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Hawaii Part I: Maui

I guess everyone kind of knew Hawaii was amazing since it is such a beloved destination for lovahs on honeymoon, but I truly had no idea how mind-blowingly amazeballoons it actually was until we landed in Honolulu. Yes, we knew it was amazing upon emerging from an 11 hour flight from NYC and awaiting our connecting flight to Maui in an outdoor airport garden filled with tropical plants and Hawaiian pigeons (<–note, not an actual species, but basically thinner and prettier than their NYC counterparts, SORRY BECKY); we felt the warm sun on our faces and we were sold. Real talk, I love the airport in Honolulu more than I like some of my favorite places in New York. That’s how much I loved Hawaii.

I’m thankful to say it got exponentially better from there. Below- a snapshot of our first leg- 2 nights and 2 days in Wailea, Maui.

 

MAUI WOWIE

Maui is bananas. It feels like a mix of Miami (minus the bachelorette parties with girls of widely ranging weight wearing matching tank tops and clutching BYO inflatable swans), and Malibu (inclusive of gorgeous beaches and maximally chill vibes) with a dash of just magic. It was sunny and hot and gorgeous every minute. We stayed in Wailea on the West Coast of Maui, at the Andaz Hotel, which was very Zen chic and brand new. Both the location and hotel itself came highly recommended, and we were happy to have adored both.

 ^The Open Air Lobby at the Andaz. That’s totally a life size Japanese rock garden in the middle there. Life goalz for entry into our future mansion in Malibu (right babe?!) ^

^ Our Room. Hard to leave in the morning, perfect for sunset watching at night. Not pictured- team shower that legit could fit a starting lineup. If you are into that sort of thing.^

^ A peak at the infinite infinity pools on the property. ^

^Morimoto – the site of an incredible dinner our second night, where my husband ordered way too much sushi and we practically had to roll ourselves upstairs. Fun note, we were told that people have indeed tried to dive head first into the 3 foot deep pool surrounding the hotel, to injurious endings ^

^ The Wailea Beach walk that extended 2 miles from our hotel to it’s end, through perfectly manicured grass and hovering above silky sand beaches and plunging down lava cliffs.  ^

^ Another look at the Wailea beach walk. We were out there speed walking at 7 am with all of the other 80 year olds on vacation. ^

^ This tree was like the tree of life. So beautiful. One day we walked by and saw an old couple underneath it, just staring out at the horizon together and we both thought, they are doing life right ^

^ Another look at the pools. We spent a lot of time chilling, reading, swimming and the like. I read three whole books this vacation! Another post to come on those. I’M SO LITERARY ^

Not pictured:

1) A brief trip to the Wailea shopping center, a mall comprised of a Prada, Gucci, and approximately 25 local boutiques selling the same Hawaiian print shirt. In case you want a pair of $700 loafers to go with your Tommy Bahama chic (which actually is the ideal Dad outfit so maybe I’m not their core consumer?). Reader, we bought a Hawaiian shirt.

2) The floating bed swing we whiled away an afternoon in, reading as the sun descended and the light got more and more golden. WANT one of these please.

3) The breakfast at the Andaz which was, unequivocally, the most insane hotel breakfast I’ve ever had: every fruit and fresh juice imaginable, every breakfast meat and egg dish and cheese and pastry, and all of them maddeningly delicious. I’d honestly go back to Maui for that breakfast alone since I’m basically Chris Farley (“FEED ME DAMNIT I’M STARVING”)(RIP).

As you can probably tell we didn’t vear too far from the vast property apart from swim in the frothy ocean – nor did we care to. It was a perfect 2 days, after which we were super relaxed and ready to take on Kauai! Stay tuned.

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Where have I been? Where have YOU been? You don’t call, you don’t write….

Every week feels insane around these parts but this one has been actually insane.

