In a class of his own
Tiffanyâ€™s many facets
CLASS vs. CRASS Elegance on track
Gentleman developer Robert Weisz
The upper crust Abigail Kirsch Stone Barns Stonehenge
class acts 12 On class and crass 14 social order 16 Iconic store celebrates 175 years of innovative beauty 20
Our fair lady
22 Every picture tells an ekphrastic story 24 ECLECTIC COLLECTIon 26
The house that Morgan built
28 All aboard the (new) Orient-Express 30 A saint for our times 32 Classing up the place 34 Cosmetics that care 36 Scents and sensibility 38 Twin peaks 43 fashioning the family business 52 Nutty concoCtions 55 A gem of a guy 56 Fit for a goddess 58 Classic Greenwich style 60 Cultivating a legacy 62 Family, fare extraordinaire 65 acting out at the Westport Country Playhouse 66 Past and future perfect Frank Holl’s “Portrait of Pierpont Morgan” (1888), oil on canvas, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Photograph by Graham S. Haber.
78 Comfortable in her own
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For every part of you
A natural retreat.
Accent on accessories.
A night at the opera.
Cruising up (a European) river.
Telling tails out of school.
The state of statin therapy.
Humanizing doctor-patient relationships.
79 when&where Upcoming events.
We wonder: Who’s your idea of a class act?
We’re out and about.
88 class & sass
With Martha Handler and Jennifer Pappas.
8 Meet the visitors 10 Editor’s letter
Cover photograph by Sinéad Deane
All aboard the Orient-Express. See page 28.
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Visit our juice bar and benefit from all the nutrients, vitamins & antioxidants freshly squeezed juices have to offer. We always use fresh fruit and vegetables, organic whenever possible, including wheatgrass shots
MANAGING EDITOR Bob Rozycki EDITOR Georgette Gouveia SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Caitlin Nurge Harrison DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY David Bravo
CLASS & SASS COLUMNISTS Martha Handler • Jennifer Pappas
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS Sinéad Deane • Bob Rozycki
with a splash of lemon juice
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The food, the feeling, the flavor of Provence. For 25 years, La Panetière has been celebrated as Westchester’s premier French restaurant. From outstanding Zagat and New York Times reviews, to recognition by dining critics and patrons. Outstanding cuisine, impeccable service, the charming, flower-filled ambiance of our 1800’s house, our quintessential wine cellar – La Panetière is truly representative of the renowned restaurants and inns of Provence. Enjoy a memorable dining experience with us. Or let us help you create an elegant private or corporate affair, either at our restaurant or off-site.
The food, the feeling, the flavor of Provence
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WAG A division of Westfair Communications Inc. 3 Gannett Drive, White Plains, NY 10604 Telephone: (914) 358-0746 • Facsimile: (914) 694-3699 Website: wagmag.com • Email: email@example.com 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 $12 a year for home or office delivery. To subscribe, call (914) 694-3600, ext. 3020. All advertising inquiries should be directed to Michael Berger at (914) 694-3600, ext. 3035 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, email@example.com Michael Gallicchio, Chief Operating Officer
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is corporate communications manager at Norwalk-based Tauck, a world-leader in premium-quality guided cruises and land journeys. A resident of Milford, Tom enjoys cooking rustic regional and international dishes, baking bread, physical fitness and – not surprisingly – travel. He and his wife are the parents of two grown children.
is a reporter for the Fairfield County Business Journal and a recent college graduate from Minnesota. She enjoys a healthy mix of classy and trashy interests, including data analysis, gossip and travel. Her latest hobby is teaching herself how to cook foods that don’t fit into the classic Minnesota food groups: hot dish, bars and lutefisk.
Robert M. Stark, MD
practices internal medicine and cardiology in Greenwich. He’s an honors graduate of Harvard Medical School. Besides his practice, he participates in clinical teaching at New York Medical College. He’s an avid guitar player (both rock and folk) and enjoys gardening at his home in Greenwich.
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editor's letter Georgette Gouveia
The editor wears one of Tiffany’s new necklaces of interlocking circles.
As you are no doubt aware, there was a recent upheaval in the “Twilight” universe when the tabloids revealed that Kristen Stewart had been stepping out on her on- and off-screen soulmate Robert Pattinson with her “Snow White and the Huntsman” director Rupert Sanders. (First off, really, Kristen? I mean, Rob’s a babe; Sanders, well, he’s no Apollo Belvedere. Plus, with a wife and two kids, he’s got more baggage than an airport during the holidays.) But I digress: Shortly after the “news” broke, Pattinson stepped out himself to promote his latest film, the Wall Street allegory “Cosmopolis.” There he was joking and eating ice cream with a sympathetic Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show,” ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, turning up on “Good Morning America,” smiling through his evident sadness. That took guts, and the blogosphere responded with two words of praise – “class act.” Like charisma, class is an elusive quality. Partly, it has to do with good taste and style and you’ll find plenty of both in this issue, from our cover subject Jack Mitch-
ell – co-owner of the Mitchell Family of Stores, including Richards in Greenwich and Mitchells in Westport – to elegant perfumer Sue Phillips to Jesse Lovejoy, chair of the Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., to commercial developer Robert Weisz to caterer Jim Kirsch. Class isn’t limited to individuals. Among the classy institutions you’ll find in these pages are Tiffany & Co., The Morgan Library & Museum, Le Château, Stone Barns and the Stonehenge Restaurant & Inn. Of course, we can’t help but engage in our usual wordplay and game of roundrobin. You’ll notice that many of these stories share links to at least one other. (There are four degrees of separation from Tiffany’s.) We’ve also interpreted “class” to mean “a course of study” for both two-legged and four-legged students as well as a socioeconomic group, as in our conversation with writer Ben Cheever. But as our essay on class suggests, it’s not just about carrying yourself with dignity. Class is concern for others as the ultimate form of self-regard. And so we have a story about everyone’s fair
lady – Audrey Hepburn, the aristocrat’s daughter who found her greatest role as a UNICEF ambassador. We also everyone’s favorite saint, Francis of Assisi, who transcended his upper-class background to minister to all of creation. WAGwit offers other “class”-ic examples, while our own Class & Sass, Martha and Jen, take to the road with predictable results. We may have to start calling them Thelma and Louise. That brings us to our motto – “Where class meets sass.” We at WAG take classiness seriously. And so we would be remiss if we did not as we head into fall and a new season say “thank you” to our loyal readers and advertisers. To us, you are the ultimate class acts.
Save this date
On Oct. 20, WAG teams with White Plains Hospital for “Paint the Mall Pink,” a health and wellness expo at The Westchester in White Plains to raise breastcancer awareness. Among the highlights is the “Walk of Hope” fashion show with breast-cancer survivors and their loved ones, emceed by our own Zoë Zellers. For more details, call (914) 421-1333.
On class…. By Georgette Gouveia
hen I was laid off from my last job, the bosses told me, “You’re a class act.” I’m still not sure why they said that. Perhaps it was their way of softening the blow. (Memo to firing bosses, divorcing spouses, etc: Never rub salt into a wound with an incongruous compliment, as in “I’m leaving you for another woman, Marge, but you’ll always be one helluva cook.” Yeah, right. Remember: If you really thought the person was that wonderful, you wouldn’t be getting rid of him, would you?) Now as we prepare this issue of Class Acts, I look back on that time and wonder: What does it mean to have class? Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition for you bookworms) defines class as “high quality, elegance … the best of its kind.” These, however, are not the primary definitions of the word, which is first, “a body of students, a course of instruction,” and second, “a social rank, especially a high social rank.” The idea of class as a socioeconomic group came into vogue in the 18th century as the old aristocratic hierarchies fell to revolution, only to be replaced by a new hierarchy based on wealth and (today in particular) fame. You don’t, however, have to be Molière, Beaumarchais, Mozart – or for that matter, tabloid biographer Kitty Kelley – to know that class (as in upper) doesn’t always equal class (as in dignity with style). It’s interesting that at a moment in post-recession America when “money” is a dirty word – unless it’s yours or mine – Baz Luhrmann has chosen to make a new film of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” due in theaters next summer. Fitzgerald, who knew a thing or two about the rich – “they are different from you and me” – contrasts Tom and Daisy Buchanan, an Old-Moneyed couple whose recklessness leaves a trail of tragedy, with the mysterious, nouveau-riche, slightly vulgar Gatsby, who, when the chips are down, acts with real nobility. And therein is what makes class so elusive and fascinating. It’s hard to figure. It lies at the ever-shifting intersection of appearance and actuality. When I think of class, I think of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who may very well meet in the finals of the U.S. Open this month. Has there ever been a more “class”ic player than Fed Ex? The elegant backward arc of the serve, the head scarf placed just so, the subtly monogrammed polo shirts, the cardigans and crested blazers from a bygone era, the stable family, the devotion to charity, topped by the feel-good story of the return to No. 1, where many think he has always belonged. As one witty Russian player put it: “He’s Swiss. He’s perfect.” Then there’s the Djoker: Where to begin? The jangling, spiky style, like an exposed nerve. The eating of Wimbledon grass. The Hulk-like ripping of shirts in celebration. The shorts emblazoned with Nole, his nickname, on the backside. The off-court penchant for James Dean Ts and “Miami Vice” jackets with the sleeves pushed up. (Memo to Nole: The ’80s called. 12
They want their wardrobe back.) The destruction of Perrier signs in a fit of pique. The rowdy family. The hardscrabble upbringing in strife-torn Serbia, whose leadership was indicted for war crimes. The quicksilver kaleidoscope of emotions that would’ve made Callas seem catatonic. In other words, he’s not Swiss. And yet…. (You knew there had to be an “and yet,” didn’t you?) Djokovic isn’t the butt of a blog, Pseudofed, which makes fun of his rather lofty pronouncements. (That would be you, Roger.) When Federer regained the No. 1 ranking, Djokovic congratulated him – exhibiting a generosity of spirit that Federer has not displayed toward him. And when he was given the chance to use the rain as an excuse for losing to Rafael Nadal at the French Open, Djokovic brushed that aside and said simply, “The better man won.” It was the classy thing to do. And that, in the end, is the crux of class. It is less about the cut of your clothes than that of your character, less about the correctness of your table manners than the manner in which you treat others, even if it’s
at the expense of yourself. Ironically, class is regard for others as the ultimate form of self-regard, for it says that you hold yourself in such esteem that you can afford to concede the point, take it on the chin and smile, even when your heart is breaking. (Right, Rob Pattinson? You go, kiddo.) Perhaps that’s what my former bosses meant when they said I was a class act: They knew they could count on me to hold it together just a little while longer. They knew I knew I was better than defeat. Besides, the classy person knows how to make an exit – unlike Ann Curry, on her final day as “Today” anchor, in which, crying, she kept reminding everyone of all the terrific stories she had done for the network. As Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times’ TV critic, wrote in her on-the-money piece, “Ms. Curry turned to the camera and delivered a tearful farewell that was gallant and also embarrassingly maudlin and grandiose and that pretty much summed up why she got the hook after just one year in the host chair next to Matt Lauer.” Memo to Ann: A classy person may weep for the
friends or job lost. A classy person never weeps for herself. When I think of class, I think of Cary Grant. Always the epitome of elegance and manly beauty, he could’ve gone on playing the aging lover of increasingly younger Hollywood actresses. Instead, in his last film, “Walk, Don’t Run,” he played the dapper Cupid to Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton’s age-appropriate sweethearts and then sailed off into a silver-haired sunset. For every Cary Grant, there are no doubt countless unheralded examples of such grace. My favorite is a newspaper account of a woman who was jilted at the altar. Rather than crumple into tears, she faced the guests and told them there was no point in wasting a perfectly good party. Everyone had a marvelous time. Talk about a classy broad. The better “man” won indeed.
… And crass
f class eludes, crass exudes. The déclassé are everywhere at the moment, thanks to the Internet, where it is more important to get hits with the lewd, the crude and the rude than it is to post something thoughtful, or – heaven forbid – kind. Still, it’s complicated. One man’s class is another’s hauteur, one man’s vulgarity is another’s art. Are Madonna and Lady Gaga being crass when they perform
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their edgy acts, or are they just trying to provoke? Can you fault someone for lacking class when class is not the point? Perhaps you can. Perhaps the difference between classiness and crassness lies in the execution. Nicki Minaj is a talented performer. (See her funny turn as the bride of Blackenstein on “Saturday Night Live.”) But when she did her appalling takeoff on “The Exorcist” at the Grammys earlier this year – complete with sexed-up monks and altar boys, a levitation and an offkey rendition of “I Feel Pretty” – well, she offended everyone from the Roman Catholic Church to shockchannel TMZ. (Memo to Nicki: You probably want to rethink dressing up your date as the Pope.) Hey, at least she kept her clothes on, which is more than you can say for many performers and other celebs. Is it possible to be sexy, classy and contemporary? Therein lies the difference between the erotic and the pornographic. Mario Sorrenti’s photo shoot with “Prometheus” stars Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron for last month’s W – which mixed flesh, leather and a tough tenderness – stopped short of S&M. Steve Klein’s photograph of a nude, masked Gaga being scaled by action figures – placed strategically on her body for her new Fame fragrance campaign – makes witty reference to cartoons and contemporary artwork in which the female body is
viewed as a rolling landscape. It’s a razor’s edge, and some refuse to walk it. When Jockey spokesman Tim Tebow hosted the company’s “Hot City Cool Down” in Orlando recently, he appeared on the runway in a Jockey T and jeans rather
Ironically, class is regard for others as the ultimate form of self-regard, for it says that you hold yourself in such esteem that you can afford to concede the point, take it on the chin and smile, even when your heart is breaking. than shirtless or in his Jockey undies. “I’m really trying to represent Jockey in the right way,” he told People magazine, a clearinghouse of the classy and classless alike. “They do things with class, and I want to do the same. I just focus on telling people what I like.” “Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere,” the critic G.K. Chesterton once observed. So does class. n
Social order Talking class with Ben Cheever By Georgette Gouveia When The New York Times wanted to explore the upper class’ lack of class here in what was once known as Cheever Country (and is, The Times observed, beginning to feel more like Kennedy Country), the newspaper turned to a man who had grown up at the center of it all – writer Benjamin H. Cheever, one of John Cheever’s three children. It’s hard to think of a more fitting observer. Both father and son have explored the disparity between class (as in socioeconomic) and class (as in character with style) in such works as John Cheever’s stories “The Swimmer” and “O Youth and Beauty” and Ben’s novel “The Good Nanny.” “(My father) was very interested in hypocrisy, the whited sepulcher.” John Cheever’s fascination with the chasm that often exists between our assets and our aspirations stemmed from his and America’s ambivalence about money. “My father had in his mind an aristocracy of merit that was related to the aristocracy,” Cheever says. “He thought there was such a thing. He liked it when a person had both. But people are very credulous about money. They think if you have money, you don’t have problems. My father sometimes seemed to have money and sometimes had none.” The United States, Cheever says, “is a revolutionary culture. We don’t have an aristocracy. We don’t want to be elitist.” And yet, in his nonfiction book “Selling Ben Cheever,” Cheever says “one of the things I thought about was how important (socioeconomic) class was.” A kid from Westchester who runs into trouble in New 14
York City, he adds, is likely to receive different and better treatment from the police than, say, one from the Bronx. “It’s status as an expression of wealth.” That kind of class is easier to pin down than its more psychological companion. Cheever defines classiness as “generosity of spirit, taking time for yourself and others.” Such class is under assault in the age of the Internet. “Part of the trouble with the time we live in is that people feel they have to draw attention to themselves. I’m old enough to remember a time when that was not
classy. …People feel if they’re not valued by a larger public, they’re not valuable. Because we live in an ‘electronic cocoon,’ it’s easy to be lonely. We assuage ourselves with imagining friendships with famous people. I’ve met a lot of famous people. You can be pretty sure you’re not going to be friends with them.” Ostentatious display is different from genuine showmanship, he says. The former is not classy. The latter certainly can be. Cheever recalls attending an event at the Jacob Burns Film Center and Media Arts Lab in Pleasantville honoring Robert Redford. (Cheever’s wife – Janet Maslin, a former film critic for The Times and now one of its book critics – is president of the Burns’ board of directors.) There was Redford, every inch the golden boy movie star, lighting up the room. “He was friendly, interested, open and upbeat,” Cheever says. These days, the canine-loving Cheever – he and Maslin, who make their home in Pleasantville, have two dogs and two sons – is occupied with a different kind of class, as in obedience, for a nonfiction book about service dogs and the people who train them. Another great love is running, which he captured in his book “Strides: Running Through History With an Unlikely Athlete.” “Part of the reason I adore running is that you go out and run as fast as you can and there’s no question about it. …Writing is not so clear. You can write brilliantly, but no one publishes it.” True class transcends such worries. “What you really admire is someone who can escape his identity. He’s not trapped by it. He can give up the good seat and go down with the Titanic.” For more, visit benjaminhcheever.com. n
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Iconic store celebrates 175 years of innovative beauty By Georgette Gouveia
Call it “teatime at Tiffany” – an afternoon at the company’s flagship in Manhattan. And what an afternoon – gleaming silver and gold; diamonds that dazzle; creamy tableware sparklers fit for a late-summer idyll; a preview of autumn’s luxe leather goods; and above all, a rare glimpse into both The Tiffany Salon, where the wishes of the rich and the famous are born; and The Tiffany Workshop, where they’re fulfilled. This year marks the 175th anniversary of Tiffany & Co., which has been an innovator in jewelry and silver since Charles Lewis Tiffany opened his first emporium at 259 Broadway in 1837. This is the company that put the “engage” in the diamond engagement ring, introducing the six platinum-prong setting in 1886 that established the standard. It’s the company that built the first retail store with central air conditioning, opening the distinctive seven-story limestone, granite, marble and wood building on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in 1940. And it’s the company that has designed a trove of trophies and sports memorabilia, from the Vince Lombardi to the interlocking “NY” that became the Yankees’ logo. So it’s no surprise that Tiffany is celebrating its birthday in a grand but tasteful way. The 128.54-carat yellow Tiffany Diamond will be displayed in a new diamond and platinum setting on the store’s main floor – an 8,400-square-foot space whose 24-foot-high coffered ceiling and absence of columns give it an open, airy feel. Tiffany has created a collection of platinum-set diamonds and pearls for Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” bowing next summer, while also supplying china, sterling silver flatware and other accessories for Jay Gatsby’s Long Island manse. (The company is no stranger to film, having played its elegant self in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Bride Wars.”)
Among its new collections are those featuring shimmery gemstones that Tiffany introduced – blue tanzanite, green tsavorite, lilac-pink kunzite, named for Tiffany gemologist Frederick Kunz, and pale pink morganite, after devoted customer-collector J.P. Morgan. (See related story.) Tiffany has also created Rubedo metal, a light yet strong alloy that has an irresistible allure akin to rose gold or burnished copper, as seen in the bold wide cuffs and rings and delicate interlocking circle pendants contained in the crisp 1837 collection.
Journey of a jewel
It’s all in the details
But what really makes Tiffany such a class operation extends beyond the sheen of Rubedo metal or morganite to the glimmering patina of its professionalism – the caring attitude toward customers, the attention to detail. This is evident the moment you set foot in the door on another challenging New York City summer day – grateful for Tiffany’s mid-20th century innovations in central air – and are greeted courteously by one of the security guards. Meanwhile, another discreetly attends to fingerprints on one of the glass cases so that the next customer will have an equally unobstructed view of Jean Schlumberger’s fanciful nature-inspired pieces, Elsa Peretti’s sculptural abstractions, Paloma Picasso’s striking statements and architect Frank Gehry’s offerings – all exclusive to Tiffany. Romance is in the air amid all the engagement rings on the second floor. It’s as bustling as the main floor and the third, which is all about sterling silver design, including the Charm Bar, where you can select items to embellish your charm bracelet. Yet if you had to pick a favorite floor, it might be the fourth, with its comforting mix of sterling silver hollowware, flatware, creamy china, sparkling crystal, totes in Tiffany’s signature robin’s egg blue, the intoxicating Tiffany scent and an adorable nook for the baby who is truly born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth. The summer bags and other accessories that occupied one fourth-floor boutique have given way to metallic pencil cases (for the very stylish fourth-grader), crossbody bags and pochettes in Florentine blue and plum and Tiffany’s signature bracelet bag (think a gigantic pinch purse for evening) in a zigzag calf’s hair fabric. They’re all part of the Tiffany Leather Collection, created by designers Richard Lambertson and John Truex, which debuted in 2010. WAG was given a sneak peak at these in the press showroom on the mezzanine, which is also home of the Patek Philippe Salon of timepieces. We were also privileged to have a rare glimpse into the seventh-floor Tiffany Workshop, which creates diamond and gemstone jewels. Tiffany, which has a strong commitment to ethical retail – no coral, a living creature; no “blood diamonds” from Africa; no rubies from troubled Myanmar – makes 60 percent of its merchandise in the United States. The company also has workshops in Mount Vernon, Pelham and Lexington, Ky., that produce fine and engagement jewelry; two in Rhode Island that handle metalwork; a sterling silver workshop in New Jersey that produces hollowware and trophies; and a wood shop in New Jersey that manufactures trophy bases.
The workshop in the flagship store is truly an atelier. Certainly, Marta Kamieniecki sees it this way. She’s the attractive director of The Tiffany Workshop, presiding over 14 craftsmen – nine jewelers, three stone-setters and two polishers. 17
Amber Heard in morganite and diamond drop earrings by Paloma Picasso and a diamond ring with an unenhanced pink sapphire. Left, Christina Ricci in Tiffanyâ€™s diamond Soleste earrings and a pink sapphire and diamond flower ring. Both actresses were at The Metropolitan Museum of Artâ€™s 2012 Costume Institute Gala. Photo of Amber Heard by Rabbani and Solimene/ GettyImages. Photo of Christina Ricci by Dimitrios Kambouris/ GettyImages.
“Our craftspeople are producing wear- Taylors, the Natalie Portmans and the able works of art,” she says. Anne Hathaways – to discuss custom deKamieniecki points to one of their signs or to review store items for purchase. most stunning creYou’re buzzed ations in progress into a pale-blue and – a reinterpretation silver suite that is of Jean SchlumRococo meets Art berger’s Jasmine Deco, Marie AntoiNecklace for a panette meets Ginger tron. The intricate, Rogers. Metal grilles imaginative work, give way to metal which will cost vitrines displaying roughly $2 million, diamond and sapis an asymmetriphire necklaces and cal arrangement of 11-carat square-cut tourmalines, spiand round diamond nels, garnets and engagement rings. A sapphires, linked fitting room allows Tiffany diamond by diamonds, from which drip dia- you to choose the light in which to view mond flowers. As Kamieniecki unveils your bling. (Candlelight is nice.) A small the arrangement of polished stones and conference room filled with Tiffany books plucks a diamond-studded petal, the offers inspiration. Best of all may be the workmen continue silently intent on bar room, perhaps to help you absorb the their tasks, undisturbed by the conver- sticker shock. sation around them. Their workspaces Not that the affluent suffer from that. F. brim but neatly, with tiny, silvery tools, Scott Fitzgerald, the author of “The Great ergonomic armrests and the kind of Gatsby,” was right when he said the rich magnifying visors eye doctors wear. are different from you and me. “We are completely traditional, old The beauty of Tiffany is that the store school,” Kamieniecki says. makes you feel rich – even when you’re The reimagination of the Jasmine not. Necklace was born on the mezzanine level Tiffany & Co. is at 727 Fifth Ave. in in The Tiffany Salon. That’s where presti- Manhattan. For more, call (212) 755gious customers go – the Jackies, the Liz 8000 or visit tiffany.com. n
Jessica Paré in Jean Schlumberger’s diamond Flames earrings and diamond and gold ring at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2012 Costume Institute Gala. Photograph by Kevin Mazur/GettyImages.
