Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Well, it is November

Photo collage: JH.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012. It got cold in New York yesterday, with temperatures dropping into the mid-30s with a stiff wind that reminded of what it felt like to be very cold. Well, it is November.

I went down to Michael's to lunch with Barbara Goldsmith  Michael’s was very busy, which was surprising on an election day. Lisa Linden the political PR guru was hosting a table of a dozen individuals of both parties, including former Governor David Paterson and Betsy Gotbaum. Midtown traffic yesterday was heavy for the first time in days because of the gasoline shortage. People have been driving to New Jersey and Connecticut to fill up. Those buying in the city have tales of hours and hours of waiting in line.

More people – those who have homes – are getting their power restored in the metropolitan area – and yesterday there was a sense in the air of the city getting its mojo back. That may be my optimism based on nothing but survival optimism. But the energy of New York pushes and prods its citizens. New York is a job and many work at it 24/7. That’s the draw.
LOOKING UP! JH took this short walk along Madison Avenue ...
There were election parties last night. Bernard and Irene Schwartz took over the New-York Historical Society and hosted a seated dinner. The Schwartzes are very active in the community, popular and well-connected. I went to their Election Night party in 2008.  The location was smaller than the N-YHS, but it was crowded with lots of media, financial, real estate people as well as the high end political junkies.

Over at Doubles, Wendy Carduner, its directrice, was serving dinner with screen around the rooms that people could eat and watch and talk and socialize.

Downtown on Lafayette Street, Slate and New America NYC were hosting an Election Night Watch Party in New America’s SoHo space. Cocktails, live music, mingling with the media folk. They were expecting Rick Hertzberg from the New Yorker, Tad Friend, Adam Davidson, A.J. Jacobs, Katie Roiphe, and scores more just like ‘em.

Alex Papachristidis and Ophelia Rudin. Click to order The Age of Elegance; Interiors by Alex Papachristidis, or buy immediately at Archivia on 72nd And Lex.
Marie Roussel and Sam Fryer
It was a good night for me to stay home, get the Diary out a little earlier and end the day a little earlier. At the time of this writing (10 p.m.), Romney is ahead of Obama  by 9 Electoral votes. The popular numbers are very close.

Earlier in the evening I went down Bill and Ophelia Rudin’s penthouse apartment where they were hosting a booksigning for Ophelia’s brother Alex Papachristidis, the interior designer. The book is called “The Age of Elegance; Interiors by Alex Papachristidis.” The text was written with Dan Shaw. Mario Buatta wrote the introduction with photographs by Treia Giovan, published by Rizzoli.

The Papachristidis and Rudin families are very close because of that marriage. Bill and Ophelia’s house in Bridgehampton has ample living space for them, for their children and their spouses, their grandchildren as well as Alex and his partner Scott Nelson. There were probably hundreds at last night’s party, moving in and out by the dozen because they all have a lot of friends.

The apartment was a commission of Alex’s and a new home for Bill and Ophelia. Alex acknowledges his sister for her generous support in the book’s introduction. There was another key individual in this family and that is Mariya Papachristidis, mother of Alex and Ophelia as well as two other sisters and a brother.

Mariya died this past September. There was a memorial for her last month at Jazz at Lincoln Center with an outpouring of affection. They needed a big hall to hold everybody. She was the matriarch of her family in the European manner, and often surrounded by her children. Despite her natural interest in others, she was quiet spoken and naturally curious about others. So she was knowledgeable about many things. In her presence you were aware of a powerful personality who was also kind and reflective.

In his new book Alex talks about Mariya who always encouraged her son’s creative interests. He credits her entirely for his talent, so great was her influence. From an early age Alex was inquisitive about the decorative arts that interested his mother. Quality, detail, beauty and something that can exist in a comfortable environment is what Alex as a designer pursues for his clients. He says in the book that if his mother had been interested in fashion per se, he probably would have been a fashion designer instead, because he loves his business.

When I left the Rudin apartment, I walked a few blocks up Third Avenue. The sidewalks and the roadways were very busy  at 7:30, with people coming home from the office or the polling centers picking up groceries for their dinners.
Guests around the table waiting for their books to be signed.
Last night when I was at my desk, in the middle of writing this Diary, I suddenly heard the screams of a dog (or dogs) in the street below. Not yelps; but piercing screams. I went to the window, and it was a dog – it looked from distance like a big yellow Lab. It had been struck by a taxi and killed within a few moments. The taxi had driven up to the building across the avenue from me.

The dog, who was on the sidewalk WITHOUT A LEASH while his owner was chatting with someone, ran into the road just that moment and was hit. A man yelled at the driver: “You killed my dog!” A woman picked up the big animal and carried him by his front legs across the road to Gracie Square. He had expired. Obviously the driver didn’t see the animal in his path.

There are many dog owners who think it’s cool to run or walk their dogs without a leash. When warned about the potential consequences, they usually have an angry reaction, which amounts to: I’ll do as I please. Blah blah.

That’s what this dog owner did last night. Let that be a reminder to the rest of us walking our dogs, so precious a source of affection and loyalty: keep them ON A LEASH at all times, and out of the road whenever traffic is nearby. It must be a heartbreaking night with that dog’s masters, especially to know it was their decision not to protect the beautiful animal.

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