stan Lee. “Imagine your eyes like you have X-ray vision,” Salem says. “Imagine your ears like you have funnels. You know how to focus your eyes, but try to focus your ears.” He also suggests “opening your mind to novelty” starting by putting down your myriad digital devices and instead picking up books or learning memory systems. They’re the first steps, he says, to gaining a better awareness of the world around you. But while these are all well and good brain food, it’s still hard not to wonder at Salem’s baffling feat of deception onstage. Claude Debussy said, “Art is the most beautiful deception of all,” so perhaps this thoughtprovoking art is best left to the imagination. n

Brain power

Salem calls himself a student of the mind. He holds double doctoral degrees – one in education from New York University and one in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. The latter he earned working with Ray Birdwhistell, the founder of kinesics. “I think the language most of us speak most of the time – the nonverbal – is the one language we’re not taught,” he says. And yet he says the benefit of using it offers an edge that’s lost on most of society. His book “The Six Keys to Unlock and Empower your Mind” (Rodale) suggests it clues you in on how to “spot liars and cheats,” “win at the office” and “influence friends.” Talk about skills that offer a leg up in the world, not to mention the poker table. (Salem’s vowed never to learn.) And as Aussie actor Simon Baker plays out on the

Marc Salem. Photograph by Robin Winbot.


Super style

Katherine Petitti Kornel again taps artistry for latest endeavor


By Mary Shustack Photographs by Bob Rozycki

atherine Petitti Kornel welcomes a pair of visitors to her Bedford Hills home, a short tour of the gracious surroundings she decorated herself making its way to the top floor. “The studio has changed, from painting and design to … you’ll see,” she says, passing by an eclectic mix of paintings, both her own work and that by others. She’ll pause to tell the story behind a particular work or share details of a treasure brought home from worldwide travels or a savvy flea-market find. It all ends at the most fashionable of temporary offices, where French fashion and luxe design magazines are spread out near a charmingly vintage apothecary cabinet, all beneath a series of glittering chandeliers. With core staff members on hand, Kornel is in the midst of a flurry of fashionable activities as she officially launches her latest endeavor, the Luxury Consignment Boutique. What had long been the headquarters for Kornel’s fine art, interior design and more recently, fashion-styling businesses is now all about Gucci bags, Celine bracelets, Chanel shoes and a dazzling display of additional luxury goods she, as president and CEO, has begun selling online. The office, which transitions into official headquarters in Katonah, is simply the latest step in the ever-evolving world of Kornel. A woman who spent more than a dozen years in international business development in the cosmetics and fragrance industries went on to fashion a career path that has its roots firmly planted in all things artistic. “It started off as one thing and spiraled,” she says with a laugh. But art, indeed, is a powerful undercurrent to the way Kornel has carved out her work life. “Fashion is a part of interior design,” she says. “It’s a part of painting.” She likes to call it all part of a “trickledown theory.” That has found Kornel working in


recent years as an exhibiting painter, an interior designer of both residential and commercial spaces and most recently, a consultant who designs fashion shows and trend forecasts for Neiman Marcus while also helping celebrity and business clients dress their best. This latest incarnation got its start very close to home, drawing inspiration from Kornel’s daughters, ages 18 and 15. It all was sparked by clothing the young ladies weren’t wearing, namely expensive jeans with their price tags still on. “The bottom line is it’s waste,” Kornel says. “It doesn’t matter how much money you have, it’s waste.” Now, who among us doesn’t have something with its price tag still on as it sits month after month in the closet? “Other people might have a Chanel bag they’re not using, or whatever the brand is,” Kornel says. And that made her think, “There’s a business out there.” She took the idea – which she likens to luxury recycling – and has spent the last year or so in development. She sees her company as a unique creation that echoes some of online shopping’s most successful – and streamlined – destinations. “It’s a combination of 1stdibs, One Kings Lane and The RealReal but not big like any of these, the boutiquey version.” And that’s where it will stand out, as Alyssa Van Asselt says. “I think we have such an interesting niche,” says Van Asselt, the Luxury Consignment Boutique’s vice president of marketing and design. “We have a lot of luxury goods, but we offer a lot of personal services.” Indeed, the company will expand on Kornel’s thriving fashion-stylist business to offer clients closet editing and personal shopping. Luxury Consignment Boutique, part of the No Guilt Group, will also see clients in person, by appointment, and looks forward to being a source for parties, especially those designed to benefit charity. After all, philanthropy has long been a part of Kornel’s way of life. Her charitable efforts have ranged from

Designer clothing and accessories are the specialties of Luxury Consignment Boutique.

work for Green Chimneys to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital to the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross. She has donated paintings to the Northern Westchester Hospital Center, as well. Currently, she is working with handcrafted bracelets from Panama. Sales will help support local artisans. “There are so many things that can be done,” Kornel says. “Whether it’s one charity or another, I’m happy to do it. It’s good to give.” She has found her past experiences, everything from being involved in the development of Kate Spade’s fragrance to extensive work in the duty-free marketplace, adding to her expertise. Kornel, who earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Michigan State University, would go on to work on the international front for companies ranging from Elizabeth Arden to Guerlain to Givaudan, a fragrance-development firm. “That gave me such a knowledge of international business,” says Kornel, who has lived in Paris and Spain and is fluent in both French and Spanish. Again, it all came together as one experience led to the next to … Luxury Consignment Boutique. “It was funny because I do have the background,” she says, noting her company has already attracted clients from Korea, Brazil and for its first sale, Greece. She talks proudly of that sale, to a woman who kept Kornel up most of one night with questions. In the end, Kornel says, it was worth it – and made her think she’s really onto something. “She loved her shoes,” she says. “She paid $200 shipping because she wanted them immediately.” Consignments come from a variety of sources, with Kornel’s well-developed network again coming into play to allow her to sell brands ranging from Hermès to Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin to

Yves Saint Laurent, 7 For All Mankind to Louis Vuitton. Trust is key, she adds. “I will not ever sell a fake.” And the company’s reach will eventually be broad, Kornel says, extending to home furnishings and decorative accessories to fine jewelry. “I have access to pearls, diamonds.” The difference, she says, is the way it all comes together. She is a curator of sorts. “It’s virtual personal shopping.” Though her artwork is officially on hiatus, it’s never far from her thoughts. Kornel is asking her first hundred clients to snap photographs of themselves with their purchases – a handbag slipped over an arm or perhaps a stiletto-clad foot taking a statement-making step. She will incorporate those isolated images into a collage that will then be presented to clients to celebrate the successful launch. For Kornel, it’s always in the details, from the silhouette of a dress to the sparkle of a piece of jewelry. She might, for example, compliment someone’s earrings, truly interested in their origin. “I’m always on the prowl,” she says with a smile. It all comes down to enjoying the beauty in life. When she was giving a “Kat’s Eye” trend-forecasting presentation and fashion show at Neiman Marcus once, Kornel had the following advice for those in attendance: “Go back to your earlier days, when you were playing dress-up. That’s what this is. Have fun.” Fashion, she says, “can be intimidating. It shouldn’t be.” And no matter the outlet her creativity finds, there seems to be a powerful – and rewarding – common thread. As Kornel says, “It’s all a form of art for me … everything artistic.” For more details, visit or call (855) 604-8458. n

Katherine Petitti Kornel, in her Bedford Hills studio/home office.


Hats off to‌ hats Susan Saas believes in the power of a topper By Mary Shustack Photographs by Bob Rozycki and courtesy Susan Saas


Susan Saas models one of her own designs.


o say Susan Saas is a hat person would be a bit of an understatement. After all, the Pelham-based milliner and illustrator has been known to wear “The Parking Lot” hat, its design inspired by the shape of a plastic object found in yes, a parking lot. She also wears “The Eiffel Tower,” which interprets the Parisian landmark in felt. And Saas was a bit sad to sell the “Poodle” hat, its top a handful of jaunty loops. “I think someone who wears my hat has to have a certain confidence, fearlessness,” she says. No matter the design, her one-of-a-kind, handcrafted hats are style statements, conversation starters and perhaps most important, vibrant ties to an age-old industry. But Saas well knows they are not the “go-to” accessories for everyone. “People get a little weird about hats,” she says. “You’re either a hat person or you’re not.” Saas thinks nothing of popping on a finishing touch – perhaps inspiring others – whether headed to the corner shop or out for the evening. “I feel like I’m complete when I have something on my head,” she says. “I love them. I love that when I wear them it makes people less afraid of them.” After all, Saas says, she and her milliner friends know just how powerful a hat – fedora or cloche, newsboy cap or top hat – can be. “We’re kind of shy, but when we put on our hats, it’s kind of like a force field in a way,” she says. “It’s a form of expression.” Just look around. The ubiquitous fedora attracts wearers of all ages, while television shows ranging from “Boardwalk Empire” to “Mad Men” to “Downton Abbey” seem to put hats of many eras even more in the spotlight – and in the shopping cart. “I’m always happy when people buy hats,” Saas says, but notes that she has a particular affinity for the artisan way of making them. “You can go into a Walmart and you can get a straw hat for like $15, but it’s not…” she says, her voice trailing off. She explains that while she appreciates hats becoming more accessible and affordable, “it kind of hurts the hatmaker.” Saas’ hats, which start at around $50, attract a customer who appreciates an artist’s touch. She’s just wrapping up a six-week run as a featured artist in “Craft-Tastic,” a seasonal exhibition and sale at the Pelham Art Center, where she also teaches millinery. Gail Heidel, the center’s gallery and public program manager, has been a Saas fan since she first saw the neighborhood artist’s work. Her creations, Heidel says, which also include greeting cards, boxes, wall pieces and more, carry a distinct appeal. “I love it because it seems more like Outsider Art to me,” Heidel says.

lege established in 1938. Saas would become a successful illustrator, her work appearing in publications ranging from The New Yorker to The Irish Times, but hat making would not loosen its grip on her imagination. Coming back to New York, Saas worked toward a millinery certificate from the Fashion Institute of Technology as her career began to shift focus.


When working for Rod Keenan New York, Saas worked on hats destined for celebrities, including Michael Jackson.


