Instant RE:Play

There’s only one more week to catch the show by remarkable New York artist, Jil Weinstock.  Playing with memory and emotion, this evocative show brings together much loved objects from the artist’s past.  Weinstock works with what she calls “artifacts of childhood,” using both treasured possessions as well as things from her junk drawer and casts them in rubber and bronze.

We were lucky enough to do a studio visit in the winter when the work was still in progress.  You can read the full article here. Seeing the individual pieces come together in one entire show was powerful.

Objects like Fisher Price’s classic airplane are cast in rubber in different hues of sky and cloud and displayed on an entire wall, giving the feeling of the planes all fighting for their own air space and importance.  We were surprised by our own reaction to the Fisher Price houses cast in dark-red rubber.  The natural way the rubber ran during the casting process made us feel a kind of bloody horror associated with these perfect suburban dream houses in their orderly quiet environment.

Jax, rubber balls, toy cars and marbles are cast in rubber and illuminated by light- boxes.  This treatment somehow elevates them to becoming precious trophies. Because of the tactile nature of the material, we had to suppress a childlike impulse to pick the toys out of the rubber and play with them.

The show stirred our own memories and made us question what material things we hold dear from our own past.

Jil Weinstock. RE:Play. Winston Wachter Gallery. 530 West 25th Street. New York. 10001.
Tel: 212 255 2718. Show Closes June 16th.
Rubber, jax, rubber balls, fluorescent lights and stainless steel
12 x 12 inches x 3 3/4 inches
Rubber, marbles, fluorescent lights and stainless steel
12 x 12 inches x 3 3/4 inches
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Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel

Williamsburg is not only hip because of the young, good looking and often bearded crowd that lives there, but because everything is just that bit cooler over there.  The shops, the restaurants and now finally, a hotel that befits the neighborhood. Last month Williamsburg officially flung open it’s doors to the world when its first luxury hotel opened. The hotel is owned by Andrew Tarlow, who many think of as an original pioneer of the Brooklyn food scene, with his ever popular restaurants Diner and Marlow & Sons.

The hotel is authentic Brooklyn and like all of Tarlow’s endeavours, stands firmly on trying to make every part of the experience both ethically sourced and sustainable.  A disused former factory on the Brooklyn waterfront has been painstakingly converted in to one of New York’s grooviest new hotel destinations.

The restaurant, Reynards cooks food in a wood fired oven with a menu which changes daily.  They have relationships with providers of every source of food they serve, from their farmers to their coffee roasters. The menu naturally centers around whatever their farmers have on offer making for delecious, fresh seasonal fare.  The restaurant attracts a local crowd of Brooklyn hipsters adding to the authentic style of the place.

The 72 rooms are spacious and airy with high ceilings, some with entire walls of glass windows and magnificent views of Manhattan.  Beds are made of reclaimed pine salvaged from the building and the furniture in the room is locally made.  The mini bar offerings are seasonal which is both totally original and thoroughly in keeping with the ethos of the hotel.

For anyone visiting New York and seeking a hip and luxurious experience, you can’t get better than the Wythe Hotel.  Across the road from happening music venue Brooklyn Bowl and a short stroll to all of Williamsburg’s finest, you’re in the heart of hipster heaven.  The subway ride in to Manhattan is just one stop which means you get to sample the best of both worlds.

Wythe Hotel. 80 Wythe Avenue. At N. 11th Street. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. 11249

Dear John Robshaw

John Robshaw Textiles are hands down our favorite linens.  Whenever we spot any of the pillows or bedding, we want to immediately buy them and redecorate our entire apartment based around their gorgeous hues.

The designs are fantastic and the patterns vibrant while being surprisingly neutral at the same time.  We have been devotees of the bedding for some time and every night when we climb in to the crisp thick cotton sheets we feel like we sleep in a 5 star hotel.

We had to find out more about this brand we love so much, so we visited the John Robshaw Design Studio in Chelsea to get the low down.  Walking in to the showroom we were astounded by the breadth of the collection.  It’s not only sheets and table linens, but a vast array of beautiful handmade textiles for furniture upholstery, pillows, cushions, napkins, picture frames and drapes.  There are one off pieces of furniture, rare vintage textiles and special finds that John has unearthed on his regular trips to South Asia.

We asked John how he got his start in such a unique business and the story he told us was fantastic.  He was a MFA student at PRATT in the 90s with plans to enter the New York art scene upon graduation.  As a way of seeing the world, he took on the job of a “sequin mule”.  We laughed our tails off when he said that.  He explained that he would take dress patterns from New York then pick up sequins in Paris and deliver it all to Bombay and wait a week while craftsmen turned the sequins and patterns in to couture dresses.  He’d return to New York and deliver them just in time for Fashion Week.

