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56 When Being Too Social iS anTi-Social New Social Host laws make it the homeowner’s responsibility to prevent underage drinking. By H.M.Epstein
68 The FeeT
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104 FicTion: The geniuS MeeTingS The difficulty of never being wrong. by Elizabeth Crane
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departments 22 Train oF ThoughT
In this wedding season, do you keep your name? by Elizabeth Spaulding Titus
33 The local Scene So you want to be in movies?
114 rural palaTeS
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122 i’ll Take ManhaTTan See a film, join a club, enjoy a festival, stay overnight.
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174 FroM The SidelineS Get in the Fight. Photos by Bruce Ando
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196 The healing agenT
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‘Tis the Season By Elizabeth Spaulding Titus
Summer haS traditionally been the time for weddings. I was married to Gregory Clement in August 1977, and I went from being known as Elizabeth Spaulding Titus to Elizabeth Titus Clement, or Mrs. Gregory Clement. Even though a significant percentage of women in my generation, like my childhood friend Merry, kept their own surnames as a statement of their feminism, I decided to give mine up. Women who married later in life, such as my friends Mary, Laura, and Augusta, often kept the names they’ve been known by, personally and professionally, for so many years.
Editor and Publisher Eric S. Meadow Editor Celia R. Meadow Art Director Tim Hussey Executive Editor Debbie Silver Travel Editor Susan Engel Editors at Large Paula Koffsky, Simone Meadow, Rich Silver General Counsel Bruce Koffsky, Esq. Contributors Suzy Allman, Diana Andrews, Ethan Bordman, Jo Bryan, Dan Burstein, Kevin Corcoran, Elizabeth Crane, Emilie Di Mario, Alena Dillon, H.M. Epstein, Thomas G. Fiffer, Helen Dunn Frame, Petra Friden, Andrew Harwood, A.J. Jacobs, James Joyce, Bob Marrow, Priscilla Whitley Matthews, Cathryn Prince, Stephen Rhodes, Christine Shaffer, Laura Shepard, Allie Silver, Lara Spencer, Elizabeth Spaulding Titus, Ana Zawacki Contributing Photographers Joel and Anne Darelius, Ayala Gazit, Steve Gravano, Maggie Kalkowska, Kerry Long, Julie O’Connor Cover Illustration Dave Cutler Distribution Manager Man in Motion LLC Advertising Sales Director Paul McNamara Advertising Sales Manager Libby Rosen Advertising Sales Representatives Barbara Greenhouse, Nicole Briggs Advertising Inquiries (203) 227-5377 Editorial Inquiries (203) 451-1967 Weston Magazine, Rye Magazine, Westport Country Capitalist, Greenwich Country Capitalist, New Canaan Country Capitalist, Hamptons Country Capitalist, Westchester Country Capitalist, TriBeCa Magazine, The Upper East Side Magazine, and Central Park West Magazine, Issue #47, are published 4 times per year by Weston Magazine, INC. P.O. Box 1006, Weston, CT 06883. Tel: 203/227-5377. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.westonmagazinegroup.com. Copyright 2012 by Weston Magazine, INC. All rights reserved. Weston Magazine/Country Capitalist/Rye Magazine/The Upper East Side Magazine/Central Park West Magazine/TriBeCa are trademarks of Weston Magazine, INC. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. Weston assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Print subscription rate: four issues, $100. Back Issues, $10. Attention Postmaster: send address corrections to Weston, P.O. Box 1006, Weston, CT 06883. Printed in Canada.
Married women who keep their names are sometimes called Lucy Stoners, after Lucy Stone (1818-1893), a pioneer in the women’s rights movement. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1847, Lucy Stone helped organize a national women’s rights convention in Worcester, Massachusetts. When she married Henry Blackwell, a fellow crusader for women’s suffrage, both agreed that taking his name would tell the world that a woman’s name and family history are unimportant. She became the first recorded American woman to keep her name after marriage, speaking out for women’s rights at a time when women were discouraged and even prevented from public speaking. I’d never heard of Lucy Stone until I took my daughter to see Clark University in Worcester, where she’d been accepted early. I researched the city’s history and realized that, later in life, I’d become a Lucy Stoner. This realization brought relief; I now had a response when friends questioned why I went back to my maiden name, Elizabeth Spaulding Titus, after thirty years of marriage. “We could un-
This was “the profession girls could go back to”–translation: after having babies. But I was restless, and I had yet to hit the $10,000 mark in annual salary. So I decided to get an MBA at Wharton, at a time when women were just 20 percent of the class. When I told my mother that I was going to business school, she
n o t S y c u L
i decided to get an mba at Wharton… When i told my mother that i was going to business school, she said, “oh, good idea, Katie Gibbs– lots of girls did that in my day.” derstand if you’d gotten divorced,” they’d say, “but you didn’t. We know you as Elizabeth Clement, Mrs. Gregory Clement.” “But I’m not,” I’d argue. Gregory is gone. Melanoma claimed him in 2007, the year of our thirtieth wedding anniversary. I’d been known by his name; now I had to recreate myself for a future that did not include a husband. And what is the proper way to address a widow? Being called Mrs. Clement seemed dishonest. Let’s face it, I had lost my married status and become a single woman again. It’s not that I hadn’t long been a feminist. After getting a master’s degree in English and teaching in a private school in Philadelphia, I woke up to the fact that women could, and were, doing more than teaching school. Not that I didn’t love teaching; it’s just that I felt forced into it by my father, whose four sisters, all Wellesley College graduates, were teachers.
said, “Oh, good idea, Katie Gibbs– lots of girls did that in my day.” (Katherine Gibbs was then mostly a secretarial school; today it is much more. The Norwalk branch is called Gibbs College.) This is what I was up against in terms of where I came from, so it’s no surprise that it never occurred to me to keep my name when I got married in 1977. And Gregory was a successful architect; I considered myself less important and hid behind my married status. But after he died, there was nowhere to hide. I felt that I needed to carve out an entirely new identity for myself as a woman on her own. My reasons are unique to my own situation; it is my choice, and others may not agree with it. I believe that every woman, at marriage, divorce, or widowhood, must decide what is right for her.
Gregory and I adopted our daughter Lili from China in 1994. She is now faced with having a mother with a different last name from hers, and I fear it’s been tough during her high-school years. But as the women’s rights that Lucy Stone fought for are under increasing attack, I’ll tell my daughter about her. Perhaps she’ll keep her own name when she marries. Then we’ll both be Lucy Stoners.
Elizabeth Spaulding Titus is a freelance writer living in Weston and the Upper West Side.
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Speaker’s Corner by Jo Bryan The Expat Connection makes settling in easier
State of Mind by Bob Marrow A Jew in the Church of the Resurrection
School Road Rye High School presents Pippin, and Little Shop of Horrors
Acts of Kindness CharlieDog and Friends toys promote animal rescue by Suzy Allman; The Wig Exchange supports women with cancer.
In Your Own Backyard by Thomas G. Fiffer What waits to be examined, assessed, considered, and finally, dispensed with.
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Rye exPATS By Jo Bryan
End of YEar PartY at Crawford Park
oving is ranked one of the top five most stressful experiences in life, according to experts. Uprooting the whole family and moving to a new country/continent brings with it a whole new set of challenges. Leaving the comfort of familiar surroundings, the support of family and friends, and “starting all over again” can be overwhelming, especially with a young family in tow. No one knows exactly when the Expat Connection group was established in Rye, but Tracey Shaw (the longest serving member) remembers being part of a relatively small group of expat families 14 years ago, and meeting for coffee once a month. In 2007, I took over running the group, moving from the UK to Rye with my family in August 2005. The group was a lifeline when we arrived, and it was a huge comfort to be able to talk to other women who were going through, or who had already gone through, a similar experience. Small things like the kids coming home from school upset because they didn’t understand terminology can become huge stumbling blocks in the early weeks and months. Thinking we speak the same language while often we don’t (“pants” meaning “trousers,” not under garments, “jello/jelly,” “jelly/jam,” “period/full stop,” “recess/play time” and many other examples) can be traumatic for everyone. The group has grown rapidly, and currently has 135 families living in and around Rye.
It’s amazing how many obstacles you come lay down roots and make Rye our home. “Meeting expats experiencing the same across when you move here. Things we all take for granted back home now require struggles, highs and lows as ourselves was very local knowledge: finding pre-school places, comforting! The ‘veteran’ expats are a wonderful doctors, dentists and where to shop, having to source of knowledge and wisdom for ‘newbies.’ take a NY driving test (even though most of We have made true friendships through the expat us have been driving since we were 17), completion of numerous forms, organizing vaccinations for the kids before they can start school, not having a credit rating here, plus many other hurdles, and not many people know this before they arrive. The group is made up of many nationalities: Australian, Belgian, British (English, Scottish, Welsh), Shoba & Johan rutSaErt, nataSha Colombian, Dutch, Finnish, French, van vEEn, Sandra van boEtzElaEr German, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, New Zealand, Norwegian, network,” says Judith, a member from Ireland. “I lived happily in Philly for five years without Polish, Russian, Swedish, Swiss, South African and Turkish. Many families are here for two access to an expat group, however on coming to to three years, but a large number have lived Rye I found it really helpful. As we embarked on here for much longer, bought houses and the green card process and eventually citizenship, now consider Rye (or surrounding towns and it was wonderful to have others to advise you,” villages) their home. Some have even gone on Cliona, also from Ireland, adds. Through regular emails between members to become US citizens. Lasting friendships develop early on, and of the group, you can always find someone to strong bonds are quickly formed with families help with what you need, and requests have who have similar aged children to your own. ranged from one of our members training to be In the absence of family, it has been comforting a massage therapist looking for a pregnant lady to watch our children grow with what we now to practice on, to someone looking for a feather consider our extended family. We’re fortunate boa for a costume party that night. Families soon discover their electrical to live in such an amazing community, and within months of arriving here we decided to appliances don’t work here due to the difference
in voltage, so “Ex-bay” has become a great way to sell or buy items via emails through the group network. Everything and anything is sold and bought, and bargains can be picked up when families leave and can’t take appliances or large furniture with them. It’s also a great way for new families to purchase ‘nearly new’ items when they arrive. “If I had been able to join the group before we arrived, I would have taken advantage of the market for second hand electrical goods – nothing from the UK works here!” says Lindsay, from the UK. “The group has the most amazing network for buying and (lEft to right) liz bradlEY, traCEY Shaw & Jo brYan.
selling — anything from houses to theater tickets — and that is a terrific service to be able to benefit from.” Cliona adds. Over the years the group has collected a huge amount of information, advice and recommendations from past and present members. It’s reassuring to know there’s a group of people willing to share their experiences, whose advice you can trust and whose recommendations and information is invaluable. With this in mind, I recently designed and built the website www.ryeexpats.com as a central location to store this information for existing members, and as a point of reference for anyone thinking about moving to the area. Being able to maintain it from home means the data is kept up-to-date and new information can be added as soon as I receive it. Families arrive here knowing very little, so when they need a recommendation for things like a local plumber, electrician, dentist, restaurant, or they come across yet another great restaurant or store selling home comforts, (what would we do without Post Road Market in Rye?) it’s great to be able to update the website immediately and know the information comes “Tried & Tested.” The website is a work in progress and I plan to expand the site to cover areas such as real estate and travel. The membership year runs from September
to June and members receive a monthly e-newsletter with details of upcoming events and useful information. Volunteers help out by organizing monthly coffee mornings and nights out/in for the girls, an annual golf day for the boys, plus ad-hoc events including family gettogethers at Easter and Christmas. The highlight of the membership year is an end-of-year party, which is always a sell-out event! Members of the group take an active part in the local community, and regularly volunteer at the Carver Center in Port Chester, Twig Antiques in Rye, plus numerous volunteer positions in the local schools. Liz Bradley and Cliona Cronin handle the monthly meal deliveries to homebound seniors, as well as organizing two “Seniors’ Breakfasts” which are funded and staffed by the group. The group includes many women who gave up careers either to start a family or to move here, and there is a huge skill-set among us. It’s exciting to see so many of us pursuing new interests here and challenging ourselves in different areas. We have a travel specialist, fitness instructors, realtors, nurses and midwives, photographers, a sewing & upholstery teacher, musicians, massage therapists, and some have gone on to find success in starting a new career. So what are the best things about living here? The top responses are the general quality of life, being part of an amazing community, the excellent education system and schools within walking distance. Living in such close proximity to New York City, the beach and ski slopes also come high on the list, as well as being able to enjoy “proper” seasons with fresh clean air, blue skies and an amazing amount of sunshine throughout the year. Who wouldn’t want to live here? For more information about Expat Connection please email email@example.com. A few ad hoc comments from members: “Arriving six months pregnant in a snowy new place with a two-year-old in tow, the group was the best lifeline I could have ever had. An automatic network of friendly women who had already gone through the settling in process and were there to provide guidance/meet for a coffee or
just organize your social life as you acclimatized and found new firm friends. I couldn’t have settled as quickly as I did without it.” –Sarah, UK “It’s nice to be able to phone someone from a supermarket and ask ‘what’s a chicken tender?!’ –Lindsay, UK “I think we are very lucky to be living in this area as it has so many positives and we have found it easy to settle in. I also think the expat group does a fantastic job as no matter how many times you have moved, it is invaluable to have a friendly local contact who can suggest where to get a good takeout, find a pre-school, etc. The hardest thing about moving is always making new friends and the Rye expat group provides an easy way to meet lots of people in the same position as you.” –Helena, UK “I love the expats! The Expat Connection is the most well-run, extremely helpful and useful organization in Rye!! Can’t do without you.” –Fiona, Scotland “There is always someone willing to have some fun, try something new or share an experience with you, so you really don’t need to feel lonely. We all have to learn to reach out, because there’s always someone in the group who can help. Just pick up the phone and ring anyone on the group list and if they can’t help you, they’ll certainly find someone who can.” –Liz, UK “The feeling of ‘being in it together’ helped in a very different way. Some people avoid getting close to expats because they form strong friendships and then some of us leave. Initially, I took this keeping their distance to heart but the group puts it into perspective. Now we are staying here long term, I rarely come across this attitude.” – Lesley, UK
voluntEEring at thE CarvEr CEntEr SEniorS’ ChriStmaS brunCh: lESlEY mCmillan, nanCY blYthE, Carol annEtt, liz bradlEY, Cliona Cronin, nikki daviES, JanE brEnham-williamS, fiona kEllY, Jo brYan.
Jo Br yan worked in IT and Project Management at Bank of America in London before marrying husband Mike and becoming a full-time mother to two children, now in 7th and 9th grade at Rye Middle and High School. In addition to running the Rye Expat group she enjoys creating photographic art. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
state of mind
A JeW In THe CHURCH oF THe ReSURReCTIon By Bob Marrow
t was early morning and I was being driven crazy. My step-daughter was screaming at her four and a half year old son, he was screaming back at her, she was trying to enforce a “time-out;” he was hitting her and calling her stupid. My wife’s elder daughter, her husband, their son and a rather large dog had been living for months with my wife and me in our single family home in Rye, NY. It would be almost a year before they moved into a house of their own in New Jersey. It was not an unusual story in this tough economy, however, my peaceful retirement,
on Nassau Street in front of a Catholic Church, and I needed a warm rest. For some reason I knew the doors of the Catholic church would be open, and they were. I went in and sat down towards the back. It was a beautiful cathedral with vaulted ceilings, nooks with statues of saints, stained glass windows allowing muted light to enter, and a statue of Jesus quietly overlooking it all. The longer I sat there the more peaceful I felt. Then I returned to my mother-in-law’s hospital room. So, when I entered the Church of the Resurrection that morning on the way to the
I decided to apply the love and forgiveness that filled these services and I tried, not always successfully, to be nicer, kinder and more communicative to my step-daughter and her husband. my privacy, my tranquility, my ability to read and write thoughtfully had been taken from me. There was nothing I could do about it. They were family and we weren’t going to throw them out. So, that morning I tried to escape. I got dressed and drove towards the Rye Free Reading Room, a quaint name for our local library. There I could find comfortable chairs, books, computers accessing the Internet and quiet. It wasn’t home – but, it was better than home at that moment. When I was a few blocks away I realized that I had a half hour to kill before the library opened at 9:30. I was passing the Church of the Resurrection on the Post Road and there was a parking space right in front. I stopped and went in. This might seem unusual for a 70-year-old Jew, but there was a precedent. A few months earlier my wife and I had been visiting her mother in the Princeton University Hospital, and I was getting cabin fever. Although it was cold outside, I decided to take a walk. After about half an hour I was
Rye Library, I expected an empty building with a nave, aisles, altar, transept, chancel, statues of saints and Jesus, stained glass, peace and quiet. To my surprise, nine o’clock Mass was just beginning and there were about fifty parishioners spread out and seated in the pews. I almost turned and left, but decided to stay, to watch, to listen, to learn. I had never been to a Mass before. Being Jewish, I had always considered Christianity to be somewhat hostile and angry about the way Jesus had died. But this Mass was anything but hostile and angry. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament were read; the readers ending both portions with the declaration, “The Word of the Lord,” which was repeated by the worshipers. The sermon was about forgiveness, not blame. I decided to return to the church, and attended Mass about once a week. I always encountered the same warmth and love expressed from the pulpit and by all those in attendance, particularly when they (we) turned to each other and gave a Sign of Peace.
I couldn’t and wouldn’t take Communion, but I did sit quietly, sometimes kneeling, and waited while others filed forward and returned to their seats. I decided to apply the love and forgiveness that filled these services and I tried, not always successfully, to be nicer, kinder and more communicative to my step-daughter and her husband. (I never had trouble with my grandson – we had a very loving relationship.) I told my wife and others about these experiences in church. The others found it interesting, perhaps amusing; but my wife was disturbed. Although we never were formally practicing Jews, she wanted to know, “Why can’t you find spiritual comfort in our own religion, in a synagogue?” I had my answers, but I realized they were uninformed since I knew as little about Judaism as I did about Christianity. At a chance meeting after an American Legion Veterans Day Ceremony I spoke to Rabbi Robert Rothman, a distinguished scholar who had retired some years earlier from active leadership of the synagogue in Rye. He had just finished an eloquent Benediction and I told him about my church-going. I elaborated in an email and he agreed to meet and talk about my quest for spiritual fulfillment, if that was what it was. Rabbi Rothman did what he could in an hour’s conversation, but realized that I needed more information and reflection. He recommended two books, which I immediately purchased and read. There is no tidy ending to this story. A search for knowledge and spiritual fulfillment has no end, tidy or otherwise. I still go to Mass sometimes. I know that I will not convert to Catholicism. Neither have I joined a synagogue, but it’s never too late. I am still studying, and learning what some very learned men discovered and continue to discover in the words of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I may find what I’m searching for, and maybe I won’t. However, the path to understanding is satisfying in itself. I will continue patiently along that path until I find out where it leads.
Bob Marrow, (NYU Law ‘65) Of Counsel to the NYC firm of Salon, Marrow, Dyckman, Newman & Broudy, now practices from his home in Rye where he writes, plays golf, rows a sculling shell and sails an 23’ Alberg sloop. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
THE NEXT CHAPTER
A PENNY PINCHER IS BORN YOU’RE FIRED!! Those were the words 23-year-old Melinda Arkin heard from her boss at Neiman Marcus after being consistently 2 -5 minutes late every day. This would have been devastating for any other young retail sales executive, but not Melinda. She took this as an opportunity to make her mark on the world. She knew she was a skilled salesperson, frequently making the top 10 sales list, as well as having a keen eye for buying and merchandising. She also had a great personality and a client list a mile long. After being let go Melinda thought long and hard about how she could continue to do what she loved, (selling and buying) still keep in touch with all her great clients, and not have a boss to answer to. Having been a consignment and thrift store shopper as a young girl, she decided to return to her roots. She decided to open a consignment shop. Not your average, run of the mill thrift store, but something more unique. At the time, she never would have guessed that she would one day be the owner of a beautiful, 6,000 square foot store that can rival any Madison Avenue boutique. With an initial $5,000 investment, Melinda rented a 350 square foot store, had some business cards made up, bought some used fixtures and called all of her old Neiman’s clients. She made them an offer they couldn’t refuse – give her all of their unwanted clothing and accessories and she would give them a percentage of the selling price. They were thrilled and they became Melinda’s first consignors at the Penny
Pincher. Over time the business continued to grow. At the insistence of her then-fiancé, Rick, she expanded into a bigger space and incorporated children’s clothing, home furnishings and jewelry into the mix. After several moves and continuously upgrading her merchandise selection, today the Penny Pincher is the only consignment shop of its kind. It was voted best consignment shop in Westchester in 2006. The selection of designer handbags, clothing and shoes from designers such as Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Manolo and Louboutin just to name a few, is incredible. We have to mention the fabulous selection of fine jewelry, and unique costume and sterling silver as well. It will really make you say, “Wow!” Melinda has worked her way up the ranks. Through her tireless work ethic she has built a mini-empire. The Penny Pincher is open 7 days a week, has a successful E-bay store, and employs a staff of seven that is just as dedicated to the Penny Pincher as she is. Melinda feels blessed to work with such an incredible group of women. So what more could a girl who got fired from Neiman’s want — nothing. They did right by Melinda and prepared her for the role of a lifetime. Open seven days: Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursdays to 7 p.m.;Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. 184 Rte 117 by Pass Rd., Bedford Hills, New York. 914/241-2134. www.pennypincherconsignment.com.
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acts of kindness
thE firSt rElEaSE of CharliEdog Soft toYS, dESignEd bY kathY voErg, arE (lEft to right) ClYdE thE Cat, CharliE, a ShEPhErd-ColliE mix; murPhY, a Pit bull and hoSPital thEraPY dog, and gYPSY, an auStralian CattlE dog.
CHARLIeDoG AnD FRIenDS By Suzy Allman
ON A CHILLy
in January, I was driving west on NY 17 toward Watkins Glen. In my lap a smallish black and white pit bull was trembling. “Sarah” — the name given to her by New York Animal Care and Control, the city’s shelter system was still in a state of fear from her three weeks in lock-up, which could have ended very badly for her. Twenty-four hours earlier, she inhabited a tiny cage at Manhattan’s notorious, high-kill shelter, scheduled to be put to sleep the following day. At the last possible hour, she was adopted by a woman in upstate New York who had seen her story on a Facebook page. I was her volunteer “transport” that night, taking Sarah to her new home. Three hours into the transport — almost to Watkins Glen — Sarah stopped trembling. every night at six o’clock, new york animal care and control releases a list of dogs that will be put to sleep the following day if they are not adopted. This sets a clock ticking, activating a nightly scramble by rescues and dog lovers to save lives. Pictures of the dogs are shared and reshared across the internet. Thousands of followers on Facebook pages like Bruised Not Broken and Urgent Part Two pledge meager dollars to pay for adoption fees. And sometimes, under the right circumstances, a potential adopter steps forward to take a dog, saving its life. If the adopter is out of state, a rescue organization, including a transporter, will be needed to get the dog out of the shelter and delivered to the new home.
What all that has to do with a little start-up toy company in Rye, New York, doesn’t exactly follow a straight line. But when I began planning CharlieDog and Friends last fall, it wasn’t because I wanted to run a toy company. I wanted to do something — anything — to encourage people to adopt their next pet, rather than purchase one from a breeder or other commercial source. And in the process of running numerous transports — twenty or so since February — I’ve seen firsthand the financial straits that tin-pot rescues must navigate, and now CharlieDog and Friends, which launched in May, has a dual purpose. i’ve had a thing for shelter animals since we’d adopted our dogs from an Elmsford shelter — first Charlie, then Wolf (a large shepherd who spent five years on the inside), Joggy-Bear (a deaf lab-dalmation mix, ten years inside) and Pitsy (a gentle pit bull and shelter resident for eleven years). You might have a hard time picturing our medium-sized Rye household with this many large dogs, but try to imagine this: mornings, when you stumble to the kitchen to open some cans of cat food and put on the coffee-pot, and you turn to the crowd of dogs, all oriented toward you, their upturned faces happy and expectant. On one particularly cold morning it struck me: in that moment, the dogs together looked like a picture of stuffed animals on a child’s bed. They are all different colors, different shapes and physiques. They were
the American animal shelter in microcosm. They each had their own story; each had been rescued, redeemed. They knew what a bad day was, and they knew what it meant to be loved and to be grateful. And despite the numbers, the sheer millions of dogs in the American shelter system, they were still utterly unique. Later that morning, hiking the Eastern Loop of Pound Ridge’s Zofnass Family Preserve, I hatched what I now refer to as my hare-brained scheme. A week later, I was looking for my toy designer. i met kathy voerg in new jersey one morning in october. she brought her toy designs — about ten stuffed toys — with her and spread them out on the table of the Rutherford Pancake House, to the amusement of our waiter. Over some pretty decent omelets, we talked about the plan. CharlieDog and Friends would be the first soft toys — the first we knew of, anyway — to be based on real-life animal shelter adoption success stories. Their hang tags would tell their stories, with emphasis on the “happily ever after” ending, and promote the shelters from which they came. They’d have serial numbers and colorful fabric collars, embroidered with the word “Adopt,” that could be removed and worn as bracelets. We’d sell them online — we hoped — and we’d sell the bracelets as well. And, most importantly, we’d make our toy company into a little fund-raising engine for animal shelter and rescue causes. The sales of each toy would benefit the rescue organization that saved their namesake’s life. We both loved animals, loved animal rescue causes. We’d both made recurring donations to our favorite shelters. We’d both experienced that helpless feeling of knowing our small contributions were mere microscopic drops in the ocean of needed funds these organizations rely on to operate. “How did you find me, anyway?” Kathy asked. “I googled it. ‘Toy Designer, New York.’ Your name came up first.” “Really? That’s so weird. You mean there’s nobody else?” “Nope. Believe me, I would have hired them.” kathy and i looked for our first group of dogs (and one cat) to represent in soft-toy form. We used the Internet and Facebook to find pets that were colorful, engaging, and, above all, rescues. This led us to Gypsy, a sublimely-colored blue heeler rescued in upstate New York, and Clyde, an orange-sherbet colored cat also adopted from Elmsford Animal Shelter. Then we found dogs that went above and beyond mere pet-dom. They were volunteering, making contributions. We found Murphy, a gentle-looking cream-colored pit bull in Virginia who is working as a therapy dog. He defies the stereotype of the pit bull as vicious fighting dog every day as he makes his rounds to sick children and the elderly. Known to wear socks on his paws to keep from slipping on super-slick hospital floors, Murphy the toy also wears his own striped socks. We learned about Sergeant Stubby, a pit bull discovered as a stray on the Yale campus, who later became a decorated World War I hero. His toy wears a chamois coat to replicate the one made for him by grateful women of Chateau-Thierry in France. He’s our only historical dog, and the only one who is no longer with us. Honey, Sway, Peaches. A black dog (they have a harder time finding homes), a blind dog, a pony (they’re rescued, too.) There was seemingly no limit to animals who would make good CharlieDogs. And then, of course, there’s Charlie, my own dog and inspiration. (Here
I’ll freely admit he’s not the model citizen you’d want for your company mascot. He’s selfish. He’s lazy. He has resource-guarding issues, territory issues, issues that have yet to be classified. But he was my first.) Kathy got to work on the prototypes. Between December of last year and February, we’d meet back at the Pancake House whenever she’d finished another model. She’d pull out the stuffed animals and lay them on the table, dangerously close to pancake syrup, as I wondered what other adult business meetings looked like.
fabriC Collar braCElEtS Can bE worn bY humanS (aS braCElEtS), or on thE StuffEd animalS (aS CollarS). thEY arE EmbroidErEd with thE wordS “adoPt” and “rESCuE”.
SuzY allman lEaving thE manhattan ShEltEr with PEaChES, a hEalthY, rESCuEd dEath-row dog.now living with a familY in nEw JErSEY.
Of the 23 million people who will get an animal next year, 17 million have not decided whether they will adopt or buy. If they could be convinced to adopt, that would be 17 million people vying for 3 million homeless pets in America. she would be the first to say so. One time I told her she should stop and take a breather. She briefly agreed. And then she said, “What am I supposed to do? Just let them die?” And so we found another target for our donations. Sarah, rESCuEd from dEath row in thE nEw York CitY ShEltEr SYStEm, in thE armS of hEr nEw ownEr’S Son trEvor, a dEvEloPmEntallY diSablEd man living in watkinS glEn, nEw York. Sarah haS StartEd training aS a thEraPY dog. ShE waS mY firSt “tranSPort”.
there is something bittersweet about bringing a dog home from the
shelter, because for every one you adopt, there are about a million more equally-deserving dogs that will never see a home, will never know a life outside the crate of a shelter. And the problem isn’t that there aren’t enough homes to go to every dog. Of the 23 million people who will get an There is something oldanimal next year, 17 million have fashioned, even nostalgic, about not decided whether they will adopt Kathy’s designs for CharlieDog, or buy. If they could be convinced physiques a little pot-bellied, to adopt, that would be 17 million arms that encourage an uppeople vying for 3 million homeless the-stairs-to-bed dragging and pets in America. a thump-thumping on every How to convince them? Maybe step, they remind me a little marketing can play a part. of Hobbes, the blank-looking The thing that shelter dogs and stuffed toy tiger from Bill cats have — in spades — is a history. Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. Neglected, abandoned, surrendered. Maybe they look as if they’ve Left behind when the owner died, already been sent through the murPhY, a Pit bull working aS a thEraPY dog moved, married, had a child. Beaten, washer, shrinking in the dryer for ChildrEn in a virginia hoSPital and a modEl tied up, chained; picked up as a stray, to something that looks vaguely for a CharliEdog toY. murPhY’S tradEmark SoCkS arE a fEaturE of thE toY murPhY. discriminated against for their breed. “off ” but no less loved. They’re Sick, injured. Old. cheerful, a little weighty, and On the flip side of those histories is a story of redemption, and those they don’t look like any other stuffed toy you’ll find. Kathy uses whatever fabric she can find to represent the variety of fur are the stories CharlieDog wants to tell: Loving, comical pit bulls in tutus types, from the super-short velour texture of a pit bull, to a deep, soft and hospital socks. War heroes. Of four elderly dogs that I currently own, salt-and-pepper hair of a brindled cattle-dog. We plan to release four two of them — shepherds — hike with me every day, giving me a joy of new models every other month. They all have coral-colored satin inner the outdoors I wouldn’t have known without them. One’s a confirmed jerk whose biggest ambition is to get the leftovers from the night before. ears, our hallmark color. But maybe Charlie’s biggest contribution is yet to come, though I can’t even claim, at this early stage in my company’s life, that I will ever toy designing happened against an almost daily drama of dog transports and rescues from the NY pounds. I’d advanced to driving even make enough to buy Jen a cup of coffee. But this is our one small two dogs in the back of my Honda Element, had taken one of the seats step. What do I know about toy making? Next to nothing. But with out and replaced it with a couple of dog beds. The days were getting next to nothing is how we all start out anyway. How hard can it be? warmer and transport distances were becoming longer. I was taking my CharlieDogs (and collar bracelets) will be available from the website, transports for hikes; we were driving with the windows rolled down. And I met Jen, of Second Chance Rescue. www.charliedogandfriends.com. Proceeds benefit NYC SecondChance Jen’s rescue is actually just a single person, but like a little dog that’s Rescue, with further donations made to the rescue organizations from unaware it isn’t as big as the others, her rescue acts bigger than it really which the real-life adopted dogs and cats came. Sales of Charlie and can afford to. Jen “pulls” dogs from the shelter and the euthanasia list Clyde benefit Pets Alive Westchester (the no-kill shelter from which they all the time. She gets sick dogs into vets. She boards them until they were adopted) in Elmsford, New York. For retail information, email can be fostered. She holds adoption events every weekend to make firstname.lastname@example.org. sure rescued dogs get exposure to potential adopters. And she goes Suzy Allman is a freelance sports photographer living in Rye, New York. into debt on a regular basis, because the price of everything she does She works regularly for The New York Times sports section, shooting New comes out of her own pocket. Jen is not the best business manager — York’s Major-league teams in all the four major sports. www.suzyallman.com.
acts of kindness
THe WIG exCHAnGe In WeSTCHeSTeR SUPPoRTS WoMen WITH CAnCeR THe GIFT oF HAIR – FRoM WoMen WHo’ve Been THeRe SOLE RyEDERS & FRIENDS,
“Having been there, I understand the power of community support,” said Kate a charitable organization based in Rye, NY, Conn, Program Coordinator and cancer formally launched The Wig Exchange, a survivor. “It is our goal to provide a sensitive, new network to provide women undergoing caring and confidential environment for chemotherapy with access to professionally newly diagnosed women not only to provide cared-for wigs donated by cancer survivors, in a quality wig that will lift their spirits but February 2012. also to help them by sharing connections, With generous funding from Tompkins practical advice and personal insights. The Financial Advisors of White Plains, The Wig exchange can help alleviate some of the Exchange is managed under the leadership of emotional and financial stresses that often Sandy Samberg and Kate and Paul Conn. occur during treatment.” “After many months of planning, we Paul Conn, Kate’s husband, remembers formally launched the exchange in February “When Kate lost her hair during chemo, and it has been more successful than we ever she faced her biggest fear. Overnight it imagined. We’re humbled to have received such became harder for us to convince our positive feedback from women undergoing young boys that everything was going to chemotherapy as well as from cancer survivors be okay and that Mommy was actually who have donated their wigs,” said Sandy getting better. Kate was lucky since we Samberg, Founder of Sole Ryeders. could afford a high-quality wig. But it “Hair loss is among the most troublesome side effects for women facing cancer. I was The gift of hair–from women who’ve been there. struck me: what do women who can’t surprised to learn how expensive high-quality wigs are—and that some afford one do? We hope these wigs will also provide a talisman effect insurance companies don’t cover them at all,” she continued. “Without for newly diagnosed cancer patients, since many of the wigs have been a well-made wig, some women become more reclusive than they need to donated by cancer survivors who are keen to pay their wigs forward.” The Wig Exchange’s first client, Camille Bova, who is still undergoing be during chemo. A nice wig can make them feel confident about their chemotherapy, said, “I truly appreciate The Wig Exchange’s enthusiasm appearance during treatment.” With over 125 donated wigs in inventory, The Wig Exchange manages in helping me find a wig on such short notice. Their interest, concern every step of the process: seeking wig donations from cancer survivors, and willingness to help women with cancer look better and feel better working with service partners to have wigs professionally cleaned and about themselves is wonderful.” The Wig Exchange currently serves the Westchester, NY area, with a reconditioned, and subject to inventory, finding the right wig for a cancer patient. Once a successful match is made for a woman undergoing goal of extending to other communities in the near future. Wig donations are tax deductible. chemotherapy, the exchange provides: Sole Ryeders & Friends is a volunteer-driven community-based • Valuable guidance and support from a program coordinator, who is organization that provides and supports local cancer-related programs. a survivor herself. • Access to service partners who can assist with in-home hair cutting Sole Ryeders and Friends has raised over $1 million for cancer related causes since starting its fundraising efforts in 2007. (in preparation for chemotherapy), wig fitting and styling. To learn more about The Wig Exchange, visit www.thewigexchange.org; • Products and supplies associated with the wig. email email@example.com; or call 914/412-4884. • Broader support from the Sole Ryeders & Friends community.
in your own backyard
I decided to clean out the shed, a dilapidated structure at the back of my property filled with the detritus of half-completed and fully forgotten projects. I found mostly what I expected. Bags of potting soil, garden-enhancing chemicals bought for plants that had died long ago, rusty tools, rotting cardboard from old moving boxes, many cans of paint, broken toys, things in need of repair that were really in need of discarding, bubble wrap, packing popcorn, tangled hoses, a red plastic toboggan. The smell of all this moldering stuff (I forgot to mention that the roof of the shed leaks) was overwhelming, enveloping, like the past if you close your eyes and let the stream of images flood across your mind’s screen. Each item had a voice, and all spoke of abandonment. The day was hot, and several varieties of bees and wasps were circulating. I have become convinced there is a nest somewhere in the eaves of the house. I am not afraid of stinging insects now, but I was as a child, because my mother was allergic to bees. She reacted calmly whenever they approached, just walking away. I panicked, dropped whatever I was holding that seemed to be attracting them, and ran. But I am over that now. For some reason, however, as I worked in the shed, dragging things out, determining their fate, sending most to the trash pile, I had the feeling I would be stung. And I was right. In the remains of a cardboard carton filled with tattered letters, dusty journals, art supplies, even an old pair of sandals, all belonging to my ex-wife, I found a cigar box that had, for the most part, escaped the ravages of time and the roof’s permeability. Inside were some photos of her from when we lived in the city. She was wearing the gear for an expensive hobby she’d been pursuing that required daily lessons with an instructor. I knew she had been intimate with this man. And I was not surprised, as I unfolded the two narrow white pages covered with small black letters in her perfect calligraphic pseudo-script, to see that she — a woman who was always writing in journals and always warning me never to read them — had written about it. As I said, I knew the story, at least as she had told it to me. Her version. What I hadn’t known, or perhaps had known but never acknowledged, was clear from the intensity of her words. She had loved this man. Loved him deeply. Hated him for making her love him. Hated herself for loving him. Hated me for being who I was. Hated herself for being with me. Savored her moments of emotional fulfillment with him. Dreaded returning home. It was not these new unshocking truths that I found painful. It was not inhaling the sharp smell of unpleasant memories. It was not the surge of hatred I felt, which always opens the cover of the catalog of reasons why I am not with her any more. It was none of these things. It was finding my abandoned grief in the shed, unnoticed for all the intervening years, perfectly preserved, waiting for me, waiting to be examined, assessed, considered, and finally, dispensed with.
