Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

The Prostate Cancer Foundation Gala in the Hamptons Raises 4 Million in 4 Minutes

All photos Lieba Nesis
Click on images for full size views

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) hosted its 12th annual gala on Saturday August 27, 2016, at the Parrish Art Museum in Watermill, New York with cocktails beginning at 6:30 PM. This event is one of the major happenings of the summer Hampton's social season and many of the attendees fly in on their private planes from California to attend this $2,500 per head dinner. PCF is a foundation committed to curing prostate cancer with 100 percent of funds raised supporting groundbreaking discoveries in cancer research.

Prostate cancer researcher Dr. Jonathan Simons with Michael Milken

Michael Milken is the Chairman and Founder of PCF and the same tenacity he applied to his financial career is now turned toward eradicating cancer. In the 1980's Milken was known as the "junk bond king" and was a superstar in the financial world with only four down months over a period of 17 years. After being banned from the securities industry in 1989, he embarked on a different, equally successful journey with Fortune magazine calling him "The Man Who Changed Medicine" in its November 2004 cover article. PCF was started in 1993 by Milken after he was diagnosed with an advanced stage of the disease that year and given a prognosis of 12 to 18 months to live.

Left to right: Brent Nicklas managing partner at Lexington Partners with wife Laura,
Cynthia Ott, and Real Estate Mogul Jim Coleman

Until Milken entered the arena, prostate cancer research was considered a dead end. However, Milken is a problem solver and he and his cohorts developed a new model which was: investing in the most innovative programs. One of these initiatives was the Young Investigative Program, which gives recent MDs and PhD's the opportunity to conduct critical research at opportunistic moments in their career.

Left to right: tennis players Don Johnson, Jared Palmer
and Georgy Chukhleb

Dr. Jonathan Simons, is a pivotal cog in the organizational wheel, being a leading prostate cancer researcher and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation. Simons pointed out that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and the organization was seeking to raise money for a strategy called TEAM which stands for "time to eradicate all metasteses."

Left to right: Dr. Jonathan Simons in conversation with David Koch
and his wife Julia

Milken knows how to gather the right crowd for a fundraiser with billionaires David Koch, Leon Black, and Steve Ross being just a few of the heavy hitters attending.  David Koch is himself a prostate cancer survivor and showed up looking thinner than usual but stated "he was alive and kickin." The night was a smash success with more than 300 attendees at the dinner, up 20% from last year, and upwards of 400 people participating in the tennis tournament over 4 days.

Real estate developer Arnie Rosenshein with wife Paola Bacchini

When I spoke to Milken he said there was more than a 50 percent reduction in men dying from the disease and it was now becoming a chronic livable ailment with more than 1.4 million men alive because of the approval of 6 drugs spearheaded by his efforts. His single-minded preoccupation with curing cancer was all he would discuss-not including his 9 grandchildren. This man is an unstoppable force of nature and a hero who should be lauded for singularly devoting his time to helping others.

Anera Bociank and Don Engel

Tonight he took to the stage to raise 5 million for research and after donating the first 1 million another 4 was raised within less than 5 minutes-that's the way to do it. The night's entertainment was equally rewarding with Grammy winner Dianne Reeves, and nationally recognized pop vocal group "The Company Men" wowing the crowd. However, it was Billy Idol who had the group on their feet as he sang for nearly an hour and removed his shirt-revealing an impressive physique.

 Real estate developer Steve Ross and his wife Kara

The evening did not conclude until 11 PM, a late hour for the Hamptons, and guests were enthusiastically sharing videos of Billy Idol in action. I myself was marveling at the 70-year old man standing in front of me named Milken; someone I studied at Harvard Business School who was now making an indelible mark in the field of cancer.

- Lieba Nesis

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

The MTV Music Awards & Celebrities Rule

MTV Awards
All photos Lieba Nesis
Click on images for full size views

This year's MTV Music Awards, which I had the privilege of attending, were held on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden. I am not an awards virgin: I was there for the groundbreaking moments of Miley twerking herself into infamy, and Kanye rudely confronting Taylor Swift-resulting in reprobation from President Obama. Much has changed over the past couple of years, yet the same faces still dominate the music industry years later including: Beyonce, Kanye, Britney, Bieber, Rihanna, Timberlake, The Jonas boys etc.; even Ariana has been headlining since 2013.

Drake & Rihanna

This year's Vanguard Award was given to Rihanna, 28, who started her music career in 2005 and ten years later still rules the charts. Similarly, Drake's career began in 2009 and he continues to reach stratospheric levels of fame in the rap world despite his middle-class Jewish upbringing. The awards this year were uneventful. Beyonce gave us another over-the-top fantastical hair swinging performance; Britney Spears as usual underwhelmed and the rest of the chart toppers were satisfactory. Rihanna's vocals are limited but her sex appeal and attitude are not; she is hot and relevant no matter what she does. What shocks me at every celebrity awards show is the level of power they hold despite their young age and immaturity. They show up with entourages of 20, have burly bodyguards pushing you without repercussions, and act like they rule the world-perhaps they do.