Visiting India as an art student he was blown away. Everywhere he looked people were crafting things of great beauty, silver, block prints, clothing, he was inspired.  While still a student he traveled extensively throughout Asia and Europe, learning how to etch in Italy and block print in China.  On a trip to India he was waiting to see a textile museum show when 3 pretty Indian girls asked him what the heck he was doing in Ahmedabad in summer.   Ahmedabad was a dry city and only foreigners could buy alcohol and they asked the cute young Western boy to please buy them some liquor and in return, they would take him to their school, The National Institute of Design.  He took them up on the offer and at the Institute he learnt the traditional art of Indian block printing, it was fate.

Having graduated with a fine arts degree he set up his art studio in Soho and interiors people would come by to look at his paintings.  All around his studio were the printed textiles he’d made in India and the interiors people snapped them up, hungry for more.  From there is was a natural progression, everyone wanted his textile designs and soon the painting took a back seat.

Today John Robshaw Textiles sells magnificent textiles to the trade for everything imaginable.  The line of bed linens, table linens and accessories, such as super cute pyjamas and aprons, are highly coveted and for good reason.  It’s somehow the combination of the soft and luxurious cotton coupled with the stunning block prints.  In a way, each item is a unique piece of art. Thoughtfully designed by John and his team in their Chelsea studio then carefully hand printed in India.

The linens are sold around the world in over 500 locations.  In New York there is a vast John Robshaw department at ABC Carpet & Home, complete with its own rickshaw.

Much like our grandmother’s linen that’s been passed down from generation to generation, John Robshaw textiles have that heritage quality that you’ll forever cherish.

John Robshaw Textiles
ABC Carpet & Home. 888 Broadway. NY. 10003. Tel: 212 473 3000

The New Season Brilliance of Daryl K

When we think about a designer that represents the ultimate in Downtown cool, the first name that comes to mind is Daryl K.  Daryl Kerrigan, the designer of Daryl K, has designed clothing for musicians, performers, artists and devoted fans since the early 90s.  The Daryl K store on Bond Street has been a legendary, cooler than cool spot for as long as we can remember.  The store closed last month and our heart broke as it was one of those New York institutions that you could always count on to find something that made you look smoking hot and just a bit cooler than you really were.

An invitation arrived in our mail box a few weeks ago inviting us to a Daryl K trunk show.  We were thrilled, the store was gone but the clothes were not.  We told all of our friends and on Monday night ran to the trunk show, held in the groovy new Standard East Village.  Arriving at the show we felt like we were back in the old store on Bond Street, albeit with cocktails and a party atmosphere.

Perhaps the excitement was because everyone was so excited to get their hands on a coveted Daryl K piece, but it was more than that.  Whenever you went to the store on Bond Street, the girls who worked there would genuinely help you find something that was to die for and would always remember you.  They were always super nice and just that bit cooler than you could ever hope to be.  The trunk show had that same feeling, all of the lovely crew from the store and the legendary Daryl K herself.

We wore a pair of black silk pants gathered at the ankle that we bought a few seasons back.  Daryl Kerrigan instantly spotted the pants from across the room and made a beeline, telling us how great they looked.  She told us that she first made that design in 1991 which is wild, given that we feel that they are so totally now.  That really is the special thing about her clothes. They have an element of edge coupled with luxury, so no matter how long you’ve had a piece, you pull it out and it will always garner praise from those around you.

The other extraordinary thing about these clothes is the fit of the pants. We’ve never found anyone who can make your derrière look as hot as Daryl K can, that woman can cut pants.  We will be wearing the burgundy leather pants she’s made for fall, perhaps every single day, as they’re just so flattering and right on for fall. The other look we loved was the gorgeous models wandering around in beautifully tailored prim silk dresses, with a daring split at the back and leather leggings underneath, the look was hot and we can’t wait to work it come next season.

Alas, you can’t browse the store anymore but we have filled this story with lots of  images from their Fall/Winter 2012 collection.  If you contact them direct, you can get on their email list and you too can attend their fabulous trunk show soirees.

All That Glitters

As summer approaches we think long and hard about finding that perfect pair of flat sandals that you can run around the City in.  We love a sandal that can take us from casual to formal in a second. A sparkling sandal always catches our eye and works well with pretty much anything.  We’re in love with the entire line of Jerome C. Rousseau sandals this season and think their sparkling silver and beige flats are a thing of great beauty.

We also adore the delightfully sparkling ocean themed Mui Mui flats.  So exquisite they feel like jewels for your feet. A pale blue and pink sandal on closer inspection was actually a whimsical seahorse, how perfect for summer by the sea.

They’re all so beautiful it might be hard to wear them outside of the house for fear of ruining them.  The neutral pale hues are an easy match to pair with any of the pastel colors or mad patterned prints around this season. Saks 5th Avenue carries a great selection of both Mui Mui and Jerome C. Rousseau and the staff there are a nice mix of  helpful without any hint of pushiness.

