Luxury 'Camping' in the Adirondacks
The Point Resort is a hidden oasis of tranquility in upstate New York.
June 17, 2013
The idea of camping in the Adirondacks may bring up images of roughing it in lush forests filled with pesky mosquitoes and wandering wildlife. But consider The Point Resort, which is nestled on a peninsula overlooking quiet Saranac Lake and is nothing short of a wonderland of picturesque tranquility.
As one of the original Great Camps (which industrial giants like J.P. Morgan and Alfred Vanderbilt created as mountain oases away from the city), The Point was built by William Avery Rockefeller a century ago as his family’s private home. Today, it sits on 75 lakefront acres at Upper Saranac Lake and has become one of the nation’s most exclusive getaways.
The Point invited Gotham for a weekend on the premises. And after two days of hiking and mountain adventure and two long nights feasting at its communal table, we’re happy to report that its historic opulence and creature comforts cannot be overstated. Rockefeller’s creation is the dictionary definition of idyllic. Only a few hours’ drive from Manhattan, the small compound of buildings feels utterly of its own time and place.
The hours move more slowly here. With no set schedule, weekend guests are enveloped by a time capsule of pastoral mountain luxury that meets and exceeds their every need and desire. Amenities include seasonal activities, outdoor barbecues, in-house massage therapists, and epic dinners at the Great Hall. On our weekend visit, a dozen diners gathered around a communal table for marathon meals, the quality of the conversation only exceeded by course after course of fantastic food.
All-inclusive rates, which begin at $1,500 per night, earn guests an experience that is worth its weight in stone and cut from Adirondack Park and shaped into a perfect mountain playground.
BY JOHN VILANOVA
The Best Yet: 2014 Maserati Quattroporte
The Maserati Quattroporte S and S Q4 redefine Italian luxury.
May 30, 2013
When deep beauty is encountered, what behavior would you exert to obtain it? Fortunately, Maserati has never had qualms attracting car lovers to their brand. Yet, today’s expectations from tech-savvy and opulence-seeking connoisseurs have to be met in the competitive global markets.
To explore the technologies, luxury accouterments, and Italian design philosophy of the latest Maserati Quattroporte, we flew to Italy for a day of testing at the Balocco Proving Grounds, which felt more like Stanford’s campus than a vehicle test track. The Langhe course that we challenged the Italian maestro on is 12.89 miles long with 135 tight and wide turns and miles of K-rail.
Offered in both the GTS (V8 engine) and the S (V6 engine), the Quattroporte features AWD for the first time, but only on the V6. And please do not expect a hybrid rendition of this model because the technology is not a part of the company’s vision. Maserati prefers the numbers achieved in diesel engines. With deliveries currently taking place in the U.S., base MSRP for the 523-horsepower V8 RWD Quattroporte GTS is $140,500 and $102,500 for the 404-horsepower GDI V6 AWD Quattroporte S Q4, the model we drove in Balocco.
Riding in the back is just as spacious as an Audi A8L or Jaguar XJL and dual seats can be ordered to replace the bench seat. The dashboard uses a magnesium frame and houses the 8.4” infotainment system, which is available with the up-level 15-speaker, 1280-watt Bowers and Wilkins surround sound, where crisp, concert-like rhythms are delivered spectacularly throughout the cabin. The shift paddles, gear lever frame, and LCD trim are all aluminum. Two leather types are available with the optional, higher grain leather covering more area. A rear window shade and side electric blinds, standard sunroof, and the choice of six surfaces, including a carbon fiber package, round out interior comfort offerings.
I always find it clever when auto manufacturers are able to manifest lavish, full-size sedans in every sense, yet instill the performance and character of sport cars. Q4, for example, offers the Quattroporte S greater high-speed confidence and safety for inclement weather. First, the car has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution with both engines; uses a double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear; and Skyhook has been significantly improved. Skyhook is Maserati’s sophisticated damping system, which manages all vehicle dynamic parameters. To the left of the gear selector are five options for your specified style of driving.
Whichever angle you examine it from, Quattroporte is ready for the big leagues and certainly will not disappoint.
New Book: 'Foreign Policy Begins at Home'
Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass urges America to "put its house in order."
May 20, 2013
Foreign policy beings at home, says Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass in his passionate new book, which he'll discuss with media mogul Arianna Huffington during a talk next month at the 92nd Street Y.
In Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America's House in Order, Haass, who was previously director of policy planning for the Department of State under George W. Bush, describes his vision for restoring power and influence to America. Explaining that many of America's foundations of power are coming to an end, Haass argues that the consequences of this shift go far beyond domestic issues like infrastructure, employment, education, immigration, and debt, but rather, affect the country's ability "to project power and exert influence overseas, to compete in the global marketplace, to generate the resources needed to promote the full range of U.S. interests abroad, and to set a compelling example that will influence the thinking and behavior of others."
The book argues that America is in fact underperforming at home and overreaching abroad, an imbalance with dire consequences. "To mount an effective foreign policy the United States must first put its house in order," writes Haass. "The United States must also put its house in order if it is to avoid placing itself in a position of high vulnerability to forces or actions beyond its control."
Without a partisan agenda, Haass posits that instead of intervening in wars and humanitarian efforts intended to affect other countries, the U.S. should focus on "maintaining the balance of power in Asia, advancing North American economic integration and energy self-sufficiency, and promoting collective responses to global challenges." Restraint and discipline at home, he points out, are among the keys to putting America's house in order, thereby allowing the country to continue to fulfill its global leadership role.
Get more insight on Haass' new book at "Foreign Policy Begins at Home: Richard Haass with Arianna Huffington" at the Lexington Avenue at 92nd St. Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall on June 5 at 8 p.m.. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased here.
BY SIMONA RABINOVITCH
New Private Club Plans Your Cultural Year
CultureHorde offers member-exclusive concerts, art events, dinners, and more.
May 08, 2013
Sixto Rodriguez performs at a CultureHorde event
New York nights out are plagued, it seems, by an overabundance of choice—how’s a person to decide which concert to see, talk to attend, or restaurant to dine at? CultureHorde, a new organization that curates once-monthly “bespoke events” for a small membership (dues is $199 per year), will streamline your social pursuits with exclusive, members-only events put together by a discerning group of tastemakers in fields including fine arts, music, cuisine, and more.
For the company’s kickoff party, a select group gathered at the Cutting Room in Murray Hill to catch a glimpse of the reclusive Sixto Rodriguez, a musical mystery drawn from another age. A working-class child of 1950s Detroit, Rodriguez cut two albums of folk tunes in the mold of Van Morrison/Bob Dylan in the early '70s, before disappearing from the public eye for nearly 40 years.
His incredible story was recently brought to light in the 2012 Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, wherein a filmmaker seeks to find the mythical man whose fame had risen to great heights in South Africa despite concerns he had died. Seeing the documentary was motivation enough for CultureHorde founder Pamela Mirels—an entrepreneur with South African roots who endeavored to bring the man to the stage, coming across a business plan in the process.
“I felt like we had to bring him to New York to do a really personal, intimate concert with him,” she says. “Once I could book him, it occurred to me that I could start a whole club of special experiences for people who are looking for that kind of intimacy in their cultural year.”
In addition to producing their curated events, CultureHorde has partnered with the Metropolitan Opera, Sotheby’s, and other cultural centers throughout the city, promising a diverse events programme for the remaining calendar year. Next up are an intimate roundtable discussion with Alan Dershowitz on May 8, and an introduction to auction culture at Sotheby’s on June 5.
“In this city there’s an epidemic of quantity over quality,” Mirels rightly suggests. Her venture promises “a little bit of music, a little bit of art, opera, politics,” she says. “If you want a really well-rounded cultural year, then this is the place for you.”
BY JOHN VILANOVA
Pratt Institute Exhibits 'Flameproof'
With help from their community, students will debut new versions of works lost in a recent Brooklyn campus fire.
May 06, 2013
In the small hours of Friday, February 15th of this year a devastating fire tore through the two upper floors of the Main Building on the Brooklyn campus of Pratt Institute. The flames destroyed artwork by dozens of students whose studio spaces were ravaged as firefighters worked valiantly. The blaze grew to four alarms, eventually involving 39 fire trucks and 168 firefighters. The roof of the landmark building collapsed, completing the devastation. Since that time the smoke has dissipated and the students at Pratt, who suffered such creative losses, have gained the support of their fellow students, faculty, administrators, alums, and New York’s art community. Here, president Thomas Schutte of the Pratt Institute describes how teamwork and help from two major art world players are making this year a success in the face of loss as the students prepare to unveil their work at a new exhibition, entitled "Flameproof," opening this Thursday at the Seagram Building.
