|Central Park South. 2:40 PM. Photo: JH.|
|July 21, 2010. Another hot, overcast summer day, yesterday in New York. New Yorkers have grown used to it.
Oases. Down at Michael’s the place was packed. Last night I went with a friend to La Grenouille. Again, the place was packed. Both restaurants, not so incidentally, quite different in style are two of the most beautiful long time restaurants in the city, famous for their cuisine as well.
At La Grenouille, Dr. Gerry Imber was having a cocktail at the bar, just back from a sunkissed sojourn to the isle of Capri, the ultimate luxury (except for one other) in my book.
La Grenouille has been in business since 1962. They opened a week before Christmas on a “quiet night in the midst of snowstorm.” It was created by Charles Masson Sr. and today is run by his son Charles Jr.
The current Charles is a serious painter of still lifes (several of which are hung in the main dining room and the private dining room on the second floor). He is also famous with his clientele for his love of flowers and his talent for personally creating dramatically beautiful arrangements that are the finishing touch on a very glamorous and distinguished décor. Red and gold and red and flowers.
|La Grenouille, main dining room.|
|Private dining room upstairs.|
|It’s one of those rare restaurants where the combination of the lighting with the colors and the design of the space enhances everybody, both appearance and attitude, flattering one and all. This also is elevated by the excellent service and a perfect menu.
Place. In its early days the restaurant became famous for its fashionable lunches. Indeed, John Fairchild, the innovative Boswell of an editor/publisher of Women’s Wear Daily, held court there at the lunch hour during the week. His presence drew the fashion crowd – designers, merchants, the chic ladies who lunched – like moths to a flame. His flame (or so he was perceived).
History. Prior to John Fairchild’s aegis, WWD had been only one business publication of a family business and owned by his father. The son turned it into the social bible of its day, augmenting it with W, which was to the rich, the chic and the shameless what Andy Warhol’s Interview was to the art crowd and flying hipsters (and later the rich, the chic, the etc.).
Those two “magazines” (they both started out as newspapers in style), it turned out, created the marriage of culture and fashion (which I suppose could be classified as culture) media, and the cult of the “celebrity.” The hybrid of that combination today is Vanity Fair which, while a re-creation of the earlier version created by Conde Nast -- the man, not the company – was the natural exponent of Fairchild and Warhol.
This is New York.