Monday, October 2, 2017

A New Beginning

Looking towards Hudson Yards from the Hudson River. The Empire State Building and Chrysler Building are in the distance. 6:20 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, October 2, 2017. A beautiful weekend in New York. The weatherman forecast the rain on Saturday, and from the looks of it in the morning, he was right. I took my weekly trip to the West Side of Zabar's at midday thinking we’d get what looked on an oncoming storm along the way.

This meteorological drama went on until mid-afternoon when all of that moved on, and the Sun came out. And it got a little cooler.

By Saturday night it was much cooler, mid-60s. It doesn’t really feel like Autumn yet. I usually get a slight whiff of it by now but that is not the case so far. Sunday was cooler although warmer in the sun, down by the river as the photo illustrates. But the temperatures remained in the 60s.
79th and Broadway looking at the clouds over New Jersey, Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
West 86th and Amsterdam looking east at the clouds overhead, 1:30 p.m.
East River looking south over Roosevelt Island, 2 p.m.
Sunday morning on the river ...
It was a nice quiet weekend for this writer. With no immediate deadlines it gave me a chance to read the Sunday stuff including some of my favorites such as the Lunch With the FT, in the FT Weekend edition. It is a weekly interview by various reporters with a wide variety of individuals of interest, often people you’d never heard of but who are prominent in their professions and pursuits and talents. You always learn something that leaves you feeling enhanced.

For example I read last week’s lunch was with a Danish woman, a lawyer named Margrethe Vestager, who is the EU Anti-Trust Commissioner. Commissioner Vestager is very clear thinking and articulate. There is something school marmish about her conversation, and with it comes the pleasure of Common Sense.
Margarethe Vestiger, subject of the FT lunch.
The reporter, Alex Barker attempting to ask her about previous remarks she’s made publicly, wrote: “I face similarly short shrift when I ask about her experiences of ‘mansplaining’. Gender politics is not a field she wants to enter, she makes clear.”

Her response: “I really feel sorry that men are not treated as women because it doesn’t allow them to talk about their children, what they think about them, why they have chosen to dress as they do, if they are a bad father or not,” she explains. “If they were asked the same kind of questions, they would be able to show much more of themselves because I have realised that it doesn’t seem to be any different. This is a fact of life as a mum in my position so I say, well, bring it on.’ She fixes me with her eyes.”

Stanley Rumbough Jr. died last Wednesday although the news came out on Friday. Mr. Rumbough, who was 97, was a great-great-grandson of William Colgate, the founder of the company that is now Colgate-Palmolive.  When he was in his mid-20s he married a beautiful young heiress named Nedenia Hutton who, in the course of their marriage  became a famous actress named Dina Merrill. She bore him two sons and a daughter. They divorced after twenty years of marriage, in 1966.
Stanley Rumbough and Dina Merrill
Mr. Rumbough wore his privilege affably, and was very well liked. A graduate of Yale where he was editor of the Yale Record (“America’s oldest college humor magazine,” as well as the world’s oldest when Punch folded). In his adult life he was a businessman, founder, CEO or director of more than 40 companies in the US, Mexico and the West Indies. He was also a civic activist in his community, as well as a philanthropist, a distinguished veteran of the Second World War where he served in the Marines as a fighter pilot in the Pacific.

He is survived by his wife Janne and several grandchildren. He was by birth and generation a perfect prototype that is found in the 20th century American fiction by Scott Fitzgerald, John O’Hara and Ernest Hemingway. It was a full, rich life as a member of the first generation of both the Modern Age and the American Century.

Samuel Irving "S.I." Newhouse Jr.
November 8, 1927 – October 1, 2017
Yesterday, Si Newhouse, another remarkable and well-liked New Yorker who came from privilege and flourished in his adult life, died after a long illness.  He was 89. Famous to New Yorkers as media mogul in the publishing industry as owner of Conde Nast – including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Architectural Digest and several others, he and his brother Donald inherited their publishing business from their father Samuel I. Newhouse. They took their inheritance and grew it into an enormous enterprise in newspapers and television which includes a major stake in The Discovery Channel.

The Newhouse Family is well known in New York in publishing, media, as well as financial and philanthropic circles. However, they are also an especially tightknit family – working together in the family business enterprises, and sharing much of their spare time together. The family owns a large estate in New Jersey where all of them have homes which they all use regularly.

Some family members dine together for an early Sunday dinner at Sette Mezzo, rarely missing a week. Si, who has been ill for sometime with a degenerative brain disease (FTD), was – up until two weeks ago – always present with his family. He was entirely invalided by this condition, yet he was closely, meticulously assisted by his caregivers so that he was comfortable and could be with his family.

Last night at Sette Mezzo, several members of the family dined as a kind of honoring his departure. There is something about that kind of family fellowship that is inevitably highly admirable and compelling to most of us.

