Read about this project that me and Steve are doing in Paris…

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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.

Nice Box

10/27/2008

I came across artist Jenny Brillhart a few years ago while vacationing in Miami. She paints a lot of US1 motels, geometric convergences of shape that occur in buildings, and what appear to be the backs of Southern Florida strip malls. It makes me feel good whenever someone can extract accidental beauty and order from the cracks of the world that weren’t necessarily even intended to be beautiful or orderly.

I really really love her work. She is awesome.

Jenny Brillhart

Mystic Itzá

10/26/2008

I first visited Chichén-Itzá about six years ago and cannot fathom why the entire United States is not obsessed with this major mystical and architectural wonder located a mere 1500 miles from downtown New York City. Perhaps it’s the Mayan blood I have running through my veins, but I’m pretty proud that while Europe was still in the midst of the Dark Ages, these amazing people had mapped the heavens, evolved the only true writing system native to the Americas, and became masters of mathematics. They invented the calendars we use today. Without metal tools, beasts of burden or even the wheel they were able to construct vast cities across a huge jungle landscape with an amazing degree of architectural perfection and variety. The Chichén Itzá complex is unbelievably extensive and includes ancient temples, pyramids, steambaths, sacred watering holes, a marketplace, and a mindblowing observatory. Their legacy in stone, which has survived in a spectacular fashion at places such as Chichén Itzá, (and Palenque, TikalTulum, and Copan), lives on as do the seven million descendants of the classic Maya civilization – including me!

Given this insanely rich history, and its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it astounds me that most people I know have never heard of one of the greatest (and conveniently located) Pre-Columbian centers our hemisphere has ever known. So next time you are planning a long weekend in Cancun, rent a car and take a drive 150 miles down the coast, drop your bags off at the magical, sustainable, and impeccably green Hacienda Chichén, and educate yourself, man.

High Fauchon

10/17/2008

No this is not a Parisian shoe salon. It’s Fauchon, a luxury food shop on Paris’ Place de la Madeleine in the 8e arrondissement.

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This summer Matt and I took the fam to his favorite summer destination, and (we’re convinced) future “Hipster Hamptons.”

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Georgia Rules

10/16/2008

I’ve wanted to visit Savannah for as long as I can remember, so after reading a recent Domino (yes, I know) article on Georgia’s oldest city, I convinced Matt to take me to the home of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I fell in love.

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