Abandoning the Cuckoo's Nest

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 10 comments

Shelves aren't the only things that come from Taunton asylum.  Photographer Jeremy Harris tells me: My friends and I spent days in the place before it was torn down, and have many artifacts in our collections.  I personally have patient records, hand written log books, skeleton keys, and a portable shock therapy machine.  All from Taunton.

He's done an entire series of beautiful shots inside Taunton and other asylums.  Here are a selection.

All photos by Jeremy Harris
Acquisitions | Haunted by Shelves

Monday, March 28, 2011 12 comments

A couple months back, we had a few friends over, ordered a pizza and were about to crack open some beers when our old bookcase started to crack - and then completely collapsed, spilling 144 square feet of books, World of Interiors, Italian Vogue and a DVD collection that rivals the cumulative video library of most fraternities into the kitchen and onto Porter's bed. Porter - the only one of us to try to break the fall - was scathed, however.  Her pinky finger was sliced quite badly, leaving a quite gruesome path of blood (in the weeks following, she asked the manicurist to just paint around the bandaid). It also left our apartment in a state of chaos.

But, last weekend, we popped into Moon River Chattel and saw a glorious set of cubby holes made of what appeared to be reclaimed wood. After an epic battle on Saturday (involving saws and six men), that 6.5' x 9' set is in the apartment - standing strong - slowing getting filled and organized. 

Let's just hope they stay that way. These shelves, it turns out, have a past more gruesome than our last set: They spent most of their years holding stuff inside the (supposedly haunted) Taunton, Mass. Insane Asylum.
Friendly Shelter | David Coggins

Thursday, March 24, 2011 2 comments

My good friend David Coggins might love "things that have a function, or once did" even more than I. He just seems to organize them more efficiently. Today, he and our friend Michael Williams from A Continuous Lean are featured in the cover story of The New York Times' Home Section in a piece on the love of American Rustic decorating. They offer a peek at Coggs' ridiculously great West Village pad - and his growing Oriental rug obsession.

That little dude standing there on the bottom shelf is Grover Cleveland, a little plastic toy I found for him in Maine (his blog is www.groverscleveland.com). Can't believe he made it in!  (Also can't believe I'm making this about me. Congrats, Coggs! Looks amazing).

(All photos except for the one of my office desk by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times)
Little Boxes

Monday, March 21, 2011 No comments

The New York Times and those brilliant (if not scary) Google cartographers teamed up to celebrate the bicentenial of Manhattan's famous grid for Sunday's paper. John Randel, Jr.'s 1811 vision of 90-degree order is pretty much how things are today uptown. Thank god for it, too - I've been here 11 years and I still get lost in the West Village.

The future, then much much larger, site of the original Shake Shack.

A glimpse of the chaos that reigns downtown to this day. 

(A couple weeks back, my friend and I were watching snippets of Ric Burns' wonderful New York: A Documentary Film.  It reminded us that when City Hall - much, much further south - was taking a bit too much time and dough to go up, one developer suggested that they just finish the back in brownstone instead of marble...because no one would ever go that far uptown! Incredible).
(Coat of) Arm Yourself | E.C.Snaith and Son

Friday, March 18, 2011 4 comments
There are certainly dark moments in history. There were also rare moments of dark humor in my 10th grade European history AP class.  As my teacher told it:

I was telling the class about the Children's Crusade - a terrible event in the 13th century when as many as 30,000 unarmed children were sent into battle. "Oh, my god!" one girl exclaimed. "How'd they find that many little amputees?! They wouldn't even be able to hold weapons!"

Limbs AND weapons, it turns out, are helpful in war. Similarly (well, not exactly), really nice embroidered crests and coats of arms are extremely helpful at country clubs and polo matches.  E.C.Snaith & Son has a collection to end all collections of these patches. (They also have a load of ridiculously awesome stable belts! I pretty much want every color combo they sell.)
Auctions | Shabby Chic III at Pierre Bergé Brussels

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 5 comments
Perhaps I'm being a bit of a lazy blogger by not linking to the individual lots, but I also cannot breathe! Very hard to type without oxygen! A reader just sent over a link to this INSANE "Shabby Chic III" auction that Pierre Bergé Brussels is holding on March 28. Pretty much each and every object is perfection. Click around and let your mind run wild! A taxidermy kangaroo? C'mon!
Flasks and the Fuzz

Thursday, March 10, 2011 2 comments

On New Year's Eve I watched a couple coppers dive out of their car after a guy because they saw a leather flask peeking out of his lapel. A firmly closed (and very beautiful) leather flask! That said, Christopher Lemaire must not have had New York's no-tolerance "open" container laws on the brain when he designed the necklaces for his first Hermès show. I assume most of 'em are for credit cards and iPhones - not booze - but, just like that flask, dangerously good looking. (They might look even better hooked to a belt).