Thomas G. Fiffer posts daily on his blog, Tom Aplomb, on his morning commute from Westport to New York, and is a featured storyteller with MouseMuse Productions.
By Thomas G. Fiffer
thE rYE artS CEntEr
Games, The Games: The Science of Sport highThe Games: The Science of Sport lights the physical attributes of the athletes who Through August 12, 2012 compete. Through the use of 3D animation, Just in time for the London 2012 Olympic and original video as well as cutting-edge forensic computer-generated imagery, this exhibit provides an in-depth look into the unique blend of characteristics that make up an Olympic athlete. The Olympic Games: Art, Culture & Sport Through September 2, 2012 By comparing and contrasting the ancient and modern Olympic Games through objects and art, this exhibition manages to span all of Olympic history. The goal of the exhibition is to educate viewers about the games from antiquity to today through an array of art and artifacts. The Bruce Museum will also be showing the NBC/ Universal Sports broadcasts of the 2012 Olympic Games to accompany the exhibition. 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, CT. For More Information visit www.brucemuseum.org or call (203) 869-0376.
The rye ArTs cenTer
Creative Arts Program This multi-arts center in Westchester County is once again offering plenty of classes and week-long programs for various ages and skill levels. Classes and workshops include painting, drawing, clay, photography, printmaking writing, acting, voice and piano among others in the morning. Afternoon programming includes Manga/cartooning, ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, water-
wEStChEStEr womEn and war: PortraitS bY laura QuartarElla
color, Garageband, writing, and analog/digital photography. Open to ages 4-12. Musical Theatre Workshop The Rye Arts Center will also be offering a Monday through Friday, full day musical theatre program open to all young thespians ages 8-12. Directed by Michael Awusie, the children will be putting on an adaptation of Disneyâ€™s Aladdin. Available three different weeks: August 13, 20, and 27. 51 Milton Road, Rye, NY. For more information visit www.ryeartscenter.org or call (914) 967-0700
hudson river MuseuM Westchester Women and War: Portraits Through September 9, 2012 The Hudson River Museum celebrates the military service of women in Westchester County. Artist Francis Vandeveer Kughler painted portraits of over 40 veterans in order to ensure that future generations would have a living record of our fighting women. In addition to the portraits, there are also 12 newly commissioned photographs of contemporary women veterans who have made a life in Westchester County. 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY. For More Information visit www.hrm.org or call (914) 963-4550.
GALLeRy THE TRENT TUCKER ALL 4 KIDS FOUNDATION CELEBRITY GOLF TOURNAMENT & GALA GAlA AT STK Sunday, September 9, 2012, 7:00pm 346 West 46th St., New York, NY. CelebriTy GOlf TOurnAMenT AT Old OAKS COunTry Club Monday, September 10, 2012 9:00 Registration & Breakfast 3100 Purchase Street, Purchase, NY. (914) 683-6000 Celebrities Attending: Michael Jordan (NBA), Scottie Pippen (NBA), Jeff Gordon (NASCAR), Patrick Ewing (NBA), Charles Oakley (NBA), BJ Armstrong (NBA), Kenny Lofton (MLB), Kris Humphries (NBA), Darrell Walker (NBA) and others. The 2nd Annual Trent Tucker All 4 Kids Celebrity Golf Tournament & Gala is brought to you by All 4 Kids Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, committed to educating at-risk youth academically, personally, socially and physically through a curriculum that expands their horizons and encourages them to participate in new areas of learning, and The Max Cure Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, dedicated to advancing cures for pediatric cancers, funding the development of less toxic treatments for children with the disease and assisting financially challenged and low-income families battling cancer in their children. www.all4kidsfoundation.org www.maxcurefoundation.org. For Sponsorship and Tickets: MJ Pedone (212) 292-4555; MJ@indrapr.com.
JACOB’S CURE “DREAMS BIG” WITH DONNY DEUTSCH Jacob’s Cure, a non-profit foundation created to find a cure for Canavan Disease, a fatal, genetic brain disorder, held its “Dream Big” Gala on May 2, 2012. The evening was hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb and honored advertising executive and television personality Donny Deutsch for his longtime support of the cause. Donny Deutsch has been a champion of Jacob’s Cure since hosting an event to support the
toP to bottom: hoda kotb, donnY dEutSCh, kathiE lEE gifford; hoda kotb, ShErri EPStEin, donnY dEutSCh, Jordana holovaCh, kathiE lEE gifford and ShErri’S daughtEr, raChEl EPStEin; StEfani grEEnfiEld, donnY dEutSCh, Jordana holovaCh
daughter of a close friend in 2005. Since then, he has helped to raise over $3 million for the cause, in addition to raising the profile of the disease to a national level. Over 500 influential New Yorkers in the fields of finance, real estate, fashion, entertainment and sports gathered together at Cipriani Wall Street for a night filled with cocktails, dinner, entertainment and fundraising.
RIvERDALE COUNTRY SCHOOL ROARS WITH THE MAx CURE FOUNDATION FOR PEDIATRIC CANCER CAUSES ON FIELD DAY Riverdale Country School had its 5th annual 6th & 7th grade field day, but this year it took on a new meaning. Two students, Eli and Aliah Banchik, introduced Milton Sipp, Head of Middle School, to The Max Cure Foundation and their newly launched “Dunk Your Kicks” program. Mr. Sipp, who was inspired by this program, brought this initiative to Doug McDonald, Middle School Athletic Coordinator and Director of Physical Education, who then incorporated “Dunk Your Kicks” into the field day, making it into a day that is not just about friendly competition amongst the kids but also a way for them to give back. The “Dunk Your Kicks” program provides a meaningful fundraising opportunity while teaching children the art of giving back as they “dunk” their old “kicks” into recycling bins to help advance a cure for pediatric cancers. For every pair of sneakers donated, Max Cure receives an average of one dollar, which will go to local low-income families living with the disease. The Max Cure Foundation runs “Dunk Your Kicks” in more than 50 schools throughout NJ, CT and NY, but had not incorporated this program into a field day until Riverdale. Children participated in wacky relay races and a fun obstacle course incorporating used sneakers, which they ultimately dunked and donated for pediatric cancer. www.maxcurefoundation.org.
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When Being TOO SOcial iS anTi-SOcial
nce, being called a social host was a compliment on your party planning skills. Not anymore. Now, if you’re lucky, it means you’re only Monday’s gossip at the commuter train platform and the grocery check-out line. If you’re not lucky, it might mean battling a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Who is a Social Host and how can you avoid becoming one? If you’re a parent with teens, it’s not that easy to avoid. In brief, if you’re arrested on a Social Host charge, it means you’ve been accused of allowing teens to drink in your home. Not buying alcohol for teens or serving alcohol to teens; just not doing enough to prevent them from drinking in your home or not stopping them from drinking once you’ve discovered them doing so. Hotter than macarons, and available in as many flavors, Social Host Laws have been popping up across the country, zip code by zip code, ensnaring both innocents and law-breakers. Connecticut has a state version; New York State doesn’t, although Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties do. At first glance, Social Host Laws in our area are seemingly simple affairs. In the four counties of Fairfield, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk, the first offense is either an infraction or a violation. You pay a fine from $250 to $500 and there’s no criminal record. For
By H.M. Epstein
additional offenses, fines can rise to $1,000 and up to a year of jail time gets added into the mix. Only Westchester’s law applies solely to adults twenty-one and older. On Long Island, anyone over eighteen can get arrested and in Connecticut there’s no limit on age. Not so simple, and far more consequential, is the potential for six or seven-figure civil lawsuits if you’re successfully charged as a Social Host and anyone who had been in your home gets injured or injures someone else. In April 2011, a couple from Dix Hills, Long Island hosted a party for their daughter. The kids drank. According to the party guests’ statements to the police, they drank a lot. As we go to press, over a year after the party, Robert and Lorri Gelb are still fighting the Social Host Law charges. It’s not because they can’t afford the $500 in fines for a first offense. It’s probably because Taylor Ann Cavaliere, a popular 16 year old,
was legal for most of us to drink at 18. Prom drinking is ubiquitous, in movies like American Pie and Prom Night, or on TV shows, like every episode of Gossip Girl, including the one with two proms; or Family Guy’s prom episode when Brian, the dog, gets snookered; even Glee has a prom episode where Puckerman spikes the punch. With concerns about inexperienced juniors and seniors trying to cram a year’s worth of alcohol into one night of binging, many high schools offer mandatory school bus transportation to and from prom, with limo companies kicking kids curbside if they get “too drunk.” Some area parents have chosen to ship the party to beach houses in the Hamptons or the Jersey shore towns. The police in those areas are ready for them. Detective Lieutenant Chris Anderson of the East Hampton Precinct says they know which school districts are celebrating prom on any
Renowned New York City criminal defense attorney, Marvin Raskin, called the beach house concept “just parental stupidity.” While he recognizes that “reasonable” parents know that their kids will probably drink, if the parent pays for a location for after-prom or a post-graduation event, once the kids “have the imprimatur of the parent, the liability extends to the parent.” Finally, Raskin says, confirming my suspicions that the security guards don’t offer legal protection, “any facade of hiring a security person to give them instructions of the sort... just described is a fairy tale in the mind of the parents.” Social Host Laws, like fairy tales, may have a moral, but they’re as controversial as the activity they criminalize for four reasons. 1. Guilt is irrelevant. Social Host Laws were created when it became too difficult to prove who provided the alcohol for a
Far MorE consEquEntial is tHE potEntial For six or sEvEn-FigurE civil lawsuits iF you’rE succEssFully cHargEd as a social Host and anyonE wHo Had BEEn in your HoME gEts injurEd or injurEs soMEonE ElsE. staggered away from the house and onto a busy road where she was killed by a car. The driver was sober and wasn’t charged. A convenience store clerk who sold the liquor to the kids was also arrested. Your homeowner’s insurance policy won’t cover the costs if you lose the case. If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor associated with underage drinking, you can also lose your professional license; that includes doctors, lawyers, dentists, teachers, and engineers. If the press makes you look disreputable, it can impact custody arrangements for divorced parents or parental rights if you have younger children at home. What’s a parent to do to protect her family and home? How about export the problem? We all know the intense pressure kids feel to turn prom night into a binge party weekend. Parents’ highly romanticized (or traumatized) memories of prom include alcohol because it
given day and which rentals are most likely being used. “Any police officer in any given jurisdiction has an obligation to enforce and ensure underage minors who are engaging in what can be deemed as adult activities... to step in and ensure that the activities stop,” he says. Recently, a group of Westchester-area parents attending a community coalition meeting were shocked to learn that the laws are more severe in the beach communities where their kids plan to celebrate after-prom. One parent volunteered that security guards had been hired to keep the kids from drinking “too much.” Anderson scoffed at the idea of security guards, saying their job was to protect the house from damage, not protect the kids. Of course, if the teens do get too drunk and start to damage the house, the security guards have three choices: kick them out, call the police or call the ambulance service if they’re out of control. Is that what you had in mind?
group of underage drinkers. Frustrated law enforcement complained they knew who the bad guys were but they couldn’t do anything about it. So, Social Host Laws have much simpler requirements than other alcohol beverage control laws: you’re liable if your name is on the lease or the deed or if you sent out the invitations. That makes the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” irrelevant. It’s now the homeowner’s responsibility to prevent any underage drinking. It’s a difficult standard to live up to, even for involved, caring parents. This is the main reason so many upstanding citizens have been charged under this law across the country: doctors, teachers, school board members, town board members, state representatives, even a Chief of Police and a member of a community coalition advocating for tighter restrictions. That may be true of Connecticut’s law. At a recent public hearing on proposed revisions
to the state’s Social Host Law, the Criminal Justice Division stated that the current Social Host Law makes parents liable even if they’re not present in the house when police find teens drinking. In fact, the testimony specifically suggests parents are liable even if “the parent leaves and goes on vacation.” Does that mean that physical presence, written and/or spoken permission are no longer the legal standard of proof that the host was aware underage drinking took place? 2. They may be unconstitutional. The Illinois Supreme Court overturned the state’s Social Host Law in 2002 because it was considered “unconstitutionally vague.” In February 2012, Massachusetts’ Supreme Court rejected a clause of the state’s civil law that applied to social hosts under the age of 21. In Minnesota and elsewhere, there have been challenges to local ordinances for being unconstitutionally vague. Drafting state statutes is a complex and highly supervised activity while local ordinances are often copies of what the town council up the road did in their community. The result can be local ordinances which are excessively broad, poorly drafted and open to interpretation. The county laws for Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk were carefully written to avoid being vague. Nearly every term is defined and some – but not an exhaustive list of – suggested steps to avoid prosecution are spelled out. That’s not true for Connecticut’s Social Host Law. General terms, including “alcohol,” “minor” and “persons” are defined at the top of the Liquor Control Act, but the key phrases aren’t defined anywhere in the statutes, including the actions that make you liable and the actions that keep you from being liable. Usually, state laws are under more scrutiny than local ordinances, which means a misstep at the state level will be challenged more quickly. 3. Overly broad laws lead to arbitrary enforcement. Constitutional law identifies the lack of “explicit standards for those who apply it” as one of the major paths to “encouraging arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.” When a law is as broad as most Social Host Laws are, the sheriff at your door has to interpret the law as well as enforce it. That can easily translate into inconsistent and injudicious enforcement and favoritism. On Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties passed identical versions of the law, with the intention of presenting a singular
Island-wide voice to stop teen drinking parties. However, according to an award-winning investigative report entitled “The Social Host Project” by Lauren Cioffi, who reported on the law for her senior project as a Stony Brook University student, the two counties enforced the law very differently. Nassau County police charged eight times as many people as Social Hosts as Suffolk County did between 2007 and 2010. Why the discrepancy? In Nassau County, Cioffi reported, appearances counted. The presence of empty alcohol bottles in the same space as minors led to charges. Suffolk County police would only enforce the law if they witnessed minors drinking alcohol or could provide solid proof, even if their “gut” told them otherwise. When laws are too broadly written, the interpretation is left in the hands of local police. 4. Mission creep. Social Host Laws were originally conceived to catch permissive parents and predatory grownups. However, most older versions have broadened the definition of a Social Host from adult to person, and newer versions copied them. When the law applies to adults, it’s defined as 21 and older. Adults, who are considered mature enough to make good decisions about alcohol or face the legal consequences, seem to be appropriate targets if they don’t behave responsibly. However, when the law says person, as Connecticut’s law does, it’s defined as “any natural individual or group of individuals.” That can mean your 17 year old, the hockey coaching staff or you. When the law applies to any age younger than 21, as it does on Long Island, we penalize the same youth we consider too immature to handle drinking, for not handling drinking responsibly. Statistically, in college communities across the country, we find excessive enforcement when compared to the communities adjacent. While this has not yet been studied or proven so in New York or Connecticut, what other reason can there be for expanding the definition of liability to include children? The current Connecticut Social Host Law is so poorly written, many in law enforcement think it’s too weak to catch parents who “look the other way” when teens drink in their home while others think it’s too broad. Regardless, in 2011 alone, 719 Connecticut residents were cited as Social Hosts; that’s an average of 14 per weekend. One of those charged was Lori Underwood, a New Canaan mother who was reported to have been found hiding in her closet, on the
advice of her daughter, when police raided her daughter’s party last August. If true, that’s both humiliating and lame. Brothers David and Pablo Castellanos of Greenwich were charged when police found a group of 15 and 16 year olds drinking in their home. Wondering what the 25 and 23 year old brothers were thinking when they invited high school kids to get drunk in their basement kept me up nights. The deaths of two Ridgefield teens, one 19 years old and one only 16, still haunt Connecticut Representative John Frey (Ridgefield). They were killed in separate accidents driving drunk after attending parties where adults were believed to be present. A third teen committed suicide after the death of his friend. When law enforcement were unable to charge the adults, the Ridgefield Community Coalition, including Chief of Police John Roche and First Selectman Rudy Marconi, invited Frey to a meeting to ask him to help them strengthen the current state law. So, Frey sponsored a revision – House Bill 5360 – intended to make it easier to catch Social Hosts. It passed both houses this spring and Connecticut’s new, harsher law goes into effect October 1, 2012. The new law expands prohibited behavior from knowing teens are drinking on your property to reckless or criminal negligence if they do so without your express permission. The difference means police may charge you as a Social Host even if you truly didn’t know it was happening. For example, if the party is loud enough for the neighbors to hear, then you should have checked on it yourself and stopped the drinking. Be careful, because the penalties have risen dramatically as well. Even first-time offenders will be charged with a class A misdemeanor, fines up to $2,000 and/or up to a year in jail. Expect record rates of arrests of teens and adults in 2013. Northern Fairfield County resident Julie Simmons (this is not the parent’s real name) is lucky that her daughters’ sleepover happened beforehand. She has three popular, smart daughters, the two youngest very close in age. Though she assumed they would want to drink someday, never in her wildest dreams did she expect what happened when the two youngest had a sleepover in middle school. Each girl invited one close friend, and a fifth girl, Jessica (this is not the child’s real name), joined them. As Simmons recalls, “I was woken out of a sound sleep” by one daughter around 1am. “We were drinking, WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
Mom. I’m really sorry.” Simmons rushes to check on Jessica in the bathroom. “This girl is more drunk than any person I have ever seen... she’s practically unconscious.” While Simmons cares for Jessica, she simultaneously assesses the other four girls, who were fine. Simmons reaches Jessica’s parents, offers to call 911, but the mother insists on driving over first. The two women could barely carry Jessica down the stairs to the car. “I would guess she was only about 100 pounds, but it was dead weight.” From being woken to watching the car pull out of her driveway, lasted approximately 15 minutes. Of course, there were some difficult conversations that night and over the next 24 hours. Simmons individually questioned the girls and all four agreed that Jessica had instigated the drinking but one of her daughters had found the vodka. Simmons
“five minutes later, the child is passed out and is non-responsive because the blood alcohol concentration was still rising,” even though the drinking had stopped. Bruce Koffsky, a criminal defense attorney who practices in Stamford and Manhattan, concurs. Call the parents “immediately. Don’t worry about whether those parents [will be upset] that you allowed that child to have vodka. That will pale in comparison to this child having to be intubated...because she’s dying of alcohol poisoning.” Under the proposed new law, could Simmons have been charged with reckless or criminal negligence? Koffsky wonders, “Does [reckless] mean you left your vodka collection, your Gray Goose, your Absolut Citron, upstairs in the kids’ dressing room?” Maybe, I suggest, it means that the vodka is accessible because it’s in the freezer, where I keep mine. Koffsky agrees it’s a question
the past three decades, nationwide and in our local area. The decline in teen alcohol use persists in areas with and without Social Host Laws. However, colleges are unable to make a significant dent in undeniably high bingedrinking rates. This leaves us with three important questions. First, why do we need a controversial “new” law that penalizes parents for not preventing teens from drinking on their property, if we’ve been so successful at reducing the incidence of teen drinking without it? The answer may be that we don’t. We’d like to hear from you. You can visit SocialHostLaw.com to share your thoughts and join the conversation or just read more about the latest news on underage drinking laws in the U.S. Second, what are the unintended consequences of Social Host Laws? We’re seeing more teen parties in foreclosed homes, luxury
iF tHE parEnt pays For a location For aFtErproM or a post-graduation EvEnt, oncE tHE kids “HavE tHE iMpriMatur oF tHE parEnt, tHE liaBility ExtEnds to tHE parEnt.” filled in the other parents the next morning and praised their daughters for handling the crisis well. Jessica’s mother also called early to say Jessica had her stomach pumped and was going to be fine, but the ER doctor urged her to sue the Simmons’. She didn’t. And Simmons’ two youngest daughters were both grounded; the one who found the vodka was grounded the longest. Simmons’ conclusion? “It was unbelievably frightening.” Chief Roche believes Simmons did everything right, although he wouldn’t recommend waiting until the parent arrives; he suggests you call the parent of the ill child and then immediately call for an ambulance. New Canaan defense attorney Matthew Maddox, who often speaks to community groups about the issues surrounding underage drinking, agrees that if the child is in any distress, don’t wait, because, “You don’t want parents becoming paramedics.” Maddox says he’s been involved in cases where an adolescent is intoxicated but not in evident danger, so the host called the parents. However, he recalls,
that needs addressing. “Does ‘recklessly’ mean that everybody has to have a locked liquor cabinet? Is it going to be like a gun safe?” Julie Simmons thinks so. “Lock up your liquor cabinet,” she advises parents. “I don’t think people can be expected to stay up all night... Locking the liquor cabinet would have avoided this situation.” Finally, could Jessica’s family have grounds for a lawsuit? Probably not, since Simmons responded quickly, acted responsibly and didn’t delay contacting Jessica’s parents. However, if her younger daughters had ever been in this situation before or if Simmons knew that Jessica had gotten drunk at someone else’s house, she could have been charged as a Social Host because — in the language of the new law — she recklessly disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk that it could happen again. No one wants teens to drink. We especially don’t want teens to drink irresponsibly. So, we’re happy to share the news that underage drinking rates have been falling steadily over
vacation homes and ones like the thwarted St. Patrick’s Day party at an abandoned mill in Ossining. Bush parties are popular in the southwest. Are we driving teen drinking further underground? Why, when in 30 states, parents can legally educate their own kids about how to drink responsibly? Third, how do we teach our kids to become responsible adults when so many laws require we watch over them like heat-seeking missiles? When our baby-boomlets reach their thirties in ten years, will we find we’ve raised a generation completely untrained to fend for themselves or will they transcend their shackles and rise above our fears?
H.M Epstein is a parent advocate seeking to help caring, involved parents navigate the tricky issues of underage drinking and the law. Her goal is to answer the question: How can we protect our families and ourselves if good parents are criminalized when teens disobey their rules? Learn more at SocialHostLaw.com or at Facebook.com/SocialHostLaws.
wHat to do iF you discovEr tEEns drinking in your HoME By H.M. Epstein socialHostlaw.com
Uh oh. You come home unexpectedly from a boring movie and find dozens of teens staggering and vomiting among the daylilies. Or maybe you wake up because the bass thrum from the basement stereo is making your headboard vibrate. You discover the small sleepover for three you approved has become a pajama party for twelve girls and a pitcher of Cosmos. What do you do then? The police will tell you that your first call should be to them. Your child will tell you that you should leave. Your pastor will tell you that you must minister to the sick and ensure that all of the guests are safe from harm. Your defense attorney will say to put him on speed dial. Legality. Morality. Practicality. Choose just one path because that’s all you’ll have time to do before the situation worsens. Protecting your family, yourself and all the minors simultaneously may not be possible, the way many local Social Host Ordinances and civil liability laws are written. Crisis managers talk about the importance of triage; finding inebriated teens in your home is a crisis. So, here are some triage steps to try, if you discover your home being used by minors as a neighborhood bar. Be stealthy. Don’t come in yelling, or even announcing your presence. You have mere seconds to assess the situation. Remember, your goal is not just to stop the drinking; it’s to ensure that things aren’t worsened by your presence. When parents or police charge in, kids start running. That often leads to terrible accidents. How many are there? When the numbers are overwhelming, you need to call the police. A mom in Westchester County, New York was knocked down by a football player when she tried to make him stop drinking. A former principal in Spokane, Washington was punched and killed by a high school student when he tried to break up a party at an absent neighbor’s home. Your kid will be furious with you. Parents of children who get cited for drinking will ostracize you. You may live to regret it, but the point is you’ll live and so will all of the unwanted guests. Does anyone look asleep or ill? When in doubt, call 911. If you can’t wake them, call 911. Are they drinking or drunk? Kids who are drinking will stop when you ask them to. Kids who are drunk will ignore you or argue with you. If they stop, you then have the luxury of time to assess the situation and determine next steps. If they argue with you, you give them two choices: put down the alcohol or you’re calling the police. In either
case, your minimum responsibility under many Social Host Laws is to contact their parents or guardians. Did they drive or walk over? Don’t bother asking the unwanted party guests for their car keys. They may lie or have a second set. To ensure the teens’ safety and to protect yourself against civil liability, forget the keys; you have to disable the cars. Many sites give advice about pulling fuses but you can’t open a car’s hood without the keys. Instead, grab a can of spray paint and cover the windshield thickly with paint. It doesn’t damage the windshield (but avoid spraying the bodywork), it can’t be removed with window washer fluid, and even a drunk won’t try to drive blind. It takes time to scrape off the paint. At the very least, it buys you time. It also makes a great natural consequence for the would-be DUI driver. We’re not suggesting this is an easy scenario for anyone to handle. However, with a few deep breaths, a respect for the precarious balancing act that is parenting teens, and a little bit of luck, you — and your daylilies — will both survive.
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The Quest to Run Right by A. J. Jacobs
I AM IN A CHAIN of sixty people, a sort of conga line without the Gloria Estefan music. Hands on one another’s shoulders, we are snaking our way through a park in Harlem. About half of the human chain wears no shoes. Many other feet are encased snugly in red or yellow or black Vibram FiveFingers shoes— those gloves for the feet that my kids call “monkey shoes.” Others have fashioned their own footwear. Two college-age guys have taken flat rubber soles, attached leather straps, and entwined them gladiator-style around their calves. I’m here at the meeting place for the first annual Barefoot Run in New York, led by the high priest of shoeless jogging, Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run. We will soon set out across Manhattan, but first we are warming up by pattering around Marcus Garvey Park. The organizers have hired two guys in tracksuits to thump African drums to get us in the barefootrunning mood before we head downtown. Not that this herd of runners needs it, really. They are already converts.
The conversations revolve around the time they saw the light. That moment they revolted against the footwear industry, and threw off their well-padded, over-engineered lace-up chains. “I just said F it, and took off my shoes!” recounts a woman in red shorts. They talk about their freedom from plantar warts and aching arches. I’m working on my feet this month because they are a huge, and often overlooked, health hazard. Americans suffer an estimated nine million foot injuries a year. And as I get older, I can look forward to more and more malfunctions. They take a beating, those feet. Even a lazy American still walks the equivalent of the earth’s circumference in his or her lifetime. I spot McDougall. He’s a tall man with his Vibrams tucked into the waistband of his forest-green shorts. A purple do-rag covers his bald head. I introduce myself. He’s warm and welcoming—and just as surprised as anyone that his “niche book,” as he calls it, sold nearly a million copies and started a movement. The idea of the 2009 tome
From DROP DEAD HEALTHY by A.J. Jacobs. Copyright © 2012 by A.J. Jacobs. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
is simple. Our feet evolved to run barefoot, which is what humans have been doing for thousands of years. Then along came these foot prisons called shoes. In the 1970s, Nike made everything worse with their fixation on soft padding. Instead of preventing injuries— which is what sneakers promised—they actually caused them. They encouraged us to land hard on the heel, putting stress on the knees and the shins. McDougall’s ideal runners are a tribe in Mexico’s Copper Canyon called the Tarahumara, who wear slender pieces of rubber strapped to their feet. I bought Vibrams a few months ago. When I brought them home, Julie and the boys had a nice belly laugh at the way they looked on my feet. “Poor Ashton Kutcher. He can’t wear them,” Julie said, showing me a line in the manual that says Vibrams won’t fit on webbed feet. Apparently, Kutcher has webbed feet. My wife’s knowledge of pop
Bare feet! In
the cIty! It’s lIke columbus Avenue hAs merged wIth your bedroom, or hAs mAgIcAlly trAnsformed Into A cArIbbeAn beAch. culture knows no bounds. I took a couple of runs in them. I haven’t yet decided on whether I prefer them to sneakers. The Vibrams have their advantages: The rubber is so thin, you feel like you’re jogging around New York in bare feet. You can make out the contours of the curb with your toes. Which is liberating and hilarious, an almost naughty, sensation. Bare feet! In the city! It’s like Columbus Avenue has merged with your bedroom, or has magically transformed into a Caribbean beach. And so far, no rusty nails or blisters. I’m wearing my Vibrams for today’s run. I wish I could have gone full McDougall, but I’m germaphobic, and fear contact between my naked soles and the sidewalk, so Vibrams it is. McDougall gathers us round to give us a primer on technique. We’re told to land lightly on the front of the foot and let the heels just kiss the ground. Take small steps. Cushy sneakers encourage long strides because the heels don’t hurt as they pound the ground. But that’s not what humans are meant to do. And also, try to pull your legs up instead of stomping them down.
“Think of it like you have pancakes on your upper thighs, and you’re trying to raise your knees to flip them,” McDougall says. And perhaps, most important, it’s about being joyful when you run. And with that, off we go. We trot west on 125th Street, past shops and street vendors selling Bob Marley posters. We look a little odd, flipping our imaginary pancakes, and we do not go unnoticed by the pedestrians. “Put on some damn shoes!” “Stop running like a bunch of girls!” (The toe running does have a certain prancing tenor to it.) “White people are taking over Harlem!” We enter the park and head up a gentle hill, making our way toward the reservoir. I catch up with McDougall, and we pat along. “Look at this,” he says, stopping and showing me the bottom of his foot. It’s midnight black. “Do you worry about stepping on things?” I huff. “It doesn’t bother me. I live in rural Pennsylvania, so I step in all sorts of things. Horseshit, you name it. You learn to avoid the sharp objects,” he says. I ask him to critique my running. “You’ve got a heel-heavy stride, man!” I land too hard on the back of my foot. I try leaning forward more. “That’s better,” McDougall says. I tell him that I sometimes run on the treadmill at the gym, which I suspect he thinks is a bad idea. I’m right. “You tend to want to race the treadmill, so you take big strides,” he says. “If you have to do it, my advice would be to go right up to the front of the treadmill, so your hips are right against the bars. Not to get too carnal about it, but get up there and go at it,” he mimes a dry hump. It may seem lascivious, McDougall says, but at least you’ll be taking smaller steps. McDougall trots off to help another runner. A few minutes later, we’re running down a Central Park path, all sixty of us, when we see a stocky jogger heading right toward us. He grimaces as he tries to navigate his way through this river of halfbarefoot people. “Oh, come on!” he shouts as he brushes by us. “Wow, he seemed angry,” I say. “I think it’s because he was wearing shoes,” says a barefoot woman. We laugh. “They were probably too tight and giving him bad energy.” “He’s like the Grinch. His shoes are two sizes too small,” calls out another runner. I love being an insider, a member of the shoeless Mafia. Those poor squares trapped in their sneaker jails. But as for the pure joy of running that McDougall speaks about? I’m not feeling it.
A. J. JACOBS is the author of The New York Times bestsellers The Year of Living Biblically, My Life as an Experiment, and The Know-It-All. He has been called “inspired and inspiring” (Vanity Fair), “entertaining” (The New York Times), and “hilarious” (Time). He is the editor at large of Esquire magazine, a contributor to NPR, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City with his wife and kids. Visit him at AJJacobs.com and follow him on Twitter @ajjacobs. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
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JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE ART WORLD: CHINA by Dan burstein / PhotograPhs by Julie o’Connor we were still on china time, bedazzled by what we had just seen on a two week adventure through Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing— and the amazing new world of art and artists that is flourishing in China. My wife Julie and I, jet lagged as we were, managed to make it across the street to see the holiday ceramics display by our Weston neighbor (and one of America’s leading ceramicists), Frances Palmer. Frances’s barn is bustling with the once-ayear energy of her holiday sale. We run into
her daughter Daphne who works at the Pace Gallery in New York’s Chelsea arts district. Just 48 hours earlier we had been at Pace in Beijing, which is a mecca for edgy art in China. Turns out Daphne, who studied Mandarin, is occasionally deployed as a liaison between the Pace galleries in New York and Beijing. She is familiar with the arts scene in Beijing and knew about many of the Chinese artists we had just met. Two days later, we run into another Weston friend with a China arts connection:
We mention that we had just passed by Ai Weiwei’s home in the Caochangdi arts district on the outskirts of Beijing the week prior and she reveals that Ai Weiwei had done her portrait when he lived in New York’s East Village in the 1980s. The interconnectedness of our Weston community and China should come as no surprise. As the world’s fastest growing economy, China is shaking up and redefining the global order. The “China factor” will
opposite: Masks, Red town CReative Zone, shanghai. the ReMains of the old shanghai no. 10 steel faCtoRy now houses the shanghai sCulptuRe MuseuM and a ColleCtion of Cafes, gift shops and offiCes. pitChed as a “CReative Zone,” Red town has beCoMe populaR with faMilies and weekendeRs who CoMe to piCniC aMong the fReestanding sCulptuRes in the gRassy CentRal aReas. this show was paRt of an inteRnational expo on the theMe of “CReative pRoduCtivity.” below: billboaRd foR the Zeng fanZhi exhibition at the newly established hong kong outpost of the gagosian galleRy; “Q ConfuCius #2” by Zhang huan, RoCkbund aRt MuseuM, shanghai 2011. CRafted fRoM steel, siliCone, CaRbon fibeR, and aCRyliC, the statue of ConfuCius is aniMatRoniC; its Chest Rises and falls to siMulate bReathing.
affect virtually every aspect of our globalized society, and that includes the arts. Indeed, the new Chinese arts world is being fueled by several important factors that make for a “perfect cultural storm.” • Chinese artists today have more freedom to express themselves and to undertake political and social commentary than any other group of intellectuals (although as Ai Weiwei’s case— and many less publicized cases demonstrate— it’s still a rocky road and China still has a long way to go). • Huge upheavals in recent Chinese history,
the nearly 180 degree shift in political values from socialism to capitalism, and the fiery stew of contemporary societal challenges (from rampant consumerism to overwhelming environmental pollution to human rights and the long-term implications of one-child families) give Chinese artists important “material” to work with. • With China now home to at least 115 billionaires according to Forbes, there is an expanding domestic market for the work of Chinese artists, both contemporary and traditional. Nowhere else is the art market so frenzied in the race to discover the next great artist. Artprice, a database that tracks global art sales, recently reported that, after 13 straight years in which Picasso led all other artists in the total paid for an artist’s works at auction during the year, he was overtaken in 2011 by two Chinese artists most Westerners have never heard of: Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), whose works sold for an aggregate of $507 million in 2011, and Qi Baishi (1864-1957) whose works garnered $445 million last year. The highest prices for a living artist in 2011 also went to Chinese artists, led by Zeng Fanzhi, whose retrospective we saw in Hong Kong at the new Gagosian gallery. “2011 definitively confirmed Chinese domination of the art market... China is now incontrovertibly the world’s leader,” declares Artprice. julie is particularly interested in women
artists and we have asked our consultants to introduce us to interesting women artists and arrange studio visits. In Beijing, our guide is Megan Connelly, a native New Yorker and Smith College grad who speaks endearingly fluent Mandarin, and has been an advisor to major museums and collectors for a decade. In Shanghai, we relied on Xhingyu Chen, an art critic who was born in Hunan, but grew up in New York City and is now back in China. It is our first morning in Shanghai. We are staying at the venerable Peace Hotel on the Bund, enjoying the art deco design and the spectacular nighttime view of the river traffic and the Pudong skyline. Xhingyu leads us up the Bund to the Rockbund Art Museum, which is supported by the Rockefeller Group, as part of its sweeping restoration of a million square feet of once gracious Bund properties. The museum has been given over to a special installation by artist Zhuang Huan, whose focus is on the enigmatic meaning of Confucius WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
above: dai Qing, in fRont of heR aRt woRk at thRee on the bund galleRy, shanghai. Right: xiong wenyun, at heR hoMe and studio in fRont of a photogRaph fRoM heR “Moving Rainbow” seRies. this iMage is “xuejila Mountain — MotoRCade no. 1.”
in contemporary China. Entering Rockbund, we see a giant hyper-realistic bust of a naked Confucius, five or six times larger than life, rising out of a pool of water with a mechanical beating heart. The beard and eyebrows are at once hideous and yet highly human, the face and water are placid and yet terrible. On the floor above, a life size robotic Confucius lies quietly in a steel cage, and then periodically stands up, raves like a madman, and then collapses again. We find ourselves spending the rest of the day talking about the meaning of Zhuang Huan’s work. We visit a gallery space inside the vertical luxury mall building known as 3 on the Bund (designed by architect Michael Graves) and meet a sweet, soft spoken artist in her 30s, Dai Qing, who once studied classical Chinese music. But when we look at her work, the quiet, gentle Ms. Dai has morphed into a conjuror of
left: entRanCe to the wuhao CuRated shop in beijing founded by isabelle pasCal. this was the Childhood hoMe of eMpRess wan Rong, befoRe she MaRRied the last eMpeRoR of China, puyi, and Moved to the foRbidden City at the age of 17. wooden ChaiR CReated by Zheng hai Chen. “the ChaiR is to be displayed in a publiC plaCe, to exhibit the wood Melting into the natuRal woRld.” below: shanghai at night on the huangpu RiveR. view fRoM the bund oveR the RiveR to pudong, the business distRiCt in shanghai.
vivid and violently colored demons. Exploring Shanghai, the world’s most populous city, can be exhausting. We were delighted when Xhingyu led us into a small street in the French Concession that, in turn, led to a garden courtyard. Here, the James Cohan gallery from New York has set up shop in a vintage art deco home from the 1930s. Arthur Solway, the gallery director, showed us several of the deeply spiritual video art works by Bill Viola, the American media artist. I must say I found more “zen” aesthetics in Viola’s work than anything else I saw in China. our home base in beijing is at the grace, a boutique hotel in the heart of the 798 arts district. Megan has suggested this hotel for its proximity to the dozens of galleries and studios that dot this old factory district, which has evolved as Beijng’s Soho. The heart and soul of 798 is the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), China’s closest thing to an American-style contemporary arts museum. You always know where to find UCCA because of the big red dinosaur sculptures out front by Sui Jianguo. The dinosaur is a blow-up on a giant scale of a children’s rubberized toy dinosaur, complete with a prominent label on its underbelly that says, “Made in China.” Megan took us to a number of artists’ homes
and studios. Xiong Wenyun is a female artist in her 50s who had been sent in her youth to work in a Tibetan area of Sichuan during the Cultural Revolution. In 1998, she returned to undertake a three-year project to call attention to the deforestation and pollution of these lands. She covered heavy trucks in bright, colorful tarps, each of which was sponsored by an artist. She rode in the trucks and passed out the tarps to be used by villagers to drape the entrances to their homes and shops. And everywhere she went along this route, she made remarkable images of brightly colored tarps on trucks straddling high mountain roads—and promoted increased awareness of environmental issues. Her photographs have now become iconic. Cui Xiuwen is an artist who has created several different series of images that focus on the experiences and inner worlds of young girls and young women. But a decade ago she became most famous for her video art piece, Ladies Room, which captured, via hidden camera, the discussions and interactions of a group of prostitutes/escorts as they talk about problems with clients, boyfriends, families, and the struggles of everyday life—all inside the ladies room of a club. For a symbiosis of old and new, you can’t find a better place than the Wuhao Curated Shop run by Isabelle Pascal, a French woman with a
world-class eye for design. If Megan hadn’t led us there, we never would have known Wuhao existed. It lies behind a nondescript doorway in a dense hutong neighborhood of Beijing. Entering Wuhao, you are in a beautiful garden that once belonged to the family of the last empress of China. In this very traditional spot, Isabelle brings together the best young Chinese designers to showcase new products that often play fancifully with concepts of ancient and modern. A line of wallpaper is based on patterns found in the ancient Dunhuang caves in the Gobi desert. A heat sensitive tabletop has been created for artistic tea ceremonies: You pour the hot water through a series of channels embedded in the tabletop and suddenly, chartreuse and purple art nouveau swirls and patterns form spontaneously, defined by how and where the heat and water are absorbed. In an apt metaphor for a constantly changing Chinese art world, Isabelle’s tea table never produces the same pattern twice.