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Our fair lady Audrey Hepburn’s greatest role was UNICEF ambassador By Georgette Gouveia When it came to class, Audrey Hepburn was in a class by herself. The clipped, cultured voice, the dark, brimming features that had us at “Roman Holiday,” the sylph silhouette that could be elegant in casual Capri pants or Givenchy couture, the real-life dancer’s carriage and swan neck, shown to great advantage in “My Fair Lady.” If Hepburn’s Eliza was a might less convincing before Henry Higgins transformed her than after, well, the fault was ours not hers. It was simply impossible for us to think of her as anything but dignified and poised, incapable of getting her hands dirty. That was the legend anyway. As with another of our greatest stars – Cary Grant, who teamed with Hepburn charmingly in “Charade” – the reality was far grittier; the class, hard-won. Born on May 4, 1929 in Belgium to a Dutch aristocrat and a banker of Austrian-English descent and raised in the Netherlands, Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston was a child of Nazi terror and deprivation. As Edda van Heemstra – adapted from her mother’s German-sounding maiden name – she spent what should’ve been an innocent youth watching other youngsters being herded to death camps, carrying secret messages for the British soldiers who parachuted into German-patrolled woods and helping her family grind tulip bulbs into flour to make bread. The famously slender figure wasn’t merely the luck of genetics or the product of discipline. It was the consequence of malnutrition. Like many children who grow up amid misery, she escaped into the arts – literature and especially, the ballet. Dance was her entrée to London. But at 5 foot, 7 inches and rail-thin, Hepburn was deemed both too tall and too fragile for the deceptively arduous life of the ballerina. Instead she modeled and took jobs as a chorus girl, which paid better than the ballet, then turned to acting.
actor-director Mel Ferrer. (Ultimately, Hepburn would become the mother of two sons – Sean, with Ferrer, and Luca, with her second husband, Dr. Andrea Dotti.) Still, Hepburn continued to test the confines of her on-screen persona – as a missionary tried by her love for a gruff doctor in “The Nun’s Story;” a teacher accused of lesbianism in “The Children’s Hour;” a wife on an odyssey through her troubled marriage in “Two for the Road;” and the Cockney Galatea in “My Fair Lady,” where she exhibited class off-screen as well by swallowing her pride and allowing her songs to be dubbed by Marni Nixon despite a distinctive contralto. (Apparently, you can hear snatches of Hepburn’s voice in “Just You Wait,” “The Rain in Spain” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.”)
Breakfast you know where
It was a small role in “Monte Carlo Baby” that led the novelist Colette to recommend her for the Broadway adaptation of her novel “Gigi.” And though Hepburn would not reprise the role on screen – that honor went to another dancer turned actress, Leslie Caron – the success of “Gigi” gave Hepburn her big Hollywood break, the role of an incognito princess playing hooky, who falls for a newsman chasing her story (Gregory Peck) in “Roman Holiday” (1953). Hers was a performance of great wistfulness. Indeed, no one who watches the final scene – in which she sacrifices love for duty, her pooling eyes hinting at the pain beneath her composure – will ever forget it. “Roman Holiday” earned her a BAFTA (British Oscar), a Golden Globe and an Academy Award as best actress. Hollywood had found its new princess. The movie also crystallized the Audrey Hepburn persona – the enchanting gamine transported to a fairytale life (“Sabrina,” “Love in the Afternoon”). When she stretched beyond its confines, she sometimes stumbled. Critics and audiences alike didn’t buy her as the birdgirl Rima in “Green Mansions” or the adopted Native American daughter of white settlers in “The Unforgiven” – a demanding western that resulted in a broken back and a miscarriage for the actress, then married to 20
But the movie-star image and the actress’ willingness to play against type found their most iconic fusion in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961). By now, film buffs are familiar with the movie’s movie-like backstory – how Truman Capote conceived of his novella and its heroine, idiosyncratic New York City call girl Holly Golightly, as a vehicle for Marilyn Monroe, whose deliciously naughty sensuality was about as far removed from Hepburn as you can get. But Hepburn gave Holly’s sex class, bringing out different colors in the character, who had been reinvented for the film as a party girl with an independent streak. In his cinematic book “Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ and the Dawn of the Modern Woman” (HarperStudio), Sam Wasson suggests that without Hepburn’s Holly, there would be no “Sex and the Single Girl” or “Sex and the City.” Hepburn showed women they could be both ladylike and carnal. “Because it was Audrey who was doing it,” he writes, “living alone, going out, looking fabulous and getting a little drunk didn’t look so bad anymore. Being single actually seemed shame-free. It seemed fun.” It helped, of course, to have that Henry Mancini score, with the oft-recorded “Moon River,” which Hepburn actually sings in the movie; the little black dress by
Givenchy; the streaked hair. Though the look was glamorous, it remained simple. And that, Wasson writes, was key: “Audrey’s Holly showed that glamour was available to anyone, no matter what their age, sex life or social standing. Grace Kelly’s look was safe, Doris Day’s undesirable and Elizabeth Taylor’s – unless you had that body – unattainable, but in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ Audrey’s was democratic.” And yet, what makes “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” so heartbreaking is the loneliness Holly’s independence masks, along with the gulf between her veneer of classiness and the absent social status that would give it backbone. The ironic title and the opening scene, with its poignant Mancini undertow, establish the gulf: Arriving by cab at Tiffany’s in the wee hours, presumably from
an all-night party and a lover’s bed, Holly has coffee and Danish as she window-shops for jewels she can’t afford. The distance between her and those jewels is as slender and as strong as that window pane.
The art of discipline
Hepburn never forgot the gulf between the haves and have-nots. The multilingual actress had begun doing work for UNICEF in the 1950s. But in the 1980s, she took to the field as a Goodwill Ambassador, with missions to Ethiopia, Turkey, Venezuela, Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Bangladesh and Somalia – work that earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Always she would be surrounded by yearning children. Years before, she had been one of them. Now she sought to assuage their suffering. On these missions, the woman who was said to prefer skirts and dresses was garbed simply but elegantly in crisp pants and shirts, hair styled, makeup applied just so. She carried on in this manner despite the cancer that would claim her life in Switzerland on Jan. 20, 1993. In one of the last interviews Hepburn gave, Diane Sawyer asked how she could go on. What was the essence of her beauty and style? Hepburn’s answer summed up her classiness, too: “You should always make the effort.” n
VICTORY. BY EQUINOX. “BEST OF GOLD COAST” — MOFFLY MEDIA
Every picture tells an ekphrastic story
ere’s a class that’s a class act: It’s The Brenda Connor-Bey Learning to See Legacy Workshop Series Exploring Poetry, which will draw literary enthusiasts from around WAG country to Greenburgh this fall to try their hands at ekphrastic writing. Ekphra-what? Ekphrasis is a verbal, often literary, description of an artwork, from the Greek meaning to “speak out.” Among the earliest examples is Homer’s detailed depiction of the Shield of Achilles in “The Iliad.” Others include Oscar Wilde’s allegorical novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and Robert Nathan’s otherworldly “Portrait of Jennie.” But by far one of the most moving and influential is W.H. Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts,” in which the poet explores Brueghal’s 16thcentury “Landscape With the Fall of Icarus” as a metaphor for how human tragedy and suffering happen “while someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along.” (See also poet William Carlos Williams’ beautifully spare response to Brueghel’s work.) The Learning to See Series, which runs through next spring, expands on the original definition of ekphrastic writing to embrace any art – be it visual, musical or literary – that serves as inspiration. “You’re taking an artwork or a piece of music and interpreting it through your own feelings,” says Karen Rippstein, who will lead the three workshops at Greenburgh Town Hall this month. “There are two imaginations at work – that of the original artist and your own.” I can say from personal experience that Karen’s class is all about jumpstarting the imagination. Participants – who range from newbie scribes to seasoned pros from all walks of life and all parts of Westchester County – may be asked to write in class on an object or a box of objects, a picture from a magazine or a postcard of a famous artwork and then share the experience. There are homework options and supplemental reading. It is less intimidating than it sounds. Karen’s is a sympathetic voice. (A poet, she is also a certified poetry therapist.) The criticism is constructive; the atmosphere, serious but warm and at times jocular. 22
By Georgette Gouveia
Brueghel’s “Landscape With the Fall of Icarus” captures the intersection of tragedy and mundanity that so fascinated poets William Carlos Williams and W.H. Auden.
Learning to See is the brainchild of two women – the poet/memoirist Sarah Bracey White, executive director of Greenburgh’s Arts and Culture Committee, and the late Brenda ConnorBey, the town’s first poet laureate. “Sarah was the innovator of the idea that Greenburgh needs to be a mecca for poetry,” Karen says. “Brenda came up with the idea of ekphrasis as her gift back to the community” in 2008. Brenda and Karen got to know each other through Poetry Caravan, an organization of poets founded by Sufi poet Usha Akella that reads poetry to shut-ins, among other activities. Brenda was looking for facilitators for Learning to See and caught one of Karen’s writing workshops at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The rest is a burgeoning movement with workshops throughout the year and various instructors. “It has grown,” Karen says, “and we’d like to see more happening.” For those longing to take the plunge into writing’s hypnotic waters, Learning to See is a great way to get the tootsies wet. “That’s because most of us are visual,” Karen says. “Once you start an association, the imagination takes over.” n
“Musée des Beaux Arts” By W. H. Auden
About suffering they were never wrong, The old Masters: how well they understood Its human position: how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting For the miraculous birth, there always must be Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating On a pond at the edge of the wood: They never forgot That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on. The Brenda Connor-Bey Learning to See Legacy Workshop Series Exploring Poetry, with Karen Rippstein, takes place Sept. 4, 11 and 18, 6 to 8 p.m., at Greenburgh Town Hall. Enrollment is limited to 12 adults. To pre-register for this or future workshops, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions, call (914) 682-1574. For those interested in a writing workshop series with spiritual overtones, there’s “Poetry: Doorway to Prayer.” Alice Feeley, RDC, Greenburgh’s current poet laureate, leads the Oct. 6 session at the Divine Compassion Spirituality Center in White Plains. Writer/ educator/activist Ann van Buren leads the Feb. 10 session and Karen Rippstein the April 13 workshop. The cost is $30 for each and includes lunch.
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J. Pierpont Morgan’s library. Photograph by Graham S. Haber.
William M. Griswold, director of The Morgan Library & Museum. Photograph by Graham S. Haber.
ECLECTIC COLLECTIon J.P. Morgan’s artistic passion drives museum
ohn Pierpont Morgan was many things. Financier. Banker. Owner of the White Star Line and its ill-fated ship, the RMS Titanic. (Reportedly, he was scheduled to take part in its maiden voyage but changed his plans at the last minute.) Globetrotter. Philanthropist. But among his many roles, few were more important than that of collector. “He collected everything,” says William M. Griswold, the director of The Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan, “from pocket watches to Old Master paintings to Chinese porcelain. “He liked a lot of things and he knew a lot about them. He was not collecting for show. It was a passion.” The breadth and depth of that passion is reflected in the holdings and exhibits at The Morgan. “We have collections spanning drawings and prints from their origins in the 14th century in Italy up to the present,” Griswold says. “We have one of the great collections of printed books and bindings, beginning with three Gutenberg Bibles. No other museum has three. We have one of the great collections of medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts. We have a collection of literary historical manuscripts, letters in the handwriting of Veronese and Titian, manuscripts by Einstein and Bob Dylan, a great collection of ancient Near Eastern seals and music manuscripts spanning the history of European music, though our strengths are the 18th and 19th centuries.” As Griswold chats in his stately white office in a building that was once the home of Morgan’s son and namesake (known as Jack), his enthusiasm bubbles to the surface. 24
By Georgette Gouveia “For me, what this represents is the creative process, the work of writers, artists and the great figures in history confronting creative challenges. It’s the history of ideas and the history of the imagination. That’s what unites these disparate collections.”
And the exhibits they inspire. Exploring them, you can’t help but be moved by the terrible wonder of the human mind. “Churchill: The Power of Words” (through Sept. 23) gives us the man who almost single-handedly for a time stood up to the Nazis and saved Western civilization. (Although you have to wonder if it was the American in Winston Churchill that gave the British prime minister some of his moxie. His mother may have been Lady Randolph Churchill to the Brits, but she’ll always be Jennie Jerome, good Brooklyn girl, to us.) Anyway, by the time you get to the 1940 speech in the House of Commons in which Winnie announced: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,” you’ll find it hard not to surrender to tears. From the blood, sweat and tears of Churchillian England you waft through the marble McKim Rotunda to the rarefied world of “Renaissance Venice: Drawings From the Morgan” (through Sept. 23), in which the delicate draftsmanship of Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and company stirs you in a whole different way. These are rich delights indeed. The pleasures of “Robert Wilson/Philip Glass: Einstein on the Beach” (through Nov. 4) are purely Minimalist as the show reunites director Wilson’s spare storyboards with composer Glass’ hyp-
notically repetitive score and footage from the landmark 1976 opera, which redefined what the genre could be. The dry wit of “Einstein on the Beach” may be too arid for some. Not so the letters and works on display in the warm red and green original library, which can be described only as baronial. There’s Edgar Allan Poe’s Byronic “Tamerlane” (1827); the original manuscript of Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1889-90); a 1954 letter from Ernest Hemingway to George Plimpton, then editor of The Paris Review, declining an interview in the salty language we imagine Papa sprinkled regularly; and some hilarious 1955 correspondence in which poet Marianne Moore was asked to come up with a name for a new Ford. The company went instead with its own – the Edsel. Should’ve stuck with Marianne, guys.
As you might imagine, maintaining and presenting such treasures is something of a challenge. But, Griswold says, “with the completion of the Renzo Piano addition and the restoration of our 1906 building, we can represent at any given time the range of our collections.” The Morgan is not one building but actually a complex of buildings a few blocks south of Grand Central Terminal. “Mr. Morgan’s library,” as it was called, was built between 1902 and 1906 next to his home on Madison Avenue and 36th Street. Created in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo by Charles McKim of the legendary McKim, Mead & White – which put a Beaux Arts stamp on much of New York City and its environs – the library is one of the most architecturally significant buildings in the country. It’s joined by the Annex building, which replaced Morgan’s residence in 1928, and his son’s former
home, a brownstone added to the campus in 1988. Two years ago, the original library was given a $4.5 million facelift that included new lighting and exhibit cases, the restoration of period furniture and fixtures; the cleaning of the walls and applied ornamentation; and the opening of the North Room, the office of Belle da Costa Greene, the Morgan’s first director. This followed the $106 million, 75,000-square-foot expansion in 2006 by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Renzo Piano, which reflects the original trio of buildings and unites all through the central glass Gilbert Court, containing some streamlined Ellsworth Kelly sculptures through Sept. 9. “Most visitors don’t realize there’s a lot going on behind the scenes,” Griswold says. “The Renzo Piano expansion gave us a three-story subterranean vault, a concert hall, a new Reading Room, which is an independent research library (primarily for scholars), an education center, a new restaurant and café and offices.” Like other cultural institutions, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan has lived through the continuing recession to find audiences returning. Its attendance is up roughly 20 percent. With an operating budget of $18 million and 140 full-time employees, Griswold says, the institution is looking forward to greeting visitors with fall shows on drawings from a great Munich collection and the enchanting world of Beatrix Potter. “I think interest in the arts is high right now,” he says. People are searching for an authentic experience beyond the digital world, he adds – one that The Morgan’s rich history can definitely provide. For more, call (212) 685-0008 or visit themorgan. org. n
The Gilbert Court, part of the Renzo Piano expansion of The Morgan Library & Museum. Photograph by Michel Denancé.
The house that Morgan built Le Château celebrates French cuisine and a titan’s power By Georgette Gouveia Photographs courtesy of Le Château and Georgette Gouveia
Monique Lozach Jaffré, owner of Le Château, and her daughter, Lenaick Cea.
Rev. Dr. William S. Rainsford, the mansion’s original owner.
y sister Gina and I are having Sunday brunch at Le Château in South Salem, seated at a table whose window frames the verdure of Lewisboro as it rolls into the summer mist and the Hudson Valley’s ever-elusive horizon. Over cappuccino and tea, she remarks that the two couples sitting behind me look so much alike that they could be each other – 50 years apart. As they pass, I realize how fitting my sister’s remark is. At Le Château, the past, present and future dine happily together.
Banking on Morgan
The restaurant and event destination – a fixture of classic French cuisine in the region for almost 40 years – is, after all, situated in the house that J.P. Morgan built. Or at least his money did, as a retirement home for the Rev. Dr. William S. Rainsford, the rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan. As a longtime member of St. George’s and one of its wardens, Morgan sought to bring dynamic spiritual leadership to the church when attendance dwindled after the previous rector died. “J.P. wanted someone with new ideas to serve as rector,” says Monique Lozach Jaffré, who owns the restaurant, which was started by her parents. “Dr. Rainsford was in (Ontario,) Canada. He didn’t want to live in the States.” You didn’t, however, say “no” to J.P. Morgan. Rainsford – a progressive who championed the rights of workers and an end to slums – came to America under certain conditions. 26
“He wanted to free the pews so that it was first-come, first-served, not the first pews for the rich,” Jaffré says. Rainsford also demanded that all church committees except the vestry be abolished so that he could appoint future committees and that Morgan set up an annual fund of $10,000 – apart from his salary – for three years of church work. The financier and philanthropist responded with one word – “Done.” He must’ve liked Rainsford a great deal. The two breakfasted together almost every morning at Morgan’s Madison Avenue home. (It was replaced in 1928 by the Annex building, part of The Morgan Library & Museum. See related story.) The pair also went to Africa on big-game expeditions with President Theodore Roosevelt and Gen. George S. Patton, participating in 22 lion hunts. (The souvenirs of those trips were located in the South Salem property’s Trophy House, now leased privately.) But neither spiritual work nor travel could stave off Rainsford’s bouts of depression, a condition from which Morgan also suffered. So the banker gave him the money to build a manor of some 20 rooms on 1,250 acres in what was then Ridgefield in 1907, the year after Rainsford retired from the church. Designed in the Tudor style by Grosvenor Atterbury, an architect who was as well-known for his urban planning as he was for his Gilded Age mansions, Savin Rock – as it was called – was a marvel of brick, stone and timber with a tile and shingle roof, sweeping wood-paneled halls of cherry, oak and American chestnut
(no longer available due to the chestnut blight); stone fireplaces; and bay windows offering panoramic views. Jaffré points to the butterfly joints holding the textured chestnut beams in place in the imposing entrance hall. The restaurant’s accompanying brochure notes that such craftsmanship would be hard to duplicate and fund today. It’s easy to see why.
A French flavor
By the time her parents saw Savin Rock, it was a shell of its former self. The year was 1971, and 50 hippies were living in the house. “They would run around naked and jump in the lake till my parents spoiled it all,” Jaffré says with a Gallic-flavored laugh. Her parents, Yves and Denise Lozach, emigrated from the northern French province of Brittany to New York City in 1949 and opened a small Manhattan bistro, Le Coq au Vin. With the rent rising, the couple decided to look for a place where they could live and work in Westchester County. They were not in the market for something as grand as Savin Rock. But, Jaffré says, the Realtor kept dropping the price. Le Château opened two years later. Jaffré took over in 1980. “We try to keep it as authentic as possible,” she says, bearing in mind that none of the original decor was left when her parents bought it. Today, floral wallpaper, striped curtains and wood valances with botanical medallions capture the baronial charm of what was once a country estate. An area for wedding receptions has replaced the living
room and greenhouse. With 30 picturesque acres, Le Château is perfect for nuptials, which is a big part of the business, says Jaffré’s daughter, Lenaick Cea, called Lee, who spearheads that part of the operation. But the grounds are also suitable for other kinds of events as well as BBQ Thursdays, a summer staple. Upstairs, JP’s Lounge offers a Sunset Dinner in a more casual, masculine atmosphere and will be holding a cabaret with cover acts on the last Sunday of every month, beginning Sept. 30. Meanwhile, the neighboring Bridal Room provides the lady of the day and her attendants with an elegant space in which to ready themselves while an adjacent room can accommodate an intimate party for up to 25. It’s not, however, just the Morgan connection or the family ownership that enables the past and the present to coexist so felicitously at Le Château. It’s the continuity among the patrons. As my sister and I savor grilled scallops, a delicate red snapper with capers and legumes, a rich crepe stuffed with shitake mushrooms and leeks and a mushroom, bacon and spinach quiche, our chatty, gentlemanly waiter, Kus Beham, observes that many of those dining around us are longtime patrons who’ve also held events there. Such devoted patronage is the backbone of any business. No doubt J.P. would’ve heartily approved. Le Château is on Route 35 at the junction of Route 123 in South Salem. For more information or to make reservations, call (914) 533-6631, visit lechateauny.com or email banquets@ lechateauny.com. n
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Quality Communities By the engel Burman group East Meadow | East Northport | Lynbrook | Massapequa | North Hills | North Woodmere | Westbury Licensed by the NYS Dept of Health. Eligible for Most Long Term Care Policies. | All photos are representational of typical communities of The Bristal.
All aboard the (new) Orient-Express By Zoë Zellers
he original Orient Express traversed the route from Paris to Istanbul during the 19th to 20th centuries. But really it traveled the realm of the imagination, with passengers longing for a bit of the intrigue they found in Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel “Murder on the Orient Express” and the many movie versions it inspired. The Orient Express’ spirit – not to mention its name and some of its destinations and train cars – survives in the Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., whose chairman of the board, Jesse Lovejoy, lives with his wife, Pat, in Larchmont, often the starting point for their great escapes with their five children. Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. has luxury hotels, restaurants, river cruises and tourist trains around the world, including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in Europe, the Eastern & Oriental Express in Southeast Asia and The Royal Scotsman in Scotland. Among the 36 stylish hotels the company owns, co-owns and/or manages are the Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco, Peru; the Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Italy and, opening in March 2013, a 92-room property in Santa Barbara, Calif., which, Jesse says, “If we get it right, it’ll be a re-creation of old-time Hollywood glamour.” After serving on the board of directors since 2000, Jesse was named chairman in 2011. It’s a role that brings perks along with responsibility, including unusual family adventures that evoke another era, with the Lovejoys as marvelous armchair tour guides. Listening to their recollections, you realize Agatha couldn’t have put it better. “My favorite, favorite spot? Oh, we have so many of them,” says Pat, before she recounts the story of their trip on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Jesse says that train “was actually acquired by this company decades ago by purchasing the cars originally at auction and then picking some up here and there, and then ultimately doing a massive job of refurbishment” in order to update the beautiful old coaches. And the windows? “Yes, they’re still full of Lalique,” he says. “The whole experience of going to Victoria Station (in London) and then taking the train to Venice through Paris is just a wonderful experience,” Pat says. “We did it with our children and some friends who also had their children. It was just like going back in time. “We were riding these really beautifully restored old trains with gorgeous wood paneling. The food is delightful. You have this breathtaking scenery, and you’re passing through these countries and then you end up in Venice at the train station. … It is just mind-boggling and especially in Venice, which is so mystical to begin with anyways. Just imagine.” Here Jesse chimes in, “We went with three daughters, and part of the fascination of the train is that people actually put on black tie for dinner. We went with another family that also had three girls at the time from one who was really just a preschooler up to late teens, and they’re putting on their dresses and doing their hair to have dinner in this very elegant, white-tablecloth, seated dining car with, of course, the waiters in black tie as well… They wanted to dress for dinner, I will say that,” he laughs. “And then after dinner you go to the bar car. The pia-
nist just plays for as long as you want to stay up while you’re rocking and rolling through eastern France on your way up to the Alps. Then you go to bed and you find that the compartment has been transformed into this little bedroom and you wake up in the morning and you’re in Switzerland,” he says with great energy, “You’re up in the mountains and the cows are walking by with bells on their necks with snow-clad mountains in the background, and they come in with coffee and croissants and so forth. “The scenery is really remarkable on this trip because then you come down out of those Swiss Alps into the Italian mountains and you’re following (a valley), so you’re coming down these Alpine rivers into northern Italy and then finally to Venice. And as Pat said, you’re getting to Venice and getting off your train and being met by people from the Cipriani Hotel we own in Venice and they put you in one of the hotel boats and take you up the Grand Canal.” Jesse lowers his voice and says, “I mean, it is probably the most extraordinary entrance into a city that any of us have ever experienced. It was just incredible. The kids just thought it was fantastic.” “We took many, many pictures and we do every time we go back to Venice. With all the children, we’ve always traveled,” Pat says.
