Well this is just insane, apparently the crane on the new residential building on 57th Street has collapsed and is literally hanging on by a wire. You can watch the live footage HERE.
So Hurricane Sandy is on her way, and for the first time in about two months, I’m spending the day in. I guess its times like this that provide a perfect opportunity to update one’s blog- especially when I haven’t REALLY done so in about two months (save my midnight musing on time last week). I’ll start by telling you that yes, I’m safe, prepared and comfortable. All of these things are the direct result of supplying myself with plenty of merlot, bagels, water , and literature.
I’m currently alone in my friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side with her cat Kilo as we await more rain and wind. I can see the neighbor’s rooftop garden from the window and already pots have started to fall over. I’d feel bad for her, but there is a reason she’s been dubbed Buddha Bitch by many.
Somehow, this is all too fitting. I’m supposed to move into my new apartment out in Astoria, Queens with my best friend Rachel this week, but of course, there’s a hurricane on it’s way. This will mark my first NY residence off the island of Manhattan, and I feel like in many ways, it marks my acceptance of adulthood. New York City makes it so easy for many of us to ignore the advancement of time and the responsibilities attached. There is always yet another Club Kid art show, a friend’s drag performance, and a million and one Groupons to entertain the inner dysfunctional child in you. I don’t know anywhere in the world where so many adults have turned cupcakes into a weekly necessity. My mother would shake her head if she knew the myriad of sweets I encounter on a daily basis… and by encounter, I mean devour.
So while I await the coming of the pseudo-apocolyptic Frankenstorm, I invite you to check back here for more narratives. That is.. until the power shuts off.
I was once walking down a cobblestone street in that city of many names when it occurred to me. Nothing in particular, just that “it” was everything and nothing all at once, and I, I was in the middle of… it. You may think its crazy, this nonsensical musing that I write, but alas its true. It happens amidst that magical moment between day and night, when the air sits between cool and warm, and the wind of a windless day is supplied by your own exhale. What is this stillness? This absence of being? A gift of time.
THOUGHTS: I was initially afraid this location would be too crowded for me to have a satisfying workout, but I was pleasantly surprised. While the gym itself is very busy, it more than makes up with a varied selection of equipment and several personal training areas to allow you to do what you need to do.
Equipment (* * * * * Five Stars) Not only does the gym offer TRX Suspension Training, but it gets a five star rating simply because it offers three brands of circuit training equipment as well. The only place I’ve seen with a comparable offering is the Santa Fe Spa out in New Mexico.
Staff (* * * * Four Stars) My membership advisor was nice enough, but didn’t seem entirely enthused about the gym.
Cleanliness ( * * * * Four Stars) My only complaint here is the locker room- could always be cleaner.
Amenities ( * * * * Four Stars) This 24 Hour Fitness location has a steam room, whirlpool and a juice bar. Its actually a pretty great gym, but loses a point when measuring up to some of the competition in the areas of bathing supplies. I know, I know, but you gotta admit how impressive the whole Kiehl’s thing at Equinox is, or Complete Body and Spa’s surprising spa-like experience in it’s showers.
OVERALL RATING (* * * * 1/4 )
Who is 24 Hour Fitness Midtown for? I’d actually recommend 24 Hour Fitness to anyone who either lives in the area or doesn’t mind the trek.
THOUGHTS: You know, its actually really cool getting to underground at the Equitable Center to, of all things- work out. Something very interesting about the Athletic & Swim Club is that its designed for the busy person who doesn’t have time to carry around a gym bag- so they provide you with a full uniform sans shoes, and men, be prepared with your own compression shorts because they also have available for use, used jock straps.
Equipment (* * * * Four Stars) This is definitely a five star facility, but as always, there is definitely some competition to be had in this field.
Staff (* * * Three Stars) Everyone I encountered was nice enough, but I really love it when a gym staff interacts with you. I had one trainer tell me I was awesome for putting away my own equipment, and then went on to belittle the club members- personally, I don’t want to hear this, simply because it gives me the idea that if I were to join, I might be subject to his shady and oppressed attitude.
Cleanliness (* * * * Four Stars) This just goes with my disdain for carpeted locker rooms, the rest of the facility is spit spot and splendid.