With social media's continual ascendancy, celebrities are not just tastemakers they are life makers. The way teenagers dress, talk, walk, and conduct themselves is modeled after a chosen star. MTV was one of the forerunners of social media providing us with Reality TV and music videos in the early days which eventually lead to Instagram and Facebook-a more intimate look at celebrities lives. Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, the Jenners, continually manipulate their audience with glimpses into their life usually staged for maximum public exposure. Kanye, cognizant of his influence on pop culture, ran the MTV awards like his own personal ceremony, introducing his video with the usual rant comparing himself to Steve Jobs and discussing his phone call with Taylor Swift and his rift with Amber Rose-all with a beatific smile plastered on his usually morose face.

Jimmy Fallon

How unfortunate is it that our absorption in the lifestyles of celebrities is so complete that billions of hours are wasted mulling over whether we are Team Taylor or Team Kanye when as Kanye so rightfully acknowledged hundreds have been murdered in Chicago this past year. So why the smile Kanye? Is it because you and Kim know the vast influence you have-dominating with your fake headlines and even faker body parts? Following Kanye's video presentation which was pornographic and disturbing, the awards resumed to its ho-hum format with few surprises. Yes Drake came out to declare his love for Rihanna but was this a publicity stunt or an actual declaration of love-and why does anyone, myself included, care? Yet, they choose to titillate their fans with questions of are they or aren't they? Drake made the inconceivable comment that Rihanna remains unchanged despite her overwhelming fame.

At a party a few years ago a young boy asked Rihanna for a picture to which she responded, "good luck with that." I had the opportunity to witness this exchange and wondered if the Barbados Rihanna would have acted so ungraciously. As I watched the celebrities being escorted off the MTV stage in a silver gilded cage I wondered why they needed a special contraption to walk through with their vast entourages when most of the people they were passing were fellow superstars. This is paradigmatic of their world-it is separate, exclusionary and highly privileged, while they continue to babble about how much they love their fans.

Model Winnie Harlow dancing at Up and Down

Why not fraternize with your audience instead of having cages being built to separate you. At the conclusion of the show, I headed to some after parties which convinced me that celebrities rule the world-and we just live in it. The party of the night was at the club "Up and Down" which is owned by Richie Akiva, famous for his friendship with DiCaprio and Rihanna. The police presence was overwhelming with cops stationed outside to control the throngs of photographers and fans. As celebrities arrived in Suburbans mere mortals were scolded to "get off the sidewalk" and "move out of the way." I think Moses required less fanfare when he split the sea. Celebrities exiting their cars made sure to walk hurriedly so their fans were unable to grab a photo or sighting of their idol. Naomi Campbell, Jaden Smith, Fifth Harmony, Amber Rose and dozens of others ran into the club with an exigency that was unnerving. I almost got hit in the head with ten different cameras when a scantily clad Amber Rose entered the nightspot.

Victoria's Secret Models Hailey Clauson, Jasmine Tookes and Taylor Hill
with their friends at Up and Down

It was not until about 2:30 AM when the King and Queen, Drake and Rihanna, materialized at the venue. We were scolded to move out of the way twenty minutes before they showed and when they did arrive the crowd went wild. Both Drake and Rihanna scurried by quicker then Usain Bolt with thirsty photographers begging for some attention. When I entered the club, Drake and Rihanna were invisible due to the dozens of hangers-on and bodyguards surrounding them. When they left at the late hour of 5:15 AM, when clubs are required to close at 4:00, there were dozens of cops there to ensure the safe departure of their highnesses.

Security at MTV after party at Up and Down

Moreover, there were still hordes of photographers and fans stationed on the sidewalk, with bodyguards scolding them "to get off the sidewalk or they will have to close the entire street." Closing the street for a celebrity seems highly doable-why not? Doesn't their two-minute departure deserve the clearing out of a street-maybe an entire neighborhood should be emptied? As Drake and Rihanna left, in separate cars, one thing that didn't surprise me was their behavior. Despite, the patience and adoration of their fans they ran out with their eyes cast downward making sure not to interact with the ordinary folks waiting for hours in the heat for a modicum of acknowledgement.

- Lieba Nesis

Sunday, August 28, 2016

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Zack & George Carr: A Tale of Two Brothers

Zack Carr and George Carr in Istanbul in 1995

When you’ve been involved in fashion for as long as I have, you have undoubtedly met your share of interesting people. Some of them are even memorable; such as the late Zack Carr. While he may not be a household name, to fashion insiders (especially those of a certain age), we know him as a brilliantly talented fashion designer whose life may have been cut short, but who nonetheless, helped define American fashion for over 30 years, as VP of Design at Calvin Klein from 1973 – 1985, Principal Designer of Zack Carr Collection from 1985 – 1987, and then as Chief Creative Director at Calvin Klein from 1987 - 1997.

When a table mate at a recent Fashion Group Luncheon at Le Cirque  introduced himself as George R. Carr (a writer, producer, director involved with theatre, cinema, and fashion), and said he was a brother of the late Zack Carr, I immediately blurted out, “I loved Zack” and was instantly flooded with wonderful images and memories. I will never forget those times when the Harper’s Bazaar fashion editors went down as a group to Calvin Klein’s 7th Avenue showroom to preview the upcoming collection.

Zack Carr, the real talent behind Calvin Klein
Photo: Stewart Shining

It was always Zack,  the front man, who regaled us with his inspiring words and marvelous descriptions. He was always so animated and filled with an unbridled enthusiasm, obvious passion, love, and pride for what he did.