Saks 5th Avenue. 611 5th Avenue. New York. NY. Tel: 753 4000
Jerome C. Rousseau

A New Story

Last week a glamorous new store opened just a block from Central Park in a grand impressive brownstone.  The store is called Fivestory, presumably because the house has five stories, but only spans two floors so rather than being a department store, it is more of a carefully curated boutique.

Fivestory is positioning itself much like the famous Parisian store Colette.  We adore Colette and wondered if this could indeed be true so excitedly made the trek uptown to find out.  Housed on a gorgeous block just off of 5th Avenue, it’s a divine leafy location on one of the smartest blocks in the entire City.

You enter through the main front door of the house and are greeted by an imposing spiral staircase. The floors are black white tiled which lend an air of  old school style to the store.  We headed upstairs and were initially frightened by the rows of expensive gowns and wondered if this store was more for the ladies who lunch crowd than a downtown fashion hound who enjoys a nice mix of high and low pieces.  On closer inspection we were delighted to find some adorable pieces like ornate leather collars that can be thrown on top of a dress, wonderful patterned swimwear by New York designer Mara Hoffman and a nice selection of funky well priced costume jewelery.

We walked through a smart shoe department and down another staircase into an area filled with wonderful china, casual shoes, colorful mens socks and funky t-shirts by London brand Hype Means Nothing.  The shirts reminded us of classic Supreme t-shirts with brilliant photos of icons like Woody Allen and Kate Moss and felt much more Williamsburg than the Upper East Side, we were impressed.  We honed in on a lovely yellow vase that was like nothing we’d seen before.  It was made in Turkey and the circular crystal design was an evil eye to bring good luck.  We always need good luck and when we found out it was $40 we had to buy it.

Next we pawed over the sunglass selection.  Perhaps it’s because we constantly loose sunglasses but we always seem to be needing a new pair.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that the groovy blue glasses we were coveting were $165, made in Italy and the type of special shades that make you feel a little cooler than you really are whenever you wear them.

The staff are warm and helpful and it looked like the owners were buzzing around trying personally to make sure that Fivestory was a good shopping experience for all.  They carry a mix of men’s and women’s clothing, both casual and frightfully smart as well as carefully curated items for the home.

With our yellow vase neatly wrapped up we were ready to leave and noticed some beautiful candles housed in black and white porcelain vessels made by the artist Robert Longo, what a great gift for that difficult to buy for person.  Fivestory feels a bit like a happy family who’ve just moved in to their first brownstone and began decorating.  We can see that it’s going to become a great and unique Manhattan fixture.

Fivestory. 18 East 69th Street. NY. NY. 10065. Tel: 212 288 1338

A Night Out With Jimmy

We always appreciate a bar in Manhattan with a view because no matter how long you’ve lived here or where you’ve been, a good view of the City still manages to take your breath away.  Jimmy, the bar on top of the James Hotel in Soho is one such bar whose views from the 18th floor are quite something.

As befits a swank rooftop hotel bar, the cocktails are delicious.  We like the Basel Peach Julep and the Urban Garden Tonic made with organic cucumber vodka, lemon juice, honey, celery bitters with cucumber, mint, thyme and lime muddled together and topped off with tonic water.  It’s so scrumptious it feels like a meal in a glass.

Outside there’s a sparkling rooftop pool surrounded by an expansive teak deck.  A large cement architectural column somehow anchors the deck and the glass sidings allow views as far as the eye can see.   Drinks are served both poolside and inside the intimate and minimally stylish bar.

The bar opens daily at 5pm and anyone can go on up.  After 9pm there’s a doorman downstairs and a strict door policy but if you’re already up at the bar before 9pm they let you stay as long as you wish. It goes without saying that it’s a heavenly place to watch the sunset over the City with a thirst quenching cocktail in hand.

Jimmy at the James Hotel. 15 Thompson Street. New York. NY. 10013. Tel: 212 201 9118

The Coolest Meal In Town

Eating at Bar Piti this week we were trying to figure out how to explain why it’s the coolest hang out in New York City.  The food is perfect and simple and the yummiest Italian around but that’s not why. It’s not because there’s always a few celebrities and a famous artist or two eating next to you.  It’s not because the crowd is fantastic to look at, we think it’s actually because the place is a well kept secret.

In New York when a restaurant is good it becomes over run with hoards of people vying for a table. For some reason Bar Piti has never turned in to that, but instead remains constantly crowded with a sparkling crowd of interesting New Yorkers.

The brusque and very busy Italian staff are quite rude to you if they don’t know you.  They will give you a menu but nobody who eats there regularly orders from the menu, but instead order from the seasonal blackboard that’s placed on your table.  If you try to be difficult in any way you get treated very badly so be prepared.  However, go back a few times and you’ll soon be treated as an old dear friend and it becomes the friendliest joint in town.  Maybe that’s why we all keep coming back week after week.

