Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Vacation or not

A bench in the park. 12:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Beautiful day, yesterday in New York with the temperatures in the mid-70s accompanied by an occasional breeze and no humidity. I get the feeling from my traveling around town that the Fourth holiday is already underway for a lot of people. Not surprising; vacation-time begins for a lot of us.
The nabe, looking south on East End Avenue at 5:25 yesterday afternoon.
Vacation or not there’s always something of interest going on in the Big Town.

Sam Friend of the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Jazz Band.
For example, last Friday night Gigi and Harry Benson went down to Soho House where the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Jazz Band was playing.

The Band was started by Sam Friend. Harry heard about him through Sam’s father David Friend the Vanity Fair editor.

The band is on their way to their 2nd European tour with stops at the Edinburgh Festival and a Fourth of July celebration in London at Ronnie Scott’s legendary club.

They are all young guys – in their 20s – and engaged in the pleasure of introducing real New Orleans jazz to a younger audience – who naturally are getting it.

Shown here before they jumped into the Soho House pool and continued playing into the night are Harry’s photos of the band:
Front row, l. to r.: Connor Stewart, clarinet; James Williams, trumpet and vocals; and founder of the band, Sam Friend, banjo and vocals. Back row, l. to r.: Haruke Kikuchi, trombone; Josh Marotta, Drums; Wes Anderson IV, Sousaphone.
New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Jazz Band playing at the Soho House.
Continuing its set into the Soho House pool.
Catching up. Last Thursday a week, Alex Sanger and Jeannette Watson Sanger hosted a book signing reception at their Madison Square Park apartment to celebrate Kevin Kwan's critically acclaimed new novel “China Rich Girlfriend.” The story is the follow up to his international bestseller “Crazy Rich Asians.”  

Jeannette, you may remember, had a great bookstore for years across from Swifty’s. She and Alex used to live around the corner from me on Gracie Square. Then one day they decided to move “downtown.” They love it.
Click to order "China Rich Girlfriend."
For Kevin’s new book they had an SRO crowd of more than fifty including a mix of uptown and downtown, such as Cornelia Guest, Jackie Weld Drake, Frank and Helen Houghton, Lucy Sykes, Martha Bograd, Lionel Tiger and Joyce Ravid, Sarina Tang, Michele Oka Doner, Beatrix Ost, and celebrated authors such as Brad Gooch, Deborah Davis, Patty Volk, and Hanya Yanagihara.

Kevin’s “Crazy Rich Asians” is currently being adapted into a feature film by Color Force, the producers of "The Hunger Games" movies.
Lucy Sykes, Kevin Kwan, and Lief Anne Stiles.
Joyce Ravid, Jeannette Watson Sanger, Brad Gooch, and Lionel Tiger.
Kevin Kwan showing Michele Oka Doner the page where her name appears in his book.
Author Deborah Davis and Mark Urman.
Rising young actor Daniel K. Isaac. Hanne Marit Normann and Louise Lindegaard, out for the count.
More catching up: On Thursday, June 18th, The New York Landmarks Conservancy held its 2015 Chairman’s Award Luncheon at The Metropolitan Club. The Chairman’s Award recognizes exceptional individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated their dedication to protecting New York’s rich architectural heritage. 

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law, The Conservancy presented its 2015 Chairman’s Award to Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, President, MTA Capital Construction, the largest municipal construction organization in the country, and Robert A.M. Stern, Founder and Senior Partner of Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Dean of the Yale School of Architecture
Dr. Michael Horodniceanu.
Robert A.M. Stern.
Fred Bland, Craig Covil, Page Cowley, Frank J. Sciame, Jr., and Elizabeth F. Stribling served as Honorary Chairs. Honorary Co-Chairs were Dick Anderson, Jay Badame, John Beyer, Hon. Gale Brewer, Joan Davidson, Clark P. Halstead, Alexa Hampton, Robert A. Levine, Hon. Carolyn Maloney, Stephen J. Meringoff, Hon. Jerrold Nadler, Nancy and Otis Pearsall, George Ranalli, Milo Riverso, Hon. Charles E. Schumer, Robert Selsam, Stuart Siegel, Chris Ward, Carl Weisbrod, and Sam White.

The groundbreaking Landmarks Law was signed by New York City Mayor Robert Wagner on April 19, 1965, partly in response to the destruction of the original Penn Station in 1963.  The law protects individual historic landmarks and neighborhoods from hasty decisions to raze or significantly change their character.  It also established a permanent Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has granted landmark protection status to buildings, sites, and historic districts in all five boroughs.
Dr. Michael Horodniceanu (President, MTA Capital Construction) and Bernadette Castro (Conservancy trustee).
The New York Landmarks Conservancy has led the effort to preserve and protect New York City’s architectural legacy for more than 40 years. Since its founding, the Conservancy has loaned and granted more than $40 million, which has leveraged more than $1 billion in 1,550 restoration projects throughout New York, revitalizing communities, providing economic stimulus, and supporting local jobs.  The Conservancy has also offered countless hours of pro bono technical advice to building owners, both nonprofit organizations and individuals.  The Conservancy’s work has saved more than a thousand buildings across the City and State, protecting New York’s distinctive architectural heritage for residents and visitors alike today, and for future generations.  For more information, visit www.nylandmarks.org.
Dick Anderson (President, New York Building Congress), Peg Breen (President, The New York Landmarks Conservancy), and Tom Schutte (President of Pratt Institute).