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Tim Gunn Helps Launch Waldorf Astoria Rooftop Garden

How does the iconic hotel's garden grow? With fresh figs, apples, tomatoes, and more.

June 06, 2013

Looking for locally grown lavender in Midtown? Try the 20th floor of the Waldorf Astoria New York, where a bountiful new rooftop garden—filled with fresh vegetables, herbs, and eight types of apples—has just been unveiled.

Located in the same space as six beehives installed last summer—which produce the hotel's Top of the Waldorf honey—the budding open-air garden was designed and built through a collaboration with the Horticultural Society of New York and the New York Restoration Project. "What the Waldorf is doing is really helping to lead [the] greening of New York,” says Project Runway's Tim Gunn, who was on hand to help celebrate the garden's debut, and to plant its final tree as part of the Million Trees NYC initiative.  

Currently, the only way to visit the garden is as part of the hotel's Historical Tour ($55 per person), which takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays. The tour includes lunch and can be booked through the hotel reservations desk. You can also get a taste of the garden at the hotel’s Peacock Alley restaurant and bar, where freshly harvested ingredients are used in both food and drink offerings. 

Coming up, there are plans to expand the size of the garden and plant additional items, such as hops, for a Top of the Waldorf honey ale. And there are talks of special garden-infused spa treatments to be offered at the resident Guerlain Spa. 301 Park Ave., 355-3000



Distilled Opens in Tribeca; LES Welcomes Hill & Dale

Plus: Bouillabaisse Week and new spring dishes at Caffé Storico.

June 06, 2013

Hill & Dale brings Prohibition-era cocktails and pork belly and lobster cakes to the LES

LES Welcomes Hill & Dale: The gastropub trend continues with this musically-charged project from the group behind The Brooklyneer. With 64-seats total, there's a sit-down area, barroom, and gated backroom, with vintage ambiance (think milk glass) and early 20th century recording culture influences throughout. Cocktails are crafted by Elliott Carlson and nod the Prohibition-era—try the Dizzy Dishes with prosecco, rose water liqueur, lemon juice, and pickled strawberries. There's also a dinner menu (nightly at 5 p.m.) with shareable small plates like pork belly and lobster cakes in Newburg sauce. 115 Allen St., 212-420-1115

Distilled Opens in Tribeca: Inspired by the old-time "public house," executive chef Shane Lyons (formerly of Momofuku Noodle Bar) and Nick Iovacchini have opened Distilled on Broadway and Franklin Street. The atmosphere is casual, American, and communal, and noteworthy menu items include country-fried duck and waffles with smoked Serrano maple syrup; liver mousse with chicken skin crackers and whipped honey; and an apple pie soda float for dessert. Plus, the bartender, Sheldon Wiley, holds the Guinness Book of World Records title of "World's Fastest Bartender." 211 W. Broadway, 212-601-9514

New Spring Menu at Caffé Storico: A hushed tone permeates the halls of the New York Historical Society Museum as patrons dig through archives or admire the collections on display. Diners at the museum’s restaurant, Caffe Storico, will have to take a few seconds to admire the beautifully plated dishes on executive chef Jim Burke’s spring menu. Seasonal ingredients like stinging nettles, ramps, fava beans, and peas are on display in dishes like the stinging nettle tortelli and a lamb terrine accompanied with radicchio and pickled ramps. 170 Central Park West, 212-485-9211

Bouillabaisse Week: Bouillabaisse, the popular classic French fish stew, takes a creative twist at the nine restaurants of the Tour de France Restaurant Group during Bouillabaisse Week, running through June 7. A Moroccan bouillabaisse with grilled merguez or a Cambodian-inspired poisson Cambodge spiked with lemongrass and ginger? These are just a few of the options on offer from chefs at restaurants like L’Express and French Roast. 



New Cocktails at Gotham Bar and Grill

Infusions, aperitifs, and digestifs make up the restaurant's latest liquid offerings.

June 06, 2013

Jeremy's Hawn's Hook & Blush cocktail (recipe below)

Artisanal amaro is just one of the spicier highlights of Gotham Bar and Grill's (12 East 12th St., 212-620-4020) new cocktail program. Created by recently appointed head mixologist Jeremy Hawn (Marea, Parm, Masak), the restaurant's new drinks complement the flavors of chef Alfred Portale's menu. There's also a focus on aperitifs and digestifs for pre- and post-dinner imbibing.  