For one: we were slated to depart to Dubai tonight, and had to cancel the trip (and relinquish our plane tickets which were not NOT expensive) at the last minute, because our friend’s daughter contracted an illness that should have died in 1945 where other illnesses for which we have vaccines should have stayed. But unfortunately, some parents are assholes and don’t vaccinate their children. And so we were left with the thought of spending a week in a hotel in Dubai and friends who rightfully had to look after a sick daughter, and pulled the plug Wednesday.

On a positive note, I’d already had a facial, manicure and pedicure in anticipation of a trip to the land of glitz and nothing was going to stop me from putting them to good use.

First, my husband suggested we go skiing. Then we thought perhaps a road trip to Charleston via a number of bed and breakfasts along the way would be fun (sidebar- I still really want to do this trip). Finally, at 1 am on Wednesday night, exasperated by the seemingly endless  options that also required a great deal of planning- the Mr. looked up at me.

“How about Hawaii?!” he said excitedly.

“HOW BOWT DAT,” I replied in my head. (What I really said, trying to shield my excitement lest I give him second thoughts, was “Hawaii could be a good idea!”)

Ten minutes later we had roundtrip direct flights (thank you Delta. We lub you lontime). Then we promptly passed out because 1 am is way past our bedtime.

The next morning at work, I shot a note to our travel alias, a group of techies who love their travel and have been just about everywhere on earth. “Dear Travellers,” I wrote. “Please send recommendations for Hawaii. We have no children and are moderately adventurous (i.e. would love great hiking recommendations, but anything involving deep sea diving or jumping off of tall things is a no go). So a really great hotel with good design is what we’d like, since we will be lounging around reading a good deal. We also love good beaches and good food, because we’re human 🙂 GO”.

Within hours, dear reader, our entire trip was planned. People who have gone to Hawaii, it turns out, are rabidly obsessed with talking about what they did and where they stayed. It was a God send.

A few lessons I learned:

  1. $$ doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy the flexibility to get out of really shitty situations, and that is a blessing.  A blessing that leads to happiness 😉  I’m thankful we were able to turn lemons into Lemonade, just like Beyonce (if we gonna heal, let it be GLORIUOUSSSS)

  2. Spontaneity is kinda the best. I was so excited to see friends in Dubai, but everything that has been happening domestically lately has made me uneasy to leave. Couple that with the fact that what I really need at the end of this long and brutal quarter is to commune with nature wholly, to kick off my shoes and thrown on a swimsuit and just be for a week. Spontaneous planning allows you to do what you want in that very particular moment.

  3. Rely on the wisdom of the masses! Or at the very best, a small group of people who love to travel. It takes the complete hassle out of planning a trip.

So there you have it. The trip portion anyway.

 

A few other things I have been loving lately:

1) Podcasts – specifically Pod Save America and Ezra Klein’s podcast on Vox. I can’t tell you how much listening to these has revolutionized my walk to work. They make me feel informed, educated, and relatively at peace that there are still smart voices in this world. HIGHLY recommend.

2) Pig Bleecker- A new restaurant that has opened at the corner of Bleecker and Thompson streets that serves an excellent bib lettuce salad, chick lollipops, burgers, fish and other things we crave about all the time. So happy to have a new addition to Greenwich Village. We love you already.

3) These LL Bean shearling moccasins that the husband got for me that i basically live in these days. Happy feet, happy life.

4) Big Little Lies (HBO)– I have to admit the first episode did not endear me to any of these characters but now I am completely hooked. The Celeste story line in particular is intriguing. Watch it and let me know what you think.

5) The snow today – we haven’t had a lot of it this winter and it’s always magical to me to sit and watch it fall. I needed a quiet snowy day today and this was juts the ticket!

That is about it for this much awaited dispatch. I promise not to be a stranger for too long hereafter.

xoxo

Miss Sheiky

 

 

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Happy Friday! Five Things

Happy Friday y’alllll. As we head into this long weekend, I wanted to share five things I have been enjoying lately and a few that I am looking forward to in the coming days.

