Local Travel: I’ll be having a busman’s holiday at the Pridwin Beach Hotel & Cottages on Shelter Island. I’m working on a multiyear makeover of the delightful 40-room property. which was built in 1927 and is located right on the shore. It’s perfect for a relaxing getaway, with a pool, nearby tennis club, a private beach, and bicycles for touring the island.
Summer Reading: I have started to re-read Just Kids, by Patti Smith. I’m a self-described Patti Smith groupie, having seen her perform countless times: the anniversary of the release of her breakout album Horses, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; reading poetry at the New York Public Library; closing CBGB; unplugged at the Metropolitan Museum many times; and I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with her a few times. She has been called many things by journalists but I find her authentic and deeply inspiring, and the book she wrote as a promise to her dying friend Robert Mapplethorpe connects the reader to the early days of their lives in New York City in a truly compelling way. I’m also reading The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual–and the Modern Home Began, by Joan DeJean, a book of social and cultural history that tells the story of the invention of the sofa in 17th century France and the evolution of private space and modern comfort. And Downtown: My Manhattan and Tabloid City: A Novel, both written by Pete Hamill, who is a passionate student, participant, and observer of the history of New York City. I appreciate his extended love affair with the ever-evolving metropolis and all love of all the nuances of life in it.
Music & Movies: It is ironic that while I describe myself as “technologically challenged,” I’ve enthusiastically embraced online digital sources for music and movies: Pandora and Netflix. (It helps enormously that they are very easy to use!) Pandora is a personalized Internet radio service that helps you find new music based on your old and current favorites. Given the horrendous state of radio in NYC, Pandora has made an enormous difference to my daily life by providing commercial-free streaming music that I don’t know but almost always like. I’ve really been enjoying the Wisconsin station based around the group Bon Iver–earthy yet contemporary folk-based music–and all of the other similar music that I never heard of . Some of my other favorite Pandora stations this summer are Fujiya & Miyagi, Mango di Bango, and Cold War Kids.
Netflix has also changed my media life! Now I see movies all of the time, at least a few a week, mostly ones I either missed in the theater or want to see again. Recent favorites have included Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York; Fellini’s Roma; The Cool School, a documentary about the LA art scene in the 50s; Annie Liebowitz: Life Through a Lens; Julian Schnabel’s Basquiat; Atonement; Warren Beatty’s Reds; Memento; and on and on . . . .