Where were you when you first learned of the fire?
THOMAS SCHUTTE: In Palm Beach on a fundraising mission. The call came in the wee hours of the morning; the fire was finally doused at 4 a.m. My first inclination was to get back to Pratt, see the extent of what had happened and assess the situation. I knew that we had to relocate students—that was critically important—and we had to communicate to the Pratt community and meet with and listen to the students who had been dislocated.
What happened after the initial shock lifted?
TS: We built temporary studios for all of our juniors and seniors who lost their spaces [by taking] one-third of our huge athletic facility and creating 10 x 10 studios for each student. They had the spaces about three weeks after the fire.
We have had donations of art supplies given to our juniors and seniors—they were the students who were hardest hit by the fire. Utrecht, on the edge of our campus, donated supplies, [and] the Parsons School, which is competitive, did something that was very nice. The painting students arranged for an exhibition of Parsons’ seniors’ work. [They] invented a sort of auction [and] proceeds went to Pratt.
How did Larry Gagosian get involved?
TS: Larry Gagosian found out about the fire and was concerned. He asked me to let him know what he and the gallery could do to help. I said, ‘If you help us find an exhibition space for our senior painting students in Manhattan or at your gallery, that would be extraordinary.’ It was thought that it might be difficult to change the schedule of the various artists showing at the Gagosian galleries. Gagosian said, ‘Let me try another idea.’ I believe that Aby Rosen and Gagosian are friends, Aby is also an art collector and is also the chairman of the state counsel on the arts. Aby told Gagosian that he would be willing to loan space at the Seagram Building. There were two floors that no longer had tenants, the 8th floor and the 22nd floor. We chose the 8th floor and that is where we are having the show.
The next day I got a call from one of our trustee emeritus. He said to me, ‘Tom, I am so thrilled with your story. I will give you a check for $50,000 for out of pocket expenses in connection with the Seagram space.’
How has the spirit of the campus been affected by these events?
TS: I think this experience convinced our students of how generous society, New York, the school, and others have been. I also think it was a great lesson for students to learn that when disaster strikes it is important to pitch in and to help.
BY MATTHEW STEWART
Spring Sojourn: London’s The May Fair
Sumptuous suites, splendid afternoon tea, and Ottoman-inspired cuisine—you deserve this.
April 19, 2013
NYC Not Tiring of 'Sleep No More'
Chelsea’s McKittrick Hotel holds its fair share of secrets in the ever-expanding experience that is Sleep No More.
April 19, 2013
Actors perform in front of a masked crowd at Sleep No More
What more is there to say about Sleep No More, the mysterious immersive theater drama occupying a set of otherwise-unmarked Chelsea warehouses playing to sold-out audiences of enthralled visitors nightly?
For the uninitiated, the show is set at the fictional McKittrick Hotel, a series of dimly lit hallways and a creepy elevator ride away from a noir fantasia playing out around you. Since its inception in March 2011, the experience has garnered truly universal acclaim—visitors are quite literally dropped into the most fully realized, theatrical drama the city has ever seen.
Imagine awaking in Oz and walking along the Yellow Brick Road, standing alongside the longshoremen in On the Waterfront, or schmoozing late into the night in Jay Gatsby’s Great Neck mansion. Here, you can pour yourself a drink from the various vessels scattered throughout the “hotel.” Craft a cryptic message for other visitors to find at a typewriter. Flip through the pages of a picture book in a child’s bedroom. What’s fair is…well…fair…and in Sleep No More, everything is.
Throughout more than a hundred distinct rooms spanning over 100,000 square feet, cast members act out a highly-stylized, mostly wordless mash-up of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and various Hitchcockian themes while hundreds of guests—equipped with stark white masquerade-style masks—stream through the space around them. It is stage and hype-craft to the utmost degree. Since opening two years ago without any advertising, shows are sold out weeks in advance.