Weston’s Dan Burstein is a venture capitalist and the author of 14 books, including a path-breaking 1998 book on China’s future, Big Dragon (written with Arne de Keijzer) that correctly forecast the track China’s economy is on today. Weston’s Julie O’Connor is an award winning photographer who created the first non-Western door poster with “Doors of Tibet” in 2003, which inspired her book, Doors of Weston: 300 Years of Passageways in a Connecticut Town, published in partnership with the Weston Historical Society. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
© GEORGE DIEBOLD
Extremely limited editions of George Diebold’s signed fine art prints are available through select galleries. To find out more about George Diebold Photography, visit www.georgediebold.com. For more information about acquiring a George Diebold photograph for your own collection, contact Heather Gaudio Fine Art in New Canaan, Conn., at 203.801.9590
exhibitions, publications and online For 25 years, browngrotta arts has promoted contemporary art and sculpture by seminal and emerging international artists. View currently available works by more than 100 artists at browngrotta.com. Through June 21st, at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich Public Library, Connecticut, see more than 80 works by 31 artists in Paperworks: material as medium. This fall visit browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut for Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles from October 26th through November 4th.
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artwork: in the air, Dona Anderson on the wall, Lawrence LaBianca on the pedestal, Klaus Titze
Spinner (fragment) -1990 - acrylic / wood front and verso. An interactive installation of multiple 11 inch interchangeable discs with infinite compositional permutations.
Santo Bruno has worked in two and three dimensional media as well as installations. His art is primarily abstract and is known for its deceptive simplicity and inventiveness. His interest has been to strike a balance between order and intuition while focusing on emotional, spiritual and intellectual ideas. Bruno has exhibited internationally and has been active in Philadelphia, Rome Italy, Atlanta, New York City and Connecticut. His work is in museum and important public and private collections.
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Capital of Capital:
The Museum of the City of New York Through ocT. 21 capital of capital: new york city banks and the creation of a Global Economy, explores more than two centuries of New York’s banking system, from the founding of the city’s first banks right after the American Revolution to the city’s emergence as a leading global economic power. The exhibition features historic documents and artifacts including 19th-century examples of bank-issued money, a 1922 precursor to the ATM, and artifacts related to the 2008 fiscal crisis. Capital of Capital contains four sections: the bank-issued notes that served as the nation’s paper currency and made possible the mercantile economy of the pre-Civil War Era; the stocks and bonds that underwrote the nation’s investments in industry and infrastructure in the late 19th and early 20th century; the new tools of consumer credit and banking that became a growth industry in the middle of the 20th century; and the derivatives and securitized assets that fueled the booms and busts of the late 20th and early 21st century. The exhibition provides important historical context to the ongoing debate surrounding the availability of credit, the security of investments, and government’s role in the banking sector. Capital of Capital also covers popular protests against the banks’ powers and policies and the connection between New York City’s and the global economy. 1220 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. 212/ 534-1672; www.mcny.org.
top: ticker tape from the crash, 1929 collection of the museum of american finance, new York citY above: “the everYthing card” brochure citi’s center for culture, heritage services
clockwise from top: marine bank two dollar note, museum of the citY of new York; chaos in the financial district at the height of the depression, 1930s, ewing gallowaY museum of the citY of new York; print bY augustus kollner /museum of the citY of new York, print archives; bomb explosion, september 16, 1920 brown brothers, museum of the citY of new York
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The Contrarian by
HERE WE GO: THE LAST HURRAH. For the final time, I endure the morning commuting ritual I’ve religiously observed fivedays-a-week for the last 17 years, five months and four days. Arrive at the Westport station. Solemnly stake out the usual spot on the platform between the exec from Condé Nast and the fast-rising VP of branding at American Eagle. Shuffle lemming-like onto the ancient 6:49 AM Metro-North commuter train to Grand Central, jockeying for anything other than a middle seat. Take the window seat next to a snoring bastard I recognize from my eons of commuting as a specialist on the floor of the NYSE. Sneak a quick shot of Liquid Maalox from my briefcase. Chase it with a gulp of bitter black coffee as the train lurches forward with a jolt… That’s the cue for the type-A stress junkies to hoist their Wall Street Journals all around me in their daily synchronized ritual. Me, I do something out of the ordinary. I don’t open my WSJ. Instead, I wait. I observe. I figure it should be any time now. As always, the suburbanite stations blur by with metronome-like monotony: East Norwalk, South Norwalk, Darien, Noroton Heights, Greenwich,…it’s a twice-daily ritual that has consumed 660 of my annual waking hours for the last seventeen-plus years. When we pass Greenwich, I notice the shift in the communal energy. It’s subtle -- as if the conductor mischievously flipped a switch sending a mild electric charge underneath the seats. It’s the sign that the serious-money types
have burrowed their way to the op-ed page of the Journal. A mild buzz pierces the morguelike silence of the commuter car. Did you see this? one commuter asks another. I don’t need to open my copy of the paper to know what they – and three million other readers – are reacting to. Because I wrote it. Right there, above the fold on page A-15, the open-letter announcing my resignation from the position of Chief Economist of the Americas at the global banking powerhouse of Butterfield Capital. It is an audacious selfdestructive stunt that will shake the financial world for weeks to come and effectively end my 17-year career on Wall Street. My name is Neil Radcliffe. And I can explain everything.
JAnUARy 8, 2007 Maybe it’s best to start at the beginning. I’m on CNBC with an insanely-attractive anchor named Amber Harper. The topic is on everyone’s lips at that moment – the booming U.S. residential housing market. (Yes, that residential housing market.) The newsreader gives the camera a wellpracticed, seductive look. “Welcome back. We’re pleased to have Neil Radcliffe, Chief Economist of Butterfield Capital on the program to share his insights on the housing market. Welcome to the show.” “Good to be with you, Amber.” With that, the anchor drops her plasticine smile and wheels accusingly toward me. “At 12,423, the Dow is at record heights, housing starts are booming, and the National
Realtors Association reports that home prices are robust. And yet you continue to call for a massive implosion of the global economy.” The newsreader pursed her lips, as if preparing to make a meal of me. “What do you say to your critics who call you Dr. Doom and Gloom of Wall Street?” “Well, Amber, as we speak, there’s $1.7 trillion in highly combustible subprime loans that will go up in flames within six to nine months, and it will propel the U.S. economy into a decadelong nuclear winter. The Fed is printing fake currency and pushing up commodities prices. I say, take your profits now and get the hell out of Dodge. The smart money will move out of paper and take flight to hard assets like gold, silver, platinum and farmland, preferably overseas.” This gorgeous newsreader glared at me in open-mouthed disbelief. You’d think I just proposed coming to her house on Christmas morning and pissing all over her kids’ presents beneath the tree. Amber goes into ambush mode, with a seamless segue to a “distinguished panel” of three talking heads from Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. The trio proceeds to trash me in a split screen format. It’s all quite entertaining for the viewers, I suppose, in that same gladiatorial way that pro wrestling mesmerizes the masses. But it is actually a small example of a cynical let’s-play-pretend farce that will prove to have vastly destructive consequences.
MARcH 17, 2007 If you’ve never participated on a global conference call where virtually all of your colleagues from around the world come together and viciously rip you into shreds while they know you’re listening
in on the line, take it from me: it’s an out-of-body experience. The global head economist Harold Marquette had yielded to the internal pressure about “Negative Neil” not being “a team player” and grudgingly set up this firm-wide conference call allowing everyone to air his grievances about my decidedly-contrarian Weekly Econometrics research reports. What had started out as a gripe session promptly disintegrated into a demand for my severed head on a pike. I fully understood their histrionics. Two stories below my office, a highly lucrative sausage factory has been cranking out a noxious financial concoction called “mortgage-backed securities” and selling them to unsophisticated small European banks, the pension plans of policemen and firemen as well as school districts in Pennsylvania and Missouri. My moment of clarity came when my cleaning woman asked me to provide a character reference so she could get final approval for a NINJA mortgage on a $1.2 million eight-unit apartment complex in Bridgeport. By 2007, the mortgage-backed business unit was generating 41% of the profits for Butterfield’s American operations. They saw me as a cost-center whose only contribution to the firm was pooping in their punch bowl, and they were clearly not happy about it. At long last, Dr. Marquette stopped the proceedings of this kangaroo court. “All right, everyone, that’s enough. Neil, you’ve heard how your colleagues view your reports. What response do you have to their concerns that your research has an adverse impact on the business of the firm?” I leaned forward, close enough to kiss the starfish-shaped speakerphone. “My esteemed colleagues, I want to reiterate my unwavering position that the U.S. residential housing market will implode by the end of this year. As a result, the American economy will tailspin into a severe, sustained recession. I will not in any way sugarcoat this negative outlook or compromise my reports to the firm’s clients in the interest of protecting the profitability of any business unit.” Dead silence. Finally, Nigel Sainsbury, my longtime rival from the London office piped up. “Bottom line, folks,” Sainsbury muttered venomously, “We’ve got an f---ing nutter in our midst. We just have to deal with it.” when the bubble inevitably imploded, it was the ignoble end of a diabolical con game that reached into the pockets of virtually every homeowner on Main Street America. Yours truly – for better or worse – was credited with
warning the world. I emerged Phoenix-like from the smoking wreckage of the American economy as a singular media phenomenon. I was now the Oracle of the Apocalypse, the subject of a fawning cover story in Barrons. You can only imagine how my colleagues at Butterfield Capital felt. They utterly despised me. After such a tectonic shift in the firm’s fortunes, the time-honored Wall Street ritual of human sacrifice began at Butterfield Capital. As a condition of the firm receiving an ocean of TARP bailout money from beleaguered U.S. taxpayers (thanks very much for that, by the way), the government insisted the firm had to clean house big-time. Instantly gone were two-thirds of the folks from the mortgagebacked sausage factory downstairs. Next, half of senior management resigned (all of whom got obscenely lucrative severance packages of TARP money). Then they went after the firm’s Economics
i arrived at london’s heathrow airport ready to bite the ass off a bear. My speech, titled “The Way Forward,” was a six-point plan for the current administration to get the American economy back on track. Given my pessimistic nature, I would tell my audience to expect the government to do precisely the polar opposite. Several messages from Nigel Sainsbury awaited me at the St. Paul’s Grange Hotel. Sainsbury had lined up a number of client meetings and was respectfully asking if I would join him in wining and dining some of the firm’s blue-chip European clients. How could I say no? In my new role, I would be Sainsbury’s direct superior. As such, I was keen to wipe the slate clean. That comment about me being an “f---ing nutter?” Consider it forgotten. The first two days of the London conference were a whirlwind. I was given the rock star treatment. Smart people cornered me, trying to pump me for market predictions. I goodnaturedly told the investors I wasn’t going to
After such a tectonic shift in the firm’s fortunes, the time-honored Wall Street ritual of human sacrifice began. and Research Departments. Global Head, Dr. Harold P. Marquette III Ph.D., was advised by the new CEO, Robert Stableford, that it would be in everyone’s best interest if he took the buyout and exited the firm. And guess who they tapped to replace Dr. M. as Global Head of Economic Research at Butterfield Capital. The announcement was to be made at the firm’s annual Global Institutional Investor’s Conference, held that year in London. The firm’s most coveted clients – PIMCO, TIAACREF, BlackRock, Ontario Teachers and a handful of marquee-name hedge funds – had insisted that I give the prestigious keynote speech on the closing day of the conference. It would be the greatest milestone of my career, where Stableford himself would appear after my speech and announce to 750 big-money managers that I was the new Global Chief Economist of Butterfield Capital. Frankly, the reversal of fortune left me completely benumbed. I had gone from a pariah to becoming the golden boy, the future face of the firm.
allow them to “front-run” my speech; they had to rouse their asses out of bed for the following day’s 7:30 AM presentation. The economists group took out chief investment officers from our top five clients for an outrageously expensive dinner at Le Gavroche the night before my keynote. Despite the hard drinking exploits of our clients, I moderated my intake of alcohol, always staying a respectful two to three drinks behind. Someone clapped a comradely hand on my shoulder. Nigel Sainsbury flashed me a yellowed smile of teeth, crooked as tombstones. “Hey, mate, been meaning to get some alone-time with you to discuss...” (here Sainsbury’s British accent took on a theatrically exaggerated tone of mock gravity) “...The Very Future of Our Firm. What do you say to a nightcap before we call it a night?” It was 10:47 PM. Though the speech of my career was less than nine hours away, I thought it would be impolitic and selfish to deny Sainsbury a single nightcapper. Nigel Sainsbury appeared to have little interest in discussing “The Very Future Of The
Firm.” Instead, over our Balvenie single malt Scotches, he drilled me about the particulars of my speech. Of course, I indulged him; it didn’t strike me as peculiar, not at the time. At 11:30 PM, Nigel Sainsbury fatefully insisted on one more for the road. “All right,” I relented, “only one.” I stood up as the waitress took the order. “Where’s the restroom?” I have virtually no recollection of the rest of the night. Yes, I remember returning from the restroom, I was still cogent and clear-headed. But everything after that is not even a blur, it’s a sheer white-out. In an odd moment of quasi-consciousness I hazily remember the indignity of my limbs being gathered up by several people as I’m fireman-carried out of the bar and the stink of alcohol on Sainsbury’s breath. “It’ll be all right, mate. Just need to sleep it off.” After that? Nothingness. when conciousness returned, it felt like i was emerging from a months-long coma. I still had the clothes on from last night. Two spent magnums of champagne were on the floor. A woman’s lacey lingerie lay out on the bed next to me like an apparition, its owner nowhere in the vicinity. Had I…? This was not my room – not even my floor. What time was it? The clock-radio was unplugged. Frantically consulting my watch, I could not suppress a wail of agony. It was 1:40 PM. Not only had I slept through the most important speech of my life, but I missed the conclusion of the conference. “What the f--- happened to you last night, Radcliffe?” Nigel Sainsbury whispered heatedly into his cellphone a minute later when I dialed him frantically. “I mean, Jesus Christ, mate, this is really, really bad. I had to cover for you and deliver the keynote. Thank Christ we went over your speech last night.” “Nigel, you were there. What happened?” “You mean you were too drunk to remember anything about last night?” “Maybe– no, I don’t recall–” Sainsbury’s tone was dripping with disgust. “And I suppose you’re going to tell me you don’t recall slobbering all over that Russian hooker at the bar either?” “God, no,” I croaked. “What should I do?” “Just go home mate,” Sainsbury struck a tone of empathy. “Take the next flight. “I’ll do whatever damage control I can on this side of the pond. But it’s not good, Neil.” He abruptly clicked off.
The trip back from London was sheer hell. For the duration of the flight, I curled up into the fetal position under two blankets and didn’t move. Feeling sick and impaired, I tried to make sense of the peculiar symptoms that afflicted me – blurred vision, unable to urinate, my heart was beating at an alarmingly slow rate and the gastrointestinal turbulence was unrelenting. I concluded I was dying of food poisoning. The instant I landed at JFK, I took the first cab I could find to speed me to my doctor’s office on 72nd Street. – a monday morning – drop into a leather chair in the lavish offices of Butterfield Capital’s new CEO, Robert Stableford. He has one of Picasso’s “Angry Owl” sculptures in his office, and it seems to glare at me with as much contempt as its owner does. “Jesus, Neil, ” Stableford rasps, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more spectacular crashand-burn in my entire career. You’re probably the most in-demand economist on the planet, and the entire firm is ready to elevate you to new chief global economist at this goddamned conference. You decide to celebrate by passing out with a hooker and blow off the most important speech of your career?” As Stableford rambles on, I engage in a staring contest with the Angry Owl. “The rest of the team can’t even bear to be in the same room with you. They’ve left the dirty work to me, and frankly, I find it even more distasteful than I could have imagined. For your sake, let’s do this in as dignified a manner as possible. HR is ready for your exit interview so, before we part company, is there anything you have to say for yourself?” I don’t take my eyes off Angry Owl. “Robert, do you know how long Rohypnol stays in your bloodstream?” The CEO’s face contorts into a mask of confusion. “What the hell are you talking about?” “Roofies. The ‘date-rape’ drug?” Stableford’s eyes go wide as saucers. “Go on,” he mumbles. Casually, I turn to face him. “Funny thing about this drug they call the ‘Mexican Quaalude.’ Rohypnol is odorless, colorless and has no taste when mixed with alcohol. Two milligrams mixed with alcohol knocks you on your ass in about 20 minutes. Once it’s in the system, it acts like a surgical-grade anesthetic. You lose all control over your motor skills, your speech, and you suffer what medical four days later i
professionals refer to as anterograde amnesia. You often pass out for up to twelve hours and you wake up in unfamiliar surroundings with no memory of the proceeding hours.” “Jesus Christ,” Stableford says breathlessly. “You’re suggesting Sainsbury drugged you?” “Not suggesting.” I casually hand him a neatly folded copy of the toxicology report from NYU Hospital. “It’s fully documented.” Stableford gives it a rapid-eye scanning, then looks up at me. His tone is pleading. “Let’s be reasonable here, Neil.” “We’re beyond the point of being reasonable,” I say, poker faced. “Now, Robert, I’m thinking of a number. Can you guess what that number is?” after that precipitous meeting with robert
Stableford and his Angry Owl, the firm failed to come back to me with a number in time for the deadline I imposed. So I pushed the button launching the nuclear assault against my former employer: I infamously published my resignation in the Wall Street Journal. It included the sordid details of what happened to me that night in London. The higherups at Butterfield Capital learned about my voluntary departure at precisely the same time as the three million other readers of the paper. That seemed to wake them up. Nigel Sainsbury immediately resigned Butterfields, left the industry and provided no forwarding address. For all I know, he is in some selfimposed exile in the wilds of the Serengeti. Butterfield came up with a severance package that was roughly worthy of the circumstances. I immediately donated half of it to charity. The other half of the proceeds are used to start up an indie newsletter with my patented dire economic forecasts. It’s doing pretty damn well – it now rivals Grant’s Interest Rate Observer in popularity and circulation. You may still see me appearing on CNBC from time-to-time, but I’ve made a determined effort to lower my profile in the public eye. I was a pessimistic voice in the wilderness as I steadfastly predicted the spectacular implosion of the housing market. Yet, when it came to analyzing the nefarious potential of human nature itself, I realize I was never remotely pessimistic enough. I won’t make that same mistake again.
A frequent contributor and columnist, former one-percenter Kevin Corcoran lives in Westport, CT and considers himself a true contrarian. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
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The Genius MeeTinGs by
e meet on wednesdays. on
the first Wednesday of the month we meet at one of our homes to discuss our achievements and share our profound and original thoughts. We have done everything from creating mathematical formulas to inventing technologies that will save your lives. We are architects, artists, physicists, and scientists. We are authors, composers, philosophers, and chemists. We are religious men and atheists. We are married, divorced, single, and straight. We know of a gay genius, but he does not attend the meetings. There are no women in our group. We are not saying there are no lady geniuses, but we sure don’t know any. We do not expect you to understand. We always knew we were different. For a minute Frederick thought he was the same, but he wasn’t. When he was two, little Frederick sat down at the piano and composed his first sonata, the first to include a solo for the Jew’s harp. He thought, Oh, how nice it will be to play this for my little friends! Then his mom came in and seemed surprised, which in turn surprised Frederick. When Marcus was four he discovered a hitherto unknown genus of insect while his brother was shooting spitballs. When Clifford was six he created a theory of abstraction just the title of which is ten pages long so we won’t bother. Our dear friend William had both cross-bred a fig and discovered a dinosaur before the age of seven. These are just a few of the sorts of stories we share when we meet. We meet to congratulate ourselves but we also meet to purge ourselves. We meet to share things we cannot share with you. Smart things
but also customs. Like the metaphorical value of sleeping in a nightcap to keep the genius in. Or the fact that many of us hold onto what we collectively refer to as our “lucky things” (ranging from typical things like shirts or socks we had on when we won awards, to typewriters that don’t work, to small locks of hair purportedly from the heads of geniuses that went before us), though not one of us believes luck has anything to do with it. Or the value of saving entire volumes of academic journals, every article ever read that pertains remotely to our work, nay, every scrap of paper we ever touched, just in case, even if it means we must delicately move around the towers of paper in our homes and offices. Or the need for exactitude and precision, the importance of a regimen, and the malignment and misunderstanding of anal-retentiveness in contemporary society. We are aware that there are those of the mind that our disciplined ways of life are harsh, that our strict routines have consequences both mental and physical; to this we say, maybe so, but you sure seem to like that electricity we got you. We meet to have a safe place to use words like ateleology and apotheosis without confusing or embarrassing anyone, and away from your judgments of pretension. We meet to smoke pipes filled with tobacco we brought back from foreign lands and drink one brandy or liqueur that lasts us the evening. We meet to talk about that time the philosopher Eldred smoked marijuana, and to thank him for sparing us that horror. We meet to talk about one painting by Schiele or one article on Hindemith for two hours. We meet to discuss papers that do not get published and tenures that get passed over. (These things don’t happen often, but
when they do, the despair is often paralyzing.) We meet to talk about theories that don’t pan out (or are disproven! the worst!) and novels that remain imperfect and therefore remain unseen and possibly published after our deaths (edited so thoroughly wrongheadedly as to diminish our genius when redemption is no longer possible) and discoveries made by those not among us, and the years lost on these projects. We meet to talk about how hard it is to be a genius. We discuss the difficulties of never being wrong, and the loneliness of being the smartest person in the room. We talk about the ones who died too soon, of the great works of art or science not to be. We grieve for Hubert, who took his life at the mere age of thirty-four while composing an opera that was sure to become a masterwork (a devastating loss to Frederick in particular, as Hubert had become a mentor of sorts). We weep for the great doctor Thirlby, who leapt to his death in the throes of a manic episode before finishing that remedy for autism. We talk about our personal lives, the lone area in which we do not always excel. We often suffer from depression and even mental illness. We make poor choices. We marry only the most beautiful women, models, and movie stars. One of us has married both a Miss America and a Miss Universe. Some of them are quite bright, some less so. There is nary a genius among them. That is not what we want. We geniuses love a gorgeous woman with a problem. Take Winston the rocket scientist. Recently Winston came to the group with a broken heart. His wife Amaravati, a Bollywood star, left him for one of her co-stars. I should have known, Winston told us. I know everything else. We all nodded, knowingly. We asked if there were
any signs. Well, he said, perhaps when she told me that she could not promise to be faithful, I should have listened. Otherwise I can’t think of anything. We nodded again. How could you know? we told him. Or take the time Eldred, who has suffered from often crippling depression since graduating college at age ten, came to ask the group whether or not it might be time for him to go off his medication. He posed to us the idea that since he had been doing quite well for several years on his lithium that there seemed to be no reason to stay on it. The group had some differing opinions on this. Some of us fully agreed that this was a reasonable argument. Others were less sure, suggesting that a medical doctor would know best. Eldred ultimately made the decision to go off his meds with results that may have involved imaginary kittens with police badges providing dangerous directives, but we are happy to say he is now back on his meds and doing much better, although his choices in women still fit our general profile. His most recent fiancée was a woman he met in the psych ward. Theirs was a passionate but stormy affair, although they actually lasted longer than most of his relationships. And the renowned architect Phillip has been living with his partner, the violet-eyed supermodel Elsabetta, for three years, trying unsuccessfully to cure her of her sexual abuse issues. It has been his belief that his sexual prowess and willingness to try anything to please would relieve her of these issues, but he has so far not met with success and cannot figure out why. We stared at him blankly. We have nothing, we told him. Or take Geoffrey, the child of two academics, whose story resembles many a genius we have known. The pressure for young Geoffrey to achieve was immense, beginning as soon as he could hold up his head on his own. Although he was only two months old, it was at this time that Geoffrey’s parents taught him sign language and began labeling the entire household inventory with large flash cards so that Geoffrey would learn to read before his first birthday. Passing that milestone at ten months, his parents began to read aloud to him from Tolstoy, Dickens, and Hemingway. Geoffrey was subsequently enrolled in everything from fencing to ballet class to tennis lessons. Tutors were brought in to teach him biophysics, dead languages, and medieval history. He learned to play the harp like a seraph. For fun, they would do the crossword or play chess. Geoffrey never saw a checker until he was thirty-one years old.
He grew up to teach macroeconomics at Yale, but his secret shame never left him, and it was one nearly all of us shared. Geoffrey, in grade school, had once gotten a B. In penmanship. Geoffrey hung his head when he told us this, but we had all been there. In fact, on this night, we took turns sharing our poor grades and the humiliation and fear that brought upon us. We recalled the harsh talk of permanent records and less than perfect G.P.A.s* from our parents and principals and deans, and our long, carefully considered pleas to our professors to reconsider for the sake of our futures. We were aware that there were many who considered a B plus to be a respectable grade, but this merely widened the gap between ourselves and everyone else. How could we live with a partner who believed such a thing? How would we raise our children? Would we go the other way and try to love them simply for who they were, as we had longed for at tender ages, as we often long for now? Or would we do as our parents did, pushing them toward the heights, at risk that our condition will again be handed down? Sandor the botanist pointed out that in the real world, no one mentions these things, that when the prizes are handed out, our A minuses and B pluses have long been forgotten by anyone but ourselves. And yet these are the things that shape us and haunt us. The story of William is perhaps less typical, but ultimately most illustrative of our common plight. William was the only child born to a family of Nebraska fig farmers. His father was a stoic man, not given to open displays of affection, but dedicated to creating the perfect, juicy fig. His mother, who had hoped for a large family, five or six siblings for William at least, would suffer three miscarriages before sickly William was born. Worse, though, was the loss of their firstborn, Alma, who died of unknown causes in the night, just before her second birthday. William would never know this sister, only that he wasn’t her. William discovered his particular genius as a small boy. Like many boys, he was interested in dinosaurs and could name all of the classes, subclasses, and infraclasses by the time he was four. By age five, having exhausted the meager selection of literature on the subject at the local library, he begged his parents to buy him a book he’d seen in the card catalog that wasn’t on the shelves. His father dismissed this pursuit of dead things as irrelevant, but told him if he worked on the fig farm he could save up his money and buy whatever books he cared to. William eagerly
accepted this challenge and unintentionally smote his father by cross-breeding what turned out to be the perfect fig (more sweet, plump, and moist than any before it, and readily identifiable by a tiny fragrant bloom on the bottom end), for which he was silently scorned. Nevertheless he bought himself a shelf of dinosaur books and by age six, theorized that there was a dinosaur that had yet been discovered. By age seven he’d appeared on Merv Griffin, David Susskind, and 60 Minutes, and by age nine, these dinosaur bones were unearthed in Peru, at which time William honored by The Field Museum. His father made him work on the farm until he was fifteen. He didn’t have time to be awkward in high school, since he emancipated himself and graduated the year he turned fifteen, but he more than made up for that at college. One time, William drank three light beers and became wildly intoxicated (we relish these tales of debauchery as we cannot afford to be heavy drinkers; as much as we might like to cease our brain activity for an occasional evening, we cannot risk the long-term damage), informing us that he almost threw up and slept in until nine the following morning, earning him the nickname William the Lightweight for the duration of his time at University. Subsequent to this, William dated a number of emotionally withholding women, which he found to be an exhilarating challenge. After discovering yet another unknown dinosaur the summer after his sophomore year, he met his first wife at a sorority mixer. William was of course not in a fraternity, nevertheless his roommate, who had taken pity on him, invited him to this party, where he met Coreen, who, quite drunk on wine spritzers, thought William was funny and agreed to marry him. William, later noticing that she preferred wine spritzers to his company, divorced her shortly thereafter. This, however, did not deter him from marrying two more alcoholics, a professional cheerleader, and an especially stunning barista. He simply cannot stop getting married. William has been with his current wife, Marla (dean of a small arts college), for nearly five years (his longest by four and a half, and considerably longer than most of the rest of us, with the exception of Frederick, whose thirty-year marriage to Louisa, a renowned sommelier, is an extremely rare example of endurance, one we all admire and fear with equal fervor), and the problem seems to be, as far as we can tell, that she’s basically normal, and smart, and wants to talk and work
We meet to talk about hoW hard it is to be a genius. We discuss the difficulties of never being Wrong, and the loneliness of being the smartest person in the room. on their problems. William and Marla have one child, a four-year-old girl, and William would like to have another, but the couple’s constant disagreements about parenting are a major concern. Marla wants to send their daughter to a Montessori school. Whoa, said Clifford. That is so not cool. We all nodded at the great truth of this. Also, she’s very into this idea of “play” for children, said William. Confused looks rippled around the room like the wave at a football stadium. Marla doesn’t think Zooey should have extracurricular activities until she’s at least six and/or only if she expresses the original interest herself. Well what does she do all day? asked Marcus. Exactly, said William. I don’t know. She just plays. Oh man, said Geoffrey. Plus Marla thinks it’s fine for her to pick out her own clothes now. Oh, that is no good, said Winston. Really? said William. See, I just don’t know sometimes. Do you know what I wore every single day until I was fifteen? We did know, but William told us again anyway. Overalls. Overalls and a red-checked shirt. Like a character from Hee-Haw. I wore that outfit on 60 Minutes, even. Hearing this again didn’t lessen the impact. We did feel his pain. I mean, so my kid wears polka dots and stripes once in a while, at least she’s expressing herself. Mmm, I don’t know about that, said Clifford. Yeah, that’s iffy, said Philip. OK, but why? William asked. It just is, Philip said. Everyone nodded, but no one had a better answer. I don’t think you can let this continue, Geoffrey said. Manipulate her was his idea. Yes! Marcus said. Also, tell her one thing but do another. Mess with her mind, Philip said. Tell her she’s brilliant on Monday, and on Tuesday tell her she’s obtuse. Ooh, good one, Clifford said. I’d also advise backhanded compliments. Control her, Winston said. Do not let her
dress or feed the child. Or go to work. Or see her friends. We couldn’t argue with that. Well, Clifford tried to suggest it might be all right for her to have friends, but the rest of us shot it down. Where do you think they get these crazy polka-dot ideas? Winston added. William reminded the group that we were geniuses, not misogynists. No, some said. We’re both. This got us sidetracked for a while. Dump her ass, Eldred said. She sounds like dullsville. We all vocally agreed. William told us that Marla suggested marriage counseling, and that he was really considering it. Hmm, we all said. Not what we’d have done. Let’s take a vote! Phillip said. Raise your hand if you think William should break it off. The vote was, of course, unanimous. William left the group disheartened but determined to break it off until he arrived home to Marla, who had baked him a pear tart and presented it to him wearing only an apron. Seeing his lovely bride holding the tart, William’s heart softened, and he immediately agreed to go to counseling. At the next meeting, William reported of his success in marriage counseling. He tried to explain about the tart and the apron. We understood the temptation. We have seen Marla. He told us of insights and revelations he experienced in their counseling sessions. That Marla actually had things to teach him. That compensation for his childhood feelings of inadequacy with a series of beautiful women had left him unfulfilled. He explained that when people do not have conflict in a relationship, it is considered a success. He used terms we were familiar with, but which baffled us in this context. He spoke of open-mindedness, communication, trust, and honesty. He spoke of serenity and spiritual awakenings. We mostly stared at him blankly as he made these reports. Sensing his imminent departure from the group, we snapped out of it and tried some last-ditch efforts to persuade him to end things with Marla. We suspected rightly that he was sharing our secrets. She’s going to get old, we told him. And ugly, we said. Hideously ugly. Also fat. Very fat. They all get fat, eventually. Bald, probably even. Oh, definitely bald. We
knew we were grasping at straws, that William was already gone. We were wildly jealous, but we kept that to ourselves. We still take in new members every so many years, when we hear of a new genius. Now and again at the meetings William’s name will come up. Wonder how that William is doing. We know, of course, that he’s still married to Marla and that they have another toddler who is apparently only in preschool. Imagine how fat Marla must be now, we say. So fat. And bald. We have seen photos of Marla, who has to be near thirty-four by now, and she is neither fat nor bald. We speculate that his genius has diminished, but we know it is untrue. What no one wants to say is that we envy him. We secretly imagine our lives with one perfect woman who will take us away from ourselves, spirit us away on clouds and whales and the shoulders of giants, who will show us things we have never seen, and who we will stay with forever. We meet to discuss whether or not to donate sperm. On this we are divided, even in our individual minds. Some of us believe the world could use a few more geniuses; others do not want to see more suffer as we do. We talk about how thinking physically hurts sometimes. How we wish we were dumb. How we look at the blissfully dumb people and we imagine what that’s like, you who never think of killing yourselves just to have one quiet moment. We pity you, but we envy you. We think we are better than you and worse than you. We wish you could understand. Be grateful that you can’t. *5.0 GPAs became popular after our time, for which some of us give thanks to god.
Elizabeth Crane is the author of three collections of short stories, most recently You Must Be This Happy to Enter. She is a recipient of the Chicago Public Library 21st Century Award. Her work has been featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts and adapted for the stage by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater. Her debut novel, We Only Know So Much, is out this month from HarperPerennial. Originally appeared in Guernica, © 2009 by Elizabeth Crane. Reprinted by permission of the author in care of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
Perfect for parties of 200 hundred. Or two. For lunch, for dinner, for special occasions best served with fine food and company, come to The Waters Edge at Giovanniâ€™s. Renowned for our wedding and banquet facilities hosting Showers, Private Wine Cellar Tastings and more, dining in our restaurant is a special occasion of its own. The Waters Edge at Giovanniâ€™s is the local flavor. And the flavor is genuine.