Herewith:

The Window Seat

Not my actual view (mine’s better)

So back in the day when I worked at an investment bank that may or may not have been compared to a squid, seating hierarchy meant that the most senior person on the desk sat closest to the window, and the power dynamics descended from there inward toward the center of the floor. Meaning, of course, that new associates out of business school (e.g. people who contribute even less to the organization than first year analysts) sat somewhere in the neighborhood of the copy machine. Every person walking by could see what you were doing and it was generally the worst.

I remembered that this week because we moved into new offices which are downright beautiful, and I finally got a window seat you guys. It was a major moment a good 33 years in the running, and I love every moment of it. So exsqueeze me while I gloat over here for just a second.

White Jeans

It was between Khloe K and Karlie Kloss, and you all know I don’t identify with a girl who doesn’t have a bootay.

The saddest moment of last summer was finally throwing out my white J Brands that had become so lovingly worn in and soft that they split not once but twice completely through the crotch and finally tore across the ass in a way that even the best tailor couldn’t repair. In celebration of the coming spring which I am convinced is just around the corner, I ordered a few pairs to replace my old faithfuls. This time, Frame and L’Agence won out over J Brand and I am counting the days until I can rock them again, looking 1/10th as faboosh as Khloe up there. A woman can dream.

Billions

David Costabile as Mike “Wags” Wagner in “Billions,” airing Sundays on Showtime

Billions is BACK. Which is a good thing because we have literally reached the end of Netflix, I’m not kidding. Even obscure documentaries on Victorian cooking. Phone for help- This 60 degree weather can’t come soon enough.

Anyway, Wags is the best character on Billions by a landslide. He gives zero fucks and I aspire to his no fucks givingness every damn day.

Le Coq Rico

We are celebrating a close friend’s birthday Saturday at Le Coq Rico, which is delicious and just sceney enough to convince me we are still in the game. Very excited to put on a dress for the first time in months and air kiss my loved ones over some $90 chicken.

The Whitney

I’l be rounding out the weekend at the Whitney with a dear friend I haven’t seen in what feels like years since she moved to Greenwich (that would be CT, not Timbuktu). There is a great photography exhibit on and I couldn’t be more excited to revisit the beautiful space.

 

There will be brunches and lunches and inevitably some work in between but I couldn’t be more excited for 3 days of fun and adventure and wish you very much the same! If you are in NY enjoy the beautiful weather coming our way, and report back! xoxo

Miss Sheiky

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Valentine’s Day

I woke up this morning to a very cheery “HAPPY VALENTINE”S DAY!” and a card which made my entire morning. Then I called my mother, who turns the ripe young age of 63 today, and wished her a great day. Then a close friend made a sizable donation to our favorite charity as just one part of an extremely generous wedding gift. Needless to say, I woke up feeling the love today.

People may decry valentine’s day and the “consumerist love” that it stands for, but it’s not about that at all. It’s about showing your love to the people around you. Giving your +1 an extra kiss or your friend an extra hug. It’s about giving the whole class store-bought valentines at school when you were little, and eating enough chocolate to make your stomach hurt. Now more than ever I feel a need to celebrate the things worth celebrating- and love is the most important thing there is.

So to all of you I wish the utmost love- from your families, your friends, your children, your spouses, your boyfriends or your latest Tinderella. Everyone deserves an extra little smoocher today, and I hope you all get that and more. Happy V Day from Maison Sheik to urrbody. With love

xoxo

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The last week: Chicago and SF

Hi! Is this thing still on?

I’ve just returned from a little under a week in Chicago and San Francisco, the former for my father’s 70th birthday and the latter for some meetings which went pretty well.

(You don’t care about my meetings, I know this- but I felt the need to share).

And now I am back in the snowy tundra that is New York, thankfully working kicking off this morning working from home while the wind roars outside of my window. Thanks to a unique-to-New-York-problemo, our radiators are operating in overdrive and my apartment is a sauna. But I can’t open the balcony door lest a foot of snow blow into the apartment, so I am working half clothed today, which adds a certain je ne sai quoi to the day.

