Friday, June 19, 2009

Two more days till the summer solstice

Looking south from high above a fog-heavy Upper West Side. 11:30 PM. Photo: JH.
June 19, 2009. Two more days till the summer stolstice and it doesn’t really feel like summer. Rainy and wet, nice though; very nice.

“There comes a point in everybody’s life where responsibility, authority and accountability intercept.”

Those words were said to me by a man named Tex McCrary during an interview in January 1989. Tex was a very prominent public relations and famous media figure in the 1940s, 50s and early 60s. He was married to a lady named Jinx Falkenberg, a former Miss Rheingold. The Rheingold contest – conducted in tabloids and billboards, was very prestigious and guaranteed its winner fame and fortune. And it was true in several cases.

Tex and Jinx had daily radio show on WOR in New York. It was one of the first, if not the first “talk show.” Tex and Jinx. Famous across America in their time, now long forgotten.
Tex McCrary.
I was interviewing Tex for a project I was working on on the Cushing Sisters – Babe Paley, Minnie Astor Fosburgh and Betsey Roosevelt Whitney. Betsey Cushing Roosevelt Whitney was the only surviving sister when I started working on it and I was told more than once that she was not only against it but had asked people not to speak to me. Naturally they followed orders. Mrs. Whitney at that late stage of her life had settled comfortably into the formidable figure she had always been.

There were those who did not follow suit and it was usually because they had their own issues with Mrs. Whitney. Brooke Astor was one of them. Tex McCrary was another. I don’t know what happened that created a chasm between Tex and Mrs. Whitney. Nor is it important to know the cause since these things happen in friendships to many of us and often reflect someone’s inability to get off his or her position of being right.

Jinx Falkenberg
Nevertheless, Tex and Jock Whitney were big pals for many years that included Whitney’s purchase of the Herald-Tribune – then a great New York morning paper (non-tabloid) that competed with the Times. Whitney’s Tribune nurtured a lot of great talent including Jimmy Breslin (who had his own column) and our esteemed contributing photojournalist Jill Krementz.

I often think of that McCrary quote in terms of the world we are now living in. He made it about the then President George H. W. Bush. McCrary was an Eisenhower Republican and a Yalie and for some reason was extremely disappointed in the man’s Presidency.

The idea: “... a point in everybody’s life where responsibility, authority and accountability intercept” seems almost zen-like in our present atmosphere.

I am a fairly obsessive reader of the financials. It is a habit I acquired in my mid-twenties when I worked as a registered rep on Wall Street. I was an utter failure as a stockbroker although I loved economic analysis (I’d flunked economics in college) and it drew me in. These times we’re living in now with their paucity of Tex McCrary’s requisites makes it all that much more pertinent. Like following a mystery or even a who-dunnit.

One of the financial blogs I read whenever there’s a new post is called “Cassandra Does Tokyo – Mostly original content that examines financial surreality in equity markets in general, and the Japanese Stock market in particular.” Don’t be intimidated by the title. Cassandra whoever he is (there’s a picture of a Japanese woman with her hair in rollers and sucking on a big ciggie although I have the feeling that writer is male) is good because he possesses the ability to reflect and with common sense.

In his/her most recent entry “Moving Blues,” he discusses the effects of moving, i.e., change, and likens it to the situation we are all living in for the obvious reasons.

Don’t be put off by the market references in the title. It’s all about real life. Just like the markets.
Kokin's window at Third Avenue between 78th and 79th Street.
Last night on my way to dinner I stopped off at Kokin boutique at Third Avenue between 78th and 79th Street. Kokin is an advertiser on our Shopping Diary and he was having a special cocktail party for his clientele. Millinery establishments once as common as nail parlors are today, are now rare and special. I know several women who love to wear hats and look great in them. And then most women I know don’t ever wear hats. In England, of course they do. It’s just a fashion thing; like everything it comes and goes. For some it’s coming back. Interesting Kokin told me last night that his business has been better in the last few months than it was last year and the year before. Joan Collins called and left an order for herself at her villa in the South of France.

Kokin’s wife Blu, who is expecting a child due August 13th, modeled a couple of her husband’s creations, as did her friend Mercedes Ellington and Vevlyn Wright.

Blu Kokin.
Vevlyn Wright. Blu Kokin modeling more Kokin goods.
Mercedes Ellington. More Kokin hats on display.
London — It wasn't just Her Majesty, The Queen, who celebrated a birthday this month, but the venerable grande dame of all British antiques fairs, The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fairs, which toasted its 75th.

Wrapping up on Wednesday, the fair reported excellent business, even during these credit crunch times, selling the best of English furniture, paintings, silver, antiquities, and jewelry to the top collectors and curators who flooded the aisles during the fair's Private View and the days beyond.

