Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DEFINE: JEWELRY PILE ON / ju-el-re pi(e)l on

Just returned from Santa Fe. Have to admit, while I always have the radar up for good style, the Santa Fe visual can be a bit much. Whether it's on the local folk or the Texans, there's a fondness for major amounts of turquoise and silver. Vaults-full. In earrings. In necklaces. In belts. In hair clips. On hat bands. On shoes—or boots. And worn all at once. But once in awhile you spot a gem in the Southwestern overload. This woman, Rebecca, is one fine example. Spotted her while we were having lunch, and it figures that she knew how to OD on jewelry in just the right way. She's a world traveler, just having moved to NM from Mexico. The provenance of her finery: the top two bangles, with the dangling stones, a local artisan named Lori Schwartz; other pieces a mix of Ecuadoran, Native American and East Indian; a few by Georg Jensen; and a piece her grandmother gave her when she was 17. She admired by big resin and gold-metal studded cuff. It was a jewelry lovefest.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

DEFINE: CHILL CHICKS \ chil chiks \

We've been in three-showers-a-day heat and humidity territory here in NYC on and off over the past few weeks. And the women of NYC have risen to the style occasion of staying chic in 104 degrees. What they've been totally nailing? Mixing their cute little dresses and rompers (which've been out in a major way) with kinda tough accessories. Flat sandals or shooties (if they're sandal-booties combos instead of shoe-booties, are they "sandies" or "bandals"?) are on every cool-girl's feet; love the luggage-brown ones on the girl in the tan linen playsuit spotted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Big Bambu rooftop sculpture exhibit one Saturday. Also love that her guy is sporting a goes-with color combo. I was impressed with the other chicks here, braving an outdoor concert on the Brooklyn waterfront. It'd hit the mid-90s that day but mercifully the main acts (Grizzly Bear, Band of Horses) came on around sunset, which was spectacular; likewise the breeze that kicked up from the East River, and of course, my stylish fellow New Yorkers.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

DEFINE: STUNNING SHAPES \ sten-in shaps \

Eero Saarinen's 1962 terminal for TWA at JFK. A 1970s—I'm guessing '76—Porsche 911 Targa. Both the type of designs that make me stop in my tracks, shake my head in awe and smile at the sheer audacity of such genius creativity. It was a cloudy, grey day when I took the photo of the Saarinen building (if you want to see really fab shots of it, check out (, which is now JFK's Terminal 5. It was in use by American Airlines until 2001; I'm lucky enough to've been in the building and cruised through those wacky pedestrian tubes, best seen on the left side of this photo, on my way into the actual terminal. Now it's occupied by JetBlue, which is renovating the space to be an entry port for the rest of its wing, the same purpose it served for TWA. Am dying for the reno to happen and to get inside that place again. As for the Targa, they were intro'd in the 1960s as a convertible version of the 911. Yum. And the color? So not for the faint of heart. Then again, the FoH wouldn't be in that car anyway. Love.

Monday, June 21, 2010

DEFINE: SOUTHERN CHARM \ seth-ern charm \

Our friends Rob Newton and Kerry Diamond had the courage and imagination to open a new restaurant recently. Seersucker is in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and it's a modern take on Southern food. The look of the bottles they chose to use as vessels for the fine New York City tap water that arrives at your table is reflective of both the design of the restaurant (greyish walls of reclaimed barn wood) and of Rob's menu: fresh, crisp, minimal—utterly inviting. It's the definition of a perfect neighborhood place, but one worth traveling to.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

DEFINE: HIT-THE-WATER TIME \ hit the wot-er time \

The weekend was beyond-spectacular, once yardwork was out of the way. Then off to the beach we went -- Surfside on Sunday, Ditch Plains on Monday. Evidence of what was going on at DP is the colorful surfboard wall. And yes, we dove in the water. Temp was between 58 and 60 degrees but in we did go. Not once. Not twice. But three times. Come to think of it, it might've been more. Brain freeze, anyone?!