Zack Carr sketches of Calvin Klein designs

And of course, there were Zack’s wonderfully expressive sketches. Upon seeing those sketches while he was a student at Parsons School of Design in 1970, Calvin Klein hired him to be a design assistant. And he was never without a sketch pad up until 2000, when, at the age of 55, he died of a rare form of cancer that left him paralyzed.

Zack Carr by George Carr
Photo John Calcagno

As a loving tribute to his older brother, George wrote “Zack Carr” , a stylish and beautiful coffee table book filled with wonderful images of his work, his sketches, and photographs which included many famous names who were part of his intimate circle. Amazingly, George is the only surviving member of his family: in addition to Zack, his middle brother Peter, mother and father all succumbed to cancer. This inspired him to found The Zack Carr Foundation in 2001, which is dedicated to supporting the arts, assisting cancer charities, and an inspiration for the human spirit. But that’s not the only way he chose to remember and celebrate his family.

When the question arose as to what to do with Zack’s vast archives which were left to him (letters, photos, memorabilia, and of course, sketchbooks), he decided to donate much of it to The Parsons School of Design. But when a friend saw the 50 some odd Hermes sketchbooks filled with his drawings back in 2010, he convinced George that he in fact, had a “brand”, a “lifestyle collection”. George took advantage of his extensive fashion background (having served as VP of Retail Branding at Calvin Klein, VP Sales and Marketing at Calvin Klein Men’s Wear, and VP Retail Branding, Ralph Lauren Women’s Wear) and quickly went to work interpreting his brother’s sketches, combining them with his proud Texas family heritage. The result was CARR (

In 2012, Ron Frasch, the former president and chief merchandising officer of Saks Fifth Avenue, gave him his first order to the tune of $20 million. He launched CARR Collection at Bloomingdales and CARR Men at Saks Fifth Avenue but unfortunately, he was forced to close one year later due to under capitalization. He is now seeking new investors “to become a partner for the big picture”. It’s obvious this is a very meaningful, highly personal venture, and a true labor of love.

When I asked what his wish list of retailers would be, he quickly mentioned Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman (the sixth floor” which is geared for women who “love fashion but don’t want to look as though they stepped off a runway”), Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, and Nordstrom which he says has “great American energy”.

George Carr at home with his collection
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

George invited me to view the fall, resort, and Spring 2017 collections which fill his chic Chelsea duplex apartment/studio (he lovingly calls it Studio 55 in reference to his Studio 54 years). They are seemingly everywhere: on rolling racks, hanging on the wall, and displayed on his enviable urban/rustic outdoor patio (which would be a perfect place to host an informal presentation I opined). His designs have an unmistakable 70’s and 90’s feel (along with a bit of the 20’s and 30’s) and blend a subtle Southwestern aesthetic (an homage to his Texas roots) with New York City glamour.

In describing his aesthetic, he used the words: “luxe leisure”, “dressed up, modern, American sportswear”; “chic, sophisticated, simple, intelligent, and pragmatic” (let’s put it this way, it’s the exact opposite of Alessandro Michele’s over the top maximalism). “I always go for Beauty with a capital B” he said. “I don’t do ugly.” The legendary Sam Shahid, who was the art director of “Zac Carr” and serves as CARR’s creative advisor, has referred to it as a “thinking person’s collection”.

CARR Judd City Coat

Catching my eye immediately was the chic limestone bonded viscose Judd City Coat, $1450.  George took out one of the many Hermes sketch books that belonged to Zack and showed me the very first sketch: a doppelganger for this coat. For Zack, it always started with the coat, as it did for Calvin Klein. In fact, it was a coat that initially put Calvin on the fashion map. In the 1960’s, Calvin Klein designed a collection of tailored coats and suits under his own label and together with his partner Barry Schwartz, they wheeled the rack into Bonwit Teller. The buyer was so impressed, he sent Calvin to meet with the store’s legendary president, Mildred Custin, who placed a large order. Calvin Klein Limited was on its way and the rest is history.

Zack Carr Sketch CARR Marfa 4 pocket jacket in silver ribbed silk and wool

Another standout is the military inspired 4 pocketed Marfa jacket in silver ribbed wool and silk, $1450. This is somewhat of a signature in the collection and has been interpreted it in a few other fabrics, including denim. It’s also included on his men’s collection, where it is a standout in burgundy leather, $1995.

Leah Durner for CARR NYC displayed on his patio  wall

Then there’s the yummy 6 ply limestone cashmere cardigan, $1050 (which I immediately tried on and belted); the punched cotton black and white printed lace cotton sleeveless top, $450 and pant, $375; and the needle punch silk and wool cap sleeve silvery sheath, $1650. Owing to my love of modern art ( and graphic black and white), I also gravitated to the silk georgette “X” tank shift and road stripe cotton skinny jean designed exclusively for Carr by Leah Durner.  The abstract artist collaborated with CARR on a resort collection (The totem collection), and it’s available by special order.