For reservations (203) 325 9979 2748 Boston Post Road, Darien | Stamford border WatersEdgeatGiovannis.com
376 Post Road E., Westport, CT, 203-557-4848
Vi l l a g e G o u r m e t ASIAN GOURMET AT ITS BEST Dine In 路 Take Out 路 Catering
Thank you for celebrating the last 15 years with us. I am looking forward to enjoying the coming years with you! ~ Eric Xie Complimentary Glass of Wine with Dinner, Dining-in Only.
Free Calamari Appetizer To Go Only.
Can not be combined with any other discount offer.
Can not be combined with any other discount offer.
$5.00 Gift Certificate
with Any Party or
with Any Purchase Over $60
With to go order purchase over $30
Catering Order. Can not be combined with any other discount offer.
Dinning-in or To Go. Can not be combined with any other discount offer.
22 Chestnut Hill Road, Norwalk, CT 06851 203-849-8788 www.villagegourmetct.com
Rural Palates : reviews homemade, and juices freshly squeezed. Dinnertime, tablecloths appear and entrees such as Paella with Andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, local fish and little necks; and hanger steak with sweet corn and potato cakes are served. A fixed price, ($28) three-course dinner is offered nightly from 5 to 6:30pm, and is ideal for families. 1020 Post Road, (Brick Walkway) Darien, CT. 203/202-7051; www.estiasamerican.com.
Estia’s amErican Darien, CT The new Estia’s American eatery in Darien offers wholesome, flavorful, freshly prepared foods all day, almost every day (except Sunday nights.) This cheeky new café, with a cute interior and friendly staff, follows in the successful wake of perennial Sag Harbor favorite, Estia’s Little Kitchen. Growing his own herbs, fruits and vegetables on his nearby land, and obtaining the rest of his ingredients from local farmers, where possible, is second nature to chef-owner Colin Ambrose: “I aim for farm to table, but more relaxed.” Ambrose puts his food’s nutrition factor front and center, as well as sustainability, composting the restaurant’s food waste. For those who like breakfast all day, many great crossover items appear on both the breakfast and lunch menus: Robbie’s Gringo Hash includes red beans with chorizo, rice, two eggs and corn tortillas…avocado too; A’s Pop Chicken comes with organic red quinoa, egg whites, veggies and avocado; and Big Al’s Burrito offers mixed vegetables, a veggie burger, egg whites and jack cheese. There’s a wonderful variety of lunchtime sandwiches like the grilled salmon wrap with salsa mojo, bean purée, arugula and tomato; and salads such as Gansett Green with crisp chicken, roasted beets, avocado and cucumber. Breads are
artisan Southport, CT “A restaurant, tavern and garden,” Artisan at the Delamar Southport Hotel lives up to the splashy standards set by its sister establishment, L’escale, in the Delamar Greenwich Harbor Hotel. With a variety of beautiful settings, a farm-to-table focus on the bounty of New England, and a hand-crafted, homemade emphasis as the name implies, Artisan offers fine dining, casual tavern fare and an al fresco option. Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer, originally from France and with years in top New York kitchens, delights diners with starter selections such as chilled Thimble Island, CT oysters and Cape Cod hard shell clams; and local baby greens salad with seasonal vegetables chips. For entrees, New England style “cioppino” of market fish artisan
in a lobster broth; Berkshire pork chops with smashed fingerlings, apple, bacon and prune in a hard cider au jus; and duck breast “a la plancha,” duck-vegetable hash, and Jack Daniel’s mashed yams are excellent choices. For dessert, ice cream is made with local milk and cream, and only fresh fruits are used in their sorbet. The Tavern menu, served in an airy, wood beamed lounge with long bar and wide windows, offers fun plates to share such as fried pickles with
a tangy herbal dressing, crispy pork croquettes, and mini lobster rolls tucked into brioche buns. Burgers, fish & chips, and steak frite are all cactus rose cantina
delivered with an updated nouvelle twist. Artisan at the Delamar makes a lovely and convenient venue for private events, offering everything from a glass-wall private dining area in the main dining room for small dinner parties, to a lavish terrace and courtyard for indoor/outdoor functions. Open seven days a week for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. 275 Old Post Road, Southport, CT. 203/307-4222; www.artisansouthport.com. cactus rosE cantina Wilton, CT Southwestern cuisine and a lively anchor to the Wilton town center arrive in the form of the new Cactus Rose Cantina. Owned and overseen by the mother daughter team of Katerina and Maria Pertesis, this neighborhood eatery offers savory Santa Fe fare in a warm and welcoming ambiance, an animated bar lounge, open kitchen and roaring adobe fireplace. Walls and surfaces are hard, so the acoustics are loud, but outdoor firepits and heaters encourage outdoor dining on an expansive stone terrace year round. Executive Chef Lisa Varnberg, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, comes to the Cantina from the Barcelona Restaurant Group and prepares dishes featuring bold flavors and latino-inspired recipes. To start, appetizers include excellent tuna tostadas of seared tuna with a cilantro aioli over
a dab of watercress on a crispy blue tostada; chile relleno of goat cheese, black beans and red chile salsa stuffed in a fried green pepper; and corn and poblano chowder – a rich soup of potatoes, corn, cilantro and bits of smoked bacon. Main courses range from seared lamb chops in a smoky seasoning over new Mexican ratatouille; to seared shrimp in chorizo cream; and sliders of wagu beef with poblano pepper, bacon and Monterey Jack cheese. Desserts show an equal level of sophistication, in the form of the “banana bandit” — a banana cheesecake burrito topped with chocolate ice cream; hot jelly doughnuts filled with strawberry jalapeno jam; and chile chocolate pots de crème. The beverage list focuses on tequilas, as well as Cuba Libres, fresh squeezed juice margaritas,
dining room with loft. Unusual and tasty bar snacks include crispy calamari drizzled with truffled-honey and a white pizza of wild mushrooms over ricotta and goat cheese. Seasonal pastas run the gamut from rich black truffle risotto with aged piave cheese and short rib ravioli in a red wine demi glaze, to classic pappardelle Bolognese in a traditional, slow cooked ragu, or tagliatelle al nero in squid ink with fresh squid, tomatoes and white wine. Grilled Octopus in a harissa sauce has a spicy zing, tempered by roasted fingerling potatoes. The restaurant offers an excellent roasted black bass over a fennel mustard with a dusting of bottarga (salted roe) and a dollop of honey foam. The porcini-crusted bisteca
mojitos, and caipirinhas. Open for lunch and dinner, and probably Wilton’s one and only late night venue. 5 River Road, Wilton, CT. 203/762-8484; www.cactusrosecantina.com. Bar rosso Stamford, CT The new Bar Rosso in downtown Stamford offers all things Italian, from cheese and dried meat platters, to wood fired pizzas, authentic pastas and an inspired wine list. The restaurant has a large front patio, which offers outdoor dining in fine weather, an attractive, contemporary bar and a soaring two-story
rizzuto’s italian KitchEn and Bar Stamford, CT Rizzuto’s, a comfortable, no fuss Westport staple near the train station, has opened a sister location in Stamford with many of the same popular offerings, attention to detail, and friendly and capable service. At Rizzuto’s Italian Kitchen and Bar, housemade pastas, soups, breads and infusions are also the mainstay of the menu. Neapolitan-style pizza, served thin and crispy out of a brick oven, is a reliable choice. Start with an antipasti platter for the table of artisanal breads with cured meats, cheeses, eggplant caponata, farro salad, and truffle infused honey. For pastas, pappardelle Bolognese with a classic ragú of beef, veal, pork, and a dollop of ricotta; or pesto chicken fettucine, in a pesto, plum tomato, and light cream sauce are menu specialties. Pan seared duck confit served with porcini mushrooms, butternut squash cavatelli and goat cheese up the ante a bit; as does the roasted branzino and grilled octopus in a tomato basil stew with Italian chilies and grilled bread. Order the same dish for more than one person at the table and they can arrive in wonderful large family-style platters. The menu is replete with salads, meat, fish and pasta classics, as well as grain specialties (whole wheat or gluten-free) and selections from the daily blackboard. Close out a satisfying meal with warm apple tart with ice cream or housemade tiramisu. Children and large parties welcome; private dining balcony available. Open for lunch and dinner daily. 1980 West Main Street, Stamford, CT. 203/324-5900; www.Rizzutos.com.
is another excellent entrée choice, perfectly seared and complemented by baby carrots, escarole and potatoes. Chef Sergio Reyes, French Culinary Institute-trained and an alumnus of Aquavit’s kitchens in New York, has mastered the art of sous vide cooking, and uses the technique in many dishes to enhance the texture and bring out the subtle flavor of many of his ingredients. Desserts such as blueberry pannacotta or gianduja pot de crème nicely finish out a lovely meal. Open weekdays lunch through dinner; weekends for dinner and late night. 30 Spring Street, Stamford, CT. 203/388-8640; www.barrossoct.com.
rizzuto’s italian Kitchen and bar
The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s
The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s in Darien, CT is the ultimate destination for distinctive celebrating, meeting and dining. With more than twenty years of experience, The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s family is dedicated to making every event, perfection. 116
“For some families entertaining is like breathing,” explains JoAnn Latorraca. “And our family has a history of breathing life into special occasions for generations. My father, Giovanni Gabriele, came to the United States from the small Italian town of Potenza. Like many immigrants, Giovanni brought what he knew to start his new life here in America—fine food and entertaining. In 1977 he opened Giovanni’s in Stamford and ten years later The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s in Darien. Each step was made possible by the dedicated following of loyal pa-
trons and the active participation of his three daughters.” Recently JoAnn and her husband Sal took over the daily operations, under Giovanni’s ever-watchful eye. They are dedicated to building on the family tradition where every detail matters and every occasion is special. The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s features peerless service, culinary excellence, access to AV technology and uniquely decorated meeting rooms. The well-appointed facility’s four newly remodeled suites and Wine Spectator-awarded wine cellar can handle events for guest counts of 10 to 600 or more. Complete buyouts are available allowing for maximum flexibility of meeting space. The suites feature: Flexible meeting space—suitable for full-buyouts, large meetings or breakouts - Complimentary microphone, podium, screen, Wi-Fi - AV experts available upon request - Private bridal suite - Meeting planners available - Direct water views - Ample parking and valet available Easy access from CT and NYC (Exit 9 off I-95). Whether a wedding of 350, a kosher bar/ bat mitzvah of 200, or a rehearsal dinner of 20, your event will be planned and executed by their seasoned team with the care and professionalism that only JoAnn and Sal Latorraca— and of course, Giovanni himself—can provide. And while you may know them for weddings, the variety of special events hosted stretches far beyond any reception line. For more information call (203) 325 9979 or stop by and say hi to Giovanni.
Get Well. Holiday. Anytime...
Dine In Take Out Gift Baskets Custom Catering Full Holiday Menus Available
421 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut 06880
Mon - Sat
8AM - 6PM
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C O N T E M P O R A R Y I TA L I A N • W O O D - F I R E D • W I N E B A R • C O C K TA I L S • P R I VAT E D I N I N G 3 0 S P R I N G S T R E E T , S TA M F O R D , C T 0 6 9 0 1 P H O N E ; 2 0 3 . 3 8 8 . 8 6 4 0 / W W W . BA R RO S S O C T. C O M
Dine In - Take Out - Delivery Catering - Private Parties www.spiceaffaire.com 203.353.1000 @ Hampton Inn & Suites, 26 Mill River Street, Stamford, CT 06902
i’ll take manhattan
FROM AL FRESCO TO AVANT GARDE COOL SpOTS iN A HOT NYC
Where to Dine Bistro Lamazou Murray Hill
Charming husband-and-wife team Nancy and Aziz Lamazou, who opened the Lamazou Cheese shop 20 years ago and have built a reputation for their knowledge and vast selection of artisanal cheeses from around the world, have recently opened Bistro Lamazou, just down the block. This Moroccan and Mediterranean-inspired restaurant places an emphasis on fine cheeses, charcuterie and wine, but also introduces a range of enjoyable Moroccan dishes such as pastilla, chicken in filo pastry with cinnamon, honey and almonds; slow cooked tagines of beef, chicken or Bistro Lamazou lamb with vegetables, dried fruits and nuts; and fluffy, buttery couscous topped with seven kinds of vegetables. The Mediterranean sampler, which includes hummus, eggplant confit, spicy fava beans and Moroccan spiced carrot mousse is an excellent place to start. Mechwi, a classic pork-less grill platter, offers a main course combination of beef, lamb, and chicken skewers with merguez sausage, a side of tabboule and baby arugula salad. To complement these dishes, an extensive wine list is available, including exceptional selections from Tunisia and Morocco. The dramatic interior of Bistro Lamazou pops, with vivid colors, bold lighting, soaring ceilings, and plush banquettes. Service is warm and attentive, and various events are offered including wine and cheese tastings, opera nights, belly dancing, and special happy hour pricing on drinks and appetizers. Stop in for a light bite or a lingering meal, and enjoy the exotic appeal of this delightful new bistro. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. 344 Third Avenue. 212/481-8550; www.bistrolamazou.com.
Upper East Side The new Il Tesoro on the Upper East Side offers inspired Italian fare in a charming old world setting. Damask flocked walls, original artwork and gleaming wood accoutrements provide a rich and warm background to genteel service and lush fare. Chef-owner AJ Black, (the name may be Anglicized but the food is pure Italian) who grew up in a family restaurant business in Sicily, offers classic dishes with modern flair. Lobster Agrodolce is an appetizer of lightly fried lobster tail in a complex sweet and sour sauce. Carpaccio di Salmone and Tonno is sushi grade raw salmon and tuna with a champagne vinaigrette. Excellent pastas include Paglia Fieno Trevisana, white and green capellini in a truffle cream sauce with mushrooms, peas, prosciutto and cheese; and the Pasta Duo of fresh gnocchi quattro formaggi with tartufo, and spinach ravioli in a tomato basil sauce. For entrees, try the roasted duck breast stuffed with spinach and Scamorza cheese served in a wine and wild mushroom sauce over risotto confit; braised lamb shank in a spicy eggplant puree over risotto Milanese; or grilled fresh fish and seafood over arugula and tomatoes served with a Dijonese garnish. Besides his new Upper East Side location, Black also presides over Il Tesoro Bistro in Sanibel Island Florida, and Il Tesoro at the Terrace at The Charlotte Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. Open daily for dinner only. A wine cellar is available for private events and live music; al fresco dining on the restaurant’s outdoor patio in good weather. 1578 First Ave. at 82nd St. 212/861-9620; www.iltesoro.net. iL tesoro
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Saravanaa Bhavan Restaurant Upper West Side
Fig & oLive restaurant
Fig & Olive Restaurant Meatpacking District
The creative force behind Fig & Olive Restaurant is Laurent Halasz. With five locations, three in Manhattan, one in Westchester and one in L.A., Chef Halasz’s success is impressive. A native of Southern France, Halasz started his culinary career in a threestar Michelin restaurant in France and continued to hone his craft in Spain and around the world. His passion for the flavors of the Coastal regions of the South of France, Italy and Spain is first evident at the striking entrance of his Manhattan Meatpacking restaurant, where the walls are lined with specially bottled olive oils. Delectable signature dishes include grilled Branzino glazed with a fig balsamic vinegar alongside figs and snow peas, finished with a sweet Picholine olive oil. The rosemary lamb chops are grilled and lightly smoked with a bouquet of herbs de Provence, served with goat cheese and chive gnocchi, and a roasted honey eggplant with rosemary garlic olive oil. The outstanding wine list offers over 30 varietals from the South of France, Spain and Italy. But olive oil takes center stage at this hip Meatpacking district restaurant, where those beautiful bottles can be purchased so that patrons may bring some of those Coastal flavors home. 420 West 13th Street 212/924-1200 figandolive.com.
With a long history of success, father-daughter duo Mathaiah and Veena Ramaiah have been delighting native palates for 30 years at their restaurants in India, Singapore, Germany, France and Dubai. Their Murray Hill restaurant opened in 2005 and quickly generated hungry lines winding around the block. Their newest restaurant, located on the Upper West Side, is now pleasing Indian cuisine devotees in a new neighborhood. The Ramaiahs require that their chefs have at least two decades of experience, while the bread master must have devoted a minimum of six years to traditional tandoori baking to be a part of their team. Favorite dishes include the Uthamppam, a pancake made of rice and lentils, topped with tomatoes, onion, chilies and peas. The vegetable Makhanwala is a buttery curry sauce loaded with cauliflower, potatoes, peas, and carrots. Vegetarian friendly, the restaurant is also glattkosher certified, and offers the best in kosher wines, in addition to biodynamic and sustainable vintages. Indian inspired drinks include the Kolkata knight riders, Absolut Currant vodka with black tea, guava, honey, anise seed and Indian spices. For a great finish, try the gulab jamun, a delicate Indian donut soaked in rose water syrup accompanied with a traditional coffee imported from the Ramaiah’s hometown, Chennai. 413 Amsterdam Avenue. 212/721-7755 www.saravanabhavan.com.
saravanaa Bhavan restaurant
Where to stay Mandarin Oriental Hotel Central Park
The Mandarin Oriental New York, located in one of the towers of the mixed-use Time Warner Center, blends chic contemporary design with haute oriental flair. With a lobby on the 35th floor, and floor to ceiling windows in all public areas, guestrooms and suites, the hotel offers visitors a stunning panorama of the New York skyline, Central Park and Hudson River, wherever they turn. After guests have closed their mouths from the jaw-dropping vistas, they
mandarin orientaL hoteL
can be soothed by the soft hues and restrained elegance of the hotel’s interior décor. Hyperattentive service ensures all needs are catered to and all expectations met. The hotel offers various themed, multi-room suites, as well as a spa/fitness center, ballroom, and sizeable lobby lounge. Guestrooms — all with marble baths, sliding doors, in-room entertainment and lush linens — are serene and stellar. Additional shops, dining and entertainment are available in the Time Warner complex, without guests ever having to step outside. Asiate, the hotel’s elegant, fine dining restaurant, offers a stunning aerie in which to enjoy contemporary fusion fare. A nightly threecourse prix fixe menu and a seven-course tasting menu allow diners to indulge in CIA-trained Chef Brandon Kida’s inventive offerings. To start, Hudson Valley foie gras with almond milk, pumpernickel toast and yuzu marmalade; Hawaiian blue prawns and scallops with hearts of palm in coconut broth; and crab risotto under shaved black truffle and parmesan cheese are excellent choices. Rich pork belly with grilled octopus and lemon rice; or butter poached lobster with white polenta drizzled with a kaffir emulsion are sensational entrees. The restaurant
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mandarin orientaL hoteL
is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and welcomes visitors from outside the hotel to come in for a memorable, sky-high meal. Have that Green Acres feeling of loving the city life, but also a need for pastoral R&R? Combine a visit to the Mandarin Oriental with a stay at Richard Gere’s Bedford Post Inn, in rural Westchester, with the “Town & Country” package being offered by the two this summer. The package includes three nights at the Mandarin Oriental, daily American breakfast, one dinner in Asiate with wine pairings, and luxury transportation out to the countryside to decompress. There you will be welcomed to a deluxe room with fireplace or terrace, with wine, song and lavish amenities. The two-night stay at the Bedford Post includes daily breakfast, a complimentary yoga class, complimentary dessert with dinner at either the casual Barn or the gastronomic Farmhouse restaurant, and all the serenity that the pristine grounds and personalized service of this Relais & Chateaux have to offer. Mandarin Oriental: 80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street. 866/801-8880 www.mandarinoriental.com. Bedford Post: 914/205-3773 bedfordpostinn.com
women’s changing rooms feature aromatherapy steam rooms, sauna, ice fountain and an “experience shower.” Complimentary workout wear is also provided for members. Summer members enjoy access to the wraparound sun terrace, featuring relaxing sun loungers and tables for outdoor dining, as well as a 15% discount in all restaurants at the Peninsula, 20% discount on all treatments at the spa, 20% discount on all hair and beauty services at the hotel’s Mélange Salon, and a 10% discount on the best available room rates or packages at Peninsula Hotels worldwide. The Peninsula’s exclusive Summer Fitness Membership is priced at $400 per month, with a two-month minimum, and is valid through September 30, 2012. Fifth Avenue and 55th Street 212/903-3910 sula’s exclusive Summer Fitness Membership. firstname.lastname@example.org. Located on the hotel’s top three floors, the cutting edge fitness center features cardiovascular and strength training equipment, and the What to see sun-lit fitness studio offers up to six complimen- Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry tary daily group classes, including yoga, Pilates, Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff conditioning and cardio classes. The glass-en- All Seven Harry Potter Books in 70 Hilarious Minutes! closed pool features stunning views of Fifth Av- Starvox Entertainment and Potted Productions enue and Central Park, poolside loungers and a present the US premiere of the acclaimed UK delicious and healthy dining menu. Aqua aero- production, Potted Potter: The Unauthorized bics classes are also offered daily. The men’s and Harry Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff.
Where to play Summer Fitness Memberships at The Peninsula New York
This summer, high above Fifth Avenue, a city oasis beckons New Yorkers seeking the ultimate fitness and lifestyle experience with The Penin-
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Potted Potter: the unauthorized harry exPerience – a Parody By dan and JeFF
Nominated for the 2012 Olivier Award, Potted Potter is playing at the Little Shubert Theatre (422 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues) for a limited engagement through August 12th. Written and performed by two-time Olivier Award-nominated actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, the play takes on the ultimate challenge of condensing, or “potting,” all seven Harry Potter books into 70 madcap minutes, aided only by multiple costume changes, brilliant songs, ridiculous props and a generous helping of Hogwarts magic. The show also invites audiences to engage with a real life game of Quidditch, but according to Clarkson and Turner’s unique set of rules. The fast-paced show, which has made audiences aged six to Dumbledore (who is very old indeed) roar with laughter all over the world, is suitable for the whole family, including grown-ups, Muggles and Squibs. Tickets, from $39.75, (including $1.50 facility fee) are available online at Telecharge.com or by calling 212/239-6200, or at the Little Shubert Theater Box Office. Performances are Tuesday at 7pm, Wednesday at 2pm & 7pm, Thursday at 7pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm*, 5pm, & 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm & 5pm. (*Alternate cast members appear at certain performances, including Saturday matinees at 2pm).
Visit Potted Potter on the web www.PottedPotter.com, on Facebook (Potted Potter NYC), or follow on Twitter (@PottedPotter).
coming up The Architecture and Design Film Festival in Tribeca October 17 - 21, 2012
The Architecture and Design Film Festival returns to the Tribeca Cinemas from October 17 to 21, 2012 with a completely new selection of feature-length films, documentaries, and shorts. Inaugurated at Tribeca in 2010, mendeLsohn’s incessant visions
this will be the third time the festival has taken place in New York City. The brainchild of architect Kyle Bergman and marketer Laura Cardello, the festival brings together filmmakers, design professionals and industry luminaries for four days of films, panel discussions, and special events. “While such festivals are fairly common in Europe,” explains Kyle Bergman, “our festival is the first of its kind in the U.S. The five-day festival, with over 30 films, appeals not just to architects and designers, but also to design enthusiasts.” The festival’s line-up runs the gamut from feature-length films to seldom-screened documentaries and prize-winning but often overlooked gem-like shorts. They profile visionary architects past and present, probe topical issues about urbanism and sustainability, and showcase iconic buildings and products. Discussions follow with filmmakers, architects, designers, and other industry leaders on a variety of topics about the design process, architecture in film, and the designs we see and use every day. Advisory board members include: Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for The New Yorker; Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art; Thomas Krens, Former Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; and David Thurm, Chief Operating Officer of the Art Institute of Chicago. Included in the line-up for the 2012 New York festival are Architect: A Chamber Opera in Six Scenes; Mission Statements; and Mendelsohn’s Incessant Visions. For tickets and the full listing of films and programs, visit www.adfilmfest.com.
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The Mitigated Musings of a Young New York Enthusiast by Simone Money & Calories…
For Brunch… Really? Love trying something different? The Country Breakfast, shrimp and calamari over creamy corn grits, or North African baked eggs Kefta with spicy ground beef. Nuff Said… Crab and shrimp fritters with mango and avocado salsa. YUMM. Wednesdays are Live Music Nights. Clinton Hill, 17 Putnam Ave, Brooklyn, NY. 718/230-3471; www.hillcafe.net.
If you’re going to spend either… it’s got to be good! When you’re in the mood for food with style, if you appreciate a chef’s artistic capacity, complexity of flavors, and expect presentation with a side of flair:
Your New Spot in Tribeca... considering you’ll need several visits if you’re going to get to try everything you want! Japanese Gastro Pub…. small plates include delicate steamed buns filled with pork belly and miso or sweet braised ribs. They go down way too easily. On the topic of extra tender short rib, another favorite is The Animal sushi roll: filled with short rib, garlic, soy glaze, and jalapeno. This is Ramen… Zutto’s signature pork broth is simmered for over 24 hours and takes almost two days to craft from start to finish. Bowls of Ramen range from the classic smoky chasu, sweet pickled ginger, sesame, and kikurage, also known as wood ear mushroom, to creations garnished with spring ramps and parmesan cheese or truffle oil and foie gras. Looks like a Cappuccino…. your spoon will be met with more resistance than your average espresso when you dig into this creamy coffee semifreddo with foamed cream on top. The delicate caramelized brioche bites with grilled bananas and vanilla ice cream are also well beyond good. 77 Hudson St, New York, NY. 212/233-3287;www.zuttonyc.com.
milk ricotta dip garnished with fennel leaf. Also, marinated beef skewers, seared on the outside, rare and juicy on the inside with a Thai basil dip. “If I sucked on those limes I’d probably black out…” Cocktail list is loaded; house herb-infused liquors, jalapeño kickers, and aromatic bitters. Inspired… by the legion of immigrant cultures that have passed through the Lower East Side and made it what it is today! Great for late night… Fridays & Saturdays 11:30 pm – 3:00 am, DJ and lounge menu. 146 Orchard Street. 212/777-8600; www.theorch.com.
It’s still BK… Hill Café is a bit off the beaten Williamsburg track, but the rustic, enclosed patio with rich musky wood smell and outdoor courtyard with fire pit pack on the charm, and make this spot worth the trip. the orchard house Warning: Addictive dipping sauces... thin The Taste… French American Bistro with a slices of crunchy pickles lightly fried ‘til crisp North African flair. Very fresh, very seasonal, very served with an out of this world whipped Sherpa thoughtful and affordable locally-inspired wine list.
Looking for Opulence… A Russian baroness’s three-story townhouse converted into a restaurant gushing with intricate finishes, old world charm, and a top floor outdoor courtyard. A Modern Classic… Chef Paul Joseph executes a fantastic house-cured red beet Gravlox served with toast points, wasabi infused caviar, and a delicate micro green salad with a light truffle vinaigrette. In the mood for Caviar… caviar tasting menu served with all the traditional accoutrements with buckwheat blinis and a remarkable selection of 200 vodkas. 365 West 46th Street. 212/586-0244; www.firebirdrestaurant.com.
NYC is a GiaNt PlaYGrouNd… aNd i EsPECiallY lovE rECEss! I’d like to return the favor… to the NYC team from California-born WildFox clothing, who spotted me in my favorite pair of WildFox pants at the movie theater and came by to say “HI.” www.wildfoxcouture.com. I recently wore… MAC’s modern tangerine copper lipglass and vibrant red lacquer to the opening reception for photographer Jeremy Kost’s exhibition at the Andy Warhol Museum. The star of the show, beyond the myriad
pouting ‘show boys,’ were Jeremy Kost’s photo collaged polaroids, cobbled together to feature predominantly nude men with creatively camouflaged lower regions.
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Snoop Dog (I KNOW!!) www.catalpanyc.com/#artistsTarget It’s an age-old dilemma… dance next to sweaty teenagers, or hot models? Get up close and personal with your favorite festival headliners in an exclusive NYC nightclub. Tiesto, Sydney Samson, Martin Solveig, and Afrojack have all played for discerning crowds at Lavo this year. I shared a drink with two of them. See what happens... For table reservations: www.lavony.com. And while there’s still tons to do, see, and taste in NYC this summer, as much as I love the city…. also love getting out of the city! If you’re doing the same, some tips on packing your bag.
Any Old Iron, 149 Orchard Street. Raw silk, slouched shoulder, long sleeve, well above the knee, North African flower print dress and cutout romper. Zimmermann Soho, 87 Mercer Street.
camp Bisco’s 10th anniversary festival… was one big beautiful show last July. One’s sense of responsibility was quick to unravel under these conditions. Last year I was repping Police Sunglasses with an amazing team of crazy ladies, dancing to live shows for almost three days straight, hanging out with Wiz Khalifa, (who I first saw three years ago at the old free BK pool parties) got to know Marc from festival hosts The Disco Biscuits, and met some musically inclined friends I still run into around town….like New York DJ Alex English, who is responsible for taking me out the night I lost my first Iphone (but not my last). This year… looking forward to seeing the lovely ladies on golf carts who make this show go on, and the security team; rough around the edges yet sweet biker boys on badass quads @ the Indian Look Out Reserve’s festival grounds.
Table décor from the mind of Stephanie at caterer extraordinaire Abigail Kirsch “LOVE these – round ice cube trays. They really were a huge hit at my polka dot themed party. I made them with Cranberry What to bring and know Juice, so when they melted, they flavored my for Camp Bisco 2012…. cocktail. But their uses are unlimited – a way 1. Rain boots: It may rain. But even if it doesn’t to decorate even your drink!” Check them out get too wet out, the 10,000 sweet raving maniacs on Facebook.com/abigailkirschcatering do a number on the festival fields and turn grassy New York Marble Cemetery plains into deep, thick swamps real fast! @ 41.5 Second Avenue (between 2nd & 3rd Street). 2. Half a days worth of fun for the 6-hour car Open to the public the last Sunday of each month jam you’re likely to sit in while waiting to pull for picnics and lounging. (Open just long enough in we go… to keep the grass clean and green). MAC cosmetics “Hey Sailor” summer into your camping locale. Best approached SET SAIL THIS SUMMER WITH A COLOUR AND BRONZING COLLECTION DESIGNED TO DROP ANCHOR IN THE MOST like a 5,000 car tailgate, I suggest getting collection adorned in PORTS nautical SOPHISTICATED OF CALL. navy stripes: Decked out in stylishly sailor-striped packaging, a fabulous flotilla of Small Eye Shadows, Lipsticks, Lipglass, Powder Blushes, Pigments, Powerpoint Eye Pencils, Pro Longwear Lip Pencils, Nail Lacquers and Zoom Waterfast Lash. Get sun dipped with Bronzing Powders, Pro Longwear started early. Satin Lipstick in Sail La Vie; Nail Lacquer in Bronzing Powders, High-light Powder, To The Beach Body Oil, Suntints SPF 20 Liquid Lip Balms and a 167SH Face Blender Brush. invites you to experience the jauntiest, yacht-iest collection of the season! 3. Be sure to take advantage of the rolling Touch M·A·C of Red; Lipglass in Riviera Life. fields along the road for bathroom breaks… Maccosmetics.com for locations. Enchanted Eye Cream by LUSH with calming your car will only be a few steps ahead of you lavender and honey for refreshed eyes even when you’re finished. www.campbisco.net. without a full night’s sleep. Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub by LUSH to keep hands and body soft to the touch all coming up & not to Be missed… summer long. www.lushusa.com for locations. Electric Zoo 2012: (Friday, August 31st – Sunday Handcrafted purple salvaged Victorian lace September 2nd) Start the season off right! Last dress; for preservation I was warned by the year Electric Zoo brought 100,000 EDM fans shopkeeper not to swing from chandeliers. So together on Randall’s Island, this year with, the questions: GASP….David Guetta, Tiesto, Bloody Beetroots, A. Do I look like I would do a thing like that? WolfGang Gardner, Laidback Luke, Knife Party, and Skrillex, Pretty Lights… Just to name a few! Catalpa NYC www.madeevent.com/ElectricZoo. July 28th & 29th: FOR…The Black Keys and B. wouldn’t that ride be worth the tear?
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like a rolling stone tel aviv. photo by daphna tao
Shalom, Israel Tel Aviv: City on the sea I was sitting with Sarai Tzuriel at the Port Market the other day talking about Tel Aviv. Sarai played Kippi Ben Kippod, the beloved giant porcupine in the original Israeli version of Sesame Street, Rechov Sumsum. Who better to offer perspective on life on the streets of Tel Aviv? “What is it you love about Tel Aviv?” “It’s the variety, in all facets of culture – music, theater, dance. You can find everything here – whatever your taste, from avant-garde to mainstream. Habima, the national theatre just reopened. You have the beach, wonderful weather, even in winter. It’s a metropolis, it’s small, not too expensive, and the nightlife is amazing. Tel Aviv is alive, and because it’s small and on its toes all the time, everybody is living and moving.” For most, a trip to Israel is about religious
travel – Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea, Their’s is a remarkable story: Born in Germany, maybe a night or two in Tel Aviv. Well, over the Federmann’s family bakeries and coffee the past few years, Tel Aviv has evolved into shops were destroyed by the Nazis. Yekutiel one of the great cosmopolitan destinations, escaped to London on forged travel documents. referred to as “The Barcelona of the Middle Samo was a refugee moving from country to East.” The sophisticated Hotel Montefiore country, arrested and placed in a refugee camp is Tel Aviv’s stunning new boutique hotel. in Northern Spain. In 1943, Samo was released, There’s a vibrant restaurant scene to explore and along with three partners rented a fishing at Messa, Mizlala, Catit, coffeeBAR, Brasserie boat, loaded it with 751 Jewish refugees, and M & R, Herbert Samuel, and the dan tel aviv Yavne Montefiore. Weekly food markets and funky waterfront cafes like Comme Il Faut and Agadir Burger Bar have brought the Port of Tel Aviv to life. The Dan Tel aviv The Dan Tel Aviv, the city’s first luxury hotel, was founded in 1947 by two brothers,Yekutiel and Shmuel ‘Samo’ Federmann.
set sail for Palestine. Yekutiel and his brother reunited in Palestine and purchased the “Kaete Dan,” a 21-room guesthouse on the Tel Aviv seashore, with the vision that Israel would one day become a tourist destination. Fully renovated in 2008, the Dan Tel Aviv has an atmosphere of elegance and is ideally situated for business and pleasure. The hotel’s staff is ultra-efficient and welcomes guests by name. The Executive Lounge is where business and pleasure mix. There’s a splendid buffet of fresh persimmons, smoked salmon sandwiches, and chocolate drizzled cakes; a cocktail bar serving Israeli Cabernet and Chardonnay. The buffet selection changes throughout the day and evening; it’s an invitation to sit back on a plush sofa and take in the panoramic view of the Mediterranean. The waves are far from tranquil: white caps smash against stonewalls. The kite surfers are seizing the moment, and the endless seaside promenade is dotted with runners, cyclists, pairs of fast walkers chatting away, mothers and strollers. Outdoor restaurants and clubs along the beach have coveted nighttime locales. Catch the magnificent sunset from the Dan Tel Aviv’s rooftop outdoor pool. The lavish Israeli breakfast buffet included in the nightly rate is stellar. It’s one of the highlights of the day. The Dan’s Sabbath dinner buffet is excellent and a lovely way to celebrate the end of the week. Don’t miss the
King david hotel
chorba soup, a sweet and sour soup with meatfilled dumplings; the best gefilte fish I’ve ever tasted; and a most tender veal roast. Casual fare is offered at the D-Lounge and there’s Hayarkon 99 – an intimate restaurant offering a sophisticated kosher menu. The Dan Tel Aviv is a wonderful hotel from which to experience all that Tel Aviv has to offer. 99 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv. www.danhotels.com. Jerusalem of GolD KinG DaviD hoTel The King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the flagship hotel of the Dan Hotel Group, just celebrated its 80th year. Quite an achievement for a hotel, but the King David is much more than that. From ceasefires to peace agreements, the King David has played a part in Israel’s history. In 1977, the hotel hosted Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem to meet with Menachem Begin. In 1994, at a site near Tiberius, Prime Minister Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan signed a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan on a table brought from the King David Hotel lobby. The King David overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem, embracing the ancient walls and the Tower of David built thousands of years ago. Known as Jerusalem’s “Grand Hotel,” there’s a special ambience at the King David, host to kings, presidents, dignitaries
and celebrities. In honor of the hotel’s 75 th anniversary, 120 signatures from the illustrious list of guests were superimposed on the lobby’s walkway. You don’t have to be a king to stay at the King David, but you’ll most certainly be treated like one. A hotel that rolls out the red carpet for world leaders must have the most exceptional staff, organization, and needless to say, security. The King David staff is remarkable, extremely warm and very helpful. The Israeli breakfast buffet at the King David could easily be described as “Fit for a King.” There’s even a juice bar serving fresh-squeezed melon and date juice, and fresh watermelon juice. The hotel’s pink quartz exteriors and handsome public rooms are reminiscent of a bygone romantic era. The grounds are beautiful, with spacious private gardens, tennis court, an impressive swimming pool and playground. 23 King David St., Jerusalem. A Member of The Leading Hotels of the World: www.lhw.com; www.danhotels.com. There is so much to experience when you’re in Jerusalem that the best investment is a tour guide. amir orly leads academic tours of Jerusalem that are personalized according to the interests of the group. Email: email@example.com; +972(0)52-380-6800. The best tool for planning your trip to Israel: www. goisrael.com. El Al airlines: www.elal.co.il/ELAL/ English/States/USA
On the Road in Israel with PBS’ Music Voyager by Allie Silver / photos by Jacob Edgar In January, a sweet twist of coincidence and timing turned a family vacation to Israel into a road tripping adventure to the Galilee and back with the crew of the PBS world music TV show: Music Voyager. After traveling to Eilat with the Idan Raichel project, recording floating interviews in the Dead Sea and dancing in the desert, the Music Voyager team was back in Israel to explore Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and the North with Israel’s top musicians as their guides. I crossed paths in the Holy Land with my friend and colleague, host Jacob Edgar, who invited me to join the crew and document the experience. Before I knew it I was in the back of a van squished between microphones and cameras heading up the Mediterranean coast on one of the most exhilarating and educational trips I’ve ever experienced. Day 1: Tel aviv to Jerusalem Our first location was a village between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem called Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salam or “Oasis of Peace.” At the entrance to the village we sat at a little café and had spiced Arabic coffee while we waited for our first artist, David Broza. Call it the caffeine, but I started to feel the adrenaline of being on the verge of a great adventure. We met David and one of the earliest members of the village, Abdessalam Najjar, who told us how David’s grandfather helped build this unique space where Jews and Arabs live together in peace. We visited David’s grandfather’s grave, which overlooks a golden domed monastery and the rich green valley below. After exploring the village we headed to the Broza family vineyard, Red Poetry, where David played us a song with a traditional flamenco base sung in Hebrew, proceeding to wink and take more sips of the wine after every take. The crew bought some wine to take home but the family insisted that we also try their homemade moonshine, guavas and brandied figs. If there is one thing I know how to say in Hebrew, it’s “Ken Bevakasha” — Yes, please! Our next stop was to try “the best hummus in Israel” at a restaurant called Abu Ghosh. Little did I know there would be at least eight more stops across the country to try “the best hummus in Israel.”
