Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sister Celebration

Cynthia and Barb with yours truly, the official witness.
My sister Cynthia and her partner Barb from Colorado recently came to town for some jolly  celebrations.
First up, they got married!
They came to New York City to tie the knot as same-sex marriage is not yet passed in Colorado. With all of their paper work done ahead of time, they were scheduled to get married at the City Clerk office one recent morning. I was honored that they asked me to be their witness.
That morning I put on a tie and a jacket and looked in the mirror and saw looking back at me my uncle Brian Mumford and my grandmother Florence Mumford. I was bringing the spirit of my mother with me.
I met Cynthia and Bart outside the City Clerk office early and we went in. The Marriage Bureau is a nice big municipal space with marble walls and high ceilings. Other couples were there too to get married. New York's wonderful spectrum was represented with straight and gay couples and all different races and creeds and ages and sizes and colors and mixed marriages. Everyone was in a happy, celebratory mood, and the people who worked there were very pleasant and helpful. I believe that New York is marketing itself as a wedding destination. It was a very fun experience.
First we got a numbered ticket and waited for the number to light up over a window, like at the Department of Motor Vehicles. We proceeded to the right window to sign papers and then we were directed to wait outside a chapel where a Justice of the Peace presided. There were couples ahead of us and behind us and everyone was taking pictures. Then we were ushered into a bright, cheerful, pink room where the short Justice of the Peace stood behind a tall podium and recited the vows.
We were in and out in less than an hour.

Mazel tov!
Afterwards we went to lunch. Cynthia said to me, "Thank you for coming and thank you for paving the way."
The next night Cynthia and Barb hosted a celebratory family dinner at a tapas restaurant in Chelsea called Tia Pol where we commandeered the back private room and enjoyed a never ending procession of delicious tapas and red wine -

I recommend Tia Pol if you are in the neighborhood. 
The following evening my brother Thom and his family hosted a birthday party for Cynthia at their apartment (a big birthday for her).
Here we are, the four siblings - Thom, me, Cynthia, Eric - on Thom's deck -

followed by the Boehlert boys - my father, nephew Aaron and his father Thom, me, nephew Ben and his father Eric -

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner on the deck with the buildings of the Flatiron District rising around us -

It was a great weekend of happy events. Thanks to Cynthia for bringing the party to New York.
Since then I have been to two funerals. Enjoy the present moment the best you can.
Live and love.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Video Tour: Charles James at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

It's time for a trip to the Charles James exhibit currently up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through August 10th. Charles James was the great American couturier who famously draped and shaped some of the most beautiful dresses created in the American haute couture. James, who was self-taught, designed in his native London before arriving in New York City in 1940. The designer was an artist whose medium was fabric and whose dresses were masterpieces. He was renowned for his striking color combinations, and his cut and construction, always refining and perfecting his living sculptures. But he was also eccentric and had a hard time running a business. The designer lived and worked in one room in the Chelsea Hotel on West  23rd Street. When he passed away there in 1978 at the age of 73 of pneumonia, he was largely unrecognized and unappreciated. However, his structured dresses with narrow waists and flaring skirts influenced Christian Dior when Dior created the New Look in the late 40's, and so though he is not a well-known household name, Charles James shaped the direction of fashion. 

Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, photograph by Cecil Beaton
The exhibition was curated by Harold Koda and Jan Glier Reeder, and is located in two areas at the museum – in the new Anna Wintour Costume Center on the lower level as well as an exhibition gallery on the first floor. The show was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the New York architects we met at a book party at Ann Ziff's fine jewelry store.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro lit the clothes dramatically to highlight their shape. Charles James loved to combine different fabrics like deep, dark velvet and glossy, lustrous satin –

which is here worn by the great Babe Paley herself.

Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
Besides the clothes, there are on display accessories, drawings, videos, and some pithy quotes from Mr. James.

During the press preview for the exhibition, workers were preparing for the big Met Ball which was being held that very night. Here in the Great Hall, a kind of giant deconstructed Charles James ballgown made out of orange roses loomed over the entrance.

I had the pleaure of talking with the brilliant curator Harold Koda at the press preview, and my friend Scott Brasher made a video of the visit. Enjoy this nice long talk with Harold, and learn more about the great American fashion designer Charles James. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer in the City

Sitting in Madison Square Park and looking out to Fifth Avenue. You can get a glass of wine at the Shake Shack and enjoy the park; sometimes there are concerts. (click on photos to enlarge)
I hope you are having a nice summer. It doesn't seem that long ago since the winter snow was falling. Thankfully summer is now here, and it is not yet too hot. I've been enjoying the city and taking some pictures along the way.
Sitting next to me on a bench in Madison Square Park was a young woman looking casually stylish in an embroidered tunic, silky pants, and chic sandals.

One of my favorite events is the Jane Street sale, held in June, when people in Greenwich Village come out and sell their goods.

I bought this big, old, heavy metal container which is meant to hold ashes at the fireplace.

Now, we put kitty litter and other supplies in it in our kitchen. $25. I love it.
Over on the Hudson River, boats passed each other on a sunny day.

Up at Bryant Park, the lilies are in full bloom. The flowers there are so pretty.

This talented young woman was singing and playing an accordian in Bryant Park - wonderful!

At Bergdorf Goodman, horses are the current window theme.

I had lunch at the Coffee Shop on Union Square with my niece Jane who was much smaller when we started this blog... This summer she is off to art school. Where did the time go? I am her proud godfather.

We took a weekend trip out to Connecticut for Father's Day and had lunch at the Stone House Restaurant.
Here is my nephew Ben, brother Eric, and my pa.

After lunch we had a quick trip to the beach 

and the following day we went to the beach at Hammonasset State Park where the rugosa roses were in fragrant bloom - 

This weekend we had a successful trip to the Union Square Farmer's Market, where fresh flowers, lettuce and bread are now plentiful.

Sunday was the Gay Pride Parade so TD and I marched down Fifth Avenue and Christopher Street with the other revelers -

We stopped for a glass of water along Fifth Avenue -

TD and I say equal rights for all!