Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Ellen Peckham at Home on the Hudson



A view up the Hudson from Ellen's terrace. 
TD and I recently headed up to Spuyten Duyvill which is just north of Manhattan and perched along the Hudson River for the birthday party of our great friend, artist Ellen Peckham. I wrote about Ellen before on this blog in 2008, ten years ago (!). I won't repeat here what I already wrote about Ellen except to say that it is always an inspiration to visit her, wherever she is.

At that time Ellen lived in a loft on West 23rd Street in a building where Robert Mapplethorpe once lived and worked. Before that she and her husband Anson had lived in a wondrous townhouse on West 22nd Street. Now Ellen has escaped Manhattan's rushing crowds and moved to an apartment over the Hudson River. In this sprawling apartment she can live and work on her printing press making prints and put up guests.

Located in a modern high-rise, Ellen transformed the space with her mix of antiques and art and books. What draws you through it once you pass through the front door is the incredible view of the Hudson River outside the wall of windows. Running along the length of the apartment is a terrace which Ellen has expertly planted with a range of foliage. 

The wide Hudson River stretches out below with the undeveloped Palisades beyond –  


Ellen told me she likes green and white and red plants on the terrace - nothing too bright or jarring. Silver galvanized buckets hold the plantings –


In a corner of the long terrace, plants grow from a giant clam shell resting on a weathered case that also displays twigs and drift wood –


Ellen says she put sea shells in the plant boxes to provide minerals for the soil but I just think they look good –


The terrace is like a seashore garden that has swept up onto a modern high-rise. It's a very restful, soothing place to sit and look at the river below.
While the terrace relaxes with the rustic beauty of nature, the interior is filled with cultured art and antiques, which is a combination that I love.
At the front door, sophisticated metallic walls and a lush orchid welcome visitors –


There are beautiful things to look at everywhere –


And wonderful things to read – 


As twilight fell, it grew darker inside the apartment but outside the sky and the river still glowed. Neighboring lights came on nearby.


There was some music - a guitarist played and singer sang some poetry he had set to music. Birthday toasts to Ellen were made
Ellen grew up in Rochester, New York, in upstate New York, and came to New York City to go to art school. As an accomplished artist and poet, she has led a fascinating life story with many adventures near and far, and has recently written a memoir, which TD has designed. She's shopping it around with publishers now.
Ellen works tirelessly on her art with an indefatigable spirit. Besides her prints and poetry, to me she is an artist in everything she does - the way she gardens, decorates, entertains, lives. She was a young girl from upstate New York who came to the city and created an artful life. I've always been greatly inspired by her and was very lucky to meet her through TD and our neighbors on Jane Street years ago.
Here I am with the lady of the hour –



Long may she reign.

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