Abu Ghosh was pretty legit for two reasons: 1. A signed poster of Justin Bieber from his visit there when he was on tour in Israel. 2. Guinness Book of World Records plaque for making the biggest plate of hummus in the world. Hezie Lavi, Music Voyager’s business manager, taught us his hummus scooping technique (it’s all about the pita twist move.) We also learned that Abu Ghosh hosts a hummus camp for Arab and Jewish children to learn to make hummus together. Hummus for world peace! allie in arcadia Guided by our trusty GPS, photo by Kelly MagelKy (affectionately named Yehudith), we drove to Jerusalem’s Machne Day 2: Jerusalem Yehuda market, a mecca of everything from On the road with Music Voyager, I learned very fruits and vegetables to halvah (sweet sesame paste dessert) and Bedouin teas. Tucked inside quickly to expect the unexpected. It was pouring, the market is the hip new bar, Casino de Paris, so the crew had to revise the plan to film Hadag owned by our next host, Sha’anan from the hip- Nahash outdoors on the patio of Casino de Paris. hop funk band, Hadag Nahash. We sat outdoors We moved the band under an awning of one under heat lamps amongst Israeli hipsters sipping of the market passageways. The rain problem the local’s drink of choice, a licorice liquor called was solved, but the chutzpah problem was Arak, with fresh mint and lemon. Next door, in not. Everyone from kerchief-covered old ladies this city of contrasts, we watched a Palestinian to young market salesmen took great pleasure in baker prepare fresh traditional sesame bagels for parading right through the middle of the band, in front of cameras, stepping over cords, through the morning. mic stands, refusing to let a live TV shoot get in the way of their marketing. There was an Moshe ben ari in the roMan aMphitheatre at caesaria alternate path about two feet away, completely clear, but no one seemed interested in that one. The local characters turned out to be nearly as entertaining as the band! Just as the crew finished, Broza called to invite us to a jam that night in East Jerusalem at the recording studio of the Palestinian group Sabreen. Sha’nan overheard the discussion and assured us “This will make Hadag Nahash very happy.” Needless to say, we couldn’t miss the rare opportunity to jam with Israeli and Palestinian musicians. We followed Broza to the East Jerusalem studio and met our hosts, Sabreen and the
KlezMer jaM in tzfat
Arabic rap group G Town, headed by the son of one of the band members of Sabreen. We explored the studio and even though we’d just had dinner, our hosts wouldn’t take no for an answer, serving us kebabs and hummus. One of the members of G Town started playing drums, Jacob joined in on the dumbek and a friend from a reggae band Toot Ard from the Golan Heights started playing the melodica as the Sabreen keyboard player chimed in. It was a magical moment to see this unlikely musical connection across generations, countries, religions, and styles. Day 3: Jerusalem and Tzfat I met up with some friends for breakfast at a funky cafe called Tmol Shilshom. It’s a legendary spot frequented by Jerusalem scholars with poems inscribed on every plate and killer eggplant and goat cheese shakshuka (tomato based egg and vegetable dish). After picking up some spices at the Old City market we hit the road, heading north up the mountains of the Upper Galilee to Tzfat, our next destination. Tzfat is the birthplace of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), famous for its thriving artists’ colony, the annual Klezmer festival, and historic synagogues. We met our host, Bar-Sela Chanan, director of the annual Tzfat Klezmer Festival held in August, attracting the best Klezmer players from Korea to Argentina. We walked through the stone tunnels of the old city to see the beautiful artisan crafts on display in the artists’ colony and stopped at an old synagogue painted in a gorgeous cerulean blue. The crew wasn’t allowed to film in the synagogue and decided to try to catch the mountain view. The sky had been covered in fog all day but just as the cameras started rolling on Chanan playing his clarinet, the fog mystically lifted to reveal a beautiful mountain sunset.
Day 4: haifa, akko and Caesarea The Dan Panorama Haifa sits twenty-one stories high on Mount Carmel with panoramic views of the city and the bay below leading out into the Mediterranean. If that wasn’t spectacular enough, we were greeted with a lavish Israeli breakfast: an endless buffet with spreads of smoked fishes, cheeses, fresh carrot juice, dates, halvah, salads and my favorite, labane, a creamy yogurt cheese wrapped in grape leaves. I could get used to this. After getting some footage of Haifa’s historic Baha’i Temple, we journeyed north to the ancient city of Akko. Akko is packed with tourists in the summer, but in winter was very quiet except for its bustling old city marketplace. We walked through the historic stone tunnels, had fresh squeezed pomegranate juice, peeped in and out of traditional barbershops, leather stores, spice and pickle shops. Next stop, the Roman amphitheater in Caesarea to meet Mosh Ben Ari. Now performing as a soloist, Mosh got his start as the lead singer of the Israeli super-group Sheva, famous for its mix
hadag nachash in Machne yehuda MarKet
of Muslim and Jewish band members and songs promoting peace. Over 2,000 years old, the historic amphitheater overlooks the ocean and is fully intact, and an active venue to this day. While the crew strategized how to balance the soundboard on 2,000-yearold rocks, Mosh reflected, “Here you can feel the power of history. It reminds you that you are just here for a second.” Mid-interview, a large group of Chinese tourists entered the amphitheater. One of the tourists from the group came to the center of the amphitheater and began to sing a Chinese opera. Needless to say, this interrupted Mosh’s interview and the cameras had to cut. We all sat silently watching this man sing in Chinese in the middle of the Roman ruins on the Israeli seaside. Then, the Chinese tourists on the steps joined in with him and started swaying with their hands in the air. That was certainly not on the Music Voyager schedule, but hey, why not! If you thought it had been too long since we were last invited to try “the best hummus in Israel,” not to worry. Mosh took us to his personal favorite place, called Blue Bus. After trying at least ten different “best hummus restaurants in Israel,” in my opinion, Blue Bus definitely won the blue ribbon. First of all, the restaurant is literally an old blue hippie busturned-restaurant. Blue Bus’s amazing hummus
Day 6: Tel aviv In the morning, we met funky soul singer Karolina in Neve Tzedek, easily identifiable by her giant afro. Karolina has reinvented herself more than once, fronting a sound system as MC Karolina, singing in a reggae soul band called Funset, forming part of one of Israel’s most famous folk trios, Habanot Nechama, and currently releasing a solo album dabbling in Turkish psychedelia. Built in 1887, Neve Tzedek is trendy yet charming, where restored pastel-colored houses are home to many famous writers and artists. We
david broza at red poetry vineyard
ehud banai in his favorite childhood parK
combines local olive oil, whole chickpeas, a hard-boiled egg, labane cheese, spices, with fresh cilantro on top. Blue Bus for the win! Day 5: Tel aviv We drove back to Tel Aviv to meet Ehud Banai, “the Bob Dylan of Israel,” voted the 28th most important Israeli of all time. He chose his favorite childhood park overlooking the city as his stage to perform an acoustic
version of “Blues Kn’aani.” “Israel is a very small country, but you can travel just one hour and feel as though you are going 3,000 years back in time!” Ehud exclaimed as he walked us around the park pointing out the landmarks where he used to play cowboys and had his first kiss. That night, at the Tel Aviv Opera House, Israeli superstar Idan Raichel was rehearsing with Ana Moura, one of Portugal’s most famous Fado singers. It was incredible watching two legends teach each other songs in their native languages, weaving together their musical traditions. But the night wasn’t over yet, our next guest, Boom Pam, invited us to join them in the studio. I have to admit, what first attracted me to Boom Pam was the band’s description on their website: “A Mediterranean surf rock tuba driven power trio, seasoned with dueling guitars and alcohol soaked wedding party ecstasy.” Sign me up. After the shoot we went out to grab some late night falafel. It was an easy walk along the beach from the Dan Panorama to the illuminated ancient city of Jaffa.
Karolina in neve tzedeK
stopped by Karolina’s favorite cafe, Dellal, where you can enjoy delicious pastries on an AstroTurf mini park. When music and travel are your passion, there is no richer experience than learning about a culture with the most influential musicians of that country as your guides. In a country perceived by the world as a wartorn, troubled land filled with conflict, it was enlightening to feel the pulse of cosmopolitan life, the power of history, the beat of the music, and the warmth of the people that make Israel so unique. Be sure to check out Music Voyager on PBS and www.musicvoyager.com for all local listings. Currently based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Allie Silver manages the groundbreaking electronic folklore label ZZK Records. As an international music broadcaster and tastemaker, Allie was named one of the ‘Seven Samurai’ jury members at the prestigious WOMEX (World Music Expo) 2012 Conference in Greece.
In the cIty: PaRIS Four Seasons St. Louis
four seasons george v
St. Louis, MO
Four Seasons George V Paris, France
Live like a king, while keeping your head, at the Four Seasons George V in Paris. Here opulent settings and exquisite amenities are matched by flawless, and yes, friendly service, to provide a uniquely memorable stay. Tapestries, fresh flowers, objets de art, crystal chandeliers and fine furnishings throughout the public areas, guestrooms and suites lay a backdrop of period beauty. Spacious bathrooms, fine linens, soft lighting, rich toiletries and discreet modern conveniences ensure comfort. Panoramic windows with balconies encourage daydreaming al fresco, and offer fine views over the elegant arrondissement. For the ultimate in pampered luxury, book the newly expanded presidential suite. The hotel presents a spa modeled on Marie Antoinette’s boudoir, meeting and banquet space with the richness of Versailles. Still, behind the opulence lies a technology-laden business center with multilingual concierge, a health club with state of the art exercise equipment and indoor swimming pool, and all the up-to-date facilities of a world-class hotel. Enjoy cocktails and light meals in La Galerie, an elegant, airy promenade in which to see and be seen, with people watching as fine as the fare, and afternoon piano music; or Le Bar, a handsome, wood paneled, intimate locale where politics and intrigue commingle. But the piece de resistance in the hotel’s dining is Le Cinq, its two Michelin-starred
restaurant, offering stupendous, creative fare in a sumptuous dining room attended by a young, ultra-professional waitstaff. From foies gras to tuna tartar three ways, foam topped pumpkin puree to gold tipped tarte tatin, Executive Chef Eric Briffard awes and amazes with his culinary creations. Dress to the nines for dinner and put yourself in chef ’s capable hands with his seasonal tasting menu, paired with fine wines. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant uses only housemade and top sourced ingredients, making any meal a special occasion. Children’s amenities and babysitting services are available on-site. For airport pick up, day trips or business in Paris, the Hotel offers the world’s only Hermès-inspired custom-built Rolls Royce Phantom. The hotel is located in the heart of Paris, adjacent to upscale shopping, the Champs Elysee, museums, galleries and the Seine. 31, Avenue George V, Paris; www.fourseasons.com/paris/. four seasons st. louis
True to the standards of its brand, the Four Seasons St. Louis, in the heart of the downtown entertainment district, is an oasis from which to explore this city’s myriad neighborhoods and offerings. With its lobby located on the eighth floor and all guest rooms above, the Four Seasons offers amazing views of the Gateway Arch and the mighty Mississippi river. Also known as the Gateway to the West, the arch is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States. At 630 feet, it is the tallest man-made monument in the United States, and Missouri’s tallest accessible building. With floor to ceiling windows and contemporary décor, guest rooms at the Four Seasons are elegant, spacious, and serene. Bathrooms offer a delightful range of toiletries, and many have both bathtub and shower. Deluxe feather beds and fine linens ensure a restful night’s sleep. Enjoy the hotel’s spa, offering a range of treatments and services, and an adjacent stateof-the-art work out room, with panoramic views over East meeting West. The lobby bar, a popular gathering place in the evenings, overlooks an attractive outdoor swimming pool, seating area and fire pit. Cielo Restaurant provides wholesome fare and patio seating in good weather to hotel guests and area visitors alike. An excellent locale for business or private functions, the hotel can provide flexible, sunlit, meeting and conference rooms, elegant ballrooms and experienced staff. 999 North 2nd Street, St. Louis, MO. 314/881-5800; www.fourseasons.com/StLouis.
naSSau and PaRadISe ISland, BahaMaS by Paula Koffsky Some of the Atlantis pools are connected to the water rides, but guests without kids should settle into a swanky oversized daybed at the adults-only Cain pool. The 9,000-square-foot “ultra pool” offers 20 private cabanas, four pools, a bar, DJ, concierge service and outdoor gaming. The café serves up light Caribbean fare and frozen tropical drinks. Adults deserve to have their cake and eat it too. The Cove Atlantis sees to that. www.atlantis.com.
Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino
The Cove Atlantis
Paradise Island, Bahamas Most travelers are familiar with Atlantis, Paradise Island, the highly celebrated vacation destination. This vast Bahamian resort is situated on some of the world’s most magnificent beaches. The resort offers maximum fun with an endless array of activities for young and old alike. Imagine swimming with the dolphins, feeding marine wildlife, and careening down exhilarating water rides —and that’s just the first day. Teens love the gaming room and the teen-only nightclub. Adult guests flock to the resort for the Caribbean’s largest casino, championship golf course, Mandara Spa, and gourmet restaurants. For top shelf luxury, stay at the Cove Atlantis, where creative designers and architects have collaborated to create a unique, sophisticated island ambiance. The exotic open-air lobby sports fresh water lagoons teeming with exotic fish and colorful lilies. Bamboo walls, blue skies and lush foliage seem to miraculously destress visitors upon arrival. Guests enjoy suites with breathtaking ocean views and an equally impressive décor. A generous balcony, oversized step down living room and luxurious bathrooms are all standard here. After a day at the beach, take in the sunset at Sea Glass lounge with a
Covetini, the signature drink with raspberry rum, mango jasmine puree, raspberries and a hint of lime. For a gourmet dinner, check out Mesa Grill restaurant, celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s fusion of Southwestern and contemporary cuisine. sheraton nassau beach resort
Nassau, Bahamas Drive up to the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort and the warm, relaxed atmosphere is obvious. With a reputation as a premier family-friendly resort in the Bahamas, this Sheraton delivers a Caribbean vacation that is easy to get to, affordable, and loaded with activities for the entire family. The beautifully landscaped property is situated on a 1,000-foot stretch of pristine white-sand beach. It boasts three pools, waterfalls, whirlpools and the essential swim-up bar. The Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort is adjacent to the easily accessible Cable Beach property. Together they offer 15 restaurants and lounges, tennis courts, and a Las Vegas-style Crystal Palace Casino. The resort can accommodate any gathering from an intimate celebration to a sizeable ballroom event. Families with small children love the Sheraton Adventure Club’s many activities, like junior cooking classes, field trips to Nassau’s famous Straw Market, poolside dive-in movies, and fireside storytelling. Adults keep busy also; they can try their luck in the casino or enjoy a romantic torch lit beachside dinner for two. The resort is a short drive from the Nassau International Airport. 866/716-8106; www.sheratonnassau.com.
sandals royal bahaMian spa resort & offshore island
Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island Nassau, Bahamas
Vacationing with children is not always a breeze, either for parents or for those within earshot. Who wants to deal with out-of-bounds smurf balls, boisterous teenagers, or diaper-clad swimming mates? Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island has none of the above. Instead, you’ll find serene, white sandy beaches, private butlers, a plethora of gourmet restaurants, and all the ingredients for a romantic getaway. There are several luxury accommodation options at Sandals Royal Bahamian. Most exciting is the recent $17 million upgrade of Balmoral Tower, the former home of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, dating back to the
one&only ocean club
hotel exudes a striking elegance. Whether staying at the One&Only Ocean Club or not, visitors to Paradise Island must experience Jean-George Vongerichten’s restaurant on site, Dune. The menu is a mélange of flavors from his New York restaurants combined with local Caribbean ingredients. Jean-George designed everything at this stunning site, from the architectural concept to the indigenous herb garden. The results are breathtaking. Arrive early for a drink at the resort bar, then meander along the magnificently landscaped walkway to Dune, perched high atop a pristine sandbank. The food, service, and views make for an outstanding evening, topped 1940s. Ocean view rooms and suites offer large with an exceptional wine list. balconies, while several of the ground floor www.oceanclub.oneandonlyresorts.com. rooms open onto the glamorous pool deck. After a day on the beach, couples can enjoy a romantic interlude at the Sunset Bar, savoring Romeo’s Executive hors d’œuvres and drinks as the sun goes down. Limousine & Taxi Service 1-888-SANDALS; www.sandals.com. Romeo Farrington has been providing transportation in Nassau, Bahamas for over 30 years; he and his staff offer reliable, professional Dune Restaurant, service, 24/7. Recognized by the Ministry of One&Only Ocean Club, Tourism for outstanding service. Bahamas 1-242-557-8953; www.romeoslimos.com. Paradise Island, Bahamas Paradise Island’s most discerning guests can be found at the One&Only Ocean Club. As seen in the blockbuster movie Casino Royale, the resort is the tony setting of a high stakes card game and a sultry liaison between Daniel Craig’s agent 007 and the villain’s beautiful wife. Even in these brief Hollywood scenes, the
In November 2011, JetBlue launched the first international flight out of Westchester County Airport, with daily, nonstop, round trip service to Nassau, Bahamas. The stress-free, three-hour flight departs Westchester at 8:00 a.m. JetBlue offers competitive pricing and roomy all-leather seats, each with it’s own Live TV with 36 channels of DIRECTV. Reservations: 800-JETBLUE (538-2583); www.jetblue.com.
By the Ocean
Bal haRBOuR and St. RegIS Bal haRBOuR st. regis bal harbour
Only a 15-minute ride from South Beach’s flashy scene, Bal Harbour, Florida is a sophisticated retreat, affectionately referred to as “South Beach for Grown Ups.” The open-air Bal Harbour Shops are the chic centerpiece of this one-square mile destination, with exclusive designer boutiques such as Lanvin, Carolina Herrera, Stella McCartney, Chanel, St. John, Hermès, and Marc Jacobs, as well as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. There’s a vibrant outdoor cafe scene: the Parisian-inspired bistro, La Goulue, and Italian fare at Carpaccio. Celebrity restaurateur Steven Starr of Buddakan and Morimoto fame recently opened Makoto, which features a twelve-seat sushi bar and al fresco dining on the restaurant’s terrace. Bal Harbour hosts a variety of complimentary cultural events. Bal Harbour Art Nights celebrate the remarkable artists and thought leaders who have fueled the evolution of the arts in South Florida. The Art Chat series presents conversations about the global art scene with art world luminaries, while author readings are hosted at Books & Books. A complimentary shuttle service is available for hotel guests and residents from South Beach to local cultural attractions five days a week, from 11 AM to 8 PM. Right across the street from the shops is the
Bal Harbour beach and a $3 million beachfront jogging path. Thursday through Sunday mornings, guests and residents of Bal Harbour can participate in complimentary yoga and pilates classes offered by local favorite Nomi Pilates. Bal Harbour hosts movies on the beach with popcorn on plush couches and also offers an innovative Kids Beach Camp run by the Miami Children’s Museum.
G Grill presents a medley of favorites from the renowned chef ’s repertoire of restaurants. Floor to ceiling windows offer diners a captivating view of the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantico is the hotel’s casual grill with a canopied terrace open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Fresco is the hotel’s 90-seat oceanside restaurant and bar. The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort is ideally situated on the beach directly across from the luxury Bal Harbour Shops. 9703 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour, FL. 877/ST-REGIS; 305/993-3300; www.stregisbalharbour.com.
St. Regis Bal Harbour
In addition to the St. Regis, there’s ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa, (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) 124 ocean-view rooms with only two suites per floor. The hotel has the coveted views of both the Atlantic and the Intracoastal Waterway, an impressive $4 million art collection, oceanfront dining at Mister Collins, an oceanview bar, swimming pool with private cabanas, fitness center and 10,000 square-foot waterfront spa. www.slh.com/OneBalHarbourResortAndSpa. Bal Harbour Quarzo is a luxurious all-suite boutique property. This waterfront, 29-room hotel offers spacious, condo-sized suites with full kitchens, private balconies and zen-inspired meditation gardens. www.quarzomiamihotel.com. For more information on all the happenings, visit: www.balharbourflorida.com.
He arrives at the door of my hotel suite dressed in black tie and white gloves. I swoon watching him delicately wrap my t-shirts and Converse hightops in tissue paper, laying them crosswise in my suitcase like elegant spears of white asparagus. A la Cinderella after midnight, I can’t believe it’s time to go home. How do you say goodbye to your St. Regis Bal Harbour butler, or the Bentley so graciously available during your stay, the luxurious oceanfront accommodations, the white sandy beach and the sensational bloodorange Bellini? The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort made its glamorous debut in January of this year. Mirrored walls, crystal chandeliers, lavenders and greys accented with purple orchids announce the “make no mistake you have entered a 5-star property” lobby. The resort’s 243 spectacular guestrooms and suites offer full ocean views with an expansive outdoor terrace. There’s an adults-only pool as well as a family pool, and cabana rental options galore: 25 oceanfront and poolside private cabanas, as well as nine private cabanas equipped with wet bar, full bath and shower, days beds, flat screen TV and butler service. The 14,000 square foot Remède Spa is a haven of relaxation with steam and sauna facilities, a state-of-the-art fitness facility with an ocean view, cold and hot plunge pools and twelve treatment rooms. The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort’s signature restaurant, Jean-Georges Vongerichtens’s J &
one bal harbour resort & spa
the Ocean hOuSe Watch hIll, RhOde ISland Just 2.5 hours from Manhattan, the Ocean House sits high on the bluffs of the quiet seaside village of Watch Hill, Rhode Island and evokes nostalgia for the grand American beach vacations of yesteryear. The resort opened its doors in June 2010 after a $146 million rebuild. From freshly baked pastries in the room upon arrival to small keepsakes included with nightly turndown service, the AAA Five Diamond resort (the first in Rhode Island) prides itself on little details that make guests feel welcome. With only 49 rooms, it almost feels as if you’re staying in a friend’s magnificent beach house, rather than a hotel.
Featuring true farm-to-table dedication, the Ocean House employs a full time Food Forager, Jane Faust Dane, who spends her days visiting local farms and farmer’s markets to find the freshest ingredients. While the menus in the resort’s aptly named main restaurant, Seasons, officially change four times a year, they really change daily, depending on what Jan finds on her excursions. Highlights include a butter poached local Stonington lobster and roasted sea scallops with black truffle. Complimentary weekly Farm + Vine classes for guests range from “Churn it up – making fresh butters” to the ever-popular classic, “How to make a mean martini.”
Even the 12,000-square-foot OH! Spa at the Ocean House features a seasonal menu, starring ingredients from “the ocean and the harvest.” Honey in the Spring Bloom Serenity Wrap is from an apiary just down the road and the Deep Relaxation Massage includes a lavender rub from locally owned Farmaesthetics. After a therapeutic treatment, guests can lay back and put their feet up in the spa’s sunny relaxation room, with views of the Atlantic Ocean. Offering gorgeous beaches, a rich history and a refined touch, the Ocean House makes for a wonderful getaway. 888/552-2588; www.oceanhouseri.com. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
caPe aIR tO MaRtha’S VIneyaRd, nantucket and PROVIncetOWn eaSy, nO haSSle acceSS fROM WeStcheSteR cOunty aIRPORt Now in its 23rd year, Cape Air is one of the largest independent regional airlines in the United States, annually flying over 650,000 passengers to destinations around the world including New England, New York, the Caribbean, Florida, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest and Micronesia. With a fleet of sixty-six Cessna 402s and two ATR-42s, the employeeowned company operates up to 600 flights per
has earned the airline accolades as ‘Best Airline’ on Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and in the United States Virgin Islands. The airline has been recognized for outstanding philanthropy in the communities it serves and Cape Air Founder and CEO Dan Wolf was recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year™ Award. Cape Air’s presence at Westchester County Airport continues to grow, with the addition
requested by members of both communities. It is important for us to be able to listen to the suggestions of our passengers, and respond quickly to meet those needs.” This new route augments Cape Air’s existing service between Westchester County Airport and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. For added convenience, passengers can opt to use ground transportation to/from Westchester
day. Based in Hyannis, Massachusetts, Cape Air also operates flights under the Nantucket Airlines brand. Cape Air is a codeshare partner with United Airlines in the Caribbean and American Airlines in the Midwest. In Micronesia, Cape Air operates as United Express. In addition, Cape Air has ticket and baggage agreements with most major airlines. Cape Air’s unique brand of customer service, MOCHA HAGoTDI,*
of new service between White Plains and Provincetown, which begins on June 15. Cape Air Founder and CEO, Dan Wolf, adds, “Ever since our first flight took off from Provincetown in 1989, that community has been a special place for the Cape Air family. Providing a connection between New York and the Outer Cape was a natural fit for us, and, more importantly, was routinely
County Airport to the heart of Manhattan at 35th Street and 8th Avenue. Travelers can go from the bustle of the city to the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket or P’Town in under 3 hours. To make a reservation from either Manhattan or Westchester to Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket or Provincetown, please call 866-CAPE-AIR or book online at capeair.com.
the MOdeRn hOnOlulu WheRe InnOVatIVe deSIgn MeetS BaRefOOt luxuRy
The Modern Honolulu promises a refreshingly new Hawaii experience. Home to Iron Chef Morimoto’s celebrated new restaurant, Morimoto Waikiki, the hotel’s understated elegance has earned acclaim for exceptional service and high design during its opening year. It’s posh without being pretentious, chic without being overdone, luxurious, yet brilliantly laid back. At The Modern Honolulu, stilettos are welcome… and so are flip-flops. Located on the first floor in the center of the hotel’s outdoor space, the Sunrise Pool provides the ultimate resort pool atmosphere for guests looking to kick back and relax in true island style. World-class service, an extensive beverage menu, and custom offerings from the Executive Chef compliment the setting and create a unique and memorable poolside experience. Exotic and secluded, the Sunset Pool space is shaded by tall palms and indigenous dune foliage, while a sandy area surrounds a shallow circular lagoon, creating an alluring platform for guests to
gather, lounge and celebrate under a starry sky. The spa has four beautifully appointed treatment rooms, two manicure/pedicure stations and a full range of spa services. Accessible locker rooms are designed so that arriving and departing guests can change, shower and soothe away the stresses of plane travel in a relaxed setting. Stone sinks, natural materials and a neutral palate throughout the spa create an elemental and restorative environment. In keeping with its natural setting, the spa offers products from the highly selective and ecologically sensitive Elemental Herbology, Amala and Primavera collections. All products are free of mineral oils, synthetic fragrance and colors, sulphates, PABA sunscreens and paraben preservative. Located on the second floor of the hotel, the fitness center overlooks the Sunset Pool and provides an ideal setting for daily workouts. The space features free weights, Life Fitness
cardiovascular equipment and is wired with flat screen TVs and a state-of-the-art sound system. From an intimate private gathering to a spectacular celebration in one of the largest luxury ballrooms on Oahu, meetings and events are offered in an exciting range of unique locations throughout the property. A state-ofthe-art executive boardroom, four meeting studios, a 9200-square-foot ballroom for seated dinners with up to 800 guests, three pre-function galleries, a stunning Penthouse and Sun Suite both with expansive outdoor spaces, and the one-of-a-kind Sunset Pool can be customized to create the ultimate in personalized entertaining. Sophisticated modern design, cutting-edge technology and high-level creative service specialists combine to produce a seamlessly professional and refreshingly original experience for host, guest and client. From high-def to low key, guests can party like a rock star or just unwind. ADDICTION Nightclub boasts all-night dancing and signature cocktails. An exclusive VIP section with its own discreet, separate entrance is elevated and overlooks the dance floor, to bring VIP guests into the center of the action while maintaining their privacy. The spacious and luxurious Lobby Bar, catering to guests and in-the-know locals, forms an epicenter where hotel guests and the local community merge. Meet, talk and relax while enjoying the full-service bar menu and hand crafted cocktails. The large, dramatic, rotating bookcase provides a dynamic separation between the Lobby Bar and the main reception area, creating an intimate atmosphere for gathering and conversation. Restaurant Morimoto Waikiki provides the ultimate culinary experience for discriminating guests. A stylish dining environment, the restaurant offers a contemporary Japanese menu, infusing traditional dishes with Western ingredients and preparation. Chef Masaharu Morimoto, known to millions as star of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, has garnered critical and popular acclaim for his seamless integration of Western and Japanese ingredients, effectively creating his own unique cuisine – one defined by innovation and inspiration. Toll-free reservations: 866/407-2782 www.themodernhonolulu.com. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
SuMMeR In cOlORadO: VaIl & SnOWMaSS By deBBIe SIlVeR the sebastian-vail hotel
Next morning, first tracks for foodies begins at Market at The Sebastian — a cool bistro with shelves of cookbooks, blackboard menus and a selection of the morning papers. Start the day with a breakfast buffet or a bowl of homemade nutty granola and a cappuccino. Savor some quiet time in the handsome Library lounge filled with cozy sofas, games, and books. Bloom Spa is a soothing setting for Coloradoinspired massages, facials, soaks, and body treatments. The Sebastian Base Camp is right outside the hotel, along Vail village’s pedestrian walkway. Hotel guests have exclusive use of the private on-mountain ski valet service and ski-in/ ski-out access to the Vista Bahn chair lift. The DBD foodie route continues at the Sebastian’s Beignet Café, adjacent to the Sebastian Base Camp. Imagine a bag of hot, heavenly beignets, from traditional to Snickers, chocolate chip, Oreo cookie, pecan praline, and apple cinnamon. Divine! Solaris is the new addition to Vail Village, where you’ll find the ultra-cool bowling alley/ restaurant/bar - bol. It’s a terrific place to bring the family, with a fun menu. Dine at the 60 foot bar, the casual restaurant or at the bowling lanes. What a blast enjoying cocktails and small plates on oversized couches while you wait your turn to spin the ball. bol
The Sebastian-Vail Hotel I’m in awe of the fearless skiers who come to Vail to ski the bowls at Blue Sky Basin. Those double black diamonds — (I’ve nicknamed them DBDs) so brazen, so confident they’re ready to meet the challenge. But are they up for the challenge of the double black diamond foodie tour of Vail ’s new culinary treasures? First stop, the new Sebastian-Vail hotel, a Timbers Resorts Hotel & Residence Club and member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts. How many DBDs do you know who can fly from New York to Vail, check in to the Sebastian-Vail, arrive at 8:59 p.m. for a 9:00 reservation at the Sebastian’s fabulous wine-inspired restaurant,
Block 16? Only a fearless DBD foodie would proclaim, “So what if it’s 11 p.m. EST, let the five course wine-paired dinner begin!” Each month, Block 16’s wine director, Thamin Saleh, invites a guest vintner to selects wines to complement a five-course dinner. Tonight, John Wilson, wine maker for Littorai Winery of California, is the guest vintner. Highlights from Chef Ezra Duker’s sophisticated menu include: White tuna served with cara cara orange, Fresno chili, and basil; deconstructed New England Clam Chowder; Attention DBD Foodies: Striped Bass with sunchokes and black trumpet There are two dishes on bol’s menu that are worth mushrooms; and Fallow Venison with stinging getting on a plane to Vail right now to experience: nettles, turnips, black truffle and huckleberry. Spicy, honey glazed ribs sprinkled with peanuts
the viceroy snowMass
and cilantro; and hot fried apple pie, cinnamon tossed, served with vanilla ice cream. Now, imagine a Colorado summer day relaxing by the Sebastian’s mountainview swimming pool with a bag of hot beignets. Perhaps a spa retreat — the Sebastian Sabbatical 2.5 hours of rejuvenation. A cocktail stop at Frost, the Sebastian’s après lounge, then on to the Vail Jazz Festival at Lionshead or a symphony at the Bravo Vail Valley Music Festival. Now in its 25th season, this summer’s concert series features the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Après concert, bol for bowling, a plate of spiced honey glazed ribs and a hot fried apple pie! www.vail.com; www.thesebastianvail.com; www.bolvail.com.
The Viceroy Snowmass The Viceroy Snowmass has redefined the Snowmass mountain vacation. Prior to the hotel’s 2009 debut, if you wanted a five star hotel you had to stay in Aspen. The Viceroy is the first ski-in/ski-out luxury resort at the foot of Snowmass Ski Area, featuring residences from studios to four-bedroom condominiums. The location is walking distance to Snowmass Base Village and only a few miles to downtown Aspen. The interior design is stunning, a sophisticated showcase of textures and natural elements — aspen trees, exquisite woods, leather sofas, tree bark, and sleek glass fireplaces designed on a bed of luminescent glass beads. Suite accommodations feature a slopeside balcony, very comfy bed, oversized bathroom,
served mountain biking, fly-fishing, horseback riding, rafting, rock climbing, paragliding, ballooning, and even mining! The hotel offers a selection of engaging, free kids’ activities and family activities, including nature walks, catch and release pond fishing, family yoga, sushimaking lessons, poolside ice cream social and arts and crafts. Located across from Viceroy Snowmass, the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center provides year-round Aspen/Snowmass kids’ activities, integrating children’s activities with family programs. Summertime in Snowmass there’s an authentic rodeo held every Wednesday and a free Thursday Night Concert Series (June 28Aug. 16). Camp Aspen/Snowmass offers daily and weekly programs for ages 1 through teens. Camp is open Monday-Friday, 8 am- 4pm, fully equipped kitchen, even a washer/dryer. The hotel’s 7,000 squarefoot spa offers an impressive selection of holistic wellness experiences, from Ute Indian-inspired therapies to contemporary beauty rituals. Lunch Asian-style at Nest and après around the all-season heated pool with sushi and cocktails from Nest’s 200 vodka the viceroy snowMass menu, inspired by James Bond “Villains and Vixens.” Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, the June – September, with drop-off locations Viceroy’s lobbyside cocktail bar and lounge is in Snowmass and Aspen. There’s everything a knockout with an 87-foot glass bar. Eight K from Teen Rock and Roll Camp, to Rocket (the hotel’s elevation) serves breakfast, lunch Camp, Adventure Camp and Mountain Board and dinner and a family style Sunday supper. training camp. The mountain views are glorious and so is the dining experience. Chef Will Nolan brings There’s a fesTival for his New Orleans sensibility to Eight K, and everyone in aspen/snowmass: all I can say is, “Wow!” Nolan doesn’t miss an aspen music festival opportunity to introduce signature dishes, like (June 28-August 19) barbecued shrimp and grits and quail stuffed snowmass Culinary & arts festival with green onion sausage. The breakfast buffet (July 20-22) is fantastic; be on the lookout for the almond art aspen horn croissant filled with melted dark chocolate (Aug 2-5) Jazz aspen snowmass labor Day festival and raspberry jam. Thanks to Eight K at the (August 31 - September 2) Viceroy, Snowmass now has one of the best snowmass Balloon festival restaurants in the area. (September 14-16) Summer is the perfect time for an Aspen/ snowmass wine festival Snowmass family vacation. Take advantage of the (September14-15) Viceroy’s low summer season rates, the golf/spa www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com Snowmass: package, and Linger Longer — 3rd night free. The Viceroy Concierge can organize your www.aspensnowmass.com www.snowmassvillage.com family’s activities, including hiking, gondola-
on Marthaâ€™s Vineyard
Gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, walk-to-town home with deep water dock Setting reflects the character and charm of this historic whaling town on Marthaâ€™s Vineyard. Your experience on 119 North Water Street will provide you unparalleled island enjoyment and family memories for years to come.
