Rizzoli Bookstore, 1133 Broadway, New York, NY
Wine, Cookbooks, Gardens, Performing Arts, Literature, Music, Fashion, Artists, Art, Art History, Film, Interiors, Furniture, Children, Photography, Architecture, Design, New Fiction, New Nonfiction, Nonfiction, Newspapers, Magazines, New York
Does this list sound like an artist’s wet dream? Or, perhaps the favorite things of the most interesting person in the world – of which they are experts in all of it?
These are actually the sections in Rizzoli bookstore. Known as a literary landmark. The foremost independent bookseller in North America. Nearly fifty years in New York.
Apparently, it’s famous to the book-loving in-crowd. And it’s the place I just happened to stumble into yesterday. Needing a couple of reads while I travel, the beautiful townhouse beckoned me inside. I ended up blowing two months of book budget in one fell swoop, literally in about seven minutes. Yes, I have a book budget. All the cool people do. Leave me alone.
Is this store beautiful? Yes, immensely so. Does it have a nice selection of beautiful, interesting wares on sale? Yes, one of the best I’ve ever seen. Was it the hippest store I’ve been in for a while? Yes, my meter rose just be being there. Was it warm, and smelling of coffee, a place you want to sit and read for a while? No, not at all. This is the one downside; its impeccable taste comes at a price. You are not meant to crash down and enjoy the offerings there, but appreciate them and move on.
So is this my absolute ideal book venue? No, but it came pretty damn close. Throw in a few couches and an espresso machine, and I might never leave.
Unknown Artist, French, 19th Century
Dorian Grey. The man that Oscar Wilde brought to life with his hedonistic machinations in 1890 – or so the general public thought. The man that has lived in legend, fable, and table talk for centuries. The man that embodies sensuality and indulgence to the extreme. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have found him.
Wilde wrote that Dorian’s original portrait was a full-length painting, finally destroyed as the debaucherous man came to his senses and took his own life. This made a fitting ending for the Victorian sensibilities of that time, allowing the writer to retain some semblance of not being too disastrously corrupting to the public. The ultimate playboy had to meet a just end. But – what if he didn’t? What if he is still around? Or, another person came along to pick up his mantel and let go of his soul?
Cinderella knows that one shoe can change your life. Marilyn Monroe claimed the right pair of shoes could help someone conquer the world. Dr. Suess throws his wit at us, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go.”
Our feet move us forward, our shoes keep them safe. They are a reflection of our style, make us feel a certain way - a purposeful adornment that almost all of us use. Funnily enough, they can also tell us a lot about ourselves, where we are going, where we’ve been. “It’s only in the world of objects that we have time and space,” reminds the great T.S. Eliot.
Shoes are a good metaphor for, at the risk of sounding deliciously cheesy, moving through the journey of our lives. I challenge everyone to go through the exercise of choosing three shoes from their important moments. It’s a silly exercise, something that could even be a fun topic for a dinner party, or drinking night out. Though, you might be surprised at what comes out and up . . .
I want to live at the library. I have decided this fact. Probably not for forever – well, maybe just a week. I think the food options might get a little undesirable after that. Oh, and not just any library. There are a few specific ones in the world that might be desirable. This week it is none other than the New York Public Library. Only the location near Bryant Park, because it’s really beautiful… and historical… and magical and lots of other words ending in ‘l’.
Segmented Glass Sculpture by Jiyong Lee
A handsome man recently contacted me, referring me to a “world of special artists” to explore. ArtPeople. This person has no special reason to promote this site, other than a love of discovery and art himself, and I found myself jumping onto the website many times over the past couple of weeks to just sniff around. Hey, I’m an ‘ArtPerson'! And I own very little art. He’s an ‘ArtPerson'! And he has everything from Salvador Dali works, to a couple of drool worthy Olivier Strebelle bronze sculptures (that Strebelle gave to him personally). Anyone can be or become an ‘ArtPerson’! Even the person who is drawn to street graffiti. Even the person who doesn’t know or think they care about art. It’s a part of our expression of today’s world, and the future.
I was happily watching some Jeopardy (American quiz show institution for all the non-Yanks) last night, when one of the rare commercials I allow onto my screen came blasting out. It was for Snicker’s Halloween candy, with a Horseless Headsman. Then, there was the Headless Horseman. I started to yell at the screen, “I’ve seen where you live!” That’s me, the legendary ghost stalker.
Yes, Sirs, Young Sirs, Madams, and Misses, I have been to Sleepy Hollow. Where the wind rustles, the leaves blow, and there is just that little bit of dangerous mystery floatin’ about. Honestly, who knew it was in upstate New York, barely an hour’s train ride from Manhattan? I had a venerable horror legend out my back doorstep, and until recently, didn’t even realize it. Sleepy Hollow is a small little bit of Americana, right next door to another little village of lovliness, Tarrytown. These are the small, out of the way places that materialize as both a delight to explore and might just have some local lore that peaks your interest and quakes your boots.