Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Terminal City

Riverside Park. 4:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Fair, mostly sunny weather yesterday in New York. Big clouds, blue skies and the inevitable forecast of some rain (none).
I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Linda Fairstein who is publishing her sixteenth (!!!) Alex Cooper detective novel, “Terminal City.” Alex being Alexandra, if you’ve never read one of them.

Linda is a New Yorker. She grew up in Mount Vernon just north of the city. Her father was a doctor. He was very verbal about his work, so the girl growing up was being unconsciously tutored in the ways of life and the human condition. She was a big reader as a kid and she dreamed of being a writer. When it came time to think about taking care of herself as a grownup, her father suggested she get herself a profession first so she could be sure of supporting herself.

Linda Fairstein with a copy of Terminal City. Click to order.
I don’t know if he suggested it although it sounds as though he was a strong influence in her thinking early on. She decided to study law. After Vassar, she went to the University of Virginia Law School. And after that is was back in New York and in the early 70s and DA Frank Hogan’s office, she got a start on something new. There were 7 women attorneys in his office when she was first there. Now, she told me yesterday, half the office is women.

But I’m telling you all this to lead up to Linda’s “today’s story” which is partly that her sixteenth novel is being published on 17 June. But three and a half years ago, Linda lost her husband Justin Feldman. He was 92 when he died. Mr. Feldman also had a great career in law and in politics – he helped manage Robert Kennedy’s 1964 Senate run in New York – and was not only Linda’s husband but her mentor and editor/adviser. They had been married 25 years and it was a great loss for her.

Cut to the chase. In the last year or so, Linda has been seeing an old friend whom she first knew as a student at UVA Law. Michael Goldberg. Mr. Goldberg and Linda were good friends back then, and the friendship continued over the years, as he too became a practicing New York lawyer and was also a friend and admirer of Justin Feldman. Mr. Goldberg had been married but was divorced a few years ago. And since Linda was now a single woman, and he was a single man, and they had always been good friends, they began to spend more time in each other’s company. They share many interests, many friends and are approximately the same age – late sixties. Familiarity breeds content (in this case).
DPC and Linda Fairstein at Michael's. Steve Millington, Michael's GM, the man with the camera, is making with the corny jokes while taking the picture.
These stories always amaze me personally. They sound like they were made up. At least in my experience. But fate and good fortune often prevails (now and then, if it does). What’s interesting about this story is that the mates are old friends. It sounds so sensible. How fortunate for them.  Oh, and Linda has a house on the Vineyard that she had with Mr. Feldman. And Mr. Goldberg has a yacht and a ranch in the Northwest. The question arises: will Alex Cooper become an international detective? I’m sure she could get used to the yacht in the Mediterranean in summertime.

Conversation was about that and books and writers and stories at our table. There were other writers in the room. Amanda Foreman who wrote the fascinating biography of “Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire” and “A World on Fire” about the British aristocracy’s support of the Confederacy in the Civil War. She is now writing a book about the history of women. Something like that. It’s about women.

Amanda (whose to her friends, family and husband as “Bill”) is the daughter of  screenwriter and producer Carl Foreman. Interestingly, she catches the “flash” in her work not unlike a camera catches the moment to grab your interest. She grew up in England but went to Sarah Lawrence. Her parents were American. Her father had moved to England in the 1950s to get away from the McCarthy “blacklist” politics that was enveloping Hollywood.

Ronda Carman with a copy of Designers Home; Personal Reflections on Stylish Living. Click to order.
I don’t know her very well but she’s one of those women who is seriously bright, possibly intellectual yet very accessible. She’s gentle-spoken (not soft-spoken) and she has five children. And nice. Really nice. A highly desirable combination of qualities. She was lunching with Catie Marron, former head of the Board of the New York Public Library.  This is New York.

Also stopping by the table was Ronda Carman. I hadn’t seen Ronda since we had lunch at that table at Michael’s a couple of years ago maybe more. Ronda, an American girl, was living in Scotland with her husband and son. But she’s moved back to Texas, and was in New York.