From cilantro to cucumber, infused spirits (a wonderful bar trend these days) are a big part of these new cocktails. Case in point: Hawn's amaro is an infusion of more than 20 roots, herbs, and spices into a grain spirit. After sitting for 24 hours, the mixture is combined with sugar and water for a truly unique, rich amaro. Enjoy it on its own, or as part of Hawn's aptly-named Brooklyn cocktail (amaro, rye, maraschino, Dolin dry vermouth). 

Other fun cocktails up for grabs include the Shiso Martini (shiso-infused vodka, Dolin Blanc vermouth), the Sangre de Migrantes (cilantro-infused mezcal, Aperol, Chartreuse, lime), the Seersucker (cucumber and mint-infused gin, mint-infused orgeat syrup, lemon, soda), and the Hook & Blush, which you can make at home thanks this recipe. 

Hook & Blush

2 ounces gin 
2 dashes Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters
2 bar spoons strawberry-rhubarb jam
1/2 ounce Dolin Blanc vermouth
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup

Shake ingredients and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Finish with a lemon twist, then discard before serving.



Dispatch: Clive Owen Steps Out for 'Shadow Dancer'

Plus: Bettina Zilkha welcomes summer with a private fête on the Upper East Side.

June 05, 2013

Last Thursday, The Cinema Society and Blackberry hosted the debut of Shadow Dancer, an intense film about a young mother well-placed in the IRA who's captured and forced by MI5 to become a double agent in Northern Ireland.

Andrea Riseborough, who played Wallace Simpson so exquisitely in Madonna’s W.E., was believable as the vulnerable IRA insider. “I’m not from Ireland,” the pale beauty, wearing Calvin Klein, told Dispatches before the screening. “But I went and stayed in Belfast to research the role.” Riseborough named Closer as her favorite role of Clive Owen, her Shadow Dancer co-star. “He’s wonderful in it,” she said. And what impressed her about his role as her MI5 contact? “He brings a vulnerable and compassionate quality.” 

Owen mentioned that he actually spent time in Northern Ireland during the height of the conflict. “It was a very tough place,” he said. “Soldiers on the street, helicopters at night. The people were great and they were in cafés and bars, but they were living in a very tough environment.”

Dispatches also spotted Zachary Quinto at the theater, who does a fab job as Spock in Star Trek Into Darkness. That said, he didn’t appear terribly Vulcan in a white T-shirt and jeans.

The Cinema Society afterparty took place at the chic new restaurant and supper club Omar's, where Qui Tequila cocktails—a “Shadow Dancer” and “The Belfast”—were served. Dispatches also met Omar, who is skinny and handsome and one of those remarkably well-dressed gents. He mentioned that the club's tony back rooms were going to be a private club shortly, but that he’d still let in “a few close friends.”

Meanwhile, that same night, on the Upper East Side, author Bettina Zilkha threw her annual cocktail soirée at her elegant aerie with endless Central Park views and exquisite art. Unlike Dispatches' other invites, this one had no liquor sponsor or list of honorees; it was just a deliciously private cocktail fête out of another era.

Although I arrived super late, I still spotted Jill and Andrew Roosevelt, Milly de Cabrol, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Vanessa von Bismarck, Mark Gilbertson, and my pal Alison Mazzola, who grew up in the heady Manhattan social swim. She gave this column the greatest compliment: “I no longer have to go out,” she told Dispatches. “Because you go everywhere I would go and talk to everyone I would talk to.” Big air smooch!

Zilkha wore a silvery dress by Carmen Marc Valvo. Because it was a private affair among friends, it felt as if you could let your hair down—although no one actually did.


For more entertainment and society news, visit jeffreyslonim.com or follow @JeffreyJSlo on Twitter


Robert Lee Morris Talks CFDA Awards

"Nowhere could you turn where you weren't touching a celebrity," says the noted jewelry designer.

June 05, 2013


The morning after the CFDA Fashion Awards, art and jewelry legend Robert Lee Morris (who has won several CFDA awards himself, including the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award) chatted with Gotham about his favorite moments of the evening.  

