Everything Must Go from the Designers’ Vignettes
ARF, you look fabulous for 40. You only get better with age. Your shop in Sagaponack has never looked better than this Memorial Day weekend, all decked out from a makeover by seven top designers. In each room a designer created a vignette from thrift store donations, as well as his or her own personal collections. All the items in the room were for sale. Paintings, rugs, chairs, sofas, lamps, you name it, it had a tag. And they were going fast as soon as the show opened. In fact, while we were there, someone bought an entire suite of wicker furniture right out from under us!
The occasion was the fourth annual Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons Thriftshop Designer Showhouse and Sale, held to raise money to support the good work done by ARF in rescuing pets. It coincided with ARF’s 40th anniversary.
Fern Mallis was the Honorary Chair of the event, while Gordon Hoppe, Gigi Mahon and Sandra McConnell were chairs, and Peter Hallock and Lisa McCarthy were vice chairs.
The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons actively rescues cats and dogs, provides quality care and offers sanctuary until loving homes can be found. If would like like to make a donation, follow this link.
There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and pubs along Manhattan’s 9th Avenue, But Social, 795 Eighth Avenue, is the pub of all pubs, the platonic ideal of pubs. It has a well stocked bar with plenty of beers on tap, and exactly the kind of food you’re looking for in such a place.
The menu is deep, broad, and inexpensive. The night we were there we went a little crazy, sampling as many of the dishes as possible from the starter, salad, and sandwich sections. The pulled pork slider (with just the right amount of barbecue flavor) were a big hit with both of us, as was the chicken naan—juicy chunks of chicken wrapped in charred naan bread with sweet chile sauce and avocado. But we were just getting started. We also tried the crispy and refreshing iceberg stack, a fresh twist on the classic wedge salad as well as hummus with pita bread and vegetable crudite. We couldn’t quit without trying something from their extensive burger menu, so we ordered the Big Blue. It’s a hefty hamburger, stacked with onion rings and bacon and covered in blue cheese dressing. Hard to imagine that anyone could stack any more good tasting things on top of a bun. We washed it all down with a strong bloody Mary and a couple bottles of Dogfish Head
Before we left, a trivia game broke out and we joined in and learned how little we know about Pop Culture. Oh well, the food and drinks were good. Service was fast and friendly.
An Epic Trip to New Zealand
Two weeks of hiking, dining, drinking, exploring below the equator
It was a dream trip 25 years in the making. It has been that long since my sister, Marianne, moved to Auckland, New Zealand And for 25 years i kept promising i would visit. But you know how it is. But in February i finally bit the bullet and hopped a looooong flight to Kiwi land on Hawaiian Air. I got a very good price with an overnight stop over in Honolulu. Perfect! that meant i could spend a night with my oldest friend, Joe Ferraro and his wife Nadine. Joe picked me up at the airport around 5:00 and brought me back to their bungalow-style home in Manoa. After a shower and a change into the appropriate shorts and flowered shirt we had a beer on the patio and headed out for dinner on the beach. i have to say, the minute my feet touched ground in Hawaii i could feel the tension seeping out of my body. And it continued into New Zealand. Even the prospect of a nine hour flight hard on the heels ao a 11 1/2 hour flight and an hour and half delay in taking off from Honolulu due to an equipment problem, couldn’t raise my temperature.
Touchdown in Kiwiland
I arrived in New Zealand late Tuesday night. Marianne was there to meet with at the airport.And i really didn’t feel that bad after the 20 hour trip. Here’s the key: I laid out an extra 75 bucks each leg for exit row/bulkhead seating. well worth it? no knees jammed into the seat back in front of me. no getting pissed off at the person in front of me. There was no person in front of me!