With its formerly temporary residency now entrenched for the foreseeable future, Emursive and Punchdrunk, the companies responsible for bringing the concept to New York, have built up their program around the epic Sleep No More experience. Pre- and post- show, guests gather in the Manderley Bar, a highly stylized 1920s-style bar with blood-red walls, black banquettes, and period décor. Local bands play the bar each night after the Sleep No More performance cycle ends, and the space has been attracting more national touring acts in recent months for unique performance opportunities
Last summer, an addition came in the form of Gallow Green, a woody rooftop bar (named for the town within the production itself) set to reopen with an exclusive Herb Festival gala on April 20. Both bars serve appropriately themed cocktails ,from absinthe-infused martinis to flaming bowls of punch.
On a recent night, singer Jim James (frontman of the successful Southern rock quintet My Morning Jacket) emerged onto the ballroom stage wearing a white mask of his own before throwing a flower into the audience and performing songs from his appropriately haunting new solo record, Regions of Light and Sound of God. James’ ephemeral falsetto warped and twisted around the layered synths of the songs, filling the ballroom with yet another new apparatus of stagecraft. James, who had taken part in the experience a few times before arranging the performance, called it “one of the most emotional artistic experiences of my life. I didn't know where or who I was anymore,” he said. On this evening, James was the one holding the audience in his thrall, though the magic of the space obviously played a role.
With even more promised surprises on the horizon, the McKittrick is looking more and more like the city’s most complete and unique night out. As you step off into Sleep No More’s world of wonder, a hotel staffer whispers a final message into your ear that serves as a mission statement for the project and advice for an unforgettable theatrical adventure—fortune favors the bold.
BY JOHN VILANOVA
PHOTO BY MATTHEW CRAIG
Rolls-Royce Wraith Debuts in Geneva
The British auto brand takes a 1938 model for a modern spin.
March 13, 2013
It’s symptomatic for Rolls-Royce to look backwards before moving forward when the time for contemplation of a new model is imminent. With a storied history—founder Charles Stewart Rolls was in his twenties when he co-founded the company and, as a young pilot, became the first man to double cross the English Channel non-stop—and a reservoir of creativity at its disposal, the British automaker proudly staged the world debut of its dynamic new Wraith recently at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show.
Wraith, titled after a mystical Scottish spirit, represents new potential direction for Rolls-Royce and extends its level of luxury, refinement, and hand-craftsmanship, but also presents unique positioning defined by power, style, and drama. Originally conceived in 1938, the rebirth of the current fastback and its perfectly engineered features and technical contour introduces a younger demographic to the Rolls-Royce brand. The sleek and vigorous Wraith is purely driver oriented with its Ghost-based 6.6-liter V12 that now outputs 624-horsepower (European spec), allowing it to reach 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. With this in mind, the majestic gran turismo becomes the most powerful Rolls-Royce in the history of the company.
Hallmark coach doors open into the Wraith’s rich cabin, which is composed of Phantom-grade leathers and Canadel Panelling wood veneers. A bespoke touch of imagination is displayed by way of the lustrous night roof lining, conceived by the hand stitching of 1,340 fibre optic lamps. For enthusiastic owners who position themselves directly behind the wheel, innovative technology dubbed Satellite Aided Transmission applies GPS mapping algorithms to forecast the driver’s next move using current location-base and drive characteristics. The system then pre-chooses the most suitable gear from the 8-speed automatic ZF transmission appropriate for the impending topography ahead.
Expect deliveries by the end of the year to early 2014 with a current European price of €245K. Further pricing details for additional markets such as the U.S. will be revealed at a later date. It’s currently a moment of introspection for Rolls-Royce as they position themselves for supplementary growth, heightened levels of performance, and inflated expectations from their loyalists.
The Met Examines Art's Effect on Fashion
A new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a look back through the archives to reveal the centuries-old love affair between art and fashion.
February 25, 2013
Lady with Fans (portrait of Nina de Callias) by Édouard Manet, 1873.
In late 19th century Paris, even the minute details of fashion and dress were indicative of social status. Susan Alyson Stein, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s curator of “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity,” which opens February 26, explains that what to our eyes might be the subtle clues—an unfastened button, the shape of a bustle, or too much décolletage—were conspicuous signals to a viewer of that era.
In the exhibition, Parisian styles from 1860 through 1880 are brought to life by pairing more than 80 major canvases by important Impressionist artists such as Gustave Caillebotte, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir with examples of the costumes and accessories, including side dresses, hats, shoes, and parasols, worn by their models. There were strict formulas for dress, dictating that women change throughout the day, and the installation animates this rigid system. In one extraordinary example, Albert Bartholomé’s portrait of his wife is displayed with the polka dot and violet striped dress she wore in the painting.
