On November 12, 2018 the FIAF hosted their annual Trophee des Arts Gala at The Plaza Hotel to raise vital funds to support the organization’s innovative programs, which explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures through education and the arts.
Photos by: Brandonlee Eccleston @uncommon.lee
Photos by: Brandonlee Eccleston @uncommon.lee
FIAF is the country’s leading French language and cultural center. Founded in 1898 by American Francophiles, FIAF is an American not for profit organization incorporated in the state of New York and is not an agency of the French governments. Located in the heart of NYC, the French Institute Alliance Franciase (FIAF) offers unique insight into French culture.
This year, FIAF honored Jane Fonda, an iconic American actress with the Trophee des Arts award and Sebastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO of AccorHotels with the Pilier d’Or award.
Photos by: Brandonlee Eccleston @uncommon.lee
The evening started with a packed cocktail reception filled with well dressed attendees from New York’s social scene. Items for the silent auction surrounded the room; including a Moynat, Celine, Givenchy and Fendi handbags. After guests mingled for about an hour at the standing room only reception, everyone made their way upstairs to the ballroom.
Marie-Monique Steckel, President of the French Insitute Alliance Française (FIAF), welcomed everyone to the gala and thanked us for supporting the organization. She then informed us of the passing of Bob Wilmers, a longtime Board Member and Chairman for the last five years in December 2017. The new Chairman, Charles S. Cohen, has nurtured a lifelong passion for France and its culture and is an exciting addition to the team.
The first award presentation of the evening went to Sebastian Bazin, Chairman & CEO of AccorHotels. He spoke about his journey in the hospitality business and about his passion for transforming the lives of his employees and their families by providing stable employment.
Next, we experienced a very exciting live auction. The auctioneer not only raised over $100,000 during the live auction and over $127,000 for pledges, he was able to get a few laughs from the crowd with his entertaining personality. The live auction item garnering the highest bid was the 2017 art piece, Monkey Train, by Jeff Koons going for $45,000. And to top it off, Jeff Koons was in attendance and agreed to take a selfie with the person who won the bid.
After the live auction, a video of a few popular movie scenes with Jane Fonda was played to entertain the crowd. After, she was introduced and presented with the Trophee des Arts Awards for her track record of philanthropy, political activism and feminism. As she walked onstage, the audience gave her a standing ovation. She graciously accepted her award as she captivated the crowd with her beauty and wit. It was the perfect round up of a wonderful evening filled with charity, glamour and culture!
Travel close, discover more– often beckons the term ‘staycation,’ an escape of everyday, mundane life as one adventures to a nearby destination. A sense of wanderlust suddenly takes over as an exploration of mind, body, and soul begins. We’ve ventured to the Hamptons for a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation as Baron’s Cove welcomes a restorative embrace.
There is a nostalgic quality to Baron’s Cove as they pay homage to the original 1960’s hotel. In a nearly 24-month renovation, Baron’s Cove reopened in 2015 maintaining the footprint of the original structure, allowing a sense of modernity, style, and sensibility to engulf and mold the space. Located in Sag Harbor, known as the ‘jewel’ of the Hamptons filled with waterfront resort hotels and 18th and 19th-century architecture that ears towards a sophisticated way of life. An upscale lifestyle is counterbalanced with the charm of small-town living featuring farmers markets, boutiques, and neighborhood cafés. Baron’s Cove is the ideal additive to an otherwise quaint town.
Known as the first resort development in Sag Harbor, Baron’s Cove continues to add creativity and character to its community welcoming prominent guests including Art Garfunkel, John and Elaine Steinbeck, Paul Newman, and Richard Kind. Regional artists who often assembled at the restaurant and hotel included Jackson Pollock, Kurt Vonnegut, Truman Capote, and Willem and Elaine de Kooning. Today, the style may have changed, but the originality and quality remain the same. Guests are welcomed with opened arms to an intimate setting that leaves one secluded from the stresses of life and into a scope of peace and tranquility as an accessible, premier destination year-round.
The All-American waterfront resort features sixty-seven village and harbor facing rooms and suites. Accommodations vary between village rooms, garden rooms, harbor suites, loft suites, and even dog-friendly rooms; there’s something for everyone’s preference. Each room displays a nod to the nautical past and present of Sag Harbor; it’s the small touches that matter most. Guests can also enjoy a harbor side heated saltwater pool, tennis court, fitness studio, spa services, and complimentary beach service with transportation. Plus, the concierge is at your fingertips to navigate your way through the premises and make your stay in Sag Harbor a memorable one.