Day 1: Exploring downtown Auckland
Wednesday i got my first look at Auckland. I threw on a t-shirt and a pair a shorts and set out. Yes, it is hilly! My sister’s house is in the Eden Terrace neighborhood of Auckland, just a 20 minutes walk from downtown. I just kind of nosed around downtown. You know how when you go to Boston and you’re walking around and suddenly you wonder, Hey where are all the people? well, it’s not like that in Auckland. not in downtown Auckland anyway. Lots of people walking around. I stopped at the Crown on Custom St. for a pint. It’s a brewpub where i enjoyed a pilsner. Though i thought the $12 price for a pint was a bit steep. But stop to figure it out. The exchange makes that $12 $10.20 American. Also, note that there is no tipping in New Zealand, so knock another 2 bucks off of that and you have an $8 pint. that seems about right. Later Marianne and i went out for dinner at, YUZU, a Japanese place in Mt. Eden. the miso orange roughy was fantastic.
Day 2: Discovering the Auckland Domain
I took a commuter train to Grafton and walked a few steps to the Domain. Wow! What a place. i entered it from behind a small grandstand that sat at the edge of a depression or bowl. it wasn’t until later that i learned it was one of the many volcano craters dotting the city. Athletes were running, stretching, playing cricket. (Well, maybe calling the cricketeers athletes is a bit of a stretch.) i was there to visit the winter garden but had to hunt a bit to find it in the vastness of the Domain.
The winter garden is a smallish conservatory with a beautiful annual house, and a tropical room with a lovely courtyard. I found the lovely Wintergarden Cafe outside the courtyard and enjoyed a delicious lunch of a warm salad and a Steingarden beer.
More to come…
A Great Performance of A Doll’s House
Then Dinner at Mile End
The Gallery Seats at BAM Harvey Theatre are found after a hike up a long flight of stairs. My front roll seat hung over the stage. And that turned out to be a perfect perspective to view the gripping performance of A Doll’s House by the Young Vic Company From high above, the remarkable set did indeed appear as a doll’s house. Set up on a huge turntable, the set revolved to reveal several rooms of the apartment: first the living room, Nora’s bedroom, the dining room, Torvad’s cramped study, a hallway. From above you can watch characters scurry from room to room during the set change. it’s fascinating and adds to the mood of the play.
All of this provides a background for the actors and the words to shine. Hattie Morahan as Nora commanded the stage. every second, something seemed imminent. she was constantly on the verge of… something. It could be good. it could be bad. it could be utterly insane. She was, in short, bottled up. Domini Rowan as her husband Torvald played the bottler beautifully. he was charmingly disarming as the controlling husband. In the last act, his drunk scene was pitch perfect, followed by a maelstrom of conflicting emotions. Together, they were on fire.
I literally found myself holding my breath as the last scene unfurled in all of its power.
From fiery emotion to smoked meat
Whew! After all that drama i needed a drink and some comfort food. I had heard great things about Mile End and its Quebecois cuisine, and after having enjoyed the same in many visits to Montreal i was down with it, so i took a short walk over to Hoyt and Atlantic to give it a shot. It’s a small place, diner-like with a short counter and a few communal tables. I sat at the counter and knew immediately what i wanted, the smoked meat and poutine with pickle platter. I enjoyed a Two Heart ale as i waited. good IPA.
The dish arrived.
It was as epic as promised. The rich, juicy smoked meat was piled high on rye. the poutine fries were fresh and crispy (until the absorbed the homemade chicken gravy) and the cheese curds were perfectly melted.
The ambiance was great. The staff was friendly and happy to talk smoked meat. All in all it was a perfect Brooklyn afternoon.
A Short Post-Christmas Trip to Boston
Last year, my wife and i spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s in Boston, visiting family, sampling restaurants, getting some culture at the Gardener Museum, getting some History at Paul Revere’s House. We stayed at the Boston Park Plaza in one of the biggest hotel rooms i ever saw. This year, i went solo and booked a “petite” room at the same Park Plaza—with some trepidation. I like this hotel though. great location, just a few blocks from the Boston Common, Boylston st, Newbury street. what i don’t like is the $12 surcharge PER DAY for WiFi.