Some favorite moments from the last week:

  1. Presenting our gift to my Dad, which was 4 tickets to the New York Phil when they play Beethoven’s 9th in the spring. It has been his favorite piece since the dawn of time and we walked down the aisle to it together at my wedding and the stars have never aligned to see it in person. I am so thrilled to have he and my Mom in town for the weekend and to share what i hope will be an incredible night at Lincoln Center!!

  2. My nieces and nephews, always and forever. We have 8 (soon to be 9) and they are all an absolute dream. My God baby decided to wage war on my husband this weekend which was kind of hilarious, so there was alot of animated back and forth between them. Case in point: Her: “You not a good person. You not good”, Him: “I’m watching you” (as he pointed to his eyes and then to her, which was hysterical).

  3. After dinner at my brother’s house Friday night, the kids turned off the lights in the living room and turned up the dance music and had a full on disco. Of course, one by one we all joined in and danced, my Mom and Dad, my siblings and me. It was the perfect Friday night.

  4. My Mom’s food, as per usual. I swear it tastes better every time we go home. I must have eaten 25 kibbehs over the course of the weekend- NOT mad about it.

  5. Being home sitting in front of the fireplace- it was the perfect reset I needed after this crazy January that was so full of stress about our political situation. I was reminded that so long as I have my family, I have everything,

San Francisco was lovely too, albeit completely drowned in rain. I don’t see the outside of offices or restaurants anyhow when I’m there so I was kind of feeling the moody, dark vibe. We had a particularly awesome dinner at Hakkassan with a group of clients I have truly never loved more, so that was pretty clutch. Sometimes life gives you lemonade straight out.

On that note, I have to get back to it. All of my love and promise to come back with more pictures later (and a new layout soon because this one is horrific. Thanks for nothing WordPress.)

xoxo

 

 

Fire

While the world burns.

Yesterday was Blue Monday, otherwise known as the most depressing day of the year. The day is a calculation of a number of factors, including the weather, days since the holidays, aggregate debt levels, time since Christmas and time since we failed our resolutions.  It is also the day where people feel the loneliest. It also marks the beginning of Obama’s last week as president, the week our hope came to die, the beginning of the rise of our very own Reich. It is the week before major meetings I am running in London and a week after returning from another long haul to SF. Needless to say, yesterday was the culmination of a very intense week. All of this to say I apologize for my absence.

I wanted to write today about something that has been on my mind this weekend, and that is the concept of feeling known.

Two years ago, I was going through a catastrophic time at work – a massive initiative I had built with my own hands was unapologetically torn out of my hands and handed to a colleague with an uncomfortably close relationship with our CEO.  I had to stand on stage before the entire company and peacefully transition it to her; needless to say I had never felt more humiliated, distraught or betrayed in my entire life. Everyone around me tried and failed at their sympathy; they would never know what it felt like to have something torn from your because you were seen as too defiant, too vocal, too much of an individual working in what amounted to a dictatorship. I did the only thing I could do and booked tickets to spend a week in Dubai with my dearest friends. And over dinner there as I was recounting what had happened and my utter despair, my friend J turned to me, surprised. “Your intelligence and your career are the least defining things about you,” he said, which was a revelation to me. “The people in your life love you because you are full of life- always easy to laugh and eager to explore and eager to dance and enjoy. And that energy is electric and addictive  to those around you. That is what you need to remember.” And I remember the tears rolling down my cheeks through the smiles- the thank yous- because I always reduce myself to the most common denominator. I don’t see who I am or how my friends or family view me, and it is more often than not the cause of my despair. I don’t have to be the smartest all the time, and no one cares if I am anyway. That was incredibly freeing for me.