Prue Leith and Bob Lovejoy.
She adds that the Orient-Express is in fact quite kid-friendly and lately, she’s been seeing more families with children traveling, even with grandparents on-board. “We were worried that our youngest at the time, and this was about 10 years ago, would be bored. But the fact of the matter is that kids find trains fascinating. They hang by the window and watch the scenery go by for hours,” Jesse says. “The typical Orient-Express customer,” he adds, “is a person with a very international outlook, a person that is looking for something really special if not beyond special and is looking for a vacation or a break from routine, which is a real and serious change of pace and an experience that will be a memorable one.
“A large number of guests at our properties are celebrating an event – whether it be an anniversary, a wedding, a birthday, a family reunion or a college graduation – and our customers come back a lot.” “There’s very much a repeat customer,” Pat says, recalling instances of running into Westchester friends in Sicily and Venice and once, on the side of Machu Picchu. (The company co-owns PeruRail, which also operates the first-class Hiram Bingham luxury train). The Lovejoy family, like many other Orient-Express guests, marks special events in fabulous places and a few years ago embarked on a grand journey to celebrate a daughter’s college graduation. “We asked her what she wanted for
graduation and she said, ‘I would love to go to Africa, but bring the whole family,’” Pat remembers. “So that’s what we did. It was an amazing, amazing trip. “We started in Johannesburg and ended up in Cape Town with three different camps in the middle, and it was something we will always carry with us for the rest of our lives. And that’s how most people feel when they go to Africa. It’s the ultimate adventure…. I recommend it to all of my friends. If you want a once-in-alifetime, very, very special experience, go on a safari in South Africa.” “Part of what you might call the objective of Orient-Express is always to deliver the local experience of where you are in contrast to many luxury hotel brands which try to deliver a very similar product in various parts of the world,” Jesse adds. “And, of course, in many cases, they do a wonderful job of it. But what Orient Express wants to do is deliver a distinct product all over the world. “Our customers are hardworking people by and large, probably overly hardworking, just like the kind of people you and I know in Westchester, and when they want to take off, they want to be with their family for some special time, and that’s absolutely key to our attraction.” Book your next great adventure at orient-express.com. n
A saint for our times By Georgette Gouveia
The Rev. Augustine Thompson
Everybody knows St. Francis of Assisi, right? He’s the “plastic saint on the birdbath,” as his biographer, the Rev. Augustine Thompson, puts it; the hippie eco-feminist in love with God’s creation, blessing the animals especially on his feast day (Oct. 4); the mystic who divinely received the stigmata – the five wounds of Jesus – and just as divinely set out to found what became the Franciscan Order. Right? Well, sort of. Perhaps more than any other saint, Francis lies at the intersection of myth and reality, our ideals and our shortcomings. In “Francis of Assisi: A New Biography” (Cornell University Press, $29.95, 299 pages), medievalist Thompson, nurtured in Hastings-on-Hudson, separates the historical wheat from the tabloid-y chaff. Gone is “The Prayer of St. Francis,” which Christians and non-Christians alike know from the opening line, “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace,” sung to the music of Anglican composer Sebastian Temple. The “Peace Prayer of Saint Francis” is actually a French prayer that first appeared around 1912 when it was published in the spiritual magazine “La Clochette” and therefore couldn’t have been written by the 12th-century saint. What didn’t make it into Thompson’s book, he says, were the English-language origins of the prayer, which date from the ordination card of a Boston priest who would become Francis Cardinal Spellman, archbishop of New York. Thompson thinks the cardinal’s first name helped to cement the association of the prayer with St. Francis. As for the Wolf of Gubbio – forget about it. “The problem with a lot of so-called myths and legends about Francis is not that they are untrue but that they come so late,” Thompson says. “Maybe he did tame a wolf in Gubbio. But the story is not recorded until 150 years after his death.” Applying the exacting standards of the true historian, Thompson decided that anything that was not written down within 40 years of Francis’ death – which occurred Oct. 3, 1226, when he was about 45 – would not be grist for the biographical mill. Ironically, when you sift the life from the legends, you’re often left with a better story, truth being stranger than fiction. The Francis who emerges from Thompson’s work – fiercely devout, compassionate, courageous, impatient, exhibitonistic, charismatic, disorganized and ultimately mysterious and transcendent – is a far more intriguing guy than the sentimentalist of Hollywood mythologizing. Says Thompson: “He is a man for modern times.”
Even Francis’ name is not necessarily what we think. His baptismal name may have been Giovanni di Bernardone, with the nickname Francesco, or “Frenchy,” reflecting his well-to-do family’s commercial links to France. Plus, Francis, who spoke French, liked a good French song. He liked a good time. Indeed, he was the type of guy our TMZ culture would readily recognize – the stylish man about town, that town being the terraced city of Assisi in central Italy. 30
The history of Italy is the history of strife within and between regions. When he was 22, Francis was part of a militia that fought against Perugia, where he became a prisoner of war for at least a year. The horrors of battle and imprisonment left him sick in body and in mind with what we would describe as the effects of post traumatic stress disorder, although Thompson cautions against reading a modern diagnosis into a medieval man. The war led to a crisis of conscience that forced Francis to turn inward. Gone was the soldier of fortune, the fashionable party boy. Indigent, penitent and performing manual labor, Francis traded social class for a different kind of class, one in which his natural courtesy deepened into a compassion for everything and everyone – the lepers who had once repulsed him, the larks who were his favorites among the animals he communed with. While this compassion was rooted in his belief in Jesus, it extended to non-Christians, too, as Thompson demonstrates in Francis’ courageous, respectful encounter with Malik al-Kamil, sultan of Egypt, during the Fifth Crusade. By then, Francis had attracted a band of brothers who marked the beginnings of what would become the Franciscan Order. But that group – which lived by the Franciscan principles of taking up Jesus’ cross and giving all to the poor – would evolve slowly, in part because Francis was a leader rather than a manager and administrator, a man who found it easier to belong to all than to one or a few. “The Francis I discovered often doesn’t know what God wants,” Thompson says. “He’s not a patient patient when he’s sick. He’s frustrated. He’s much more human.”
An imperfect man
Thompson’s road to Francis was just as long. He grew up in Hastings, the descendent of a family that had lived in that area since before the Civil War. After attending Hastings public schools, he went on to Johns Hopkins University, which he didn’t like. (“Everyone wanted to be a doctor.”) The University of California at Berkeley was more to his taste. And it was there in that supposed bastion of liberalism that Thompson – a history buff who had been thinking about religion – found God, or rather, himself in God. “Berkeley has everything from monarchists to Maoists. It’s an incredibly diverse place. There were all these graduate students who went to Mass. It shook me.” Thompson spent almost a quarter of a century as a professor of religious studies and history at secular institutions – the University of Oregon, the University of Virginia. (Today he is professor of history at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.) It was at UVA that he settled on Francis as a biographical subject – as opposed to Francis’ contemporary, St. Dominic, the founder of Thompson’s order – because he believed there wasn’t a good Francis bio that synthesized all the sources. “He was not a saint that attracted me much,” Thompson admits. “Now he’s one of my heroes.” And that’s because “Francis shows that holiness is possible for imperfect people.” n
CelebRities: We Remember Them Well An exhibition of rare and vintage portraits Curated by Milton J. Ellenbogen
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 20 On View: September 21 – November 10 Combining works from prominent gallery and private collections, the exhibition showcases more than 175 rare candid photographs and exquisite studio portraits of the last half-century’s most illustrious personages. Featured are such recognizable figures as Marilyn Monroe, Louis Armstrong, Pablo Picasso, Senator Joseph McCarthy, John Lennon, and Spike Lee. Look into the eyes of Beat Generation icons, Rock n’ Roll deities, silver screen starlets, political game-changers, sports’ heroes, and social groundbreakers at Celebrities: We Remember Them Well. Lectures and expert panels will accompany the exhibition. All photographs are for sale.
barbara & Paul elliot Jacqueline & Arthur Walker Exhibition also supported by
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, photo © Allan Tannenbaum
This exhibition made possible by the generous support of
RsVP for Opening Reception 914-428-4220 x306 ArtsWestchester 31 Mamaroneck Avenue White Plains, NY Gallery Hours Tue-Sat 12-5pm
Classing up the place
The vision of developer Robert P. Weisz By Patrick Gallagher Photographs by Sinéad Deane
rom his office overlooking the sweeping entry to a Rye Brook complex dubbed the “Taj Mahal of Westchester,” Robert P. Weisz manages perhaps the closest thing there is to a real estate empire in New York City’s northern suburbs. But while he appreciates the view, Weisz says he never lingers on it. And that very real humility – a sense of where he’s been and where he’s going – makes Weisz as classy as any of his properties. “In spite of the image you get when you drive up to this building, to me it’s driving up to the office to start another day of work,” he says. “We have been very fortunate. I believe that makes a difference, but I don’t have that sense of, ‘Look at the great things I have accomplished here.’ I’m as hungry as I was the first day and I’m anxious to move ahead.” It should come as no surprise that Weisz refuses to become complacent. After all, one does not come to build a company with properties valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars by sitting back and admiring the scenery. Weisz founded what would become RPW Group Inc. in 1979, shortly after arriving in the United States from his na-
tive Uruguay. The company began as a wholesale furniture distributor operating out of a rented garage in Jersey City, but Weisz soon discovered his true calling was in real estate. Fast-forward three decades, and RPW Group has managed projects totaling more than 3 million square feet of office, retail and warehouse space. From 2002 to 2003 alone, the company expanded its portfolio along the Interstate 287 corridor with more than $500 million in acquisitions. Weisz admits that in 1979, when he acquired his first property – a 30,000-square-foot, run-down warehouse in Weehawken, N.J. that would allow him to expand his furniture business – he had little real estate know-how. But, he says, “If you’re in the right place and you’re doing the right things, usually good things happen.”
To chalk it all up to simply being in the right place at the right time doesn’t do Weisz’s story justice, though. With the one possible exception being when Weisz met Cristina, his wife of 27 years, on a blind date in New York City. “Some of
those work, believe it or not,” he says with a chuckle. Since founding RPW Group, Weisz has shepherded the company through the purchases of more than 50 properties in the tri-state area, often taking on projects that others wouldn’t dare touch. In 2005, RPW Group bought the former Kraft Foods International headquarters at 800 Westchester Ave. in Rye Brook. Real estate insiders had predicted prior to the acquisition that the 523,000-squarefoot property – designed for a single corporate tenant – would languish on the market. Lo and behold, just six months after Weisz’s company bought the 54-acre property – the Taj Mahal, if you will – and after a $70 million renovation enabling the building to house tenants seeking anywhere from 1,500 to 120,000 square feet, more than half of 800 Westchester had been leased or was on the verge of being leased. In all of Weisz’s years at RPW Group, he said it has been “extremely unusual” for the company to purchase a building and leave it unchanged. “I have a furniture background and so
Robert P. Weisz, chairman and CEO of RPW Group, in his Rye Brook office at 800 Westchester Ave.
I’m very much inclined to wood, and people will say, ‘I recognize your buildings, because they have more wood than others,’” Weisz says. “And I like that. I think we try to have a better-quality building than our competitors.” RPW Group’s buildings, “are a reflection of who we are and what our company portrays in the market and that’s what we work very hard on.”
After living in Greenwich for years, Weisz and his wife now reside in Manhattan, spending their summers in the Hamptons with their two children, Andrew, a real estate broker working in New York City for Cushman & Wakefield, and Alexandra, who attends law school. No one would fault him if he chose to limit his involvement in Westchester and Fairfield – areas he refers to as his “corporate homes” – to the workings of RPW Group. But for as long as he has been a dominant name in the local real estate industry, Weisz has been a highly active and outspoken figure on the region’s business and political scenes. In addition to being president and
The Affordable Closet Experts CEO of RPW Group, Weisz serves on the board of directors of CMS Bancorp, the Westchester County Association, the New Rochelle Police Foundation Inc., ArtsWestchester, and the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce. He’s also chairman of the board of Reaching U, a U.S. nonprofit that supports low-income families in Uruguay. “Frankly, I think we have a responsibility. We cannot just complain that things are not well if we don’t do something to make a difference and to correct them,” he says. Just last month, Weisz and RPW Group played host to members of the Westchester County Association who were gathered to hear U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speak. As he stood to introduce the event’s host, County Association Chairman William Harrington said, “You know that ad, the most interesting man in the world? Well, this is our version – Robert Weisz.” To which Weisz shot back – with a grin – “There’s nothing like setting low expectations.” Taking the microphone, Weisz turned to Gillibrand, applauding her efforts to bring together Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. He noted how the atrium at 800 Westchester Ave. has seen several candidates and elected officials over the years, including Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and former White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley – the latter two having resigned from their respective posts amid scandal. “Senator, you’re in a good spot,” Weisz said, “but there are no guarantees.”
Survive and thrive
It is that lack of guarantees – in politics, business and life – that Weisz has sought to impress on those in power and on those who are in positions of influence. “I think every generation says that things are not as good as they used to be, and you hear that from time to time,” Weisz says. “I don’t think that that’s the case. I think that things are not the same as they used to be. Things change. And we always think that change is not as good as the way things used to be, because we only remember the good parts.” The next few years could be “extremely difficult years for the United States” if society does not come to grips with the lack of discipline that led to the recession and many of the recurring economic and political problems, Weisz says. That is not to say society isn’t equipped to face up to those problems, he adds. “People are more educated now than they’ve ever been. Technology is obviously moving faster than anyone expected. So a lot of things are happening. I think those of us who have accomplished some real success must get involved.” When Weisz first arrived in the U.S., he barely spoke English, had little money, and knew no one. But armed with the immigrant’s instinct for survival, survive is what he did. “I think life is interesting, because, you know, we are not born with a book that tells us ‘This is what you are supposed to do’ and ‘This is what’s going to make you happy’ and ‘This is what’s going to make you successful,’” Weisz says. “You have to find it out for yourself.” n
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Cosmetics that care Laura Mercier launches products to benefit ovarian cancer fight By Zoë Zellers Images Courtesy of Laura Mercier Cosmetics
The ultra-sheer Bonne Mine Palette was inspired by Mercier’s experiences working with a celebrity who wanted a barely there look that could give her a natural, healthy glow all in one universal compact product.
Bonne Mine Healthy Glow for Face & Cheeks Crème Colour Palette, $48. Rose Hope Lip Glacé, $24.
Cosmetics just found a new cause. This month French makeup icon Laura Mercier is debuting two special products that can give wearers a smooth, sun-kissed glow while giving women in need around the world hope. For the past several decades, leaders in the beauty industry have taken impressive actions to educate the public about breast cancer and raise funds for research. But did you know that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month? Mercier wants to make sure you do. In honor of the cause, the company is releasing two new products – the limited-edition Rose Hope Lip Glacé, $24, and Bonne Mine Healthy Glow for Face & Cheeks Crème Colour Palette, $48. Both fresh offerings are on par with the company’s dedication to creating beautiful, naturallooking, flawless looks for women of all ages. All of the proceeds from the sale of these cosmetics will be donated to the recently established Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund. The launch was inspired by the bond between Mercier and her CEO, Claudia Poccia, a resident of Stamford. Both highly successful, striking, dark-haired, globetrotting fashionistas have friends and families that were unexpectedly humbled by ovarian cancer. Every year, the disease affects more than 225,000 women worldwide. Often, it’s not diagnosed until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. That was the case for Poccia’s younger sister, Laura Lia, who lost her battle last year. In April, Poccia helped host Hope Thru Handbags, a widely attended silent auction in Norwalk benefiting ovarian cancer research in honor of her sister. Soon after, Mercier and Poccia decided to use the makeup brand’s prominence to take ovarian cancer research, support and education initiatives to the next step with the release of exclusive products and a stunning fall ad campaign shot by photographer Patrick Demarchelier. Beside upcoming donations from beauty product sales, the company has donated $100,000 to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to develop the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund, which will be operating independently by next year. The company is also partnering with Cosmetic Executive Women Fund’s Cancer and Careers to create a video series for working people living with cancer. The presence of hope through help is the number one reason Mercier’s Bonne Mine Crème Colour Palette and Rose Hope Lip Glacè are September’s best “necessary indulgences.” But let’s not forget that the consistent quality and clean beauty of Laura Mercier cosmetics will benefit the generous wearer as well. The ultra-sheer Bonne Mine Palette was inspired by Mercier’s experiences working with a celebrity who wanted a barely there look that could give her a natural, healthy glow all in one universal compact product. Apply the palette’s creamy bronzer on nose, cheeks, brow bone, forehead and chin for a light, sun-kissed effect. Then add color with one or a blended combination of its two sheer cheek veils. (Mercier recommends using fingertips to blend over the apples of your cheeks). Finish your fresh-face makeup with two highlighting glow veils applied on cheekbones, the center of your nose, brow bone, Cupid’s bow and the top of your forehead. Add a burst of colorful, luscious shimmer with the Rose Hope high-shine lip gloss that flatters any skin tone. You can apply the pigmented gloss to your favorite lip color or wear it alone for a long-lasting shine that’s always noticeable and classy, and, as Mercier might say, voilà! Beginning this month, you can find these giving products at Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Sephora. Or you can visit lauramercier.com to shop and donate. n
Scents and sensibility
ue Phillips wants to take you on a fragrance journey. Even if you’re not exactly sure what that means, we bet you’re intrigued. And it’s with good reason since what the founder and president of Scenterprises Ltd. does reaches beyond passing fads. The fragrance journey includes stops to learn about perfume history, properties of ingredients and client preferences before arriving at the final destination – the creation of one’s very own scent. “People love having something unique, something that represents them,” Phillips says. “It can give you a sense of purpose, a sense of pride, confidence.” Phillips, you see, bypasses the overhyped and seemingly endless parade of “signature” celebrity perfumes – “They’re all starting to look the same, smell the same”– to help people understand the real power of perfume and create one that speaks to their very soul. Clients have been enthusiastically responding. “They’re tired of what they do in the stores,” Phillips says. “People don’t really get that sense of allure or education.” Phillips, an elegant South African-born woman who fully embraced America upon her arrival here in 1976, offers byappointment workshops and also conducts events for corporations (she was off to David Yurman after chatting with WAG) and groups. She hosts these sessions in her Manhattan fragrance studio or takes the sweet-smelling show on the road. Greenwich is a popular station stop, with another event planned there this month. It’s all part of spreading the word, which she has been doing particularly well in this, her company’s fourth year.
By Mary Shustack Photographs by Sinéad Deane
Highlights have included a mention on Oprah Winfrey’s famed “O List,” and a guest appearance on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Closer to home, she got rave reviews in a blog post by Laura McKittrick, better known as “Greenwich Girl.” As McKittrick’s wrote of her fragrance journey, “I not only got a deeper sense of how important our sense of smell is, but I embraced an entirely new perspective on what one’s personal preference of scent truly means.”
Coming to America
Phillips’ rise to becoming a globally recognized fragrance expert was a steady, if unexpected, climb. She came to this country to further her singing and acting career, following her brother who had already relocated here. “I always had a feeling I would live elsewhere,” Phillips says. “I fell in love with the energy of America.” While she did find work in entertainment, she knew she needed something steadier to secure a green card. A job as an executive assistant at Elizabeth Arden was her unwitting entry into what would become her true calling. There, she advanced to training director, then to product development and soon transitioned into fragrance marketing, working with brands such as Chloé, Lagerfeld and Burberry. Next stop was a position as marketing director for fragrance and men’s skincare for Lancome Paris. There, she launched Programme Homme and developed the fragrance introduction for Tresor. Soon after, she was hired as vice president of fragrance marketing for Tiffany & Co. and developed the first iconic Tiffany perfume, created for the firm’s 150th anniversary. “That was an amazing opportunity,”
Phillips says. “It has this incredible heritage and history.” Phillips went on to create Tiffany for Men, Society by Burberry and Burberry for Men and also developed fragrances for Trish McEvoy. In home fragrances, her work has included collaborations with Diane Von Furstenberg for Avon, as well as other lines for the company. Today, she also helps places create environmental scents. She has been an adjunct professor of cosmetics and fragrance marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, is a contributing editor for GLOW Beauty Magazine and works with others such as Vuvuzela, an online South Africa-themed effort.
The sweet smell of success
Phillips’ background plays out during the workshops, which are noted for their depth of knowledge and interactive approach. People just love the chance to learn more about the power and mystique of fragrance. “It can stop you in your tracks when you walk down the street,” Phillips says. She explores the art and science behind fragrance, the allure of fragrance blends and relies on fun questions, plenty of sniffing – and the sharing of impressions, memories and preferences to come up with each signature scent. “I like to think of fragrances in terms of adjectives, how they evoke a feeling or word not just ‘top note, middle note, bottom note.’” She continues, “A fragrance palette is very much like music. You have the same words… harmony, symphony, notes.” Giving an informal mini-demonstration for WAG, Phillips’ table includes materials from sources such as the spice
markets of Morocco and the gardens of southern Spain. Typical fragrance journeys travel through 18 options that represent different categories of scent. “Along the way we talk about what the ingredients are made of,” Phillips says. “Today there is really nothing new in perfumery. It’s how they’re combined.” Through trial-and-error, participants eventually decide on three to four blends that will determine their scent. In the end, each person’s fragrance is mixed then named, with the formula stored for refills. Zuzana Miserova, a licensed aesthetician with the Christopher Noland Salon and Beauty Spa in Greenwich, had “a great experience” when the salon hosted Phillips. “You don’t even know how three to five scents can make an amazing perfume,” Miserova says, adding she was inspired to be a bit daring. She loved the way Phillips was so hands-on as she explained the ingredients’ history and properties and quickly found herself considering “a scent I would never choose.” She was exploring the combination of woody notes with citrus, and more. “I would never have thought about it, flowers with spice,” Miserova adds. “I never thought I’d like that.” But she certainly did and bestowed a one-of-a-kind name to her one-of-a-kind creation. It not only pleased her, she says, but elicited warm laughter from those also in attendance. After all, who wouldn’t be charmed by “Zimply Zuzana”? For more information, visit scenterprises.com. Phillips will be holding a Sept. 13 event at Patricia Gourlay Fine Lingerie & Clothing in Greenwich. Visit pgourlay.com or call (203) 869-0977. n
she was hired as vice president of fragrance marketing for Tiffany & Co. and developed the first iconic Tiffany perfume, created for the firm’s 150th anniversary. ... Phillips went on to create Tiffany for Men, Society by Burberry and Burberry for Men and also developed fragrances for Trish McEvoy.
