Thursday, October 26, 2023. 71 degrees it said on the thermometer last time I looked at 3:30 yesterday afternoon. It’s not that I don’t believe the weatherman but the air feels cooler than that. Nevertheless, it’s been a beautiful day in New York in the last week in October.
It’s been book week around here in the past two. Seriously. Tuesday night was the book party at the Corner Bookstore on 92nd and Madison Avenue for Peter Pennoyer’s “PETER PENNOYER; ARCHITECTS City | Country by Anne Walker, Photography by Eric Piasecki.
This is a big book, big in size and heavy and 370 pages of his firm PPA. This volume is a compendium of the firm’s work over the past couple of decades. In detail. Beautifully photographed as well as described and explained for those who are curious, it’s a treasure that is both beautiful and scholarly (perfectly detailed for the curious).
The party at the Corner Bookstore brought out a big crowd (of many buying the book too)!
Meanwhile a couple of nights before Hilary and Wilbur Ross hosted a book party for Emily Evans Eerdmans’ Mario Buatta; Anatomy of a Decorator with a Foreward by Patricia Altschul. The Ross’ apartment on the East Side overlooking the East River is one of Mario’s last works.
Mario was one of those people whose first name was enough when mentioned in conversation about the man or his work. His father was a famous orchestra leader back in the early days of radio, as conductor for a number of musical stars. I mention that detail because Mario’s father’s serious approach to his professional work was a lesson for his son who also lived his work.
Mario is remembered with pleasure and often with a laugh on the side, as his wit provided that. He could be very funny, even wickedly funny but always producing laughter. If he’d decided to go on stage, that could have been another career because “stand up” was his personality.
This book about him is not so much a biography of him but of his work (which is interchangeable with Mario’s personality). Reading it is like going on a shopping trip with the man. He was classy and with a natural eye for beauty and for fascination. Eerdmans goes into the “detail” of his choices, along with the results. It is all taken very seriously as was Mario’s approach to his work. His humor, however, took over once business had been set aside for pleasure.
Books, books, and more books. Then last Monday night at a private club called The Leash on East 63rd Street, there was a book signing for Mercedes de Guardiola and her book, “Vermont for the Vermonters”: The History of Eugenics in the Green Mountain State.
de Guardiola’s book aims to expand our understanding of eugenics from a narrow moment in Vermont history to a broad pattern of ideas, policies, and programs across two centuries.
I had to look it up: Eugenics is a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population. Historically, eugenicists have attempted to alter human gene pools by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior or promoting those judged to be superior.
Another ploy for power. Ms. De Guardiola’s study is very academic, and entirely shocking as to how far we creatures will go in taking personal power from others (until they can’t get away with it).