Least we forget a mention of Baron’s Cove All-American restaurant and bar, as our taste buds were taken on a palatable ride. The classic-style restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner featuring local fare. A sunset accompanies guests over Sag Harbor Cove from the second-floor dining room or outdoor terrace.
We partook in a smorgasbord of delights including the market salad and crispy calamari for starters and Pan-Roasted L.I. Duck Breast and Hanger Steak for our mains. We would have loved to try the dessert but kindly declined from overindulging, but we can only imagine the dessert is delicious as well. During the warmer months order poolside or partake in their ‘in-room’ dining service for a cozy evening nestled with your loved ones.
What would a trip to the Hamptons be without a bit of exploration? Accommodations sorted. It’s now time for some adventure and sightseeing. Located in eastern Long Island’s South Fork, the Hamptons is a string of seaside communities for affluent New York City residents, marked by long stretches of beach and hidden estates.
The silver-screen seems to love the ambiance of the Hamptons with television shows such as Billions, Kourtney and Khloe Take the Hamptons, The Affair, and The Real Housewives of New York using the seaside destination as their backdrop. From boat charters and outside dining at Tutto Il Giorno or The Beacon in the summer to apple picking and wine tasting at Wölffer Estate in the fall. We’ve compiled a list of Hamptons hotspots for your next staycation destination.
Where to Wine and Dine:
The age-old question of where can one chow down in the Hamptons is many times an afterthought in between the aquatic activities and wine flights. Throw away all those stereotypical woes of dainty foods and pinkies up, because this is the 21st-century where it’s more than just fine dining and breathing to fit in. Looking for a casual approach try Sag Pizza or LT Burger for a quick dine and dash. Hinting at more upscale dining experience try The Beacon (opened during the spring and summer months), the East Hampton Grill or Tutto Il Giorno (located in Sag Harbor and South Hampton).
Are you a “Sundays are for brunchin’” kind of gal or lad then The American Hotel, Baron’s Cove restaurant & bar, Edgewater Restaurant or Wölffer Kitchen are your best bet to instagramable, millennial goals. If you rather a sugary fix then Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen or Grindstone is your ticket to sugar, spice, and everything nice.
Things to do:
The list is endless of things to do and places to go in the Hamptons, so we’ve narrowed it down to several activities that can be done during both the warmer season and when the crisp autumn air sings to the tune of ‘sweater weather.’
Havens Beach & Foster Beach
Long House Reserve ($15 adults; students with valid ID’s are free – open from 2-5PM Wednesday – Saturday)
Parrish Art Museum (Closed on Tuesdays and major holidays – $12 adults, $9 seniors and students with valid ID’s are free)
Montauk Lighthouse ($11 adults, $8 seniors, and $5 for children – parking is $8 before 4 PM)
The Walking Dunes – Hiter Hills State Park (Great for hikes and leisurely walks)
Wölffer Estate and Vineyard
Complete your staycation with a glass of sauvignon blanc or a personal favorite, sparkling rosé. Guided tours and tastings are $65 per person, but if you rather skip the formalities reserve a table and enjoy a flight of four wines for $25 with a lovely charcuterie board paring (prices may vary).
The Hamptons is a destination that rarely goes out of style, equipt with historical attributes and a new-age flare that leaves you wanting more. What more can we say besides travel close, discover more of what’s right around the corner. Cheers!
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Baron’s Cove
Music to your ears– the conceptual aspect of music is a complex one which lies within a multitude of elements; its beat, harmony, rhythm, sound, tempo, and response reflects expression in its purest form. The word ‘response’ alludes to the listener, audience, and the participant on the receiving end of the performance. Critically acclaimed composer Raphael Mostel explores a responsive tactic through his newest production entitled, ‘Le Voyage de Babar.’
Le Voyage de Babar (Travels of Babar) will be given its first U.S. adaptation presented at Florence Gould Hall in New York City on November 2nd (in French) and November 3rd (in English), 2018. Presented by Source Music, Inc. complete with its original score by Raphael Mostel for eight musicians to perform. The production will be narrated by Leah Pisar, who has been narrating the text written by her late father for Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3, “Kaddish,” with orchestras around the world. “Le Voyage de Baba” is a multi-media composition based on Jean de Brunhoff’s classic picture-book of the same name using the original watercolors of de Brunhoff’s illustrations.