Visit the web site at www.northwaterstreet.com Asking price $10.9 Million.
For more information contact Owner/Broker at North Water Street Properties: firstname.lastname@example.org or call
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Costa Rica No Artificial Ingredients! Rancho Alto is located 700 feet above sea level, overlooking the Papagayo Polo Club, Guanacaste. There are 46 segregated lots. Develop homes, condos, hotel and Golf Course. Each lot has it's own property I.D. The ranch includes 846 acres. There are registered wells, private water district, electricity. It is the only property subdivided and ready to develop in the Papagayo other than in the Four Seasons Resort Peninsula. Closest beach is Playa Cabuyal, white sand beach with an estuary. Common area spring fed lake within the development and a waterfall! Perfect location for a golf course - the terrain offers gentle rolling hills, views of the ocean, valleys and distant mountains. Best priced ranch in all of the Papagayo, North West Pacific at $4.22 a square meter! ID:3759 $10,000,000
Incredible hillside villa with ocean and island views. 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, family TV room, gourmet kitchen, caretakers apartment, terrace with infinity pool, fully furnished, garage and laundry room. Just a one minute drive to Ocotal beach. ID:5535 $729,000
A short walk to the beach of Playa Hermosa. This apartment complex offers 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 studios, 1 bedroom owner’s apartment, caretaker’s apartment. Great as vacation and investment property with rental income units. I D:13967 $499,000
Boutique B & B offering 9 rooms, restaurant, with reception open area and spacious salon. Owner’s separate house with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, pool, private parking plus a spacious vacant lot. 100 meters to the beach. ID:4233 $979,000
Playa Panama, closest beach community to the Intl. Airport in Liberb. Single family home with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. Community tennis court, pool, BBQ Area with panoramic ocean views. ID:10315 $138,000
Breathtaking ocean view condo located in the exclusive gated community of Corona del Mar in Playa Ocotal. The condo offers two bedrooms, granite counter tops and covered terrace. Fully furnished. ID:3747 $249,000
Villa Isla Azul, Playa Ocotal, offers incredible panoramic ocean views. 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, fully furnished, large outside terrace with pool and jacuzzi. ID:11162 $1,100,000
Coast to Coast Properties Each office is independently owned & operated
Linda Gray, Owner/Broker, VP Coldwell Banker Costa Rica 011-506-2670-0805, Toll Free 1-877-589-0539 www.coldwellbankercr.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
buying and selling
Performing Arts Center Planned for Guanacaste Costa Rica By Helen Dunn Frame a seed for the Costa
Rica Performing Arts and Scholarship Foundation (CRPA) was planted in 2005, when the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Costa Rica participated in an International Music Tour in Japan. It was fitting because the musical director of the symphony at the time was Maestro Chosei Komatsu and the Toyota Motor Corporation and the Aichi Global Exposition agreed to be patrons of the trip. The design concept for the CRPA theatres comes from the incredible Japanese Fukui Theatres. Alvaro González, Principal Cellist with the Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra and CRPA Foundation President, had the opportunity to experience performing in the grand venue, which offers the most up-to- date architectural design supporting the utmost in superior acoustics. Fueled by inspiration and motivation, Alvaro envisioned having an arts center in Guanacaste where the public would enjoy the most wonderful performances, including opera, ballet, jazz and musicals, as well as Latin, popular and classical music performed by famous artists eager to appear in the new facility. Most importantly, its professional orchestra would change young talented Costa Rican lives by providing scholarships to enable them to become performers and better people in their society. The Northwest Province, long touted as the Gold Coast or Jewel of Costa Rica, covers the most land mass of all of Costa Rica’s seven provinces and boasts the least number of inhabitants. Famous for cows and cowboys, it stretches along 100 km of the pacific coast up to Nicaragua, which abuts it on the north. Forming its eastern borders are a chain of volcanoes and mountain ranges offering great hiking facilities,
enhances the social and cultural atmosphere that attracts foreigners to Costa Rica and particularly to Guanacaste. The foundation has already recruited professionals who are dedicated to the community and very excited about the ambitious project. They include, in addition to Alvaro González, Agnes Patricia González, Foundation Director, violist and member of the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica; Linda Gray, Public Relations/Marketing Director, President of Coldwell Banker Costa Rica; Francisco Watson, CPA, Accounting Advisor, Professor at the University of Costa Rica; and Andres Montejo, Notary/Attorney and University of Costa Rica Professor of Law. The directors of CRPA selected the conveniently located northwest setting for a number of reasons. These include its proximity to one of the two international airports in Costa Rica — the Liberia International Airport (LIR); a full range of services available in its capital of Liberia, and the incredible recreational opportunities in multiple beach communities not far from the airport that lure locals, retirees and tourists. The Pan-American Highway, (Hwy.1) which passes through Liberia, provides accessibility to the entire country. Simply put, the CRPA center could find no better home than Guanacaste, a land of enchantment, warmth, and natural beauty. To become a CRPA volunteer, go to costaricaperformingarts.org. For more details or to rent or buy in Guanacaste, contact Linda Gray. Toll Free: 1-877-589-0539 Direct: 011-506-2670-0805 email email@example.com Helen Dunn Frame, author of Greek Ghosts, editor, writer and world traveler from New York City, lives in Costa Rica.
As you plAn your visit to CostA riCA, Consider renting the luxurious villA CostA MAr loCAted in plAyA herMosA, guAnACAste, whiCh feAtures, AMong MAny AMenities, A BoCCe Court And golf green.
breathtaking views of the countryside, and lush, dense forests that play host to a fabulous array of exotic plants and wildlife, including rare and endangered animals and birds. From these mountains, various rivers drain down to form an alluvial plain in the Rio Tempisque. This area is home to evergreen and dry forests, mangroves, swamps, protected areas with national parks providing refuge for birds and wildlife, and features impressive flora and fauna, bubbling mud holes, refreshing river pools, and cascading waterfalls. The province currently boasts bird watching, canopy zip lining, diving, hiking and tranquil beachside or countryside walking, hot and cold spring dipping, horseback riding, kayaking, jet skiing, river rafting, safe swimming, sailing, sport fishing, snorkeling, surfing, and waterfall plunging. The soul of Costa Rica is its people—warmly referred to as “Ticos” — with their peaceful attitude and lifestyle. They represent an endearing culture and a philosophy that is widely represented with exclamations of “Pura Vida” (literally, the pure life) and “Qué Dicha” (what luck), and “Con Mucho Gusto” (with great pleasure). Guanacastecos especially welcome foreigners and take special notice of those who attempt to speak their native Spanish language. The importance of the family unit, church, and enjoyment of a simple lifestyle with loved ones and friends
Monte Argentario By Emilie Di Mario
strip of road connects the Maremma region of Tuscany to the island promontory known as Monte Argentario. Tuscany’s verdant paradise is composed mostly of nature reserve, limpid sea, beautiful beaches, and some of the most stunning seaside villas Italy has to offer. The term “Tuscany” has become the adjective de rigueur to describe anything ranging from kitchens, and sofas, to everyday Italian cuisine. Whether the said sofa has anything to do with what is genuinely “Tuscan” remains to be seen. Quite frankly, the term’s over-usage has rendered it tiresome. And yet, despite its ubiquity, the region of Tuscany is special. Probably it has everything to do with the spectacular scenery, the rich and colorful history, the unforgettable and famed cities of Florence and Siena, and the savory regional cuisine. The word alone conjures scenes of bucolic bliss. Field after field of the golden sunflower, fragrant lavender, sun dappled earth and rolling green hills outlined by the ethereal cypress — a canvas of living, breathing art. Though, unbelievably, Tuscany is even more than all of this. It’s no wonder that the term is used in attempts to sell us everything under the (Tuscan) sun. After all, Tuscany appeals to all the senses, and everyone who has ever been there will confirm that. Monte Argentario is a Tuscany that you may not know, but one that elite Italians do. Whether we’re referring to old money Romans, discreet film stars or politicos seeking some respite, these Italians have no wish to be photographed on someone’s outrageous yacht in Sardegna. When their cities turn stifling, Italians head to the coast. And those in-the-know are off to the Tuscan coast and island promontory known as the Argentario. The Argentario is connected to mainland Italy by three isthmuses, which create two enchanting lagoons: Laguna di Ponente and Laguna di Levante. The outer two of these spits of land are comprised of nature reserve and beaches. One is the Giannella, which is host to an array of beachside establishments (stabilimenti), or small beach clubs, and the other is the Feniglia, which is entirely nature reserve but does offer a few beach clubs. The third strip of land is barely two miles long and connects the charming mainland town of Orbetello to the island promontory. Driving across this middle strip of land you’ll find a picturesque lagoon on either side of you, dotted with ancient windmills hovering just above the azure waters of the lagoon, relics from a time when the Spanish ruled the area. Once you arrive on the Argentario, you have your choice between two main villages:
Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano. When I lived in Rome as a young MA student and the heat of July and August settled in, the refuge I sought was in my dark, cool cantina-like apartment behind the Piazza Navona, while my Roman friends urged me to Porto Ercole for the weekend. 90 miles
from the center of Rome, Porto Ercole can make a perfect weekend getaway. One friend, who owned a famous restaurant frequented at the time by Leo Di Caprio and Giselle, was good for teasing me about my pale-like-mozzarella skin. He was nearly purple he was so tan, and frequently wove together for me fabulous scenes of the Italian dolce vita to be had at “Port Hercules,” where the “beautiful people” vacationed, draping their bikini-clad bodies across the rocks and launching themselves into the shining, glittering, turquoise sea from those very same rocks where once they were draped. These, my early imaginings of Porto Ercole, still whirl before me as in a kaleidoscope, bright and sparkly. I have come to know it again, no longer as a traveling student, but as a New Yorker on vacation with my family. Monte Argentario still has a magic about it. The food, wine and general dolce far niente attitude are what you expect when traveling to Italy. This is coupled with one of the most pristine seas the stiletto boot has to offer, ideal conditions for sailing, windsurfing or kitesurfing, a golf resort, polo club and a five star spa. If looking for jaunty trips inland for some vistas of those rolling colline verdi, medieval walled cities (I suggest Magliano) or just a Florentine steak, it’s all within easy reach. Though while there the traveler may feel oceans from any city, Florence is only about an hour and a half north, and Grosseto—a walled city whose historic center is open only to pedestrian traffic—is a nearby haven for lux shopping, the capital of the Maremma, and
about ten miles away. Both Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano are small towns renowned for their seafood, traditional restaurants, and seaside ambience. Local festivals, fairs and regattas take place all year long. Particularly noteworthy is the 2nd June, when Porto Ercole celebrates its patron saint and includes an evening procession of illuminated boats. Porto Santo Stefano is a fairly busy marine hub. From the harbor here, it’s easy to hop a ferry to the islands of the Tuscan archipelago. There are seven islands in all, but the best known and more accessible are Giannutri and Giglio. You can also travel to L’isola d’Elba, famous for being Napoleon Bonaparte’s home while exiled, or to the more elusive island of Montecristo. From Porto Santo Stefano you can also hire private charters, which will whisk you over to any of these islands. Porto Ercole boasts a long seaside promenade replete with shops, cafes, and restaurants, which line the quaint harbor. The summer season sees this little seaside village awash in jet-setters. The chic modern day marina, Cala Galera, now filled with luxurious sailboats, was once a striking natural cove used as a port even in Roman times. Four different ancient fortresses dominate the hills above the little port. They are yet more reminders of a time when the Spanish ruled the area. Directly across from the Argentario on the mainland is the charming, walled city of Orbetello. Orbetello’s historic center consists mainly of a handful of interconnecting main streets and “vicoli,” (little alleyways) with a fair amount of shopping; boutiques with everything from home decor and cashmere to homemade pasta, most notable the tortelli Maremano. During the summer season, Orbetello hosts an excellent antiques fair. A stay in one of the many splendid villas high above the sea is always a pleasant way to spend an afternoon nestled away on the Argentario. Immersed in an unspoiled nature, a green oasis where the abundant flora and fauna are of a rare kind and the brilliant colors of the Mediterranean glitter silver in the afternoon dusk, it is all panoramic vistas, romantic bays, and elegant villas. I was surprised one evening, looking up in the gloaming, to see a blur of pink above me; a flock of flamingos had taken flight. But they would return to this brilliant corner of Tuscany, as would I. For inquiries about properties for sale or rent in and near Monte Argentario, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The complete offering terms are in an offering plan available from the sponsor. File No. CD06-0055. All dimensions are approximate and subject to normal construction variances and tolerances. Plans and dimensions may contain minor variations from floor to floor. Sponsor reserves the right to make changes in accordance with the terms of the offering plan. We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
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By Cathryn J. Prince / Photos By Ayala Gazit
billy Mann was just shy of his 21st birthday when he took off for California in his blue Nissan Sentra, with no air conditioning. Working his way, gig to gig (some performing, some pick-up jobs) eventually, he hit Texas en route to California. It was flat; it was dry and felt just about as far from those high rolling hills of Hollywood as the budding musician could be. “This highway in Texas looked like the hand of God reached down and painted a black line through the desert,” Mann says, hazel eyes twinkling at the memory of US Route 287. Mann lived in that car. No, not like commuters and mom chauffeurs who “live” in their cars. He literally lived in his car, ate in it, and slept in it, too. So one night, somewhere between Amarillo and Dallas, he pulled over, cracked open a can of Chef Boyardee and ate the cold ravioli under a jet-fuel black sky. “I just remember I kept telling myself it could not be this bad forever,” Mann, 43, states. “I came across this quote recently: trouble is inevitable, but misery is optional.” Inner city Philadelphia is where Billy came of age. “Like most Philly kids, you develop street smarts fast. I grew up on
street corners in a patchwork of diverse neighborhoods, and really from about the age of nine the city was my playground,” he explains. Mann’s parents divorced when he was quite young and while both parents worked, he moved between their places and on weekends “others.” As the youngest of three children, Mann quickly became independent. He doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t attracted to music. He didn’t take formal music lessons, tried every instrument he could, but was most drawn to the independence of the guitar and piano. In reality, he just wanted to play whatever instrument du jour his older brother was playing, be it guitar, recorder, trombone or drums. Eventually, Billy searched out places where he could listen to notes and rhythm. Because he was too young to buy a ticket to music clubs, Mann started sneaking in the back door. As a pre-teen he snuck in the famous Sigma Sound Recording Studios (home to T.S.O.P—the Sound of Philadelphia) to hear rhythm and blues singer Patti LaBelle. But Mann’s true watershed moment came when he was around ten—he snuck into the Bijou Café, where Jose Feliciano, (coincidentally a Weston resident), was performing. Mann has never performed with or even met Feliciano, but the memory of experiencing him years ago is fresh. “It was a life changing experience. He was so unleashed as a performer,”
Mann smiles. “I think it took someone who had to overcome the additional challenge of being blind to change everything. There he was, delivering his heart on a platter. His bravery inspired me to fall in love with music and make it what I wanted to do with my life.” From that moment Mann pursued his passion with ferocity. He attended the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts and wrote songs, sang in multiple gospel choirs, doo-wop on street corners and played in local bands. Mann sang with other like-minded Philly kids like Boyz II Men and learned alongside those who are now in The Roots, (Jimmy Fallon’s band), Christian McBride, Joey DeFrancesco and G Love. “There was definitely a talented clump in the school,” Mann says. “At the time, a ‘fame’ school was an experiment, wildly underfunded and placed in the middle of high-rise projects of South Philly.” He credits music with keeping him away from the drugs, drug dealing and violence that plagued the inner city life of many of his classmates. After finishing school Mann continued to play wherever he could, when he could. Hence, that cross-country ride in his Nissan Sentra. As a street busker, Mann opened his guitar case on the wharf in San Francisco, Santa Monica’s 3rdStreet Promenade, Washington Ave. in Miami Beach, Subway stations in New York and South Street in Philadelphia. There was even a brief moment when Mann tried to talk himself out of pursuing a music career. “It’s an incredibly competitive and challenging business and the odds are so stacked against you,” he confirms. Moreover, it wasn’t like Mann was the scion of a songwriting titan. He’s a self-taught musician and entered the music business with no relationships. After a lot of what Mann calls “hustle,” in 1993 he signed with A&M Records and enjoyed two solo releases that yielded critical success, modest sales, but also a glimpse into the artist’s life that he realized was not the life he wanted. It was during that period that he began to produce and write aggressively for other artists, and the pay-off from that was life changing: financial hope and privacy. Eventually, in 2001, he founded Stealth Entertainment, which began as a one-man office and studio in New York City’s garment district and grew over six years into a successful indie development company that was acquired by EMI in 2007. Miraculously, Mann transitioned from eating Chef Boyardee from a can into multi-platinum,
chart-topping entrepreneur, producer and songwriter. All the while, he is acutely aware that the average songwriter’s career isn’t typically long lasting. Today, at 43, one of Mann’s secret joys is when he browses You Tube and sees someone singing or playing a song he wrote. “That’s beyond words,” he exclaims. Yet Mann has been working successfully in the business for more than 20 years. “That’s because he can adapt,” says his wife, Gena. Mann embraces his inner-techy, consulting for digital companies like Lockerz, Inc. (a Seattle-based online community of millions in 195 countries backed by Liberty Media Corp, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, DAG Ventures and Live Nation Entertainment), BlissLawyers.com (a legal secondment company), Sony Pictures Television, pretty much every major music company in the industry and is able to use his unique skills to push the artists he works with further. “The hardest part is allowing room for each artist to reach their destination their own way, even if it’s not the shortest way,” he explains. “And as a musician, some of the great things can happen creatively when you take the long way home.” Mann became Chief Creative Officer of EMI and was then appointed President of EMI Music International A&R and President
of Global Artists Management from 2007 until 2010. In January 2011, Mann became President of Creative, BMG North America where he’s led efforts to attract, develop and sign new musical talent. This immediately led BMG to fund a new hybrid independent company, Green & Bloom Entertainment, where Mann is CEO and partner. All this while he continues writing for and producing many of today’s most prominent recording artists. (Most recently, Mann is hard at work on Grammy-winning artists Pink and John Legend, among others.) It was, however, the result of another journey that led Billy and his wife Gena to Weston less than a decade ago. Living in Weston allows them to enjoy a life outside the business, and to raise their children in an environment that’s noncommercialized, and instead filled with nature. Gena had worked as a photo editor for Elle, then O Magazine, and then CosmoGirl!. It was when their son was diagnosed with autism that she stopped working outside their apartment on 86th & Park and the Manns sought refuge in Fairfield County. Intensely private and protective of his family, Mann doesn’t often grant interviews of a personal nature. Even so, he sat down in his recording studio one drizzly afternoon. The color of warm sand in late afternoon, the sofa, rugs and chairs complement the caramel-colored wood paneling.
President Barack OBama greets JasPer mann and his Parents, Billy and gena mann, BefOre signing h.r. 2005 - cOmBating autism reauthOrizatiOn act Of 2011, in the Oval Office, sePt. 30, 2011. (Official White hOuse PhOtO By Pete sOuza.)
Affable, curious and driven, it’s easy to see why the singers and songwriters Mann works with find him and his home a retreat from the grind of Los Angeles or New York City. Among the musical artists and prominent figures he and his wife have hosted are Pink, Kelly Rowland, the Backstreet Boys, Congressman Jim Himes, Art Garfunkel and President Barack Obama. “When the artists come, they play with my kids, write songs and run, and we go out in the canoe on the lake. For the celebrities that come here, Weston affords privacy. I’ll go to the Lunchbox with Kelly (Rowland) and people will stare at us for a second, but don’t really care. Artists come out here and they want to hang out and feel safe, and it’s great that they can.” When Rowland visited, she cooked some kind of creamy, cheesy, chicken casserole, Mann recalls. Meanwhile, Alecia Moore, aka Pink, has been one of Mann’s closest friends for decades. They both rose from the grittier side of Philadelphia and remember and embrace their roots often. In the past few years, Mann has come to appreciate being able to use song to send a message. He helped Pink write the song “Dear Mr. President,” which addresses the war in Iraq and gay rights. Some may bristle at the idea of artists getting political, but Mann has come to view songwriting as a critical platform. It’s a platform that provided him a profile that he eventually chose to use after his son was diagnosed with autism. Today, Mann sits on the board of the non-profit organization Autism Speaks. He initially hesitated about becoming a voice in the autism community. Both he and his wife wanted to be in a place where they could speak objectively about it. And that was another reason he and Gena moved to Weston. “Living anywhere with a kid with a disability is tough on families, and it’s sometimes equally tough to find a community that you feel is a safe place. I think Weston has been a generous community for us, but the people we are the most thankful for in our town are the brave autism
including of course, a fundraiser, where the thenSenator could come to his home and hear first hand about the life of families facing autism. This led to a series of phone conversations between Mann and Obama, and ultimately, what was initially scheduled as a 50-minute intimate event, became a three-hour experience at Mann’s home in Weston. Extremely touched by the event, Obama promised to keep Mann included in the autism policy dialogue, invited him to his Senate office a week later, and has since kept his promise that Mann would remain personally engaged in autism-related discussions at the White House. This past September, Billy, Gena, and their son, Jasper, stood in the Oval Office when President Barack Obama signed critical autism legislation into law, (CARA) which ultimately received bipartisan support during terrible gridlock. New research this year shows the prevalence of autism has risen to an alarming 1 in 88, including 1 in 54 boys, prompting the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to name autism a public health emergency. Estimates of the annual cost of autism to the nation are now $126 Billion. “We were not sure what would happen that day in the White House, but after he signed the bill into law, the President handed Jasper the pen,” Mann glows. “Gena and I worked with him for three hours before we got there so he would be able to say ‘Thank You Mr. President.’’’ Mann has a picture of himself carrying his son out of the Oval Office upon his shoulders. Looking at the size of Mann’s grin, this was clearly one of Mann’s biggest “pinch me moments,” and there have been quite a few: when he was 26 and sang a duet with Sting on stage in Europe; the time he wrote and recorded with Carole King; leaving inner-city Philadelphia behind for an oasis in Weston where his kids can play outside; the first hit song, the first award, and, of course, his first royalty check. “To live off of what you love to do is privileged success,” he acknowledges. “I get to do music for a living and support my family. That’s a big everyday ‘pinch me’ moment right there.” But beyond the walls of platinum and gold awards in the recording studio side of Mann’s home representing the dozens of voices he has supported over the years, there is no question that his and his wife’s greatest achievement has been to help provide a voice for families like theirs facing autism.
families that came before us when there were few to no resources. They paved the way.” Mann said awareness, social reforms that address what he refers to as the “tsunami” of kids who will one day be adults, and research are the obvious needs, but he also acknowledged more must be done to end the bullying that many special-needs children face. A recent study found that children with disabilities are 60% more likely to be the target of bullies. “It starts with us, the parents. Bullying is wrong, full stop. I hope that parents are able to find time to teach their kids that targeting other kids with disabilities will lead to discipline at home as well as in school,” he says. “These kids are defenseless; my son is a defenseless nine-year-old boy without the cognitive ability to distinguish between a friend or a bully. It is sad to think that this goes on, but it does. The stories I hear are shocking and heart-breaking.” Aside from Autism Speaks, Mann ran the New York City Marathon last November to honor his family and to raise money. His goal, aside from finishing, was to raise $110,000. The amount symbolized the pre-2012 prevalence numbers of 1 in 110 children diagnosed with autism annually. Billy raised nearly $140,000. “This was another way for us and our community to contribute. The physical challenge was for me just a glimpse of how difficult every day is for so many who struggle with autism,” he says. “It was my way of pushing myself beyond my limits. Because likewise, nothing is convenient about autism, not for parents, not for teachers, not for schools and not for my son.” The Manns’ relationship with the President began in 2006 at a casual dinner, when Billy voiced his belief that the next President would be the then still fairly unknown Senator Obama. I wonder if he knows about autism, Mann thought, and through a Cathryn J. Prince is currently at work on her mutual friend reached out to his tri-state campaign finance committee and President’s “BFF,” UBS fourth book, about the 1945 sinking of the Wilhelm Chairman Robert Wolf. Mann proposed an event, Gustloff, the largest maritime disaster in history.
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ItchIng for a fIght? Get Your rinGSide AcceSS to up And cominG BoxerS
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provide an easy way for other fans to do so, as well. Hometown Boxer provides that accessibility to these fighters by allowing fans to discover rising stars, and be part of their march to a title fight.” The perfect gift for the spouse or friend who is also interested in boxing, Hometown Boxer’s call to “Get In The Fight” conjures up images of boxing’s golden age, when fight fans visited gritty training sessions in New York’s Catskill mountain region, met their favorite fighters face to face, and, in some cases, “bought a piece of the action.” Hometown Boxer keeps the connection strong and offers a junket style “Knockout Concierge Service” to attend fights in style. Says Gleasons Gym owner, Bruce Silverglade, “This is just what boxing needs to reinvigorate interest at the local level.” Learn more at www.hometownboxer.com.
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A TAle of A ChAir by Lara
Spencer great aunt bootsie
was given a delicate nineteenth-century French bergère chair as a wedding gift. It had been in her husband’s family for generations. It served her traditional Park Avenue style well until she went all Space Age in 1960. Though she no longer needed it, she still felt attached. She passed the little bergère down to her daughter, Bitsey, who thought it would look simply charming in her dorm room at Columbia. She tried to give it an update, replacing the toile fabric with zany zebra stripes and a coat of pink paint. Then, hating it just as her poor mother said she would, she sold it at her sorority’s charity yard sale. Bitsey’s Bohemian cousin Cricket stopped by the sale and snapped it up for a song! It was perfect for her new loft in SoHo (her family kept Cricket’s new location hush-hush—not exactly where nice girls from the Upper East Side went to live in the sixties!). Cricket wanted a sleeker look, though, so she lacquered the chair in high-gloss black. The chair lived in harmony with the loft’s other eclectic furnishings— that is, until Cricket met Walter the financier, who was less into the Warhol Factory than the Nixon White House. He convinced her to donate the chair to the hospital thrift shop down the street from their new Westchester home (tax deduction!). Lulie, a young suburban housewife and budding interior designer, noticed the sad little chair in the thrift shop window and saw beyond the flawed finish. Recognizing the great bones beneath its many coats of paint, she stripped it to reveal its beautiful walnut frame. She covered it in clean white linen, giving it a place of honor in her well-edited home. Years later, when our dear Lulie found success as a society decorator, Hollywood beckoned and she brought the chair to a high-end antique
they had fallen for chrome and suede too. Because the chair offered neither, John, a dashing young fellow with an eye for Versailles, grabbed it on the cheap and sat proudly upon it in his West Village bachelor pad— until he was swept off his feet by his own dashing financier. When the happy couple abandoned John’s modest nest for a Hong Kong skyscraper, John’s landlord inherited his modest possessions. This had happened before—fickle New Yorkers—and Mr. Price knew what to do. With a storage room filled with former tenants’ castoffs, he set up shop at the Hell’s Kitchen flea market on a chilly Sunday morning. He priced the silly little chair at just $10—what did he know?—delighting
As we all know, though, tastes change, as do husbands.
shop to sell on consignment. A lesser-known decorator convinced her client to pay a pretty penny for the well-restored piece and installed it in her gracious Greenwich home, where it encountered nary a bottom for years in the very formal living room. As we all know, though, tastes change, as do husbands. So when Mrs. X, as we’ll call her, divorced and remarried new money, she hired a maverick decorator to replace all her wood and velvet with chrome and suede. She put the chair up for auction at a very prestigious house, making sure the description included the chair’s provenance—that it came directly from the personal collection of the now world-renowned interior designer to the stars, Lulie Sinclaire. The bidders, though, were not as impressed as she had hoped, for
Amy, the design blogger who recognized it from a back issue of House & Garden in an article about her favorite decorator, the aforementioned Ms. Sinclaire. Still paying off her student loans, Amy decided to post the article—and the chair—on eBay, where she knew she could make some design junkie’s day, as well as a hefty profit. She got $150 for her $10 investment, which sounded divine to dear Amy, but as both you and I know, is really next-to-nothing for a chair with good bones and an incredible pedigree. So many pieces I find have stories like this. Or, at least, I imagine they do. Remember: At the end of the day, even the finest antique is expensive, really good quality used furniture. Reproduced with permission from I BRAKE FOR YARD SALES by Lara Spencer; Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2012. Lara Spencer has been an anchor for ABC’s “Good Morning America” since March 2011. She was previously the show’s National Correspondent for five years, from 1999 to 2004. In her first book, I BRAKE FOR YARD SALES: And Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster (Stewart Tabori & Chang; April 2012), she shares her “double life” as a successful interior designer and antiques dealer and her talent for spotting diamonds in the rough to polish and showcase. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
TAking CAre of VinTAge furniTure: Advice from Le BArn Antiques perhaps you have
recently inherited a piece of heirloom furniture that has been in your family for decades. Perhaps you found a great vintage collectible at an estate or garage sale. Most likely, the piece will need some restoration. We asked Le Barn Antiques for sound restoration advice. Below, Le Barn offers some insight into the care and maintenance of fine wood furniture that might be in need of a facelift. With a bit of time, patience, and love you can rejuvenate the original finish of the wood and bring it back to life. Their resident professional woodworkers offer practical guidelines for restoring antique wooden furniture to extend its life and preserve its natural beauty.
By Diana Andrews
side. This should help the drawer to glide back and forth easily. If that doesn't work, try lightly sanding any raised sections inside, above, and below the runners where the drawer fits into place. What about routine cleaning for my furniture? We prescribe a regular weekly routine of simply dusting. One of our favorite tricks for intricately carved pieces is to use a can of dust-off spray, available in most hardware or art supply stores. The spray literally blows dust away. It comes with an extension tube for hard to reach areas. Of course, follow the directions on the can for best results. Also, there are some really great soft cleaning cloths on the market today
Here are tHeir answers to frequently asked questions:
What should be done to restore antique furniture? Honestly, as little as possible! We evaluate damage and clean the piece while leaving its original character and uniqueness in place. A true antique shouldn't look new. In fact, if you have a really valuable collectible, you probably shouldn't do any restoration aside from cleaning it so that the original patina shines through. Anything else would simply devalue the piece, and that's not our goal. We prefer to fix furniture so that it becomes functional in your home, but beyond this, we believe "less is more." How would you replicate the original finish of a true antique? Finishes that were used 100 years ago are no longer available today. They simply donâ€™t exist. That means finding an alternative that works. In order to restore a dull, dusty finish, use fine steel wool to gently clean the surface. Then we recommend using a good quality furniture wax that matches the color of the wood as closely as possible. You can even make the color darker if you like. The wax will improve the appearance of scratches and gouges and conceal marks while bringing the wood back to its original luster. Can I remove white rings from regular furniture? A warm iron and a folded cloth table napkin work wonderfully. Set your iron to a medium-low dry heat temperature. Place the napkin on top of the stain and iron back and forth for about one minute, then check the stain. Continue like this until the stain is gone. Make sure the napkin moves back and forth along with the iron. Now, mind you, we wouldn't suggest that you do this to your favorite heirloom piece, but we think this is worth a shot on your everyday furniture. How can I fix a drawer that sticks? Remove the drawer and rub a piece of soap over the runners on each
that are perfect for wood. Don't hesitate to cut up and use that old pair of soft cotton pajamas or kitchen towels you were thinking of throwing away. We can't tell you how great they are for cleaning furniture because the fibers are very soft and they won't scratch the wood. Any advice for furniture care during the changing seasons? Absolutely! An easy rule of thumb is to use a humidifier during winter months, and a dehumidifier during summer months. And year round, always keep your heirloom pieces out of direct sunlight and away from heating fixtures. Come to Le Barn to meet our master woodworkers and see some of our most recent restorations first hand. We encourage you to contact us directly to ask your personal questions regarding restoration. Visit www.lebarnstamford.com. Subscribe to their informative blog at lebarnantiques.com, or call 203-253-7286 to schedule an appointment.
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August on the Porch By Pricilla Whitley Matthews
Just my father and myself now
in this quiet house. The funeral is over. There was no burial. The lawyers filed whatever papers needed attending. I couldn’t go back to New York, where I lived, for I couldn’t leave Daddy alone. Also, I didn’t know how to re-enter a life which had ceased to resemble any life that existed only the month before. 188
Mother’s clothes still hung darkly in her closet, though neither Daddy nor I approached the task of cleaning it out. For me the room became impenetrable. To walk in there, touch each dress, remove her shoes, softly fold each silken scarf, would mean acknowledging she was gone. A few weeks had passed, each day moving as if we were the tortoises we watched cross over our road each spring, tediously making headway one step at a time. Yet how many days had vanished all ready? Twenty, twenty-five? How far away was the other side of the road we were now on? The house seemed so expansive and empty, as if the real air we needed to breathe had been sucked out by the continuous churning of the cooling air conditioning. Though it was a record –breaking hot August, I spent my time on our screened-in porch. A mat, the color of summer limes, enticingly labeled indoor/outdoor carpeting, covered the floor, tricking the brain into believing you’d stepped onto a lush manicured fairway. I claimed the wrought iron chaise, covered in a far too cheerful blue hydrangea fabric for my own. Bringing my bowl of corn flakes and banana
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out in the mornings, I’d leaf through The New York Times, though I couldn’t care less what was happening outside the porch, a 12 by 14 room. In midmorning Daddy would wander out after finishing his crossword puzzle. “Are you going for a swim?” he’d ask. “Maybe in a little while. Are you?” And no, there didn’t seem to be anything else to say to one another. After staring out into the yard his eyes would scan the length of the pool before he turned to go back indoors. This was my father’s pool. Bathed in the pale blue of a summer’s sky, he’d fussed with it as if there were an alliance, as if he and the pool had a spiritual connection. He offered it dutiful care. It responded with its soothing beckoning of pure indulgence. When I was a child, during hot summer months, I’d hear him from my bedroom window, his backstrokes and his crawl— his attentive cleaning so quietly in the dark before he’d come inside and
it’s difficult for you, I promise we’ll get together. Please don’t worry about us.” Such lies. “How do you think we are and I don’t feel like consoling you right now, we want to be alone,” would have been the truth. The heat eventually found its way to the porch by late morning. The flagstones on the outer edges sweating by noon, the air still, the newspaper ink staining my hands. I’d move to the pool. Daddy, who’d once tried out for the Billy Rose Aqua Show, had taught me how to dive. “One, two, three steps, a light bounce of the board, arms up, thumbs together, a stronger bounce, now!” I do it over and over then and this August. I’d head to the sky. Arc up, jackknife down. Toes pointed, my hands would part the water with the smallest of splashes as I reached down to touch the bottom. One, two, three, like a programmed Barbie doll. No thinking. No decisions. By early afternoon the sun’s hottest rays
how helpless we appeared. Now empty Corning Ware bowls with their happy blue flowers and cheerful fruit decals spoke to this loss, which coherently can never be expressed. Together Daddy and I ate dinner on the porch, the television as background noise. Someone had to say something, so we let it be Walter Cronkite. Corn and tomatoes, tomatoes and corn, night after night, week after week. Our own personal comfort food. Then back to the chaise to be dulled by whatever channel happened to be on. And the cricket’s songs carried on throughout the night. August came to a close, bringing a relief from the heat. Every day I ached for explanations, which might give some sense to this death. They only appeared as abstracts, though, vanishing as quickly as the puffs of a dandelion in a quick breeze. A friend of mother’s, not a stranger herself to suicide, told me back on that awful July evening,
together Daddy and I ate dinner on the porch, the television as background noise. someone had to say something, so we let it be Walter Cronkite. sleep. But there were no such sounds now. Stretched out on the chaise after my breakfast, slowly running my finger around the leaves crafted in wrought iron, I felt how this room was filled with my mother’s life. A magazine did a piece on outdoor living a few years earlier and our porch, our pool, our terrace were featured. “I think of it as casual elegance,” my mother had been quoted as saying. The porch was casual. But like my mother it had its softer edge of elegance. A table for proper dining, two comfy chairs outfitted in a smart Southampton ticking, ottomans at their feet, a small refrigerator tucked by Mother’s decorator eye within some potted plants—oh, you’d never know it was there. An unobtrusive television fit snugly on a shelf of French Baker’s rack. “Always have one object, no matter the decor, with an Asian inspiration” my mother once said, and in one corner there was a sunny yellow and blue porcelain Indian elephant stand and a French telephone—more fun to speak into than other telephones. No. There was no need to ever leave the porch in the warm summers. The phone would ring there, though now I’d rarely pick it up. If I did I’d instantly regret it. “Oh, no, fine. No, nothing you can bring us. Yes, I know you loved her too. I understand
had shifted away from the porch, mellowing it into shade for the rest of the day. After my swims, standing inside the door, the cool slate of the flagstone seeped up my legs. Oppressive heat, cooling water, parched grass, the smooth slate, acting in disparity to each other seemed as confusing as this summer of turbulence. Nothing made sense except the shock to my physical senses. Napping on the porch in those afternoons came easily. I’d sleep on the chaise with the sadness of a lost child, not waking until the birds chirped for their dinner. Daddy slept too in the afternoons. Something I’d never seen him do before. He kept their room dark now, drapes drawn, never truly making the bed, only tucking the blanket up over the pillows. Certainly not mother’s way, with her eye on design, her thoughtful placement of all things decorative. I didn’t like walking in there anymore. Evening appeared as a fine gray veil hovering over the humidity. First another swim in hopes of shedding the nightmares of my nap before lighting the grill. I’d gotten rid of the many frozen casseroles dropped off in the preceding days after Mother died. These tin foiled covered meals, the freezer robbing them of color, were reminders of
“Don’t question why. There’s only one person who truly knows, and she’s not here to explain it to us. ” Barely good enough to explain, but it was all I had. The house is gone now. When sunny days arrive, someone else shifts “life” to that porch, the flagstones, maybe a chaise, enjoying the breeze, never realizing all the pleasure, and then the relentless pain, which once took place in that space. Curled up on my chaise along with my sorrow, even if I couldn’t quite grasp it yet, those long August days gave me the time to see my future did lie outside those mesh screens. It hadn’t occurred to me yet I needed to start from the beginning again, as it would take years to understand sometimes you don’t get answers. As each new summer begins, I’m always reminded this is the hardest part. ‘August on the Porch’ was awarded first place: “Deja Vu” Memoir Writing Competition organized by Writers’ Artist Collaborative and Ina Chadwick’s MouseMuse Productions, Inc.