Indeed, Saas creations have a singular style, a reflection of the woman who describes her younger self as an “artistic child” inspired by the past. “I love the ’20s, Surrealism and (fashion designer Elsa) Schiaparelli,” she says, adding she’s a huge admirer of all things Art Deco. Indeed, her Pelham home is filled with an eclectic mix of art and collectibles with a nod decidedly toward the past. And it all began in Saas’ earliest days. “My grandmother loved hats. I think that might have been my entry point.” Saas, who grew up in Rocky Hill in Connecticut’s Hartford County, fondly remembers a fascination with the seamstress’ suitcase full of fabric scraps. “There was none of that ‘Don’t touch that,’ but it was more ‘Go ahead,’” she says. And that encouraged her creativity and style, further developed through countless hours spent in thrift shops. “There just came a time when I said ‘You’re spending way too much money on hats.’” Learning how to make them would become a formal process for Saas, who received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. In college, Saas couldn’t quite select a major, jumping from jewelry making to printmaking before settling. “I finally chose illustration, because there was a teacher who loved hats,” she says with a laugh. When living for a spell in Ireland doing her illustration work, the millinery call grew strong, and Saas studied at the Grafton Academy of Dress Designing, a fashion col-

Saas would go on to become head design assistant to Rod Keenan of Rod Keenan New York. The awardwinning member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America had a Harlem-based studio that was a creative hotbed for young talent. “You just learn the old-school techniques,” she says. There, she concentrated on men’s designs. “That sounds kind of limited, but it’s not.” It’s all about tapping into a tradition, “to maintain that Old World integrity.” There, she would work on hats destined for some pretty famous heads, ranging from Snoop Dogg to Brad Pitt to Michael Jackson. Sometimes, the stars would come in themselves. “You’d be in awe of them and they’d be in awe of you,” Saas says, noting how they were captivated by the dedication to tradition. A particular point of pride is a top hat worn by Michael Jackson that grew out of one of her own designs. “Michael Jackson’s stylist or someone working for Ebony magazine came by and said ‘We’re pulling hats for this shoot we’re doing.’” Next thing Saas knew, the top hat – complete with a glove motif – was on Jackson’s head. She holds the prototype, with images of the final piece a permanent part of her portfolio. From Keenan, Saas went on to work as a studio assistant at Arnold S. Levine Theatrical Millinery and Craft, where her Garment District-work included making hats for theater, opera and television. There, her skills advanced further, as creating a hat to be worn performance after performance was even more intense. “This thing needs to stand up. It needs to be durable,” she says of the work there. Throughout, Saas has had private clients where her own creativity runs free. She’s long designed hats for New York nightlife icon Kenny Kenny, who certainly pulls off daring. “I do like to push the envelope,” Saas says, but notes some designs for Kenny Kenny even have had her wondering, “how he’s going to walk through doorways.” It’s all been rewarding, Saas says. To date, two of her designs have been selected to be part of the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Rhode Island School of Design. It’s a validation for an artistry she hopes to return to full time one day.


This selection of hats designed and made by Saas demonstrates her range.

“Right now, I kind of juggle a whole bunch of things, but if I could … I could do this every day.” And do it the old-fashioned way. “That’s the fun part, learning all those different stitches, the new stitches, what’s the strongest stitch, the best decorative stitch.” She works with materials ranging from felt (a favorite) to straw to leather and cloth. She’s always on the lookout for trims, from feathers to gems, flowers to random finds. Sometimes, she finds something so great, “I don’t want to do anything to it. I just want the material and the shape to talk … speak.”


And for Saas, it’s the traditional way – all the way, with 56

a combination of hand stitching and work on an “old industrial Singer. It’s like a tank.” “There are some milliners who will glue,” she says. Shortcuts, she notes, are not for her. “Even if no one sees it, you know.” She even hand paints her signature on each creation rather than having labels made. And that dedication has been noticed. The Hat Shop, a destination boutique on Thompson Street in Manhattan, has carried Saas’ hats for more than five years. Ask owner Linda Pagan about Saas and the response is immediate, warm and enthusiastic. “We love Susan,” she says. “She’s so sweet.” And her hats, Pagan adds, are a hit with not only her

savvy customers, but also her staff. “She makes these brilliant hats that all the ladies of The Hat Shop buy.” Pagan adds that Saas hats simply stand out for both their design and attitude. “She’s just got a certain way about her that’s whimsical, but very well grounded.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. For more, contact Susan Saas at susansaas@ She teaches millinery at Pelham Art Center, 155 Fifth Ave. Call (914) 738-2525 or visit Saas’ work is also featured at The Hat Shop, 120 Thompson St., Manhattan. Call (212) 219-1445 or visit n


wear Shapewear that’s ‘yummie’ By Georgette Gouveia

It’s fair to say that few people enjoyed themselves more at Bloomingdale’s recent “Makeup Date” than Heather Thomson, who emceed the Sunday morning event at the White Plains store. “Give me a mike and a stage and I’m good to go,” she says. “Plus, I love makeup. I’m a real beauty girl.” But Thomson – a star of BravoTV’s “The Real Housewives of New York City” – was also touched to see the onstage makeup models wearing pieces from her Yummie by Heather Thomson ready-to-wear line. Yummie consists of her signature threepanel tank, panties, hosiery, shapewear, leggings and denim, designed to give women a sleeker, smoother but also more breathable, flexible line. “The brand is about the essentials,” she says. (What, no bras? They’re coming in the spring.) It began when Thomson – founding design director for Sean John, Sean “Diddy” Combs’ line – was attempting to lose the baby weight from son Jax and daughter Ella Rae, now 9 and 6, respectively. Scouring the department stores yielded only grandma girdles that pinched, bunched and rode up. “I’m not a sausage,” she says. “I don’t need a casing.”

Heather Thomson


So Thomson, who’s also worked with Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez on their fashion lines, got to work on a three-panel tank that became the basis of Yummie. Thomson holds 12 patents on the tank, which she mentions perhaps not so casually: Yummie recently sued Spanx over patent infringement. Thomson came to fashion through her lifelong love of the arts. Growing up in Hudson, N.Y., with a father who was a musician and a mother who lettered signs, Thomson learned early how to flip up her mom’s sewing machine to make her own creations. Her mother also made sure she knew her way around a washing machine as the little fashionista enjoyed changing her clothes several times a day. Thomson’s love of skiing was fueled in part by the outfits. After graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in communications, she worked for a bathrobe company before joining Calvin Klein. She says she hopes someday to sculpt, but in a sense that’s just what she’s doing with her shapewear. Today, the chief creative officer of Yummie has two full-time careers. She’s also

one of “The Real Housewives of New York City,” which recently wrapped its sixth season. Thomson makes her home on the Upper West Side with husband Jonathon Schindler and their two children. Jax was born with biliary atresia, a rare and life-threatening liver disease, undergoing a liver transplant at 6 months old. It’s one of the reasons Thomson has sought to help others less fortunate, working with the American Liver Foundation, the New York Organ Donor Network, the City of Hope cancer research hospital and The Kellner Family Pediatric Liver Disease Foundation. Ten percent of the proceeds from sales at “The Makeup Date” went to The Kellner Foundation. It’s a lot to juggle two careers, a family and charity commitments. But Thomson – a warm, down-to-earth person – has some common-sense advice for those willing to try. “You can be on the treadmill, but you have to control your speed.” For more on “The Makeup Date,” see Watch in this issue. For more on Yummie by Heather Thomson, visit and n

Stephanie 2-Way tanks, $34 each or two for $58.

Jordan shortie in flesh, $48.

Jade legging in mink, $68. Photographs courtesy of Yummie.

Carine slip in python, $84.

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getting a leg up

The power suit reinvented, again By Andrea Kennedy

A glance back at the ’80s power suit is enough for a good laugh. Holy shoulder pads: What in the name of Murphy Brown were we thinking? Quite a lot, as the women who donned this wardrobe of the workplace revolution remember. The shifting fashion, which helped signal a shift in thought, was courtesy of designers such as Giorgio Armani, who suited up celebs like Lauren Hutton, and Donna Karan, who added some softness to potentially boxy ensembles. As the shift continued over the next 30plus years, the number of working women grew as suit silhouettes shrunk. Jackets downsized, hemlines rose and shoulder pads got burned – or at least ripped out – as a reclamation of the female form and proclamation that one need not assume the sartorial male vantage to assume power. (Well, obviously.) Today we’re left with the most stripped down suits ever. Mini, but not necessarily minimalist, they hit spring runways flaunting embellishments like sequins and lace for lots of three-piece fun. Did I mention one of those pieces can be a bandeau? What would the Sugarbaker sisters say?

Michael Kors. Courtesy Michael Kors. 60

Band of Outsiders. Courtesy PR Consulting.

Few ensembles ring sexier than a short skirt and a long jacket – or short shorts, as Michael Kors proves in this look of indigo cashmere/cotton denim. What I love about this is how the jacket acts like a buttoned-up dress that’s trying to decide how much to leave to the imagination. Well, that, plus it also could be the best possible outcome of leaving your blouse and slacks at home. The peeping bandeau almost reads swimsuit rather than power suit, but pairing it with a skinny python belt plus matching purse and pumps gives it an elegant and unified finish. Kors shows even more skin with a classic double-breasted style in hemp linen that covers barely more than the torso. It’s a stunning way for a sexy safari sophisticate to step out in the concrete jungle. And those slingbacks make the leg go on forever. Another cousin to the Wall Street wardrobe, Rachel Zoe modifies her traditional black-and-white getup by chopping a pleated pant leg off a couple inches down the inseam for a miniskirt-looking flare. A little disheveled in that endearing way, she fits a cropped jacket with elbow-length

Jason Wu. Photograph by Dan Lecca.

Rachel Zoe. Courtesy BPCM.

Barbara Bui. Courtesy BPCM.

sleeves over a tidy blouse with full-length French cuffs. In a paper doll world, I see this look for a rising “Vogue” fashion editor where all that’s missing are thickrimmed spectacles and a red pen lost somewhere in her hair. Back to our more tailored selections. This season seems partial to waist-high shorts with thigh-high hems, and Barbara Bui, who’s known for crisp cuts, makes her denim micro-short like a second skin. She uses the same fabric for her neat and

Genny. Courtesy Genny.

noteworthy blazer, adorning it with interesting and intricate appliqué. Italian designer Genny also takes appliqué to the next level, but one-upping the formal factor with hand-sewn sequins over a cream blazer with – wait for it – full beading from shoulder to shorts hem. (A moment of silence for those weary fingers.) I love these looks with the blazer in the spotlight. Ladylike lace stars in the suit by Honor with the laser-cut detail repeating in the

Honor. Courtesy Bradbury Lewis.

