Holiday Magic at the NYBG Train Show

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.

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The George Washington Bridge reaches toward the Conservatory ceiling at the NYBG Holiday Train Show

 

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.

Macy's at NYBG
Lauren shopping at Macy’s. There is even a Christmas Display in the tiny windows!
Warren Schultz at New York Botanical Garden Train Show.
Batter up at Yankee Stadium!
JFK airport
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.

Booking it in East Hampton

Lauren Visits Authors’ Night in East Hampton.

East Hampton Library's Authors Night 2013

Marcus Samuelsson (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz))

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Gwyneth Paltrow (photo by danielgonzalezphotography.com)

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of the best summer events in the Hamptons— Authors Night. If you don’t know, this is when authors, most with local ties, show up to sign their books and chat with fans to benefit the East Hampton Library. I just couldn’t stop rubbernecking there were so many celebs! Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband—Chris Martin of Coldplay, chef Marcus Samuelson, Nelson DeMille, Nile Rogers, Dr. Ruth, Phillipe Petit, Kelly Bensimon, Lynn Scher and, of course, Alec Baldwin. It was a swell evening with good food and drink. I actually got to talk to these authors about their recent works and buy an autographed copy of their latest tome. DJ Bonnie Grice was interviewing for the local station. Fun was had by all!

After the signing, authors were invited to dinners hosted by local fans. Boo hoo! I wasn’t invited to that, but I did have an awesome time and it was all to benefit the library in East Hampton.

East Hampton Library's Authors Night 2013

Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly (photo by Sonia Moskowitz)

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Nelson DeMille (photo by danielgonzalezphotography.com)

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Writers and readers filled the tent in East Hampton. (photo by danielgonzalezphotography.com)

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Nile Rodgers (photo by danielgonzalezphotography.com)

I have always loved going to the library. Reading a book can transport you to anywhere in the world. I have to give kudos to the Amagansett library and my peeps that work there! I’m always demanding that they get me this or that. And they cheerfully do. Ah well, I don’t have to wait a whole year to read anything. I’m just going to my library.

Chefs & Champagne

A Great Night for Food and Fun in the Hamptons

lauren is feelin’ the love at wofflers

Andrew Zimmern does not think Lauren is Weird.

Andrew Zimmern does not think Lauren is bizarre. All photos by Gemma Kahng.

 

Today I was so feelin’ the love on Long Island. I’m talking about the passion displayed at the James Beard Foundation Chefs and Champagne New York event at Wolffer estate in da Hamptons. The chefs so tenderly presented their creations. They were lovingly displayed and prepared with care. Many “hot” chefs were represented their from the tri state area including Masaharu Morimoto with his tuna trio, Eric Miller from Madison & Main with his grilled Montauk pearl oysters, and Stefan Karlsson from Sweden with his salmon tartare.  I had a hard time working because it was difficult not to spend all my time stuffing my face with all the goodies available. I also got to take a photo with the JBF award winner Andrew Zimmern star of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods

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Masaharu Morimoto lovingly created and served a Tuna Trio to appreciative guests at Chefs & Champagne.

Besides feeding me—and hundreds of others— the Foundation does stellar work giving students scholarships that honor and nurture America’s diverse culinary heritage.  They educate and inspire the young to be creative and learn their craft whether it’s food, wine, champagne, or whatever. They also had very cool items and travel opportunities to bid on both online and in person. All and all it was a fun time had by me —and all. I think everybody gained at least five pounds!  The only problem is I have to wait a whole year for such fine food grazing. In the meantime, I’ve just have to visit some of the restaurants that were represented there.

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Wofflers in Sagaponnick was the scene for Chefs like Stefan Karlsson

Chef Stefan Karlsson from Fond restaurant in Sweden served Tuna Tartare.

B. Smith and her man enjoy the evening.

B. Smith and her man enjoy the evening.

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Rosa Ross from Scrimshaw in Greenport.

Rosa Ross from Scrimshaw in Greenport.

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Dance Against Cancer

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.