Priscilla Whitley Matthews attended the University of Missouri School of Journalism as well as Fordham University, where she majored in Creative Writing. She is a contributing writer for Hersam/Acorn Press.
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Your Medicine Cabinet May Not Be Your Friend Drug overDose has now surpassed automobile accidents as the leading cause of accidental or injury death in the United States. This alarming statistic comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also reported that the fastest-growing drug problem in the country is the abuse of prescription drugs, especially painkillers, stimulants and depressants. It is estimated that nearly 30,000 Americans will die from prescription drug abuse and overdoses this year. Dr. Harry Haroutunian, Physician Director of the Licensed Health Professionals Program at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, CA, explains that a combination of opioids, benzodiazepines and alcohol can easily cause death. “It’s not uncommon for young people to create these combinations by something called ‘pharming’ – taking prescribed medications from their homes, dumping them into a bowl at a party and taking them indiscriminately,” says the man known as “Doctor Harry” to his patients. Although many prescription drug abusers end up in treatment, a high number of these young users don’t live long enough to become addicts. The doctor has processed hundreds of patients, young and old, through the Betty Ford Center, and says he is continually amazed at how many are completely unaware of prescription drug abuse in their own lives. In many cases,
they may label alcohol as their primary drug of choice. A great number have seen their own doctors, often not being completely truthful about either the amount of alcohol they drink or the other illicit drugs they may use. They complain about the side effects of withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and insomnia, and are subsequently prescribed medications usually intended for no longer than thirty days of use. The list of abused medications is lengthy, and includes Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, Xanax, Klonopin and Valium, just to name a few. These are often drugs the patients mention in their medication history, saying they’ve taken them with relative regularity for five, ten or more years. “These drugs were never intended for that kind of use,” states Dr. Haroutunian. “Indeed, some patients have found more than one doctor as a source for these medications. This is especially true when treating chronic pain. Like cats chasing their tails, they never seem to catch up, wanting more and more of the pain medications. This leads them to seek relief from several doctors, or, when the system fails, the patient may turn to the Internet. Shamefully, these medications are often available in great quantity and without prescriptions.” Such is the nature of the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in our country today. Although most people take prescription medications responsibly, there has been a major increase in the non-medical use of prescription
drugs. Abuse of these medications now ranks second, after marijuana, among illicit drug users. Another contributor may be a consumer culture amenable to taking a pill for what ails you, along with the perception that using prescription drugs is less harmful than illicit ones. R. Gil Kerlikowske, President Obama’s top drug policy adviser, says that emergency room visits resulting from prescription drugs have exceeded those related to illicit drugs for three years in a row. “I would say that when you see a 98 percent increase,” stated Mr. Kerlikowske, “and you think about the cost involved in lives and families, not to mention dollars, it’s pretty startling.” Dr. Haroutunian concludes that “Unfortunately, the truth is that the problem of unused prescription medication sitting in the cabinet often lies squarely with the prescribing physician. Poorly educated about their dangers and the disease of addiction, doctors write prescriptions for far too many pills, far too potent meds, often in dangerous combinations with other drugs, for far too little reason. Both doctors and patients have a responsibility in this area.”
Betty Ford Center: 39000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA. 877/872-8562. email@example.com www.bettyfordcenter.org.
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If you think grades aren’t that important, you probably don’t have heart disease. HealthGrades® 2012: A stellar report card for St. Vincent’s.
For the 10th year in a row, HealthGrades®, America’s most trusted, independent source of hospital quality outcomes, has ranked St. Vincent’s Medical Center in the nation’s top 10% for coronary interventional procedures. We are also honored to receive the 2012 HealthGrades® Coronary Intervention Excellence Award™. In addition, our program received 5-star ratings for Coronary Interventional Procedures and Treatment of Heart Attack, and HealthGrades® ranked us in the top 10 in Connecticut for a variety of cardiac services. For more information about St. Vincent’s Regional Heart and Vascular Center and our 2012 HealthGrades® rankings, please visit our website at www.stvincents.org 2800 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT 06606 Call our Care Line at 1.877.255.SVHS for more information.
Setting The Standard For Care You Can Trust
Seacrest Retirement Center
Retirement living with a grand view. 588 Ocean Ave., West Haven, CT. Located right on Long Island Sound! Take Exit 41 off I-95 or visit us online at www.seacrestweb.com Call for complimentary luncheon and tour:
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Stephen Gidley, master wood roofing contractor, recently installed this beautiful pressure treated Certilast 速 wood roof on this magnificent back country Greenwich estate. The owners were so pleased with the results they hired him to paint the entire exterior as well, and now recommend his company to all their friends. In business over 4o years, Stephen C. Gidley, Inc., offers free estimates on all kinds of residential painting, roofing and remodeling, and he delivers professional advice and superior service for all your home improvement needs. One Call Does It All!
Get a free professional design consultation and estimate on your kitchen and bath remodel today!
When it’s time for your next kitchen or bath remodel project you can count on Stephen C. Gidley, Inc. to get the job done right. We were recently awarded the 2o11 Qualified Remodeler Silver Master Design Award for a whole house remodel. That’s the kind of award-winning attention to detail you can expect from us on your project. Give us a call today to get started! 2o3.622.9ooo
Winner – 2000 Better Business Bureaus’ National Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics ~~~~~ 2003 Connecticut BBB Business Intefrity Award ~~~~~ 2004 Chrysalia Award, Connecticut Remodeler of the Year ~~~~~ 2009 Gold – Outdoor Living Award
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Stephen Gidley receiveS national recoGnition for hiS Gold award-winninG “outdoor livinG” project entry from Qualified remodeler maGazine.
Stephen C. Gidley Inc. Forty-Five years ago, FairField County home remodeler, Stephen Gidley, beGan with a paSSion to aChieve exCellenCe, to SurpaSS the reSt, to build better, more enerGy eFFiCient and CoSt eFFeCtive projeCtS. Exceeding his customers’ expectations has been his core commitment, which is why, forty-five years later, Stephen C. Gidley, Inc,’s business is stronger than ever. QR Magazine has ranked his company in the Top 500 Remodelers Nationwide for over 30 consecutive years and last year ranked Gidley in the Top 200 Exterior contractors nationwide. As president of Stephen C. Gidley Inc., Stephen has successfully completed over 18,000 home improvement projects, from Greenwich to Fairfield, from full green construction homes to minor repairs. The company offers residential “design and remodel” services by a top-quality staff of trade professionals who can expertly complete all types of home improvements. Projects range from smaller repairs under $1,000 to very large remodeling and new home construction projects over $2 million. The company offers free consultations and cost estimates on all projects and no job is considered complete until the customer is satisfied. His commitment to his customers was recognized in 2000 with the National Council of Better Business Bureau’s Marketplace Ethics Award.
As builders go, Stephen C. Gidley Inc. is ahead of the curve and is constantly implementing better ways to build with less impact on our planet. The company is a licensed lead abatement contractor and is NAHB Green Certified. Stephen Gidley’s jobs are designed to universal sustainable standards and have garnered national recognition in green competition. If you’re looking for a home remodeler,
call 800-286-3300 for a “One on One” free consultation with Stephen Gidley. Stephen C. Gidley, President & CEO: GMB, CAPS, CGP, CGB, CGR, CPRC, CR. 693 Post Road, Darien, CT. Toll Free: 800-286-3300 Greenwich: 203-622-9000 Darien: 203-655-7018 Wilton/Westport: 203-761-8878 www.scgabc.com
Gold award-winninG project entry from Stephen c. Gidley, inc. “outdoor oaSiS,” wilton, ct. the home BuilderS aSSociation of connecticut (hBa) alSo awarded Stephen Gidley’S company a hoBi award for itS 2011 entry in the ‘whole houSe remodelinG’ cateGory.
appraised & approved SummertIme JuSt Got Sweeter graduates about to hit the real world. Available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com and www.randmediaco.com. $19.95. Goodnight iPad In our modern, plugged-in lives, it can be hard to remember to step back and power down for the night. Goodnight iPad is a parody for all ages that helps us to put ourselves and our machines to sleep. Available at Amazon.com. $14.95. A Jelly Revolution In a surprising twist, Jenkins Jellies are made not from fruits, but from an intricate blend of seven fresh, hot and sweet peppers! This new condiment is exactly what you’ve been looking for to zest up your cheese and crackers and create a sweet and spicy taste sensation Available at Dean & DeLuca stores throughout the US; $12/jar. Voli Light: The World’s Sexiest Vodka Enjoy an adult beverage while still looking like a rockstar! Owned in part by both Fergie and Pitbull, Voli Light Vodka is now available in five flavors and is on average 25-40% lower in calories then leading brands, making for the perfect summer cocktail. Available in all major markets throughout the United States. $19.95-$24.99. BookS: Street Smarts, Beyond the Diploma Looking for the perfect motivational present for your new graduate? Street Smarts contains 125 lessons compiled from interviews with successful people that will help new
Poolside Fashion These whimsical towels are the perfect way to get your child excited to get in the pool, the ocean, or even the bath! With a style for boys and girls, these hooded towels are perfect for little and big kids alike. Available at www.CompanyKids.com. $36. Grooming Lounge With an option for every man and every price range, new grooming sets from The Grooming Lounge are guaranteed to give him that look he’s always wanted. www.groominglounge.com $25-$269. Zero Gravity Luggage Summer travel just got a whole lot easier. New Ballistic Luggage showcases the renowned Train Reaction system, drastically reducing the amount of effort needed to pull or push your bags. Available at www.clubglove.com $349-$2,248. Say Goodbye to Glare Have you found yourself squinting in that summer sun? Not anymore. Constructed from only the finest components, new Scheyden Eyewear Mustang Model is ideal for all precision activities. Available at www.scheyden.com $309-$349.
Great ShapeS: the DeStInatIon Before Your VaCatIon as the end oF june approaCheS, year aFter year, the telltale SiGnS oF Summer in manhattan beCome inCreaSinGly apparent: the SChool year ComeS to a CloSe, the heat SetS in and the City ClearS out. Many head east to the shores of Long Island while others enjoy their time poolside at serene summer spots in Westchester and Connecticut. But before leaving the city to hit the beach, women everywhere will face the least desirable shopping excursion of the year – buying a swimsuit. Look no further and head straight to Great Shapes, a small family-run chain with outposts conveniently located en route to all the best summer escapes on Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey. With over 75 designer lines represented, Great Shapes seems to have found the secret to success: unparalleled customer service and an exclusive mix of premier merchandise. “Shopping for swimwear, unlike sweaters or jeans, can be a very difficult experience for most women and our goal is to make it painless and fun,” according to buyer Jen Resnick. While trends in style and color are always topof-mind, finding the perfect suit is more about fit than anything else. “Almost all of our customers come in with a specific need for their personal body type,” says Resnick. “Our fit experts will then work oneon-one with the customer to translate those requests into the perfect suits for her body.” The Great Shapes salespeople, many of whom have been with the company for over ten years, truly believe in the merchandise and understand the nuances in fit of each collection. By offering an extensive selection of mix and match separates, one-pieces, tankinis and cup-sized swimwear, the salespeople will surely be able to ”suit” the individual style of every customer. Behind the scenes, the Great Shapes creative team spends countless time scouring the markets all over the world for collections that offer
something unique in terms of fit, fabrication and style. “We pride ourselves on bringing new and exciting lines into the country — from Europe, Australia and South America —and often these designers are exclusively sold in our stores,” says owner Joel Weinberg.
So if you’ve been procrastinating your swimwear shopping this summer, let the well-trained staff at Great Shapes guide you through the ex-
tensive selection of swimwear, coverups and casual resortwear… and don’t forget to also check out the store’s lingerie department for intimate apparel, shapewear and a top-notch bra fitting. With three locations on Long Island (Roslyn Heights, Woodbury and Merrick), along with a Westchester branch in Hartsdale and a shop in West Orange, New Jersey, Great Shapes is on the way to wherever you’re headed. Weinberg, who can often be found in the flagship Roslyn Heights location, will joke with the customers as they leave smiling and having found success, reminding them for next time that “it wasn’t so bad.” Before your next trip to your summer escape, forget the harsh lighting of the department stores, and plan for a detour to get your fix on all the summer essentials. Visit www.ShopGreatShapes.com for store locations and hours. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
The Classic College Experience 30 minutes from Manhattan 13:1 student–faculty ratio Experience-based learning NCAA Division ll Sports
Visit our beautiful campus in Westchester
800.937.2655 • www.concordia-ny.edu • firstname.lastname@example.org
INDEpENDENT SCHOOL GuIDE
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working on the water brings us closer together. There’s one constant that each of us relies upon at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. It’s the bond that exists between all Cadets, entrusted with saving lives and protecting our nation’s coasts and waterways. We quickly become family, taking on challenges bigger than ourselves in a nationally ranked Bachelor of Science degree program. And our reward is not only a guaranteed paid career serving our country, but the knowledge that as Coasties we’ll always look out for each other. It’s why the Academy is like no other college in the nation.
Experience more at uscga.edu
Why would a student help another scale a 10-foot wall? Why would a 17-year-old walk differently than his friends back home? Hold his head higher? Consider himself a leader? The answer is pride. A private day and boarding academy for grades 7-12 and postgraduate, VFMA’s mission is preparing students for competitive four-year colleges. 99% of our cadets are accepted to their first- or second-choice schools. And more than 63% matriculate at the nation’s leading universities. The primary reason for that is our Five Cornerstones —academic excellence, character development, personal motivation, physical development, and leadership. Our students thrive and grow thanks to an average class size of just 13, with a student-teacher ratio of 10:1. Valley Forge Military Academy is not for everyone. It is not easy. In fact, it’s demanding. But students who are ready to push themselves to new heights, who are ready to learn, to follow, and ultimately to lead, will not only flourish here. They will proudly flourish in whatever paths they choose in life.
1001 EAGLE ROAD, WAYNE, PA 866-923-VFMA | ACADEMY.VFMAC.EDU
A boyâ€™s education without Character Development and Consistent Structure
Our personalized instruction provides the right equipment Be Informed | Be Selective | Apply Now
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NEW YORK MILITARY ACADEMY CO-ED • COLLEGE PREP • 7TH - 12TH GRADE BOARDING & DAY SCHOOL
Located just 60 miles from New York City,
Military Academy is an important part of
America’s independent school heritage. Today, we offer a rigorous global curriculum for students who actively seek to be Set Apart for Excellence. We do this in a structured program that enables our graduates to enter college inspired, engaged, and ready for the future. ACAdemiC TrACks our CAdeTs Are pursuiNg: Classical College Prep Studies • Service Academy Preparatory • International Diplomacy • STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics • Research and Technology • Business/Entrepreneurial
ACADEMICS ATHLETICS CHARACTER LEADERSHIP
Visit our website for OpeN hOuSe dates. Call Now for Reservations! Please visit our website for Summer Program information
888-ASK-NYMA • WWW.NYMA.ORG NYMA 78 Academy Ave • Cornwall on Hudson, NY
Army Navy Academy
College Preparatory Boarding School for Boys, Grades 7-12
Honor. Integrity. Respect. Responsibility. Compassion. Since 1910, Army and Navy Academy has developed scholarship and honorable character in young men. The Academy is an internationally acclaimed college preparatory boarding and day school with a proud tradition of setting young men on a course for academic, personal and professional excellence.
The Academyâ€™s approach is built on six pillars: academics, athletics, leadership, character development, residential life and the associated student body.
The Academy follows University of California standards for matriculation and incorporates leadership training and character development into the daily curriculum. Our highly structured program is rooted in individualized personal attention, with an emphasis on responsibility and accountability.
Call 888.762.2338 or visit armyandnavyacademy.org
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE MILITARY ACADEMIES Army and Navy Academy Carlsbad, CA College Preparatory Boarding School for Boys, Grades 7-12 Since 1910, Army and Navy Academy has sought to develop scholarship and honorable character in young men. To achieve these results, the Academy demands high curriculum standards in combination with essential life management, good citizenship and leadership skills. The Army and Navy Academy is a college preparatory boarding school for grades 7-12 that follows UC standards and incorporates leadership training and character development. Our cadets develop internal self-government and benefit from having a greater degree of structure, motivation and discipline in their daily routine. Accreditation The Army and Navy Academy is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), in association with the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). Academics One of our core competencies is the academic achievement of our students. On a regular basis, students show significant improvement in their G.P.A., often within the first semester of attendance. Small class sizes, a highly committed staff and individualized support enable students to achieve better results and improve their chances for attending a college or university of their choice. Students can benefit from a structured schedule, small classes and study skills training. Our challenging college-prep curriculum is based on the standards established by the University of California system requirements (a-g). The Academic Department provides a variety of academic support services for cadets including daily tutorial, supervised study hall, academic counseling, and college planning services. Campus Setting The Academy has been established in its current oceanfront location in Carlsbad, CA since 1936. It is 35 miles north of San Diego and approximately 80 miles south of Los Angeles. The campus consists of 29 buildings on 16.5 acres, including a gymnasium, cafeteria, library media center, classroom buildings, recreation center, chapel, dormitories, and vAlley Forge militAry AcAdemy
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faculty houses. In addition, the campus contains administrative offices, a swimming pool, tennis courts, athletic field, and beach access. Athletics The Academy participates in interscholastic sports competitions. We are members of the Coastal Conference, which is part of the San Diego section of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the governing body for all high school sports. For grades 9-12, we compete in Football, CrossCountry and Water Polo in the fall. Basketball, Wrestling and Soccer are offered in the winter and Baseball, Golf, Tennis, Swimming, Track and Field and Lacrosse are offered in the spring. For the 7th and 8th grades, we offer Flag Football, Basketball, Soccer and Baseball. Residential Life Safety and security are important at the Academy. Residential Life Officers oversee cadets and serve as a cadet’s mentor/advisor for time spent outside of the classroom. Leadership Opportunities Leadership opportunities are one of the unique aspects of the Army and Navy Academy program. Whether it’s participating in one of the Academy’s 20+ clubs or in the Leadership, Education and Training program (LET), opportunities to participate and lead are within reach for all cadets. Leadership training provides an underlying foundation that prepares high school students for leadership roles and cultivates independence, responsibility, accountability and self-discipline. To arrange a campus visit or for more information, please contact us: Email: email@example.com Phone: 888-762-2338 Address: 2605 Carlsbad Blvd., Carlsbad, CA. 92008 Visit our Website: ArmyandNavyAcademy.org/CPW
Valley Forge Military Academy Wayne, PA Valley Forge Military Academy (VFMA) is a private, all-male boarding school offering grades 7-12 and postgraduate. Established in 1928, VFMA has a long tradition of fostering personal growth through a comprehensive
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE system built on five cornerstones: academic excellence, character development, personal motivation, physical development, and leadership. Valley Forge graduates benefit from a kind of education that is unlike other schools. Small classes allow dedicated instructors to really understand their students. Instructors care not just about their own limited academic subjects, but about developing the whole person. Cadets start off as good followers, and they become great leaders. The entire institution is dedicated to producing citizens who will become, in the words of our mission, “a credit to themselves, their families, their alma mater, their country, and their God.” The diverse student body represents more than 35 states and 24 countries. VFMA has an excellent transfer record, with 99% of cadets accepted to their first or second choice schools. This year’s graduating class will enroll at top universities across the country and internationally, including Princeton University, NYU, Columbia University, Villanova University, the US Naval Academy, the US Military Academy at West Point, and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (UK). Although we are a military school, the result is not necessarily to pursue a career in the military, though nearly 10% of our graduates will choose this path. The VFMA “military model” is, at its core, a structured and disciplined way of carrying out the education and development of young students. Our students learn to manage their academics, leadership responsibilities, personal motivation, physical development, and learn character traits through the understanding that life is a constant balancing act, and the military model helps them to prioritize appropriately. It helps teach our students to manage their time, think critically, balance their responsibilities, and develop life skills that will propel them ahead of their peers. A challenging curriculum, dedicated faculty members, small classes, individual attention, and faculty supervised evening study hall provides cadets with an environment conducive to attaining academic success. The acquisition of knowledge, the development of skills, and the shaping of attitudes are emphasized to enable the cadets to excel academically and to inspire them to pursue education throughout life. The average class size is 13, and the student-teacher ratio is 10:1. Also unique to the VFMA educational experience, our academically qualified high school juniors and seniors are granted the opportunity to enroll in college level classes, taken at Valley Forge Military College, on campus. Each year, a few of our Academy cadets enroll in the College full time because of the special Senior ROTC Early Commissioning Program, where in just two years, they will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army, faster than their peers in other four year programs. Our college is one of only five schools in the country to offer this accelerated program, and is the only school in the Northeast. Learn more about Valley Forge Military Academy at academy.vfmac.edu, or contact us at 866-923-VFMA (8362). 1001 Eagle Road, Wayne, Pennsylvania.
It operates on the belief that God made man for His glory, and, therefore, everything that is taught in the classroom, achieved on the playing field, or modeled in relationships is done to the honor and glory of God. 2. Christian Family Atmosphere: Chamberlain-Hunt is the nation’s third-oldest military school and one of the few in the United States that self-consciously maintains its distinctive Christian character and strict military discipline. As a boarding school, Chamberlain-Hunt’s cadets are removed from some of the distractions of the usual high school scene and are placed in an environment that supports their academic, physical, and spiritual development. Cadets will not be using the internet, cell phones, radios or mp3 players. 3. Caring & Quality Faculty: 100% of the teaching faculty is certified and 90% hold advanced degrees. While the Academy’s instructors meet each cadet on his level, they also expect achievement and are always challenging them to reach a higher level of academic success. 4. Classroom Success: There is no danger of a child falling through the cracks at Chamberlain-Hunt. Chamberlain-Hunt’s cadets achieve distinction in the classroom, often for the first time. The cadet-teacher ratio is 6:1, with class sizes ranging from 1 to 14 students. 5. Competence and Confidence: Young men who complete the Academy’s program enter the nation’s top colleges and Service Academies. College-bound seniors score 4-5 points higher than the national average on the ACT. Over 90 percent of Chamberlain-Hunt’s graduates will enter college or join the military within one year of graduation. Many graduates will earn academic scholarships for college. Chamberlain-Hunt Academy is located 27 miles south of Vicksburg, and 37 miles north of Natchez on U.S. Highway 61 in rural Mississippi. The campus is approximately 200 acres in size. There is a 70-acre wilderness training facility adjacent to campus with two paintball courses, a climbing and rappelling tower, a 30-yard pistol and rifle range, a fitness trail, two confidence courses, and a 4.5-acre fishing pond. Choosing the right school is a big decision. An interview and tour of the campus is required of all new cadets. To begin this process, please contact the admissions office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (601) 437-8855.
Vicksburg, MI Five unique features set Chamberlain-Hunt apart from other boarding schools: 1. Character Development: Among military schools, ChamberlainHunt provides more structure and accountability. Our Christian and caring faculty hold young men to a high standard of excellence in all things. Chamberlain-Hunt is first and foremost a Christian school.
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE New York Military Academy Academics • Athletics • Character • Leadership Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY Established in 1889, New York Military Academy’s motto of Toujours Prêt (Always Ready) reflects the long-standing mission of the school to prepare students for the challenges of the future by making them informed citizens. New York Military Academy is a co-ed, college preparatory school for day and boarding students in grades 7 through 12. Their curriculum develops students in mind, body, and spirit, while traditional course work, with electives designed to encourage exploration, prepares students for their collegiate future. They offer a rigorous curriculum for students who actively seek to be Set Apart for Excellence. They do this in a structured program that enables their graduates to enter college inspired, engaged, and ready for the future.
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Represented by students from twelve states and ten countries, overall achievement is measured by the 100% success rate of graduating seniors in gaining admissions to the nation’s leading colleges and universities. Every student participates in a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and interscholastic athletic program. The academy offers varsity, junior varsity, and modified athletic teams that compete in sports, such as soccer, football, fencing, basketball, swimming, softball, wrestling, baseball, tennis, golf, lacrosse, just to name a few. The military organizational structure and tradition combine with confidence and self-discipline to enhance the students’ achievements in and out of the classroom. The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps teaches accountability and responsibility while developing character and leadership skills. It is these skills that define their students as successful citizens, capable of making significant contributions to their communities and country. The prestigious and highest designation awarded by the Department of the Army, Honor Unit with Distinction, allows New York Military Academy to nominate qualified seniors to the United States Service Academies. The Academy’s “tracks of intentions” high school discovery program enables students to pursue lines of academic credit and co-curricular experiences that enable them to gain exposure to areas of inspiration. Those tracks of intention cadets currently pursue are:
Classical/College Preparatory Business/Entrepreneurial Research & Technology International Diplomacy Service Academy Preparatory STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Weekend outings, parades, field trips, band, drill team, and an equestrian program are just a few of the additional activities that round out cadet life at the academy. NYMA’s competitive academic, experiential education and athletic programs are enhanced by a structured boarding environment that includes daily tutorials, a nightly, mentored study hall, a robust ESL program and a 12:1 student/teacher ratio in the classroom. Cadets enjoy opportunities to not only learn accountability but to practice peer leadership and to accept important responsibility. One of the things that sets NYMA apart from the normal college prep school is what they call the “real-life leadership lab.” Putting their cadets in positions of increased accountability and responsibility in the Cadet Corps, while at the same time requiring them to maintain a high level of academic and athletic participation, requires them to constantly improve their organization, planning, time management and multitasking skills. They believe development in these critical areas gives their graduates a distinct advantage over others as they transition into some of the more prestigious colleges and universities in America. Please browse the website and become familiar with what sets New York Military Academy apart from other college prep schools. Then schedule a visit and come see for yourself why their cadets are Set Apart for Excellence by being inspired, engaged and ready for their future. 845-534-3710 x 4272 or 888-ASK-NYMA; Online at www.nyma.org. New York Military Academy: 78 Academy Avenue, Cornwall-onHudson, NY.
Riverside Military Academy Gainesville, GA Founded in 1907, Riverside Military Academy (RMA) offers a traditional, American-style education where personal values, honor, and love of country still matter. Riverside is not owned or operated by any particular religious denomination, but supports the spiritual and educational goals of all families. Riverside’s 2010-11 Corps of Cadets consists of over 380 cadets from 15 countries. RMA is first and foremost a college preparatory school. They offer high quality academics in a structured environment designed to meet the needs of boys in grades 7-12. The military setting adds structure, responsibility, accountability and yes, consequences when necessary. All contribute to a well-rounded young man. This environment works for those who have historically underachieved, who simply have not been able to manage their time, and who tend to procrastinate in every endeavor. The rigorous days at RMA are filled with academics, military activities, social activities, and athletics. Thus, there is little time for non-productive activities. Over 70% of their faculty hold advanced degrees and encourage their cadets to develop the daily habits essential for success at home and in the workplace. These habits include organizational skills, time management, and the ability to manage stress through preparation and exercise. Cadets of Riverside Military Academy benefit from a small class size and a 14:1 student teacher ratio. Their
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE riverside militAry AcAdemy
entire educational program centers around the way young men learn best. Because Riverside believes that there is a strong connection between physical and mental development, extra-curricular activities, field trips, and outdoor activities play an important role in the daily lives of cadets. The RMA program takes full advantage of its 206-acre campus, athletic facilities, and proximity to Lake Lanier, which is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Riverside’s college center assists cadets in preparing for and placing their college applications each year. The graduating class of 2010 consisted of 74 cadets who were admitted to over 90 universities, including the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy –West Point, and received over $4,100,000 in scholarships. Upon graduation, a Riverside cadet has experienced the challenges of the military model of education and is completely prepared for the rigors of college. He is poised, polite, and confident in any social environment. Riverside cadets stand tall, offer a firm handshake, respect authority, and display a level of confidence that parents may not have observed previously. Riverside Military Academy holds dual accreditation in SACS and SAIS. Located in Gainesville, Georgia, just one hour north of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Riverside is easily accessible to cadets and their families from around the world. In addition, RMA offers shuttle service to and from the airport for their cadets. Riverside Military Academy’s comprehensive program of rigorous academics, athletics and leadership development sets the stage for a lifetime of success. They invite you to learn more about Riverside Military Academy by visiting www.riversidemilitary.com or by calling the admissions office at 800/462-2338.
United States Coast Guard Academy New London, CT ALL SECURE “All Secure” - That’s what you might hear a Coast Guard officer say after boarding a drug-running boat and eliminating its threat. Undoubtedly it’s the feeling a family in distress experiences after being recovered by a Coast Guard Search and Rescue mission. Security is what you’ll experience every day in the Coast Guard Academy knowing you’ll graduate debt-free and with a guaranteed leadership position. While the commitment after graduation is only 5 years, most Coast Guard officers decide to make it a career. After all, a life of adventure, protecting America’s borders and serving others
is hard to beat! But if you do choose a civilian career, an Academy diploma, five years of leadership experience and Coast Guard graduate school support will go a long way in helping you reach your goals. Your parents will also feel a sense of security knowing that their son or daughter is attending one of the nation’s most prestigious and selective institutions of higher education. Our campus provides a secure, supportive, and highly structured environment to prepare you to be one of our nation’s finest leaders. Cadets attend the Academy tuition-free, receive a stipend while in school, and are guaranteed an exciting profession in the United States Coast Guard when they graduate. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy has a proud tradition. Founded aboard a two-masted schooner in Baltimore in 1876, this nationally recognized, accredited college is dedicated to educating future Coast Guard officers. Whether it’s the quality of academic programming, leadership development, or rigorous professional training, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy has been recognized as among the best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, Princeton Review and Forbes.com. The Coast Guard Academy offers a wide variety of engineering, strategic intelligence, mathematics and science classes along with courses in the humanities. While the academic and athletic requirements of the Academy make it one of the most competitive schools in the nation, a Congressional nomination is not required for admission. At our beautiful waterfront campus on the Thames River in New London, Connecticut, the Academy provides a four-year Bachelor of Science degree program with a full scholarship for each individual. Each year, approximately 200 ensigns (or junior officers) are commissioned during graduation exercises in May. Following graduation, newly commissioned ensigns report for duty aboard cutters and at sea or at offices in ports nationwide. While the United States Coast Guards is notable as the oldest live-saving service in the world, its roles include more than just maritime safety and security. The Coast Guard is also called upon for critical service in protection of natural resources, maritime mobility (management of maritime traffic, commerce and navigation) and national defense. Secure your future and the future of others by attending the United States Coast Guard Academy. United States Coast Guard Academy, 31 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT 06320. Admissions hotline: 800.883.USCG (8724) Admissions@uscga.edu; www.uscga.edu
united stAtes coAst guArd AcAdemy
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE DAY SCHOOLS Wooster School
Danbury, CT What do you look for in a school? Challenging academics? Competitive sports? Innovative arts? Dedicated teachers? Small classes? The latest technology? A beautiful campus? These are important qualities of a fine school, and Wooster is one of the finest. Since 1926, Wooster School has provided the premier educational experience in Northern Fairfield and Westchester counties. But a first-rate education is more than just the sum of its parts: Maybe what wooster school
Athletes may try out for the 32 Upper School teams. Upper School (Grades 9 to 12) provides an outstanding college preparatory curriculum within the context of a strong liberal arts tradition. Academic excellence is promoted through independent study, colloquia, honors, and Advanced Placement courses. Sophomores are eligible for our unique Year Abroad Program in France or Spain; all seniors participate in Senior Independent Study; “self-help” is a community philosophy wherein children and adults act as stewards of the School; and 100 hours of community service are required. We have talented, professional artists and musicians who bring their passion and skills to their classrooms. Sports teams compete in a 45-member Association as well as in New England Tournaments. Experienced counselors support students in the college application process. They explore their intellectual aspirations, personal goals, and career plans. Recent graduates have attended Amherst, Bard, Barnard, Boston College, Brown, Cambridge (UK), Carnegie-Mellon, Cornell, NYU, Pratt, Princeton, RIT, RPI, Tufts, UMichigan, UPenn, Wesleyan, and Williams. Inspiration lasts a lifetime… when it happens every day.. Come see for yourself. 91 Miry Brook Road, Danbury, CT. 203/830-3916 www.woosterschool.org.
The Children’s School Mission: A Thoughtful Child Who Likes to Learn
you’re really looking for is the best place for your child to grow up! Located on the Ridgefield/Danbury border, our scenic campus of over 100 acres provides a safe and peaceful environment that offers a variety of habitats for experimentation, direct study, and outdoor fun. Central to its educational mission, Wooster has maintained a longstanding commitment to diversity in its student body, staff, faculty, and Board of Trustees. We cultivate the intellectual, creative, athletic, spiritual, and ethical development of our students – for their benefit and for the good of the world. Lower School (Age 3 to Grade 5) emphasizes the joy of learning, integrating language arts with reasoning to create lifelong readers, writers, and problem solvers. A science lab, a foreign language initiative, computer skills, thematic units, varied athletics and recreational facilities, and a myriad of innovative events and programs are just some of our unique features. Middle School (Grades 6 to 8) offers a challenging curriculum taught in small groups by dedicated teachers. Students work with their advisors to navigate through the waters of early adolescence, while preparing to become autonomous learners. We feature classes in Latin, French, and Spanish; math classes grouped by ability; hands-on science; required geography; field trips integral to the curriculum; studio art, sculpture, and photography; private music lessons; and technology-infused learning.