Michael Kors. Courtesy Michael Kors.

blouse and the short. The cropped jacket, high neck and daisy motif makes it slightly schoolgirlish, while the see-through aspect makes it subtly seductive. And who can overlook the sass in those shades? For a hint of departure from the barelythere short, Nina Ricci goes for a sky-high skirt with two tiers of tops. A shock in all white, the stiff construction of the ensemble hints at masculine – or perhaps ice queen – with its rigid and regal stand-up collar. On the flip side, Jason Wu, who’s re-

Nina Ricci. Courtesy PR Consulting.

cently been prone to power dress, scaled back with a sense of softness in his flowing sage pairing where shorts get a generous inseam. For being a fairly close relative to the business suit, it feels cool and easy. Speaking of cool and easy, how about comfy? That’s the sense I get from Band of Outsiders’ riff on the suit, though its only relationship to a suit is its breezy blazer. This is mesh stripe, soccer short, sockswith-sandals territory – proving that for the 21st century suit, anything goes. n

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Super what?

The Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford presents “Titanic.” Photograph courtesy Philip Hoffman.

How to spend game day when you don’t care about ‘the game’ By Mary Shustack

Have you heard about that big football game being played around here Feb. 2? Yes, on Groundhog Day. And yes, we are being facetious. Super Bowl XLVIII (who uses Roman numerals anymore?) at MetLife Stadium will certainly have its fans, some more fanatic than others. But for those whose tastes run far, far away from the gridiron, that Sunday offers the perfect chance to spend a leisurely afternoon-into-evening in a decidedly nonsporting manner. Here are just a few options to fill your own non-Super Bowl playbook:



Sure, there might be drama on the football field, but can it match the magnitude of the story of the Titanic? A musical version of “Titanic,” which brings you onboard the (spoiler alert) doomed ship in the early hours of April 15, 1912, will captivate audiences with two performances Feb. 2 at the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford. The production is based on a new adaptation of Maury Yeston and Peter Stone’s lushly scored musical about the ocean liner and wayward iceberg. Don Stephenson, an original cast member from the 1997 Broadway production, directs this new staging which features sweeping numbers, a cast of 20 and projections that help tell the tale. Westchester Broadway Theatre, 1 Broadway Plaza, Elmsford. or (914) 592-2222.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Yonkers will be showing “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray. Photograph © 1993 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

10,000 Maniacs makes a concert appearance at The Ridgefield Playhouse. Photograph courtesy The Ridgefield Playhouse.


Feb. 2 is indeed Groundhog Day. After the real Punxsutawney Phil lets us know if we can expect an early spring, you can settle in for a comical escape with the furry fellow on the silver screen. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Yonkers will be screening Harold Ramis’ classic “Groundhog Day.” The 1993 Bill Murray hit, which the theater says is a “sweet fable about humanity,” follows the tale of a Pittsburgh weatherman who hates the day that he has to live over and over and over… Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 2548 Central Park Ave., Yonkers. or (914) 226-3082.

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The stadium will certainly have its share of football maniacs, but music maniacs may want to head to Ridgefield for a show of a different kind. 10,000 Maniacs, a band that got its start in the 1980s and had its earliest successes with original singer Natalie Merchant, will be taking the stage of The Ridgefield Playhouse at 8 p.m. Now in its fourth decade, the band still rocks. The Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 E. Ridge Road, Ridgefield. or (203) 438-5795.

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When the football fans are squirming in their cold, uncomfortable seats, you can instead be touring a virtual library of comfy – and oh-so-cool – chairs at the Silvermine Arts Center. “The Answer is Risom” at the New Canaan center puts the spotlight on Jens Risom with its Lifetime Member show that runs Jan. 8 through Feb. 16. The show will feature signature Mid-Century Modern furniture designs from his 70-year career. A highlight will be a selection of the ads he created for his simpleyet-elegant work in the 1960s that were a collaboration with famed fashion photographer Richard Avedon. And be sure to stop in to catch the “New Members’ Show” and “Selections from the Gabor Peterdi International Print Collection.” Silvermine Arts Center, 1037 Silvermine Road, New Canaan. or (203) 966-9700.


The furniture designs of Jens Risom are spotlighted at the Silvermine Arts Center. Photograph courtesy the Silvermine Arts Center.

Portraits will be in focus at the Katonah Museum of Art. Eric Fischl, The Krakoffs, 2006, Oil on linen, © Eric Fischl, Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery, New York, Photo: Ellen Page Wilson.

Artist and educator Anne-Marie McIntyre will offer her own play-by-play at the Katonah Museum of Art with a 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. workshop. “Drawing the Face” is a hands-on session designed to study and draw the human face. Participants will be encouraged to look at the face as an abstract form and create work with dark and light charcoal. Beginners, as well as more experienced artists, are invited. Bring lunch – and be sure to register in advance, as space is limited. And when on-site, be sure to check out the exhibition “Eye to I… 3,000 Years of Portraits,” which continues through Feb. 16. Katonah Museum of Art, 124 Jay St., Katonah. or (914) 232-9555.


“The Art of Flight” is being screened at the Jacob Burns Film Center. Photograph courtesy Jacob Burns Film Center.

For those who simply have to have even a bit of sports on their Super Bowl Sunday, we offer one option. In addition to its usual lineup of cutting-edge cinema, the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville will have a touch of the sporting life on its screening schedule Feb. 2. “The Art of Flight,” to be shown in 3-D at noon, is part of the “We Got Game: Sports on Film” series. The action-packed adventure film follows professional snowboarder Travis Rice and friends as they break barriers on the slopes, exploring and testing themselves on some of the world’s most rugged, remote and beautiful mountains. Jacob Burn Film Center, 364 Manville Road, Pleasantville. or (914) 747-5555.


Spend the day outdoors learning about oysters with a family-oriented program offered by The Bruce Museum. Photographs courtesy The Bruce Museum.


If you want to spend the day outdoors, why not learn something besides how loud your section-mates can yell? The Bruce Museum will offer “Oyster Fishing Family Day” from 1:30 to 4 p.m. as its series First Sunday Science at the Seaside Center continues. Participants of all ages and abilities are welcome to the free event that offers hands-on oyster fishing. Instructors will share information about the habitat and natural history of the oyster with an in-depth exploration. It’s being held at the Seaside Center on Greenwich Point (no park pass needed) in Old Greenwich in partnership with the Greenwich Shellfish Commission and the Town of Greenwich Health Department. For details, contact the Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich. or (203) 4136740.


playing in the snow That Sochi, site of the Winter Games By Cappy Devlin



he XXII Olympic Winter Games, which are scheduled to take place Feb. 7-23 in Sochi, Russia, mark the first Olympics for that country since the breakup of the Soviet Union. There will be 98 events in 15 sport), with some being contested in the resort town of Krasnaya Polyana. The Sochi Organizing Committee (SOC), which will also present the Winter Paralympic Games, is spending an estimated $50 billion – five times more than estimated and double the cost of the London Games. The commemorative postage stamps and souvenirs are set with images of the three Olympic mascots – a polar bear, a snow hare and a snowboarding leopard. And the Olympic torch – which was rekindled in ancient Olympia, Greece, in September – is winding its way through 83 Russian sites before arriving at Sochi on the day of the opening ceremony. It’s the longest torch relay in Olympic history, a 40,000-mile route that will pass through all regions of the country, from Kaliningrad in the west to Chukotka in the east. And beyond: The Olympic torch reached the North Pole for the first time via an icebreaker ship and has been passed for the first time in space, with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky passing it at the outlet of the International Space Station. The torch also reached Europe’s highest mountain, Mount Elbrus, and even the depths of Siberia’s Lake Baikal. So this will be an Olympics of firsts and extremes. With an average February temperature of 42.8 degrees and a humid subtropical climate that allows for a wealth of palm trees and inviting beaches, Sochi will be the warmest city to host a Winter Olympic Games. Elsewhere, tradition will hold. Sochi 2014 will be the 12th straight Olympics to outlaw smoking. This means the new Olympic Park and 11 new sports venues will be smoke-free. The Olympic Park itself sits on the Black Sea coast in the Imeretin Valley, which is approximately 2 ½ miles from Russia’s border with Georgia. The venues are clustered around a central water basin on which the Medals Plaza is being built. This means that the spectators will have an easy walk among the Fisht Olympic Stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies and seats 40,000; the Bolshoy Ice Dome (ice hockey, 12,000); the Adler Arena Skating Center (speed skating, 8,000); and the Iceberg Skating Palace (figure skating


Finishing facade of ice rink for figure skating on June 20, 2013 in Sochi, Russia for Winter Olympic Games 2014.

and short-track speed skating, 12,000). Meanwhile, Krasnaya Polyana contains the Laura Biathlon & Ski Complex for biathlon and cross-country skiing; the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for freestyle skiing and snowboarding; the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center for alpine skiing; the Sliding Center Sanki for bobsled, luge and skeleton; the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center for ski jumping and Nordic combined (both ski jumping and cross-country skiing on a 2-kilometer route around the arena); and the Rosa Khutor Plateau Olympic Village. The transportation infrastructure that is being prepared to support the Olympics includes many roads, tunnels, bridges, railroads and stations in and around Sochi. At the Sochi airport, a new terminal had been built. A new railway line was built to connect central Sochi and the local airport. This new type of electric locomotive, based on the Siemens Desiro design, has been developed for commuter transportation in the Russian environment. All Russian Railways facilities in Sochi have been built or retrofitted to accommodate disabled passengers. At the Sochi seaport, a new offshore terminal allows docking for cruise ships with capacities of 3,000 passengers. Sochi is a meeting place between the sea and the mountains. And now it is a meeting place for the world. n

Free – and not so free – speech at Sochi

According to the Federal Target Program (FTP) $580 million is being spent on the construction and modernization of telecommunications in the Sochi area. Among the participating companies named by the Sochi Organizing Committee is Avaya Inc., a global provider of business collaboration and communications solutions. Broadcasting rights to the 2014 Winter Olympics were packaged together with the 2016 Summer Olympics. In the United States, the Games have a $4.38 billion contract with NBC, extending its broadcast rights through 2020. But just what will viewers be seeing? While Russia has already set up a zone for protesters, President Vladimir Putin has replaced RIA Novosti, the host news and photographic agency for Sochi, with the new Russia Today, to be headed by Dmitry Kiselyov, a prominent Russian television presenter recently embroiled in a scandal over anti-gay remarks. Kiselyov’s appointment will do little to allay international fears that gay competitors, officials and spectators may be targeted at the Sochi Games.

