Wednesday, July 26, 2017

History in the making

Driving up Sixth Avenue. 11:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Fair and on the cool side in New York yesterday (and the day before) after the rains left, with temperatures in the mid to high 60s. Somewhat overcast and very pleasant.

I was home all day. Reading. No deadlines for the first in several days, I told myself it was my day off. So I read. I can get obsessive about it. This is nothing new; many people are so inclined. The internet gives us so many choices. I subscribe to several papers including the FT, the NYT, WSJ, Times of London, the Daily Mail, and I frequently read several sites having to do with the financials and/or politics, including Naked Capitalism and ZeroHedge. ZH – a financial site – breaks a lot of stories, including many that the MSM tends to avoid for whatever reason. And I finally finished “The Murrow Boys” which I’ve been raving about. Somehow that book fit right into everything else I read, about a time, this time, our time. History in the making.
Summer flora in the windows at Linda Horn on Madison Avenue.
Early in the evening I went over to Rockefeller Center, to the Rainbow Room where Susan Magrino was hosting a party celebrating her 25 years in business.  Riding across 49th Street, east to west on the way, the sidewalks were jammed with tourists – families, clearly out-of-towners, taking it all in, including the mobs on the sidewalks. It was kind of a beautiful sight. The light was overcast but that grey-ish white and the faces and the colors were more intense.

I couldn’t avoid thinking how extraordinary this city is. The energy draws you into it. Riding through midtown was that kind of trip. Nearing the NBC Building, on Fifth Avenue, the foot traffic gets more intense. Jammed at Rockefeller Center. People eating out on plaza restaurants. Then into the building with its dark marble walls and wide corridors which were swarming with tourists on tours. Then the elevator up to the 65th floor.  You get out and you’re in that light again, looking out – you can’t help looking out – and all that metropolis at your feet ... and in that light I described.
Looking north through midtown and towards Central Park.
I’m not crazy about high towers. I avoid them. I really didn’t like the World Trade Center restaurant. That’s me and heights. Not so the Rainbow Room floor. You’re in the midst of Manhattan, that town with the streets burgeoning with spectators and inhabitants, with masses of traffic jamming the streets and avenues, all that you just moved through. And there it all is at your feet. 

Susan’s reception was wonderful, lots of people, many in the businesses in the thick of it. Martha Stewart was there. I think she was one of Susan’s first big clients. Both women are dynamos and their public presentations are similar in their warmth and their curiosity. Somehow the reception, presented as a business event, was a real celebration of achievement. You could see it on Susan.
Susan Magrino celebrating 25 years in the biz.
I didn’t have much time because I had a dinner engagement at Perrine (in the Pierre) at 7:30. So I got the photo of our hostess looking shimmering and sleek and blonde. Unbeatable combination. Good to look at, to be around and good to get things done. Like this party.  Patrick McMullan was there recording the event with his camera. More on that tomorrow.

Jim Reginato and Jeffrey Bilhuber.
On my way out, I took this shot of Jim Reginato and Jeffrey Bilhuber, wondering if they were talking about the piece that Vanity Fair put out this afternoon about Kenny Lane. Jim and Kenny were good friends and he knew the man well. He also tells us a little about Kenny’s Will. Kenny was a rich man. He left his business to his CEO Chris Sheppard. He also provided generously to other people who had long been in his life including both friends and staff.

Leaving the party, I had to walk ten blocks to get there and  I had less than ten minutes to get there. So I walked fairly brusquely. The pavements were very crowded with people moving in many directions at the same time. The Avenue looked beautiful from the sidewalk to the sky.  It was like a photographer’s dream scene from ground to the heavens with all those glass and steel and limestone jutting up from the curbside.

