Monday, September 8, 2008

Hurricane Me Hanna; The Week just passed

On the 7 train en route to the US Open in Flushing Meadows. 9.7.08, 6:50 PM. Photo: JH.
9.8.08: Hurricane Hanna passed through late Saturday afternoon, blowing away the humidity and heat that had been lingering over the weekend. The weather forecasters went over the top with their predictions. A friend of mine in Connecticut was thinking of boarding up his windows because the “70 mph” winds could have knocked down some serious branches and even trees.

The city got a lot of steady rain dancing with gusting winds; and when it stopped around midnight or one a.m. on Saturday night, it left behind clean streets and a cooler temperature.
Girl on a bench with the Sunday paper overlooking the East River, the lighthouse on the northern tip of Roosevelt Island, and Astoria Queens.
Two of my favorite boats on the River. I always think of myself as a kid when my mother brought me for the first time to New York (on a Sunday). Are those people on the Circle Line tourists, as I was? Are they looking at this city where I’m standing and conjuring up wonder and mystery, as I did? Do they look at the locals, as I am now, and wonder, as I did then, what life was like in this amazing looking metropolis?
I love all boats and I always imagine the pleasure of being aboard any that pass through this channel. The tugs are some of my favorites. They’re the worker-bees of the harbor and its channels. They’re mainly the standard size you see here, although some are more muscular than others. Those which push the tankers are also taller. This spiffy little lady looks fresh and foxy, moving up river on her way to serious business. In New York lore, these ladies have had many lives and many missions

I always think of the passage in E. L. Doctorow’s “Billy Bathgate” when some bootleggers take one of their own, who’d double-crossed them (played beautifully in the movie by Bruce Willis) on his last ride where he’s fitted with boots of concrete after which, when they’re dried solid, he’s dumped down the hatch to join the fishies and ole King Neptune. I never looked at a tug in the same way again.
The gardens over Carl Schurz Park also overlooking the River.
This past Friday night was the official opening of Fashion Week in New York. I went with (occasional NYSD contributor – Art Set) Charlie Scheips to a reception that Assouline publishers were holding for the legendary supermodel Veruschka.

Born in East Prussia just before the Second World War, daughter of aristocratic Germans, her father Count von Lehndorff-Steinort was a German army officer who who became a key member of the German Resistance after witnessing Jewish children being beaten and killed. He was involved in the failed plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944 and executed for it.

The family lost its estate that had belonged to them for centuries and they spent the rest of the War in labor camps. In her teens she studied art in Hamburg and then moved to Florence where she was discovered at age 20 by photographer Ugo Mulas.

In 1961, the great Eileen Ford brought her to America, although the bookings were slow to develop. She moved back to Europe, to Munich, changed her named from Vera Gottliebe Anna Grafin von Lehndorff-Steinort to Veruschka, called herself a Russian and she was on her way.

Veruschka’s fame suddenly extended beyond the printed page into the motion pictures when she was hired for a scene in “Blow-Up” opposite David Hemmings in 1966. “Blow-Up” became an iconic film of the Sixties and her photoshoot scene with Hemmings, playing a fashion photographer, is considered by some to be the sexiest scene (fully clothed) in film history.

It was a great career. Richard Avedon once said that Veruschka “is the most beautiful woman in the whole world.”
The view from the MINI Rooftop on 10th Avenue and 36th Street.
The event took place just as the Sun was setting over the Hudson on Friday night on the MINI Rooftop on 10th Avenue and 36th Street. David Wills wrote the book, an “homage to one of the most iconic supermodels of all time,” Assouline published it; and Verushka – who now lives in Berlin – was there to sign them. It was a beautiful night and guests were staying long past the appointed final hour (9). On one side of the roof was a wide screen flashing images of Veruschka on the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
Martine Assouline and and Charlie Scheips
David Wills and Veruschka
Thirty years after leaving it all behind and returning to her native Germany, Veruschka is still willowy but without makeup or presentation, obviously uninterested. Her short blonde hair was tucked under the hat which covered all of her head except her face.

Her manner is gentle and her disposition sweet, like the demeanor of a professor of the romantic languages or an archeologist. She seemed to enjoy the evening and the people but was otherwise unimpressed with the image that she and her beauty had created.
Veruschka signing ...
Afterwards Charlie and I walked ten blocks down the avenue to Bottino’s. We passed by the Calvin Klein “venue” for Fashion Week built to be temporary, just for the show.

Outside, above it’s courtyard entrance is a large billboard with alternating Calvin Klein product images and models. It’s so slick and cool looking, especially in that environment which is mainly industrial and automotive (taxi garages, etc).
Bottino’s was jumping. We had a reservation but had to wait for a few in the bar. On the banquettes were some NYSD friends.