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Twin peaks The Westchester and Greenwich Avenue are at the head of the shopping class Story and Photographs by Mary Shustack
hen it’s time to do some serious shopping, there are two destinations that immediately come to mind – The Westchester in White Plains and Greenwich’s namesake, Greenwich Avenue. Each has its own merits; that’s for sure. Both are WAG favorites; that is also a fact. And in the interest of, um, research we recently revisited these local favorites. It was two afternoons of reconnecting with shopping venues that are class acts – and we’re pretty sure you agree.
In the mall
When you think of The Westchester, you think of luxe shopping in elegant surroundings. The mall is more than 800,000 square feet with some 150 retailers, dining establishments and services filling four floors. And those floors are lined with either marble or carpeting, basking in the sunlight that streams down from intricate skylights. There is art at every turn, from
The Westchester opened in 1995 in White Plains. Courtesy of The Westchester.
the fountains to the sculptures – horses are a favorite -- to the oversize-yet-stylish lighting fixtures. “We consider ourself to be the premier luxe shopping venue for the very discerning Westchester and Connecticut consumer,” says Winnette Peltz, general manager of The Westchester. The Westchester, which opened in
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1995, is anchored by Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, upscale department stores that today continue to set the tone of the mall. “We kind of prided ourself ever since (on) bringing in something really unique,” Peltz says. And customers respond, crisscrossing the mall from end to end, top to bottom. “We have a very loyal customer,” Peltz
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says, noting that shoppers often make multiple visits each month to see the latest from those anchors (Nordstrom is wrapping up a revamp) plus everything from Gucci to Godiva, Tiffany & Co. to Tesla. Yes, Tesla. It’s not every mall that has a showroom devoted to a luxury electric roadster. But the sleek boutique has garnered its share of admirers – both browsers and buyers – since its Memorial Day weekend debut, says assistant manager Wendy Chuah. “A lot of people find the store to be a destination store so they’re coming here to see the Tesla,” she says. But it is indeed unexpected, she adds. “People see a car and it’s surprising.” Outside Manhattan, it’s the company’s first new design store on the East Coast, Chuah says. “This isn’t the typical car dealership. It’s really about the customer experience.” And that dedication to a good customer experience is echoed throughout the mall, where amenities include valet parking and a concierge with services such as complimentary strollers, plus soft seating scat-
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Greenwich Avenue draws shoppers of all ages.
tered throughout. Shoppers find a mix of veterans and newcomers, with the freshest faces (recently opened or soon-to-be) including Rebecca Taylor, Microsoft, Sur La Table and Tommy Bahama. “We work towards selecting the best retailers that we see either locally or across the country,” Peltz says. Stores like Justice and dELiA’s hit the young fashion fans while the grown-up gals (and guys) flock to Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, Omega, Dooney & Bourke, Swarovski and Burberry. They can also pop into Tory Burch or C. Wonder, the bold-and-bright shop of Christopher Burch (Tory’s ex and WAG’s February cover boy). Shoppers extend their visits with dining options from sit-down to food-court or relax with a bit of pampering at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. Many of the stores, which range from 800 to 10,000 square feet, are the first of their companies in New York, or in some cases the region. It’s all about keeping things fresh, Peltz says. And that includes hosting special events throughout the year, such as Greenwich Hospital’s fourth annual “Simon Fashion NOW” Oct. 5 and 6. “It’s really our signature fashion event for the fall,” Peltz says. The event, in which more than 30 retailers participate, puts the spotlight on professional runway shows and entertainment. So, mark the calendar and get ready to attend – and shop. After all, Peltz reminds with a laugh, there’s a charity aspect to the proceedings (the fundraising event will also benefit the Junior League of Central Westchester), which “takes away the guilt.”
On the avenue
Greenwich Avenue offers a shopping experience that combines the charm of a small town with the sophistication of a big city. Green wooden benches dot its length. It’s home to a church and senior center, a war memorial and post office, art galleries and cafés, restaurants and coffee shops. Hanging baskets burst with blooms, as shoppers of all ages – in stunningly chic fashions – parade by. And they duck in and out of shops ranging from Michael Kors to Scoop NYC, Longchamp to Kate Spade, Tory Burch to Zara. It’s the proverbial “something for ev-
eryone” with a decidedly fashion-forward edge – leopard-print scarves on display here, sleek handbags there and plenty of glistening gems in between. Prada dresses grace a window at Saks Fifth Avenue, which like Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co. and Richards (see our cover story) are housed in impressive buildings that combine tasteful scale with classic elegance. Just one look at the cinematically dramatic staircase that anchors Richards is proof enough of the flair here. There is the history of shops such as Betteridge, jewelers with roots reaching to the late-19th century. A Beatrix Potter design graces a baby set while whimsical Herend animals in china tempt from a window of Hoagland’s of Greenwich. There is the contemporary, reflected in the Apple store or the upscale athletic pieces of Lululemon. And the sailing set smiles at the bold Ella Vickers Recycled Sailcloth Collection, which adds a decidedly nautical touch. Stand at the top of the thoroughfare – just steps from where Duxiana offers the wonders of “The Dux Bed” out of a turreted Tudor building – and look down the avenue’s length for a glimpse of the Long Island Sound. Get inspired by the design “manifesto” on display in the window of Jonathan Adler – “We believe tassels are the earrings of the home” and “We believe in irreverent luxury,” among others – before stepping in to shop amid its lamps and chandeliers, vases and pillows. Further along the avenue, it’s Lilly Pulitzer frocks and Lacoste tops, Therese Saint Clair stationery and Stuart Weitzman heels. Even Hermès is set to join the mix, with fashionistas eagerly awaiting next spring’s projected opening. Olivia Kibar heads things up at French Sole, a specialty shoe shop that opened on the avenue in 2009. A retail veteran, she says she can size up a shopper the moment she walks in the door. One time, she shares, she sensed a woman was going to be a buyer. And boy, was she right. Within moments, the customer was pointing from one pair to the next, to the next… to the next. By the time she was done, she had selected 22 pairs – and bought them all. “I saved the receipt, put it on my desktop,” Kibar says with a laugh. It may have been a memorable day – but not particularly surprising when your shop is on Greenwich Avenue. As Kibar says, “That kind of customer, we have.” n
the family business Jack Mitchell guides the next generation By ZoĂŤ Zellers Photographs by SinĂŠad Deane
When Richards opened in 2000, it was named “best new store in the world” at the Retail Design Awards competition. 44
dapper Jack Mitchell crosses his legs and turns his bespectacled eyes toward a wall of framed family portraits and yellowed clippings in a back office at Richards on Greenwich Avenue. He and his brother, Bill – whom Jack calls “Mr. Westport” – serve as co-CEOs of the Mitchells Family of Stores, an enduring local retail business with more than $100 million in sales annually. The two men took over the family business from their parents, Ed and Norma Mitchell, who in 1958 opened Mitchells, a specialty retail shop, in a small space in Westport that was once a plumbing supply store. Fifty-four years later, the third-generation business has acquired other beloved family stores, including the now 27,000-square-foot Richards of Greenwich, Marshs of Huntington, L.I., and the Wilkes Bashford stores in San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif. “My role is changing as is my brother’s,” Jack says. Soon he’ll assume the position of chairman as nine family members continue to dedicate themselves to the family business. The stores have been recognized with a lengthy list of fashion industry and store design accolades. When Richards opened in 2000, it was named “best new store in the world” at the Retail Design Awards competition. In 2009, Jack and Bill were honored with the Retailing Hall of Fame Award by MR magazine, the menswear publication. But an award with a different significance will be presented next month to the entire Mitchell clan at Greenwich Hospital’s annual gala, recognizing not only the family’s work with the hospital but also with the greater Greenwich community. “I believe they’re doing it because we’re very, very active in the community,” Jack says with a smile before listing countless organizations his family and stores are involved with, like Sound Waters, the Boys & Girls Club, the Red Cross and Breast Cancer Alliance. “We’ve always felt that we were part of the community,” says Jack, remembering how his father would hand out free coffee and copies of The New York Times at the train station to get to know the locals and attract business. “I think that is a good reflection of my mom and my dad.” While Jack would appear to be a poster guy for the retail biz – sporting a dark Brioni suit, a Kiton shirt, an Ermenegildo
Zegna tie and Edward Green shoes – he says with a laugh that “the biggest thing that’s happened this year is a much trimmer fit, and I’m not a good example. I lost 25 pounds and I have to get this suit refit.” Nevertheless, the smiling Jack looks onpoint and commands attention when he leans in and promises, “I’ll give you the family lowdown.”
They are family
Jack, a resident of Wilton, has four children and seven grandchildren. Bill has three children and five grandchildren. “We’re working on the fourth generation, which is coming along,” Jack says, referring to a recent family wedding in Napa Valley. “We don’t like any rules,” Jack says, “but we do have two rules in our business. The first one is that they (his and Bill’s children) had to work five years somewhere else after they left college.” Adhering to this rule, two of the kids, co-presidents Russell and Bob, worked for IBM in Boston and Sports Illustrated before joining the family business in 1990. Russell is “in charge of anything analytical” and Bob “grew up on the selling floor, so he’s in charge of all the buying, merchandising and the selling process.” But Jack admits, “The rule didn’t apply to me.” He was raised in Westport and attended Staples High School – where he met his future wife, Linda, also in the family business – receiving his B.A. from Wesleyan University. Jack went west to the University of California at Berkeley (“I have a master’s in Chinese history, of all things”) and then spent six years honing his business skills at The New England Institute for Medical Research in Ridgefield. “My brother came right in from college,” he says, noting that his parents had a “very easy” time handing the company to Jack and Bill. “My parents were in their mid-50s when they started the business, so by the time Bill came in ’65 and then I came… in ’69, they were really ready.” But, he adds, “they continued to work in the business up until my mom passed away when she was 86 and my dad, right up until about six months before he passed away. He was almost 99,” which might explain why no Mitchell is making moves to slow down anytime soon. But with the third generation – or “My
3 Gs,” as Jack calls his kids and nephews – geared to take over the business, a second rule also applies. “The second rule is that there had to be a real job,” Jack says. “In other words, (children) weren’t entitled to a job. So they had to have the skill sets and the desire and the passion for whatever position we needed them for. It just so happened that they all had different positions.” “Scott manages the women’s business here, plus the jewelry and really is the Mitchell persona of the store and he lives in Greenwich,” Jack continues. Meanwhile, Chris is the manager of Marsh’s, Tyler leads the California stores and Andrew runs communications efforts. “We try to run our business as a business first and a family second.” Just one of Jack’s sons – Todd, Andrew’s twin – left the business to take a “very fine position” at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Jack jokes, “he’s still in very good standing because he’s a stockholder.” “We gifted the business to our sons so they really own the business,” Jack says, “and then we have a lot of great nonfamily people.” This is the integral component that helps the Mitchells Family of Stores maintain its status as service-minded retailer of luxury designer apparel and accessories.
Service with a hug
Jack, who is dyslexic and an avid writer, first detailed his dedication to personalized customer service in “Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results.” His next book of advice was “Hug Your People: The Proven Way to Hire, Inspire, and Recognize Your Employees and Achieve Remarkable Results.” As Jack says, “If you hug your people, then they hug their customers. I realized just like that that not everybody does hug their customers. For us, a hug can be a bear hug, but it’s really a metaphor for any tiny or major act or deed that says, ‘Wow, these folks really care about me as a real person.’ And when you do that and you connect, people come back, and they come back for life.” “Great people, that’s our competitive edge.…We want to be visible. Try calling Richards after hours and you’ll get Scott’s voice mail and it says, ‘If it’s a clothing emergency, press two,’ and Scott and somebody in our family will come down and meet you.”
Scott Mitchell. Courtesy of Mitchells Family Stores.
The Mitchell clan.
Richards’ in-store tailor shop.
Hugs in motion “How long do you think I’ve been working here?” John Hickey III, Richards Ermenegildo Zegna specialist, asks for you. “Thirty-four years,” he answers, telling the story of how his father worked at Richards across the street before the Mitchells bought it 17 years ago. “He was in this business his entire life,” Hickey remembers, adding that “when I was a little kid, I was the only one in my family of seven boys who took the least bit of interest.… In this business, you either have it or you don’t. You have to have the passion and really want to do it, because there’s no faking it.” Jack Mitchell adds, “Well, and as John said, there was a real heritage with John and his father and we’re proud of it, too. His father retired soon after we purchased the business with great dignity and pride.” “Yeah, there was that nice little party,” Hickey says with a chuckle. In following his father’s footsteps, Jack adds, “John has become one of the top sellers in the United States of America in menswear.” Standing nearby is Michele Penque, who works with Scott Mitchell to manage women’s apparel. The camaraderie is instantly apparent. She loves working closely with Scott, because “we both bring a different energy… we complement each other so much in our way of working that it’s fun to be together. 46
…and every customer knows him and everybody loves him.” Although Penque is a relatively new employee (some have been with the company for 48 years), she comes well-versed in the luxury-driven retail market from her days at Neiman’s and Bergdorf ’s. But, she says, the secret sauce to the Mitchell success story is family – “and they include us like we’re part of their family and that’s what’s amazing. That’s what makes it different when everyone is carrying the same merchandise.” Walking around Richards elegant staircase, Jack stops to give a congratulatory hug to 15-year-old Scarsdale resident Justin Schmerler, who just bought his first suit with his dad, Charles. After Jack jokingly pokes and pries, Justin says he wants to wear the suit out to the theater, although his dad quips, “He just wants to wear it out of the store.” “I feel a lot more mature,” the proud buyer says. “I loved coming here when I was a little kid, because they always had cookies for me and I could watch the TV.” Buying a great, tailored investment suit is a special moment often shared by young men and their fathers, and around here, the friendly, detail-oriented team at Richard’s makes it a memorable experience. Although Charles offered fellow fathers this advice on the great coming-of-age ceremony: “Make sure your son is finished growing.”
Richards women’s manager Michele Penque, Ermenegildo Zegna specialist John Hickey III and Jack Mitchell.
Scott is full of one-of-a-kind stories of quick fixes he did to save a customer’s day on anniversaries, birthdays, weddings and even on Christmas Day. Jack remembers that at a high-profile wedding “all of the sudden, the groomsmen, of course who we had done the tuxedos for, are all at the Hyatt, and no one knows how to tie a bow tie.” “It’s Saturday afternoon, the wedding’s in an hour,” Scott chimes in. “Scott is the designated bow-tier here,” Jack proudly asserts. Scott leans in. “Seventeen years of playing the cello and you learn how to tie a bow tie.” “And we tied all the ties that day. So little things like that, people know that we all do it, and that we all will stand behind it and those are the things that make customers feel like friends,” Jack says. “I call it ‘the hugging culture,’ because you know what he did was a hug for seven or eight guys.”
“It’s not in the job description,” Jack notes before Scott interjects, “But sure it is. It is in the job description in the sense that we… every single one on my team… is enabled and empowered to exceed their customer’s expectations.” “We have a passion and it’s ingrained from grandfather to father and uncle to the next generation,” Scott says. “But everyone else has to have as much passion, dedication and desire to want to succeed… so my role is taking care of the people and motivating them and keeping them happy. I get to do both. I get the yellow book and the blue book,” he adds, referring to Jack’s book covers. Jack adds, “They do come in because we sell great product, but they come back after meeting great (salespeople) like Scott and Debbie and Frank and John and they leave happy. And we call them up and ask, ‘Are you happy?’” At the Mitchells Family of Stores, the answer is always “Yes.” n
A natural A Pound Ridge couple melds home with the elements
By Mary Shustack Photographs by Bob Rozycki and Tim Lee
Presented by Houlihan Lawrence
THE WILLOWS at a Glance • Pound Ridge • 4,725 square feet • 13.267 acres • Bedrooms: 3 • Baths: 3 full, one half • Amenities: Beach, deck, exercise room, first-floor master bedroom suite, fireplaces, gardens, golf green, high ceilings, pond, patio, pool, privacy, tennis court, waterfront, water view, wine cellar with dining room. • Price: $3.95 million
ill Kaye invites a pair of visitors to enter through an Asian-inspired gate and make their way to the graceful contemporary home that anchors nearly 14 acres of woodland property in Pound Ridge. It’s a gentle amble to the door, a walk that includes a few twists and turns – by design. “The Japanese concept is (that) no path is a straight line,” Bill, soon joined by wife, Linda, explains. Indeed, the pathway is meant to meander, offering the chance to enjoy the surroundings and savor the moment. It’s a small detail, but serves as a fitting introduction to life at The Willows, which has been the weekend, summer and holiday retreat for the Manhattan-based Kayes and their now-grown children (and grandchildren) since they purchased it in 1973. It has also been a home that has gently evolved over time, a place that has reflected the Kayes’ lifestyle, interests, travels and aesthetic. “We did not want to ruin the property by making changes to it,” Bill says of their earliest days in Pound Ridge. As Linda says, “We weren’t in a rush. I think one of the joys about owning a house is letting it evolve.” And from the start, the home itself was more than pleasing. “The house, where it sits, is ideal,” Bill says, noting that when they came to see the property there was virtually no landscaping – just a long dirt driveway that led them right up to the front door of the home designed in 1959 by Ann Renehan, a Yale architecture graduate. The Kayes would go on to form a longtime association with landscape architect Kaneji Domoto, who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright. They worked with him to create harmonious surroundings that respected the land while taking
Linda and Bill Kaye
advantage of its strengths. “You have to use what nature has meant to have on this property,” says Linda, noting everything from the ferns to moss, pachysandra to rocks. Indeed, stones from the property have been integrated throughout the exterior and interior design.
A big part of life at The Willows is enjoying the surroundings – in every season. The remainder of the property unfolds in an easy manner, with moss-covered rock paths and quiet places for reflection. A glance one way yields a tennis court; another, a basketball court. It all comes together in a manner that evokes the most charming of vintage summer camps. Nothing is jarring. Nothing seems brashly modern. There is a built-in pool that simply blends into the surroundings, its rock-lined rim seemingly there by nature. There’s a golf green with tees set up at two points across the pond, a focal point that over the years has hosted more than a fair share of swimming, fishing, boating and even ice skating. A portion of it even has a sandy beach. There’s also a lakeside cottage with a decidedly retro aura. It’s most often used as a beach house by the Kayes, though the former owner used it for a bit more lively activity, Bill notes. He and his wife bought the property from Dr. Ernst Wynder, the noted cancer researcher who founded the American Health Foundation – and reportedly also had quite a way with the ladies. “Wynder lived here with Kim Novak when he was building the house,” Bill says with a smile, adding the actress was one of many Wynder paramours.
Even after selling his home, Wynder would return for unannounced visits with a beautiful woman on his arm, the couple said. The Willows, it seems, was born for entertaining. Today, an expanded deck now features a generous seating area, where a dozen can easily cozy around a fire pit. One of the newest additions is carved out of the space beneath the deck, anchored by stately stone pillars. As Bill opens the massive door and invites you to step in, it’s a rush of cold air before you realize you’re deep within a lovely wine cellar complete with a dining table elegantly set for a lavish meal. “The idea was not to put it in the house, because we wanted it to be a destination place,” he says of the nearsecret escape. “Everyone is surprised by it.”
Of course, much of the home’s interior is visible from the expansive property – “inside out” living, as Bill says – but it’s never an issue in such secluded surroundings. “With this house, everything is a window to the other part of the house.” The 10-room home is itself a study in gracious living. Ceilings soar. Wood and glass create sweeping perspectives. Stonework adds reassuring heft. “The stone fireplace is what really drew us,” says Linda. The commanding double-height stone fireplace takes center stage, offering warmth to the spacious living room, dotted with Stickley rocking chairs and other period furnishings, and also to the charming nook on its other side where leather armchairs flank a chess set. “There’s a spot for everything,” Bill says. “This is a great place to play chess or have a dinner before the fire.” A generous kitchen, again a space filled with windows, 49
has an eat-in area. It’s also connected to an elegant dining room that – thanks to cleverly artistic pocket doors and panels – can create an intimate space for celebrations. A private hallway signals the entry to the master suite, where you can watch the sunrise from out yet another wall of glass. Adjacent is the spa area, highlighted by an oversize copper tub, stone shower and generous stone counter complete with double sinks fashioned in pottery. Two additional bedrooms are part of the home’s mix, each spacious and airy in its own right. Personality is felt throughout. A turn-of-the-last century canoe hangs in the media room, an anniversary gift turned into a decorative element. A gym is featured in the garage area. Over the years, the couple has engaged noted architects and interior designers, including Scott Cornelius and David Collins, to tweak things along the way. A balcony library is a charming “dead end” thanks to the removal of an unwieldy spiral staircase that cluttered up the space. Again, the move was based not on a desire for dramatic change but rather on listening to what worked for the flow of the house. 50
The Kayes convey that the home is a tangible reflection of the way they have lived. It’s been something that has grown as they have, Bill says. The Willows gave them a way to set down Westchester roots and watch them evolve over decades. “It’s a very interesting, European philosophy… the evolution of a home,” he says. And now, they are ready to concentrate more on other threads of their life. Work is a constant. Linda is a longtime Manhattanbased party planner, while Bill has a business-consulting company. They are fully entrenched in city living, though travel is also taking up more time. But no matter how far the Kayes are from Pound Ridge, it’s a good bet The Willows will remain in their hearts. For more information, contact Mary Anne Condon at Houlihan Lawrence at (914) 764-1800, ext. 323, at (914) 299-9956 or MACondon@HoulihanLawrence.com. n
Nutty concoCtions By Zoë Zellers Photographs by Sinéad Deane
n case National Hazelnut Month slipped under the radar in Septembers past, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur is launching a full campaign this year to make sure foodies and bar-goers can find fabulous and inventive ways to celebrate this month’s favorite nut. While restaurants like New York City’s The National will be incorporating the hazelnut flavor on its dinner and dessert menus (think hazelnut-meets-roasted duck concoctions), select Westchester and Fairfield county bars and restaurants have created festive, fall-ready treats of their own, rolling out specialty cock-
tails with the Italian liqueur. A sweet, velvety liqueur like Frangelico is a great precursor or even an alternative to dessert with its rich taste of butter, northern Italian hazelnuts, almonds and fudge combined with notes of vanilla, berries and coffee, aged in oak casks following the original recipe. And despite its luxurious, forbidden-fruit feel, a serving of 40-proof Frangelico weighs in at only 95 calories. Here are suggestions for versatile hazelnut drinks, created just for this month, that you can enjoy with a date or gathering of foodie friends at restaurants in your neighborhood: 1. “Nociolla Bianca Martini,” Rizzuto’s Wood-fired Kitchen and Bar, Stamford Created by Denis Hallock 0.5 oz. Frangelico hazelnut liqueur 1 oz. Stoli vanilla vodka 1 oz. Van Gogh chocolate vodka 0.5 oz. Limoncello 0.5 teaspoon mascarpone cheese Shake the ingredients together with ice and strain into a martini or cocktail glass. Garnish with a Ferrero Rocher candy.