Seaport of Sochi in Russia.

Torch bearer Sochi 2014 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Olympic torch relay Sochi 2014.

Construction of Bolshoy Ice Dome on June 20, 2013 in Sochi, Russia for Winter Olympic Games 2014.



& dine

Better red… Picking a wine for the wintry season By Doug Paulding

Some people are creatures of habit. A friend of mine will order a crisp, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc, regardless of the season or outside temperature reading. Another friend is partial to dark, inky Zinfandels, even in the heat of August. I tend to eat food driven by my seasonal preferences – thick soups and stews in the winter and lighter, broth-y soups or gazpacho in the warmer seasons. I think wine selection should be no different. A Spanish Rosé or an Alsatian Pinot Gris is a lovely summertime, waterfront wine. In the heart of the winter, with snow on the ground and temperatures dipping into the single digits my desires turn to big hearty reds, and there are so many. What flavors do you like in a glass of wine? Each varietal usually leans toward a flavor profile but overlaps are everywhere in the grapes and in the production country or in the method of production. Most Westchester and Fairfield wine consumers know their way around the main hearty red grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Merlot could probably be readily identified by most semi-educated consumers in a blind tasting. But virtually all the warmer wine production regions of the world are producing lesser known reds that can warm your heart on a blustery day. In a restaurant I like to ask the bartender or sommelier if he has any unusual hearty reds. Most establishments will offer tastes of their selections by the glass. Asking to taste two or three before making your selection is not out of line. Make sure to ask if it was opened that day. Some lesser-known varietals can sit on a shelf and oxidize and lose their freshness and fruitiness. Tasting a few different types can steer you toward your desires. Then there are the regions to consider. A good Pinot Noir from Burgundy will almost certainly be better than a similarly priced Pinot from Sonoma, although there can be exceptions. And a Chilean or Argentine Malbec will usually trump an equi-priced Malbec from other regions. Producers have recently learned which grapes grow best and which will produce better wines in their regions, and sometimes it’s not the grape that has been extensively planted there. Some regions have replanted established vineyards to introduce a grape more appropriate for the plot. Each region’s terroir, essentially the temperatures, rainfall amounts, exposures, winds, soil composition and microbiologicals present on the skin of the grape, all contribute to a regional uniqueness and eventual wine flavor profile. Another huge consideration is the price. I regularly get asked, “Can you really tell the difference between a $20 bottle and a $50 bottle, retail”? With rare exceptions, I could quite easily pick out the more expensive bottle. The better wine comes from better plots, better hand-selected fruit, better production methods and better oak aging and more skilled blending. Victor Schoenfeld, head winemaker of Golan Heights Winery in Israel and Israel’s most influential wine consultant, told me, “It takes very few ‘off’ grapes to negatively affect a batch. For our better wines we hand harvest and 68

The Wine Connection in Pound Ridge has a wonderful selection of big, hearty reds from around the world.

carefully pick over the clusters to remove suspect grapes.” Lapostolle winery in Chile brings in dozens of local women to hand de-stem and pick over each grape bunch ensuring ripe, consistent fruit in its signature red wine, Clos Apalta. A well-made wine shows good fruit against a backbone of other intangibles that give the wine structure, texture and age-ability. Better wine makers order their aging barrels with different degrees of char in the barrels, which is a consequence of the heating by flame and bending the wooden staves during cooperage. The degree of char will impart pepper, spice, licorice or leather, which all contribute to the depth and layers of a high quality wine. If I’m with a group, I like to open several bottles of different types or regions at once and compare them. Tuscany’s main grape, sangiovese, will typically taste of red cherry and/or raspberry with tobacco notes and a silkiness in the mouth. Grenache, from southeast France (Garnacha in Spain) will show red fruit supported by a spiciness. Cabernet Franc, usually used to round out Bordeaux blends by adding a tannic dustiness, can be lovely as a single red fruit varietal. Petit Syrah is far from petite in flavor. The word “petit” comes from the size of

the grape and it’s capable of packing powerful dark fruit flavors with black pepper, licorice and leather. Gamay, the main grape used in Beaujolais, is known for its fresh red cherry flavors. Look for the Beaujolais crus, which show some darker fruit and oak influence. Petit verdot is a minor grape that will add a floral or perfumey quality to a cuvée, even in very small quantities. Adding this grape to a blend will add nuance and flavor. Nebbiolo, northern Italy’s prevalent red, is dense and dark, sometimes plummy. Syrah (shiraz in Australia) should give off dark fruit with a peppery spiciness and leather. Years ago the only way to taste a wine was to buy it. Now wine stores all over the region offer free wine tastings on a regular basis. If you’re buying by the case, I know of store owners who will open up a bottle on the spot for your approval. Many restaurants now host theme-based wine dinners on slower nights where you can try various wines and producers. And there are many wine courses offered that are not just for professionals in the industry. There is a world of flavors and a full spectrum of winemaking styles out there. A few good friends, a roaring fireplace, a well-made meal and some big, hearty reds – that’s how I embrace the season.n

wonderful dining

North powers up Gracious and tenacious, a catalyst for culinary domination


nspired and kinetic, Eric Gabrynowicz and Stephen Mancini of Restaurant North have struck that trifecta of talent, influence and endless potential that poises them to become a national culinary powerhouse. “I don’t know if I’d say that,” Eric says with a faint blush. He and COO-slash-wine director Stephen are young, savvy, charming and, yes, even humble. Yet, like their restaurant’s modest Armonk façade, the duo has little to be modest about. Since opening in 2010, they’ve been blanketed with “best of” accolades and earned the Slow Food Snail of Approval as well as the respect of patrons and famed restaurateurs alike. Not just local, either. Last fall, Eater NY ranked North one of the best New York-area restaurants outside of the city – second only to North’s “great friends and colleagues” at Blue Hill at Stone Barns – and last month they cooked at the James Beard House in Manhattan. “It’s probably the giddiest I have been in the last five years next to the birth of my child,” Eric says of the invitation. Eric, who made the James Beard Foundation short list for Rising Star chefs in 2011, innovates a new menu for every lunch and dinner seating. He, like Stephen, a grad of Scarsdale High School, also seems to have the word “genius” follow him in conversation. Together they concoct not only marvels from the kitchen and bar but also an unrivaled environment of hospitality – one that lasts long after guests depart. It’s morning. I’m sitting at home eating my apple crumb muffin from Restaurant North, the pair’s charming parting gift to each dinner guest. My thoughts volley between a meal there the night before – the Bo Bo Poultry fried chicken with pork gravy and Sriracha honey, the hazelnut encrusted poached egg over steamed mussels, the squash focaccia I slathered in air-light pumpkin butter – and the equally exquisite pastry in my palm. I fall in love with North just a little bit more. “If we can do that by giving graciously with this great muffin,” Stephen says, “where you are eating it with your coffee in the morning and remembering your meal – it’s just that much of an opportunity to think highly of the restaurant and

By Andrea Kennedy

Stephen Mancini and Chef Eric Gabrynowicz. Inset, Montauk diver scallops with winter squash, pistachio and granola. Photographs by Bob Rozycki.

want to come back.” Talk about taking the after-dinner mint to the next level. The marketing genius – there’s that word again – is just one manifestation of their hospitality-strong career upbringing under Danny Meyer. Eric and Stephen have been buds since cutting their teeth at his Union Square Café. Now, infusing the “Danny Meyerville” philosophy with oodles of their own personality keeps North, well, North of the competition. Stephen’s never forgotten the moment he was turned away from a restaurant for not wearing a jacket – to celebrate his high school graduation, no less. “The thought process (behind North) was to give great food and great service to the public without needing a jacket or a tie involved,” he says. So the restaurant is entirely white tablecloth and entirely like a neighborhood hangout. Eric will roll up his sleeves to wash dishes and Stephen to bus tables. The drink special is posted in chalk behind the bar. Yet on the wine list – a leather-tied tablet in the old-school sense – you’ll find Stephen’s world-class selections like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Huet, Bartolo Mascarello, Miani, Araujo Estate and Matthiasson. And each cover is James Beard caliber.

The night we dined, my husband and I started with Stephen’s smoky Old Fashioned, which arrived at table covered by a nearly foot-tall glass that held in the smoke, letting the drink “marinate.” In full drama, when the lid lifted, smoke made a showy escape of gossamer gusts that with each sip hit not only the nose but the palate. Ingredients included house-made bitters and Black Dirt Apple Jack from one county over. Warm seasonal bread was served tableside. Service was prompt, anticipatory, friendly and delivered with sincere enthusiasm. Our server recommended the nut-encrusted poached egg over mussels. We ended up ordering two. “The egg itself is poached really quickly and then breaded in ground hazelnuts and house-made breadcrumbs with Parmigiano-Reggiano,” Eric says. “Then it’s deep fried until golden brown and (placed over) a concoction of mussels, smoked porter beer, parsley and butternut squash purée.” Megawatt dishes like this are the product of what Eric calls the “mind muscle”

that comes from creating a new menu twice daily. “It’s a constant evolution of the thought process of food,” he says. “Writing your menu twice a day is easy when you have great product walking through the door.” Relationships with farmers like Mike Meiller of Josef Meiller Slaughterhouse and Farm are several years deep and nurtured with in-person pickups. Eric regularly heads to the farm in Pine Plains to pick up half a steer and a more than 200-pound pig. “I literally throw them in the back of my Honda CRV every other week, which means I have no shocks left in my car,” Eric says. Add “nice” to their list of accolades. At the holidays, they chose to give Thanksgiving gifts rather than Christmas ones, showing gratitude to buddy chefs with gifts of house-made truffle butter. Finding fault with North is a tall order, though if you were pressed the only answer may be that their constantly changing menu makes reordering your favorite dish a practical impossibility. Well, except the cookie. “If you want to turn an adult into a 5-year-old child, a fresh baked cookie is probably the way to go,” Eric says. True story, though this cookie is no child’s play. Served in a plate-sized piping hot skillet, packed with “really good butter,” Brooklyn’s Mast Brothers’ chocolate and heaped with Jane’s local vanilla ice cream, each sublime bite simply made my eyelids drop. When I awakened from my cookie dream, I noticed a well-loved copy of Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” had landed on our table. Tucked inside was the bill. So charming, North. So charming. Visit Restaurant North at 386 Main St. in Armonk. For more, visit or call (914) 273-8686. n 69

w’reel deal

“The Amazing SpiderMan”: My editor insisted I include a picture of Andrew Garfield. I wanted a photo of Emma Stone. This is a nice compromise. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

“The Dark Knight”: Part of Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy, which set new standards for the superhero movie genre. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

A tale of two superhero trilogies By Sam Barron


t’s really good to be a comic book fan right now. Ever since “SpiderMan” took off in 2002, superhero movies have become Hollywood’s newest tent-pole films. Batman, Superman, Daredevil, Hulk, Iron Man, etc., have all gotten the big-screen treatment with many more to come. We’ve even seen a full movie arc play out on screen with “The Avengers” storyline. But I decided to look at the two superhero gold standards –“Batman Begins” and “Spider-Man.” Disclaimer: Despite being a massive nerd, I’m not a comic book guy and have never regularly read them. OK, that’s not true. I did read Yogi Bear comics as a kid, but I was hoping never to have to reveal that.