We’d met because I’d read her blog All The Best and was interested in her work. Yesterday she brought me a copy of her book published last year by Rizzoli, “Designers Home; Personal Reflections on Stylish Living.” Martha Stewart wrote the Foreward. It’s a beautiful compendium of designers Ronda has come to know, and their work in their home environments. Fifty of them. If you open the book, you’re caught.
Last night Yanna Avis hosted a "Taurus" dinner party for her friend from Los Angeles, Kelly Day. Yanna's apartment on Fifth Avenue overlooks the Park and Central Park West. It was a beautiful sunset when I arrived about 8 o'clock. Unfortunately shooting through the window darkened the tree tops of the Park as well as the facades across the way. The twin towers with the pinnacles is the San Remo. Farther south (to the left) are the twin towers of the Century.
I took this shot at dinner of Marina Pellecchi and Adrienne Vittadini. Both women of fashion (Adrienne was a successful women's fashion designer), they were discussing the current Charles James show at the Met and other aspects of changing times and fashion. It reminded me of that quote of YSL's ... Fashions fade, but style is eternal.
Last night, the 92Y held its annual Spring Gala, celebrating 140 years of culture & community, featuring a performance by COUNTING CROWS. Gala Co-Chairs included Susan and Stuart Ellman, Elena and Scott Shleifer, and Brett and Daniel Sundheim.

For 140 years, 92nd Street Y has been serving its communities and the larger world by bringing people together and providing exceptional programs in the performing and visual arts; literature and culture; adult and children's education; talks on a huge range of topics; health and fitness; and Jewish life. As a nonprofit community and cultural center, 92nd Street Y seeks to create, provide and disseminate programs of distinction that foster the physical and mental health of human beings throughout their lives, their educational and spiritual growth and their enjoyment.
The Counting Crows at 92Y's annual Spring Gala ...
Also last night, Ralph Lauren presented the Fall 2014 Ralph Lauren Children’s Runway Show at the New York Public Library. Uma Thurman hosted. The show included next season’s best back-to-school styles and featured a live performance by the cast members of Broadway’s Tony Award-winning Matilda the Musical,”  based on the Roald Dahl children's novel.

Ralph Lauren’s brand is creating a special T- shirt which was showcased in the runway show that benefits charitable literacy programs around the world. The T-shirt, part of a new limited-edition capsule collection featuring a new Polo Pony designed to promote childhood literacy. It will be on sale at Ralph Lauren stores and RalphLauren.com beginning August 5. A percentage of sales from the capsule collection, as well as from the looks in the Fall 2014 Children’s Fashion Show, will benefit Reach Out and Read in the United States, as well as a number of other charities globally.
David Lauren and Uma Thurman. Edie Falco and daughter Macy.
Uma Thurman and Alicia Keys.
An exclusive performance by the cast of Matilda the Musical helped Ralph Lauren kick off a literacy program committed to boosting literacy for children in need by providing access to books.
Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization of doctors and nurses who promote early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud. Now in its 25th year, Reach Out and Read serves 4 million children and families annually via 5,000 health centers, hospitals, and pediatric clinics in all 50 states, with a focus on serving children in low-income communities.
Lauren Bush, David Lauren, Uma Thurman, Alicia Keys, and Edie Falco front row at the Ralph Lauren Fall 14 Children's Fashion Show in support of Literacy at New York Public Library.
The finale.
Reach Out and Read was founded in 1989 at Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center) in Boston, Massachusetts, and was based on the premise to "encourage parents to read regularly to their children and give them the tools (the books) to do so.” As a result of the early literacy intervention, Reach Out and Read families read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed, with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills. To learn more, please visit www.reachoutandread.org.
Alicia Keys and Ralph Lauren with children wearing Ralph Lauren Children. (Photos by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Ralph Lauren).
 

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