A truly one-of-a-kind experience that is honest, transparent, and magical in every sense which appeals to a general audience of all ages, a first for Mostel. The adaptation takes the viewer on a journey as they witness the transformation of literature into a musical work of art. Dating back to 1940, French composer Francis Poulenc was the first to set a Babar story, “L’Histoire de Babar” (the first book by de Brunhoff). The original text tells the story of the childhood and adolescence of the famous elephant until he marries.
Mostel continues the musical history of Babar by setting “Le Voyage de Babar,” (de Brunhoff’s second book) which picks up the story when these fanciful elephants leave in a balloon on their honeymoon and subsequent adventures to return home. Mostel’s score was originally commissioned and recorded for Japan in 1994, and his “Voyage de Babar” was first publicly performed in California and New York in 1998. In 2017, the Berliner Philharmoniker presented the first performance of the new production which will make its U.S. debut this November.
The score will be performed by eight musicians representing an orchestra in miniature: two winds (clarinet/bass clarinet and bassoon), two brass (cornet, trombone/bass trombone), two strings (viola and cello), plus piano/celesta and percussion. Mostel embodies the spirit of de Brunhoff while incorporating a sense of modernity to the classical work. This task was often challenging yet exhilarating, as he interprets de Brunhoff’s illustrations through various elements of music taking the audience through a myriad of emotions that brought the production full-circle.
The “alarming and very amusing twists of fate” transforms into a wide-ranging voyage viewed through a lens of power, play, and passion. Mostel references his work, “My music has always had a spatial dimension; it’s essential.” The approach allows him to work from a place of the unknown to address each piece with a newness that surprises the audience and surprises himself.
Raphael Mostel is an American composer, writer, and lecturer based in New York City. His works have recently been performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, New York City Opera, the combined brass of the Chicago Symphony and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras. Mostel’s compositions were also performed at the atom bomb commemorations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan and honored with a retrospective exhibition at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center.
For over a decade, Mostel has been co-teaching the “Architectonics of Music” Advanced Studio with architect Steven Holl at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. Both Mostel and Holl met in a chance encounter at a gallery opening featuring the work of composer John Cage and video artist Nam June Paik; it’s safe to safe the rest was architectural history as the duo has worked on a number of projects since there meet and greet. “Architectonics of Music” investigates the interface of architecture and music as a sense of innovation for the modern-day architect. The program gained immense recognition awarded by an (anonymous submission) the Studio Prize as the top class in the U.S. by Architecture Magazine.
Photo Credit: Jay Muhlin
Courtesy of Source Music, Inc.
Photo Credit: Jean de Brunhoff watercolor,
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
We recently sat down with Mostel to gain a better understanding of his role in the new adaptation of “Le Voyage de Babar,” what being a composer means to him during the 21st century, and how entrepreneurship played a great deal in his career.
RAINE: It’s been two decades since “Le Voyage de Babar” was first publicly performed in California and New York. We now live in a new era, decade and climate, can you describe what being a composer meant to you during the 1990s and how it has differed during the 21st century?
Raphael: The work of the composer never really changes, like being a cook you always have to know your way around the kitchen to create tasty dishes. The task of a composer is to provide a nourishing experience that people will want to experience again and again. The challenge remains– how does one do something both worthwhile and individual? In the past few decades, it has become more challenging for anything that doesn’t fit into a readymade pipeline to make its way into the world.
RAINE: We at RAINE pride ourselves on introducing the world to entrepreneurs who have paved and created their own path through various industries. As a composer, writer, and lecture how do you define entrepreneurship in your sector and has this influenced the way in which you operate your business taking on significant risk as a musician?
Raphael: Taking risk is necessary if you want to achieve anything worthwhile, and without it, one is only repeating. Useful perhaps, for short-term gain but where is the interest in the long-run? There were many things that were wrong with ‘Le Voyage de Babar’ for example, it violated this or that rule but if I hadn’t violated those rules then ‘Le Voyage de Babar’ wouldn’t have done as well as it has. When we finally put the work together, they said, “Oh, it all fits!” It was said to be an unusual work in a number of directions.
