Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Very Reggie New York Day

While I adore Darlington, I also like taking a break from it every now and then to stay in New York for the weekend.  I particularly enjoy doing so during the winter months, when I happily play tourist in my own city.

This past weekend we decided to do just that.  Rather than rushing up to Darlington House on Friday as we normally do, we stayed in town to take in some shows, eat out, and do some holiday shopping.  On Friday night we (somewhat improbably) attended a rock-n-roll concert performed at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village by a friend and former business colleague of mine.  Although I felt a decided fish out of water at such a venue and event, I had a remarkably good time of it, all things considered.  I congratulated myself that I could even enjoy singing along to "Glory Days" as performed at the conclusion of the evening, despite it being a complete charade on my part in pretending to do so.  All I can say is thank goodness my friend Paul A. was also in the audience and handed me some earplugs at the outset of the show, or my ears would still be ringing as I write this, given the punishing amplification of the evening's entertainment.

The Bitter End: New York's oldest running rock club
Image courtesy of same

Having fulfilled that particular obligation, we crawled back to our apartment with the plan to sleep in the next morning.  We lounged around the apartment for a couple of hours on Saturday morning reading the paper and chatting, and then made our way over to our most adored Swifty's for a leisurely, boozy brunch of the famed restaurant's spot-hitting, delicious, comforting food.

Swifty's was all decked out for the Holidays

Well fortified by doing so, we strolled about the neighborhood afterwards, stopping in at some of our favorite shops nearby, including the exquisite Lexington Gardens, where we always find something pretty and decorative to buy.

Conveniently located next door to Swifty's,
Lexington Gardens is a visual treat and sensory overload

Their windows were particularly festive and fun this year.

I particularly loved this window's
display of nut arrangements

Our next stop was Treillage, one of a number of the inestimable Bunny Williams' retail outposts in the city.

Treillage is just up the street
and full of temptations

Our "real" mission for the day was to attend an exhibition at Hirschl & Adler featuring the works of Duncan Phyfe and his contemporaries, which the gallery had just put up in connection with the Duncan Phyfe show that opened at the Metropolitan Museum yesterday.

The Crown Building at 57th and Fifth,
home of the Hirschl & Adler Galleries

While we were at Hirschl & Adler we spoke with the ever-charming and lovely Elizabeth Feld, who curated the show.  She did a marvelous job of it.  I plan on doing a more detailed review of the exhibition in a future post.

One of the gallery displays at Hirschl & Adler

H&L's galleries have been stunningly arranged for the show by Liz's father, Stuart Feld, who has displayed the furniture, art, and decorative arts on exhibition to its best advantage.  The show is splendid!

Spanierman Gallery sits on a side street across the street
from the Four Seasons Hotel

Afterwards we dropped in at Spanierman Gallery, hoping to meet up with our dear friend Gina (and Boy's representative) there, but learned that she was out that day.

James Robinson sits on the corner of 58th and Park

So we consoled ourselves with a visit to James Robinson, a very dicey proposition indeed.

James Robinson is a rather dangerous store to go into
if one likes pretty and expensive things, as I do

Although we were tempted to buy a set of silver nutcrackers there that Boy admired, we decided against it, since we already have a number of handsome crackers of our own.  And it was a good thing I didn't lose my head and buy the vintage 1950s-era gold, diamond, and sapphire set of studs and links for sale there made by Van Cleef & Arpel that I looked at and admired.  I'm not much for men wearing flashy jewelry, but yours truly would have been quite happy to sport these baubles out one night.  Since they were twenty-eight thousand dollars for the set, though, I was more than happy—sighs permitting—to give them a "pass."

A small selection of temptingly and reasonably priced
cufflinks on display at James Robinson

Not everything at James Robinson is so stratospherically priced, though.  They also have a nice selection of enameled men's cufflinks available at only $295 a pair.

Boy needed to pop in to Karl Kemp on Madison Avenue
to pick up some tearsheets for a client

Our next stop was Karl Kemp Antiques, where Boy showed me a number of pieces he is considering for one of his decorating clients.  It is always such a treat for me to be out with Boy when he visits the Carriage Trade shops, such as Karl Kemp, in his capacity as a decorator to those who have the means and taste to buy from them.

The entry to Ed's Chower House, conveniently located
across from Lincoln Center
Image courtesy of same

After a quick nap back in our apartment to recover from the day's strenuous efforts, we scurried over to the West Side and met up with assorted friends at Ed's Chowder House near Lincoln Center for dinner.  The place was mobbed, but the service was excellent, and the food was too.