Another moment that I will never forget in my entire life was my best friend’s speech at our Rehearsal Dinner this August. She spoke of my contradictions- my old soul and young heart, my love for classical music and Kanye, celebrated literature and celebrity gossip alike, my love for travel and home, my adoration to my nieces and nephews and my cutting words and enveloping hugs. I was blown away by her ability to describe me; she made me feel more known than I ever have in my life. To a child who grows up as a “Third Culture Kid”- always straddling two countries, two value systems, two cultures and sets of expectations and never fitting into one or the other, having someone understand and appreciate your contradictions and embrace them is the ultimate validation.

I am reflecting on these instances because this weekend the opposite happened. I was having dinner with someone very close to me, and we were talking about regrets. And I told him one of my largest regrets- an instance I think about all the time despite its seeming insignificance- involving my Father and an umbrella. My father was visiting me in New York, and it was raining out, and he was trying to open one of the cheap bodega umbrellas I had available. And after what seemed to me an interminable amount of time struggling with it (realistically perhaps only a few moments) I yanked it out of his hand, just in time for its sharp edge to slice his finger. I beat myself up about this instance all the time – how could I disrespect my father like this and have caused him pain? I recounted this story to this person with tears in my eyes, so deep was my self disgust. And he replied “Well, you’re always like that.” And something inside of me died a little. Because for all of my good moments, for the innumerable times I showed my parents and friends and colleagues deference and respect, it was this instance that defined me. My impatience, my brutality, my disregard for others. That’s all he could see; maybe all he ever would ever see. And I felt deeply lost and out to sea in that moment, and I couldn’t recover. I am a terrible person after all, I thought. A cruel person, entitled, a failure. If this person who is so close to me feels that way, it is unequivocally true.

And that’s the state I went into yesterday in. I took myself uptown to the D. Porthault sale, and surrounded by Upper East Side wives fighting over 1200 sets of hand-wash-only sheets, I cried. I dumped my haul and ran, took myself to lunch at Bloomingdales, surrounded by old women- all alone, all eating their salads in silence. That will be me, I thought. That is me, today. A sea of unknowns. Of souls yearning to be held and understood, of ones whose time had passed. Maybe in the next life, I thought.

Today is a new day, and though I never though that work would provide a welcome respite from anything, lately it has been the case, whether I am escaping politics or anything, and I am supremely grateful for it. It is something I can dive into that is mine, that has of late been such a wonderful thing full of opportunity and kind recognition, and I’m happy to have this thing to lean on. Maybe I can allow it to define me when I am tired of being defined wrongly.

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A Snowy Weekend in the Village.

    

What did you get up to this weekend? Friday night we went for dinner at the LIbrary at the Public Theatre, which I became a Partner of earlier this year in a successful attempt to get opening night tickets to Shakespeare in the Park, only to never return for an actual show. So dinner was a pretty good compromise and we feasted on fish and chips which was somehow perfect for how frigid of a night it was and how cozy it was indoors at the theatre.

I had pretty grand aspirations of Saturday which involved going to the New Museum to see the final weekend of the Pipolotti’s Rist exhibition, but faced with a snowstorm that came out of nowhere and no one to go with, I opted not to, which I now regret. I often don’t mind going to museum’s alone but it is infinitely more enjoyable to go with someone. I decided to turn the snowstorm into lemonade though and invite over friends for a rib sticking dinner of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut salad and a gorgeous Lamb and Date Tagine. Followed by ice cream sundaes and a rousing game of Apples to Apples, because we are officially not in our 20s anymore.

Sunday we went to see Manchester by the Sea at the Angelika, which is incredible if not the most depressing movie of the year. But it’s awards season and I get really into seeing all of the nominated movies, so M was nice enough to surprise me with tickets and we snuck in lunch and watched it Sunday afternoon.

