Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wading waters

The hull of The Intrepid. 5:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday, March 31, 2016. A bright and sunny, chilly midweek in New York with temperatures in the low 50s, and the heat still on in a lot of buildings.

Politics is in the air and on the links. Obviously. I read about it a lot in various newspapers and web sites including those financial web sites which report on the political side of economics, or the economic side of politics. I am not impartial about the issues that matter to me, but I am not partial to any one candidate at this time. I would be categorized as an Independent. I prefer (and enjoy) watching the process which will now go down as the longest running actual Presidential campaign in our history.
The view from a taxi riding through Central Park at 2:45 p.m. yesterday. The building on the left with the mansard roof is the Pierre Hotel; to its right is Trump Tower where Donald Trump lives. Behind is 452 Park Avenue, still under construction, and the tallest building in New York when it is finished.
Spring is blooming in Central Park, looking east. The buildings are all on Fifth Avenue.
The magnolias in bloom.
Approaching the corner of Central Park at 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue, 3 p.m.
For example, visiting one of my regular financial sites yesterday, I read a piece about an interview yesterday on on the upcoming election as seen through the eyes of a man named Steen Jakobsen, the chief economist at the Danish investment bank Saxo Bank. Mr. Jakobsen thinks Hillary won’t make it and explains why. What drew my interest wasn’t so much about Hillary. Political prediction is just a guess calculated by one’s emotions as much as anything else. But what he said about how the “Social Contract Is Now Broken,” expresses a point of view that I share.

In the interview, the Presidential campaign of course became the center of discussion. Mr. Jakobsen does speak with a certainty that I don’t share because frankly I’ve lived long enough to know that You Never Know. However, you can read it yourself here.

I came to the article link on a site called Jesse’s Café Americain. The writer, using the nom de plume, is evidently in the market, trader-wise, and very knowledgeable about such matters. He is also a kind man, a humane man, from what I can gather from his commentary and his interests, and bears solid and sensible values in his outlook on matters financial and life itself. Each day he begins his post with a quote which is often provocative. This was the quote on yesterday’s posting. It seemed even more relevant after reading the piece about Hillary and the Social Contract:

“A gentleman has his eyes on all those present; he is tender toward the bashful, gentle toward the distant, and merciful toward the absent. Nobody needs a smile so much as the one who has none to give.  So get used to smiling heart-warming smiles, and you will spread sunshine in a sometimes dreary world. Try to make at least one person happy every day. If you cannot do a kind deed, speak a kind world. If you cannot speak a kind word, think a kind thought.”  — L.G. Lovasik

Liz Peek at the 2015 Couture Council luncheon where they honored Manolo Blahnik.
Meanwhile, it was Wednesday and I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Liz Peek. Liz and I have known each other for a number of years now. We probably met through some charitable/philanthropic situation that she was involved in and I was covering. However, in the last few years she’s been active in the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), and raising funds for them.

Her fundraising made her very familiar with FIT which is part of SUNY, and she quickly discovered something really worth supporting, helping financially, and ultimately assisting the students. She and her co-workers started the Opening Fashion Week lunch (Couture Council luncheon) at Lincoln Center every autumn that is now the hot ticket end-of-summer social luncheon in New York. It always honors someone prominent in the fashion industry. I’ve written about it here a number of times.

It’s a lunch lunch, a ladies lunch – although there are many men present – and several hundred attend. It’s almost frou-frou in the sense that it’s for a cause yet a stress-less pleasant lunch-hour affair – with a good light menu and women dressing up for each other (ie looking their best) and the added presence of the honoree. If it is a designer, many of the several hundred women attending are wearing something from that designer. That’s entertainment, and serving an important purpose for the world out there.

I know this sounds light and fluffy, and there is that aspect to it, but that’s entertainment, and very successful in raising money. The pay-off is two-fold: they raise maybe several hundred thousand (if they’re lucky) and they get the word out about FIT.
The scene at the annual Couture Council luncheon at Lincoln Center.
This was the main part of our conversation at lunch. FIT, Fashion Institute of Technology, is hugely successful in terms of its student body and its results. It’s a school, a university now, where people study areas of interest that they can capitalize on. A person who wants to be a designer is the simplest example. There are innumerable topics of pursuit in the general area of “fashion” and FIT leads with all of them.

The result is a very high number of its graduates go immediately into jobs in their field of interest. That’s because they don’t go to college to get a degree to get a job. They go to college to learn how to do what they would like to learn to do to make a living when they get out. There’s a fundamental difference in motivation.
The Couture Council honored Manolo Blahnik with its 2015 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion. Uma Thurman presented the award.
The Couture Council honored Carolina Herrera with its 2014 Couture Council Award.
Meanwhile, the creative talent that the school attracts is out there, everywhere, making a name, a business, creating, innovating in the world, and good at it.

I feel like I’ve just written a short sermon about Good. Liz Peek’s work has been with the Museum of FIT. The museum is developing into one of the most important of its kind in the world. The collection is already excellent but with their exhibitions and other projects, they are able to develop into a center of interest and study.  This is where Liz’ service comes in: getting the word out and raising money.

What I find most inspiring these days is hearing about what is possible and what is being achieved. For the Good of everybody, meaning all of us.

There are currently three exhibitions running at The Museum at FIT. Here's a glimpse of "Fairy Tale Fashion" at FIT's Special Exhibitions Gallery. It's irresistible.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
The Little Mermaid.
Sleeping Beauty.

Contact DPC here.