Amenities (* * * * * Five Stars) It kind of pains me to give this place a five star rating based on the added “bonus” of an adult PE Uniform, but I did kind of like it, and yes- I wore my OWN skivvies. Aside from clothing, the facility boasts an amazing Olympic- size swimming pool, whirlpools, steam room and sauna, plus a shoe shine and clothing steamer service.
OVERALL RATING ( * * * * Four Stars)
Who is The Athletic & Swim Club for? Like I said earlier- the busy person who is just too busy for a gym bag and doesn’t mind wearing underwear other people’s genitals have sweat in. I must say though- it was a very nice pool.
THOUGHTS: Woah, woah, woah was this gym crowded! This is definitely one of those “shower at home” gyms, but like a lot of people who have such memberships in midtown, its a commuter convenience. This facility seemed to be in dire need of a renovation. I’m not so sure I would have gone to this location if I knew of the lack of towel service. Mind you I had to run to the theatre district to pick up tickets and then back to the Upper West Side to shower. Since this facility has a sauna, I can’t necessarily imagine running around Manhattan with two towels in my bag, let alone one covered in sweat.
Equipment (* * * Three Stars) This place could definitely use an upgrade, but my major complaint was the heavy crowd downstairs.
Staff (* * * Three Stars) The club manager was nice enough, but tried to sell me a membership without even giving me a tour, that is definitely a red flag for me.
Cleanliness (O Stars) Harsh? Here’s why, sure NYSC had cockroaches running around it’s sauna, but at least you could sanitize your equipment after each use. Not only was the weight room completely out of sanitizing spray for the equipment, no one seemed to mind. Not to mention there were literally puddles of urine surrounding the toilet and urinal in the men’s locker room. I don’t just blame the maintenance staff for that one- I blame the people who go here.
Amenities (* * Two Stars) While there is no towel service, at least the gym HAS showers and a sauna… use at your own discretion.
OVERALL RATING ( * * Two Stars)
Who is Bally Total Fitness, Midtown East for? Honestly, people who are able to shower at home, don’t mind waiting for free weights and would rather use cardio equipment.
THOUGHTS: I was very excited to try this particular location out, and had some great assistance from membership consultant Kevin Cullen in exploring the vastness that is The Sports Club/ LA, Upper East Side. I think its possible to say that although this gym has everything you could possibly need, it might be a little too big for me. I mean this location has a legitimate full bar for goodness sakes. I must say however that this gym offers so much that if I were to, say, actually join, I might actually take up rock climbing.
Equipment (* * * * * Five Stars) This gym has pretty much anything you could possibly need in abundance.
Staff (* * Two Stars) This is simply another case where I had an amazing membership consultant give me a great impression of the club before I encountered some of the other employees. One such case was when I went to swim laps in the pool. The sign clearly states you only have to wear a swim cap if you have shoulder length hair. I walked to the pool and the “life guard” shouted “hey you need a cap,” I said “alright, but the sign says you only need to wear one if you have shoulder length hair” he shrugged his shoulders, pointed at some swim caps and said “you need a cap.” He then fell asleep for the entirety of my hour long swim.
Cleanliness (* * * Three Stars) I’m never a fan of carpeted locker rooms where wet bodies drip various fluids on the floor. I don’t believe any amount of vacuuming or sanitizing can rid a carpet of the daily abuses of a men’s locker room. Also- waaay too many towels on the ground in the steam room.
Amenities (* * * * Four Stars) The roof deck makes up for the outdated sauna and steam room towel mess.
OVERALL RATING ( * * * 1/4 stars)
Who is The Sports Club/ LA for? Anyone who thinks a gin and tonic is a great pre-workout drink.
Thoughts: This place was a lot of fun for me. One of the unique offerings of Complete Body on East 57th Street is it’s rooftop saltwater lap pool. Thats right- they have a saltwater lap pool, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed having the pool all to myself after the sun set. A truly cool experience. The members were also quite interesting, I observed one older woman throwing a tantrum during the day when the young lifeguard told her that there a waiting list to swim. It was like watching Veruca Salt scream “I want it now!”
