Friday, November 8, 2013

Reggie Out & About: Brian McCarthy Book Signing Party and the Irish Georgian Society Dinner

Reggie is a social animal.  He likes gadding about town and country, meeting up with friends and making new acquaintances.  He finds it stimulating and, more often than not, amusing.  And it is a pleasing diversion from the more mundane daily rhythm of one's workaday life.  "All work and no play . . ." as the old saying goes.

New York's Fuller Building, lit up at night

We have been on rather a whirlwind of social activity of late.  It is now the "season" here in Manhattan, and there are parties, openings, and benefits galore every evening of the week.  We generally try to limit our running about to no more than two nights during the week, and certainly never more than three.  For, Dear Reader, a too-steady diet of parties and dinners out can be like anything else when overindulged—too much of a good thing.  Several quiet evenings a week at home with the company of a good book or a little bit of television is a requirement of mine for recharging my batteries.

The crowd at the Brian McCarthy
book-signing party

This week is one of those out-three-nights-of-the-week weeks that we rarely find ourselves indulging in.  But we had compelling reasons to agree to such a frenzied social schedule, Dear Reader, including the wish to celebrate friends' accomplishments and also meet up with out-of-town pals visiting the city.  On Tuesday we attended two parties, and I took my trusty Canon point-and-shoot camera along with me to snap some pictures for this post.

Mr. Brian J. McCarthy, hard at work

Our first stop was the city's magnificent Art Deco Fuller Building where Beauvais Carpets was hosting a book-signing party for Mr. Brian J. McCarthy's hot-off-the-presses first book, Luminous Interiors, published by Stewart, Taboori & Chang.  As many of you know, Mr. McCarthy is the principal of the celebrated, eponymously named interior design firm Brian J. McCarthy, Inc.  I've known Mr. McCarthy's partner, Danny Sager, for many years, and Boy and I wanted to attend the party to help celebrate Brian's accomplishment.

Brian had his work cut out for him . . .

The party was an absolute madhouse crush, with over five hundred people crowding Beauvais' showrooms, all having what appeared to be a lovely time.  And why not?  Even though it was, at times, difficult to navigate one's way across the floor, there were many familiar faces among the crowd to jabber with by simply turning around (including the lovely Lyle Vivolo of Beauvais, Boy's longtime and most-adored rep).  The party was beautifully supplied with what seemed to be an endless army of waiters carrying trays of well-filled wine glasses and platters loaded with yummy hors d'oeuvres.  Reggie particularly liked the mini latkes with crème fraîche and salmon roe that were among the many nibbles offered—they reminded him of one of his favorite appetizers at Swifty's.

A brief respite from inscribing books

What with the long line of attendees queued up to have Mr. McCarthy sign copies of Luminous Interiors, Reggie decided to wait for another day to have his own copy autographed.  I did get to say a quick "Hello" to Brian (only by elbowing my way through the scrum of admirers clustering around him, though) and snap his picture before Boy and I scooted out the door for our next engagement.  I look forward to having Brian inscribe my copy of his book soon, under more leisurely circumstances.

The cocktail hour at the Irish Georgian Society party

Our next stop was one of New York's legendary private clubs, where Reggie was once a member but gave it up because the food and drink there is so delicious and plentiful that he gained five pounds every time he darkened its doors.  For those of us with a tendency to put on weight, such as dear old Reggie, ready access to such temptation is a dangerous proposition indeed.

Boy looking around the room to find our host . . .

The party was held in honor of the very worthy Irish Georgian Society, and we were the guests of Mr. Steven Stolman, man about town extraordinaire and president of Scalamandre.

. . . Ah, there he is!  Mr. Steven Stolman!

Unlike the book-signing party we had just come from, one was able to maneuver one's way around the Irish Georgian Society party with ease and stop and chat with the numerous friends and acquaintances that one pleasantly came across there.

Lots of face kissing was to be observed

Among the party guests were Mr. Mitch Owens of Architectural Digest, who wrote the article about our house that appeared in the magazine's June issue.  I like him immensely.  Mr. Angus Wilkie of Cove Landing and his charming partner, Mr. Len Morgan, were also there.  Reggie had an amusing conversation with Mr. James Andrew of What Is James Wearing, who was there with his partner, Mr. Scott McBee.

Dinner is served!

The party's dinner was held in a handsome, wood-paneled room.  One of the speakers during the meal was the actor Jeremy Irons, who spoke at length about the restoration of his castle in West Cork, Ireland.  The castle's restoration was a huge undertaking, we learned, as it was a near ruin when Mr. Irons acquired it.

Mr. Jeremy Irons at the podium

Although one's mind did wander during the speeches at dinner, it didn't really matter to me that Mr. Irons went on as long as he did because he has one of the most beautiful speaking voices imaginable, and I could happily listen to him recite the pages of a telephone book.

Besides, there was lots to look at during the speeches, including the tables' pretty flowers and decorations.

The place card of our host and dinner partner

Adding to the fun was that I was seated next to Mr. Stolman, an amusing bon vivant who had me in stitches for much of the evening.

Mr. Richard Wilkie

Mr. Stolman was joined by his partner, Mr. Richard Wilkie, who was also seated at our table.  Also at the table were a number of their Palm Beach friends, who were jolly good company.  After spending the evening with this lively crew I'm thinking that Boy and I just may need to schedule a return trip to the home of The Shiny Sheet sometime this winter.

