Friday, July 14, 2017

All Noo Yawk

Looking up Sixth Avenue from West 4th Street.  RealFeel 98 degrees. 1:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, July 14, 2017. Yesterday’s weather was nothing to write home about. Better to stay home about. I was one of the lucky ones. High 80s, Real Feel up close 100. I was forced by deadline to stay home. No regrets. Nevertheless I had to take the dogs out. The air was heaviest down by the river. And radiator-warm. A very warm breeze moved in by late afternoon with rain forecast (thunderstorms). Please God, Please! Didn't happen; passed us by. But it cooled to the mid-70s by midnight.
Bastille Day in France. The actual day of the “storming of the Bastille,” July 14, 1789 was the first semi-organized overt act of revolt against the policies of the King’s government. The first “revolutionary” act. It eventually led to an entirely new government, or governments – which included many not new government. It led to a lot of death and violence and monstrous destruction including the King and the Queen who were seriously incapable of grasping the depth of its problems. Which were basically financial. Isn’t it always?
Storming of the Bastille, by Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel.
The upshot after all was violently said and viciously done, was the French got Napoleon who with his military became the scourge of Europe (and Russia).  Same problem. Financial. Fifteen years later they exiled him (for the second time) to a no-mans-land out in hell and gone, just to make sure he couldn’t make an even bigger mess. The French, however, alas, survived, and remarkably and agreeably. Napoleon’s massively magnificent tomb in Les Invalides pays tribute to that vast human irony. Their politics have always had a volatility that from the outside looking in seems very dramatic yet perceived as “very French.” "Vive la France", "Vive la liberté."
Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1830.
Yesterday in my humble-ish abode had the drama of the heat outside. I had the AC on (for awhile — it gets too consistently cold for me). But I went out on the terrace frequently to get a look at the day going by. There is major construction going on on both the north and south corners of my view. Both works have to do with the two girls schools located on either side of my building — Brearley and Chapin.

Ordinarily on a summer day like today, there would be very little traffic on East End Avenue, almost the outskirts of the Upper East Side, and very little of the city noise. At this time, and it has been going on for several months, the construction around me is a racket of heavy duty machines, various of cranes in operation, and the roaring of the heavy-duty trucks. Lest it seem otherwise, it doesn’t bother me. In fact, it’s a kind of cacophony of a New York day where there’s a great deal of human activity, labor, leisure, business, dog walking, stroller pushing, people going, people arriving, none of which you are a part of but all of which is part of your life in this great big city.

Many years ago (when it was quieter sometimes here and there), a college friend came to visit. He came in one afternoon after touring around, and complained in awe that there were “so many people everywhere you go.” It is a bit much, so to speak, but it’s why we (or a great majority of us) are here.
We met this little Affenpinscher pup by the name of Jackie O, who was keeping cool indoors when we learned that animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. So, keep those little ones indoors.
I had lunch on Wednesday with Brooke Hayward at Michael’s. Last Wednesday a week, was Brooke’s birthday. Number 80. She didn’t know it but Steve Millington surprised her with a little Michael’s birthday plate. We sang happy birthday and the room applauded. I photographed the event. Brooke lives up in Litchfield County but she comes into town every few weeks to see her dentist or doctor or some other professional appointment.
Brooke’s birthday cake. The white half sphere is coconut covered ice cream and something else.
At lunch I was telling her about an email I got from Michael Thomas (Brooke’s first marriage/his too) about de-accessioning his worldly goods. This subject is becoming very popular. Blair Sabol wrote about it last week here on NYSD. Tracey Jackson is keeping an ongoing record of her personal “journey” with it on her blog and George Hahn, a Blair favorite also, writes about it from a fashion point of view. Brooke, it turns out, has been in the de-accessioning mode. She sounds like a minimalist by now, keeps nothing, buys nothing she doesn’t need. So there. Makes a lot of sense.
Brooke reacting to having her little “cake” set before her.
All of it makes me very self-conscious about the vast array of stuff that seems to have swept into my apartment over time by Fate itself. The idea of taking inventory and de-accessioning seems like a constructive way to deal with all those things going on around us over which we have no control in any way.
Here we art. Funny how Brooke looks so tiny sitting next to me and yet I think of her as very large in life.
At night, my nabe grows quiet again. It’s that time of the year. Many of the residents around me are off on vacations or away for the summer.  Wednesday night, it gave JH and I a chance to have a rare dinner together to discuss our business. We’re going into our eighteenth year with the NYSD. We started this together on a wing and a prayer. We’ve had an excellent communication, very possibly enhanced by the fact that we have never worked in the same building together. Ever. Although we communicate frequently, often many times a day and night.

So we met at Sette Mezzo, which was very busy at the dinner hour. JH even ran into an old friend, Scott Strasser, whom he went to Horace Mann with (they were on the basketball team together). Then he got into a conversation with Koseila, our waiter, about other restaurants he’d worked at. That led to talking about chefs Koseila has worked with, and their specialties and where and when. It was fascinating and totally outside my knowledge. It’s another circuit, a whole other world, for the professionals. Sette has great waiters, excellent service, excellent busboys.
With Koseila, our waiter at Sette Mezzo.
New York Scenes. Yesterday, down at DOMA restaurant in the West Village, Jon Friedman, Michael Mailer, and Michael Della Femina were shooting a new episode of their rarely seen cult series, Ivy League Crimelords, which is about three middle age friends from Harvard, Yale and Princeton (Mailer, Friedman, and Della Femina) who create a fictitious mob leader (Vinny the Shin) in order to shake down the industry and get their TV show made. This time around the comedy series has Emmy wining writer Jerry Perzigian aboard and a revolving door of who's who as cameos.

That's Jon below driving the rickshaw. Jon happens to be JH's first cousin ("Jonnie") so creativity runs in the family whether the rest of the family knows it or not. Jonnie's day job is as a hedge fund manager and he's recently gone into business with JH's brother where they run a multi-manager multi-strategy fund.
Mailer, if you don't already know, has been working in the independent film business for decades (he co-wrote and produced his first feature film, A Fool And His Money, starring Sandra Bullock and George Plimpton) and he's got a new film coming out this month called Blind, starring Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin.

Della Femina has recently become somewhat of a restaurateur. He owns a very hot restaurant called Croft Alley in West Hollywood that he's bringing to New York in the near future. Los Angelenos foodies are obsessed with their cauliflower grilled cheese. Here's hoping he keeps it on the menu in New York.
In another scene, Joanna Pauline shows her teeth while Michael Mailer, Jonnie Friedman, and Michael Della Femina (behind the bar) look on.

Contact DPC here.