Equipment (* * * * Four Stars) This gym is great and could totally benefit from the incorporation of some of the equipment out there e.g. Power Plate, Jacob’s Ladder and the like. Otherwise this place is top notch.
Staff (* * * * * Five Stars) This place has truly awesome people working there and will gladly engage you in conversation.
Cleanliness ( * * * * Four Stars) I’d give this place five stars, but I did notice some questionable gunk in the shower tiles. Otherwise, this place is VERY clean.
Amenities (* * * * * Five Stars) Like I said- rooftop saltwater lap pool! Complete also has a sauna and is the only place I’ve ever been to that offers body scrub in the showers- truly luxurious.
OVERALL RATING (* * * * 1/2 stars)
Who is Complete Body for? Complete actually offers a month by month membership which, is somewhat unique for a luxury gym. You can go on a month by month basis for $119. This gym is perfect for anyone who lives in the city and wants to maintain good form for the beach… salt water and all.
THOUGHTS: This location is conveniently close for me, a couple likable qualities hear and there, but beyond that, I can’t say that I recommend this location. With annoying array of adult men trying to openly engage in “adult activity” in the locker rooms and a general absence of etiquette among the maintenance employees and multiple members- my month at NYSC West 80th Street was something of an experience.
Equipment (* * * Three Stars) This desperately needs to be updated. While it is very cool that the facility offers TRX Suspension Training, the amount of rust on some of the gym’s equipment isn’t.
Staff ( * * Two Stars) While Desi, one of the gym’s membership consultants is a rock star employee- I didn’t appreciate the locker room attendant rapping explicative words loudly along with his head phones.
Cleanliness (* One Star) Besides the foul smell of molding body odor and urine, there was a cockroach in the sauna- need I say more?
Amenities (* One Star) What good is a sauna if it has cockroaches?
OVERALL RATING (1.75 Stars)
Who is NYSC at West 80th for? Anyone who has the time to go home to shower.
- GYM TIPS: Finding The Right Fit (whotv.com)
THOUGHTS: Well, let me start off by telling you that this is the gym that made me want to start posting this project TODAY, and not in a good way. Also- a little reminder that for two blissful years I belonged to the Upper West Side Equinox at 92nd Street and Broadway. During that time I lived at 122nd Street and Broadway, 162nd Street and Broadway, and 102nd Street and Amsterdam, and I still went all the way to that gym. BOOM offers a free 3 day trial on it’s main page, and to be honest, this club definitely sits in my current price range. After Ford Model James Collins suggested I try this location out, I thought “why not?” Well, when I went in for my free trial, the general manager Antonio Del Giudice flat out told me that he didn’t want to give me a 3 day pass because I didn’t live in the 10028 zip code, but would gladly register me for a membership and refund my money if I was dissatisfied in three days. Okay… WHAT? Currently I live clear across the park at a 10024 zip code, and since I’m newly in this residence I gave them my old 102nd street address. The lovely Antonio Del Giudice also made the assumption out loud “there’s no way you’re going to come all the way here for a gym.” Excuse me? Did I mention I went to a 92nd Street gym while living at 162nd Street? Not to mention, I’m ALWAYS in that neighborhood. Between Brandy’s Piano Bar and Trinity Pub on East 84th Street… well I’ve practically made a second residence on the Upper East Side. He then went on to say “isn’t there another gym closer to you that you can go to instead? I just have to be thoughtful of the people who actually live in this area.” He eventually gave me the trial anyway after huffing and puffing about the “annoying people from The Bronx” who come in for a trial session. To top it all off, I wouldn’t have included all this if, when I was getting dressed at the end of my workout, I hadn’t heard him tell an employee in the locker room “… and then I had this fucking guy from the West Side come in for a free trial.” Oh… I’m sorry, but save your customer service woes for the bar, you know- when you aren’t working. So thank you Antonio Del Giudice for the delicious content, I actually appreciate it. And yes, I’m still going to rate this location
Equipment (* * * * Four Stars) The equipment at BOOM was actually pretty good, save the leg press that wouldn’t lock in properly without some severe effort… not the safest experience. I did appreciate the kettle bells.
