The Skies Above and the Earth Below

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The hanging garden at Swifty's Palm Beach at the Colony Hotel. Photo: JH.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022. A bright and sunny day with the bluest of blue skies, yesterday, and the temps in the mid- to high 30s and then back down to the high 20s at night. The 21st century version of mid-winter in New York these days.

I’m not complaining although yesterday in the brightness of the sunny afternoon, I noticed the buds on the branches of the tree in front of my apartment. They’re starting. Spring is about to begin. An exciting moment provided by Mother Nature. We have to get along to go along, not the go along to get along. The potentially perfect garden.

The Skies Above and the Earth Below.  Mid-afternoon I was out with the dogs for their relief and mine. Walking down 83rd Street toward the river I was amazed at the dozens of chem trails filling the skies in all directions. It’s a first, for me; it was as if there were a convention of their pilots moving in all directions across the bluest of blue skies, leaving the trails of expanding and thinning clouds. There were so many of these trails — I counted more than two dozens in their various instances — but there were more in all four directions.

The continuing new chem trails went on for more than an hour, as far as the eye could see south, north, east, west. Several planes. It was a wonder filling the sky. I looked around to see if anyone along Promenade had noticed. None. But there was a statement in it all. A statement of What and Why.

I dunno; maybe it’s my imagination, But there it was. It looked like kids were playing in the blue blue heavens. Or some kind of panic operating. It was a remarkable pastiche that probably comes with a common explanation of what I was watching wide-eyed.

The sky down in Palm Beach via JH.

Meanwhile, way down yonder in Palm Beach where a good portion of mainstream New Yorkers are sitting pretty on that lovely island in the Sun — with many of the socializing trinkets unavailable to all of us up here with our 30 degree painted skies. Although I’ve heard they had a couple of cold days where the temps dropped to 60 and it rained. Or something along those lines. Tch-tch. Nevertheless Mother Nature has resumed and all is well. JH with wife Danielle and their heir Alexander are even among those refugees from Ole Man Winter as I write.

I haven’t been this year but  everything I hear is the excitement of place. It sounds like a party, as it has been for many of the previous mandated.  It is also a thriving community with many new arrivals  taking up residence for many reasons including the classic tax explanation. And the restaurant life has taken off. And so has the social life a la New York.

For example, on one beautiful Florida evening, a cocktail party was held in the Living Room of the Colony Hotel to celebrate the launch of Mortimer’s, Moments in Time, which is also a tribute to Mary Hilliard’s wonderful social photography which fills the book, encapsulating the era and the lives that passed through the restaurant’s doors. 

Robert Caravaggi, proprietor of Swifty’s Palm Beach at the Colony, is also one of the book’s authors; as is Robin Baker Leacock. There is even within a piece by this writer — yours truly — about the social history of the place. Most memorable looking back through this volume besides the stunning Mary Hilliard portrayals, are the prices on the menu. Cheeseburger with fries and salad, $1.85. That was then, of course.

JH stopped by Swifty’s last night to say a quick hello to Mary and Robert who were talking shop — about the book — of course.
And even dropped in for a photo.

Anyway, the party for Mary and the book was a big success with an appreciative crowd of about 200, toasting with their wine and champagne. There were also “Society Sandwiches” a la Mortimer’s being passed around. It was another beautiful night in Palm Beach toasting a photographic memory of another era of New York.

The crowd at the Living Room of the Colony Hotel to celebrate the launch of Mortimer’s, Moments in Time.

Robin Baker Leacock, Robert Caravaggi, and Mary Hilliard.
Catherine Carey, Robin Baker Leacock, and Kim Renk.
Karen Klopp, Elizabeth Fekkai, Warrington Gillette, and Trish Carroll
L. to r.: Sarah Wetenhall and Michael Reinert; Pamela O’Connor, Henry Buhl, and Robin Baker Leacock.
Tom Shaffer, Holly Peterson, and Diana Oswald.
Robert Caravaggi and Martha Stewart.
Sharon Bush, Karen Misisco, Laurette Kittle, Pamela Taylor Yates, and Cindy Rinfret.
 L. to r.: Robin Baker Leacock, Robert Leacock, and Amy Hoadley; Robert and Blaine Caravaggi.
Mark Gilbertson, Mai Hallingby Harrison, and Grace Meigher.
 L. to r.:Wilbur Ross and Hilary Geary Ross; Beth DeWoody.
Katie Carpenter and Basil Mavroleon.
Mac Haskell, with Chris and Grace Meigher.
 L. to r.: Ambassador John Loeb and Sharon Handler Loeb; Catherine Adler and Helmut Koller.
Tim Johnson, Fernando Wong, Jean Shafiroff, and Pamela Fiori.
 L. to r.: Priscilla Rattazzi and Eleanora Kennedy; Sharon Bush and Lauren Day Roberts.
Andy Soussloff, Mary Hilliard, and Patti Soussloff.
 L. to r.: Brian Brady and Mary Hilliard; Shannon Donnelly and Christine Schott Ledes.
Jim Dove, Karen Klopp, Catherine Carey, Jack Lynch, Trish Carroll, and Warrington Gillette.
If you haven’t already pre-ordered one, don’t you think it’s about time? Click here to order.
And if there’s any doubt about how engrossing the book is … (Photo: Sara Griffen)

Photographs by Annie Watt

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