It was difficult to tear one's self away from this, believe me!

After dinner we returned to the room where cocktails had been served to find it generously laid out with tables covered with silver platters of exquisite petit fours, and the full bar still open.  While I'm not exactly sure, I think I had to be pulled away from it all by Boy, who claims that I was gobbling pastries and demanding more drink when it was obvious to him (and most likely others, too) that I had been thoroughly, if not over, served by that point in the evening.

Ah well.  My hangover the next morning, Dear Reader, was but a small price for me to pay for all the merriment I had that evening.  Thank you Messers McCarthy and Sager, and Stolman and Wilkie, for including us in the fun!

All photographs by Reggie Darling


  1. Oh no with e books does that mean no more parties.!!! The cost of the party is no doubt considered advertising ---- the season--- for cold and flu ! be sure to take your vitamin C and Zinc to ward off illness. Your resistance can be lowered with all the fun!!

    1. Hello Anon, I think large, coffe table type decorating and style monographs are safe for now -- it is impossible to replicate the experience of reading them with a Kindle...

  2. Can't you just take me along to a few of your outings? You can pretend I am one of your pugs, everyone will be too polite to say anything!


    1. Reggie would be delighted to have the loveliness of LPC on his arm at one of these evenings. However, he understands that she is a recently re-married lady, and he suspects her husband may have other ideas! Rest assured, dear husband, Reggie is a very safe "walker" except that is when he gets knocked to the floor in bars, which thankfully has happened only oonce in his life!

  3. Reggie, you and Boy have the most interesting life..Love hearing about it all. Looking forward to the holiday season and all your invitations.
    Delighted that you visited Georgia, we welcome you back any time!!
    Becky in South Georgia

  4. Oh, the glamour and the calories! Loved hearing about every moment of your night. xx

  5. Looks like a fun evening but inquiring minds what to know: what do you watch on TV on your nights "off"?

    1. Mostly recorded episodes of Antiques Roadshow, old movies on TCM, and also Glee (a great favorite), and sometimes Mad Men. Also DVDs.

  6. Just love your posts! They are so much fun and enlightening to this little ol' girl from New Jersey :}

  7. Reggie I cannot think of a better evening than to be in the company of smart and witty people. I would have loved to hear Jeremy Irons speak about his castle's renovation.

    The Arts by Karena

  8. I LIKE BOY..........
    When do we get a good snap of YOU?
    Do tell what was JAMES wearing that night?

    1. James was very natty that evening (natch!), wearing a marveous assortment of tweeds (so Irish Donegal of him).

  9. You are a "social animal" - now write a book, I want more....

  10. What a fun evening! That second party looked to be something I would have thoroughly enjoyed, and what lovely flowers.

    I love Scalamandre fabrics. My Sister's BFF from a million years ago was a designe from Charleston, now deceased. Wayne thought the sun rose and set on Salamandre fabrics. Everything in his house was covered by the brand. He had a wonderful place on Meeting Street, and I miss him more than I can say!

  11. I too need a restraining order at these events. (As in restraint from too much imbibing; the food is of passing interest.) But when glasses are liberally refilled one rather loses count and cares less anyway! I now avoid such gatherings, I'm afraid. But good for you, that you still have the stamina. The hangovers are also a bit of a disincentive.

  12. Brian J. McCarthy's book is fantastic. I am sure you will enjoy every page.

  13. RD, Great post! Love those parties! I still recall seeing Brian J. at the old Vertical Club- we often were getting dressed there to go off to work- and I heard he likes to ride in Central Park- such a devilish gent!
    Dean Farris

    1. Heavens! The Vertical Club, I haven't thought of that place in years. Yes, Mr. McCarthy is an equestrian I understand.

  14. What a delightful evening you share with us, thank you. I agree about Mr. Irons. He could talk ad nauseam on whatever subject he chooses and my ears would be in heaven (how lucky we were to have had him narrate Brideshead for us all those years ago... bliss!).

    1. Yes, Dear LizaE, it was in Brideshead that I came to admire Mr. Irons' marvelous voice. And his performance as Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune is one that I never tire of...

  15. Irish Georgian Society has captured my imagination to google now

  16. You're quite the lads about town - glad to see you are enjoying the season.

    I entirely agree about Mr Irons, I bought an audio book of him reading Brideshead Revisited, because after the TV Series, reading it in my own voice in my head just didn't seem to do!

  17. I don't think a mega dose of glamour ever killed anyone....close maybe....

  18. Well, perhaps you already know Desmond Guiness's quite sincere remark (his response to someone who was expressing trepidation over the prospect of buying an old, crumbling house he was promoting): "But, Darling, what is plumbing?".

    For better or worse, I grew up in a family/house where that was the general attitude/approach to living in an old house. It was just EXPECTED that, if you happened to turned on a toaster in the kitchen, you'd hear someone, far away in some other part of the house, shouting "Holy S**T!", as sparks flew and the lights went out in some upstairs bedroom.

    My old (former, more accurately...although also now old) Gaelic teacher used to go to meetings of the Irish Georgian Society in NYC....back in the 60's and 70's, I assume. He always said that these "meetings" were simply excuses for holding delightful parties full of dotty, but obviously intelligent folks who enjoyed themselves tremendously.

    Level Best as Ever,
    David Terry


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