Staff (* One Star) The only person who gets a star is the girl who sold me my energy drink- you all know why.
Amenities (* * * Three Stars) Sure there’s towel service and the basic steam/ sauna combo I usually seek out, but I don’t like that you have to get your towels at the gym’s entrance- this makes it difficult if you decide use the steam room or sauna while you’re taking a shower. Then what? Get dressed, grab another towel, undress, go in the steam room and shower again? Too much work- unless there is actually space in the locker room that wasn’t being kept up properly with the necessity… then that’s a staffing fail.
Cleanliness (* * * * Four Stars) The gym was pretty clean save the towels all over the floor in the men’s locker room… dislike!
OVERALL RATING (* * * Three Stars)
Who BOOM is for? Not me… and if you don’t live inside the 10028 zip code, they don’t want you either.
THOUGHTS: This is the gym that initially gave me the inspiration to write this string of reviews and comparisons. I received a 2 week pass to CLAY inside an event gift bag and managed to score another for my friend Madeleine Phillips. Let me just say that my trial was utter paradise. With the club’s membership cap, it was never crowded which meant one very important thing to me- I could try out new activities without feeling like I was being watched with judgement by some douche bag jock. In other words- places like this are why I can actually squat 250+ lbs now.
Equipment (* * * * * Five Stars) Besides various Equinox locations, this is one of the only gyms I’ve been to that has a Power Plate , and the only place that I’ve experienced a Jacob’s Ladder. This place also has awesome cardio and strength training equipment.
Staff (* * * * * Five Stars) Not only are the front desk and membership reps at this location rock stars, but so are the cafe workers. I looked forward to see every employee of this gym.
Cleanliness (***** Five Stars) This place is so incredibly immaculate you might be afraid to sweat on the equipment, but don’t let that stop you from giving 100%.
Amenities (* * * * * Five Stars) I would have given this place 4 stars for the lack of a steam room, but Clay more than makes up for it with an array of personal (yes you heard me PERSONAL) saunas for you to relax all by yourself or with a friend. The gym also has several conspicuously placed refrigerators filled with refreshing eucalyptus towels and a relaxation room with iced water for you to enjoy.
OVERALL RATING (* * * * * Five Stars)
Who CLAY is for? Anyone with a $200 monthly budget (I know) and within a short distance of 25 West 14th Street. If you live in the area, and have the dough- this place could literally be your second home and zen getaway.
- Picking The Right Gym (craigramsayfitness.wordpress.com)
- Gym Guide – Which of the nation’s top fitness centers suits you best? (theinsider.retailmenot.com)
Hi all- So I was actually going to wait a while to post anything about this project, but after an interesting day on the Upper East Side of Manhattan- I figured. What the hell!? Here’s the deal. From Winter 2010- Winter 2012, I belonged to Equinox Fitness, and I loved every second of it. The gym gave me a unique drive to WANT to go to the gym, and in fact I’ll let you in on a little secret. When first came to NYC in 2008, I weighed 225 lbs- I now weigh a healthy 185 lbs at 6ft and have a whole new set of fitness goals before me. Since my new job doesn’t officially start until the beginning of September and since I’ve been back in Manhattan since June (following a 5 month hiatus), I decided to explore the various gyms in New York City and rate them based on various scales of excellence before I officially decide on a membership. Now- here we go, I hope you enjoy this little endeavor.
I just had to share this interesting little creature from Venezuela. As one of my friends commented “It looks like something out of The NeverEnding Story!”
This past Friday, I had the exquisite experience of attending Paul Balmer’s artist reception for his new collection Cityscape to Landscape at the Campton Gallery at 451 West Broadway in New York City. Mr. Balmer hails from South Africa and his since been somewhat of an international citizen; with exhibitions over the past two decades in London, Chicago, Sydney Australia, Boston, and New York to name a few.
Mr. Balmer’s Cityscapes capture a unique essence of both New York City and the country in that he manages to express (in cityscapes) a viable and controlled chaos that is natural in the habitat of our concrete jungle. For this reason, I would beg to argue the collection’s metamodernistic influence simply by the adventure Mr. Balmer’s pieces take you on.
