Monday, October 31, 2016

Hail New York!

The downpour, which followed a steady minute of hail. Sunday, 5:59 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, October 31, 2016. Warmer weekend with temps going up into the high 60s, even bringing a little mugginess with it. Then in late afternoon yesterday, the skies to the west grew very dark, heading in our direction bringing torrents of wind and rain, heavy at times (even hail in Murray Hill), through mid-evening. We’re supposedly in for some more mild weather for the next few days.
The hail storm at 5:56 PM.
Last night I went over to Antonucci to have an early dinner with Joy Ingham. Joy is the friend who now long ago introduced me to the wonderful and important work of City Harvest. A couple of weeks ago, Jeff and Danielle Hirsch went to a City Harvest fund-raising dinner called “Bid For Hunger” where they ran into Joy who is a member of the board. Jeff took this photo of her, her friends Joe Pugliese and Candy Wainwright, and the Hirsch’s friend Eric Holder, who was a co-chair of this particular event.
Candy Wainwright, Joe Pugliese, Joy Ingham, and Eric Holder.
Housing Harvest. This is the season for decorator coffee table books. Or so it seems as a number of invitations to receptions for the interior designers come in almost weekly right now. Two and three in a week.  It’s a cocktail reception usually at someone’s home, or in an appropriate commercial establishment. Bunny Williams had her first book signing for her new book at her husband John Rosselli's chic showrooms on East 61st Street. Bunny is one of those women who works 32-hour days and even does homes for herself with John collaborating and they even go there and spend weekends and sometimes weeks. It sounds like leisure but believe me the 32-hour day is not leisure, and from the looks of it there are more of those for Bunny than relaxing by the pool.
Click to order "Bunny Williams: A House By The Sea."
Click to order "Alberto Pinto: Signature Interiors."
Last Tuesday night at Christie’s there was a reception and book signing for Linda Pinto launching her book on the last works of her brother Albert Pinto. “Alberto Pinto: Signature Interiors,” published by Flammarion, with a Foreward by Hubert de Givenchy, captures the last (and never before seen) projects that Linda and her brother Alberto worked on together around the world: “... singular interiors that have never been seen before – sumptuous hotels particuliers, lavish apartments, historical residences, and even a Middle Eastern palace ...”  I couldn’t have said it better. Amazing. Sumptuous.

There was a big turnout for Ms. Pinto, including Charles, Nathalie, and Laura de Gunzburg, Rafaela Amini, Jennifer Creel, Carmen D'Alessio, Marie de Foucaud, Prince Dimitri de Yugoslavia, Benoist Drut, Kalliope Karella, Lauren Veronis, Debbie Bancroft, Harry Macklowe, Patricia Landeau , George Farias, Cristina Grajales, Nina Griscom, Ghislaine Maxwell, Cedric Morisset, Ulla Parker, Caroline Phitoussi, Galen and Hilary Weston, Cecilia and Abram Szjaman, and Chella Safra. After the reception, Mr. and Mrs. de Gunzberg hosted a dinner in Ms. Pinto’s honor.
Kalliope Karella and Linda Pinto.
Ulla Parker, Linda Pinto, and Kalliope Karella.
Lauren Veronis, Galen Weston, Hilary Weston, and Kristen Steffl. Charles de Gunzburg and Hilary Weston.
Linda Pinto and Chella Safra.
Nina Griscom, Vanessa Noel, and Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia. Harry Macklowe and Patricia Landeau.
Then the following night – Wednesday, Steven and Lisa Tananbaum hosted a cocktail reception at their sumptuous and elegant Park Avenue aerie to celebrate the publication of “The New Formal” by James Aman, with Foreward by Emily Fisher Landau (published by Monacelli Press). I know the author because he and his business associate John Meeks have been my next door neighbors as long as I’ve lived in my apartment. On this particular night I had an early dinner engagement so I made a quick detour to the Tananbaum’s beautiful apartment just as guests were arriving, to get the shot of the designers and their hostess.
Jim Aman, Lisa Tananbaum, and John Meeks.
To me the interest is in seeing how people live, is what it tells me about the inhabitants -- which isn’t always much but enough to imagine. It also amazes me how luxuriously people live. Private dwellings are to me always about the drama their choices reveal. Although very often because of the design of these Design volumes, it is difficult to imagine what life is like for those who dwell in those rooms.
Click to order "The New Formal."
So it was fascinating to receive another book about a house up in Rhinebeck, New York. An old one. The book is “Our Time At Foxhollow Farm; A Hudson Valley Family Remembered” by David Iyars. Mr. Byars is Deputy Managing Editor of Vogue. He grew up in Louisiana where the antebellum plantations inspired his interest in history and architecture. He is also a board member of the Hudson River Heritage, a nonprofit organization in Rhinebeck, New York.
Click to order "Our Time At Foxhollow Farm."
Foxhollow Farm. The book’s cover was enough to make we want to look inside. What a beautiful house. What a beautiful book. The black and white image looked like a perfect movie set for a great drama, maybe an American epic. It was the suggestion of George Washington’s Mount Vernon or Scarlet O’Hara’s Tara.

Tracy Dows, age 33.
The book, also entirely black and white photographs, is a kind of history; a memoir by the house’s builder, Tracy Dows. Mr. Dows, who was born in 1871, took up photography as an avocation when he was 29 and cameras were still a very new medium.

He approached his new hobby seriously, even becoming quite accomplished. His photographs of Foxhollow Farm are from its inception and creation, followed by the life in and around it. There is a curiously intimate quality to the people images. 

One of Dow’s sons was a college friend of Thomas Wolfe who stayed at Foxhollow Farm, occupying a guest house during several summers, and wrote “Look Homeward Angel” while staying there. A friend and neighbor was young Vincent Astor who occupied Ferncliff, the Astor estate nearby. Also nearby was Helen Huntington who eventually became Astor’s first wife.

Mr. Dows’ photographs were taken by him with the idea of documenting life on his farm, and his family in the first three decades of the 20th century when they lived there. On first looking at it, I was drawn in because although the text is mainly captions identifying the photos, there is a sense history about real people, as if the photos could talk;  like looking at a novel about real people.
The back of the house.

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