Monday, May 17, 2010

DEFINE: RETRO SIGNAGE \ re-tro sin-ij \

One of the things I love most about New York: the history that stares at you from its (key word alert) original as opposed to faux-original vintage neon signs and painted storefronts. Three totally outstanding, can't-deny-the-genius examples: Vesuvio Bakery on Prince Street between W. Broadway and Thompson. It now houses the quite adorable Bluebird bakery but had been a much-loved downtown fixture for 89 years when it was taken over by the new owner last year. Just over three and a half blocks east is Fanelli's Cafe. This bar has been around as Fanelli's since 1922 (though it was a bar dating back to 1847). My friend's dad, Robert Fitzpatrick, was a firefighter at the now-defunct neighborhood firehouse and used to hang out there in the 1960s. Finally, on corner of W. 11th St. and Hudson in the West Village, is the White Horse Tavern. It's been on that corner since 1878 or 1880 -- my mom remembers it from growing up around the corner at 312 W. 11th St. from the 1920s to 1940s. It was a longshoreman's bar then, and a place, she said, to be avoided.

Friday, May 7, 2010

DEFINE: SMART CHARM \ smart charm \

Cecele, one of the several great people who make Williamsburg neighborhood spot Beco such a chill hangout, is on a replacement evil eye necklace. This one is a gorgeous blue color, and she customized it with a swag of blue ribbon--I took a closeup shot that didn't turn out great so I promise to reshoot and post it when I see her again. This one came to her via a friend who brought it back from Turkey. Her last one had split in two, which, she told me, is what happens when the evil eye has had its fill of bad vibes. I knew why people wore evil eye charms but I didn't know the eyes really told you when they'd had enough. Cecele hasn't found any in the city that she thinks are great quality, so she gets her abroad. Someone else I know, who wears a rope of them around her neck (she works in a tough joint), loads up on them in India. I don't wear one but I'm reconsidering -- they look really cool; it's just bonus points if they truly do ward off whatever negative stuff you don't want coming your way, right?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

DEFINE: RISK TAKERS \ risk ta-kerz \

The art collecting couple Robert and Ethel Scull were pretty much the real deal on that front as early champions and supporters of Pop art and Abstract Expressionist talents including Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Clyfford Still. To get a taste of their genius, head up to the Acquavella Galleries on E. 79th St., where some key pieces from their collection are up until May 27. My fave: Still's "Untitled 1951-T, No. 2."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

DEFINE: GIVING BACK \ giv-eng bak \

Still working on Earth Day-celebration mode: This week culminates in the Hands On New York event, hosted annually by New York Cares, the amazing umbrella organization by which savvy NYC'ers find volunteer opportunities of every stripe that they can sign up for on a weekly or whenever basis. It sends an army of good-will/love-my-city types out to parks, schools and public spaces to give these spots a good solid spring cleaning. I helped register folks (wearing the above tee, which, yes, I customized, as you can see, when I got home) who were signed up to take buses to their assigned locations from the NY Cares HQ on W. 29th St. Best two things about the day? All the genuine good will. And walking through the (hugely diminished but still remarkable) Flower District at the crack o' the a.m.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DEFINE: NATURE MOTIFS \ na-cher mo-tefs \

This one's in honor of Earth Day week, as I like to call the celebration. So the trend's been going strong in home and style arenas. But you know it's got some legs when it lands in a Brooklyn subway station, rendered gorgeously in tile. And the message? It feels really right for the times.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

DEFINE: SHINY DETAILS \ shi-ne de-ta(e)ls \

This is serious chrome, on the fender and headlights of a tres magnifique all-white 1970 Cadillac I encountered recently. But imagine this as the sequins on a neckline, the intricate chainwork of a necklace, the framing of a pair of shades. Especially with white, you must admit it's pretty sweet.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DEFINE: TOUGH BEAUTY \ tef byut-e \

Just because this tulip looks so fragile and delicate does not mean it can't hold its own against the brambles. Good thing to remember...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

DEFINE: KILLER COLOR \ kil-er kel-er \

It's modernist. It's rock 'n' roll. It's smile inducing. How many things have that perfect combo of attributes? It's why orange has made its way into my life in so many forms. Two of my faves: as a cushion on the mesh Bertoia that lives on the balcony; as a pillow on the vintage club chair that lives in the living room.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

DEFINE: HAPPY \ hap-e \

I'll let this picture--from Montauk this weekend--speak for itself.

DEFINE: PERFECT SHOES \per-fikt shus \

They must be worthy of a city girl's love. They must acknowledge that we don't do most of our traveling in cars. That we need to walk. To fly up and down subway stairs. To maybe jump on a bike. These Chloe booties stole my heart. And I returned the love by bringing them home.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

DEFINE: SPRING CHIC \ sprin shek \

Loving the way everyone rushes summer the minute it hits 70 here in NYC. Girls today were out in full force in colorful, boho, strappy dresses. Great to see, but really, chicks -- you've got a whole summer in front of you to break out those wares. Or is it wears?