I mention these details for although I did not know Si Newhouse, I’ve met his brother and others members of his family. It was at this very time last year when the family publicly launched their philanthropy AFTD – which stands for Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration – with a HOPE  Rising Benefit at the Pierre. (to learn more about it: click here). Susan Newhouse, Donald Newhouse’s wife, and Si Newhouse were coincidentally afflicted with this same dreadful neurological condition.
Si Newhouse, Victoria Newhouse, Susan Newhouse, and Donald Newhouse.
Today at the New York Social Diary is a special day because it is the birthday of my esteemed business partner JH, otherwise known at Jeff Hirsch. Jeff and I first worked together nineteen years ago when he was assistant to me when I was EIC of Avenue.

When in 2000 I told him I was leaving to start a web site called the New York Social Diary, it suddenly occurred to me that because of his age (24) and his generation, he’d probably know “how to do it” technically – which I didn’t and still don’t. 

So asked him if he wanted to join me. He responded with a simple “Yes” and the deal was sealed. My hunch was right, and besides that I learned how hugely able and talented he is since he not only designs, edits, photographs and puts us online daily. He also manages and conducts most of our business as well as advising his partner with certainty that is always sensible. Aside from my writing the Diary, almost everything else is Jeff’s domain.

In our now long partnership, we have also had the pleasure of never working in the same building together – one of the great gifts of the technology. In fact we see face-to-face occasionally – maybe once every week or ten days. However, we do communicate by voice or message frequently daily. So when I think of Jeff on his birthday, I can’t help thinking what a gift our meeting has been for me. This month we are beginning our 18th year online as the NYSD. Hooray! And Happy Birthday to JH!
DPC and JH at Swifty's, the day after leaving Avenue magazine to start up the NYSD in 2000. The enthusiasm on my face makes me laugh now.
Meanwhile, as I reported last Friday, last Thursday was Quest magazine’s annual “Quest 400” party, celebrating that now quasi-ancient list published every August for the enlightenment, amusement and categorically improvised list of an aspect of the community that is New York. Mrs. Astor, who was the originator of the idea, could have said it all much more succinctly. But then life was more succinct for people like Mrs. A. in those long ago bygone days.

What transpires now at this annual cocktail reception, is the pleasure of familiarity – you go into the welcoming and transforming rooms of Doubles, and all around are familiar faces, friendly, smiling, even strangers, enjoying that old time pleasure of this kind of party. Thanks to our publisher Chris Meigher, it has taken on its own relieving sense of tradition. And everyone enjoys the drinks and the abundant and delicioius hors d’oeuvres and canapés.
Chris Meigher, Carolina Herrera, and Reinaldo Herrera
Steve Simon and Blaine Trump
Donald and Barbara Tober
Jeannette Watson and Alexander Sanger
Chappy and Melissa Morris.
David Granville and Jeffrey Pfeifle
Grace Meigher, Wendy Carduner, and Anka Palitz
Jamie DeRoy, Alan Goodman, and Catherine Adler
Susan Burke and Grace Meigher
Meera and Kira Gandhi
R. Couri Hay, Iris Love, and Chris Meigher
Ingrid Connolly and Dr. John Connolly
Buttons and Jock Goodrich
Leslie Locke and Javier Ysart
Elizabeth and Grace Meigher
Edger Vauville and Sonja Morgan
Mark Gilbertson and Hilary Geary Ross
Sabrina Raquet and Winifred Houldin
Lauren and John Veronis
Barbara Cates and Mark Gilbertson
Duane Hampton
Karen Klopp and Jack Lynch
Chuck Pfeifer and Lisa Crosby Pfeifer
Alan Goodman and Catherine Adler
Barbara Bancroft
Dr. Annette Rickel and Ron Leone
Georgina Schaeffer and Christopher Breck
Christine Schott Ledes and Whitney Schott
Hannah Fisher and Debbie Fisher
Jamee and Peter Gregory
Ann Brown Schaefer and Tyler Schaefer
Nicole Hanley Pickett and Dori Cooperman
Lauren Lawrence and Geoffrey Bradfield
JJ Cafaro, Senator Capri Cafaro, and Janet Cafaro
Stephen and Nikki Field
Jennifer Creel
Brian Stewart and Stephanie Krieger
Callie Baker
Patti Raynes and Alvin Valley
Patrick Murray and Brooke Kelly
CeCe Cord
Roy Kean and Ann Rapp
Nina Reeves and Anthony Thompson
Lisa Bytner, Evelyn Tompkins, and Farran Tozer Brown
Fernanda Kellogg, Kirk Henckels, and Elizabeth Stribling Kivlan
Gillian and Sylvester Miniter
Susan Magrino Dunning and Lisa Cohen
Alexandra Lebenthal and Jay Diamond
Gail Hilson and Eleanora Kennedy
John Castle, Marianne Castle, and Nancy Brinker
Sharon Sondes and Geoffrey Thomas
John and Martha Glass
Nina Griscom and Leonel Piranio
Perrine Meistrell, Ted Mariner, and Amanda Mariner
Valerie Rooks, Marc Stefanski, and Vanessa Rooks-Stefanski
Sabrina and Walter Raquet
Brad Agry and Norman Balkin
Bob Hardwick, Beth Hardwick, and Art Irwin
Christina Rowles and Anka Palitz

Photographs by Patrick McMullan (Quest 400)

Contact DPC here.