Out comes the trusty (new) Canon.
Jenny Rosenblum, Gary Tade, and Tate Overton
Paul and Alice Judelson
Patrick McMullan covers Fashion Week's beginnings: At the Erin Fetherston Spring 2009 Collection ...
Ellen von Unwerth and Rebecca Fourteau
Olivia Palermo and Gilles Mendel
Stan Herman and Steven Kolb
At the Academy of Arts University, Spring 2009 Fashion Show at the Tents in Bryant Park ...
Brett McMullen and Karina Huber Cadrice
Jill Lynne and Rosemary Ponzo
Patrick McDonald, Michael Fink, and Andrew Shearer
Koos vanden Akker
At Yigal Azrouel Spring 2009 Fashion Show at 540 West 21 Street ...
Nina Garcia
Jay Alexander, Emma Snowden-Jones, and Nigel Barker
Christie’s Fashion + Art – A private preview of Resurrection: Avant-Garde Fashion and Contemporary Art ...
Peaches Geldoff
Henry Holland, Agyness Deyn, and Yigal Azrouel
Padma Lakshmi
B Michael Spring 2009 at Arena ...
B. Michael with his beloved models.
Elie Tahari Spring 2009 Fashion Presentation was held in the Pool Room of the Four Seasons Restaurant ...
Rory Tahari and friend
Dennis Basso and Meredith Melling Burke
Christian Leone and Dan Ragone
Jim Gold and Linda Fargo
Simon Doonan and Glenda Bailey
Pamela Fiori, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, and Rory Tahari
Anne Caruso
Polly Onet
Elie Tahari and Cristina Greeven Cuomo
Nicole Miller showed her Spring 2009 Collection at the Tents in Bryant Park ...
Angela Obermuller
Caroline Giuliani and Donna Hanover
Karen Duffy and Candace Bushnell
Glenda Bailey
Nicole with her models
Bettina Zilkha, Carole Holmes, and Pam Taylor
Paige Powell, Marcia Mishaan, and Patricia Duff
Leonor Varela, Melissa George, and Camilla Guaty
Holly Dunlap, Celerie Kemble, and Kate Schelter celebrate the House of Lavande Shop at Henri Bendel ...
Vicky Ward
Ann Caruso, Ann Watson, and Bianca Pratt
Bobette Cohn
Ferebee Bishop Taube
Holly Dunlap, Ed Bucciarelli, Tracy Smith, Celerie Kemble, and Kate Schelter
DKNY 20th Anniversary Spring 2009 Fashion Show ...
Winona Ryder, Christina Ricci, and Nicole Richie ...
Nicole Richie and Fern Mallis
Judy Licht and Donna Karen
Christina Ricci and Winona Ryder
Brooke Hayward and Peter Duchin have been together for 27 years. 23 of them they’ve been married. They’re one of the most authentically glamorous American couples any of us oould ever know. It was a joint heritage is a uniquely eclectic background of the upperclasses of big American life in the 20th century: show business, society, brains and culture, and always great fun to be around.

It’s the latter two –brains and culture -- that cast the uniqueness. It’s been a marriage of textures and hues, a combination of serendipity mixed with classic know-how.

Sounds too good to be true? Evidently, for in the past couple of months there have been rumors abounding on both Coasts – and specifically in their neighborhood (Litchfield County) and that neighborhood out east called The Hamptons, that the Duchin marriage was on the rocks. And that Peter had been seen frequently, out and about, in the company of one particular woman who heretofore, an old friend of the couple.

Liz Smith scooped it in yesterday’s NY Post spelling it all out knowingly and compassionately. She reported Peter’s insistence that there is no one else involved in this matter of distress. He told me the same thing a few days ago. He also reiterated that the aforementioned Woman in Question is just an old friend whom “Brooke and I have known for years.”

However, that said, he and this old friend – a very nice woman, incidentally, and a long standing member of her set – have been seen together so often that another old friend finally called Brooke to express her condolences.

“About what?” Brooke asked the friend.

“About Peter and ...”

“This is the first I’ve heard,” Brooke replied.

Peter had already told her he wanted some space, so this she knew. It had never occurred to her that there might be someone else in the equation.

The Last To Know. In these situations, there are divided opinions on Who Knew and Who was the Last To Know. When we hear about these things, we tend to make assumptions based on what we’ve seen or heard in the past. We’ve all had our share of exposure to the downsides of other people’s relationships, and we all make assumptions about those relationships because of it. However, when it comes to a partner “knowing” what the other partner is up to, much is based on trust. And trust is either assumed or it does not exist.

Brooke was the last to know. Actually, I think I was the last to know. Everyone else around them seemed to know for weeks. All based on the knowledge that, again: Peter is spending his time with the Other Woman.

Their friends are very sad about this situation. Whatever the facts, Peter is telling the truth, no doubt, when he says that the motivation to separate has nothing to do with anyone outside of his marriage. That’s what’s always sad about it.

You can be sure this matter has impacted a lot of couples in their social sphere. Breakups often hit close to home Especially those of long term relationships and marriages.

In many ways the Duchins seemed the couple who had everything. Both previously married with much of their parenting responsibilities behind them, they got involved as forty-somethings, and the world was their oyster.

They both brought a lot to the table. Talented and creative; engaging, attractive, clever and bright, there was often lots of laughter surrounding them, and lots of music too – all kinds of music. I’m sure no one who knows them ever thought it was a Perfect, Idyllic relationship. But then Perfect, Idyllic relationships only exist when you’re on the outside looking in. The real story is always a novel.

Photographs by ©
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