2. “Raspberry Salted Beer Nuts,” The Cookery, Dobbs Ferry Created by Executive Chef David DiBari Take 2 oz. of Frangelico liqueur and pour it into a snifter glass, then fill the snifter glass with a bottle of Krombacher Dark from Germany. The snifter glass is rimmed with Slovenian sea salt and dehydrated raspberry powder. 3. “Nutty Cien-Sation,” at Marc Charles, Armonk Created by mixologist Will Blaine 1 oz. Amaretto almond liqueur 2 oz. Frangelico hazelnut liqueur hot chocolate 1/8 oz. cherry brandy (Hiram Walker Brandy Cherry, Dekuyper Brandy Cherry) whipped cream and cherry for garnish chopped hazelnuts (optional) Mix the Amaretto and the Frangelico into a coffee mug. Pour in the warmed hot chocolate. Add whipped cream on top. Next, gently pour the cherry brandy in a curving motion on top of the whipped cream. Garnish with a cherry and chopped hazelnuts. 4. “The Piedmont Bellini,” at Rizzuto’s, Stamford 0.5 oz. Frangelico 0.5 oz. Limoncello 3 oz. Prosecco simple syrup fresh lime juice Combine ingredients and top with fresh lime juice, serve cold.
accent on accessories By Debbi O’Shea
People always ask me how I resist the temptations that abound at Richards, working as the store’s personal shopper. What I have learned is to make thoughtful purchases instead of impulsive ones. Like most women, I reorganize my closets twice a year. I won’t pretend I don’t dread it, but I won’t make a single new purchase until I have decided what I’m keeping and what I am giving away. (Glam Media published my biannual closet cleaning tips this past spring at divadebbi. blogspot.com/2012/04/divadebbis-suggestion-forcloset.html.) I strongly suggest you follow suit. Once you have taken fresh stock of your wardrobe, you will be in a better position to see where the holes are. If you are aware of upcoming events, you can also prepare to make purchases for them if necessary. Frequently, my clients email me their event schedules, so I can keep my eyes open for clothes and accessories that will suit their needs. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of adding an Oscar de la Renta fur shrug, a great pair of Jimmy Choos, a new evening bag or a Loro Piana shawl. In years prior, when the economy slowed down, lipstick sales would spike. Nowadays, accessories’ sales do. According to a recent article in The New York Times Style section (“Accessories Are Hot for
Retailers and Fashion Students,” Aug. 9), some women are choosing to invest in new accessories to punch up head-to-toe black outfits and previous purchases, with the hopes no one will notice their recycled ready-to-wear. I can’t say it’s not a viable plan. A beautifully crafted accessory is often the thing others notice first. Certain pieces like Monica Rich Kosann’s charm bracelets are conversation starters. As Monica herself told me, “My charm bracelets were inspired by Jackie Kennedy Onassis and the Duchess of Windsor. My vision was to take this classic bracelet and recreate it with a modern approach. Each charm is incredibly personal, so no two bracelets are ever the same. That’s my definition of bespoke luxury.” In addition to her well-known “image cases” for photos, Monica’s charms include continents, planets, stars, hearts, clovers, animals, sayings and sentiments. “In essence, (a charm bracelet) tells the story of a woman’s life.” I quite love this. This is an investment accessory that can be worn with pleasure every day, with everything from jeans to a ball skirt. It’s also something that isn’t finite. New charms are often purchased as
gifts to commemorate births, trips and other milestones of a life well-lived, in progress. Another must-have accessory for many women is a new handbag. Carrying one is a personal luxury that will add panache to anything you are wearing and an investment that pays off every day that you carry it. If I am deciding between a dress and a bag, the bag will usually win. It’s not that I won’t enjoy the dress (often for years to come). But in terms of wear, it will just be one of many things that may get rotated once every two months. By comparison, I may use the bag every day for a full season. Some handbag seasons are better than others. A few years back, bags were heavily ornamented with hardware. It was an acquired taste that also required good biceps. This fall, bags are whistle-clean. I will have a hard time deciding between gorgeous offerings from YSL, Chloé, Loro Piana, Reed Krakoff, Valentino, Tods and Akris. Whatever you choose to add – a bracelet, belt, cashmere cape, fur shrug, boots, tri-tone suede platforms or a new handbag – make sure you select things that coordinate with existing favorites. Care for them well, and they will be yours to enjoy not just this season but in the years ahead.
les nouvelles by
It’s a high-fashion-meets-high-tech world. My favorite freebie of the month is the playful Louis Vuitton Kusama Studio iPhone app, which lets users snap photos and edit effects with the touch of a fingertip to create and upload images inspired by the artwork of Japan’s quirky polkadot queen, Yayoi Kusama. (Don’t miss Kusama’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan, which runs through Sept. 30.)
Urbanears’ jellybean-colored headphones, which range from $35 to $140. Courtesy of Urbanears.
“Louis Vuitton Waffle Maker” (2012) sculpture by Andrew Lewicki. Photograph by Joshua White.
Axelle nylon-twill duffle bag from See by Chloé, $295. Courtesy of net-a-porter.
Karl Lagerfeld’s printed iPhone 4G case, $45. Courtesy of net-a-porter.
Zoë steps into elegance in her Armani Collezioni gown, Rickard Shah heels, Robert Lee Morris earrings and makeup by Laura Mercier, shot at St. Mary’s Church in Stamford. Photograph by Hillary Bushing.
A gem of a guy By Zoë Zellers Images courtesy of David Alan Wegweiser
hen David Alan Wegweiser was a teenager growing up in Rye Brook, he was always excited by Mondays. Monday marked the day his “super-fabulous,” redheaded mother and her business partner would bring home jewelry finds from Manhattan’s Diamond District that she’d sell. “When I was a kid, I always took to looking at her things because she and her partner would…lay everything out on the table,” he says.“I would sit at the big dining room table and play with the jewelry. I would pull aside all the really well-made pieces and say, ‘This is beautifully done, this, not so much.’ So really, jewelry was a fascination for me back then.” After spending 20 years apprenticing with a master French jeweler and then designing custom couture jewelry – with a stint in Stamford – the designer opened David Alan Jewelry in Manhattan in 2000. His work has been honored by De Beers and the Diamond Council and has been featured at auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The private salon quietly designs and manufactures unique, high-end pieces for savvy, high-profile clients. David works with a tight-knit group of employees and meets one-on-one with clients to design the gems and settings of their dreams. Much of his business, he says, begins with an eye-opening engagement ring that has clients coming back to the salon to create pieces for other significant moments in their lives. Some clients are lured by his detail-oriented, classic aesthetic, which often results in ornate, estate-style pieces with a tasteful, contemporary feel. Customers also value his careful attention to sourcing high-quality stones from dealers around the world whom he calls friends. And some husbands turn to David to know instinctively how to design and package the perfect pieces to surprise their wives. All clients, though, seem to appreciate David’s Old World tradition of incorporating hidden luxuries meant
just for the wearer, like placing one small pink diamond on a band of white diamonds or embedding a row of pavé-set gemstones on the inside of a ring. When a client walks through the door, business is instantly personal. “I’m fascinated about how things work,” David says, remembering that childhood dining room table filled with jewelry. “I would take things apart and put them back together as soon as I could use my hands. So when I was in front of all this jewelry, more than the beauty of it, at that point I was really interested in the construction of it and how it was made. I would take all the pieces and look from the back….” He’s grateful that his mother introduced him to the industry, having been in it herself for 30 years. “My mom’s an amazing woman. She’s very insightful and we’re also very close,” he says, adding that his dad also accepted his son’s jewelry fixation as a kid. “My dad was also very positive about my interest in art and things that a lot of other kids aren’t interested in.”
In the stars
With fair skin, a dark, trim beard and a calm, deliberate manner, David suggests something of the intellectual. “I’ve never had a problem breaking out of the mold. I’m comfortable with it. I played sports with the kids and whatnot, but I was always more interested in art, drawing and making things…. You know, creativity is a gift. And I believe everybody can be creative, but most people aren’t because they’re afraid of it.” David Alan’s designs are spurred in part by his love of astronomy, architecture, art and fashion. Hanging on his wall are two of his inspirations – Chuck Close and Andy Goldsworthy. His muse is posed on his Mac desktop – his beautiful, jewelry-loving bride, Helena Grace, who inspired a forthcoming line of more affordable pieces. David is an old soul with a strong awareness of his surroundings, both natural and man-made. His celestial interests also came from his mom. “Luckily, my mom kind of saw in me that I had that fascination and desire to know what was going on, more
than most kids maybe, and she signed me up for astronomy classes when I was really little, so I took them for years and I just fell in love,” he says, adding that with astronomy, “it’s so mind-bending how complex and beautiful it is, if you really stop to look….The connection to the natural elements we use in jewelry is huge. And the elements – the platinum and gold and stones – they’re really noble materials. They’re directly from the earth and they’re barely manipulated in their essence, but we get our hands on them and we do a far bit more than Andy Goldsworthy does….” David also knows that while a large, bright gem is by nature beautiful, it has to speak to the customer. “A ring with a stone has to work on the hand and on the person.”
A home grows in Brooklyn
David’s fascination with architecture played out in his and Helena’s search for a house. After a taxing hunt, they received an unusual call from a broker, got off at the wrong subway stop trekked through a terrible rainstorm, and today are happy to call a 160-year-old converted church in Brooklyn their home. The couple loves their Westchester roots though, and does expect to return one day. This next year, David will be focused on growing his company – redesigning his website and eyeing a move to local specialty stores where his collection can stand out in the case rather than blending into a sea of sparkles. But maintaining his private services and avoiding falling victim to trendy market demands will always be his priority. “To me, elegance is portrayed by simple beauty, both in appearance and manner. When you see effortlessness and grace, you are experiencing true elegance. This is what I try to bring to my jewelry – uncontrived and timeless design that is ultimately beautiful and wearable.” David Alan Jewelry is at 2 W. 47 St., Suite 402, in Manhattan. Pieces range from $3,000 to $300,000. For appointments, call (212) 382-1410 or visit David on Facebook at davidalan or email him at David@ davidalanjewelry.com. n 55
Fit forThea goddess magic of Theia By Zoë Zellers Images courtesy of Theia
on O’Neill, creative director of the fashion line Theia, looked around at his surroundings and saw distress. He saw fear of the world ending—well, some fear – based on the Mayan calendar, he saw huge economic struggles in Europe and an unsteady economy at home in America, and he saw priorities shifting in the face of the unknown. So Don O’Neill when O’Neill began designing his fall collection, he decided to apply a darker twist to his elegant evening-wear. The result is a smart collection of ball gowns and romantic cocktail dresses, some of which are ornamented with details like burnt sequins, ripped organza, shredded chiffon and crumpled pearls. O’Neill laughs that his New York City showroom looks “like a tornado came through this place and picked every-
thing up, and there are just sequins and fabrics hanging off the walls, so it’s our version of Aladdin’s cave.” The collection was inspired by the idea of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, going to war to restore order. “Theia revolves around the mythology of the goddesses and I always keep goddesses close to heart,” O’Neill says of the line, introduced in the fall of 2009. Athena – “Dear Gray Eyes,” as Zeus’ favorite child was called – was also the patroness of arts and crafts. Theia’s carefully constructed, rough-around-the-edges design details, capturing the creative and destructive aspects of the goddess, are more subtle than shocking and provide a sense of dynamism that can stand out in a room of Oscar de la Rentas and Carolina Herreras as gala season kicks off. “This collection was actually, believe it or not, my first time really closing the door to my fears of what people would want to wear and going forward making a very bold designer statement,” O’Neill says. “You have to be careful when you push the envelope because at the end of the day when a woman is investing this much money in
a dress, she wants to be beautiful and sometimes she just doesn’t want to be too avant-garde.” “It’s still very beautiful and very precious,” he says, “but it gave the collection a more modern edge…. And I just felt that, symbolically, it would be nice to empower women so that they felt that they would be strong enough to take on the adversity of their futures… That was the woman that I wanted (wearers) to feel that they could become.” His heavily-beaded dresses can take up to 90 days to create. But because O’Neill, while using the same luxury fabric as top-tier designers like Giorgio Armani, Herrera and de la Renta, manufactures in China, his dresses are “half the price of designer….It gives women a wide range of access to something very special without having to bankrupt themselves. “We have some amazing very high-end stores like Mitchells that carry our product and for those customers, it hangs with all the designer collections and it’s this dirty little secret,” O’Neill adds, laughing, “where ladies can pick up our dresses and hang them in their closets with
everybody else.” O’Neill grew up in Ireland where he was constantly inspired by his chic mother, who had worked as a Park Avenue nanny in the 1960s and acquired a collection of fabulous Bergdorf Goodman dresses, which his sister wears to this day. Later, O’Neill received his training in couture at Christian Lacroix. “Lacroix was amazing from the point of view that nothing was impossible. It was extraordinary. They could make fabrics do anything. Fabric could stand, fold, crease, I mean, if you took a ball-gown off the hanger, it could stand on its own before anyone even stepped into it,” he remembers fondly. “Of course, Mr. Lacroix doesn’t make clothes anymore, but he was making pieces of art and there was a whole clientele in the world that appreciated his art. It just wasn’t enough to pay all of the bills.” While appreciation for couturiers and craftsmen wanes, O’Neill still insists that “there definitely are investment pieces within the evening-wear market. But it de-
pends on how many multiple functions a woman has and how many events she’s attending and with whom. Here’s where Theia comes in. “Theia is an elegant and sophisticated collection that can be worn by a younger woman or older woman. It’s not about age-appropriate. It’s just an elegant collection…. I honestly don’t discriminate. All women can become the Theia woman. “The pieces are exquisite, and they aren’t meant to be worn just once. They can be worn several times. And I think the poster girl for that is Oprah Winfrey, because of the fact that I made a dress for her this time last year. We were on the cover of the September issue (of O). Oprah wore one of my heavily embroidered sequin gowns and it was extraordinary. But Oprah wore it to the Oscars in February. She recycled the dress and Oprah obviously could have afforded another or have had any designer in this country or in Europe make her anything she wanted. But she felt that because of how she felt in that dress and how the dress fit her, she was like, ‘The hell with it. I’m wearing
this dress again.’ … if Oprah can do it, everyone can do it.” While Spring 2013 is looking brighter, more optimistic, more “heavenly” and more colorful with tons of silver, the fall collection is especially strong in its moody and sophisticated aesthetic complemented by modern silhouettes. “I used a lot of black and if you follow the world of sales, you know that you’re supposed to put color in the collection, because color sells and black can be depressing but I just didn’t feel like doing color,” O’Neill says. “In evening-wear, I just felt that black is a combination of all colors…. I don’t think you feel strong when you’re wearing pink. You’re feeling prissy and you’re sending out a different signal. When you wear black it says, ‘Don’t mess with me.’ It’s an intelligent color. “Athena was an extremely intelligent woman, and she didn’t get to where she was by playing the pretty part.” Shop for Theia evening-wear at Mitchells in Westport, Richards in Greenwich, Helen Ainson in Darien and online at Bloomingdales.com, NeimanMarcus. com and SaksFifthAve.com. n 57
Classic Greenwich style By Patricia Espinosa
What’s in a name? A lot, especially when that name is Greenwich. Just like Palm Beach and Beverly Hills, the Greenwich name is powerful enough to conjure visions of stately homes with a look all their own. With some of the most impressive colonial, shinglestyle, Tudor and English architecture in the country, Greenwich homes have come to epitomize classic suburban America. And no one captures the essence of Greenwich style better than award-winning interior designer Cindy Rinfret, owner of Rinfret Ltd., a leading design firm in Greenwich. Indeed, Rinfret wrote the book on the subject in her appropriately titled “Classic Greenwich Style,” published by Rizzoli in 2006. The book was the first of its kind to celebrate the renowned look and bring it to a national audience. A second book, “Greenwich Style: Inspired Family Homes,” will be released at the end of the year and reflects the evolution of that style, which can best be described as elegant yet comfortable. Rinfret interiors capture a life well-lived. And it’s that image the author wants to make more accessible through her design books and her eponymous 4,000-square-foot retail shop on fashionable Greenwich Avenue. The treasure trove of eye-catching home accessories evokes her early trips to London, where she fell in love with Walton Street and discovered Nina Campbell’s shop, offering a mix of retail and design. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with the busy Rinfret about her latest book and interior design: Why did you decide to write a book? “Anyplace I go in the world, whether it’s Thailand or Paris, people always ask where I’m from. They recognize the name Greenwich and it has a certain cachet about it. But people weren’t quite sure what that image was. So what I wanted to do was present Greenwich the way I see it, because we’re really fortunate to live in Greenwich and have the beautiful architecture that we do and interesting clients who allow us to do wonderful things.” How is the second book different from the first? “I think the difference is simply how people’s lifestyles have changed. “When I look at the first book, it was so much more formal. People wanted fancy curtains with trim and it seemed to be more for show. Now people seem to be more casual. I think we’re living in a more immediate world where things have become more transitional and more tailored. “What I try to do is inspire people to have homes that work around their lifestyles and their family’s lifestyle that aren’t intimidating, homes where you want to go into every room in the house and they aren’t just for show. Most of my designs are built around real life and family. The second book reflects that inspired family living.”
How would you describe your personal style? “Ever since I was young I spent all my money on traveling and seeing the world. In a lot of ways, my
Entry Way and Family Room, right, designed by Cindy Rinfret
personal style is a collection of all my travels. It is sort of Loro Piana and Hermès: It’s timeless, it’s classic and it’s comfortable. Hopefully, the rooms that I design are like that.” Do you design rooms for your clients the way you would design them for yourself? “My design style is not Cindy Rinfret. It is a collaboration of the house, the gardens, the family and their lifestyles. And I just interpret it for them in the best way that I can. “Someone once asked me to do an aqua and black room. It wasn’t what I would have thought of doing, but we did it and it was absolutely gorgeous. Is it for me? No, but they love it. Who are your clients? “Most of my clients are repeat clients. I’ve done 14 houses for Tommy Hilfiger, homes for Regis Philbin ,and I work with a lot of Wall Street people. We have fashion people and many more I can’t name because of non-disclosure agreements. But we also work on smaller projects as well.” What types of projects do you do? “Some people look at us as traditional, but if you look at the first book and the second, you’ll notice that each project is different. We’ll do a ranch in Wyoming, a contemporary stone and glass house in Vail, Colo., an iconic presidential suite at The Ocean House in Rhode Island, a duplex at The Plaza (in Manhattan) and a traditional house in Connecticut.”
What are some of the biggest design mistakes people make in their home? “Poor planning. They buy one piece of furniture and try to build a room around it. Novices often make the mistake of worrying about details when they should be worrying about the big picture. “What’s important is to get the ‘shell’ of the house right. By that I mean the bones – the walls, lighting, hardware, paint and flooring. If you have a great backdrop, the rest of the decorating stands the test of time. “Another mistake people make is they’re afraid to mix styles and different periods. That’s what makes a house interesting. It avoids what I call embassy decorating, where everything is so perfect you don’t want to go in the room and touch anything. It’s a stage set.” Which design trends are hot? “One of the things I find exciting is the evolution of outdoor spaces and outdoor living. There’s something about gardens that makes everyone happy. I like using outdoor elements indoors and inside elements outside. “We had this very formal limestone mansion and when you walked in, we had these two stone garden benches in the front entry instead of what you would expect, and it just felt natural. Then we put these velvet cushions on the stone benches, which looked really cool.” What do your clients seem to want lately? “My clients seem to favor large, beautiful upholstered headboards instead of traditional wood-framed beds. People are focusing on their bathrooms. I’m always get-
ting requests for spa-like bathrooms. I’m also getting requests for yoga rooms.” What trends are out? “Everything used to be polished nickel, and it’s going back to oil-rubbed bronze and more to the gold finishes. Gold is back.” “Mirrored furniture is everywhere, and it’s run its course. Home theaters and armoires have become less popular, because of the evolution of flat-screen TVs. I’m also seeing less pattern.” How do you feel about social media and has it had an effect on your business? “Social media is a fabulous tool. It gives you the ability to reach out to so many people and show people what you do. I’ve been amazed how much I’ve showed up on other people’s blogs, because they see what I do and write wonderful comments about my work, which is very gratifying.” Looking to the future, what’s your dream project? “I would really love to do a hotel. One of my first jobs out of college was working on the Rockefeller resorts. “I would love to do the perfect beach house. I’ve done houses in Nantucket, but I’d really love to do a fabulous beach house or resort.” For more information about the designer, call (203) 622-0204 or visit her at Rinfret Ltd., 354 Greenwich Ave., or rinfretltd.com. n 59
Cultivating a legacy Farming, teaching and dining come together at classy Stone Barns By Mary Shustack Photographs by Sinéad Deane and courtesy Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
here’s a quiet elegance about the Pocantico Hills farm informally known as Stone Barns, a vaguely European air. You sense it as the farm spreads out before you on Bedford Road. And once you wind your way up the serpentine drive and begin exploring the 80-acre property, you’ll sense it at most every turn. And something more: You just know this is one of those places where everyone takes great care in what they do. That is reinforced in most every event and activity carried out here, from a hands-on egg-collecting program that leads visitors right to the hen houses to a 12-course farmer’s feast that takes diners at Blue Hill at Stone Barns on a journey through the day’s harvest. From the selection of natural and locally sourced goods in the farm shop to the detailed trash-recycle-compost stations, there’s a unified sense of purpose and dedication. It’s a unique collaboration in which classiness exists alongside hard (and often down-and-dirty) work. The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a nonprofit farm and education center. Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a noted restaurant operated by the Barber family. Together, the two places create quite a team. Jill Isenbarger, executive director of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, says there is great strength in the “dynamic nature of the partnership.” “We really are an education center, a farm and a restaurant,” she says. “There are very few places in the region, in the country, that have the three parts like we do.”
Life on the farm
Laureen Barber is an owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns. 60
An illustrated map offers a fitting introduction to the Stone Barns farm, a place where visitors are invited to explore and develop a deeper appreciation for where food comes from. The property itself was part of the Rockefeller estate, with Stone Barns created by David Rockefeller and his daughter Peggy Dulany in memory of Peggy Rockefeller, their wife and mother respectively. She was a tireless supporter of farmland conservation. The 1930s dairy farm, anchored by an evocative stonebuilding complex, supplied the Rockefeller household with fresh milk and vegetables and was thoughtfully renovated and restored to open in 2004 and go on to become today’s agricultural and dining destination. The hay barn, for example, is now the education center. The restaurant, well-appointed but quietly understated, was carved out of the onetime cow barn. “The farm and restaurant, they function like a laboratory,” Isenbarger says. “I feel like the spirit of that is starting to run more through our educational programs.” People can spend the day, taking part in programs and demonstrations, shopping at the farm market, walking the pastures or stopping at the Blue Hill Café, a casual option for lighter – though still farm-based – fare. Children might sign up for a workshop that takes them
from the field to the kitchen to the dining table. “We try to run classes and programs to get people to think about where you live, what’s special about the place and what is the connection to what gets onto your dinner plate,” Isenbarger says. Overall, the center focuses on increasing national awareness of the value of fresh, healthy and sustainable food; on connecting children to the sources of their food; and training farmers to carry on the rich tradition. Like the “back-to-the-land” movement in the 1960s, she says, there is a greater emphasis today on food sourcing and sustainability: “I feel like we’re seeing something similar but even more powerful in this food movement.” And that continues to draw more than 100,000 visitors annually, many of whom come to the Harvest Fest. (The ninth annual edition will be held Oct. 6.) On any given day, though, visitors will wander the pastures and woodlands, spotting sheep grazing and passing by an area dedicated to beehives. They can even wander the Dooryard Garden, where you’re invited to sample a berry in season. Throughout, the farm uses no pesticides, herbicides or chemical additives. Soil is primarily enriched by compost made on-site. And its products – including vegetables, eggs, meat, honey and flowers – are sold to the public through its farm market and to both Blue Hill restaurants, the one here and the original in Manhattan.