The reason we think many body conscious types love eating here is that you can fill up on delicious food without eating any carbs. The salmon comes with gorgeous sautéed zucchini and the veal shank with salad.  The steak with arugula and the fish just straight up with vegetables.  The pastas are amazing and there are seasonal dishes every week.  The glee that explodes inside us when their pesto or truffles hit the menu board is indescribable. The sautéed spinach is the stuff of legend.  It’s prepared with garlic and for reasons unknown, is the best spinach anyone’s ever tried.

In summer more than half the restaurant is outside and it’s the best place in New York to sit and watch fabulous New Yorker’s promenade past.  We should mention that they don’t take reservations and they only take cash.  We usually go for brunch on the weekend or a mid-week dinner.  Friday and Saturday night the lines are crazy so go prepared for a wait.

Bar Piti. 268 6th Avenue (between  Houston and Bleeker Street).
New York. NY. (212) 982-3300

A Glamorous Nomadic Lifestyle

The NoMad hotel opened quietly this month as all the best places in New York do these days.  NoMad is the name of the hotel but also the freshly coined name of this newish neighborhood, North of Madison Square Park.

This super swank turn-of-the-century Beaux-Arts hotel was developed by the same  group who did the ever popular Ace Hotel just a block away.  NoMad is like an older more sophisticated sibling of the Ace, it has the same cool vibe but is somehow altogether more grown up.

The hotel’s interiors are by French designer Jacques Garcia and the rooms are based on the Parisian apartment of his youth. They’re filled with interesting works of art and comfortable plush furnishings.  The smallest rooms come with a tiny separate office, great for anyone who needs to work.  Other rooms have decadent claw footed bathtubs, open to the bedroom but discretely placed behind an old fashioned changing screen.  The suites are on the corner of the building and feature grand circular bedrooms with terrific views of Manhattan.

We love the hotel’s library curated by Thatcher Wine, owner and founder of Juniper Books.  It’s a gorgeous public space featuring an old world, two leveled, beautifully stocked library.  Coffee and light snacks are served in this stylish and engaging space.

The hotel restaurant The NoMad is by Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara of the award-winning, 3 Michelin star-rated Eleven Madison Park. It’s one of the most buzzed about restaurants in the City at the moment.  Not only is it the night spot du jour, but because the restaurant is covered by an enormous glass atrium, it’s a wonderful bright, sunny spot for breakfast or lunch. We adore this space as it makes you feel like you’ve stepped in to the airy courtyard of a grand Parisian hotel.

The bar is attached to the restaurant and reached through a thick silk drape.  It’s dark and elegant and going to be one of those classic hotel bars that attracts a chic crowd for the rest of time.  This summer, a roof top bar will open which we’re sure will fast become Manhattan’s hottest bar of the season.

NoMad Hotel. 1170 Broadway. New York. NY. 10001. Tel: 212 796 1500

Lively Up Yourself

This Friday the first ever definitive documentary film about the life of Bob Marley opens in the US.  We were lucky enough to catch a pre-release screening of the film and were thoroughly moved by his story.

Of course we knew that Marley was a Rastafarian, the most legendary reggae singer ever but we didn’t know any of the details of his life.  Through interviews with his family and close friends, the movie tells his life story to its very premature end.  He died at 36 of cancer, an illness that many believed could have been prevented through early diagnosis and regular check ups.

Parts of his story made us feel sad, his tough childhood, his difficult relationship with his own children and of course his tragic early demise.  The story traces the history of reggae music, and the struggle and many years of hard work Marley put in to become the legend we all know.

We loved how the movie showed what a disciplined man he was, far from the image of a Rastafarian stoner that is often thrown his way.  Despite smoking huge amounts of marijuana, he would then go “Lively Up Himself” which involved long intense runs along the beach and drawn out competitive soccer matches.

Miss World 1976. Source:

He was a famous womanizer with 11 children to various different beauties.  The most surprising to us was his long term relationship with Miss World 1976, Cindy Breakspeare, the mother of one of his children Damian Marley.  Marley wrote the song “Turn Your Lights Down Low” about his relationship with her.   She tells a funny story about how make up was against all of Marley’s Rastafarian beliefs.  They were living in London and she would usually remove any trace of make up before seeing him but once got home before him and was about to clean the make up off when he caught her and laughed “got cha man” he said.

The movie reveals the story behind many of his famous anthems which more often than not had much deeper political or emotional meaning than we ever realized.  He spent a great deal of his life trying to live with honor and facilitate change in both his own country of Jamaica as well as war-torn Africa.

Even if you’re not a Bob Marley fan, this a beautiful story of an extraordinary man’s struggle to become the person he wanted to be.

Marley The Movie. In Theatres and on Demand 4.20.2012