CARR burgundy leather Marfa jacket 

In addition to the aforementioned leather Marfa jacket, other menswear pieces that grabbed my attention: the Empire evening jacket in a rich red cotton/silk velvet, $995 and the black Alamo jacket, $495, and lean jean, $195, both in American denim, $495.George sees “his guy” as James Dean and “his gal” as Gwyneth Paltrow and Audrey Hepburn. Gwynnie’s best-selling book, “

"It’s All Easy” (which also happens to be the CARR philosophy), sits prominently on a coffee table and there’s a black and white photo of Audrey hanging on his kitchen wall. The price range at retail is $450 – $2500 for women’s (everything is made in the USA), and $225 – $2250 for men’s. While the line is not unisex, George pulled a collarless white shirt and cotton trousers off the men’s rack and said he would put this “as is” into his women’s collection because it’s so perfect. He is planning to fill in with more ‘casual’ pieces and he feels strongly about the modern appeal of practical, versatile, multipurpose performance wear made of high tech fabrics.

CARR equestrian inspired city boots by Lucchesse

Accessories, which are shown with the clothes and also displayed separately on a table along with other artifacts and mementos, include totem jewelry (inspired by cow and horse skulls of family ranches, travels to Sante Fe, and homes of Georgia O’Keefe translated in sterling silver by Texas silversmith Clint Orms), and equestrian style CARR City boots in leather and patent made by the iconic Italian footwear company Lucchese.

When I asked George which designers inspire him (other than his brother of course,) he quickly rattled off the hallowed names: Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Chanel and specifically cited Coco’s elevation of the simple basics (the jersey knits, the little black dress, the cardigan jacket). He pointed to last Sunday’s ‘T’ The New York Times Style Magazine, “Fall Fashion”, which was sitting on his coffee table.  The cover, featuring Kristen Stewart wearing a simple black turtleneck cashmere knit dress from Chanel, speaks volumes about “the power of simplicity”, as T editor-in-chief Deborah Needleman called it.

Speaking of Chanel, it’s not a widely known fact, but in the 80’s, Zack was being interviewed as Creative Director for the house of Chanel, before Karl Lagerfeld was hired. In addition, the prototype of the fluted French glass bottle with pewter cap which contain the fragrance, “Naked by CARR”  bears a strong resemblance to the iconic, simply elegant Chanel No. 5. Zack had initially planned on doing a fragrance and it would have been named, “Z”. George said it was comprised of gardenia, magnolia, roses, and blended with the scent of “naked skin”. There is already a Naked Heart by CARR candle, made in France, which has a wonderful scent comprised of star anise, coriander, cut grass, and cardamom.

What struck me was how understated and chic it all looked, from the couture like construction and beautiful Italian fabrics to the color palette which is broken into primarily three groups: black, gray, silver; white, cream ivory; pink, red, burgundy, purple (in the case of the latter, they are ‘off shades’).

George Carr's clothing and artifact filled apartment  

There is nary a print or pattern but for an abstract “O’Keefe floral”.What also struck me was how “Calvin Klein” it looked, which is not surprising given that Zack was Calvin’s right hand man and was in charge of all the design teams that produced Calvin’s men’s, women’s, CK, and home collections. He was responsible for creating their iconic advertising campaigns (and attracting celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow). In fact, he played such an enormous role when it came to creating the minimal aesthetic which came to define the house, that upon his passing, Calvin Klein noted, “Whatever one thinks about what we stand for in terms of being nontraditional, modern, clean—that was Zack.”

And speaking of Calvin Klein, with Raf Simons now installed as the new Creative Director, we are all anxiously awaiting to see his new vision for the house, and his upcoming fashion show will undoubtedly be one of the most highly anticipated of the upcoming New York Fashion Week. I asked George to weight in and this is what he said:
“Even though I have not directly worked for Calvin Klein for over 20 years, I still a great connection to this brand. My brother Zack & I were there at the creation of the brand and during those amazing decades of the 70s, 80s & 90s. During the 2000's, both Calvin and his partner Barry Schwartz were supporters of my book Zack Carr. They are both still personal friends. I keep in contact with both. I was also very close to Tom Murry, ex-President. I count Francisco Costa, Italo Zucchelli & Kevin Carrigan as personal friends. You might say I have been an 'ambassador for Calvin Klein'.  
With both Zack & I, we have a combined 50 year association with CK. CK and the Carr brothers are inextricably linked. There is as much Carr in Calvin Klein as Calvin Klein in the Carr's. So I follow the brand very closely. And I could not be more excited for PVH, CK and Raf Simons for the new venture. I was raised at CK with the focus on an American luxury designer business with a modern approach. All related business, licenses, etc. flowed from this single designer leadership. Actually, it is the same model I have developed at CARR. I think the time is right for Modern American Fashion."

- Marilyn Kirschner

Friday, August 26, 2016

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

At lunch with Paul Neuman: A New York Food Story

Paul Neuman

Paul Neuman sits in a reception area of the new, Long Island City facility that houses his catering company, Neuman’s Kitchen. He is enjoying a Miso Glazed Cod entrée prepared in his kitchen. “This is the first time I’ve had it, it’s Alaskan cod, it’s very light,” he says, picking at the beautifully presented plate in front of him.

Neuman moved his catering business to its latest location earlier this year, but his family’s history in the New York City food scene dates back several generations to the early 1900’s.