Stamford, CT As it nears the half-century mark of its founding, The Children’s School has good reason to celebrate: a beautiful, award-winning new school building; a renovated “green” campus; a well-trained, dedicated staff that is without peer; involved families who are committed supporters of the School; and a child-centered mission. What is the mission of The Children’s School? It is a belief that the early years are a time of critical importance in laying the foundation for children’s confidence, strength of character and intellectual skills, as well as the problem-solving and creative capabilities that will be in high demand in the 21st century. Today, a growing national movement is
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INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE validating this mission by recognizing that Pre-K to Grade 3 constitutes a distinct learning and developmental period in the life of a child. “It is gratifying to see this movement taking hold,” says Maureen Murphy, Head of The Children’s School. “All children deserve the very best when they embark on their journey of formal education. They need well-trained and caring teachers, an enriched curriculum that piques their curiosity, and an environment that is respectful of their needs and imbued with a sense of purpose.” Below are the highlights of The Children’s School curriculum that reflect the School’s mission “to take children’s tremendous potential to learn seriously.” Literacy The low hum of The Children’s School classroom says it all: it is the sound of children learning about language. All forms of communication are encouraged: listening and speaking, reading and writing, Spanish and American Sign Language. Children learn that listening is a way to show respect for others and to understand unfamiliar concepts. By hearing teachers use affirmative language in the classroom—filled with vocabulary-rich, descriptive words—students learn new words and the importance of speaking positively to others. The goal of the reading curriculum is simple: to inspire a love of reading and books that will last a lifetime. Younger children discover the sounds that letters make and then soon make the connection that words are comprised of these sounds. Thus begins a child’s phonological, or sound, awareness. Later, as their fluency, comprehension and vocabularies become stronger, children are encouraged to read with greater accuracy. The writing program teaches children to express themselves clearly through words. The program begins introducing students to a variety of writing instruments and materials. When children are ready, they participate in Writing Workshop and learn that writing is purposeful and targeted to an audience. Numeracy Math is often called the poetry of logic, which means that a central challenge for teachers is how to anchor that logic in children. The Children’s School maintains that the best way to fulfill this objective is have children work with concrete learning materials because they are what young minds grasp easily. The School relies on many classic Maria Montessori mathematical learning materials to accomplish this objective. Children learn numbers, for instance, by tracing sandpaper numerals that correspond to the number of buttons or shells placed in their hand. Later, teachers focus on teaching higher-order concepts and operations such as fractions and addition. Fine Arts Concentrated sensorial experiences, which stimulate the senses and memory, are the building blocks of the human intellect and creativity. Spatial skills, visual memory and feats of the imagination are stimulated by sensorial learning. Brimming with sensorial materials, the School’s classroom invites children to explore. Each material isolates and nurtures one sense while connecting it to a specific idea or concept. The goal of the sensorial curriculum is to lead children through a progression of understanding: from the concrete to the abstract, from sense memories to higher-order problem solving and self-expression. To that end, the School offers a vital arts program to augment sensorial activities. The arts take children up a step, helping them to hear their voice in music, make their mark while
painting on canvas and shape clay into sculpture. Social Studies, Science and Languages Children are keen to define who they are within the context of family, community and the larger world. At The Children’s School, they begin to do this by learning about their community, the State of Connecticut, the United States and cultures across the globe. Meanwhile, promoting an understanding of the physical world is the goal of the School’s science curriculum. Through hands-on experiments, children learn the scientific method: making a hypothesis, designing an experiment to test that hunch, collecting data, recording observations and forming a conclusion. All areas of science are touched on, from physics to chemistry, Earth science to biology. Long before studies showed that the early years are the most opportune time for children to learn a second language, the School immersed students in Spanish during the school day. It also offers classes in Mandarin. Final Thoughts Clearly, The Children’s School nurtures an eagerness to learn. “When children move on to other schools, they usually do so with confidence in their abilities, excitement about the learning journey ahead and with a good sense of how to be respectful to others,” says Maureen Murphy. “When that happens, we say ‘mission accomplished.’” The Children’s School serves children ages 3 to 8 at its campus on 118 Scofieldtown Road in Stamford, CT. For more information, please call 203/329-8815.
BOARDING AND DAY SCHOOLS Canterbury School
New Milford, CT Canterbury School is a coeducational boarding and day school enrolling 360 students in a college preparatory program for grades 9-12. In addition to its strong academic program, the school is known for the beauty of its location, a true dedication to spiritual growth, and an exciting sports program for both boys and girls. The school is situated on a hilltop adjacent to the historic section of New Milford, Connecticut, where Roger Sherman, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, lived. The campus is about 80 miles from New York City in an area of natural beauty near the Housatonic River and the Appalachian Trail. Canterbury was founded in 1915 CT by prominent lay Catholics. One of New Milford, the founders, Dr. Nelson Hume, was honored by Pope Pius XI for his outstanding work in education. Today the Canterbury student body is a diverse
Grades 9-12 • Boarding & Day • (860) 210-3934 • www.cbury.org
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE mix of both Catholics and non-Catholics from 16 countries and 21 states. Canterbury’s buildings, set on 150 acres, are a rich architectural mix of traditional and modern. The Chapel of Our Lady is both the physical center and the spiritual heart of the campus. The large newly renovated and expanded Robert Markey Steele Hall has a dining room, a student center, two computer labs, a library, a 100-seat lecture room, and the Steers Admission Center. Next door, Nelson Hume Hall has classrooms, science labs, a 400-seat auditorium, and the Theater Department’s “green room.” The sports facilities include ten playing fields, three baseball diamonds, eight tennis courts, a track, a new state of the art aquatic center, and the Hockey Arena. The athletic facility houses three basketball courts, five international squash courts, locker rooms, a weight and fitness room, a wrestling room, as well as space for aerobics and dance. There are eight student dormitories, which, like the classroom buildings, have wireless Internet access. There are eighty faculty, most of whom also coach and serve as dorm advisors, and therefore may be working with a student in several roles each day. Many live on campus, 30 with their families. Canterbury School takes pride in the breadth and depth of its course options. Few boarding schools of Canterbury’s size offer as many AP classes (19). Canterbury is among the very few offering AP courses in World History, Drawing, and Music Theory. The school also offers four years of Latin. All 100% of the seniors in the class of 2011 continued on to college. Students have enrolled at excellent schools such as: Boston College, Boston University, Bowdoin, Colby, Colgate, Columbia, UConn, Cornell, Dartmouth, Fordham, Georgetown, Loyola, Northeastern, Notre Dame, Penn, Roger Williams, St. Lawrence, US Coast Guard Academy, US Naval Academy, Villanova and Wesleyan. Canterbury’s sports program is extensive, the athletic facilities are substantial, and the coaches are dedicated. All students participate in athletics. Three team levels – Varsity, Junior Varsity, and recreational—are fielded in most sports to accommodate players of varying skills, ages, and size. Boys teams are organized in basketball, baseball, crew, cross-country, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, squash, swimming, tennis, track, water polo, and wrestling. Girls compete in basketball, crew, crosscountry, field hockey, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, track, tennis, and volleyball. Students may earn academic credit for participating in the Canterbury Choir, Chorale and Octet as well as Chamber Orchestra and Jazz Band. Other activities include student government, theater, the school newspaper, the yearbook, and the literary magazine. Interest clubs are formed for the environment and recycling, diversity issues, and school spirit. www.cbury.org; www.facebook.com/canterbury.admission. 100 Aspetuck Avenue, New Milford, CT. 860/210-3800.
Middlebury, CT Education Plus Opportunities for Girls in Special Areas of Interest Westover, a selective boarding school of 200 girls, grades 9 - 12, in Middlebury, CT, has students from 16 countries and 19 states. Because the Westover community values the ideas and talents of every student, its students have endless opportunities to distinguish and challenge themselves. In addition to its rich and varied curriculum, Westover offers three specialized programs for those students with more concentrated interests. These programs provide co-curricular experiences for Westover
students with the Brass City Ballet, the Manhattan School of Music, and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). • Brass City Ballet. As participants in this program, a joint venture between Westover and the Brass City Ballet, select students have the opportunity to study dance at one of the region’s leading dance schools. Students audition in the fall of their entry year and take six dance classes a week in ballet, modern, and jazz. • Manhattan School of Music. This joint program between the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division and Westover offers talented musicians and vocalists the opportunity to study music and play in an orchestra or ensemble at one of the country’s leading music schools. Students must complete a separate application and audition to be accepted into the program. • WISE (Women in Science and Engineering). This advanced extracurricular program in conjunction with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) offers a variety of electives aimed at preparing students for careers in science or engineering. WISE graduates also receive special consideration for RPI’s engineering program. A number of Westover graduates who have participated in these programs have later pursued studies in dance, music, science and engineer-
ing in college and have gone on to establish careers in these fields. In addition, Westover offers three signature programs that further reflect the School’s commitment to giving students opportunities to gain experience and knowledge in special areas of interest: the Sonja Osborn Museum Studies Internship, the Online School for Girls, and Westover’s Summer Programs for girls entering grades 7, 8 and 9. • The Sonja Osborn Museum Studies Internship. The Museum Studies Internship, designed for students with interests and aptitude in the study of art history, consists of a ten-week program. The first eight weeks are spent at Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT, the home designed and lived in by Theodate Pope Riddle, Westover’s architect. The final two weeks are spent working on a project that investigates the historical ties between the museum and Westover. • The Online School for Girls (OSG). Westover was one of four all-girls schools in 2009 to establish a consortium to offer online education for girls. Girls taking part in the program are offered courses taught by faculty members from the consortium over the Internet. Courses range from multivariable calculus and differential equations to women in art and literature. All classes focus on collaborative projects for participating students.
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE • Westover’s Summer Programs. The School’s residential one- or twoweek summer programs in the arts and academics are an extension of the Westover experience, allowing girls to benefit from courses taught by Westover instructors while enjoying a range of summer activities. Recent course offerings have included ceramics, creative writing, dance, drama, Model United Nations, and photography. These six programs reflect the diverse offerings that Westover provides for all of its students. As Head of School Ann Pollina has noted, “Westover’s small, all-girls’ environment forces students out of boxes and into a bigger picture of themselves. Our girls are artists and athletes, musicians and mathematicians, poets and physicists – sometimes all at the same time.” 1237 Whittemore Rd, Middlebury, CT. 203/758-2423 www.westoverschool.org. For admissions information, or to arrange a visit, contact Westover’s Office of Admission at 203/577-4521 or e-mail: email@example.com.
The Storm King School Technology Meets Tranquility Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY Beginning in September 2012, The Storm King School will be a oneto-one iPad School. All students and faculty members will use iPads as the primary platform for textbooks, notes, organization, and many other school functions. Together with Web 2.0 tools and applications, the iPad will serve as a hyper-notebook and textbook in which students read their assignments, highlight and take notes both in class and on their own, and complete many parts of their homework. In a review of the research conducted at other schools and colleges, the faculty and administrators observed that other, similar iPad programs yielded consistent increases in the level of collaboration among students, the organization/executive functioning of students, the ease of conducting research, and the amount of reading students completed with interactive textbooks. Students also appreciate the decreased weight of their backpacks when printed textbooks are replaced with less-expensive, electronic texts. Because anecdotal evidence suggests that students’ writing does not improve when working on the iPad, students will be encouraged to do most of their writing on laptop and desktop computers. The School will also continue its current emphasis on writing across the curriculum, which includes writing substantial research papers in the winter trimester in all English and history courses. This March, faculty members were issued iPads and are exploring and planning implementation of this new program. Each student will receive an iPad2 when he or she arrives for the start of school in the fall of 2012. In the meantime, approximately five iPad professional development days for faculty and involved administrators are taking place this spring and summer. The Storm King School student body is approximately fifty percent international. The School celebrates its long involvement in global education, which dates back to at least 1930 when the School hosted a symposium on global education that drew participants from around the world to its Cornwall-on-Hudson campus. Today, students come from about 17 different countries. Stephanie Frank teaches English as a Second Language to students who are improving English as their second, third, or fourth language. Ms. Frank says that her students want to be engaged in their learning and will enjoy the access to information that the
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iPad offers them. She says, “Since all students at Storm King will have iPads, everyone will be able to use the tool, and I foresee this creating “an equal playing field” where all students journey together to learn in a variety of manners.” Storm King offers a small school-within-a-school called the Mountain Center to support bright, college-bound students who have learning differences. Andre Green, the Director of the Mountain Center, was an early proponent of the iPad program. The Mountain Center program will take advantage of the applications that are specifically designed for students with learning differences. Interactive e-Books will be especially attractive to these students. And, Mountain Center teachers will use specialized software, such as Kurzweil 3000. The use of the iPad will also assist students in time management and other executive functioning skills. In addition, Mr. Green said, “The greatest value of the iPad may not be its ability to function as an eBook reader but instead its capacity to function as a consolidator of information.” Shortly after Apple announced its move to make iPad the textbook platform of the future, Storm King’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to support a proposal by the School’s administration and faculty to join this movement. In making this decision, The Storm King School has chosen to be part of the vanguard of schools using technology to better prepare students for college and university studies and for life in the 21st century. The college preparatory school has long been known for its academics, arts, and athletics, in addition to its spectacular location in the Hudson Highlands. On the shoulder of Storm King Mountain, between Black Rock Forest and the Hudson River, Storm King will now expand beyond its 6000-acre classroom into the virtual world, as technology meets tranquility at The Storm King School. For more information, visit www.sks.org or call Joanna Evans at (845) 534-9860. Ms. Frank, Mr. Green, and the rest of The Storm King School community are eager to welcome you for a visit. 314 Mountain Road, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY 12520. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
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Avon old FArms
Avon Old Farms Avon, CT At Avon Old Farms, our goal is to be the best school for boys. Every aspect of our school program is engineered to enable boys to be successful, and we provide young men with the tools necessary to achieve in their scholastic, athletic, and artistic endeavors. Everything that takes place on campus is specifically designed with the educational and developmental needs of boys in mind. We appreciate their sense of humor, their energy, and their unique learning styles, and we believe that our dedicated, focused approach is critical to helping boys realize their full potential. We are convinced that the single-sex educational approach makes more sense now than ever. Current research indicates that coeducational classrooms can actually reinforce gender stereotypes, and that many boys are significantly lagging behind girls in terms of high school and college graduation rates. Boys and girls at this age have very different needs, learning styles, and approaches to life. A single-sex setting allows boys to stretch themselves, try new things, and make important strides toward a strong and secure manhood. Ask any Avon student what he values most about our school, and the answer is typically the feeling of community and brotherhood that we have created here. Students, faculty, and staff know each other well, they respect the diversity of origins that characterize us, and they enjoy spending time together. Simply put, Avon boys like being here.
Every boy is truly a member of the community. Men of Avon forge relationships that last a lifetime. Avon Old Farms School: 500 Old Farms Road, Avon, CT 06001. 800/464-2866; www.AvonOldFarms.com.
HIGHER EDuCATION Bard College at Simon’s Rock
Great Barrington, MA Bard College at Simon’s Rock — a highly selective college of the liberal arts and sciences — gives bright, motivated students the opportunity to begin college immediately after 10th or 11th grade. Starting at an average age of 16, students complete the BA in four years. We are ranked 13th among all colleges and universities in the nation for the percentage of our graduates who go on to earn the PhD. Why Start College Early For some students the standard track just doesn’t make sense. At 16, they are ready for —and need — the serious, joyous, rigorous exploration of topics and ideas they are passionate about. They don’t want to spend another year or two preparing for college – prepping for and taking standardized tests and padding their resumes. They want the opportunity and challenge of a high quality liberal arts education now.
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE How To Spot A Simon’s Rock Student Simon’s Rock students are not only bright and highly motivated, but truly love learning. They are smart, creative, independent-minded, selfmotivated. All have an inner sense of purpose, are mature enough to live semi-independently on a college campus, and are ready for a new community and a new challenge. At Simon’s Rock these students find true peers who share their hunger for engagement and their desire to be part of a vibrant intellectual community. What Sets Simon’s Rock Apart The quality and diversity of the students we enroll, the expertise of the professors, the small and inspiring classes, and the combination of rigor and engagement. All of our classes are seminars. Students learn from each other and from professors. All of our professors are adept at managing lively discussion and debate. Our core curriculum assures a solid foundation across all disciplines, and is complemented by a full array of electives and concentrations in the humanities, social sciences, mathbArd college At simon’s rocK
ematics, natural and physical sciences, and fine and performing arts. Why Send Your Teen to Simon’s Rock We give them an exceptionally challenging liberal arts curriculum, an extraordinary amount of personal attention, and a strong social network. All of our students start college early in an environment designed specifically for them. The way we teach, the way we set up our advising system, the way we staff our dorms and choose our faculty and arrange our curriculum – all of these things are tailored for the intellectual and emotional needs of slightly younger students. Life After Simon’s Rock Our graduates are smart, confident and prepared for the next step in their lives. They’ve had internships, studied abroad, and written theses. Those that transfer after earning their AA go on as juniors to many of the most selective colleges and universities in the nation. Our BA graduates go on to the medical, law, business, engineering, and graduate schools of their choice.
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 84 Alford Rd, Great Barrington, MA 01230. 800/235-7186. email firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.simons-rock.edu
Clark University Worcester, MA
Challenge Convention. Change Our World. Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University enrolls students like you who want a rich liberal arts curriculum that addresses the complex scientific, social and economic challenges facing the world. Clark’s focused areas of research excellence are backed by
strong undergraduate, master’s degree and Ph.D. programs that will engage you in a relevant and challenging 21st century education that transforms lives and communities. If your passion is business leadership, the emerging sciences, energy and the environment, child and family well-being, genocide studies, international and community development or urban education, you can join with Clark faculty and other purpose-driven students in rolling up your sleeves, digging in deep and learning the best way possible – by doing. After you’re transformed by the Clark education experience, you will be in an ideal position to exemplify the University’s motto, “Challenge convention. Change our world.” CLARK UNIVERSITY IN THE RANKINGS • 1 of only 40 “Colleges That Change Lives” • U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges • Forbes “America’s Best Colleges” • Princeton Review’s “Best in the Northeast” • Princeton Review’s “Best Business Schools” • Peterson’s “Cool Colleges” • Kiplinger’s Top 50 Best Values for Private Universities • Sierra Magazine’s Top 20 “Coolest Schools” • Peace Corps’ Top Colleges A DYNAMIC COMMUNITY WITH GLOBAL INSIGHT Clark University faculty are committed to mentoring you as well as involving you in their classes and research. Clark’s intimate academic setting and tradition of close-working relationships provides
many opportunities for you to pursue knowledge through active participation. With a 10:1 ratio, you can partner with faculty and postdoctoral associates on a variety of endeavors and projects that will be instrumental in developing innovative solutions to realworld problems. By living and learning in Clark’s global community, you will also enjoy a broader understanding of international perspectives. With approximately 600 international students, faculty members and scholars from over 90 countries, you can gain firsthand experience with multiple cultures. Combined with the University’s commitment to making a difference, Clark will inspire and equip you to get involved in significant ways on campus and abroad. Over fifty percent of Clark students actively volunteer locally and globally through community service and study abroad programs. At Clark, students also lead the charge in organizing over 120 clubs and organizations involving business, the arts, the sciences, social service, sports, etc. THE ACCELERATED MASTER’S DEGREE PROGRAM With Clark’s excellent graduate school and research possibilities, the University is able to offer you a unique cost saving opportunity. Meet the eligibility requirements and you will be able to earn an accelerated master’s degree from one of 14 different programs with the fifth-year of tuition waived. Clark University: 950 Main Street, Worcester, MA. 800/462-5275 or 508/793-7431; email@example.com; www.clarku.edu/explore.
The Evergreen State College: Think Beyond the Ordinary
Olympia, Washington While most colleges teach the same things in the same ways, Evergreen stands apart. We opened our doors in 1971, not 1791, and you’ll see the benefits in our innovative curriculum, student-driven academic pathways and focus on real learning. The Evergreen Difference • Full-time, multi-quarter interdisciplinary programs, often team-taught • Coordinated schedules for homework, tests and field study • Narrative evaluations • Customized academic pathways • Individual and group learning contracts to tailor your education • Extraordinary 1,000-acre campus in the Pacific Northwest Other Good News • Princeton Review 376 Best Colleges • Colleges That Change Lives (one of only two public colleges included) • Fiske Guides “Best Buy” • Sierra Magazine top 10 green colleges • High acceptance rate to graduate school Learning in Community, Making Connections – Imagine studying art, science, history, writing and sociology in one integrated program focused on a central theme. Many students take just one 16-credit, teamtaught interdisciplinary program per quarter (instead of four or five disconnected classes), studying with the same students and faculty for up
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE to a year. Check out our catalog to get a feel for the unique and intriguing interdisciplinary programs you’ll find at Evergreen (www.evergreen.edu/catalog).
the evergreen stAte college
Coordinated Studies – In a full-time interdisciplinary program, homework and tests for one subject don’t compete with another and you don’t have to miss other classes to take field trips, work at an internship, or study abroad. Focus on Learning – Your faculty will give you feedback in a narrative evaluation instead of reducing your hard work down to a letter grade. The focus is on learning and collaboration – often in small seminar groups – not competition for grades. The absence of grades doesn’t mean an absence of high expectations. National studies show that Evergreen students read more, spend more time preparing for class and work more in teams than their peers. More Flexibility – We don’t limit your options with formal majors. You can tailor your education to meet your needs and explore areas of interest without worrying that your credits won’t count toward graduation. Later in your studies, you can also design individual or group learning contracts to create customized learning opportunities. Great Value – Evergreen is both a nationally acclaimed public liberal arts and sciences college and a Fiske Guides “ best buy.” Our total cost of attendance for non-resident students is less than tuition alone at many private institutions. Depending on your need and/or academic qualifications, your actual cost could be even lower. Living in the Pacific Northwest – Evergreen is located in Olympia, Washington’s capital city. Our 1,000-acre forested campus – a living laboratory and classroom – has a beach on Puget Sound, miles of trails, an organic farm, a Native American longhouse, and easy access to Olympia’s vibrant downtown. More opportunities for fun – the Pacific Ocean, Olympic and Mt. Rainier national parks, Mt. St. Helens, ski areas, and the urban scenes of Seattle and Portland, Oregon – are just an hour or two away. Learn more at: http://admissions.evergreen.edu/why http://admissions.evergreen.edu/why. 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW, Olympia, WA 98505. 360/867-6170. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
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BABES IN THAILAND by Laura Shepard
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO GO TO AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
The mosT sTriking Thing when Touring an inTernaTional school for The firsT Time is audible raTher Than visible. The number of languages amidsT The hubbub easily Tops five afTer walking only one hallway lengTh. i found myself Tuning in To idenTify Them: Japanese, Thai, english, spanish, duTch and possibly hindi. Once my head stopped spinning, I had a look around. For the first moment the school uniforms are a sanitizing force, creating a student body generic. Then the blur lifts and I see my son pointing to a child wearing a small hair covering that looks like a grandmotherly bun with a string wrapped around it. “Mom, that kid is a boy! I saw him go into the boy’s bathroom. I promise you he’s a boy!” It was true that to our Western eyes, the thin Sikh child looked like a girl. His long braid was piled directly on top of his head and covered with a patkas. It was hard not to steal glances at him. Six months later, my son would play soccer and pal around with this boy, the hairstyle all but invisible to us. Another six months into the future, this boy would relocate to Rome with his family. His mother, my lovely friend Inderbir, would send me e-mails about the incomparable tomatoes she now used to cook my favorite Indian eggplant dish, and I would salivate. Most corporate expat assignments last from one to four years. Every June, my children lose several of their close friends to relocation or repatriation. Occasionally these new assignments are in dangerous locales like Afghanistan (Embassy families) or Kazakhstan (Chevron Oil) and my children fear for their friend’s safety. Sometimes we are the ones to move. Every August, their school, the International School of Bangkok (ISB), receives over 300 new students, averaging 25 new students per
grade, with 160 students per class. Since each grade also loses about 25 students every year, the impact of the changeover for the existing student body is doubled. This transience is the hallmark of every international school. ISB is very large, with almost 2000 students. However, there are many tiny international schools in far off places with only 40 students in the whole school. Forget about special needs or gifted classes. Teachers in sparsely populated international schools often must instruct one class with students in multiple grades. So when a sixth of the student body leaves every year it can be emotionally devastating for those left behind. The effect of so much turnover has a very interesting impact on the social milieu. According to the young globetrotters I spoke with, expat kids tend to be less exclusive or cliquey because one never knows when his or her best friend will move away. The tenuous friend situation compels them to be more accepting and open to potential new friends all the time. In addition, every student has gone through the experience of an overseas move; arriving at a new school in a strange land. The kids are automatically empathetic and thus tolerant of physical and behavioral differences in ways they might not have otherwise been. Not to say there are no cliques at International Schools. There most certainly
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE are. However, they are much more malleable, with constant cross-clique contamination and multitudes of free agents. Friend groups seem to coalesce around different commonalities from those in domestic public schools. Many form along ethnic lines due to the language barrier. Others form by tenure as each cohort of new pupils arrives, thus creating multigrade cliques. Some form by sport or fine arts interests, but more form around charitable causes as kids join whichever school club supports their social agenda. My own kids were gobsmacked by the number of school clubs to choose from and their myriad do-gooder themes. That may be unique to schools in developing countries, where there are many offspring of World Bank, US Aid, and W.H.O. employees who have lived in Nepal, Cambodia and other places that raise their social awareness, but I cannot really say. What else did my third-culture-kids focus group report on? Most complained that they cannot identify school lunch. I assured them this
ACCORDING TO THE yOuNG GLOBETROTTERS I SpOKE WITH, ExpAT KIDS TEND TO BE LESS ExCLuSIvE OR CLIquEy BECAuSE ONE NEvER KNOWS WHEN HIS OR HER BEST fRIEND WILL mOvE AWAy. happens in public school cafeterias across America but they remained adamant. “No Connecticut school has ever served kimchi or eel sushi or green papaya salad.” They had me there. “And how many kids back home get assigned a lab partner who doesn’t speak English?” Again I was left with only a shrug. One young lady shared that in place of fire drills, the International School of Jakarta issued earthquake helmets to every student. Now there’s a stone in the backpack! A fair number of students talked about the pressure of being in class with so many Asians. Some Asian cultures put an extremely high emphasis on academic achievement. Those students spend much more of their time studying, taking outside academic booster courses and honing their musical expertise than American kids do. (Have you read “Tiger Mom?”) For many Asian students, anything less than a straight-A report card is totally unacceptable, and the others feel the pressure to keep up. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it produces some bizarre colloquialisms. When my daughter came to me shamefaced to admit an 89 on a Geometry test, she heaved, “Oh Mom, I totally Asian-failed this test.” I was initially scandalized at the phrase, until her Japanese friend piped up from behind with a cheeky, “You sure did, my Mom would kill me!” National holidays are new to expat students as well, so when a special day arrives, they never see it coming and don’t know what it’s about. One young lady from Japan Int’l School described arriving in class one morning on Oni Day to find the teacher in a golden mask, throwing
nuts at students as they entered. For Songkran this week, ISB students poured scented water and flower petals over their teacher’s hands as a sign of respect during assembly. In said assembly or in class, there is no pledge of allegiance. Instead, the students stand for the King’s Anthem, which is customarily accompanied by a photo montage of the Royal Family. Best of all, the school mascot is no bear or dog but rather a Hindu god. Go Hanumans! Sport is often one of the most salient differences when living overseas. In gym class, expatriate students play sports they have never even seen before, and let me tell you, it’s a distinct disadvantage. In Australia, my children played cricket and netball — badly. In Thailand, it’s badminton and takraw, with some very serious ping-pong mixed in. What is takraw? It’s like volleyball only you can’t use your hands. Huh? That’s right, three players on either side of the net use their feet to slam a ball over the net, even on the serve. This sport is played mostly in Southeast Asia and is amazing to watch. Go to YouTube and check it out. Since no “farang” can play any of these new sports very well and the local schools don’t play our traditional sports, the international schools play against each other. This means that teams travel far to compete and it’s expensive! We have swim meets in Hong Kong, baseball games in Singapore and track meets in Manila. So if your baby on the travel soccer team has to go all the way to Cheshire, CT. for a game, you won’t find much sympathy here. What we don’t have to travel far for is school. My kids hop in our golf cart and tootle down the street to class. Sometimes they don’t want to be seen with each other so one rides a bike while the other drives the cart or walks, but that’s not my problem as long as I don’t have to take them! The joy of the 100 meter commute cannot be overstated. Families who don’t live within the ISB compound load their kids onto a school bus at 6:05 am for an hour-long ride from downtown Bangkok. That is the much more common scenario and many expat students travel two hours each way to a school based far from the city where they live. Culture has its effect on the academic curriculum as well. In Australia, a very open society, my daughter had sex education class in 4th grade, complete with graphic video detail and mixed gender discussions of menstruation. In America, “health class” came in 7th grade with the infamous “anon-elope” from Mrs. Powers class at Weston Middle School. Here in modest Thailand, no one touches this topic until high school and then only as a small part of the “freshman seminar” course. My poor girl has had to sit through it all three times now. My son keeps missing his opportunity with each move so it’s going to fall to me for sure. Maybe I’ll borrow my daughter’s notes! What do International schools have in common with a USA domestic school experience? All the usual school-age stuff is definitely global. There are field trips and back-to-school nights, lost homework and missing gym shorts. There’s helicopter parenting and PTA factions. There’s mean-girl drama and playground bullying and first dates and young love. There are boys who won’t brush their teeth and girls who won’t stop brushing their hair. There’s constant text messaging and Facebook and after-school sport practice. There’s gossip and peer pressure and insecurities and all that wonderful stuff we call “growing up.” Welcome to the world.
Laura Shepard is a displaced Westonite currently living in Nonthaburi, Thailand. She is desperately missing New England clam chowder, skilled beauticians and winter nights that dip below 90 degrees. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM
Think beyond the ordinary. What’s here is unique in the country. It’s about a sense of self and where you fit You get the school
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Avon Old Farms believes strongly in the benefits of a single-sex education and understands the unique learning styles of young men. A structured academic day includes regular all-school meetings, family-style meals, athletic practices, and quiet evening study hours. Core values such as integrity, self-discipline, civility, scholarship, responsibility, and sportsmanship are emphasized and modeled by a caring and committed faculty who also serve as coaches, dormitory masters, counselors, valued mentors, and friends.
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This summer, discover a new passion Summer Programs in the Arts & Academics for Girls Entering Grades 7, 8 & 9 There will be two sessions July 8 -13 & July 15 - 20. The following courses will be offered during one or both of this summer’s sessions: Ceramics • Creative Writing • Dance Drama • Painting • Photography Women in Science & Engineering Our one- or two-week programs are an extension of the Westover experience, offering campers challenging courses taught by Westover instructors in a residential setting that fosters friendships. If you have questions about our summer programs, e-mail director Ruth Curzan at email@example.com or call her at 203.758.2423. For more information, visit westoverschool.org/summerprograms
At Westover School, your daughter will live only an hour from home – yet she’ll experience the world Westover School is a rigorous college preparatory program for girls in grades 9 -12 located in Middlebury, Connecticut, a classic New England town 90 miles from New York City. Our community includes students from countries as diverse as Spain and South Africa, and states from Maine to Texas. These bright young women enrich one another with their varied backgrounds, talents, interests, and ideas. At Westover, your daughter will have the chance to pursue her every passion – from Shakespeare to soccer, Bach to ballet – in a nurturing environment where she’ll feel comfortable being herself. For more information please call the Office of Admission at 203.577.4521 or visit westoverschool.org.
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Sheâ€™s ready for a challenge. Give her the tools to take on the world. Stoneleigh-Burnham School is an academic community for girls grades 7-12 based on honor, respect and intellectual curiosity. We encourage each student to explore her individual passions and discover her own voice. The School offers nationallyrecognized equestrian, debate and performing arts programs. Now the only girlsâ€™ school in New England to become an International Baccalaureate World School, StoneleighBurnham will offer the IB Diploma Program starting this fall, providing the best of 21st century learning.
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WHAT WILL YOU DO? When Alicia came to RWU, she knew one thing for sure— she wanted to ride. She first started riding horses as a hobby when she was seven, but started taking it seriously in her senior year of high school. The Psychology major tried out for the Equestrian team and made it—as a freshman. She balanced school work, studying, practicing, team work outs and shows every weekend. Now a senior, Alicia got the ultimate vote of confidence this year when she was named a captain of the team. A true leader and competitor, she upped her show division and is still bringing home blue ribbons. Alicia came to RWU and found a home away from home, and her true passion. What will you do?
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July 1-August 4, 2012 The UPPER SCHOOL — Comprised of students who have completed grades nine, ten, eleven, or twelve — enrolls some 500 students who come to us from more than 40 states, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and several dozen foreign nations. ACCESS EXETER — Open to students who have completed grades seven or eight — provides a challenging academic program for approximately 250 students. Together, these students embody a rich diversity of language, culture, religion and race.
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The summer before her senior year as a criminal justice major at Rutgers, Karina Martinez of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, studied child labor laws in Ghana as part of an effort to raise awareness about human rights.
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email@example.com www.hampshirecountryschool.org 603-899-3325
The Deal is Off By Alena Dillon
My naMe is alena, and i’M a Groupon addict. it’s been nine days since My last purchase. Credit card information is stored in the Groupon site, meaning I can purchase it with one click. Convenient? Yes. Dangerous? Oh, so very. Thus began my most recent vice. I’ve bought museum tickets, restaurant credit, haircuts, and laser-freaking-eye surgery. I have Groupons stacking up in my account that I’m not sure I’ll ever use. But I’ve hit rock bottom and am now on the road to recovery. A Long Island spa offered 50% off a wrap treatment. I had no idea what a wrap treatment entailed, but they used words like exfoliate, soothing, pamper, and beautify. Most importantly, they used the words “half-off.” One click. Bought. The deal is on! The treatment room was very luxurious: candles, classical music, cushioned massage table, the works. Following the woman’s instructions, I undressed and pulled back the sheet on the table, only to find that a material similar to a painter’s plastic throw tarp covered the mattress. As I climbed in, it crinkled. When the masseuse reentered, she lifted the bottom of the sheet, and told me she was going to begin with an “aggressive exfoliating peel.” Her choice for the first word raised a red flag, but her voice was soothing. As soon as she touched me, I didn’t want to open my eyes for fear that I’d confirm she was in fact scrubbing my ass with sandpaper. When she was finished grinding my skin with crushed pebbles, she toweled it off. “Now I’m going to apply the toughening gel. It’s designed to penetrate your epidermis and break down the fat cells beneath. It may get a little warm. Don’t be alarmed, it’s supposed to.” Okay, here comes the good part—the massage part. She rubbed the gel into the same areas that she had applied the rocks of wrath, with the speed and care that one might apply sunscreen. It felt…. okay. When she was through, she took
one side of the plastic and folded it over my body. She lifted the other edge, draped it over, and tucked it in. She finished by slipping the bottom under my toes, the way you would secure one end of a turkey wrap. I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance to one of Dexter’s victims. “All right. This needs thirty minutes to set. I’ll come back in fifteen to check in on you,” she said and left the room. I had to lie there like a burrito for thirty minutes? That’s when it started to get hot. First, my skin felt like it was throbbing from mild sunburn. But the sensation intensified, and it was only a matter of minutes before it felt more like third degree burns. Okay, go to a place of peace. Think about how pretty that mirror is with the intricate tiled
Satan’s envelope. I freed an arm, crossed it over my body, and unpeeled the edge of the plastic wrap. Then, with the opposite arm, I unpeeled the other edge and pulled until the plastic wrap lay beneath me like an open tortilla. The top of my body exhaled, but my bottom half was still being pressed to the hot iron-like plastic, so I placed my feet down on the mattress and pushed off until my butt unstuck itself. That was my position when the woman finally walked back in: plastic in disarray and me in a nude yoga bridge. She expected to find me lying peacefully in a neat cocoon, and instead I was flailing about, back arced, face writhing, like a person possessed by demons. I’m surprised
I didn’t want to open my eyes for fear that I’d confirm she was in fact scrubbing my ass with sandpaper. frame. Or think about what kind of scent that aromatherapy candle is. Jasmine? Lavender? Or think about HOW MY FREAKING LEGS FEEL LIKE THEY WERE DOUSED WITH GASOLINE AND TORCHED!! What if the woman had done something wrong? What if I was actually experiencing a chemical burn? But what was I going to do, call for help? Tell her that I didn’t know what information she wanted, or whom she worked for, but I was ready to talk? Then I found it hard to breathe. Then I thought I might throw up. Then I felt sweat dripping down my sides. Then I thought I might throw up again. Waiting, waiting, torturous, painful, shouldbe-criminal waiting. Where was the woman? Burning, burning, burning. What circle of Hell is this? I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to escape
she didn’t turn and call for an old priest and a young priest. “What happened?” she asked. “It got too hot.” That was all I could manage. Anything further and I would curse the day she was born. “I’m sorry! You seemed to be so tough so I let you go the whole thirty minutes without checking in. Did you just take this off?” I nodded. “Well, at least you got the full effects then.” “How long do the effects last?” “Three days. Five if you’re lucky.” I glanced down at my skin. It looked like one giant welt. I touched it and my thumb left a white fingerprint behind. The deal is off.
Aside from pro bono Groupon promotion, Alena Dillon works on a collection of humorous essays, a novel, and blogs.
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