But the petite room turned out to be fine and after i dumped my stuff off, Emme and i drove off to pick up Zea at South Station. She was coming in from Maine, where she spent Christmas with her in-laws. Where to eat? that was the question on everyone’s lips. The answer? The Gallows. I had been there once, for brunch and didn’t require any arm-twisting. At the Gallows, we started with their pulled pork stuffed corn muffin to share. Well, i use the term share loosely. Zea pretty much claimed it. Fabulous! then it was on to the main course.
Earlier, we had decided we would “eat light” after the excesses of Christmas. But by now we had worked up an appetite and when confronted with the menu, i knew it was burger time. I opted for the Carpetbagger with fired oysters atop. Zea chose the Maleson Melt with chanterelle, and porcini-morel butter. Emme, though, zeroed in on the poutine. specifically the daily Out of Control poutine, tonight made with bone marrow gravy. Wow!
Friday night, we hit another, small, beer-centric pub of the type that seems to characterize Boston. This time it was The Five Horses Tavern in the South End. Our mantra again was
“Eat Light!,” but that didn’t happen. not after i got a look at the menu.As son as i spotted it i knew i would have the k.f.c.g.h. With Kentucky fired Cornish game hen, jalapeno mashed potatoes and pork belly mac and cheese, it was comfort food times three. And it did not disappoint.
Both of these fine establishments had amazing beer menus–bottled and on tap. And Five Horses happily seated our party when only four of six were present. When’s the last time something like that happened in New York?
An Amazing Display of Miniatures
Must-sees in New York for the Holidays include the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and the Rockettes Christmas Show, the store windows on 5th Avenue—all enduring New York Christmas traditions. But none of them outshine the annual Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden.
For those who don’t know, the Holiday Train Show takes over the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory during the holiday season. Throughout the exhibit, model trains zip around New York landmark replicas made of plant parts such as nuts, bark, and leaves, There’s the George Washing Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and of course, the Brooklyn Bridge. Want buildings? Rockefeller Center, the Flatiron Building, City Hall, Macy’s, even Yankee Stadium (!) —all painstakingly constructed of nuts, seeds, twigs, leaves, roots. Each structure is more marvelous than the next. Even the most hardened Scrooge is bound to be swept into the holiday spirit by the experience of viewing this remarkable buildings as model trains wind past them. The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show runs through January 12.
- Yes, it is the TWA Building at JFK, complete with “plant-based” airplanes on the runway.
- This incredible display is the work of Paul Busse. And Paul is not one to rest on his laurels. Every year, he creates new buildings for the show. And this year, “The Artist’s Studio” exhibit reveals his step-by-step process for creating the exhibit.
- You can purchase tickets here.
All Stars Take the Stage in Dance Against Cancer
I normally do feel just a bit sheepish attending a charity benefit with a press comp. I mean, all of these other folks are laying out big bucks to go toward whatever good cause it happens to be. I’m freeloading. But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the drinks and canapes. This time i felt especially sheepish because the cause was one with which i have had a personal encounter: cancer.
But enough about me, and enough about the food. The main event was the dance performance and it was amazing. It was like an All Star Game of dance. Dancers from all the major New York companies took the stage. And each performed with energy, passion, and precision.
Friends Salute Jack Lenore Larson on his 85th Birthday
When you get to be an octogenarian, I imagine you like to think you’ve made a contribution to the world. Well, there’s no question Jack Lenore Larson has. In more than one field. Jack has made a name for himself as a one of the world’s preeminent textile designers. His books are masterworks on the art and craft of textile design. But that’s not enough for him.
Jack has made it his mission to share his good fortune with the world in general, and the East End of Long Island in particular, though his spectacular public garden: Longhouse Reserve.
Jack used the occasion of this 85th birthday party to unveil two new art installations:three new pyramids in the Ginko Allee and Chinese Contemporary Warriors, 2005 by Yu Minjun. this is a fascinating display of 25 bronze lifesize sculptures.