RAINE: Take us through your methodology, when composing a performance is there a specific thought process or lens you work through?
Raphael: That’s a more difficult question because I never repeat the same approach. Each project deserves its own set of inquiries by meditation; what are its own terms? After that, what is it that speaks to the project and how many different ways. This last one required multiple personalities imaging myself as the audience and working to fathom as best I can how can different personalities perceive this piece. The goal is to create a new work that will redefine whatever genre it’s in and also to stand the test of time.
RAINE: You were quoted saying, “This production has become an adventurous ‘voyage’ within ‘Le Voyage de Babar.’” Can you elaborate on this statement and explain your journey with Babar?
Raphael: This question aligns with the last. There’s an elaborate new slideshow I created 400 cues in the hour to accompany the music and the narration which makes the production as if performing in real time. It’s all about the larger voyage of what is being created from entrepreneurial efforts that will allow the public to experience the form the work deserves. I thought of Tchaikovsky when he composed The Nutcrack who would have thought such an imaginary and whimsical illustration would come through a dance company, and moreover through ‘Le Voyage de Babar’ there’s a decent chance that it will become an equal success.
Babar is essentially an outlier that demanded the approach of traditional classical music, so I used that but adapted it to my approach. It’s something the musicians have to get used to, but once they get used to it, they can perform various approaches in the work that covers the entire vocabulary of music.
RAINE: How have you brought a sense of modernity to this adaptation of Babar while remaining authentic to Jean De Brunhoff’s original text?
Raphael: As a living composer I can’t help but bring in the sense of today into my music. Maurice Sendak called Voyage de Babar a ‘masterpiece’ for a reason, as it rises above its time with a liveliness that will forever win through. His illustrations have such an amazing complexity; I know it’s a paradox, but it’s a real one, and I emulated his approach to the musical catalog and the 46 scenes of the story. Touching upon what I stated prior regarding the vocabulary of music using analogs of the images.
RAINE: Travels of Babar appeals to a general audience of all ages; do you feel it’s necessary that an audience can deduct the processes and ideas behind a work solely from the music?
Raphael: Le Voyage de Babar is pure joy, anything else is optional. I challenge anyone to leave without at least a smile and judging from its track record its response will display more than that. Adults usually find it a guilty pleasure that makes them seem like they are kids again, and kids are just beside the music as they imagine how they are doing things themselves, so I played on that.
When I was a kid, I taught myself how to play music. My first music lessons were being taught how to write down what I was already playing, so when this project came to me, I went back to my memories of how I managed to teach myself music that’s why it’s so different from every other work I’ve done.
RAINE: Do you believe improvisation and composition share equal merit during the production process?
Raphael: I love chance and serendipity. Improvisation is essential in understanding anything and composition is partly improvisation, but decisions have to be made for a piece to work. I don’t see improvisation and composition as opposition, as it depends on what one is doing. Within composition, three aspects need to be taken into consideration: written, performance, and listening are all considered. Regarding the performance and the viewer’s take away there are several points for the musician to take off and soar.
One of my musical jokes for the musicians, “One of the most conservative soundings is the most improvised one.” I was playing with this idea in terms of improvisation and composition of Babar as it’s woven into the work. It’s a braid between the two, and it’s not always what one expects.
RAINE: What is the future of “Le Voyage de Babar?”
Raphael: The future of the work is working on a portable version of the production in high quality so that it can travel through neighborhoods and not have people come to a single theatre. The production will travel in places where families are because this is a work that is family friendly. We want to bring the performance to a high quality, it’s a high-cost production but if you advertise over several performances the cost comes down, and it becomes much more attractive for sponsorship. The goal is to have this traveling production that can keep on going.
It also has a very deep educational agenda that teachers, music teachers, people who want to encourage literacy are interested in. I’ve been speaking with a number of people that we may develop a program that can be used from the National Director of Young Audiences. It’s useful for multiple forms of literacy and numerous grade levels. I’m here to have the work applied to that goal.
RAINE: For over a decade, you have been co-teaching within the “Architectonics Music” at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. What is your role in this program?
