Friday, July 28, 2017

Friends, fairytales, books, and anniversaries

Afternoon walkies. Photo: JH.
Friday, July 28, 2017. Fair and cloudy on this day in New York, with some very light sprinkles very occasionally throughout the afternoon and early evening. Temperature at an ideal 70 degrees by nightfall.

The Week Just Past.On Wednesday I went to you know where to lunch with my friend Emilia. Emilia and I met many years ago when I was a child in my early thirties and earning a living with a couple of discount fashion shops in Greenwich, Connecticut and Pound Ridge, New York. That’s a short story but too long to go into here.

Emilia Saint-Amand.
Emilia was a customer in the shop located in a little red barn by the side of the road in Pound Ridge. She was Mrs. Harley then. She was younger than I, but a grown-up; divorced, a working mother with two small boys. She lived in New York but came up to Bedford on occasional weekends to visit her brother and sister-in-law.

And she’d come by the shop to see the bargains. I knew her then as Mrs. Harley. We were not friends then, merely business associates (salesman/ customer). Although Emilia is one of those people who is naturally friendly (she’s from the South), so one could feel they “know” her. Meanwhile, I knew very little about her life except for what you’ve read here.

A few years after that I sold that business and moved out to Los Angeles with the intention of becoming a professional writer (rather than someone whose main interest whenever alone, was writing).  And I lost touch with Emilia and many other people I had known in that friendly professional way. Then a few years later, I ran into her once on the sidewalk on Madison Avenue when I was in town briefly on a business (publishing) trip. I learned that she’d remarried, and it was one of those moments when I felt like I’d run into an old friend. And that’s what she’s been ever since I returned to New York in the early '90s.

Emilia is a reader, like me, except she reads more and with more variety (I’m almost obsessively inclined toward the historical).  She usually brings me a book as a birthday gift although she didn’t this time. I wasn’t truly disappointed because I’ve already got a pile of new ones waiting for me to crack, and scores of old ones that I want to re-read or even read for the first time.

Click to order “North of Crazy.”
However, she told me about a book she had just finished  called “North of Crazy” by a woman with the nom de plume of Neltje. Emilia said it was one of the most disturbing books she’s ever read about a woman’s life but she could not put it down. The author, she learned, is a member of a very prominent American publishing family. How she survived it, is the book. A bad mother, she had; that’s the only clue I got. A bad mother is a curse.

Which speaking of books without the mother as curse, up Nantucket way, New York’s own Ashley McDermott , along with Clara Bingham and Electra Toub, hosted a book dinner for their friend Holly Peterson and her new book, “It Happens In the Hamptons.” What happens, you ask? Well, there are a lot of people with time on their hands out there, for a start. And there are the beautiful beaches and the Sun and the sea, and the great tennis courts and sand dunes and tennis pros and a host of other bon bons; just enough so that it’s better to read the book than even think of partaking. Holly is writing it all down.

Ashley’s harbor front home is in Monomoy with a sweeping view of the harbor and the sea. The conversation flowed from books they were reading, to the Boston Pops on the beach concert August 12th, to the Sconset Baxter Road neighborhood traveling dinner. 
That's the author (in the khaki pants) and the hostess on the far right in the dress.
Rosé, margaritas, and Prosecco flowed among the twenty women who stopped by for the buffet of Tiki Chicken, Grilled Salmon, English Pea salad and Home Made Strawberry Rubarb Pie. And was there talk? And was there talk. Enough probably to create a plotline for Holly’s next novel if you were listening (and not talking).

In the mix: Karin Goldstuck, Carla McDonald, Lee Ann Thornton, Mary Haft, Julie Simmons, Jill Brooke, Deb Futter, Robin Patton, and Casey Pappas.
Nantucket sunset from Ashley McDermott's property.
Which speaking of books, I’m a little late on the pick up on this but Julie Baumgold has a new book of short stories out. The book is titled “Fairy Tales of Manhattan; A Goblet of Poison.”

Sound familiar? We ran some of her short stories under that title. If you read any, you know that “tales” they are. There were a couple of times when the “roman a clef” was peering out under the pages.

It’s about New York, and not out at the beach but right here in reality, whether it’s Fifth Avenue or the Lower East Side (now the East Village). And it’s written by a woman who was born and grew up and married and has a career and prominence here. An encyclopedic knowledge of the emotional neighborhood, The Great Big One. I’d recommend one a day, maybe in the late morning if you’re on vacation or have the time or before bedtime so you can ponder it. They’re not long, but long enough to draw you in and leave you wondering, or maybe even feeling.