“Spider-Man” kicked off the superhero renaissance in 2002, when its opening weekend set a new record. The first two movies in the “Spider-Man” trilogy were a lot of fun, with an effective origin story that made you care about both Spidey and his alter ego, Peter Parker. The scene in which Uncle Ben dies is heartbreaking and Willem Dafoe hammed it up as Green Goblin. Plus, it had Randy Savage. What more do you want – although if you’re my editor, you want Andrew Garfield in the later “Spider-Man” reboot instead of Tobey Maguire. “Spider-Man” also started a changing trend with superhero movies. Instead of getting dopey popcorn-film directors, Sony entrusted its golden goose to Sam Raimi, a cult hero who had never broken through. And it worked. Christopher No70

lan owes a lot to him. If “Spider-Man” was good, then “Spider-Man 2” was great. It’s one of my alltime favorites. I used to watch the DVD religiously. It crammed a lot of story into one movie but managed to make everything work. The action sequences were insane and I was on the edge of my seat. The “Can you top this?” moments culminated in the sequence on the train. Plus, the ending of “Spider-Man 2” set a lot of things in motion for “Spider-Man 3.” At this point, Sam Raimi could do no wrong and I was already penciling in “SpiderMan 3” for my top 10 in 2007. But then something bad happened. I saw “SpiderMan 3.” I don’t know if Sam Raimi was just burnt out or what, but “Spider-Man 3” was not very good, from emo Peter Parker to the scene with the butler and James Franco to how badly Venom was used. In the first two movies, Raimi was careful to have only one villain. “Spider-Man 3” has three. The climax involves Mary Jane being the damsel in distress – again. And come on, how do you mishandle Venom? Plus, everything teased and set up in “Spider-Man 2” is seemingly ignored in “Spidey 3.” Dammit, Raimi. You blew it. Sony soon got rid of Raimi and I wasn’t too sad. Let another director do “SpiderMan.” But no, Sony had a different idea. New cast, new director, a total reboot with a new origin story set for 2012. Wait, what? “The Amazing Spider-Man” would come out 10 years after “Spider-Man” and we’d have to see the whole origin story again? Now I didn’t mind “The Amazing

Spider-Man,” but the whole thing just felt so unnecessary. I basically paid $15 (damn you, 3-D premiums) to see another “Spider-Man” arc set up. Although my editor is happy.

“Batman Begins”

“Batman Begins” (2005) has become the gold standard for superhero movies and Christopher Nolan is the man. The Caped Crusader had been tarnished by “Batman and Robin.” Joel Schumacher seemed to think audiences (well, women anyway) wanted codpieces and nipples over story and action. Rebooting Batman in a completely different light was necessary. Enter Christopher Nolan. He assembled an amazing cast – and Katie Holmes. Christian Bale, who had won acclaim with his role in “American Psycho,” was Batman. So far, so good. Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and you still have room for Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Ken Watanabe and Cillian Murphy? Oh, my God. People watched “Batman Begins” with bated breath wanting it to succeed but secretly thinking it would fail. Luckily for everyone, it kicked ass. And the ending that teased the Joker? Yeah, that was good. “The Dark Knight” is one of the best sequels of all time, the best superhero film of all time and one of the best films I’ve ever seen. I went to the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight” and it made me feel so much better about life, knowing something this good could be made. There’s so much awesomeness in this movie. The opening heist scene, the

pencil trick, anything Heath Ledger did, and then the coup de grace – the scene in which they try to transport the Joker to the police station. It’s a sequence that’s incredible, building and building and it ends with such a great payoff that people in the audience were flipping out. Never has the city of Chicago looked so great. Heath Ledger literally gives the performance of his life and when he’s not growling, Christian Bale is a pretty great Batman. The interrogation scene between them is perfection. The whole movie is perfect. I really can’t find a flaw. In between, Nolan somehow found the time and resources to make “Inception.” How? “The Dark Knight Rises” is a fitting end to the trilogy. It’s not as good as “The Dark Knight,” but that would’ve been impossible. But bringing in “Inception” cast members Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, plus Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, just amped up the awesome. While the second movie looked at the ethics of spying, this one was seen as an allegory for Occupy Wall Street. You can watch Batman punch people in the face and learn something. “The Dark Knight Rises” is a tad too long, but Bane (Hardy) ruled, Catwoman was hot and there’s even a nice heel turn thrown in for good measure. I also admire Nolan for quitting while he was way ahead. He could’ve easily run Batman into the ground (see Ben Affleck as Batman in “Batman v. Superman,” or don’t), but he went out on top with one of the most impressive trilogies of all time. Sam Raimi could learn something. n

Where love is more than a score



t h e g a m e s m e n p l a y. c o m



wagging Is canine courage unique or inbred? By Sarah Hodgson

I had an interesting walk the other day with my girlfriend, our dogs and our children. As we came up the path toward our cars, her daughter ran ahead, straight for the parking lot. We noticed this too late to interfere except to holler our warning. Then we noticed Whoopsie running just in front of her, circling back to bring her to a stop. My friend stood in wonder as I tossed an extra biscuit Whoopsie’s way. We paused to consider it. Though Whoopsie is a love, she is no more gracious or well-behaved than any other educated dog. She, like me – like all of us – has her strengths and her weaknesses. Was her reaction a telepathic, noble gesture – a sign of forethought and heroism? Well, yes and no, I thought at the time, though a satisfying answer to that question was not to come

for several more days. Of course, I know of many stories of a dog’s extraordinary involvement. Anyone who has shared his life with a civilized canine will have his own tales to tell – the comic dog who could make anyone laugh or a particular dog who understood language, selecting an ordered toy from a basket; a dog who would calm a colicky baby; or a certified therapy dog who would lighten the hearts of the elderly. True stories of lifesaving heroism are even the topic of several dog books, and certainly no one can forget the bravery shown by the rescue dogs of 9/11. What these animals have in common is that they are in touch with their people’s lives. Though their behavior is often overly anthropomorphized, it does reflect

a mindfulness that cannot be argued. The question then becomes are these dogs born of a unique spirit or is there a capacity within the heart of any dog? As I have said, my considerations were not satisfied until later in the week, when I was in the midst of coaching my advanced group dog-training students. As I observed the humans’ determination and perseverance, I recalled my own persistence with Whoopsie. As a young dog, she was an impulsive, eternally cheerful Labrador Retriever who simply didn’t understand human disapproval. She was neither incorrigible nor defiant. She was simply thrilled with everything life. Training her became what seemed like an endless ritual of repetition and reinforcement. Somewhere along the line, however, it stuck. As her impul-

sivity waned, she grew more focused on my whereabouts and reaped her joy from our shared adventures rather than her self-absorption. To answer the question of “heroism” as one animal’s particular calling, I do not believe it is. Dogs that are well-mannered enough to be included in daily activities will naturally mirror their person/people’s organization, routines and priorities. In our family, togetherness is prized above separation, as is order to chaos, and in our social circles the children are held most dear. What Whoopsie did in the parking lot was the result of nature and nurture. Reading our distress – as dogs have been bred to do for millennia and as she was trained to do – she immediately gathered the wayward “pup.” n

Pet of the Month Jets? Giants? Miranda doesn’t care. She loves everybody. This 10-year-old Yorkshire Terrier and her buddy, a 10-year-old Poodle mix named Blake, were abandoned in a vacant apartment, most likely by the former renter. They were severely matted and scarred when the SPCA found them. But after only a few days with the organization, their true colors shone through. They are just the sweetest. Miranda is happiest when you pick her up and hold her. She is still fairly active for a 10-year-old dog and enjoys running in the play yard and going on walks. Miranda is also good with other animals and kids. To meet Miranda, visit the SPCA of Westchester at 590 N. State Road in Briarcliff Manor. Please note: The SPCA does not accept deposits, make appointments or reserve animals for adoption even if it has spoken about a particular dog or cat with you. It’s always first-come, firstserved among applicants, pending approval. The SPCA is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. To learn more, call (914) 941-2896 or visit n



The super power of hormones By Erika Schwartz, MD

When my editor gave me the topic for this month’s column, I thought it funny. Doesn’t everyone know how hormones affect everything we do? Doesn’t everyone know we are our hormone balance? Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is still no. To someone like me who has been working with hormones and specifically bioidenticals (human identical hormones) in women and hormones in general in men for almost two decades, who lives and breathes hormones, who totally understands their tantamount roles in our health and disease, it seems odd that our advanced society, our highly developed culture, has no understanding or insight into the role of hormones in our lives. A primer: When we are young, it is the abundance and perfectly tuned balance of hormones that makes us vital, wrinklefree, sexually turned on and quick to recover from colds and flu. Hormones keep us fertile, and our joints limber and well- lubricated. It is our hormones that help us think well, remember where we put our keys and relate to others in intimate, connected ways. As we age, hormones begin to fade, though exposure to toxins, eating badly processed foods, leading sedentary lives and not getting enough sleep also play their parts. We can reverse or at a minimum stall the ravages of aging with hormone support. There are many types of hormones that work together to create the puzzle that becomes our lives and the more pieces (hormones) of the puzzle we put together in proper balance and in the right formulations, the more likely we are to age in a healthy, vibrant and beautiful way. The best hormones to use are the bioidentical ones. They are prescription medications estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid and adrenal support, and they are pharmaceutically made to look identical to the hormones our own bodies make when we are young and healthy. These types of hormones can be found at drugstores in FDA-approved forms, and they can be made to order by compounding pharmacies that specialize in tailoring them to the individual. Without hormones we get old and frail and become a burden to society and to an already overloaded health care system. With the proper hormones, prescribed by doctors who are trained and experienced in how to use them and when to use them safely and effectively, we spend less money on health care, on going from doctor to doctor and test to test with no hope of improvement in sight.