Raphael: The “Architectonics Music” class at Columbia University is taught with Steven Holl, the architect where the program is specifically for architects, not musicians. The knowledge of music is not required which makes my role a little bit more challenging then it would otherwise be. Steven had the vision to use the interface of architecture and music as innovation for his architectural students. It’s been a huge step, and you’ve seen an anonymous submission a Studio Prize just awarded the class last month as the top class in the U.S. by Architecture Magazine.
I’m so fortunate in meeting Steven Holl by accident; talk about serendipity, chance, and improvisation as we hit it off in a conversation where one thing led to another. I’ve even consulted on some of his architectural projects. The new Lewis Art Complex at Princeton University has just opened last year, and that was the first project I interfaced as a consultant on for Steven. Architectural Record asked me to write about my involvement with the art complex as I was one of the first persons Steven called before even being commissioned with the project. The complex is inspired by the work of avant-garde composer Morton Feldman. Steven does brilliant architecture, and the music genuinely inspires it.
RAINE: What advice would you give an aspiring composer today?
Raphael: Consider another job. You have to be driven, passionate, and find your path. There’s no cookie-cutter way to go. The people who become composers know they’re composers because they can’t do anything else. It’s a consuming passion. It’s a complicated process to incubate yourself and the challenge of creating music in the world that is individual while bringing it to the public.
RAINE: With a repertoire of work ranging from several critically acclaimed productions to being honored with a retrospective exhibition at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center, how have you maintained a successfully long-standing career?
Raphael: By not adapting and repeating myself. I’m always amazed by people who fall in love with my work and then discover how completely different another work is, “That’s the same person?” My job is to go as deeply as I can into any particular work from conception to fruition. If I can do something entirely new and surprising for the audience, then I’ve done my job.
‘Le Voyage de Babar’ will leave a lasting impression as an “enriched musical travelogue with an elaborate visual production.” Mostel brings New York City alive returning to our childhood selves, an age of innocence, youth, and endless wonder to unfold. Le Voyage de Babar debuts in New York City on November 2nd and 3rd at Florence Gould Hall for an evening of harmonious fascination and fulfillment through the vocabulary of music.
Ticket Information: $25 and up | Box Office and Ticketmaster • www.Ticketmaster.com or 1(800) 982-2787
The British are coming; the British are coming! On Saturday, May 19, 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle joined hands in Holy Matrimony at Windsor Castle. It was a royal affair as two cultures became one. A world-wide event as onlookers sat at the edge of their seats pondering – what will she be wearing, who will walk her down the aisle, will her estranger family ruin her big day, and to be a fly on the wall at those ragging after parties. The culture clash brought about by the Royal Wedding left many wanting to live vicariously through Markle as the bi-racial, American actress who finally got her happily ever after. At last, it was a Royal wedding filled with regalia, tradition, and impeccable British charm.
The Royal wedding exceeded our expectations following the four R’s, Romantic, Regal, Radiant and of course, Royal. The blushing bride’s ceremony dress was designed by newly appointed British designer, Clare Waight Keller the first female artistic director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy. Her dress was simple, elegant and modern accompanied by a bateau neckline and bracelet sleeves in a double bonded silk cady with a soft matte lustre. Markle also paid homage to the monarchy by wearing a borrowed crown from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed down from Queen Mary, which is also known as the Queen Mary diamond bandeau tiara. The diamonds weren’t the only showstopper as Markle’s 16.4-foot veil commanded the room incorporating all 53 commonwealth countries “representing the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country united in one spectacular floral composition,” in a statement by Kensington Palace.
Markle wanted a dress that was timeless and demure but shows a sense of modernity as a new era for the Royal family is amongst us. Aside from the global spotlight and media-driven commentary she is a princess for the people. We were enamored with the glee-filled bride, but we were encompassed by the winsome couple, better known as The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. In true American form absorbing all things British culture is our forte, so what better way to commemorate the royal festivities than with a spot of tea.
Afternoon tea was introduced to Great Britain in the early 1840s, initially developed as a private social event for ladies who climbed the “echelons of society.” The genesis of ‘tea receptions’ as we know it today follow the royal protocol of the late Queen Victoria ranging from a large gathering to an intimate setting with an open ‘at home’ invitation between 4 pm and 7 pm. Today, afternoon tea is enjoyed as an occasional indulgence in not only Great Britain, but Americans have joined in on the elegant affair as well. Afternoon tea is often composed of delicate sandwiches, sweet pastries, and cake.