Then there are the Landscapes, a perfect juxtaposition to it’s Manhattan counterpart by way of serenity and the ability to transport you to any welcome and familiar place in the annals of your memory. I was both seventeen again in the Tuscan countryside and a child on a farm in central New Mexico. Paul Balmer possesses the gift of expressing to you, you’re own emotions through his art.
A special thank you to Miss Allison Harrell for the invitation.
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending an event for Macy’s private brand I.N.C. International Concepts and it’s 2012 line featuring British Actor Max Irons. Mr. Irons is known for playing Henry in Red Riding Hood opposite Amanda Seyfried and was recently cast as Jared Howe in the widely anticipated screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyers’ novel, The Host.
The event was at Thom Bar at Sixty Thompson in New York City and boasted an array of canapes and a specialty citrus vodka mojito that I’ll admit was all too easy to drink. What I found interesting about the event was the eclectic mix of people- I was told that one disheveled looking guest sporting wrinkled shorts, an ill-fitting t-shirt and blue hair was a fashion blogger. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine taking advice from someone who looks like they got dressed in the dark in a room full of Play-Doh.
Since my host for the evening, Allison Harrell and I had to make our way down the street to another event, we had to leave Thom Bar early, but not before catching a glimpse of this fall’s collection, which, to be honest, I found quite appealing. As we left the front of the hotel lobby, we spotted Max Irons standing outside speaking to someone who I could only was a publicist for the event.
I told Max that was actually pretty eager to see him as Antonio Vivaldi in the upcoming film to which he replied “Oh no, I’m so sorry to disappoint you, but it isn’t any more.”
“Oh?” He seemed a little sad to admit this to me, but I quickly replied that I would just as gladly see his upcoming film The Host.
“Well I hope you enjoy it,” he said. I had also explained my particular affinity towards classical music during introduction “…I know you were probably looking forward to the other one.” In the meantime, I asked for a picture to which he kindly agreed while his publicist motioned impatiently at us at the front door that we were waisting his time. Max said “oh, don’t worry about it- I always find these things to be rather intimidating- the break is welcome.”
And with that we said goodbye as he disappeared back into the crowded room of models, flashing lights, and journalists while Allison and I made our way blissfully down the street.
Alright, before you all collectively roll your eyes before continuing on, let me preface what I’m about to say with the admission of my previous stance on Anne Hathaway. To be honest, when I realized that the Hollywood actress had landed the iconic roles of both Catwoman and Fantine, I complained like a spoiled Upper East Side trust fund baby who couldn’t access his account for a last minute trip to France for Bastille Day.
After seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I gladly welcomed defeat. I walked in the theater a skeptic and left a raging fan. I mean, I always appreciated the actress in earlier roles that made her famous as a sort of dependable and likable Hollywood princess, and found her performances in other films like Brokeback Mountain and Rachel Getting Married to be indicative of something awesome to come. However, nothing prepared me for the amazing performance Anne Hathaway gave as Selina Kyle (Catwoman) in the finale to Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy.
For the first time on screen, we witnessed the humanity behind Catwoman, and even sympathized with her basic human struggle to succeed- all the while trying to escape a troubled past. Yet Anne didn’t for one second let you think the character was weak, instead, she always gave you the sense that she had the upper hand, and would escape the movie’s events unscathed- at almost any cost. The unique sensuality she used with Christian Bale‘s Bruce Wayne was utterly delicious.Combine that with a sexy catsuit and a wardrobe that ranged from bohemian to an almost “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” ensemble, she was as versatile in her appearance as she was in the role itself.
As one of my friends put it a couple of days ago “its like she went from Molly Ringwald to Julia Roberts.” And that may be, but I feel like Anne Hathaway has not only come into her own, but she stands alone. Besides, could you see Julia Roberts kicking serious ass in a skin tight suit? Both played “villains” this year, but we only sympathized and fell in love with one.
