Post New Year’s Thoughts

Comings and Goings during the holidays:

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Renée Fleming in the title role of Hanna and Nathan Gunn as Count Danilo in “The Merry Widow.”
Photo Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

I spent New Year’s Eve and day in the city with my partner and enjoyed a night at The Metropolitan Opera, (THE MERRY WIDOW with Renee Fleming, see NY TIMES review from January 1st, 2014), sipped pink champagne before the performance and during the intermission!

In the afternoon we window-shopped in the area of the hotel and visited the International Center of Photography, to see the SEBASTIAO SALGADO exhibit, which is on until January 11th.

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We’ve bought the book GENESIS: Sebastiao Salgado published by Taschen; it is a must-have coffee table book.

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Today we had brunch at TODD ENGLISH’S FOOD HALLS in the Plaza, always a fun New York place to order anything from a Reuben sandwich to a frittata.  I had a great Cosmopolitan. There is a lot of temptation surrounding the eateries, and we relented choosing popcorn and pink and white marshmallows. Yum!

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This year during the holidays we had friends visit and partake of the bubbly, wonderful Brillat Savarin with Truffles and charcuterie, the gourmands particularly enjoyed the venison with fennel. All of this topped off with a Brandy Raspberry BUCHE DE NOEL French Christmas log from CHOCOLATE SPRINGS, in Lenox, Massachsetts, and chocolates from ZChocolat, France.

My favorite gift from my partner this year was a candle by CIRE TRUDON, a French company, and bespoke perfume by CHANEL.

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L’Esclave Candle, Cire Trudon

My dear childhood friend Barbara, always an original, gave me two gifts from STORIARTS: Alice-in-Wonderland fingerless writing gloves and The Secret Garden ‘Book” scarf. Unique and so much fun!

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Other cherished friends were very kind and generous, a special meal of Hungarian Mushroom Soup, for the day after Christmas so lovingly prepared, what a wonderful present!   An elegant cake server and knife, some great books, divine sour candy, cookies and bottles of wine.

Aside: I always have a worst holiday gift category and this year it goes to leftover Chanukah candles. Yes a little bag of about 10 unused candles.

Most memorable dining event during the holidays was lunch at Gramercy Tavern.

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Robbies favorite gift is a new festive Christmas collar from his friend Hugo. Thank you, you beautiful sweet poodle!

In the spirit of Christmas:  I sent a very large box of all of the hotel miniature toiletries I have collected over 15 years of travel to THE HOBOKEN SHELTER and we also donated to the five charities I highlighted in a previous charity post series.

We  must remember:

A very very sad year in air travel, with three plane crashes. Our thoughts are with the surviving families of these tragedies.  There were many children on all three fights.

The ongoing war in Syria, 76,000 killed as of today according to Amnesty International. Millions of people displaced, children unable to go to school.

Tonight (January 1st) it was announced that Mario C. Cuomo, former three-time governor of New York State, an almost-candidate for the presidency, and a beloved and cherished liberal orator passed away at the age of 82.

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On a personal note, I met Governor Cuomo at a dinner I made and hosted at Senator Marchi’s home in Staten Island.  He was an imposing figure, tall, statesmanlike, gracious.  To me, and many many others, he will always represent the best of what America can be.  It was a badge of honor to be a member of Friends of Mario for years and years after he was Governor.  He was one of my lifelong heroes.

President Obama said,  “An Italian Catholic kid from Queens, born to immigrant parents, Mario paired his faith in God and faith in America to live a life of public service – and we are all better for it.  He rose to be chief executive of the state he loved, a determined champion of progressive values, and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity, and opportunity…..”

I wrote about him a few weeks ago in a previous eCLIPPINGS post, when I learned that he was very ill. May he rest in peace.

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