With hormones in balance we don’t need yo-yo dieting. Our bodies stay at their optimal weight, and exercise is pleasant with results we can be proud of. With hormones we find ourselves getting sleep again and feeling refreshed in the morning. Hormones are not snake oil. They are safe and they protect us from diseases of aging. They protect our bones from osteoporosis and our hearts and brains from deterioration. Doctors who deny this fact are uninformed and don’t care about you or how you feel. Yes, it may sound like hormones are the fountain of youth, but all you have to do is ask and look at those who take them and compare them to their peers who don’t. Last night I had dinner with a physician. He is a highly successful radiologist who has run and owned multiple successful and technologically advanced radiological centers around New York City. He told me that just like most physicians he always considered himself a skeptic when it came to hormone use in prevention and wellness. Unfortunately, he is not alone. Despite clinical research and scientific articles abounding on the topic, the majority of the conventional medical profession still has no knowledge of the role of hormones in prevention and wellness. That’s because disease is more lucrative to the industry than prevention. Indeed, conventionally trained physicians come out of medical school without insight into hormones, diet, exercise, lifestyle, sleep and supplements, all crucial connections to keeping us healthy well into old age. So back to the physician I had dinner with last night. He was telling me how over two decades as he hit his 40s he started to gain three pounds a year and slowly found himself, old, obese, sluggish and pre-diabetic. His training would have ordinarily just sent him to the cardiologist to have his heart checked and the gastroenterologist to have his colon looked at; to take a few prescriptions to help his aching joints, rising blood pressure and sugar; and sent him home telling him it’s all part of normal aging. It’s not. Instead, while on a plane he saw an advertisement for an anti-aging group catering to men and treating them with testosterone (a hormone, folks) and diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. Feeling downtrodden and unclear how to proceed but unwilling to just let Mother Nature take its course, he called the number on the ad and became a patient in the practice touting turning back the clock as the outcome of the treatment.

Skeptic (as he only mentioned three times during the conversation) that he was, he thought it would be a waste of money. But something pushed him to give it a try. After a thorough evaluation of blood tests, biomarkers helping the doctors figure out how his heart, lungs, skin and general metabolism worked regardless of his age and an hour long consultation with the doctor who asked him more questions about himself than he had ever been asked, he was prescribed testosterone injections and given some supplements and recommendations on diet and exercise. Within a week he felt better but had gained a couple of pounds and called the doctor. He was told that as his body was rebalancing and detoxifying (coming clean of toxins), he may be retaining water for a while but not to worry, just stick with the program. And that he did. Within six months he lost the weight he had put on over two decades, became interested in sex again (he had lost that interest a decade before) and started build-

ing muscles when he exercised. His mood became upbeat again, his outlook positive and more than anything else, in his own words, “my brain came back.” He felt young and healthy again. That was one and a half years ago. Since then, he has sold his radiological practices and has been taking courses to become proficient in the use of hormones in preventive medicine. He is no longer a skeptic. He now believes, as do I, that everyone requires the proper combination of hormones to prevent disease, keep young, functional and healthy and reduce skyrocketing health care costs. When I see patients for the first time I ask: If you didn’t know how old you are, how old would you think you are? The answer from people on hormones is always 20 years younger. From those who don’t take hormones, it’s always at least 20 years older. Which would you like to be? For more information, email Dr. Erika at n

PRINCE WILLIAM HAS PRINCE HARRY, SNOOPY HAS SPIKE – YOU KNOW, THE BAD-BOY BABY BRO WHO’S A CHUNK OF CHARM AND A TON OF TROUBLE. That’s what WAG Weekly is to WAG. In our e-newsletter, we let down our hair (and occasionally, our grammar) to take you behind behind-the-scenes of the hottest parties and events, offer our thoughts on the most controversial issues of the day, share what couldn’t be contained in our glossy pages and tell you what to do and where to go this weekend – all while whetting your appetite for the next issue. If you can’t get enough of WAG — or you just want to get WAG unplugged — then you won’t want to miss WAG Weekly, coming to your tablet each Friday a.m.


The Largest and Most Epic Production Ever Staged by STANDING OVATION STUDIOS


& where Through March 16

Music by Stephen Flaherty

Book by Terrance McNally

Lyrics by Lynn Aherns

Based on the novel “RAGTIME” by E. L. Doctorow


Westchester’s own sweeping musical portrait of early 20th century America where three seemingly unconnected families wind their way through uppermiddle class New Rochelle to Harlem and Tin Pan Alley to the immigrant melting pot of the lower East Side...

Bursting with color, pageantry, and fiery rhythms!

February 27th - May 4th Thursday thru Sunday Evenings Thursday and Sunday Matinees

SPECIAL $67 Ticket Price (plus tax) Includes 3-Course Meal, Parking and the Show! Seniors, Children & Group Rates Also Available

$20 Student Rush Ticket - 15 min. prior to curtain, show only Expires 5/4/14- Some restrictions apply

Brought to you by the same producers of


the 2013 Sold Out and Extended Hit

“Dear Diary: Update All” The exhibit presents work that uses online data, remembrance, handiwork, genetics, gaming and Google to mark the discord, beauty and banality of days at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase. (914) 251-6100,

Through April 6

“Cleve Gray’s ‘Threnody’: Forty Years.” “Threnody” (1973–74) is a monumental 250-foot-long, site-specific painting in 28 panels created by Cleve Gray, celebrating the big 40 at the Neuberger Museum, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase. (914) 251-6100,


“African Gallery: New Acquisition” A rare Yoruba wooden ceremonial axe is on view this winter and spring. The axe, known as an “àríngo,” functions as a ritual object devoted to the second most important orisha (deity) in the Yoruba pantheon, Ogun, god of war, metallurgy and, in recent times, technology, at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase. (914) 251-6100,

Friday January 10

Pacifica Quartet, recognized for its virtuosity and exuberance, performs Haydn’s Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4, “Sunrise;” Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 7 in F-sharp minor, Op. 108; and Brahms’ Quartet in C minor, Op. 51 at the Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck; 8 p.m. (914) 698-0098, Phil Vassar, a country music hit-maker who has charted 13 Top-20 singles, performs at the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield; 8 p.m. (203) 4386517,


For Tickets: (914) 592-2222

“The Teacher From the Black Lagoon and Other Story Books,” a new musical revue based on favorite contemporary children’s books at the Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck; 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (914) 698-0098,

Ragtime is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, 421 West 54th Street, NY, NY 10019. Tel: 212-541-4684 Fax: 212-397-4684

Snarky Puppy has gone from an underground secret to one of the most internationally respected names in instrumental music, gaining a reputation for putting on a show filled with energy and musicianship at the Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck; 8 p.m. (914) 698-0098,

One Broadway Plaza, Elmsford Minutes from I-287, Sprain Brook and Saw Mill Parkways


“In Conversation with Robert Storr,” featuring the Chuck Close scholar, professor of painting and dean of the Yale School of Art, at Westport Arts Center, 51 Riverside Ave., Westport; 3 p.m. (203) 226-1806,


“Le Joli Mai” screening at the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Road, Pleasantville; 7:30 p.m. (914) 747-5555,


“Bullets Over Broadway” and Q&A with Julian Schlossberg, Susan Stroman and Letty Aronson at the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Road, Pleasantville; 7:15 p.m. (914) 747-5555,

ThursdaY January 16

“Schooled: The Price of College Sports” screening and Q&A with Bobby Valentine, Andrew Muscato and T.J. Quinn, followed by a reception at the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Road, Pleasantville; 7:30 p.m. (914) 747-5555,

Friday January 17

“Ladies of Laughter Funny & Fabulous Tour,” stand-up comedy at the Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck; 8 p.m. (914) 698-0098 or visit

Saturday January 18

The Persuasions, an a cappella group with more than 40 years of history, perform repertoire that features a heavy influence of gospel, a major measure of soul and a dose of pop at the Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck; 8 p.m. (914) 698-0098, visit Martin Sexton, with special guest Brothers McCann, sings at the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield; 8 p.m. (203) 438-6517, visit


Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Day Celebration at the Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich; 10 a.m. (203) 869-0376,


“Imagining Mina” screening and Q&A with Alfredo Béjar at the Jacob Burns Media Arts Lab, 405 Manville Road, Pleasantville; 7:30 p.m. (914) 747-5555,



80 East Ridge, Ridgefield, CT • (203) 438-5795


GREAT GIRLS NIGHTS OUT! From Lifetime’s “The Haunting Of”



Friday, January 24

Tuesday, January 14

Dance Pop Diva, Multi-Platinum recording artist with hits “Tell It To My Heart”, “With Every Beat Of My Heart”, “Heart Of Stone”, “Love Will Lead You Back” and more!

Join Kim as she makes undeniable connections with her audience, giving them a first-hand glimpse into the world beyond!



COMING UP IN 2014! Phil Vassar

A Night of Comedy Headliners

Friday, January 10

Starring Rich Vos, Gary Gulman & Bonnie McFarlane

Get up close and personal with this country star! DOYLE COFFIN ARCHITECTuRE SINGER SONGWRITER SERIES

With hits “Carlene,” “Last Day of My Life,” “Just Another Day in Paradise” and more!


Petey Hop and the CT Blues Society Revue

10,000 Maniacs Sunday, February 2

Thursday, January 16

Guitarist extraordinaire Petey and his band perform rockin' roots, blues and old school country music with a modern touch.


Their long list of hits include “Because the Night”, “These are the Days”, “Jealousy” “Like the Weather”, “More than This” and many, many, more. ROCK SERIES


Martin Sexton

Thursday, February 6

Saturday, January 18 His only area appearance!

The most successful band in the Celtic music genre! With their new album Nádúr.

Don’t miss a night with this modern folk legend! ROCK SERIES

"All You Need Is Love" A Beatles Tribute Concert

Classic Albums Live:

Pink Floyd

Dark Side of the Moon

Friday, February 7

Saturday, January 25

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon note for note – cut for cut!


Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of band arriving at Idlewild Airport (now JFK) on the exact day! Hear the iconic album LOVE album live, note for note, all 26 tracks.

Saturday, February 8

Sunday, January 26

Playing all of ABBA’s greatest hits including “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia” and more!

Former Lead Singer of BOSTON

With Special Guest Tommy and the High Pilots


Change to with hits “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” “Found Out About You” and many more!

