Sixteen more shopping days til Christmas

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Having a smoke outside Cafe Fiorello. 11:00 PM. Photo: JH

Thursday, December 6, 2018. Sixteen more shopping days til Christmas. It was a sunny day, yesterday in New York, but not warm – temps in the low 40s and high 30s.


Christmas colors illuminate Park Avenue.

I went down to Michael’s for lunch with Gina de Franco, an LA lady born and bred, in the public relations business, and who spends a good deal of her time in Monaco with her business. Gina is one of those girls who’s always on the move. By the time you’ll read this she’ll be in Florida with a friend who lives there, staying through the weekend. Then back to town.

And back to Michael’s. It was Wednesday and it was jumping. For example: Joan Gelman; Vartan Gregorian, Liz Kaplow, Alexandra Lebenthal, Adam Blackwood, Diane Clehane with Julie Livingston and Jeannie Ralston; Jack Kliger; Leonard Lauder; Ed McDonnell and Paul McDonnell; Sharon Greengrass; Rehana Murphy; Margo Nederlander, Felicia Taylor, Peggy Siegal et al at Table One; David Rhodes; Tom Rogers; Ralph Rucci; Stan Shuman with Jim Freund; Bill Siegel; Andrew Stein with Ray Kelly; Robert Zimmerman; Esther Newberg; Mark Ordan; Maury Rogoff; Beth Rustin; Henry Schlieff; Les Hinton; Lawrence O’Donnell; Clark Frank, were among crowds at table. Not all famous but definitely famous in their realms, their businesses and among friends.

DPC in his PC baby alpaca Pub Jacket.

The upcoming holidays are already putting in the mood. Gina wanted to know about my jacket, which is a jacket sweater, baby alpaca, feels more like a jacket — more room, easy to move around in, light and yet warm. It comes from Peruvian Connection which is a fairly new establishment here in town at Columbus Avenue and 76th Street.

We met them through their advertising with NYSD. Peruvian Connection is a business started by a young woman named Annie Zander from Kansas getting her PhD in anthropology at Yale when she discovered the world of alpaca and the native women who were creating noble, stylish and practical fashion. That discovery opened up a new path in the young woman’s life and led to starting this business now in its third decade with seven stores — actually eight, with one opening this weekend in Aspen — and a multi-million circulation catalogue. It started when she bought a couple of sweaters as gifts to take back home, and the response was: More. And so it goes.

Anyway, my personal experience of PC was this sweater jacket, which frankly didn’t appeal personally on sight. It was a gift which I accepted gratefully but wondered when I’d wear it. After living with me unattended for two or three weeks, I put it on one chilly day because it was there and easy to take off. Now it’s almost a compulsive habit.

I have two now and switch just to keep them both in business. I wear it all the time — at my desk, out for lunch or dinner, taking a nap, wherever. It’s like my security blanket. It’s so practical because it’s like a jacket. You can even wear it easily over another sweater if it’s very cold or a shirt and tie if need be.

And the other part is I get compliments from both men and women. So since I love my sweater jacket, and if you don’t know about Peruvian Connection — although I’ve learned millions do know — I’d put a word in on price, style and quality, the old fashioned way: worth it.

They’ve got a great selection of gifts under $100 for the season also. An example is these suri alpaca fur slippers. They look a lot like their Vallnord Alpaca fur hat that the Duchess of Cambridge was wearing in the cold weather.



Speaking of fur(ry) ones … we present Schmeeze, the cat who lives with JH and his wife Danielle since his babyhood when he was a feral kitty in a small town in New Jersey. Danielle’s mother and her neighbors have made a project of looking after the feral cats in their residential neighborhood. They leave food in specific places and when they get the opportunity, they “capture” a female kitten or older and get them spayed. The ferals are a different breed as a result of their environment, just like us. Schmeeze is notable to me because of his purr which is so loud it sounds like a machine. At times when I’m talking to JH on the phone I’ll suddenly hear this very loud purr in my ear. It’s Schmeeze (real name Ewok) who’s suddenly at JH’s foot looking for some attention. He’s also a very moody guy which probably comes from his “native” upbringing out there in the wilds, a descendent of some poor abandoned kitty sometime ago. Schmeeze is one of the lucky ones.


Ewok, all wrapped up for the holidays.

By saving this beautiful character with the electronic purr, JH and Danielle helped break the chain of abandoned and abused animals. The Christmas spirit abounds year round when these creatures come into our lives.

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