A Fresh Look at an Old Story, Chapter 1

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Looking west across The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. A view that never gets old. Photo: JH.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022. It’s been almost-winter cold this past week although it was well into the 50s yesterday and the forecast expects some more of those mild temperatures. It sure doesn’t feel like the childhood memory of cold and snowy days right about now.

Which speaking of memories, over the now-decades of the NYSD, we’ve accumulated an enormous amount of photographs from travels, from public events, from charity dinners, to trips abroad. These have been ‘filed away’ in large cartons and in other storage devices. Looking through some of it, seeing images of people (including myself) 10, 15, 25 years past, I see changes. We change, the world changes, our lives, like the weather, change.

The Thanksgiving table of Joy Briggs Ingham 12 or 14 years ago. Her son, his wife, their three younger children, her eldest daughter and her son and daughter and her second daughter and her three or four boys. The food was great but the company was even greater. All of the kids were outgoing and friendly. It was indeed a Thanksgiving for the guy in the picture.

A good number of these images reflect our work here at NYSD, as well as the changes that naturally occur over time as well as those caused by events financial, political, social, and weather-wise. Every now and then I come upon my own personal photos from over the years. They seem far far away now, but just a moment in time that comes back instantly as new.

Today’s is our first batch …

This is Emilia Saint-Amand looking like a movie star. I can’t remember where it was taken but I’d guess at a dinner for the Philharmonic or the Ballet. She’s a Southern girl but New York’s her home.

That’s Felicia Taylor walking across the room as if she’s on a mission. And then she bumps into Charlie Scheips and Lisa Anastos; and then whatever Felicia’s got on her mind, they’re hearing it, and Charlie is clearly intensely interested. Drama is our first cousin.

Here’s legendary Elaine Kaufman telling me something while I’m telling her something. Paige Peterson happened to be taking it all in with her camera. I can’t remember what we were talking about but Elaine, who had a reputation for being really tough with the clientele who annoyed her, loved writers. Her respect for writers was her savior, her soft spot. Late night at Elaine’s for decades (on Second Avenue and 89th Street) was a literary clubhouse of the first order. Elaine did it and provided the image of a legend for us writers. (And there we are again on the right a little more subdued).

A Wednesday Michael’s lunch in the bay in 2008. Terry Allen Kramer was giving a lunch for her newly married friend, Margo McNabb (now Nederlander). Terry was a longtime Wall Street heiress who lived high, wide and handsome here and in Southampton and in Palm Beach. She also produced Broadway shows. And was as kind and as generous as she was rich. Top row: Peggy Siegal, Felicia Taylor, Beth DeWoody, Margo McNabb Nederlander, Somers Farkas, and Mia MathesonBottom row: Terry Allen Kramer and Kathleen Turner. A typical day at Michael’s back then.

These two guys, Robert Caravaggi and Stephen Attoe, had a hot neighborhood restaurant back in the day (’90s up through the early 2000s) on 73rd and Lexington, catering to a very social crowd. It was reborn a few years ago down in Palm Beach and it’s been booming ever since. Name not needed.

I took this photo at Sette Mezzo after lunch with a woman I know. We had a pleasant lunch. I have no recollection of our conversation, but I couldn’t help taking a picture of what was left behind, with the lipstick on her napkin and the half-remaining iced tea. You can imagine drama having just left the scene.

Jean-Claude, Albert Maysles, Christo, and Amy Fine Collins at the Rainbow Room where The Alliance for the Arts was holding its Presentation of the 2008 Alliance for the Arts Prize dinner honoring Shelley and Donald Rubin and filmmaker Albert Maysles.

Carolyne Roehm and Simon Pinniger having a good laugh that very same night at the Time Warner Center where Sandy Hill was hosting a little private reception to introduce an investment of hers called CLO, the brainchild of Andrew Bradbury, the well-known sommelier from Aureole in Las Vegas.

I grew up in the house across the lawn. I mowed the lawn too, with a handmower (back in the day). The house was build in 1839 — the door next to the first floor windows was used only for funerals and caskets (It was our dining room). When we moved in in the late summer of 1946, it hadn’t been occupied for than 50 years and was still without electricity and plumbing. It had been a farmhouse originally with no other houses nearby until the early 20th century when the neighborhood was born. For this writer, it was a house of drama, not unlike many houses whose stories remain untold.

This photo was taken in 1988 in Los Angeles. The house was up in the “Bird Street” off North Doheny. The splasher in the pool is a young man named Scott Hirsch (no relation to JH) whom I’ve known since he was born, the first son of my wonderful friend Holly. The dog, Rum Rum, at the end of the pool has been running around barking as Scott swims a few laps.

These are portraits of JH’s companions, Ewok, the cat, and Oliver dog, known as Oli, both remarkable creatures. They are no longer with us but remain in spirit, always.

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