Today I am off to San Francisco for a few days of meetings, and I’m not sad at all about going back to California. I hope you’re all staying warm wherever you are and I will post from there shortly!

xoxox

Miss Sheiky

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On never buying pasta sauce again

Revelations

I’ve been cooking a lot lately which is further testament to the fact that I am superwoman. One of my more favorite discoveries has been the New York Times Cooking SectionI highly recommend signing up for their daily newsletter which takes the decision fatigue out of what to cook and make me want to get back in the kitchen more often than not. It’s also what led me to discover Marcella Hazan and her incredible pasta sauces. We recently had a few friends to dinner and I made her Bolognese which is exceptionally rich and delicious, and on New Year’s eve I made her tomato sauce which transported us straight back to Italy. The latter is the easiest recipe I have legitimately ever made so I am going to share it here in hopes of putting Ragu out of business.

(Per the NYT)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups tomatoes, in addition to their juices (for example, a 28-ounce can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes)

  • 5 tablespoons butter

  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half

  • Salt

PREPARATION

  1. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt.

  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt as needed.

  3. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta.

That’s it. I saved the onion which was absurdly tasty and munched on it while I was preparing other things (I am imminently kissable), and also took an immersion blender to the pasta until it had the consistency of a chunky vodka sauce. Because I’m smoove like dat.

There you go- the best meal on earth. Double the portions, you’re going to need it.

 

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California.

We just got back from Los Angeles yesterday and it was honestly one of the most relaxing, joyful, wonderful trips in recent memory. We absolutely love LA, and every trip is a little different. But this is our 3rd time celebrating the New Year there and it is the best way to unwind from the intensity of the Holiday Season and start the New Year feeling refreshed.

A few of the many highlights from our trip:

1. The View from our terrace at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills. It, and the hotel, were absolutely heavenly. Our first morning, we had breakfast set up with the french doors open and it was unbelievable.

 

2. The pool at the hotel, which we frequented every day while the weather was gorgeous, ordering up Diet Cokes and quinoa salads and feeling like a million bucks. There was an open air gym to the right as well that was so lovely, working out with the breeze coming through was as close to amazing as any workout could possibly be.

3.  Christmas decorations at the hotel, which were absolutely gorgeous. Lots of white hydrangeas, gold ornaments, and lights as far as the eye could see. It was really unique and so gorgeous.

4. Afternoon walks around Beverly Hills (after we had our fill of the pool), which is absurdly beautiful and pristine and basically felt like Little Arabia given how few Americans and how very many Arabs were there. I’ll take it.

5. The greatest photography gallery, La Mouche, on Beverly Drive. It made me want a house with tons of big white walls to fill with their incredible photographs.

6. The best Bat Mitzvah gift I’v ever seen, for the special little lady in your life. Spotted at Kitross on Robertson Boulevard.

7. The most incredible interiors store I’ve ever seen in my life; I wanted to spend hours here and it took me straight back to the Amalfi coast. And other promising interiors in Venice.

 

 

8. Returning to the scene of our engagement exactly 1 year later, on the Palisades Park. We will never, ever, forget how incredible that day was.

9. Spending the weekend with our dear friends in Santa Monica, ringing in the New Year with a massive feast that we made from scratch. We started the night with a variety of cheeses, moved onto caviar and blinis with creme freche and shrimp cocktail, followed by fresh pasta with homemade tomato sauce, grilled steak with smashed potatoes and lemony dijon salad, and the piece de resistance: flourless chocolate cake. It was the most epic dinner of all time, and we enjoyed every bite of it over the course of the 4 hours we spent ingesting it, alternately warming up around the fire place and returning to the table for our next course.

10. Returning to Venice to walk the canals and our pleasant surprise at how much they had refilled since the drought; this time last year they were almost completely dried up. A great reminder of how precarious our environment is and how important it is to conserve the resources we have. Also a reminder of how much we want one of those insane houses.