The fair's patron, HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy, hosted the Royal Charity Gala Evening, that this year, thanks to designer Tim Gosling, beautifully recreated elements of The Grand Tour, and benefited a charity dear to the Duchess of Cornwall, the National Osteoporosis Society. More good news is the fact that the multi-million pound renovation of the Grosvenor House hotel, now a JW Marriott, that has hosted this fair for its lifetime, is finally complete, making London's largest five-star a very convenient place to stay.

-- Sallie Brady for NYSD
The entrance to Grosvenor House.
Alison Vaissiere, HRH Duke of Kent, and Jonathan Coulborn.
David Langham, Helen Lederer, and Michelle Moran. Elaine Dean and Penny Marks.
Barbara Davey and Edward Horsewell.
Lord and Lady Heseltine. Mr. and Mrs. Dustin Hoffman.
Jane Churchill and Alan Rubin.
Kirti Fatorini and Lara Agius.
Mr. and Mrs. Urs Schwarzenbach. Sandra Cronin and Steven Neckman.
Simon Phillips of Ronald Phillips.
Pierre Brahm, Stuart Rose, and Tim Jeffries. Anna Summers-Cox and Annabel Thomas.
Lewis Smith Among His Silver Gilt at Koopman Rare Art.
Emily Frick and Wendy Moonan.
Peter Osborne, Anna Summers-Cox, and Gordon Samuel.
Richard Green and HRH the Duke of Kent.
Cahn International.
Jewels at Sandra Cronan.
Jewels at Symbolic & Chase.
Jonathan Coulborn, the new head of the British Antique Dealers' Association.
Peter Petrou.
Albert Amor. A La Vielle Russie.
MacConnal-Mason Gallery.
Celebrating Grosvenor's 75th.
Tablescape for The Royal Charity Gala Evening.
It was fifteen years since I had seen Carroll Baker at the East Hampton  home of our dear late friend, the New Zealand sculptor, Colin Webster Watson. He had thrown a birthday fete for me and she was his esteemed house guest.

Surprisingly a decade and a half later, she still is lovely, delicate, with unblemished ivory skin and that movie-star-platinum blonde hair. So I discovered at the National Arts Club's much more staid, Tribute Evening to her, celebrating Carroll's long, textured career in theatre and film.

Caroll Baker. Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson.
Elaine Sargent, Marie Samuels, Tommy De Mayo, and Sylvia Miles.
Marian Seldes. Tommy De Mayo.
Hailing from Johnston, PA., Carroll Baker came to New York City with her rabbit and magicians act. After studying at the Actor's Studio, she appeared on Broadway in "All Summer Long." In 1956 she starred in "Baby Doll," which was condemned by Cardinal Spellman and the Legion of Decency.

Starring alongside Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean in "Giant," she is also well remembered for her role as "Harlow." Carroll also starred in the notorious "Bad" by Andy Warhol.
Celeste Holm. Rex Reed and Robin Lane.
NAC treated to film clips from "Baby Doll" with a younger Caroll Baker.
Aldon James held court as VIPs paid homage to Ms. Baker. Rex Reed was brilliant dividing her career into stages from "Baby Doll" Hollywood fame thru Italian "Spaghetti" Dramas. Then Tony Award winners Eli Wallach -- who played opposite Carroll in "Baby Doll" -- surprised her with secret photos from the set, the "willowy" Marian Seldes, Mercedes Ruehl, and Anne Jackson. Aldon presented Carroll with the Medal of Honor.

-- Text and photos by Jill Lynne for NYSD
Eli Wallach with "Baby Doll" photo showing himself and Caroll Baker.
Filmaker Albert Maysles. Caroll Baker and Mercedes Ruehl.
O. Aldon James Jr. Presenting Medal of Honor to Caroll Baker.
The High Line is the newest addition to New York City’s wonderful parks, an example of what private/public partnerships can accomplish. The brainchild of Founders Robert Hammond and Joshua Davis, visionaries who conceptualized a transformation of the dilapidated 1930's elevated freight line, rising above Manhattan streets, on its rugged steel structure.

The globally unique design by Field Operations and Diller Scofido & Renfro, incorporates the existing rails and ties with indigenous plantings and grasses -- that had naturally arisen during abandonment -- with indoor/outdoor spaces, special lighting, generous seating, and awesome vistas of downtown Manhattan, especially at night.  

Thus far, the largest private donors are Diane Von Furstenberg and Barry Diller. This delightful first phase goes from Gansevort Street (where one can enter -- elevator access at 16th Street) to 20th, the second (projected as opening in approximately one year) from 20th thru 30th.

The High Line is open from 7am - 10pm daily.

-- Text and photos by Jill Lynne for NYSD
Child-Play Midst RR Ties.
Worker Below.
View down 14th Street.
Relaxing In The High Sun.
Sunset Over Piers.
Bridge Over Chelsea Market.
Indigenous Plantings with RR Tracks Entering Old Warehouse.
Contemplation with Billboard.

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