Organized in collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay and the Art Institute of Chicago, the installation is timely and topical, harnessing scholarly interest and our contemporary fascination with the intersection between fashion and high art. “I honestly believe that it presents such a vivid sense of the material culture that stimulated and inspired artists’ creativity,” says Stein.
Fashion plates and magazines, commonly used by consumers to order their wardrobes, are also included. “The proliferation of magazines and the rise of department stores at the time just heightened the awareness of fashion,” notes Stein, “and the viewer would have had an immediate understanding of identity from the dress.”
It was during this period that Manet, the foremost painter of modernity, asserted: “the latest fashion, you see, is absolutely necessary for a painter. It’s what matters most.” As Stein emphasizes, using this quotation, “fashion mattered.” “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” is on display February 26 through May 27 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., 212-535-7710
photography courtesy of musée d’orsay, paris
New Book Channels '50 Shades' and 'Gatsby'
Charles Dubow talks about his sexy new book, Indiscretion, set in the Hamptons.
February 13, 2013
Charles Dubow recently released his debut novel, Indiscretion, a sultry tale set in the Hamptons. A New York native, Dubow was a founding editor of Forbes.com. His story of love, lust, and betrayal is told in a powerful voice, and Dubow is poised to make waves among our current literary landscape.
Your debut novel, Indiscretion, was just released. What inspired this intimate story? CHARLES DUBOW:I had the idea back in 1997 when I first started working at Forbes.com. I imagined a happy couple spending a golden summer in the Hamptons surrounded by friends. It was a very happy time in my life, I was recently married and my family’s house in East Hampton had an old barn on it that had been converted into a guesthouse. This was when most of our friends were just starting out in their careers and didn’t have weekend places of their own yet so everyone came to mine. But, of course, that alone wouldn’t make a very interesting story. There needed to be an element of conflict. It was obvious to me back then that it had to do with infidelity—a beautiful young stranger thrown into the mix. I wrote up a brief synopsis and tucked it away, planning on getting to it someday. Every year I’d look at it and think about it again but I could find neither the time nor the courage to write it. Finally, I realized there were no more excuses.
Give us your elevator speech on the setting/plot of Indiscretion?
CD: My editor called it a mash-up between The Great Gatsby and 50 Shades of Grey. I am not sure anyone is being especially well served by that comparison, but it does have a certain pithiness to it.
How did living in Manhattan and spending summers in the Hamptons shape the novel?
CD: There’s good reason why people say you should write what you know. I was inspired to write the book based in large part on my summers in the Hamptons. We had a house there for decades, on Georgica Pond before it became fashionable. It wasn’t until the 1980s when people like Calvin Klein and Steven Spielberg moved in. When I was a child it was pretty sleepy. I was very jealous of my friends who lived closer to town or to the beach. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized just how lucky I was.
Given the monster success of 50 Shades of Grey, and your novel’s sensual plot, why do you think America is obsessed with such voyeuristic reads?
CD: I’m not sure that voyeurism is an especially American or even 21st century obsession. After all, authors have been writing about the private lives of the well-to-do since the ancient Romans. Look at Petronius’ Satyricon, for example. However, I do think that the main reason for this is that people have always wanted to see how the other half lives—what their pleasures are, their peccadilloes. It’s fun to snoop, right?
What books are currently on your nightstand?
CD: I’m reading the third volume of William Manchester’s biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion: Winston Churchill: Defender of the Realm. It’s a brick of a book but deeply engrossing. I am also reading Transportation, a collection of short stories by Nancy Rommelmann, an old friend from Wesleyan, and A House of Gentle Folk, by Ivan Turgenev.
CD: I’ve never encountered a word I dislike, even if sometimes the connotations might be distinctly unpleasant.
Which authors do you most admire?
CD: I’ll answer with those authors I most admire as opposed to those I most like reading or who I would most like to emulate. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald was a genius but I sure wouldn’t want to have his life. Ditto Evelyn Waugh, whose work I adore but he was apparently a real shit. Therefore, those authors would be Tolstoy, Turgenev, Chekhov, Balzac, Austen, Graham Greene, Le Carré.