Books and Books, and more Books. TV news celebrities and journalists gathered last week at the Atlantic Grille where CNN President Jeff Zucker was celebrating the launch of CNN’s New Day and Alisyn Camerota’s launch of her debut novel, “Amanda Wakes Up.” I can’t tell you anything about this book but it has been billed as “The Devil Wears Prada” meets “Primary Colors,” tracking the career of a bootstrapping young reporter who lands a plum job at a big-time cable news station in NYC. Gee, I wonder which one ...

Guests included TV partner-in-crime Chris Cuomo, Joy Behar, Poppy Harlow and Katie Bolduan. Other TV newsers in attendance included Early Start co-hosts Christine Romans and Dave Briggs, Mediaite founder Dan Abrams, John Berman,  Don Lemon, Brian Stelter, Margaret Hoover, John Avlon, New Day executive producer Javi Morgado and morning vp Izzy Povich, Great Big Story chief Andrew Morse, HLN chief Ken Jautz, and many others.
Christine Romans, Alisyn Camerota, and Dave Briggs.
Kate Bolduan, Chris Cuomo, Joy Behar, and Andrew Morse.
Shepard Smith, Alisyn Camerota, and Gio Graziano
Alisyn Camerota and Poppy Harlow.
And Anniversaries. Also last Monday night at the Rainbow Room, Susan Magrino hosted a celebration of her 25 years in the publicity and public relations business. Susan conducts her business with grace and a smile.

She looked like a million bucks. I mentioned this in Tuesday’s Diary and a reader wrote to tell me that dress is Diane Von Furstenberg at Saks and that there’s “a line” for it. I don’t know whether she meant there’s a line of dresses there or that there is a line waiting to buy that number. Anyway, it was a very successful party in a wonderful room with all of New York at our feet. There were several hundred there, and here’s a taste of what Patrick McMullan saw with his lens.
Rosanna Scotto, Susan Magrino, Ellen Levine, Michael Clinton, Deborah Norville, and Cathie Black.
Martha Stewart and Michael Douglas.
Julian Niccolini, Mimi Sheraton, and Alex von Bidder.
Nancy Novograd, Jeffrey Bilhuber, and Amy Fine Collins.
Dr. Douglas Steinbrech and Jane Friedman.
Thom Filicia, Jonathan Goldman, David Mandler, and Scott Currie.
John Demsey, Alina Cho, and Richard Johnson.
Christopher Mason and Xin Fu.
Martha Stewart, Susan Magrino, and Allyn Magrino.
John Vanderslice, Nancy Novograd, Nina Griscom, Leon Piraino, and Peter Vanderslice.
Carole Holmes Delouvrier, Richard Johnson, and Nicole Miller.
George Wayne.
Andrew and Andrew.
And, I was meaning to say ... a topic of conversation I’ve heard a number of times now both in Nantucket and here in New York is the upcoming total Solar Eclipse on August  21st. The direct path sweeps across the continent from the Northwest across the Midwest to the Southeast for the best view. I’m told that people are coming from all over the world to see this particular Solar Eclipse. The last time a total Solar Eclipse was visible from the continental United States was  February 26, 1979 when the Moon’s shadow passed over a small northwest corner of the country. This eclipse travels, sweeping all the way across from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

Which reminds me, my friends Marianne and Steve Harrison have a beautiful hotel/inn called The Rhett House Inn in Beaufort, South Carolina well within the direct path of the Eclipse. If you’re in that area, or are planning to be, and need an excellent destination to appreciate this great and mysterious natural wonder, check out the Rhett House Inn. 
Originally built in the 19th century for a member of the Rhett family, a prominent ante-bellum family, the name of the character Rhett Butler in “Gone With The Wind” was inspired by the prominent planting families, the Rhetts and the Butlers. Marianne and Steve have made a gracious and comfortable inn out of this ante-bellum house. Several Hollywood stars have stayed there happily when shooting films, such as Barbra Streisand, Sandra Bullock, Robin Givens, Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, Blythe Danner, Robert Redford, Gabriel Byrne, Tom Hanks ... but it’s pure Deep South, beautiful and in one of the prettiest seaside towns on the Atlantic Coast.

Have a look here,
One of the 20 rooms in the main house.
The main living room at the Inn.
The grounds.

Contact DPC here.