At that same hour, JH happened to be around the corner at Radio City Music Hall for a concert being given by composer Hans Zimmer, who is in town thrilling fans with music from Gladiator, The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Inception.  Joining Zimmer as the tour's special guest was Lebohang "Lebo M." Morake, his Grammy-winning collaborator on The Lion King and the iconic voice of the film's opening chant in "Circle of Life." Morake performed during the Lion King segment of the show along with his daughter (who was not yet born when the Lion King came out!) singing a medley of songs from the film and Broadway musical, which celebrates its 20th year on Broadway this November.
"Circle of Life."
"Dark Knight Rises." 
"Aurora," a song dedicated to those who lost their lives in Aurora, Colorado where a mass shooting occurred inside a Century 16 movie theater during a midnight screening of the film, "The Dark Knight Rises," of which Hans composed the score.
Hans closing the show.
Also yesterday was the official pub date for our friend Linda Fairstein’s new book “Deadfall” – her 19th (in 19 years!!) Because I am not by habit a reader of mysteries, I’ve learned a lot about their readership through Linda. I’ve concluded that readers of mysteries are some of the most literate people on the planet. They read a lot -- many kinds of books, but mystery novels are often their simple pleasure. And, as a friend of mine who falls into that category said: “and they move fast, so you read faster.”
In Linda's living room with Lesley Stahl talking "Deadfall" for CBS Sunday Morning.
Later that day ... COBEN, DeMILLE, ISAACS, Fairstein, and STAHL talking more murder and mayhem.
The reviews for number 19 are solid. I found some early birds getting their opinions out online at

Maureen Cardon: This story picks up immediately where the last book finished. The DA had been murdered and Alex witnessed the entire thing. She's struggling with the fallout and her already fragile mental health. As the investigation begins Alex can't stop herself from getting involved as it seems the investigating offices are looking at her for the crime ...

... The book opens with Alexandra in the morgue staring at the body of Paul Battaglia, her long time boss, mentor, and until recently her friend. Just a short time ago he had been assassinated on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, falling and dying in Alexandra’s arms.

... Alex and her cohorts seeks the truth about secret hunting societies, the history of Chinese gangs and their control of large swaths of the city, and hunters who claim to be the biggest conservationists. (She) manages to weave in information about the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia ... Questions that no one seems interested in answering. Talk about a perfect storm of cover-up, neglect, and bad luck ... Fairstein is such an accomplished writer. Smooth as the scotch that Alex likes for self-medication ... characters have grown and changed over time, but there is no problem picking this one up as a standalone. Four Stars.
Linda on CBS This Morning.
Having "Deadfall" fun, on the set with Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly.
Linda Strong: The 19th book in this amazing series opens with the shooting death of Alex's boss, the District Attorney, Paul Battaglia.

Alex finds herself being treated more as a suspect than a witness when the FBI steps in ... NYPD Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace are trying to investigate the case even though they've been ordered to stand down. That has never stopped them before ... it certainly won't stop them now ...

DEADFALL takes the reader on an astonishing journey from the the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to an animal sanctuary in Montana to a stint in a mental hospital to the Bronx Zoo. They meet good people and lots of bad ...

I have followed this author for years and always look forward to a new Alex Cooper book. All these books can be read as stand-alones, but it's so much more entertaining to start at the very beginning. Five Stars. Five Stars for the series.
Joan Hamburg had Linda on her show last week where "Deadfall" was the talk of the day.
Nancy Goldberg Wilks. A little more than ten months ago, I reviewed the then latest Linda Fairstein novel, Killer Look. Although I love Fairstein’s Alexandra Cooper series, I was ambivalent about Killer Look. But, Fairstein pulled the rug out from under her readers in a stunning move at the end of that book ... I could not wait to read more of Alex’s story. Thankfully, I did not have to wait too long, and it was well worth any amount of waiting.

Deadfall ... essentially picks up where Killer Look ended. Alex is a witness on this occasion; but, is she also a suspect? Or, a target? Or, is she the deadfall? What is going on? ... Her inquiries take us into the world of endangered species, big game hunters (what really happened to Justice Scalia at that Texas ranch resort?), and the illegal trade of animal parts. Along the way, we learn about the history of the zoos in New York, although the investigation has national and international aspects as well.

I absolutely loved Deadfall, from start to finish. It is an unrelenting fast-paced, gripping adventure ...

It has been awhile since a book took hold of me at the get-go and did not let go until the end (actually, this one didn’t even let go at the end). Deadfall is one of Fairstein’s best. Five Stars.

I don’t know where Linda is as I write this, although no doubt she’s out there beating the drums. Stars or no stars, it’s all in the percussion.
Linda celebrating great "Deadfall" reviews with a Dewar's and dinner at Donohue's.

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