Jay Nash

Fran Cosmo

Wednesday, February 12

Friday, January 31

Featuring Anton Cosmo Former Member of BOSTON

Singing all of Boston’s hit songs “More Than a Feeling,” “Peace of Mind,” “Rock and Roll Band” and more!


Gin Blossoms

Arrival: The Ultimate ABBA Tribute Band ROCK SERIES

Saturday, February 1

From Comedy Central & Last Comic Standing - 3 top headliners all on one amazing show!


Join us in the lobby at 6:45pm for a Wild Turkey tasting courtesy of Campari America Nash writes seductive and warm songs steeped in classic singer-songwriter tradition.



& where Saturday January 25

“Cabinet of Wonders” Pop singersongwriter and author Wesley Stace leads a variety show with nationally renowned and emerging musicians, writers, raconteurs and comedians, at the Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck; 8 p.m. (914) 698-0098, visit “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” presented by the Connecticut Ballet, at the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield; 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (203) 4386517,


“Kelyne” – The exhibit reveals the artist’s rootless childhood, a result of her father’s military career. Kelyne has lived in Vietnam, Laos and Algeria and her works evoke her recollections of exotic worlds, at the Canfin Gallery, 39 Main St., Tarrytown. (914) 332 4554, CanfinGallery. com.

Sunday January 26

The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra teams with pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii for an all-Beethoven program at The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase; 3 p.m. 914) 251-6200, “Arrival from Sweden: The Music of ABBA” is calling all dancing queens, to the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield; 8 p.m. (203) 438-6517,


“Comedy Night” Kick off the new year with adult comedy by Joseph Anthony, Jimmy Mack, Nathan McIntosh, Joe Moffa, Joe Mulligan and Johnny Rizzo at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, Elmsford; 6:30 p.m. dinner, 8:30 p.m. show. (914) 592-2222,

Tuesday January 28

Harlan Jacobson’s Talk Cinema, exclusive pre-release screenings of independent

and foreign films with each screening featuring a guest speaker at The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase; 7 p.m. (914) 251-6200, visit Q&A with David V. Picker and awardwinning screenwriter Norman Steinberg at the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Road, Pleasantville; 7:30 p.m. (914) 747-5555,

Wednesday January 29

“Ping Pong: Never Too Old For Gold,” Q&A with Will Shortz, Robert Roberts and Kai Zhang followed by Ping-Pong in the Jane Peck Gallery at the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Road, Pleasantville; 7:30 p.m. (914) 747-5555, “Waste Land” screening and Q&A with Lesley Martin and Ellen Keiter, at the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Road, Pleasantville; 7:30 p.m. (914) 7475555 or visit

Friday January 31

Girls Night Out: Bling Portrait Party at the Katonah Museum of Art.” Create a portrait of yourself, a friend or even your family pet with sparkling stones and sequins. Bring a friend to this women-only night at the museum, 134 Jay St. (Route 22), Katonah. Advance registration recommended. (914) 232-9555, ext. 0.

Saturday February 1

The 15th Annual Crossword Puzzle Contest with Will Shortz at The Westport Library, 20 Jesup Road Westport; 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (203) 291-4818, events/15th-annual-crossword-puzzle-contest.

Sunday February 2

“Discuss a Mystery!” at The Westport Library, 20 Jesup Road Westport; 3 p.m. Call (203) 291-4818 or visit

216 Central Avenue | White Plains, NY 10606 | (914) 761-3900



JANUARY 26 • 3pm


Nobuyuki Tsujii, piano Grace, subtlety, passion — and no conductor FEBRUARY 7 • 8pm


Prize-winning pianist, Westchester native FEBRUARY 9 • 3pm


Fry Street Quartet Live music, visual art, and compelling science FEBRUARY 15 • 8pm


Just in time for Mardi Gras, thoroughly hypnotic and unforgettable Crescent City funk FEBRUARY 22 • 8pm


Live on stage, the very best of improv, standup and sketch comedy FEBRUARY 23 • 3pm


hosted by WQXR’s Bill McGlaughlin One of the most accomplished chamber musicians of her generation JANUARY 28 & FEBRUARY 18• 7pm

HARLAN JACOBSON’S TALK CINEMA Foreign & indy film previews

Major Sponsorship for the season is provided by

The Vivian and Seymour Milstein Endowed Fund

The Great Orchestras and Chamber Music Series are made possible by generous support from the Tanaka Memorial Foundation

Special thanks to Corporate Sponsors Steinway & Sons and Pernod Ricard USA.


914-251-6200 or in person at the box office. Box office hours: Tues-Fri noon to 6pm

watch Cheers to entrepreneurs

About 150 business leaders from the American Marketing Association (AMA) the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) of Westchester and Fairfield counties and several other organizations filled the halls of the Stamford Innovation Center for its annual party. The space is the former Town Hall and the Stamford Innovation Center is both a workspace for young and growing entrepreneurial startups and offers classes for small to large companies under the heading of InnovationEd. 1. Bob Schultz and Alexander Virvo 2. Patricia Rattrey and Lizabeth Maffucci 3. Peter Giles and Barry Schwimmer 4. Lauren Teton 5. Rich Perrone 6. Betsy Keller and Lesley Stroll 7. Adam Brill, Jan Allardt and Y.K. Chan 8. Danielle McAuley and Dyann Colder 9. Marc Jaffe and Rebecca Leite 10. Jeff Epstein, Hesh Narayanan and Joshua Aferzon 11. Suzanne Dawson 12. Peter Propp 13. Christopher Edwards and Paula Green 14. Michael Raisanen and Annabel Kelly 15. Bill Morris and Kathy Dilks













All identifications are from left unless otherwise noted. 78




Girl power!

Girls Inc. of Westchester held its fundraising gala – “Power of the Purse” – Nov. 14 at Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor. The event honored actor Michael Boatman, CW Brown Inc. CEO Renee Brown, Tennis Hall of Famer Gigi Fernandez, IBM research scientist Stacy Hobson, College of New Rochelle President Judith Huntington and developer of the MLB Urban Youth Academy Jimmie Lee Solomon. Girls Inc., a White Plains-based nonprofit, is devoted to empowering the next generation of women leaders and raised more than $100,000 in pledges at the event. Photographs by Bob Rozycki. 1. Judith Huntington and Judy Kenny 2. Catherine Borgia and Jean Chatzky 3. Sally Baker and Jody Rollins 4. Nancy Greco, Barbara Clark, Florence Hudson and Christy Levy 5. Catherine Gasteyer and Liz Bracken-Thompson 6. Lenore Carpinelli, Silvana Bajana and Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez 7. Renee Brown, right, and her daughter Kimberly 8. Sylvia Kaminsky, Jean Cameron Smith and Elizabeth Harlow 9. Sharon Epperson 10. Gigi Fernandez 11. Jimmie Lee Solomon













watch Touchdown for leadership







Football was definitely in the air at The Westchester County Association’s annual Leadership Dinner at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook recently. Some 700 attendees enjoyed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, stuffed chicken breast with root vegetables and potatoes au gratin and a dessert bar, along with the gridiron theme. WCA president William M. Mooney Jr., who “appeared” with Tom Cruise in a doctored clip of “Jerry Maguire,” donned an Eli Manning jersey to toss out footballs to the crowd, which was serenaded by the White Plains High School Marching Band. Newly reelected Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino greeted the throng, which included honorees Jon B. Schandler, CEO of White Plains Hospital, and Joseph Simone, president of Simone Development Companies. The informative, amusing keynote speaker, Alfred F. Kelly Jr. – president and CEO, 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee – completed the football theme. 6

1. Tom Roach 2. Kelli and Joseph Nyre 3. Bruce Berg, Aleida Frederico and Robert Weisz 4. Anthony Maddalena, Janet DiFiore and Lawrence O. Graham 5. Jennifer Beyer and Patricia Simone 6. Rob Astorino and Kevin Plunkett 7. Jon B. Schandler, Marissa Brett, William Mooney, Joseph Simone and Alfred Kelly Jr. 8. Rich Irwin, Michael Raspanti, Karolina Graves and Joe Cockerham


Sports at home

Sports stars and celebrities joined together to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, which aims to raise awareness of domestic violence and offer education to end its cycle, saving lives. The gala was held at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. Photographs by Josh Sailor Photography.




9. Jorge Posada 10. Aaron Boone 11. Joe Torre and Ali Torre 12. Derek Jeter and Lorraine Bracco 13. John Flaherty 14. Bernie Williams





Hope Gala

The Brain Injury Association of New York State celebrated its sixth annual “Journey of Hope� gala at Slate in Manhattan. The evening featured cocktails, live entertainment and silent and live auctions followed by the awards presentation. The gala benefited the Brain Injury Association of New York State, the support and advocacy organization for New Yorkers with brain injuries and their families. Photographs by Patrick McMullan. 1. Drs. Raj and Tina Narayan and Dr. Steven Flanagan 2. Ana Sostre, Sandra Nieves and Al Cavallo 3. Chris and Betsy Kilmartin 4. Mary Ellen and John McCooey 5. Joanne Miller, Rosemarie diSalvo, Steven Miller and Amy Sigona 6. Patricia and Brad Van Nostrand 7. Dr. Marie Cavallo and Lois Tannenbaum 8. David Clinton and Ruby, Dante and Dr. Barry Jordan 9. SooWon Hwang, Agnes Herceg, Marion Hedges, Mary Beth Tully, Elizabeth Finan and Cynthia Hallenbeck 10. Fraser and Robert Beede 11. Helen Shim, Michael Ronemus and Kelly Forman 12. Tom Llamas 13. John Quinan and Pratima Ranjit















watch Sparking women leaders

It was a meat (filet mignon) and potatoes (mashed) luncheon that also served up some hearty food for thought for the new United Way Women’s Leadership Council. More than 200 women (and the men who were brave enough to join them) gathered at Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor to hear retired Brig. Gen. Becky Halstead, founder of STEADFAST Leadership, talk about leading by serving others. Lisa Salvadorini of News 12 was moderator of the event, which drew attention to the council’s “Teach Me to Fish” job-training program and “Smart Start” program for at-risk elementary school students.