Photo: Tanya Blum

“The first relative that I can trace back to the food business is Sandel Lowenthal. He was a chef at the Merchant’s Club, which was a club in the Wall Street area, for people in business. He then owned and ran some restaurants, including one in Harlem called The Auditorium; I think it might have even been a hotel. I think that eventually he went out of business and died right around 1941. My grandfather, who was his son in law, Cornelius Neuman, started the Rosedale Fish Market in 1906. He bought an existing fish market, on Lexington Avenue, from someone named Moe Goodman called the Sea Bright fish market, and renamed it the Rosedale Fish Market.”

Mini fried artichokes with Champagne aioli
Photo Jen May
Click images for full size views

The Rosedale Fish market was one of countless fish markets in New York in the early twentieth century. Neuman’s grandfather ran it until 1937, when he passed away, leaving his widow to run it with the assistance of her teenage son, Neuman’s father, Robert.

“One of My Grandfather’s mantras was that no one would ever be able to run the fish market like he could, so my Dad spent his entire life disproving his claim. He started working in the market as a teenager and never went to college…Dad went off to war in August of ‘42, when he was 22. He faked his hearing test, he was deaf in one ear, and got himself into the Marines, he served two tours until 1945.  I don’t know much about his service except that he was injured in an accident on a garbage truck and earned a Purple Heart. It sits on my bedside table right next to where I sleep.”

After the Marines, Neuman’s father returned to run the family fish market with his mother. At that time, fish markets still dotted the Manhattan landscape at approximately five block intervals. “ My grandmother signed the business over to him in 1951, it was located at 1132 Lexington Avenue.”

Photo Jen May

By 1965, the number of fish markets in the city had started to dwindle rapidly and the landlord for The Rosedale Fish Market informed Neuman’s father that he would not be renewing the lease on the market when it expired in two years. Times had changed and the landlord no longer wanted a fish market in his building. In a strategic move to save his business, Neuman’s father bought the building across the street at 1129 Lexington, which housed a competing fish market, and did a complete gut renovation creating a beautiful new retail space for his fish business.

After relocating across the street, Neuman’s father still had some time left on his old lease and was offered an interesting business proposition.

“At this time, there’s William Pole, William Greenberg and my dad and a bunch of butchers, but you had very little prepared food in New York City. This Frenchman approached my father and said he would like to take his old store and turn it into a French charcuterie and my dad agreed. So my dad goes in partnership with this French chef and they open a store called Chez Daniel, and Chez Daniel is almost my father’s ruin because the chef is dishonest and has substance abuse issues and the place is bleeding my father dry at the time that he is just paying off the debts after having moved across the street. So my father is a wreck, he has essentially a nervous breakdown and can’t get out of bed for I don’t know how long. He was basically incapacitated”

However, Neuman’s father did finally get back on his feet in time to save his business. He shut down Chez Daniel and concentrated on the business he knew best: The Rosedale Fish Market, and as Neuman says, “The rest is history.”

“My father basically outworked and outperformed everybody else. Fish markets started to close in the sixties and seventies. The neighborhoods couldn’t support 30 fish markets, so it went from 30, to 25 to 15. Finally, it was down to about 3 fish markets and he was one of the survivors.”

Roasted Kabucha Squash Soup
Photo Jen May

While Neuman has some recollection of his father’s struggles to save his business, he describes himself as having been blissfully ignorant of what a career path in the food industry would be.  In the seventies he enrolled at Alfred University in upstate New York, to study ceramics and glass.

“I wanted to be an artist, I was in the Ceramics and Glass program at Alfred University, I graduated in 1977. Actually the stained glass window you see out there (gestures toward the building’s entryway), I made to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the fish market. I went to work for dad, just to sort of earn a little bit of money and then I discovered that I loved to cook.  Now, I cooked as a kid and I had always made food for myself and in college, my apartment sort of turned out to be the social nexus of the art school. When I graduated from college, Dad flew up with clams and steamers and we had a clambake for about 300 people in our back yard. So the seeds were sown for me cooking for large numbers of people, I just didn’t know it.”

Deconstructed Caesar Salad in Rice Paper Pocket
Photo Jen May

After graduation, Neuman had a studio in Brooklyn, dividing his time between his work in the fish market and trying to make it as an artist. While in the Hamptons one summer, he experienced a culinary epiphany at the Amagansett Farmer’s Market.

“There is a mussel salad there that’s made with mustard with vinaigrette, pimentos and parsley and I look at the salad and the mussels are plump and gorgeous and say: I can make that. Monday I go back and I take some mussels, I cook them up, I make some mustard vinaigrette, I put pimentos and parsley on it and it starts to sell. Now up to that time we had made Manhattan Clam Chowder, Cod fish cakes, deviled crab, Coquilles St. Jacques, and we made halibut and salmon salad and I think that was about the extent of the cooking, so Dad realized early on that there was more money in scraps than in selling fish. So in other words, if you could take salmon pieces and turn them into salmon salad then you could change your yield. If you could take all of the pieces that no one wanted to buy, cook them up and sell them, then this was the best thing that you could do.”

Poached Halibut with Heirloom Beans
Photo: Jen May

Neuman’s father had figured out that there was a lot of money in prepared foods and from his experience with Chez Daniel, he knew that there was a lot of money in prepared salads.