So, how did the night begin for you? 
ROBERT LEE MORRIS: The night for me started off with a bang with the arrival, at my side, of this bubble of light, and in the middle of it is Jessica Chastain! And I started to see everything later on as being part of a huge Star Trek party. I had just seen the movie and there are so many science fiction elements in that movie with the hairstyles and the jewelry . . . and their cars, and how they live. So when I saw Jessica Chastain's hair and I imagined her in this bubble of light, like the Good Witch [from The Wizard of Oz], her hair looked like a helmet, it was just this bun, this big, back-drawn helmet of red hair—but it looked like Cleopatra. She looked like she was not from this planet, like her brain is just too large to be a human brain. So she may well be one of these galactic neighbors that live with us.

>>PHOTOS: Red Carpet Arrivals at the CFDA Fashion Awards

Funny! Did the Star Trek theme continue?
RLM: I walk in there and there is Zachary Quinto, leaning against the bar, he played Spock. And the minute I saw him, I kind of just went into a major time warp. The [new Star Trek] movie was 3D; everything comes at you. He as an actor stole the show, and there he is, at the bar . . . it was the greatest moment.

Any other memorable moments?
RLM: Mary Alice Stephenson and I had never met, and she has followed me for years and years and years . . . So finally, we're meeting. Across this sea of bobbing heads comes this tall gorgeous blonde in this lamé outfit, and we just hugged and hugged and hugged and took pictures and had people take pictures . . . it was like having an orgy in a room the size of a broom closet!

Who else struck you as looking particularly amazing?
RLM: When Vera Wang walked across the stage, she was the vision of an angel. And I saw her just, like, vanish in the air, practically, she was so ephemeral. She looked thinner than ever to me, like she's turning into a higher spiritual level or something. The gauzy fabric that flew behind her was so heavenly.

>>PHOTOS: CFDA Awards Afterparty at the Top of The Standard 

Any other designers catch your eye?
RLM: Donna Karan looked great last night. She looked very much the same part as the Grecian goddess. She had bare shoulders and her hair was back in just a ponytail and she looked dazzling. And she was talking to Nadja Swarovski and they were having a hoot! And I looked at Donna and I thought, Oh my God, you look like the goddess. And there were so many goddesses there . . . she really stood out to me. Nowhere could you turn where you weren't touching a celebrity or a famous person or a person of talent. It was gooey with talent.



Marie Antoinette-Era Treasures at Christie's

The famed auction house presents a sale from the golden age of French decorative arts.

June 04, 2013

If you love the Marie Antoinette era, you simply can't miss this Thursday's private collection French furniture sale at Christie's. The golden age of French decorative arts takes center stage June 6 at 10 a.m., when 46 lots go on sale, taking us back to the time of Louis VIV and XV. In addition to coveted Flora Danica porcelain, clocks, and a Victorian silver monkey-form three-piece condiment set, highlights of the sale include a Louis XIV marquetry table (attributed to André-Charles Boulle); carved Louis XV seat furniture by famed furniture-makers Mathieu Bauve and Claude-Louis Burgat; and a pair of Louis XV marquetry tables that once belonged to American heiress Anna Thomson Dodge. Viewings June 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Christie's Saleroom, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-636-2000



Onstage: 'A Kid Like Jake'

Carla Gugino stars in this play about parenting and the quirks of uppity NYC private schools.

June 04, 2013

A Kid Like Jake is LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater's latest production.

Parents trying to do right by their precocious young son, who happens to love Cinderella and playing dress up, is the story of A Kid Like Jake. But when it's time for the husband and wife to apply to New York City private schools, Jake's aforementioned passions begin to turn heads—and not necessarily in a good way.

Now showing through July 14, this new play by the award-winning playwright Daniel Pearle (The Prodigies, Freefall, Plunder and The Truth About Christmas) is an anticipated LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater production, and a wonderful opportunity to see work by tomorrow's famed playwrights today. This Lincoln Center Theater programming initiative was established in 2008 to produce the work of new artists and develop new audiences.

But just because these works are new doesn't mean they're not great; past LCT3 productions have included the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Ayad Ahktar’s Disgraced. Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer Prize finalist (and New York theater hit) 4000 Miles was also an LCT3 play.

As for A Kid Like Jake, the play stars Carla Gugino (whose Broadway credits include The Road to MeccaDesire Under The Elms, and After The Fall) as wife Alex. Peter Grosz (Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Colbert Report) plays her husband, Greg. Claire Tow Theater, 150 W. 65 St., 212-239-6200.