Photos from Style.com
Freakishly Amazing Travel Deal | $398 Round Trip Fares to Moscow!!!

Monday, March 07, 2011 3 comments

In the name of all this travel fantasy talk of late, you cannot let this pass you by! Click here and travel before April 20! Good luck!

Update: there are some (likely remnants of the Cold War) visa issues, it seems. Like, it takes six weeks to get one. Grrrr. (Thanks for pointing that out, HC!)
Ebay (UK) Shopping | 1932 Portriat of a Detective

Monday, March 07, 2011 5 comments

How ridiculously awesome is this?! 1932! London (perhaps!?)! Crime!

It's also gigantic (69' x 41') in a beautiful frame. You can buy it now for GBP 1,800.  

This guy's looking for fingerprints; I'm looking for extra coins under the couch pillows.
Flicks | Norwegian Wood

Friday, March 04, 2011 3 comments

A couple years ago, Porter wanted to take a few Polaroids into the city and not bend the bejeezus out of them, so she grabbed a copy of Murakami's Norwegian Wood from our bookshelf and popped them inside. As she stood on the L train, this cute boy kept staring at the book. Then he approached. 

"Oh, that's such a great book! Do you love it?" he asked. "Oh, I've just started!" (Lie). "Well, why don't we get coffee in a couple days and you can tell me how you like it." "Ok!"

So, for the next few days Porter reads and reads and reads. But come coffee time, she still has 10 pages to go. Choosing promptness over completing the assignment, she figures it'll all be fine. Until he greets her...

"That was some ending, eh?" "Oh, it was nice, I suppose." (No idea what he's freaking out about). "Nice?!?! What?!?!" "Hum? Um, yes. Nice. A very nice ending." 

Well, it seems that a great, great deal of action goes down in those final ten pages -- none simply "just nice" at all.

Luckily, little hipsters can now avoid such an awkward fate because the movie is here! (At least in the U.K. next week). (It looks really great).
Tying One On

Thursday, March 03, 2011 10 comments
There are few things I love more than espadrilles. The only that comes to my mind at this very second is a pair of espadrilles with the lacey bits wrapped around the ankles. My espadrille investment will likely increase from three pairs to 23 pairs after I go to Barcelona, but in the meantime, we should all treat ourselves to some custom ones -- with the lacey bits!

Click here to choose your base color and laces at the Espadrille Store! So fun! (Is it completely boring that I want navy on navy and tan on ivory?)

(My Barcelona travel companion is balking at my espadrille urges, saying that early April is way too early for such things. "But it's the MEDITERRANEAN!" I plead. "It will still just be around 63 degrees, Hollister. Those are hot weather shoes." "But, but, it's the Mediterranean! AND they look so nice with your cuffed pants! AND what's more important than our comfort is how we look in the photos!!!" I've gotta say, Bogey seems nearly bundled in this and Lauren certainly isn't sweating. I'm sure it was around April when this was taken. Yes. Quite sure.)
Sketches in History

Wednesday, March 02, 2011 7 comments
Instead of watching TV, Dalyn Montgomery retreated to his sketchbook. Over the years, as season after season of CSI: Miami and Law & Order SVU aired without him, he created an incredible illustrated encyclopedic journal of the men who've made history. We recently met at the Grand Central Oyster Bar for a great conversation (and he even did some sketches of me in the process!). It's a total honor - and this leather-bound book of art will be a treasure for his daughters one day.

Nice Pad

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 2 comments

Piel Frama, the leather shop based outside of Seville, makes a damned great looking iPad case! I ordered the mock croc and it's so beautiful that it feels sinful to even keep it in my purse. AND it comes it such a nice orange box! (AND they come in ostrich, too!)