1. Bernadette H. Schopfer and Donna Goldman-Hirsch 2. Alina V. Klein and Kathleen Haverlac 3. Monica Wollner and Wendy Kaufman 4. Alyzza Ozer and Andrea Wolfert 5. Maren Hexter and Sarah Brelvi 6. Becky Halstead and Michelle Phillips 7. Naomi Adler and Ruth Mahoney 8. Diana Gould and Emily Sherwood 9. Stacy Rubin, Marjorie Weintraub and Stacey Cohen 10. Lola Gazivoda, Marjorie Lang, April Lasher and Alicia Brockway 11. Ammie Felder-Williams, Judy Myers and Angela Brock-Kyle 12. Stephanie Conolly, Catherine Parker and Lynn Reichhott













Unique sanctuary






The Thai-style THANN Sanctuary Spa at the Castle Hotel & Spa in Tarrytown – the first of its kind in the United States – had its official opening Nov. 21. Jiro Sato, president of Sankara Hospitality Group, which owns the Castle; Castle general manager Gilbert Baeriswil; Westchester Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett; and Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell were on hand for the ribbon cutting. Debbi Nigro of WFAS’ “The Debbi Nigro Show” served as master of ceremonies. Guests of the intimate event were treated to hand massages, yoga and massage demonstrations, Champagne and Asian-infused hors d’oeuvres.



1. Eileen Mildenberger, Kevin Plunkett and Debbie Nigro 2. Georgette Gouveia and Patricia Fischer 3. Gilbert Baeriswil and Pla Ratanakul 4. James and John Toriano 5. JoAnne Murray 6. A keto harp player offers entertainment. 7. Maren Rudolph 8. Jiro Sato 9. John Sardy



Gifts that keep giving

Neiman Marcus got the holidays off to a fast start with a party to launch “The Ken Downing Gift Collection,” featuring everything from cuff links shaped like stegosauruses to pajamas in a gumdrop print, all from that tastemaker, Neiman’s fashion director Ken Downing. Guests enjoyed festive pomegranate Champagne cocktails ringed in green sugar, hors d’oeuvres, chocolate-covered marshmallow pops and the knowledge that 10 percent of the proceeds from the 37 select gifts support the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester’s Digital Arts Education Program. Photographs by Bob Rozycki. 10. Brian Skanes 11. Beth Sharkey, Kevin Bannon, Emily Stoddard and Tom O’Brien 12. Susan Bannon and Lisa Keogh 13. Michaela and Skip Beitzel 14. Michelle Reuter and David Derfler 15. Hannie Sio-Stellakis and Tina Leong










Actor visits Pleasantville


Geoffrey Rush, star of the film “The Book Thief,” visited the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville. The actor joined The New York Times critic Janet Maslin on stage for a Q&A following the screening. Photographs by Lynda Shenkman Curtis.


5. Janet Maslin with Geoffrey Rush


Celebrating fall

Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan held its fourth annual fall gala at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan. This year’s event honored longtime supporter and board director Peter Busch Orthwein and his wife, Beverly, and CNBC anchor Lawrence Kudlow. The 400 guests enjoyed a special performance by Grammy and Tony award-winning musical artist Cyndi Lauper. The singer opened with her song “Fearless” and went on to play her classic ballad “True Colors.” 1. Dr. Sigurd Ackerman and Cyndi Lauper 2. Janine and Larry Haynes 3. Lawrence Kudlow 4. Mac and Cynthia Brighton, Deanne Murphy and Cece McCarton


And 40 more…

Travel agent Cappy Devlin celebrated 40 years of her business, Cappy’s Travel, with a recent party at the Holiday Inn-Mount Kisco. Devlin, a WAG contributor, was honored at the event with a crystal trophy from Virtuoso, a prestigious international travel network. 6. Debbie Nigro and Cappy Devlin


Wake up to makeup

It was a Sunday morning of mimosas, almond croissants, raffle goodies and beauty tips as Bloomingdale’s kept “The Makeup Date” with some 300 invited customers at its White Plains store. Experts from various cosmetic lines gathered from around the country to share new products and techniques in a program hosted by Heather Thomson, one of “The Real Housewives of New York City” and creator of Yummie by Heather Thomson ready-to-wear. 7



7. Mary O’Rourke, Heather Thomson, Javi Osei and Teresa Woods 8. Dana and Julie Leshem

Dining for the Bruce

More than 10 leaders from the worlds of finance, journalism, politics, science, sports and the arts participated in unique, glamorous dining experiences to benefit the Bruce Museum. “Dimensions in Dining” featured a series of eight intimate and elegant dinners in private Greenwich homes over three nights in early November. Proceeds from the event will support the Bruce Museum’s initiatives in student education as well as acclaimed art and science exhibitions. Photographs by Elaine and ChiChi Ubiña. 1. Mark and Leigh Teixeira with Aundrea and Jim Amine 2. Ken Langone and Patricia and John Chadwick 3. Jim and Cricket Lockhart and Wilbur and Hilary Geary Ross 4. Sara Nelson, Brian Greene, Tracy Day and Don Nelson 5. Jay Fielden, Tiffany Burnette, Yvonne Fielden and Don Casturo 6. Bill and Fran Deutsch and Ari Fleischer 7. Peter C. Sutton, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Leora and Steve Levy 8. Richard Armstrong, Dorsey Waxter, Jennifer and David Stockman and Bryan Hunt









Mediterranean flair





The Foundation of the Hudson Valley Hospital Center recently hosted a fundraiser titled “Wine and Dine Around the World: Savor the Mediterranean” to benefit the Ashikari Breast Center at HVHC. More than 250 attended the food-and-winethemed event at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor. Photographs by Bill Fallon. 9. Sean Keever 10. Michael Delfino 11. Dr. Andrew Ashikari 12. Benjamin Baron 13. Members of the radiology department at HVHC 14. Luanne McCabe









Raising the roof for cancer

The Auxiliary of White Plains Hospital held its annual fall fundraiser at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase. “Celebration 2013: Raising the Roof on a New Cancer Center” celebrated the hospital’s initiatives, including renovations to the Dickstein Cancer Treatment Center (DCTC) and construction of a new medical office building adjacent to DCTC. When it is completed in early 2015, the cancer program will have doubled its size, adding space for infusion, physician offices and patient amenities. 1. Nancy Gilbert and Cindy Frenchman 2. Jon B. Schandler and Mike Divney 3. Dawn French, Dr. Caren Greenstein, Fran Catalogna and Dr. Sunny Mitchell


Jacob Burns honors gere

Actor Richard Gere was the honoree at the Jacob Burns Film Center’s annual “Silver Screen Circle Dinner” in Pleasantville recently. The evening included a Q&A with Gere and Janet Maslin, The New York Times critic and Burns board president. Photographs by Lynda Shenkman Curtis. 4. Richard Gere and Janet Maslin


Gala helps fight for lives

Montefiore Medical Center recently hosted its 25th annual “Celebrate Montefiore” black-tie gala. This year’s event recognized the institution’s commitment to cancer care and innovation and featured guest appearances by actors Cynthia Nixon and Judith Light. The gala raised nearly $3 million to support the advancement of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care’s mission of diagnosing, treating and preventing various forms of cancer by uniting experts, innovative technology and groundbreaking research. More than 1,200 associates, supporters and partners attended the event at the Waldorf Astoria New York in Manhattan. 5. Cynthia Nixon, Dr. Steven M. Safyer and Judith Light


19th, meet 21st century

The 2013 Fall Lecture Series, “Boscobel Style: Inspired Interiors for the 21st Century,” at the neoclassical estate in Garrison featured a few new elements. This year’s edition of the annual series was held over several evenings, with guests seated in the grand entry hall of the mansion for the talks before repairing to the Carriage House for wine-and-cheese receptions. 6. Gil Schafer and Steve Miller 7. John Danzer and Chip Allemann

Want to be in Watch? Send event photos, captions (identifying subjects from left to right) and a paragraph describing the event to 86


Doug Paulding at or (914) 533-2255 or (203) 966-6767 and visit for more information.

wit wonders: What superpower would you like to have?













“I would like to have the ability to heal. They’re just too many sick people in the world. No. 2 would be the ability to travel back in time. The concept is the same – the ability to change things.” – Anthony R. Davidson, dean, School of Graduate & Professional Studies, Manhattanville College, Queens resident “I would love some superpowers that would enable me to stay up 24 hours a day, seven days a week and not be tired. As a busy entrepreneur and burger franchise owner, I usually end my day with a ‘to-do’ list that would take me two days to finish instead of just the next day. So, I would be quite relieved if I could actually accomplish everything needed on a daily basis. It would also provide more time for ‘fun stuff’ like some quiet time to read a good book and to pursue some of the hobbies that I love.” —Deb DeCrescenzo, co-owner, Jake’s Wayback Burgers in Hartsdale, Peekskill resident “Super strength. Why not? I guess I’d be Superman.” – Diamond Deloatch, office assistant, Berkeley College, White Plains resident “I would just want to be Superman. Why not?” – Stephen Duhaime, office assistant, Berkeley College, White Plains resident

“For me, in my profession, the most significant superpower would not be moving faster than a speeding bullet or being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but it would be possessing X-ray vision. It would be a wonderful aid in diagnosing patients in my oral surgery practice and would enable me to evaluate disease, as well as post-operative healing, very unobtrusively. It would eliminate the need for CT scans and MRIs and the scope of my practice would not be confined to my office. The good news is that the most current technology that I presently utilize has helped to make this almost possible.” —Dr. Richard Elias, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Mamaroneck Oral Surgery, Larchmont resident “Play in the Super Bowl. If I could do that, I would feel as a fan that it would be an awesome thing and as good as having a superpower.” — Amy Ferraro, marketing associate, ENT and Allergy Associates LLP, Purchase resident

“I want to be the Man of Steel. It gives you everything, the whole package.” – Ed Lutz, president, Greater Hudson Bank, Greenlawn, Long Island resident “I want to fly. Don’t you think that would be fun?” – Rori Sagal, relationship manager, Greater Hudson Bank, New Haven resident “I’d like to have superhuman strength….I feel as if my nieces and nephews already think I have it, so it’s something I should actually have.” – Gregory Sousa, first vice president and area sales manager, Hudson Valley Bank, Mahwah, N.J., resident “I’d like to have the superpower of mind reading so I could know what’s going on in everyone’s lives.” – Patricia Valenti, principal, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Rye resident

“The ability to make other people disappear.” – Gina Gouveia, chapter administrator, Meeting Professionals International, WestField chapter, Norwalk resident “I would totally fly and save a lot on airfare.” – Deanna Lewis, lead receptionist, Berkeley College, White Plains resident

Compiled by Georgette Gouveia. Contact her at 88

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WAG Magazine January 2014