- Anne Hathaway Is Game For A ‘Catwoman’ Spinoff (screenrant.com)
- Anne Hathaway Talks About Possible Catwoman Spin-Off (comicbooked.com)
- Obama compliments Hathaway’s Catwoman (politico.com)
- See Anne Hathaway Light Up Her London Premiere in Gold Gucci (fabsugar.com)
- You: Anne Hathaway Raised $2 Million for Obama (thedailybeast.com)
Hudson Sutler is a purveyor of fine Made in America weekend and commuter bags- you know, those nifty little duffels that crowd the Long Island Railroad every Friday and Sunday. It seems that having the perfect weekend bag is something of a necessity in the East Coast (remember- I hale from the Southwest) and even Goldman Sachs has a line of such bags for their employees to display on their weekend vacations.
As Mr. Hewitt put it, a sutler is a civilian merchant who sold provisions to an army in the field, in camp, or in quarters. Primarily in business during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, sutlers were a significant part of shaping the America we know today.
As I stated in my event post for the Harriman Cup’s Alton Lane event, this company’s products are definitely on my wish list for the coming year.
The above photo’s were taken from Hudson Sutler’s Facebook Fan Page. Click Here to become a fan.
If you’re interested in shopping the collection- CLICK HERE.
All of the above images were taken from Facebook.com on Alton Lane’s Fan Page.
A couple of weeks ago, I was given the kind invitation to attend not only The Harriman Cup, but a pre-fashion event for the polo match at Alton Lane NY. The Harriman Cup is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of polo and supporting the respective collegiate polo teams of Yale and the University of Virginia.
Alton Lane combines traditional bespoke techniques with modern technology in the form of a 3D body scanner to give a truly perfect fit with a truly classic look.
Other sponsors represented at the event were JP Crickets and Hudson Sutler. JP Crickets is a his and her’s shoe company that combines the craftsmanship of an Italian loafer with a classic velvet slipper, while Hudson Sutler produces fine American-made duffels and weekend bags with gingham lining. It is safe to say that all three companies at the Harriman Cup’s “dressing” will be heavy hitters on my 2012-2013 wish list.
The event itself was gloriously “prep-tastic” as one guest/ UVA alum put it, and was heavily supplied with cocktails as unique and colorful as the multi-colored lapels that adorned the room. It should should be noted that an appointment at Alton Lane means a glass of scotch while shopping in a comfortable and masculine environment.
As my friends Allison, Millen and I were chatting, a familiar figure seemed to pop out of nowhere like a glitter-bomb. I turned around to see Richie Rich; Club Kid and co-founder of the now defunct fashion label, Heatherette. It was one of those interesting moments of juxtaposition that I absolutely live for, but entirely possible due to the mere influence of New York City. He introduced himself to each of us, looked at Allison and said “You’re fabulous! Are you a model?” The two became engrossed in conversation while she explained to Richie that she was actually a photographer, but was very flattered by his complement.
The evening ended all too quickly, but not before a few words from Harriman Cup chair-member and MTV producer, Matt Paco. Mr. Paco thanked the various sponsors and people who make the yearly event possible. This year’s Harriman Cup will take place on September 8 at The Meadowbrook Polo Club in Old Westbury, Long Island, NY.
If you’re interested in buying a ticket for the event, CLICK HERE.
A special thank you to MTV Producer Matt Paco for the evening’s festivities.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Empire State Pride Agenda‘s “Hampton’s Tea Dance” in Bridgehampton, New York. Having never been out to any of The Hamptons, I was thrilled to find out that I would be in East Hampton for the duration of my stay.
I gladly boarded my train at Penn Station and found myself in East Hampton a couple of hours later. Though I’ve been in (and out of) New York for the past four years, I must be honest- I’ve never carried much interest in visiting The Hamptons. This was primarily to a misinformed idea that it was boring.
Well, I must say that I was terribly misinformed and now whole-heartedly believe that a little piece of heaven exists in the paradise that is Two Mile Hollow Beach. Within a couple hours of sunbathing and taking a swim in the Atlantic Ocean, I slowly began to meet my fellow beach goers who were all amazingly friendly. A while later at Almond Bridgehampton, I found myself in the middle of the friendliest restaurant and bar I have ever experienced.