 

Dance Against Cancer

For the Love of Ivy

Yum yum gimme some…..more Ivy restaurant! What a feast I just had. Lobster tacos layered shrimp and avocado sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon and onion covered in cheese. Generous appetizer portions with fair prices. It’s mostly bar food but a bit more upscale than most. My friend had a pomegranate drink and was feeling no pain. I highly recommend this restaurant on 56 and 8th if you are ever in the hood!

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A Late Quartet

Philip Seymour Hoffman Leads a Great Cast

I hope my husband’s not reading this but, Wow! How much do I love Phillip Seymour Hoffman? More than I can say!  In his new movie, “A Late Quartet” he gives a bravura performance. He, Christopher Walken, Katherine Keener and Mark Ivanir, make up a string quartet called Fugue. They actually become as close as a family with all the rivalries and dysfunction that normal families endure. Over the course of the film, resentments build and tempers flair. It’s a kind of  Woody Allen New York love story combined with some anally retentive musicians. if you want to see awesome performances see Yaron zilberman’s new movie.

“A Late Quartet”

Citizen Hearst

Lauren Thinks Something is Fishy with Citizen Hearst

The third flick I went to see at the 2012 HIFF was “Citizen Hearst”. So,  I’m sitting in the theatre thinking this is great… well good… but then I begin to wonder “hmmmm is this an ad for the  Hearst Publishing Company? .  Leslie Iwerks’ new movie “Citizen Hearst” starts off great, with old footage of Hearst, his San Simeon castle lifestyle, and his magazines. But it turns into one big promotion for all current Hearst TV channels and magazines. Academy-award-nominated Iwerks answered audience questions at the end of the flick in East Hampton and revealed that Hearst was a sponsor of her movie. Yup, I knew something was fishy. The best thing about the movie for me was sitting next to the fab China Machado, who was the first women of color featured in the Hearst magazine Harpers Bazaar

Film at the Hamptons Film Festival

William Macy narrates this documentary about the larger-than-life William Randolph Hearst

Love, Marilyn

Lauren Loves the New Film “Love, Marilyn” at the HIFF.

Hamptons International Film Festival

Another film tries to solve the mystery that was Marilyn Monroe—and does it very well.

Just when you thought there was nothing more to learn about Marilyn Monroe comes Liz Garbus, revealing new documentary, “Love, Marilyn”. A treasure trove of recently found letters, poems diary entries, and other correspondence provides a new and intimate look at the film icon. Archival footage traces the beginning of the legend to her untimely death. Featuring a host of famous actors reading parts of this new-found resource just gives you another peek into someone whose story you thought you knew but really didn’t. I thought the film was very well done.

One Day After Peace

Lauren Ezersky Goes to the Hamptons International Film Festival

 

An amazing Israeli Film

Lauren Ezersky gives high marks to this Israeli film at the Hamptons International Film Festival

One of my favorite things to do all year is attend the Hamptons International Film Festival. I know before i go that I am going to see some extraordinary films. My first movie this season was no exception. “One Day After Peace” It is an Israeli film written and directed by brother and sister Erez and Miri Laufer.  It is the moving saga of one woman’s attempt to find the answers to why her son was killed by a sniper while serving in the Israeli Army. Amazingly, mother Robi Damelin hopes to start a dialogue with the shooter so she can come to terms with her loss and have closure. She looks to South Africa, her birth country, to learn how the horror of apartheid was dealt with over the years with the instigation of a program called Truth and Reconciliation. There is amazing footage of some of these actual committee hearings where perpetrators of these violent and murderous acts met the actual family members of those they killed. This amazing and moving story is one of forgiveness in some cases. You get to see the humanity in both the victims’ relatives and the men who actually killed them or gave the orders. I feel if everyone on the planet could see this maybe just maybe there would be less horror in the world. Don’t miss this one.

Hats Off to Jack!

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.

an installation by Yue Minjun

25 bronze lifesize sculptures at Longhouse Gardens

Jack Lenore Larsen's 85th birthday celebration

Lauren Ezersky congratulates Jack Lenore Larsen at his 85th birthday celebration