"He gave me room to play,” says Neuman, “but he didn’t really want me pushing him out of his own business. The fish market was his theater, his battleship, you know whatever analogy you want to use, and he used them all. It was his playground and he was in control. Citerella was a major competitor at the time and it eventually became this amazing business with prepared foods. Dad didn’t have the patience or inclination to do that, so when I left to start Neuman and Bogdanoff, he was more than happy to have me leave. It wasn’t as if he was pining for the next generation to take over, he was just happy to have us out of his hair. He just wanted to sell fish. He was frozen in time”

The Rosedale Fish market closed in 2003, two years after Robert Neuman’s death in September 2001. Paul Neuman started Neuman and Bogdonoff, a retail store on the upper East Side, in 1981 at 1385 Third Avenue, selling gourmet prepared foods (Neuman would eventually leave retailing in 1996 to concentrate on catering). Bogdanoff is the name of his ex-wife and former partner, a classically trained chef and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America whom he met in 1979. He describes her as being grounded in the culinary arts while he was essentially “a fish guy.”

It (the early eighties) was an exciting time for food and foodies in New York. We had The Silver Palette, Dean and Deluca, Citerella, and Word of Mouth. Sun dried tomatoes came in and sun dried tomatoes were enormous, it was like kale on steroids. Whatever kale has become, sundried tomatoes were. They came in these 2 kilo jars and it was just tremendous. We were constantly looking for what people wanted.”

Neuman was introduced to catering in the seventies, while still working for his father. He originally worked with an experienced caterer named Susan Holland. At that time he and Susan would go to someone’s home and cook dinner for them. He relates the story of his first experience cooking alone in the home of a famous TV producer around 1979.  The client wanted rack of lamb which Neuman had never cooked before:

I read in a cookbook how to make it, I didn’t test it or anything. I just show up at her apartment with my vichyssoise and my racks of lamb and whatever the vegetables were. I have my instant meat thermometer and I throw the racks of lamb in the oven. Later, I test the temperature of the lamb with my meat thermometer. The temperature is 140 degrees, where it should be. I pull out the racks of lamb and I go to the carve them and they are raw. It is now time to serve dinner. It’s a seated dinner, one of the guests is Walter Cronkite, and I look up and say just get me out of this mess. I throw the racks back in the oven, I turn it up to 500 degrees or whatever the maximum temperature is, and the (client’s) server is standing there watching it all happen. She can tell I am in deep mud. Fast forward, I give it as much time as I can and I serve them beyond rare, rare would be generous. Needless to say, I never got a call back and I promised that I would never cater again.”

Luckily, Neuman did not keep that promise, but he learned a lot of valuable lessons from that experience that he remembers to this day. “You learn to limit risk and you don’t promise anything that you don’t have complete control of. Never leave too many variables to chance… A good sized cocktail party for us is 800 to 1000 people so the logistics are what are you serving, how to make sure every corner of the room gets served and serving from multiple kitchens with each kitchen delivering different food.”

Neuman’s Kitchen works primarily in New York City throughout the year, but they are gradually expanding their reach out to the Hamptons and New Jersey. “One of our initiatives is to have a larger footprint out there.”

When asked about food trends he has noticed, Neuman mentions their current obsession with inverting sweet and savory. Their kitchen makes a palm sized dessert, that looks like a small hamburger.

“Being playful is very important to our relationship to food and our relationship to the client. We try not to take ourselves too seriously. We want to make food that gets your attention. It’s not overly trendy, it’s not pretentious and it’s not gratuitously anything. It’s not trying to be something it’s not. It’s true to our food, true to our beliefs and true to our presentation.  Pushing ourselves and pushing you a little bit. We want to be mindful of where food is going.

Neuman is currently delighting in his newfound ability to entertain current and prospective clients in the spacious, new, state of the art location of Neuman’s Kitchen.

“We spent so long in a tiny space, overcoming obstacles and never really inviting many people there, because it didn’t show that well (prior to the move, they were located on Chrystie Street). There’s a lot we plan to do with these rooms.”

Not bad for a city kid who calls himself “a fish guy”.

Neuman’s Kitchen Miso Glazed Cod

8 Servings


8 (5oz) pieces black cod

For the Marinade:

4 tsp Yuzu juice

½ cup Sake

½ cup Mirin

6 Tbsp White (or yellow) soybean paste

4 Tbsp Granulated sugar

Instructions:Simmer sake for 2 minutes in a small pot. Whisk in mirin, soybean paste, and sugar. Simmer for an additional 4 minutes, making sure to not allow the sugar to burn. Allow to cool. Once cool whisk in yuzu juice. Marinate fish for 2 hours.

Cook under the broiler for 3 minutes. The outside of the fish should be nicely caramelized.

- Rhonda Erb
For more Better Bets visit:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

Secret Salons Spotlight Solo Service

Lisa Greene
Photo: Laurel Marcus

Have you ever wondered where the stars get their glam on particularly before dawn in preparation for the early morning talk shows? Have you ever wanted a custom array of private beauty treatments curated just for you? Would you like to know someone who can play Fairy Godmother (albeit a much hotter version) to your Cinderella while you luxuriate in a secret sanctuary?