Greenwich Project Launches Summer Tasting Menu

Chef Carmine Di Giovanni has created a decadent, five-course tasting menu for summer.

June 03, 2013

There’s been an uproar in recent months over tasting menus. Do chefs get too crazy with dishes? Will the countless courses from the kitchen ever end? Are the prices absurd? Diners can put those worries aside at the Greenwich Project, where executive chef Carmine Di Giovanni has rolled out a five-course tasting menu ($98) for the summer.

A dinner here can start with a refreshing peekytoe crab salad or hamachi crudo topped with pickled ramps and a hit of heat from jalapenos. Di Giovanni’s inventive cuisine—which includes touches of European, Mediterranean, and Asian influences—is presented with refinement. A prime example on the menu is the Creekstone Farms dry-aged rib eye, served with spinach and a potato dressed with all the bells and whistles. The locally-driven menu also has the chef sourcing halibut and squab for the special tasting, which is served in the upstairs dining room and has to be ordered by the entire table. Sommelier Ryan Mills-Knapp has also created wine pairings for the tasting menu ($140 total). And for an extra special touch, there's an optional Siberian sturgeon caviar supplement (additional $35).

After a rather quiet opening, the Greenwich Project has proven itself to be a worthy destination along a stretch of Eighth Street in the West Village that has become a culinary hotbed. The seasonally-inspired American menu is sophisticated but always approachable. Di Giovanni’s summer tasting menu is a perfect example and yet another reason to book a table at this gem of a restaurant. 



New Yorkers Pose for 'Surfer DNA'

A new portrait series for Sandy relief features notables like Sam Talbot and Cynthia Rowley.

June 03, 2013

New York chef Sam Talbot in "Surfer DNA"

Anyone who surfs knows that the sport changes you. In this spirit, photographer Alberto Guglielmi presents "Surfer DNA," a portrait series featuring the likes of Cynthia Rowley, Annasophia Robb, and Sam Talbot, among others. To illustrate just how powerfully surfing can change someone's life, Guglielmi photographed his subjects with small surfboard fins placed on their bodies.

An avid surfer himself, Guglielmi created the series in support of the Waves for Water Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative, and the Rockaway and Long Beach areas where he regularly surfs. "I started surfing and windsurfing as a boy near Rome and in Sardinia," says Guglielmi of his passion. "I’ve always felt an innate connection to the ocean, but in my teens I developed an almost physical and psychological need to surf consistently. It’s only been recently that I formally expressed with the "Surfer DNA" concept how surfing affects the way you live. That tie to the ocean and the desire to be in it is with you wherever you go, whatever you’re doing, from the moment you caught that first wave."

The project kicks off this week with an exhibition at SoHotel ArtSpace from June 5 to 8, followed by shows planned this summer in Los Angeles and Montauk. A silent auction of portraits at the New York opening, as well as an online auction, will raise funds for the Waves for Water charity's Sandy Relief Initiative. 345 Broome St., 212-343-7007



What We're Reading

Tips for Citi Bikers, 45 swimsuits you won't hate, John Malkovich as Casanova...

May 31, 2013

Citi Bikes were installed in New York City this Monday

For cyclists, this week's earlier than anticipated Citi Bikes arrival had all of the surprise and whimsy of Christmas morning. However, it's the first-time NYC cyclers we're concerned about. Are they familiar with bike lanes? Will they wear helmets? Thankfully, Business Insider has 15 tips for the uninitiated. [Business Insider]

As he takes the City Center stage in The Giacomo Variations, John Malkovich spoke with writer Alexis Soloski about the Casanova-meets-Mozart content of this "music-theater" performance, as well as the art of seduction. [The New York Times]

Need help shopping for a swimsuit this season? Look no further. Vogue has a fantastic slideshow of 45 suits divided by style: string, high waist (our favorite), maillot, bra top, and rash guard. [Vogue

Even if you can't make it to the beach, you can enjoy the almighty soft-shell crab sandwich. Grub Street's Sierra Tishgart offers up a list of 15 New York restaurants with "stellar" varieties. [New York

Writers and drugs have a long and storied relationship, made all the more interesting by their subterfuge. In his review of Michael W. Clune's new book, White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin, The New Yorker's Gideon Lewis-Kraus explores the pleasure of reading books about drugs, from the ambivalent to the judgmental. [The New Yorker


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