The Barbers of Blue Hill
Blue Hill is a key component of life at Stone Barns, a ready outlet for its products but also perhaps its more visible face in today’s hot culinary world. It’s owned by the Barber family, brothers Dan and David and David’s wife, Laureen. The Barber brothers tapped into their childhood summers spent on a family farm, Blue Hill in Great Barrington, Mass., for their ventures into the world of farm-to-table dining. Laureen is the design director for both the farm and restaurant, drawing on her background in marketing and graphic arts. David Barber is the company president, directing its business and financial affairs, while Dan is the noted executive chef. In addition to helming the kitchens at both Blue Hill restaurants, he is a respected author and authority on food and agricultural policy, who was selected by Barack Obama to serve on The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. “We all have very different skill sets, which is a benefit,” Laureen Barber says. The Barbers were involved in the center’s creation, from its broad approach to the most practical matters. The spotlight on the Hudson Valley comes from both what is grown on-site and what comes from other local farms. At Blue Hill, hand-sized booklets list ingredients that reflect the best of the season. Chef Barber works from
this. There are no menus. Overall, Laureen Barber says her role is to “really take the vision of what we’re trying to do and relate it to the customer in terms of service and feel…. It’s been a wonderful, a dream project by anyone’s standards.” And it all reaches back to that collaborative effort. “The farm and chefs work together to create a vision,” she says. “We set out to really celebrate what’s grown here and present it to the guest in a very creative, very seasonal way.” Putting the spotlight on locally grown sustainable foods in Manhattan, some five years before the offshoot at Stone Barns opened, was then, she says, “a fairly new conversation to be had.” Today, people are embracing the philosophy, which extends beyond the farm. Laureen Barber not only designs everything from the website to the glassware on the tables but is also getting the Blue Hill name out through home accessories. “We just started selling our products through Williams-Sonoma,” she shares. “It’s all sort of a reflection on the place,” she adds, noting products really connect with consumers who “like our taste and they like the sensibility of what we do.” The food, though, is key. And showing
Group Exercise Cafe Racquetball
Swim Team Massage Sports
Fall fields and barns at Stone Barns. Photograph by Nicole Franzen.
Energy Center PhysicalTherapy Parties Fitness Center
Indoor Pools Tennis
children, like her two sons, where it comes from: “I think it’s the best way to teach kids to eat well.” She admits she eats well, too. “I love everything,” she says with a laugh. “I’m a very good eater.” Still, she has some favorites in her brother-in-law’s repertoire. “I love whatever he does with tomatoes and I love whatever he does with peas.” She especially enjoys a salad he makes over which he puts a slow-cooked egg. It all adds up to time in Pocantico Hills that has captivated everyone involved, Laureen Barber says. “It’s magical.That has not worn off for me in 10 years. Not an iota. Not an inch has worn off.” It’s that kind of spirit – taking what is learned and enjoyed at Stone Barns – that Isenbarger says she hopes is carried home from the farm: “I think that people come here or they see what we have to offer or they taste something really special and they want to recreate that.” For more about Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, including details of the harvest festival, call (914) 366-6200 or visit stonebarnscenter. org. For details on Blue Hill at Stone Barns, call (914) 366-9600 or visit bluehillfarm.com. n
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Family, fare extraordinaire Jim Kirsch carries on a classic catering tradition By Mary Shustack Photograph by Sinéad Deane
im Kirsch hustles down the staircase of the grand foyer in the headquarters of Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships. He’s welcoming and warm – but also cuts right to the business at hand, suggesting the best backdrops for some photographs before settling into a cozy conference room for a fastpaced chat about the Kirsch legacy in the catering world. He has a deft charm, a way of combining warm hospitality with a clear dedication to moving ever forward. It is a strength that plays out day after day through business exemplified by the offerings of Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill Mansion, the company’s Tarrytown flagship, but also reflected throughout its network of exclusive venues. Today, Jim Kirsch is at the helm – as president and CEO – of the company started 40 years ago by his parents, Abigail and Bob Kirsch, which is centered at the historic estate that was once home to Samuel Clemens, more widely known as Mark Twain. Companywide, Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships puts on 1,500 events each year. And when you know you’re going to an Abigail Kirsch event, whether a wedding, corporate activity or a fund-raising gala, you know to expect something pretty special. The root of that reputation, Kirsch says, is “really a commitment, an ongoing commitment, to excellence. We are constantly innovating with respect to our food and services. We’re part of the community, offering a great service, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Abigail Kirsch started a cooking school in her Chappaqua basement back in the 1960s, a venture that by 1972 grew large enough to require a storefront in town. In 1974, she catered her first event, a PepsiCo picnic for 600. The following year, her husband sold his business to join his wife. Abigail was to head up the kitchen, with Bob handling event production. Jim joined the company full-time in 1980 and the partnership expanded when chef Alison Awerbuch, who came on board in the mid-’80s, took over culinary leadership from Abigail in 1990. (Today, Abigail and Bob Kirsch are retired.) Jim says the food business has always been a part of his life. “As a young kid, I was sniffing around, learning to cook…. I started out with a real passion for food.” He recalls the time when Abigail was writing one of her books, “Teen Cuisine.” “My mother made my meatloaf famous,” he says. He went on to work in all aspects of restaurants, from server to chef. “I love the energy of restaurants,” he says, though today his duties are more “broad based. It’s strategic and leadership based.” And that taps into lessons learned at the University of New Hampshire, where his course of study was interpersonal communications – not hospitality. “I decided I didn’t want to study it, because I was already doing it.” Kirsch draws on that experience as he shuttles between his Weston home, the Tarrytown headquarters and a company office in Manhattan. (He doesn’t have a desk there. It’s “have phone will travel.”) 62
His tenure has witnessed key company moments from a 1987 luncheon in honor of Prince Charles – 500 guests at a polo club in Palm Beach – to the opening of Tappan Hill in 1990. “At the time there wasn’t much happening in Westchester,” he says. “We built Tappan Hill. We branded it. We took our tradition of catering excellence and married it with its rich history.”
Looking (always) ahead
Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships is the largest operator of exclusive event venues in the region, offering clients settings ranging from Tappan Hill, a stately mansion tucked into the suburbs, to multiple venues at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan and Stamford to a pair at The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, among others. The company also offers an off-premises catering division, operates cafés and caters major sporting events. The chance to have control over a facility, Kirsch says, is a great strength, and one that the company will continue to develop with additional sites joining the network in the next couple of years. It allows the company to offer clients exactly what they have come to expect. “The best analogy is a hotel brand,” he says. If you stay at a Hilton in one city, you expect that same quality at another. “We have to have a constant brand experience. We have to see everything as a whole.”
“Until really the mid-’90s, early 2000s, catering was really a step behind the restaurant world,” Kirsch says. “Our goal is always to serve restaurant-quality food as a caterer.” Catering, he says, was perceived as offering “really ordi-
The staircase at Tappan Hill. Courtesy of Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships.
nary fare… the rubber-chicken circuit, if you will.” In today’s world, that no longer flies. “Everyone’s become a foodie and knows a little bit more and that’s been a great thing for our industry.” “I think sometimes caterers set the pace,” he adds. They have the chance to be more experimental, not having to set a permanent menu. But, as chef and partner Alison Awerbuch says, staffers are all well-aware of the expectations guests have for an Abigail Kirsch event. “Yes, it’s a constant challenge,” she says, but quickly adds, “it’s a challenge we love and embrace.”
On the menu
“We try to be creative and sophisticated and do things that haven’t been done before but always keeping in
mind it has to meet the expectations of a great number of guests,” Awerbuch says, summing up their cuisine as having a “creative-classic approach.” Guests should be tickled by what they are served, not confused by it. “If we’re going to do something that’s very different or unique, we’re going to present it in the right way,” she says. When it comes to menu developing, she draws on her own dining-out experiences, travel, reading and membership and conversations within food-and-beverage organizations. “A lot of our creativity is stemmed from fashion and design and architecture. Everything from window shopping on Madison Avenue to reading Architectural Digest.” Awerbuch says she might take a crowd pleaser such as tenderloin of beef and mix it up with an unexpected side such as “late-summer tomato cornbread cobbler.” And for every new dish on the menu, there are some perennials designated “AK Classics.” “I wanted our clients to know we’re not leaving them on the menu, because we’re being complacent,” she says, mentioning portobello-mushroom steak fries, developed some 15 years ago. “It’s trite, but we’re never complacent about anything,” she says. “We constantly evolve. You really have to.” And because of all that, Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships appears destined to be a part of the catering scene for decades to come. “Tappan Hill is an important part of our future,” Jim says, adding with a laugh, “we have a lease here into my 80s. I’m in my mid-50s. I have a way to go.” For more, visit abigailkirsch.com. n
FINE CRAFT SHOW OCTOBER 12-14 PLEASE JOIN US
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Show Preview to Support the Art Therapy Program at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center
Friday, October 12 8:30am – 11:0am Westchester County Center
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GUESS WHAT WAG’s CLASS & SASS GALS ARE UP TO AT BLOOMIE’S?
SEPT. 13 BLOOMINGDALE’S WHITE PLAINS 175 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains 5:30 P.M.
Save the date. You won’t want to miss this unique fall fashion event complete with hors d’oeuvres and beverages. RSVP (914) 684-6306, seating is limited.
Styling by Sandy Hapoienu
acting out at the Westport Country Playhouse
By Jennifer Bissell
istening to the Westport County Playhouse’s actors and directors speak about theater makes you wish you spent more time going to plays. It makes you want to read great literature, think about symbolism and have more emotionally intelligent thoughts and conversations. For years the Playhouse presented the typical fun, summer-stock productions. But since its 2005 state-of-the-art renovation, it’s embarked on a new chapter — one that is about challenging audiences to think. “If there was no conversation afterward, it didn’t belong on our stage,” said Mark Lamos, artistic director. “We’re after something that makes people feel like they’re seeing consistently fine and more important theater.” Nationally recognized, the nonprofit’s offerings range from star-studded exploratory dramas to unusual comedies. Through Sept. 15, the Playhouse presents the world premiere of “Harbor,” a play about a dysfunctional yet loving family, written by Chad Beguelin and directed by Lamos. From Oct. 9 through Nov. 3, it’s Lorraine Hansberry’s classic “A Raisin in the Sun,” which follows a black family in the 1950s chasing the American Dream. But before the theater was “something to talk about,” as its new slogan says, it had a number of personality shifts. Originally, it was a barn, built in 1835 as a tannery manufacturing hatters’ leathers. After that it was a
Joanne Woodward, former Westport Country Playhouse artistic director and current board of trustees member, and Paul Newman. Photograph by Miggs Burroughs.
stream-powered cider mill on an orchard. But when married directors Lawrence Langner and Armina Marshall stumbled onto the property in the 1930s, it was simply an abandoned barn in the country. Itching for a place to experiment and reinterpret classic plays — away from the New York City critics — the couple purchased the property and transformed it into a theater. Years later, it was a hotbed of talented actors and steamy summer-night performances. Among those flocking to the theater for a change of pace and a summer in the country were Ruth Gordon, Bert Lahr, Ina Claire, Dennis King, Laurette Taylor, Eva Le Gallienne, Paul Robeson, Nyack’s Helen Hayes, Ethel Barrymore, Van Heflin, José Ferrer, Alan Alda, Cicely Tyson, Geraldine Page, Van Johnson, Charles Durning, Richard Thomas, Jane Powell, Sandy Dennis, Eileen Heckart, Robert Morse and the comedy team of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Some performers didn’t need to travel far. Husbandand-wife thesps Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were prominent Westport residents who trod the Playhouse boards – he perhaps most memorably as the stage manager in a production of Thorton Wilder’s poignant “Our Town.” Besides acting and directing at the Playhouse, Woodward, who still lives in Westport, served as its artistic director at the turn of this century, a time of renovation. The Playhouse certainly needed it. The barn had gotten old, set-makers were building on top of broken floorboards and audiences had to deal with faulty air conditioners. But class acts all, the actors and audiences still thronged to the theater. Among them was Mark Nelson, who had been to the Playhouse in his youth and returned recently as the lead in Molière’s “Tartuffe,” a challenging work about deception, written and translated into rhymed couplets. For actors, it’s difficult to conquer the unusual speech and the work’s subtle emotional states. For audiences, the play demands that they give themselves over to the plot. Nelson said it can be hard to find an audience with that kind of willingness. But at the Playhouse, it wasn’t a problem. “It’s not an easy ride,” Nelson said. “And they ate it with a spoon. “There’s a very big turn in the play when we finally catch Tartuffe with his pants literally down,” he continued. “And the laugh that came out of the audience—the 500 people there—every single time, shook the rafters and made it all feel worth it to me.” In a digitally driven, instant-results world, Lamos said, it can be difficult to ask an audience to sit down and follow a plot that might not come together until the very end. “Everyone is looking for that sound bite,” he said. “But I don’t think the theater will ever go out of style. People will still want to have those experiences.” For more, visit westportplayhouse.org. n
Past and future perfect Elegant Stonehenge moves forward by casting a backward glance By Mary Shustack Photographs by Sinéad Deane
charm-filled country retreat tucked into the backroads of Ridgefield, Stonehenge Restaurant & Inn dates from the 1940s. So very much has changed since then – yet much has stayed the same. And it’s the balancing of those two elements that propels Stonehenge ever forward without leaving its storied past behind. It’s all accomplished under the gracious stewardship of Douglas Seville, who has owned the 10-acre destination since 1972. Sure, there may no longer be staffers dressed in tuxedos and today’s female guests can wear pants in the dining room, but the genteel sensibility of an earlier era remains. “I hate to use the word ‘elegant’ anymore,” Seville says. But it is, it must be said, appropriate. It’s evident in the well-appointed dining room with oversize picture windows that look out over the pond and in the club room that offers a cozy place for cocktails and more casual fare. It’s also exemplified by the Old World charm of muted-plaid wingback chairs in the parlor or a four-poster bed in an understated guest room.
Liz slept here
Coming off nearly a decade as the food-and-beverage manager of The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, Seville bought Stonehenge perhaps at the height of its fame. Though the main building dates from the early 19th century, it was opened as a restaurant and inn in the late 1940s by Victor Gilbert. Seville says Gilbert returned to America after serving in the military in England and not only named his new venture after the landmark he was stationed near but furthered the theme with rooms and suites named after places ranging from Oxford to Windsor, Cambridge to York. During those early years, a radio show was broadcast from Stonehenge and drew guests such as “Martha Raye and that crowd, John Wayne and the Rat Pack.” Over time, Stonehenge’s links with the entertainment industry grew, as did its culinary reputation. Starting in the mid-1960s, Stonehenge garnered great acclaim thanks to pioneering Swiss-born chef-owner Albert Stockli, who founded The Four Seasons in New York before his retreat to the Connecticut countryside. Seville took over after Stockli’s death, tapping into a rich history of attracting a discerning clientele. “We do a lot of celebrities, sports people,” Seville says. “Redford, Newman, De Niro… they’ve all been here many times.” While Seville speaks of hosting everyone from Catherine Deneuve to Barbra Streisand, one name from Stonehenge’s past never fails to captivate. “Elizabeth Taylor honeymooned here,” he says, later pointing out her secluded cottage. Today, Stonehenge also hosts less-famous VIPs, those Douglas Seville
most-welcome patrons who come to celebrate weddings and birthdays, anniversaries and bar and bat mitzvahs.
Love at first bite
A revamp of the dining room and expansion of the terrace a few years ago (which followed a major rebuilding after a 1988 fire) brought a fresh approach, Seville says. The room, he says, was “very, very formal, like going to Brussels.” Today, it’s light and airy while still carrying that charming hint of the past. Corner cabinets neatly display vintage china with an air of quiet grandeur further echoed by glistening glass, glimmering silver and fresh flowers throughout the space. “We’re basically what we call classical, a European type of cuisine,” Seville says of the menu offered by chef Bruno Crosnier, a native of the Loire Valley. “People expect more choices. That’s part of the change. A little of this, a little of that.” Dinner entrées range from seared sea scallops served with basmati rice with tomato fennel compote to veal scaloppini Savoyard accompanied by whipped potatoes with port wine sauce to chicken breast filled with mushrooms and served with goat cheese and tarragon sauce. And Stonehenge is clearly hitting the mark: Seville has been awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award for “providing exceptional cuisine, excellent service and an elegant dining atmosphere” for 22 years in a row.
A far, far better rest
For those who want to extend their stay, Stonehenge offers six guest rooms in the main building, six in the cottages and four suites in the guesthouse. “Every room has a different theme or decor,” Seville says.
A golf-accented room, for example, hosts a bronze statue of a player. “That’s when I was a famous golfer,” Seville says in jest. There is nothing outdated, Seville says of the amenities, with all rooms having “24-hour phone service, WiFi, cable TV, of course… all the basic stuff.” Luxury linens and pampering bath products further liken a stay to that of a plush bed-and-breakfast. “For some reason we get a lot of people from England, France, Italy,” Seville notes. But just as often, guests are simply those looking for a restful getaway close to home. “They are five minutes from their kids,” he says of the
local clientele. “They don’t have to go to Vermont to get the feel.” Throughout, Seville notes, changes have been gradually introduced, seamless updates that almost fail to register with the more infrequent visitors. “They say ‘Oh, it hasn’t changed.’ They don’t see it.” And it also doesn’t hurt, he adds with a laugh, to have one other constant on hand. “Most people that come in now, they’re mostly just surprised that I’m still here.” For more on Stonehenge Restaurant & Inn, at 35 Stonehenge Road in Ridgefield, call (203) 438-6511 or visit stonehengeinn-ct.com. n
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8/27/12 4:31 PM
A night at the opera By Geoff Kalish, MD
Does Bacchus live at The Met? Beginning with a new production of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore,” starring Anna Netrebko (Sept. 24), this year’s Metropolitan Opera repertoire will include at least six classic works featuring wine. It reminds us of the longstanding relationship between opera and the grape – not just the Champagne consumed by patrons at performances, but as an integral plot device in a number of masterpieces. It’s no surprise since wine has long been a beverage enjoyed by all social classes, and opera spans society’s flaws from the desperation of the lowly to the peccadilloes of the rich and royal. “L’Elisir d’Amore” tells the story of a peasant, Nemorino – in love with the rich landowner Adina – who is seemingly duped by the unscrupulous traveling salesman Dulcamara into thinking that he has purchased “an elixir of love” that is in reality only wine. However, as opera buffs know, Donizetti was quite taken by the magical qualities of wine himself, writing a poem
when he was barely 14, praising the power of the wine god, Bacchus, to allow the composer to write immortal music. So, on another level, Donizetti is really extolling the aphrodisiac properties of wine, which have been confirmed now in numerous scientific studies. In fact, this aspect of alcohol has become so ingrained in our culture that in a recent study just the suggestion that a beverage contained alcohol was enough to cause arousal equal to that following actual moderate alcohol consumption. Wine’s amorous quality cuts across all classes of society – which Donizetti alludes to in the closing scene, in which Dulcamara offers “the potion” to the uppity Sgt. Belcore – Nemorino’s unsuccessful rival – for his future use. Among the other classics featuring wine that The Met will present in the 2012-13 season are Bizet’s “Carmen,” Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” Adès’ “The Tempest,” and Verdi’s “La Traviata” and “Otello.” Escamillo
uses wine to toast the heroics of the bullfighting ring in “Carmen’s” famed Toreador aria (“Votre toast, je peux vous le render.”) While the setting is a tavern and beer would most likely be the beverage of choice, the purpose of the song is also to woo Carmen. Wine? Romantic. Beer? Not so much. In “Don Giovanni,” the aphrodisiac properties of wine take center stage with the audience gaining insight into the lustful personality of the Don from the brief but telling “Champagne Aria,” in which he tells wingman Leporello to throw a wine-fueled party with all the women he can find, for the purpose of getting them so tipsy that Don G will be able to bed 10 of them that evening. On the other hand, a major portion of “The Tempest” portrays the intoxicating effect of wine on three characters – the butler Stefano, the jester Trinculo and the savage Caliban – demonstrating once again the fermented fruit’s power over all. There’s no lack of wine consumption in “La
Traviata,” from the opening party scene on. But we learn more about the nature of the heroine Violetta from what she doesn’t drink than from what she does in The Met’s current haunting production. When she tosses a glass of Champagne against a wall and smashes it, she signifies that she will not be tied to any man. In “Otello,” Verdi again uses wine strategically in the guise of master manipulator Iago. It serves to advance his treacherous plan to bring down rival Cassio, who becomes so inebriated that he challenges Montano to a duel, thereby inflaming Otello’s ire. So do the performers really drink wine during the productions? According to backstage staff, while it has undoubtedly happened, opera singers are loath to risk the effects of alcohol on their voices during a performance and choose either cranberry juice or water dyed to look like wine. So as Verdi might say, “Libiamo,” Ocean Spray. n
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CREATING SUCCESS FROM POTENTIAL 68
Cruising up (a European) river With Connecticut-based Tauck By Tom Armstrong Tauck 70 riverboat on the Danube in Budapest.
The Lobby of the MS Swiss Sapphire, one of Tauckâ€™s river boats.
Hungarian State Opera in Budapest.
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revolution has been quietly taking place in the world of premium quality travel, where steadily growing numbers of discerning travelers are rediscovering an elegant and indulgent way to explore a destination. So what’s the latest, hottest trend in upscale travel? Cruising aboard a riverboat. Over the past several years, river cruising has been one the fastest (if not the fastest) growing segments of the global travel industry. New cruises on the Mekong and elsewhere in Asia are being introduced and Amazon River cruises are growing in popularity, while closer to home the debut of a pair of beautiful paddle wheelers is marking a new era on the Mississippi. But the real center of the river-cruising revolution is undoubtedly Europe, where a bumper crop of itineraries explore the quaint villages, historic towns and culturally rich cities that dot the banks of the Continent’s inland waterways. Fairfield County-based Tauck has more than 100 fully inclusive land journeys and cruises in nearly 70 countries on all seven continents. For the past eight years, Tauck’s portfolio has included European river cruises that have won rave reviews from the company’s customers and the media alike, including Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler magazines. Tauck’s most popular river cruise is “The Blue Danube,” a 12-day journey that includes not only an eightday cruise on the Danube but also a pair of two-night hotel stays (complete with guided sightseeing and other 72
activities) in both Budapest and Prague. The entire itinerary is packed with special experiences, including insider access to venues and private events that would otherwise be unavailable to an independent traveler. Guests enjoy an exclusive “Imperial Evening” at a private palace in Vienna, featuring an elegant dinner highlighted by music and dance performances from artists in period costume. They’ll also have a private tour and dinner inside 16th-century Lobkowicz Palace in Prague. Other special experiences include a private tour of the beautiful Baroque libraries at the Strahov Monastery in Prague, the choice of a full-day excursion to either Salzburg, Austria, or Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic and guided visits to both the Buda and Pest areas of the now unified city of Budapest. Tauck’s riverboats themselves are also in a class of their own, with each intentionally limited to a maximum capacity of just 118 guests. By comparison, other companies typically crowd 150 passengers or more onto riverboats of the same size. (European riverboats must all fit inside the same locks and beneath the same bridges, and are thus constrained to the same approximate size.) So if you’re looking for a fun way to tour Europe, and see multiple cities and towns with the convenience of unpacking your bags just once, you should give serious consideration to a river cruise. For more information on Tauck’s tours and their one-inclusive price, call (800) 468-2825 or visit tauck. com. n
Tauck’s most popular river cruise is “The Blue Danube,” a 12-day journey that includes not only an eight-day cruise on the Danube but also a pair of two-night hotel stays (complete with guided sightseeing and other activities) in both Budapest and Prague. The entire itinerary is packed with special experiences, including insider access to venues and private events that would otherwise be unavailable to an independent traveler.
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Telling tails out of school Canines in Miss Sarah’s class By Sarah Hodgson your eyes. Dogs communicate with a subtle but easily recognizable display of body postures, eye contact and vocal inflections. A good dog school should concentrate on teaching you not only how to direct your dog, but to listen to him as well. Dog training is something you do with your dog, not to them.