Meet Lisa Greene, founder of Luxury Hair Plus, the expert "beauty concierge" who can make all your dreams -- from non-invasive, state-of-the-art anti-aging facial treatments, hair removal, mani-pedis including Minx Nails, brow tweezing, all hair services including growth solutions/custom wigs, toupees and extensions, guaranteed fat loss programs, massage and make up application; come true--all while bringing beauty and health together, focusing on what is best for you. Sounds too good to be true, even before I mention that she is on call 24/7, as are the beauty professionals (the little mice er, make that royal estheticians in the fairy tale analogy?, lol) who work with her in her convenient midtown (57 W. 57th St.) location.

"I never feel like this is work, since this is what I love to do," stresses Greene, a former publisher of BE (Black Elegance) Magazine. This incredibly youthful-looking mother of four adult children sought to reinvent herself in 2008 with Luxury Hair Plus after her decision to leave publishing and concentrate on her natural strengths and her first love -- the beauty business. "I am in love with the art of transformation and passionate about providing healthy alternatives that actually deliver." Realizing that human hair was a booming industry (hers is all sourced only in the U.S. as "foreign hair can be made from anything" and is not to be trusted), she began there, but presciently added the "plus" to the name enabling her to, ahem, "grow into a full on provider of everything beauty."

Lisa Greene being hair styled
Greene also realized from conversing with clients that it would be beneficial to have a private facility for those "who were embarrassed to visit a typical salon due to hair loss issues as well as those that complained about the environment in your average salon...the noise, the waiting, or just the desire to have access off hours." Although Greene did not want to name names of her celebrity clients, I have it on good authority Supermodel / Author Beverly Johnson and BET bigwig Shelia Johnson use her products and services as well as Victoria Secret Models, Miranda Kerr and Barbara Fialho.

In addition to the individual treatments available in this unique atmosphere designed by Greene (another major talent of hers is interior design) resembling a luxury cruise ship ready to take you on your beauty adventure, group events such as bridal services or other beauty events can be scheduled as well. I had originally been invited to sample an unnamed mystery anti-aging surprise which turned out to be TCT (Trans-dermal Carboxy Treatment), a fantastic new anti-aging mask, however upon arriving with a full face of makeup, Greene mentioned that I might want to reschedule in case I was averse to leaving "sans fards" (more on that later).

Anna Antal & Isabel Anton
Photo: Rachel Chandler

Upon my realization that it was not only the same Carboxy treatment that I had recently treated myself to a series of four at my longtime spa, I found that the two salons also share the same supplier! While I am a huge fan of the Carboxy (it really does smooth, plump, soften fine lines and give a glow) but not the 40+ minute relaxing downtime it requires, we decided I would come back for a Minx silver nails manicure before fashion week -- can't wait! Since I am a longtime devotee of Advanced Skin Care Day Spa (literally steps away at 140 West 57th St), and have been a client of co-owner Isabel Anton (along with Anna Antal) for over 20 years (yikes!) I wanted to mention their fine salon which boasts a celebrity following including Alicia Keys, Emma Watson, Karolina Kurkova and Candice Swanepoel, who flock here for custom facials and laser hair removal. As Isabel often reminds me, my once large pores have shrunk noticeably, thanks to her skin care knowledge and expertise.

Alicia Keys
Photo: Paola Kudacki

Speaking of Alicia Keys, you may know from watching the new season of "The Voice," from seeing her perform at the DNC Convention, or even from reading about it in her Lenny Letter , Ms. Keys recently adapted a full-time policy of going bare-faced (even on stage). Other celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow have embraced the trend at parties. Even Singer Adele who's known for her awesome eyeliner game, as well as an occasional "Konstantly Kontoured Kardashian" will Instagram a makeup free (but not filter free) shot just to stay relevant (however it doesn't last long).

Alicia Keys no makeup
Photo: Alicia Keys Instagram

The already "makeup questioning" Keys began her crusade in earnest quite by accident -- upon arriving fresh faced at a photo shoot for "In Common" her latest single, thinking that she would be getting her makeup applied, she was told by her "beautiful photographer Paola, "I have to shoot you right now like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be too!" Thus started a #nomakeup movement which Keys was already feeling a need for. I tend to doubt if she would have been so ready to "uncover" her previously blemished skin without Antal's custom facials, Carboxy treatments and packets of the slightly less strong at home version of Carboxy.

As for my own foray into the "natural look," while Nike's slogan may be "Just do it," I tend to subscribe to Nancy Reagan's war on drug catch phrase: "Just say No."  As I mentioned, It is hard enough for me to walk out of the salon post treatment without my "face on" prompting the incredibly smooth skinned Isabel's admonishment: "You don't need makeup. Skin needs to breathe!" While I know she's right, those thousands of makeup tutorials on YouTube are not there because nobody watches them. Yes Avon-- I agree that wearing makeup "makes the world a more beautiful place." (See video)

- Laurel Marcus

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Irreplaceable You

Bill Cunningham

You know the old adage, “Everyone is replaceable”? While that may generally be true, it does not always apply. Case in point: the one, the only, the completely irreplaceable Bill Cunningham. If you want to know just how big a void Bill’s passing has left within the pages of The New York Times, all you have to do is open the Sunday Styles section each week.