The program for the concert we attended

Our reason for meeting up with our friends was to attend a Holiday Jamboree concert at Alice Tully Hall of the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the Harvard Krokodiloes, and the Princeton Nassoons, along with a guest appearance by Darren Chris of Glee, where he plays Blaine Anderson, formerly of the Warblers a cappella group.

The Whiffenpoofs assembling on stage

The concert was well-attended, with most of the seats in Alice Tully filled with the type of people you'd expect at such an Ivy League gathering, and those that weren't were occupied with ardent young female admirers of Mr. Criss, who were more than happy to fill the air with their trilling appreciation whenever he spoke or sang.

The Whiffs were joined by Darren Criss, singing
his hit cover of Katy Perry's Teenage Dream

It was a delightful concert and a lovely way to cap off a most pleasant day and evening of what New York offers best—fun, food, shopping, and entertainment.  The contrasts between the concerts we attended at The Bitter End on Friday and at Alice Tully Hall on Saturday were not lost on either me or Boy.  Nor did they detract from the pleasure we took in them individually, I might add.  Variety is, indeed, the spice of life, Dear Reader.

I had an absolutely lovely time.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York!

Unless noted, all photographs taken by Boy Fenwick on his iPhone


  1. Now that is a weekend packed with activity...well done. Merry Christmas!!

  2. As I was reading at the very beginning of the tour of shop windows, I was hoping you would stop for a snap of Treillage! I designed the logo for Bunny and John when they opened the shop on E 75th Street in 1991. The mix of merchandise, in a vast price range, is always delightful.
    __ John T

  3. I'll be sorry to miss both Duncan Phyfe displays, as I have always been a big fan. Some Empire furniture can appear heavy and awkward, but Phyfe (along with some other New York makers) brings out the elegance of the style.

    After I got out of college, I saw a small table in Florida for $2000 that if it wasn't made by Phyfe, was by his closest competitor. I wasn't in a furniture-buying mode then, but I have always regretted passing it up.

    By the way, Happy Holidays to you and Boy (also Pompey).
    --Road to Parnassus

  4. Reggie thanks so much for sharing your weekend.
    What a splendid and busy time you had. My 16 year old daughter is a huge Darren Criss fan so I'll be sure to tell her about the concert you attended.
    We go to New York for 5 days in May and the excitement is already building.

    Merry Christmas to you and Boy. I hope your holiday is peaceful and fun and that you have many treats!

  5. Dear Reggie, Thank you for the wonderful tour through that remarkable city we call New York. Oh how I loved The Bitter End, well at least I did when I was younger.
    Have a wonderful safe, restful, happy holiday!
    ps. If you are using the pink Old Paris this year, please think of me.

  6. My bride and I were in The City early last month for our annual weekend to celebrate our wedding anniversary, we spent a really enjoyable forty five minutes with the owner of James Robinson. He appreciated our love of all things silver and elegant, and walked us through the provenance of a number of beautiful things. We left, as you did, with empty hands, but with the satisfaction of enjoying a panoply of beautiful things.

  7. Thank you Reggie, and as usual you have shown us the temptations of the what some consider the best city in the western world. I have often wanted to see Karl Kemp's storefont and will visit one day. You keep readers engaged in your blog and I thank you for your efforts to expose others to your interests and passions. Keep blogging!

  8. Sounds like a great time indeed. It is a dream of ours to spend Christmas in NYC. The lights, the windows, the giant Christmas tree, the whole rapturous ambience! Maybe next year, however, til then We will have to continue living vicariously through your wonderous posts. Thank you for another year of humour, inspiration, education and support.

    Wishing You, Boy Fenwick, and Pompey a very Merry Christmas, and a fulfilling year to come.
    David, Peter and Willoughby.

  9. Rather a jam packed weekend in the "city that never sleeps" and I am rather impressed that a "nap" was had for fortitude. Nothing like a little nap or music to make one rally. You had me at the "chowder." Sounds like a marvelous city weekend.
    You and boy be certain to have yourselves a merry little christmas.

  10. Darling RD, I was disappointed you did not have a chance for a glimpse into the lovies at MALLETT, 929 Madison Avenue @76th Street, where you would have been received with open arms as before. I will be having another, much smaller exhibition, this Spring with the London based Antiques Dealers. Looking forward to seeing you and Boy for one of my opening champagne parties, and will keep you posted. From across the pond, Charles Plante


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