Find a school that stresses the use of positive reinforcement training – praise, food and/or toys when introducing new commands and routines. While you don’t want to become treat-dependent, a happy approach to learning is contagious. Once your dog understands what’s expected, you’ll learn how to phase in a praise-only reward system. Avoid instructors who use techniques that involve pinning, bullying or other threatening behaviors. Dominance-based training does not create understanding, it creates fear. Life is simply too short to be mean or threatening to anyone. We are judged by how we treat those who have no voice.
The trainer’s training
Look into the background of your instructor and the support he/she offers in addition to the class. Anyone can take an online course or pass a certification. But it doesn’t insure good people skills or in-depth knowledge and experience. Look for someone who knows how to train people (preferably with positive reinforcement) not just dogs. In my class, I include one of my published training books (Wiley and Sons Publishing), an e-book of the sixweek class sheets and a training DVD. A WAG photograph
The first day of kindergarten is always a heart-tugging mix of excitement and anxiety. This semester was no different. Harper arrived in a rush of curious excitement. He sprinted from the car, zoomed past the teacher (me) and headed straight for activity tunnels in the playground area. Billie was more hesitant, eyeing Harper as she clung to her mom’s legs, watching as the other students filed in one by one. There was Jack, showing off his favorite toy and eagerly trailing Harper; Bella, uninterested in toys but smitten with her new teacher; and Tucker, quiet and a bit possessive of the toy box. I ticked them off the attendance sheet looking around for my last pupil, Buddy. And then I saw him, too scared to enter, watching the others through the glass entry door. Gently, I coaxed him inside. It took some time to transition from playtime to circle time but eventually, all my students settled onto their mats. One pupil peed, one whined quietly and two needed to switch seats. Just your usual first day of school with one exception: My students are puppies. Throughout the year, I conduct classes for puppies and dogs at my training school on Long Ridge Road in Connecticut. Dogs, 74
puppies and their people come to learn healthy social and communications skills as well as on- and off-leash training techniques. The lessons I teach at my school are remarkably similar to those taught at the local grade school – tolerance, patience, respect and sharing. These lessons are not just for the dogs. My two-legged pupils learn to recognize the specific gifts and characteristics of their dogs so that they can understand and communicate easily and effectively with their pets. Can dog school be fun? Absolutely, if you find the right school. Since your pup really has one shot at learning, take some time and find the right setting for both of you to learn. Here’s what to look for in a group or private dog-training class:
Communication and understanding
Your dog does not speak or understand English. So how do you reach him or her? Actually, it is a lot more fun than you think. I teach my human students to speak and understand “Doglish,” the language of dogs. In a dog’s world, you see with your nose and you listen with
the right Size
Small is always better. Avoid classes that have open enrollment. More students mean less personal attention and more potential for misunderstanding. Find an instructor who values your personal relationship and offers more than a cookie-cutter approach. I keep my class sizes to eight or less and ask each (human) student to fill out a questionnaire so I know each dog personally before he even enters the classroom.
Materials and equipment
Every dog reacts differently to being socialized and trained. Some struggle with distractions, while others are more calm or yielding. There are a staggering number of tools and techniques on the market. Look for a teacher who varies her approach from dog to dog. Every dog is different, but each is trainable and eager to learn. I tell my students that some dogs are “oceans,” splashy, effusive and eager to make connections, while others are “brooks,” quiet, gentle and calm. Whatever your dog’s personality, take the time to understand and train him in a loving, positive way. Find a teacher who relates to both you and your dog and helps you to embrace the love at the end of your leash. n
the state of statin therapy By Robert M. Stark, MD
n my work as a clinical cardiologist, I’ve been accustomed to getting the occasional medical question at the parties I attend. Almost without exception, these questions have centered on the person’s cholesterol concerns: “What can I eat?” “What shouldn’t I eat?” “Is my cholesterol level really all that important?” Recently, all of this seems to have changed. Either people have simply lost interest or something truly dramatic has happened. The dramatic change turns out to be the availability of a new class of drugs, the statins, which has all but revolutionized the field of heart disease prevention. The statins lower cholesterol so effectively that they have rapidly become the number one class of drugs prescribed in the U.S. today. Taken as a once-a-day pill, a statin will stop the liver from producing cholesterol while, at the same time, causing the body’s cells to increase their metabolism (break-
down) of cholesterol. The net result is a significant fall in serum cholesterol, often by as much as 50 to 100 points. This decrease is sometimes possible even without the familiar, stringent dietary restrictions (fat, eggs, cheese, butter, red meat, etc.) The statins have already had a measurable impact on the incidence of coronary heart disease both nationally and locally. Area cardiologists have noticed a significant decline in heart attack admissions since the statins were introduced. Published studies have documented decreases of up to 37 percent in heart attacks among patients who were given statin therapy. These clinical studies are of real relevance to us, because heart attack remains the No. 1 cause of death for area residents. One out of three women dies from coronary heart disease. Twice as many die from heart disease than from breast cancer and all other causes combined. For men in this area, one out of two will die of coronary disease.
But these statistics are likely to improve as statins are prescribed more widely. What are the potential downsides of statin therapy? Because they make cholesterol lowering so deceptively simple, statins risk undermining our time-honored advice concerning weight loss, exercise and a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. These drugs should be reserved for when diet and lifestyle measures have fallen short in achieving cholesterol-lowering goals. Statins are also known to have a low but measurable incidence of side effects. Liver inflammation can develop in approximately 1 percent of patients taking statins. This is detectable by a blood test and is reversible once the statin drug is discontinued. Muscle aches or inflammation can also develop in 1 to 2 percent of patients. There is an accurate blood test for this problem, too. There are six brands of statin drugs available by prescription. They are Mevacor, Pravchol,
Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor and Livalo. Each is effective in lowering cholesterol, but all need to be monitored periodically by a physician. Beware of the “natural” or herbal statins that have recently become available as dietary supplements. These are all derived from rice that has been fermented with a red yeast mold. This mold produces small amounts of lovastatin, a cholesterol-lowering statin. Also produced, however, are numerous other organic by-products. Some of these by-products are potentially toxic. There’s a good parallel here with the antibiotic penicillin, which is also derived from the yeast that grows on moldy bread. Certainly, few patients would want to take a bread mold extract instead of purified penicillin, which is available in clean tablet form. Although this might make for a lively conversation at a future cocktail party. For more on Dr. Robert, visit robertstarkmd.com. n
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humanizing doctor-patient relationships By Erika Schwartz, MD
hen I think of my first two years of medical school, a blur of endless hours of studying and an overwhelming feeling of anxiety permeating the air immediately overtake me and I get a knot in the pit of my stomach. I’m sure I’m not alone. Just ask any physician who wants to remember. He will concur. On the first day of medical school, the dean, a sternlooking, elderly gentleman, told us, a class of 200 eager-to-please, mostly male students, that one out of three would not be good enough to finish. In a strident voice, he instructed us to look to our left and right and keep in mind that one of us, by then panic-stricken, would never graduate medical school. All that after going through four years of college in premed, taking biochemistry and calculus and watching our friends party and enjoy life while we just worked, hoping to get good enough grades and high enough scores on the MCATs to get accepted into an American medical school, the highest rung of education in the world. When I think of that not-so-welcoming talk and the stress and dehumanization that defined the first two years of basic sciences that followed, I am never surprised when I watch doctors disengage from themselves and their patients. Endless hours of lectures in biochemistry, statistics, anatomy, physiology, histology and other sciences, with hundreds of pages of homework, mold the life of the medical student and create an atmosphere of total immersion into the not-very- user-friendly world of basic sciences. The stress alone is enough to alter the personality of the sweetest, kindest and most altruistic novice. And that is just the beginning of calculated brainwashing leading to too many of us turning into welltrained robots instead of caring, kind and respectful doctors. The intentions are good. The better the preparation, the more likely the outcome will be an excellent doctor, right? Only partially. You certainly want a doctor who knows exactly how to treat acute illness in the middle of the night without having to think or look it up when a patient is brought into an emergency room or has an acute episode in the hospital. You may not really care when it comes to chronic illnesses, though. Your doctor can do some research for your particular situation. In fact, you would prefer that. Not to mention that a really good doctor must be a healer of the soul and not just a well-trained technician if you want him or her to help you truly get better. Back to our medical school: The transition to the clinical years did not help us recapture our lost humanity. More studying and more crazy hours continued. But unlike the first two years, now patients enter
the picture. Training on real people with real problems and needs is the next big step. Suddenly, without preparation or tools for interacting or knowing how to read or listen to people, the medical students start being called doctors. It’s as easy as that. One day I was Erika, the next Dr. Schwartz. Not a subtle change, not a pause to think about it, not a moment to prepare, just a change in title and voilà, I’m a doctor. Yes, the training in the scientific areas was and is even more amazing now and above reproach, so why are we not the most wonderful profession? Let me tell you how we got here. Public health is where it all began. In the 1700s, when dirt and squalor made the poor sick and constant victims of epidemics of infectious diseases, hospitals were created to treat them. Medical schools sprung up near the hospitals, because the poor and sick did not question a medical student’s care, and they were fertile ground for teaching. We learned to help large populations, isolate the sick, treat them with drugs and operate with anesthesia. Public health became standardized health in the mid-20th century and that’s where we got stuck. We created a system in which standardized health is what is taught in medical schools and practiced in our hospitals and clinics. Automatons with a deep knowledge of science and little understanding of individuals took their place in the line of doctors trained in the most up-to-date methods, fully supported by science and evidencebased medicine. Our vocabulary alone became something to stand in awe off. It’s like a foreign language to separate us from the rest. One more odd thing: Medicine is the only profession where trust is automatically given to its graduates the moment they receive their MD or DO without question or need to prove themselves in any way. Pass your tests, your boards, finish school and that’s all you need to have dominion over peoples’ lives and deaths. I’ve been baffled by this situation for years and have written much about it. How can anyone blindly trust another person whose only difference from you is that he has an MD or DO after his or her name? How does that give anyone insight into another human’s feelings or body functions? It doesn’t. And so it goes that from youths full of desire to save the world and be doctors, people ready to dedicate their lives to saving others, so many of us fall short simply by losing that core of humanity and care that defined us at the start. As the years have passed and I have become a real doctor, maybe only about 20 years now, I watch the same process unfold. I stay in touch with my alma mater, I am the president-elect of the board of managers at my medical school, I watch and meet with medical students and even was a member of the curriculum
committee. Not much has changed. There is a union now representing the interns’ and residents’ needs, helping them request and obtain more humane working hours. There is more awareness and a push to humanize medical education. But at the end of the day, not much has changed. Those who really care about their patients have to get there by working their way through classes where your instructors tell you that emotional involvement with the patients is a recipe for disaster, that objectivity does not go hand-in-hand with care and personal involvement.
For me, that doesn’t work. I am a good doctor. And I know that what makes me a special doctor is my deep love for my patients. My empathy for their suffering and my care for them is where I am strongest. I know my patients and they know me. I practice individualized medicine. All my patients are unique and our relationships are special. I am well-trained but my training and experience are only as good as the last patient I made well. The next time you go to the doctor, watch him or her. If he makes eye contact with you, listens to your story and does not keep his nose buried in the chart or the computer screen, if he asks you about your family and remembers when your last kid was born, stay with that doctor. He or she has taken all the good from their standardized training, hasn’t gotten swept up by the ego-loving title and has added personal humanity to the recipe for your care. That doctor will be the right and only partner for you. For more information, email Dr. Erika at Erika@ drerika.com. n 77
Comfortable in her own WAG contributor Dana Ramos launches ‘The Skin Regime’ Can simple products and routines at home fix the ravaged skin of Tanning Mom (the “tanorexic” woman accused of taking her little girl into a tanning booth)? WAG contributor Dana Ramos, author of the new book “The Skin Regime: Boot Camp for Beautiful Skin,” recently got Tanning Mom (Patricia Krentcil) to agree to a three-month routine to restore and repair her skin. Everything will be documented online and in the media. For scars and serious issues, dermatologist David Bank of Mount Kisco (see July 2011 WAG) will assist with in-office procedures. Bank also wrote the foreword and provided technical advice for “The Skin Regime.” “Dr. Bank feels it is important to educate people how to use products safely at home,” Ramos says. “Too many people are acquiring harmful acids and injuring their skin. This book carefully explains what and how to use some of the most advanced and effective products safely.” Ramos says that not a single product peddled by the major beauty companies in department and drug stores can even
come close to the methods and products discussed in her book. “The beauty industry is so full of bull, it might as well be in the same category of products claiming a cream can enhance penis size or melt away fat,” she says. “It’s really disgraceful.” The first page of the book presents a “Challenge to the Beauty Industry.” Below are some other excerpts: What is “The Skin Regime?” “The Skin Regime: Boot Camp for Beautiful Skin” reveals simple truths and formulas that will get your skin into shape in just weeks—the way a fitness regime would get your body in shape if you worked out for several weeks. Think of it as “boot camp for the skin.”
Why don’t most of the expensive and brand-name skin care products work as well as those described in “The Skin Regime”? Simply because the brand-name companies cannot make their preparations strong enough if they are going to market to a wide consumer base. If they did make them strong enough, they would have to write a whole book (like this one) explaining exactly how and why the products work and how to use them and what to expect. That would be a marketing nightmare for these companies that are going after mass-market consumers. This book will tell you exactly what to look for in your preparations and how to find the best preparations for the least price. Sometimes, the best stuff at the best price comes right off the discount shelves
of the drugstore or supermarket. We’ll tell you everything you need to know. What about the science behind “The Skin Regime”? This is not a textbook on skin care. You can get plenty of geek and techno info on a lot of websites, and there are some great books written by doctors, which go into all the medical terms like “dermis,” “epidermis” and “subcutaneous.” (Your eyes are already glazing, right?). The point of this book is to cut to the chase and give you basic cold, hard facts and info you need to get your skin looking terrific in a few weeks. This is boot camp, baby. “The Skin Regime: Boot Camp For Beautiful Skin” is available on Amazon.com for $9.95. You can read the first 30 pages of the book free at TheSkinRegime.com. At least 5 percent of proceeds from book and T-shirt sales will be donated to organizations such as The Skin Cancer Foundation. There’s a book party with giveaways and special guests Sept. 21 in Mount Kisco. For details, visit TheSkinRegime.com. n
when&where THROUGH SUNDAY MARCH 3 HEATING UP AT THE BRUCE
The exhibit “Extreme Habitats: Living Desert Dry” explores the complex ecosystems of deserts, museum hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays; Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich. $7, $6 children (up to 22 years) and seniors. (203) 869-0376, brucemusem.org.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 15 SECOND ANNUAL SILVERMINE ARTS FEST
An outdoor arts fair with live music by Howard Fishman and the Biting Fish Brass Band, 2 to 4 p.m.; Silvermine Arts Center, 1037 Silvermine Road, New Canaan. (203) 966-9700, ext. 22, silvermineart.org.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 22 ‘9TH ANNUAL WALK FOR PKD’
A walk to increase awareness of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) and funds for PKD research, 9 a.m. registration, 10 a.m. walk; Bedford Hills Memorial Park, 60 Haines Road, Bedford Hills. Pkdcure.org
‘FEED ME FRESH: AN EDIBLE EVENING’ FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 7 ‘COMEDY: PLAINS & SIMPLE’
Entertainment by local comedians, 7 p.m.; 11 City Place, White Plains. $20 at the door, $15 in advance. (914) 328-1600, wppac.com.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 16 ‘TASTE OF NEW PALTZ’
A Hudson Valley festival featuring food, activities, live entertainment, antiques and crafts, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Ulster County Fairgrounds, 249 Libertyville Road, New Paltz. $7. (845) 255-0243, newpaltzchamber.org.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 9 ENJOYING A CHUKKER OR TWO
A golf event with proceeds benefiting the Oak Hills Park Golf Course, 7 a.m. registration/breakfast, 8:30 a.m. shotgun start, lunch and awards to follow; 165 Fillow St., Norwalk. $125 per golfer, $40 lunch only. (203) 838-0303, akhillsgc.com.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 12 literary love
A discussion with award-winning Pace professor Joan Katen about her novel “Love at the Edge,” which is based on the struggles of those trapped in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Mamaroneck Library, 136 Prospect Ave., Mamaroneck. (914) 698-1250, ext. 3, mamaronecklibrary.org.
“In Perpetuity” by Marlene Siff. Photograph by Tim Pyle.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 20 ART CELEBRATION
An opening reception for visionary artist Marlene Siff ’s new exhibit “Elements of Peace” (through Dec. 9), 6 to 8 p.m.; Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts, 1073 N. Benson Road, Fairfield. (203) 254-4010, fairfield.edu/quick.
Bluegrass musicians perform, 5:30 p.m.; 305 Knowlton St., Bridgeport. $50. (203) 332-7977, ext. 310.
A meeting hosted by the WestField chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) featuring Deborah Gardner, principal and founder of DG International L.L.C., and a speaker/trainer for Complete Better Now! L.L.C., 5:30 to 9 p.m.; Stamford Hotel & Executive Meeting Center, 1 First Stamford Place, Stamford. $65, $55 MPI members, $40 students and past presidents of MPI WestField.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 14 ‘GOLF FORE THE HOMELESS’
A golf outing to benefit Grace Church Community Center’s homeless programs, 10:30 a.m. registration, 11:30 a.m. lunch, noon shotgun start, 5:30 p.m. cocktails and putting contest, 6 to 7 p.m. dinner and prizes; Hudson Hills Golf Course, 400 Croton Dam Road, Ossining. $250. (914) 9493098, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artist Jerry Pinkney. Photograph by Thomas Keislich.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 30 A FAMILY AFFAIR
Activities, including a gallery tour and storytelling inspired by the Hudson River Museum’s exhibit “Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney,” as well as live illustrations by the picture-book artist, noon to 5 p.m.; 511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. $5 adults; $3 children/seniors. hrm.org.
WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S ON THE GREEN
“NAKED NEGOTIATING… WHO HAS THE POWER?”
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 27 Honoring Docs
Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester hosts its 20th anniversary “In Celebration” gala cocktail reception honoring Maple Medical L.L.P., 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Westchester Country Club, 99 Biltmore Ave., Rye. $200. (914) 682-1484, ext. 122.
The 11th annual Elant Polo Picnic honors Linda S. Muller and the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan, 1 to 4:30 p.m., Blue Sky Polo Club, 380 Bart Bull Road, Middletown. Polo jackets requested. $150. (845) 360-1410, elant.org.
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 10 ‘MAYOR’S TROPHY GOLF TOURNAMENT’
Mount Kisco Child Care Center’s annual fundraiser features an open bar, live music, live and silent auctions, 7 to 11 p.m.; Ivanna Farms, 153 Wood Road, Mount Kisco. (914) 241-2135, mkccc.org.
The Business Council of Westchester hosts its Entergy Day of Golf, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. registration and warm-up activities, 10 a.m. to noon brunch, 12:15 p.m. shotgun start; nongolf activities: 1:30 p.m. golf seminar; and 2:30 p.m. golf lesson; 5:30 p.m. cocktail hour and silent auction; 6 p.m. dinner program; Westchester Hills Golf Club, 401 Ridgeway, White Plains. $1,500 foursome, $750 twosome, $375 per golfer, nongolfer: $125 seminar, lesson, cocktails and dinner, $100 cocktails/ dinner only. (914) 948-2110, westchesterny.org.
A fundraising walk to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association, 9 a.m.; Calf Pasture Beach, 125 East Ave., Norwalk. (800) 272-3900, alz.org/ct.
MONDAY OCTOBER 1 GOLF & TENNIS TOURNAMENT
A charity event to support the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, 9 a.m. registration, 10 a.m. brunch, 11 a.m. shotgun start, 5 p.m. dinner program; Fairview Country Club, Greenwich. $2,500 foursome, $625 per golfer, $125 dinner and cocktails only. (914) 812-8998.
‘SPEAKING OF WOMEN’
The Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County’s 15th annual luncheon, with guest speakers Elizabeth Smart and Ed Smart, 11:30 a.m.; The Waterview, 215 Roosevelt Drive, Monroe. $175. (203) 334-6154, ext. 31, email@example.com.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 3 TOP CHEFS CELEBRATION
Westchester’s acclaimed chefs prepare an elegant five-course dinner with wine pairings in honor of United Way’s 50th anniversary, 6 p.m. cocktail reception, 7 p.m. dinner and program. $250. uwwp. org.