Bill’s shoes are admittedly large ones to fill. He set the bar impossibly high with an oeuvre that he invented and single handedly spearheaded. His columns were must reads and in fact, they were probably the biggest reason many of us religiously checked out the paper each Sunday (I can attest to the fact that many of my friends have echoed this sentiment). He was the star attraction though he himself was an unwitting star. He was not after fame or fortune; he did what he did simply because he was passionate, fascinated by what he saw through his lens, and he had a desire to share it with the world.

I remember how strange (and rather disorienting) it was to open the Sunday paper back in June, and not see Bill’s lively, entertaining, informative, often inspiring On the Street and Evening Hours columns. It really felt as though something was missing. For several weeks, while Bill was in the hospital, his signature pages were filled in with various and sundry style related material and upon news of his passing, there was a question mark as to how the paper would decide to go forward, fully expecting that the powers that be at The New York Times would eventually find a way to substitute Bill’s columns with something different and compelling in their own right.

It was hardly surprising that they decided to continue on with both street fashion and party coverage given the obvious popularity of both, and since Bill’s work could not possibly be replicated, it would have to be done differently and of course, renamed. ‘On the Street’ is now ‘Street Style’ (or ‘Life as a Runway’ as it was called this past Sunday) and ‘Evening Hours’ has morphed into ‘City Scene’, which also appears in the Thursday Styles section. The problem is that the market place is now flooded with similar coverage and you’ve got to do it really well, do it better, and have a strong point of view in order to distinguish yourself as Bill did, thanks to his discerning eye, natural curiosity, and encyclopedic knowledge of fashion history. And even though he had a special antenna for finding the eccentric and idiosyncratic, he appreciated and championed the ordinary. Quite frankly, one of his great talents was finding the extraordinary within the ordinary. In the pages now, it’s pretty much all about the ordinary. With all due respect, what I have seen thus far, has been rather banal, uninspiring, pedestrian, and more befitting your average, run of the mill blog than an iconic, New York based global newspaper, particularly where the street beat is concerned.

One of the biggest visual differences is the change in the layouts and format. Bill famously loved to use as many pictures as possible; this enabled him “to paint the picture of his story”, in the words of artist and longtime associate John Kurdewan, who was like a stepson to him. (John has also pointed out that each picture was meaningful to Bill). In fact, it was a well-documented fact that the Times photo department was always trying to get him to limit the number of images he used in one layout (but of course, to no avail).

In a bittersweet twist, the current spreads are now noticeably much less crowded, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But unfortunately, the tightly edited number of images (which are now much larger than before) only magnify the banality of the content and worse; it often seems to be a great waste of newspaper space. If you check out the pictorial, “Look of summer: Little Black Sundress (It’s never too hot to wear black”), August 14, with 8 photos by Nina Westervelt) you will see what I mean. SEE ARTICLE There was really nothing that popped out at me, it was hardly inspiring, and there was not a stunner in the bunch. In addition, there was nothing that ‘smacked’ of New York. These pictures looked like they could have been taken anywhere in the country.

And then there was this past Sunday’s street pictorial, “Summer Style, While It Lasts” (“Life as a Runway”) written by Max Berlinger with photos by Alex Welsh. SEE ARTICLE  More than half of an entire page was devoted to just six large pictures featuring a group of young men and women all with nice bodies, at a beach in Queens, wearing average, run of the mill beach ensembles: Land’s End bag, Nike shorts, etc. Yawn. Once again, there was nothing that was particularly memorable or eye catching, yet in each case, the pictures were accompanied with large captions that included the names, occupations, ages, and complete outfit descriptions (and prices) in bold letters, as though this was big news.

Of course, nobody ever said that what Bill did was easy, even though he made it look that way as he cranked out column after column, week after week without ever taking a vacation or a break. Where Bill was a one man show, it now “takes a village” (almost literally, as these pages are now produced by different editors and photographers each week). As Bill joked, (when I asked him about the possibility of a future ‘successor’ during the course of my Masters of Fashion Interview with him back in 2000), “Who would be crazy enough to stand out in the street for three weeks just to find the perfect woman?”

Who indeed? And as if to perfectly prove this point, about one month ago I was at the corner of 57th and 5th, standing in front of Bergdorf Goodman, checking out the Bill Cunningham retrospective window display with my sister when I noticed a young man with a camera taking my picture. I teasingly asked him if he aspired to be the ‘next’ Bill Cunningham. He smiled and introduced himself as Steffen Kaplan, a social media/visual consultant whose website is Spin It Social ( He told me had been a supervising photo editor at The New York Times from 1989- 2009 where he had a chance to work with Bill.

He has said that he was always was inspired by Bill’s tireless dedication, passion, and drive, and has described him as “one of the kindest, most humble, and passionate human beings around”. He called it an “honor to work around him and enjoy late night conversations about photography and life in The New York Times cafeteria” and he recalled how Bill always told him to “never ever stop taking pictures…and do what you love!” After Bill’s passing, he wanted to honor him by staking out his famous corner, and doing what he did, if only for an hour or two.

While he did find some interesting ‘subjects’, and wrote a blog about his experience SEE ARTICLE, he also admitted it was not exactly easy, and he could only imagine how grueling it would be to do this every day and find enough great material to put together an enticing column week after week. But of course, for Bill, it was anything but grueling and it never seemed like work. It was his love, his passion, and his life blood, up until the very end.

- Marilyn Kirschner