Within seconds of walking in the door of Almond, I spotted about five people I had met earlier on the beach and was quickly ushered into a seat to join them at the bar. It is safe to say that never in my life have I had so many people come and introduce themselves to me, and yes, I know what you’re thinking “they probably thought you had a trust fund”- I honestly made some great connections that night and just didn’t want the evening to end. Not to mention, one of my beach friends ended up treating me to a delicious meal of a hamburger, ratatouille and sauteed Amagansett greens along with more gin than I usually care to stomach. Between the friendly atmosphere, a celebrity sighting (Nate Berkus was also dining on that particular Friday), and the drunken antics of a Bridgehampton brat named Samantha, I quite honestly had one of the best nights… ever!
The next day went somewhat similar. After a late morning and early afternoon on the beach I managed to see all the same people from my various weekend adventures at the ESPA Hamptons Tea Dance at the Sculpture Fields of Nova’s Ark . The event is held annually to raise money for the Empire State Pride Agenda- New York’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy group. The ESPA has worked tirelessly at negotiating New York City’s comprehensive domestic partnership law, passing a statewide hate crimes law, and enacting local non-discrimination laws and policies in Buffalo, Ithaca, Nassau County, and Westchester County. To view their complete mission and public policy agenda, click here. Guests of the event enjoyed dancing to beats spun by DJ Lady Bunny as well as an open bar in a breathtaking surrounding.
The next day, I left East Hampton both sad to leave, yet eager to return in the near future.
A special thank you to R. Chitel and Bob Norell for a fantastic weekend.
It is no secret to my musician friends that I have a special place in my heart for the late soprano, Anna Moffo. Here is a somewhat hidden gem from her Italian variety show “The Anna Moffo Show.” Here she performs with a talented cast, selections from Leonard Bernstein‘s “West Side Story.”
I found this lovely gem on Lexington Avenue in NYC
Last week, I met up with photographer Allison Harrell at the cafe Little Brown on 85th and Madison Avenue in New York City. I’m a fairly recent fan of Miss Harrell’s work, and wanted to learn more about her and her inspiration behind the camera.
Allison seems to have experienced what one might call an artistic awakening during her time as a Pre-Med student in Tennessee; making the kind of swift life-changing decision that eventually landed her in the heart of New York City.
We sat for a while discussing the manic weather pattern of the day when I asked her about her semester abroad in Perugia, Italy. You can always tell the joy someone has taken from an experience when the mere mention sparks a light from within. The self-proclaimed coffee-fiend and cannoli lover quickly divulged one of her favorite memories.
“…it was on an excursion to Venice.” she said smiling. “My friend and I went to this wonderful vintage costume shop where one of the owners invited us to celebrate the Festa del Rendentore on his boat!” Allison informed me that the festival is an annual event held in July to celebrate the end of of the plague of 1576 that claimed the lives of 50,000 Venetians. “We were able to watch the firework display between St. Mark’s Square and Il Rendentore on the water… watching the sun come up on Lido in the morning- that was one of those truly amazing life moments!”
Allison possesses the kind of positive energy that can change the mood of a room instantly. The bright-spirited photographer draws inspiration from life’s surprises, or as she put it- flavors that you wouldn’t have thought to taste on your own. “Some of the best things in life find me!” She exclaimed while taking a sip of her iced-coffee a la Nancy Botwin. “… hopefully its because I’m receptive to them.”
She continued on as we played a game of musical chairs with other Little Brown patrons trying to avoid the rain. “I feel that there’s an incredibly human quality that happens through the camera. A lot of people see the lens as a filter. For me, its more like a bridge.”
Allison also admits to being inspired by art history and favors the Fauvist movement for it’s colorful display of emotion. “I just love this era for art! I feel like every shape and stroke comes from an emotional place. It’s truly for everyone. Regardless of your educational level in art, the emotional quality behind Fauvism is so obvious anyone can be moved it.”
Perhaps it is her daily outlook on life that lends itself to her art. “Every day I wake up and hope to be inspired. That’s my MO! If I’m really lucky, I have the opportunity to influence a brightened, positive perception in the people with whom I work and those who see it.” And this is entirely true, because when we finished, the rain suddenly stopped and I stepped out onto the pavement of a suddenly sunny Madison Avenue.
Visit www.amhphoto.com to view more of Allison’s work.
- Diana Warner New York Anniversary & Mustache Party? (jacoboheme.com)