worthy Classy Places (So many and space for just a few) 42 THE RESTAURANT 1 Renaissance Square White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 761-4242 42therestaurant.com
BLUE HILL AT STONE BARNS 630 Bedford Road Pocantico Hills, NY 10591 (914) 366-9600 bluehillfarm.com
ALBANO APPLIANCE & SERVICE L.L.C. 83 Westchester Ave. Pound Ridge, NY 10576 (914) 764-4051 albanoappliance.com
BUNGALOW 4 Sconset Square Westport, CT 06880 (203) 227-4406
ANNE SACKS TILE & STONE INC. 21 E. Putnam Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 622-1689 annsacks.com AVANT GARDEN LTD. 87 Westchester Ave. Pound Ridge, NY 10576 (914) 764-0010 avantgardenltd.com BACCARAT 238 Greenwich Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (800) 215-1300 baccarat.com BANCHET FLOWERS 40 E. Putnam Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 622-5939 banchetflowers.com BEDFORD GOURMET 652 Old Post Road Bedford, NY 10506 (914) 234-9409 bedfordgourmet.com BEDFORD POST INN 954 Old Post Road Bedford, NY 10506 (914) 234-7800 bedfordpostinn.com
CARAMOOR 149 Girdle Ridge Road Bedford, NY 10536 (914) 232-5035 caramoor.org CELLAR 49: A TAVERN AT THE MANSION 49 E. Sunnyside Lane Tarrytown, NY 10591 (800) 553-8118 tarrytownhouseestate.com CHRISTOPHER PEACOCK CABINETRY 2 Dearfield Drive Greenwich, CT 06830 (888) 889-8891 peacockcabinetry.com CONSIDER THE COOK 26 Village Green Bedford, NY 10506 (914) 234-8880 145 Elm St. New Canaan, CT 06840 (203) 966-5055 considerthecook.com CRABTREE’S KITTLE HOUSE 11 Kittle Road Chappaqua, NY 10514 (914) 666-8044 kittlehouse.com
BELLAVA MEDAESTHETICS & SPA 182 Route 117 Bedford Hills, NY 10507 (914) 864-2140 bellavaspa.com
DEANE INC. 189 Elm St. New Canaan, CT 06840 (203) 972-8836 267 E. Main St. Stamford, CT 06902 (203) 327-7008 kitchensbydeane.com
THE BELLE HAVEN CLUB 100 Harbor Drive Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 861-5353 bellehavenclub.com
DELAMAR GREENWICH 500 Steamboat Road Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 661-9800 delamargreenwich.com
BENJAMIN STEAK HOUSE 610 Hartsdale Road White Plains, NY 10607 (914) 428-6868 benjaminsteakhouse.com
DUXIANA 15 W. Putnam Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 661-7162 duxiana.com
BETTERIDGE 117 Greenwich Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 869-0124 betteridge.com
EQUUS AT CASTLE ON THE HUDSON 400 Benedict Ave. Tarrytown, NY 10591 (800) 616-4487 castleonthehudson.com
BILOTTA KITCHENS 564 Mamaroneck Ave. Mamaroneck, NY 10543 (914) 381-7734 bilotta.com THE BIRD & BOTTLE INN 1123 Old Albany Post Road Garrison, NY 10524 (845) 424-2333 thebirdandbottleinn.com BLOOMINGDALE’S 175 Bloomingdale Road White Plains, NY 10605 (914) 684-6300 bloomingdales.com
GREENWICH ORCHIDS 106 Mason St. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 661-5544 573 Bedford Hills Road Bedford Hills, NY 10507 (914) 763-3600 greenwichorchids.com GUCCI The Westchester 125 Westchester Ave. White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 683-1428 gucci.com HARVEST ON HUDSON 1 River St. Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706 (914) 478-2800 harvest2000.com THE HOMESTEAD INN & THOMAS HENKELMANN RESTAURANT 420 Field Point Road Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 869-7500 homesteadinn.com THE HORSE CONNECTION 38 Village Green Bedford, NY 10506 (914) 234-2047 horseconnectionbedford.com THE J HOUSE GREENWICH 1114 E. Putnam Ave. Greenwich, CT 06878 (203) 698-6980 jhousegreenwich.com KATONAH GENERAL STORE 109 Katonah Ave. Katonah, NY 10536 (914) 232-6400 KLAFF’S 11 Newtown Road Danbury, CT 06810 (203) 792-3903 14 Post Road East Westport, CT 06880 (203) 227-9024 28 Washington St. South Norwalk, CT 06854 (203) 866-1603 341 Central Park Ave. Scarsdale, NY 10583 (914) 740-1800 klaffs.com LA CAMELIA 234 N. Bedford Road Mount Kisco, NY 10549 (914) 666-2466 lacameliarestaurant.net L’ESCALE 500 Steamboat Road Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 661-4600 lescalerestaurant.com
FERRAGAMO’S CREATIONS The Westchester 125 Westchester Ave. White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 946-0604 ferragamo.com
LOUIS VUITTON The Westchester 125 Westchester Ave. White Plains, NY 10604 (914) 289-1809 louisvuitton.com
FREDERIC FEKKAI SALON 2 Lewis Court Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 861-6700 fekkai.com
LYNNENS 278 Greenwich Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (866) 629-3659 lynnens.com
THE GARRISON 2015 Route 9 Garrison, NY 10524 (845) 424-3604 thegarrison.com
MANFREDI 121 Greenwich Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 622-1414 manfredijewels.com
MARIANI GARDENS 45 Bedford Road Armonk, NY 10504 (914) 273-3083 marianigardens.com
RICHARDS 359 Greenwich Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 622-0551 mitchellstores.com
MARY JANE DENZER 222 Mamaroneck Ave. White Plains, NY 10605 (914) 328-0330 mjdenzer.com
THE RITZ-CARLTON, WESTCHESTER 3 Renaissance Square White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 946-5500 ritzcarlton.com
MITCHELL GOLD & BOB WILLIAMS 45 E. Putnam Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 661-4480 mgbwhome.com
SAKS FIFTH AVENUE 205 Greenwich Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 862-5300 saksincorporated.com
MITCHELLS 670 Post Road East Westport, CT 06880 (203) 227-5165 mitchellstores.com
SCOTTS CORNER MARKET 55 Westchester Ave. Pound Ridge, NY 10576 (914) 764-5736 scottscornermarket.com
MODERNE BARN 430 Bedford Road Armonk, NY 10504 (914) 730-0001 modernebarn.com
STEVEN FOX JEWELRY 8 Lewis St. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 629-3303 stevenfoxjewelry.com
NEIMAN MARCUS The Westchester 2 Maple Ave. White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 428-2000 neimanmarcus.com
STONEHENGE RESTAURANT & INN 35 Stonehenge Road Ridgefield, CT 06877 (203) 438-6511 stonehengeinn-ct.com
NEUBERGER MUSEUM 735 Anderson Hill Road Purchase, NY 10577 (914) 251-6100 neuberger.org
STUART WEITZMAN The Westchester 125 Westchester Ave. White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 682-1923 stuartweitzman.com
NORDSTROM The Westchester 135 Westchester Ave. White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 946-1122 nordstrom.com
TIFFANY & CO. 140 Greenwich Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 661-7847 tiffany.com
PATRICIA GOURLAY 45 E. Putnam Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 869-0977 pgourlay.com
VALBELLA CONNECTICUT 1309 E. Putnam Ave. Riverside, CT 06878 (203) 637-1155 valbellact.com
PLUMBUSH INN 1656 Route 9D Cold Spring, NY 10516 (845) 265-3904 plumbushinn.com
VILLAGE SOCIAL 251 E. Main St. Mount Kisco, NY 10549 (914) 864-1255 villagesocialkb.com
POLPO 54 Old Post Road, No. 3 Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 629-1999 polporestaurant.com
WARREN TRICOMI 1 E. Putnam Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 863-9300 warrentricomi.com
RALPH LAUREN 51 Elm St. New Canaan, CT 06840 (203) 972-3114 ralphlauren.com
WATERWORKS 23 W. Putnam Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 847-3314 waterworks.com
RED DOOR SPA, WESTCHESTER The Westchester 125 Westchester Ave. White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 840-8880 reddoorspas.com
WINSTON FLOWERS 382 Greenwich Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (800) 622-0722 winstonflowers.com
RESTAURANT NORTH 386 Main St. Armonk, NY 10504 (914) 273-8686 restaurantnorth.com RESTORATION HARDWARE 239 Greenwich Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 552-1040 restorationhardware.com
WOODROW JEWELERS 21 Purchase St. Rye, NY 10580 (914) 967-0464 woodrowjewelers.com X20 XAVIARS ON THE HUDSON 71 Water Grant St. Yonkers, NY 10701 (914) 965-1111 xaviars.com
wit wonders: Who’s your idea of a class act? “Michelle Obama. She has great substance. She represents herself well. She also represents her husband and family life well. I think the way she carries herself says a lot about her. She supports great causes. Most of all, she speaks very concisely and purposefully.” – Rhonda Baker Financial adviser, Merrill Lynch, Westport resident
“I think [President] Barack Obama. I admire his gracefulness in the way he handles anything. He’s very dignified. He’s handled so many attacks on the welfare of the people of this country and the office of the President. He has so much more character than most other presidents.” – Sally Frank Marketer, North Salem resident
what they need and she gave it to them. I’ve met her. She’s very mature, polite and a good businesswoman. When you walk into her store, they treat you well. They’re handing you chocolates. She knows how to run a good business.” – David Hochberg Art agent for painters and sculptors, Katonah resident
“Roy Neuberger, benefactor, Neuberger Museum of Art. Westchester County was given an extraordinary gift and treasure trove of contemporary art when Roy Neuberger donated a portion of his collection to the museum that bears his name on the grounds of Purchase College. He was a successful financier who had the means and access to gift any one of New York City’s great museums or to open his own in Manhattan. But he chose Westchester. Within 15 minutes, I am surrounded by all the inspiration that I need to return to my own studio, reminded that not Milton Avery nor Jackson Pollack nor Mark Rothko were overnight successes, either. But until the museum reopens next year, I’ll continue to look for and embrace the same everyday occurrences that gave these great artists their inspiration.” – Joseph Blumstein Abstract artist, Rye resident
“I would say Jane Fonda. I am listening to her book on tape where she talks about a review of her life. ... She’s very thoughtful, very inspiring. She says life is not an arc going up in the beginning and down towards the end but instead a staircase as you continue to grow and evolve toward becoming who you are supposed to be.” – Ann Giuli Case manager, WestMed Group, Purchase, Stamford resident
“I know several. It’s hard to decide. I would say my friend Genie. She’s a therapist who has beaten cancer, and she writes about bullying and things of that nature. She’s an advocate for those who need help and she somehow manages to remain very low-key. She lived at the Ritz for a while but you would never know it. She’s very plain and not affected by anything. She’s just a very real person.” – Jessica Lawrence Energy healer, Heart Healings, White Plains, White Plains resident
“Catherine Middleton is a class act. That’s why all the young, new, talented designers are creating the ‘looks’ she wears – simple, understated chic fashion. Her favorites are Erdem and Roland Mouret for daytime occasions or Jenny Packham for her glamorous night life. She’s the proof that women don’t need to be bedecked. ‘Gilding the lily’ is always too much. Simple good taste is always in style.” – Mary Jane Denzer President, Mary Jane Denzer store, White Plains, White Plains resident “Jackie Robinson. He was a great guy. He said a life in itself is unimportant, except in the effect it has on other lives.” – Brian Desrosier President, Computer SuperCenter, Greenwich, Ridgefield resident
“The British queen (Elizabeth II), age 86, pretending to jump out of a helicopter at the opening of the Olympic Games gets my vote. I hope when I am 86, I still have that spirit of adventure and the ability to surprise people.” – Morag Grassie Owner, Ally Bally Bee, Ridgefield, Redding resident “My idea of a class act is Amy Brenneman. Not only is she a talented actress, but she finds time to volunteer and give back to the community. She has publicly shared information about her battle with ulcerative colitis. With poise, sophistication and genuine concern for others, Brenneman is using her celebrity and her personal experience to provide hope for other patients and families living with these difficult diseases.” – Lisa Harding Development manager, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, Fairfield/Westchester chapter, White Plains resident “You know who I love? I met her – Ivanka Trump. The other night I was walking outside Tao, this fancy restaurant in the city. There were all these paparazzi out to see her. She just comes out of her car and gives everyone the shot they wanted. But you know these celebrities normally hide with the sunglasses and don’t want to be seen? She just said she knows
“Roz Abrams, member, board of directors, Axial Theatre. For several years, Roz Abrams was a welcomed guest in the homes of millions of New Yorkers. She consistently reported the news objectively, putting aside her own personal opinion of daily headlines. So when she recently signed up for acting and then playwriting classes with our acting and theater groups, she finally got the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of interpreting characters as Roz the actress, and on the characters she creates, as Roz the playwright. It is this special quality that makes her such a valuable new addition to the Axial Theatre board of directors and a welcomed member to our family of passionate theater artists. Roz is indeed a class act.” – Howard Meyer Founder and artistic director, Axial Theatre and Howard Meyer’s Acting Program, Pleasantville resident “Diane Sawyer – elegant, ladylike and knows when not to ask a wrong or mean-spirited question. And, Dr. Erika Schwartz. Erika is brainy, beautiful, compassionate, caring, warm and gracious to everyone. Despite her accomplishments, she is totally down-to-earth. I respect and admire her with a full heart.” – Debbi O’Shea Personal shopper, writer, beauty and fashion blogger, Purchase resident
Compiled by Alissa Frey. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. 81
watch Fashion in the afternoon
Friends and loyal customers gathered in Scarsdale at the private home of fashion designer Patricia Falkenberg to celebrate the Patricia F Designs’ fall trunk show. Guests from Westchester County and Manhattan came to enjoy an afternoon of shopping – and kept their eyes peeled for their daughters, too. Elegant floral and tweed daywear was inspired by a chic ’50s silhouette and bedazzled eveningwear in rich purple, red, black and gold was nothing short of glamorous. Photographs by Sinéad Deane. Bryn Cohen
Design assistant and FIT student Shaelan Smith
Designer Patricia Falkenberg
On the Sound
Jeffrey W. Rossi and Dominick Saglimbeni
Michael Li and Warren Barest
Margaret Fitzpatric and John Donlon
Pat Drew, Michelle Chaitman-Lynch and Deborah Garrow
William Connors and Brian Carroll
Ward Urban and Sam Cirelli Sr.
Martin Okner and Chris Nugent
Karin Kovacic and Murray Devine
All identifications are from left unless otherwise noted. 82
ACG New York members and guests recently met at the scenic setting of the American Yacht Club in Rye for an evening of education and networking. Attendees heard a panel of executives from leading private equity firms in Westchester, Fairfield and the surrounding area discuss their views on topics relevant to deal-making in the middle market. Photographs by Robert Blumenfeld, executive director, ACG New York
Francesca Romo and Jonathan Royse Windham
Mario Bermudez Gil, Caroline Fermin and Dan Walczak
Francesca Romo, Mario Bermudez Gil and Arika Yamada
The Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund recently hosted a performance by Gallim Dance, a Brooklyn-based contemporary dance company dedicated to performing original works by Andrea Miller. Photographs by Todd Shapera Photography. Ben Rodriguez-Cubenas of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Kathleen Reclingand and David Mazzuca
Francesca Romo and Jonathan Royse Windham
Emma Tucker with Mitch, Emma and Sophie Sulves-Berry
Andrea Miller, artistic director of Gallim Dance
Arika Yamada and Mario Bermudez Gil
Irena Rolino and Wendy Kantor
Joey Lico and Michael Royce
watch Sipping and surveying
Kathy Adams and Jill Barile of Greenwich Fine Properties recently hosted Cocktails and Real Estate, providing the 411 on the Greenwich real estate market, as well as land regulations and building, in a social setting. York Construction and Development, Granoff Architects and Rocco D’Andrea Engineers & Surveyors were on hand to answer questions while guests enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
Donna Monson and Bonnie Patt
Rich Granoff and Nick Barile
Tony D’Andrea and Allison Wolowitz
Marcia Pflug and Karl Anderson
Phil George, Gayle George, Jim Adams and Tina Siebert
Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester (HPCW) in White Plains recently held its 10th annual Golf Invitational at Westchester Hills Golf Club in White Plains. Proceeds from the event benefit HPCW’s mission to provide extraordinary and dignified comfort, care and compassion to every individual and family facing serious or life-threatening illness.
Krista Price, Candy Canizio and John Zanzarella
Steve Wasserman, Jack Geoghegan, Larry Dix and Gary Schnorr
Michael Ciaramella, Bob Adams, William F. Flooks Jr. and Norman DiChiara
Jennifer Watts, Mary K. Spengler, James P. O’Toole and John D’Agostino
Anders Eng, Ken Theobalds, Frank Fraley and Richard Thomas
Stephen Landon, Jennifer Watts, Karen LaMonica and Michele Geller
Singer-songwriter Paul Simon was on hand for the Jacob Burns Film Center screening of “Under African Skies,” a documentary exploring the South African roots of his “Graceland” album. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger and New York Times’ critic (and Burns’ board prez) Janet Maslin joined him on stage for a Q&A following the screening. Photographs by Lynda Shenkman Curtis.
Joe Berlinger and Janet Maslin
More than 60 golfers recently participated in the “Fun in the Sun” Summer Classic golf outing of Meeting Professionals International, WestField chapter, held at Knollwood Country Club in Elmsford. Funds raised by the event underwrite the chapter’s educational programs.
John Bedford Lloyd, Frances and Isidoro Albanese, Curtis Beusman, Dottie Jordan, Kelly Sullivan, Fran Osborne and Clark Robson
Mark Fried, Mike Goff, Mark Douglass and Doug Cauldwell
Mount Kisco Child Care Center recently hosted a kickoff party for its eighth annual Feed Me Fresh: An Edible Evening gala, which is scheduled for Sept. 22. Surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Ivanna Farms in Bedford Corners, the event committee discussed preparations for its largest fundraising event of the year.
Chris Devers, Kathryn Marks, Julie Deagan and Jean Claude Lanchais
Jonathan Kanovsky, board chairman, Steffi Nossen Dance Foundation; Jon Schapiro, board member, The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund; Jeannie Aplin, executive director, Steffi Nossen School of Dance; and Jessy Mendez, coordinator, Arts in Education, ArtsWestchester.
Showing some new moves
Debbie Mele, Terence Mijoso and Rhonda Burnim
Steffi Nossen School of Dance in White Plains recently launched a rebranding effort to reflect the organization’s fresh, modern approach to dance. The Steffi Nossen Dance Foundation, formerly known as the Dance in Education Fund, was formed in 1982 as a nonprofit advocacy and outreach organization. 85
Michelle Imbaquingo, who was recognized as the 2012 Youth of the Year, with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Board President Kevin Bannon and Junior League of Northern Westchester President Kate Hutchings
Four hundred guests recently attended the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester’s 18th annual Humanitarian Award Dinner held at Lexus of Mount Kisco. The event raised more than $350,000 and will support the 2,000 youth members served by the organization. Honorees included Richard J. Smith of Entergy as the 2012 Humanitarian of the Year and the Junior League of Northern Westchester as the John Beach Award recipient. Renee Torre and Richard J. Smith
Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Brian Skanes and Muffin Dowdle
Gerard Gasparino, Scott Wich and Matthew Reyher present Anthony Telesco with a citation.
Peter Saverine, executive director of Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens, receives a Corporate Partner Award from ARI client Travis Baskin.
Sgt. Andrew Gallagher receives the Community Advocate Award on behalf of the Stamford Police Association from ARI client Rickey Denes.
Miguel Zenón Quartet performs
all that jazz
Rev. Richard Futie
The Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers fund recently presented an evening of summer jazz with performances by the Miguel Zenón Quartet. Photographs by Arnaldo Ugarte
Oh, what a knight
Some 120 people recently attended ARI of Connecticut’s 60th annual meeting, held at the Knights of Columbus in Stamford. Rev. Richard Futie, chairman of the Westside Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, gave the keynote speech. Thanking ARI for partnering with the Stamford community. ARI presented its annual Volunteer of the Year Award to Peggy Hagen and two community awards to the Stamford Police Association and Peter Saverine, executive director of the Barlett Arboretum & Gardens. 86
One night only
Michaela Kupter and Caroline Eisenmann
Maddy Talias and Victoria Riggio
Barbara Hirsch and Molly Reich
Pamela Miller and Janet Rolle
Cathy and Cara Garcia-Bou
Aly Powers, John Hampton and Grace Howard
Debbie Fallon and Clarita Aguilar
Ian Dickerson, Luca Graham and Adam Day
Meghan Rossini and Emilie George
Ana and Michael Fanelli
An empty Bronxville storefront recently served as an impromptu gallery for a showing of works by 13 emerging artists. Admiral Real Estate Services Corp. lent the space to the exhibit’s curator, Cara GarciaBou, a local artist and senior at Maine’s Bates College. The empty showroom turned out to be the perfect canvas for an event that popped. Photographs by Sinéad Deane.
Katerine McGough and Joan Rudd
Sara Gordon and Holly Rudd
By Martha Handler and Jennifer Pappas
So a “funny” thing happened the other day. My sister and I were on our way to a spa in Arizona to meet up with my mom for her birthday. We were all excited to get going (I’m a somewhat impulsive person) and instead of asking for directions from the rental car people (like intelligent people) we decided to stream them from the sky via satellite on our trusty iPhones. Big mistake. Our possessed-by-the-devil GPS sent us, instead of to the spa, straight to hell. We ended up an hour and a half out of our way in “death valley,” a deserted canyon, surrounded by cactus, rattlesnakes (OK, I didn’t see any, but I heard them) and tumbleweeds. We had no water and our trusty iPhones were on their last legs of charge. And, I swear, there were vultures circling. We finally figured out that we had been led astray when the road ran out of road and we found ourselves on a dirt path with a sign confronting us that read “Drive at your own risk.” Word to the wise: Don’t trust Siri!
Sounds like you were in the Twilight Zone. Here’s my GPS story. Five years ago, I bought my first car with GPS from a friend’s nephew in New Jersey. He personally delivered the car and spent a couple of hours showing me how everything worked – as it was a bit more complicated than the series of minivans I’d been driving. My sons witnessed the tutorial and became convinced the salesman had a crush on me (as if). They couldn’t believe anyone would drive all the way from New Jersey to deliver a car and training if he didn’t have ulterior motives. Their suspicions were further sparked when I received a nice watch in the mail as a thank-you present and a few follow-up phone calls to make sure I was happy with my new vehicle. My husband, who’d been laughing off their suspicions, changed course when we started using the GPS – which strangely yet consistently redirected me to New Jersey no matter what address I programmed into it. After a frustrating few months, I had the GPS recali-
brated, which seemed to do the trick. Now that’s one of the best pickup strategies that I’ve J ever heard. I don’t know why it makes me think of another road trip gone wrong (our family trip out West), but it does, perhaps because we were all squished into a minivan like sardines in a can. At every stop, and there were many, we were forced to stay in one room (most of which smelled like a mixture of garlic and dirty feet), because the national parks are booked a year in advance and I’m the world’s worst procrastinator. So there we were, five large people, seven pieces of luggage (strategically placed and balanced on and under every flat surface imaginable) and a rollaway bed in a single, ridiculously small room. Oh, and I almost forgot the best part, there was only one bathroom for us all to share, with a shower which always seemed to back up so that the last person in was forced to stand in an inch or two of sludge water. Guess who was the first one up and in each morning? Needless to say, we weren’t happy campers. Reminds me of the trip that will go down as the M worst in the Handler Family Annals by everyone but me – Iceland. I chose the spot, because I love natural beauty and I naively believed the rest of the family did also. We started off in Reykjavik, which we all loved. (For the males in the family, this probably had something to do with the fact that all the women were incredibly hot – thanks to the early settlers, who pillaged Scandinavia to populate the island.) From Reykjavik we boarded a bus to tour the rest of the island. Many miles separated each scenic stop, which didn’t bother me a bit, because I was enthralled listening to our guide describe the island’s geography, geology, history, customs and beliefs. (They seriously believe in trolls, and many areas are off-limits, because they’ve been designated sacred troll territories.) My family, however, was bored to tears and rather than learn anything or simply sit back and enjoy the scenery, they all donned headphones and watched every season of “24.” Their love affair with Jack Bauer was so intense, they often wouldn’t exit the bus at scenic stops. (“We’ve seen enough waterfalls and icebergs to last a lifetime.”) The only thing we all agreed on was that the food was crazy expensive and downright awful (all served in coffee shops attached to gas stations) and the motels reeked thanks to the natural sulfur springs from which they derived their water. And though I’m quite sure I’ll never get my family back to Iceland, the mere mention of that vacation brings back hilarious memories (mostly at my expense) that will last us all a lifetime. So, in hindsight, I guess you could say the trip was a win/win. Wag Up: • GPS – There are many times (i.e., being lost while walking around Paris, needing a detour thanks to an accident on the FDR) when it has proven to be a true lifesaver. (M) • The Tenement Museum – A trip there (which I highly recommend, though not on a 100-degree day when it is an authentic experience, i.e., no air conditioning) reminds one of just whose backs this country was built upon. tenement.org. (J) Wag down: • GPS – I worry that the kids today – who are increasingly tuned-out to each other and tuned into their electronics – will become so dependant on their gadgets they’ll need a GPS just to find one another’s erogenous zones. (M) • People who complain about the weather. Hey, you could be living in the late 1800s, wearing a corset and long dress, having to cook over a hot stove with no indoor plumbing, while taking care of five kids in a 300-square-foot apartment on Orchard Street. It’s all about one’s perspective. (J)
Email Class&Sass at email@example.com. You may also follow Martha and Jen on Facebook at Wag Classandsass or access all of their conversations online at wagmag.com.
A Lifetime of Beautiful Smiles
For many families in Westchester, we’re the only dental office they’ve ever used. We’re proud of this fact. We believe the reason so many of our original patients bring their own children to us can be summed up in one word: trust. Advanced Dentistry of Westchester has been creating beautiful healthy smiles in Westchester County for more than 4 generations of patients. Throughout the years, our patients have received top quality preventive and restorative treatments — all while enjoying the personal touch of a family dental practice offering the latest in advanced technology. Westchester Magazine “Top Dentists” 2009, 2010, 2011 Consumer Research Council List of “Top Cosmetic Dentists” Listed in “Westchester’s Leading Plastic Surgeons and Cosmetic Dentists” Professor of Esthetics NYU College of Dentistry Dr. Sabrina Magid Chosen by Westchester Magazine as one of the top 22 People to Watch in Westchester County
If you want to learn about the advanced technologies we use or the comments from our patients visit our web page at www.ADofW.com and visit us on
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