Debbie’s Week at a Glance

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Unless you were participating in Gay Pride month (which I did at Sotheby’s), it was a snoozer in New York, as it will remain till Labor Day. It’s a good time to visit those restaurants with daunting reservation processes, and we will do that in a bit, but first, my rainbow moment at Sotheby’s.

Jwan Yosef, the artist whom I introduced in my L.A. diary two weeks ago, hosted a kick off cocktail at Sotheby’s for their Bent. (because progress is never a straight line) Auction. It was in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.


All aboard to Bent. at Sotheby’s.

Stonewall50, World Pride and Sotheby’s New York brought together an interdisciplinary array of work, informed by the LGBTQ experience, as reflected in the arts from the 19th Century to the present. Jwan was fond of the tender, early Warhol sketches, and the photo that encapsulated the sale — Gillian Wearing’s Signs That Say What You Want to Say and Not Signs That Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say (Queer and Happy).


L. to r.: Jwan Yosef — artist, host and kind of a work of art, himself; Gillian Wearing’s Signs That Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs That Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say (Queer and Happy) from 1992-1993. Estimate: $12,000 to $18,000.
Annie Leibovitz, Bette Midler, New York City. Lot Sold: $15,000
L. to r.: Andy Warhol, Unidentified Male. Lot Sold: $8,125; Andy Warhol, Unidentified Male. Lot Sold: $9,375.
Marcel Renée Herrfeldt, Two Male Nudes On The Shore. Lot Sold: $8,125.
Sandro Chia, La Doccia. Lot Sold: $43,750.

A girl’s gotta eat, and L’Avenue has been on my radar since it opened, several months ago. This is of course, the New York outpost of the Costes brothers’ 20-year-old boite in the 19th arrondissement. Elusive in both reservations and approach — up in the elevator, down and around a sexy, dark hall, you ultimately arrive into the light-filled dining room.


Walking down the sexy, dark entrance hall at L’Avenue with notes underfoot.
L. to r.: Descending a staircase (not nude) à la Duchamp; Le Chalet, a schloss with spice.
L. to r.: The just-opened terrace; If you prefer indoors, perhaps in December.

Josephine, our lovely hostess, gave us a proud and loving tour. Philippe Starck wove his design magic from the sleek dining room, down the grand staircase to The Chalet, a cozy Alpine bar, with Starck’s signature whimsy-pearls draped on elk taxidermy, and flickering après ski fireplaces.


Our guide, gracious Josephine.
L. to r.: L’Avenue Starck’s apery on taxidermy; Debbie’s dumplings (“I did not share”).

The terrace had just opened and seemed a perfect spot to lounge, sip and enjoy their lite bites, while surrounded by the mighty St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. Morel pasta, shrimp dumplings and Thai beef left no room for the signature ‘The Famous One’ cheesecake. With nary a clue that just beyond the sheetrock, brassieres were on sale, 30% off.


Voila! — the dining room.

I headed back to the country, and was happy to be visiting Joan and Bernard Carl’s Get Wild cocktail at their Little Orchard estate in Southampton. They were celebrating The Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center. These valiant souls rescue and rehabilitate injured and ill wildlife – deer, foxes, birds and all the other creatures whose forest we are living in.


Joan and Bernard Carl’s (not so) Little Orchard — site of Get Wild. Inset: Only the animals were wild. Too early.

My friend Missy Hargraves, a long time board member and volunteer, told me she had saved two fox pups whose mother had been killed. They were cowering in their den when she finally found them. Healed and healthy, one was released last week and his brother will join him this week. I met the majestic Peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest bird. Alas, this beauty can only hop, after being hit by a car in Montauk, but he still preened proudly.


L. to r.: The Peregrine Falcon and his saviour; He may not fly any more, but he made my heart soar. And sore.
L. to r.: Eurasian Eagle Owl, one of the world’s largest; He’s perfectly healthy. Just here to teach kids, à la wise owl.
L. to r.: I need his beautiful pattern on a pillow; He plum forgot his pedicure.
Lovely Anna Quinlan, Queen bee.

The Center has no government funding and exists only by contributions, many of which were made this magical eve.


L. to r.: Hosts and legendary animal protectors, Ellen and Chuck Scarborough; Missy Hargraves – fox(y) friend.
The Orchard’s formal garden.
Gazing from Cooper’s Neck to First Neck.
The Carl’s vintage cars helped showcase the auction items, but were not for sale.

Up and over to North Haven, that private enclave on the Sound, between Sag Harbor and Southampton where Nicole Miller and Kim Taipale were hosting a dinner. Nicole is that healthy combo – a fashion foodie. This year the dinner was accompanied by her own Nicole Miller rosè — made in Bordeaux, not Provence as most others are.


At it again — personalized place cards.

Daughter of a French mother, wine is in Nicole’s blood – and mine after a four-hour dinner. The luscious monkfish, shrimp and clam stew came from Bouqueria: A Cookbook from Barcelona to New York – Barcelona meets Bordeaux. Once again, my gift was my personal place cards. I held my breath as I watched artists Eric Fischl, April Gornik, Bryan Hunt and Lucy Winton view my mini (vastly inferior) miniatures of their work. They were incredibly kind, but I will fool myself into believing they liked them as much as they said, and I was gratefully impressed as they tucked them into their wallets and bags.


L. to r.: Nicole Miller’s design extends to the table; Nicole’s rosè — note clever stitching on the label.
Eric Fischl wondering why I am photographing him. Sometimes I wonder, too.
Clockwise from above: Nicole the beneficent, under the cross; Surf master and builder Chris Clarke, with Laurie Durning; G.E. Smith.
Nicole and Kim’s dog Godzilla gave us a proper send-off.

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