Everyday-scapes

12/31/2008

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These everyday New York City images by Yoanne Lemoine are what my world looked like as a kid growing up in Queens.  It’s funny how this French chick is so into this stuff.  These photographs capture all the things that made me desperate to get away, but now feel kind of bittersweet.  Europeans are always obsessed with things like this.

She also made a bunch of videos about “young New Yorkers” – none of whom are from New York.  Not so into those.

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I almost had to peel myself off the floor when I saw the Bergdorf Christmas windows.  I swear they have a hidden porthole to my brain.  How do they do it all over again year after year?


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As Matt and I were shopping for Christmas gifts this weekend, Matt pointed out that Halle, our youngest, didn’t have a proper copy of Madeline.  I loved Madeline as a little girl, when Paris was still – literally and figuratively – a world away.  So we picked up a copy.  Matt mentioned that the author and illustrator, Ludwig Bemelmans, was the man that our favorite bar in our favorite New York hotel was named after.  (How I never made this connection is beyond me, but pparently everyone on the planet was hip to this but me.)  In any case, it makes me love Bemelmans Bar and the Carlyle even more. Read the rest of this entry »

Dome Mention It

10/27/2008

Quite possibly the most beautiful room in new York City, Café Pierre (or the Rotunda) at The Pierre hotel is a perfectly executed exercise in lavishness. The trompe l’oeil murals created by American artist Edward Melcarth play backdrop to the most fabulous afternoon tea this side of the Thames. Have some Earl Gray with a lover under the dome and discuss the 253-room hotel’s luscious history (including tales of founder Charles Pierre and original financiers Otto H. Kahn, Edward F. Hutton, and Walter P. Chrysler,) its infamous bankruptcy in 1932, and eventual purchase by oilman J. Paul Getty for $2.5 million in 1938.

If the top of the building looks familiar its because it was modeled by archtects Schultze and Weaver (The Breakers Palm Springs, The Waldorf-Astoria, The Sherry-Netherland) after Mansart’s Royal Chapel at Versailles. Permanent residents in the few apartments have included Elizabeth Taylor, Viacom entertainment company chairman Sumner Redstone, Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed, and the late designer Yves Saint-Laurent.

In 2005 The Pierre was acquired by Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, an India-based global chain of fine luxury hotels and resorts, yet it still retains its forever charm. I spent the night of my birthday there right after the purchase so I can attest to it.

Original Handster

10/25/2008

If you grew up in New York like I did, you were probably really excited to find out that “Handball” had made it on to the list of Olympic sports. Years spent watching the most skilled (and often cutest) boys in the neighborhood pound a little blue ball against a twenty foot wall, with the mercury hitting anywhere from below freezing to way into the triple digits, gave you a certain respect for the game.

And then you actually saw Olympic handball, which looked more like a dry land version of water polo played in a gym by a bunch of European guys wearing kneepads. I won’t even talk about the actual ball, which looks like what my kids played soccer with in kindergarden.

As it turns out, Olympic “Team Handball” is actually a completely different sport that dates back to the ancient Greeks. But, for all you disaffected NYC nostalgics (and the IOC) here are some pics of what handball (and its affectionate cousin, prison handball) really look like. Prepare to feel fuzzy inside.

White Man Burden

10/25/2008

James Burden is known for little more than marrying Florence Sloane, the daughter of William D. Sloane, a rug and furniture magnate and a descendant of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. That marriage resulted in Adele’s father commissioning the James Burden Mansion for his daughter and her new husband, and giving New York City one of its more underexposed Beaux-Arts gems.

Daddy William Sloane also purchased an adjoining parcel and built a second mansion for his daughter Emily when she married her husband John Hammond. Andrew Carnegie lived in the mansion next door (now the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.) Upon Mr. Burden’s death, Mrs. Burden remarried, leasing house to John Jacob Astor VI, who had been born in 1912, shortly after his mother, Madeleine Astor, was rescued from the sinking Titanic. In 1916, banking magnate Otto Kahn bought the corner lot and built the Otto Kahn mansion on it. Quite a Peyton Place. Read the rest of this entry »

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The massive influx of Russians into Brooklyn over the past fifty years has brought New York one of my favorite imports – The Russian Restaurant.

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