 

11. The beaches of Santa Monica (1) and Malibu (2- Westward Beach). New Years day at Westward Beach was a particular treat; we took a beautiful hike up the cliffs and then came back down to the most beautiful day on the beach. My husband and friend Z from business school also did a polar bear’s swim in the icy pacific, while Z’s wife and I looked on from our sunny and warm blankets. It was the perfect way to kick off the new year. Stopping at the Reel Inn for fish tacos on the way back was icing on the cake.

     

And with those wonderful memories and our quickly diminishing tans- we bid farewell to 2016 and California, and bid hello to 2017 and all of you in this New Year! I hope you all had an incredible final few weeks of the New Year, and a great start to what is sure to be- at the least- a very interesting one.

With love,

N

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Ten Years in NYC- #s 3

3. Uptown at christmas

Given it’s Christmas Eve, I’d be remiss not to note my abiding and borderline obsessive love up Christmas and one of my top 10 favorite things about New York- our annual pilgrimage to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

New York, like Chicago, really does Christmas exquisitely. The streets are decked with lights and the sidewalks filled with Christmas trees being sold by the Christmas tree vendors, and everywhere there is a feeling of excitement and joy. But my absolute favorite journey in New York is the one to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Yes, it is crowded and filled with tourists, but that is also what is so incredibly magical about it. We live in a place everyone else dreams about one day seeing, and we make it worth their while with the most fantastic tree any city has ever seen.

For years I went either alone or with friends or colleagues; it was always an incredible time. Now that I’m married, my husband- if not, happily, then with all the enthusiasm he can muster- makes it a special day to remember. Last year, we started with dinner at the Peninsula, followed by a stroll down to the tree,  where we we knocked dead in our tracks by the musical lightshow Saks put on across the way. Afterward, we took a brisk walk up the Palace to see their tree, which is smaller but no less gorgeous. This year’s was a daytime affair and considerably more crowded, but it was absolutely breathtaking and a reminder of just how incredible New York is at this time of year.

The Rockefeller tree is a longstanding tradition in New York, dating to 1931. I found this picture of the first tree erected there with the accompanying text by Time, which is absolutely fascinating.

“Today it’s a multimillion-dollar extravaganza that attracts thousands of tourists every year, but the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree hasn’t always been so glamorous. On Christmas Eve 1931, with the nation mired in the Great Depression, a group of construction workers erected a 20-ft. tree on the muddy site of what would become one of the city’s greatest architectural and commercial monuments. Despite their grim faces, the men had cause to celebrate. Unlike most of their colleagues, they were about to get paid. (Notice the wooden crate at the foot of the tree and the clerk behind it dispensing checks.) Two years later, a Rockefeller Center publicist organized the first official tree-lighting ceremony.”

Humbler beginnings indeed. Other notable mentions of the tree’s history:

 

  • In 1942, Rockefeller Center unveiled 3 small trees versus one large one, in patriotic red, white ad blue. These trees were the first to be replanted after the holiday season.

  • In 1944, keeping with wartime blackout regulations, the trees at Rock center, like every other tree in the city, were mandated to remain unlit. After the war’s end in 1945, organizers  made up for previous years of darkness by using six ultraviolet light projectors to make all 700 fluorescent globes on that year’s tree appear to glow in the dark.

  • Finally, Rockefeller Center recycled its first Christmas Tree in 1971, turning it into 30 three bushel bags of mulch for the nature trails of upper Manhattan.

  • In 2005, the wood from the Rockefeller Center tree was used to make door frames for Habitat for Humanity homes in New York, Louisiana, India and Brazil!

I love this beautiful time of the year and no other emblem of this season is so clearly marked in my memory or in the city’s than this beautiful tree. It’s such a lovely experience to go and see it and a great excuse to get uptown and feel the vitality of the city at Christmas.

And with that, the merriest of Christmases to all of you! I will be back after the holiday to finish this trip down memory lane, and share some more immediate memories of our time in Boston (where we are currently) and LA, where we are thrilled to be headed on Monday!

Love to all of you (and Joy to the world),

Ms. Maison