The signature scone, clotted cream, and jam combo were introduced to the menu in the twentieth century. The royal wedding called to action well-known New York City-based institutions such as Tea & Sympathy, Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon, Alice’s Tea Cup, BG Restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman, The Pembroke Room at the Lowell Hotel, and The Plaza Hotel. We couldn’t help but partake in the afternoon pastime when offered the chance to indulge as the Royals do at the Baccarat Hotel’s: Un Thé Royal/ Tale of Two Cities Royal Afternoon Tea program.
The Baccarat Hotel opened its Manhattan, New York City flagship location on March 18, 2015, located in the heart of Midtown across the street from the Museum of Modern Art and steps away from Fifth Avenue’s legendary shopping. The Baccarat Hotel opened with one initiative in mind, “reimage the elegance and perfection of the Legendary French Crystal maker into a luxury lifestyle hospitality brand.” Dating back to 1764, King Louis XV founded the storied luxury brand whose artisans and craftsman have received the title of Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. Today, the Baccarat Hotel is seen as a modern day ‘House of Baccarat’ brought to life, taking a brand which has never been compromised and created its first luxury lifestyle hotel masterpiece, says Barry Sternlicht, Chairman, and CEO of Starwood Capital Group.
The Baccarat hotel enables us to live grand as guests are transported to a lap of luxury that is alluring and sophisticated, but not overly formal. A celebration of light and shimmer is apparent as guests are greeted by a mesmerizing 20-by-25-foot wall adorned with more than 2,000 of Baccarat’s most iconic glasses in the lobby – talk about making an entrance. Each customized glass is lit by an LED light to create a 24-hour light show.
The hotel’s design concept was conceived by French design duo Gilles & Boissier to combine the “classic elegance of a Parisian hôtel particular with the contemporary aesthetic of its midtown New York City location.” The color scheme offered in black, white, ivory, and an accent of red mimic the theme found throughout the Baccarat chandeliers. Classic pieces were also curated from the brands’ archival and contemporary collections that incorporated the legacy of the Baccarat name while finding a perfect balance of an evolution for the brand.
The décor of the rooms is a mix between contemporary sensibility with classic elements. The Baccarat Hotel offer guests a vast selection of room categories beginning with Classic King and ascend to the Baccarat Suite, the hotel’s “pièce de résistance.” Each room is also accompanied by exclusive amenities created for the hotel by Parisian perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. Making our way to the Grand Salon – upon arrival guests will notice the classic silk covered walls, banquet seating, marble tables, and crystal galore. The opulent dining space features afternoon tea, breakfast, lunch and dinner service as guests enjoy the grandiose views of barrel-vaulted ceilings, a 60-foot tall bar, and an outdoor terrace overlooking the Museum of Modern Art.
Afternoon tea is a service the Baccarat Hotel prides themselves in having an “extensive afternoon tea program.” How extensive could a cup of tea and scones be, right? Gabrielle Jammal, designated tea sommelier for the Baccarat Hotel New York, says “Tea is such a significant part of our lives and a very personal passion for so many around the world.” Tea receptions, as stated prior are genuinely ingrained in culture and wellness, but also a time of social gathering and experiences for all ages.
The Baccarat Hotel hosts an afternoon tea reception that is reflective of those enjoyed in palaces around the world. Although, Baccarat is a traditionally French brand they value culture globally and what better place to showcase this initiative than the epicenter known as the ‘mixing pot’ of culture that is New York City. The fine art of tea is presented through a celebration of historical personalities from Europe to the Middle East.
The hotel’s signature afternoon tea offerings include four specialized teas:
- Sultan Abdülaziz – A Turkish Tea at Dolmabahçe Palace
- King Louis XV – A French Tea at Versailles
- Prince of Wales – An English Tea at Windsor
- Tsar Nicholas II – A Caviar Tea for Two at Tsarskoye Selo
To commemorate the upcoming British Royal Wedding, the Baccarat Hotel has enlisted another tea offering, “A Tale of Two Cities.” This afternoon tea reception creates a happy medium between British and American cultures to reflect the union between Prince Harry and Meghan Markel; signature dishes include – Shepard’s pie, “Fish & Chips,” Yorkshire pudding, Avocado toast, Maine lobster salad, Bakewell tart, and Strawberry shortcake. But, what would an afternoon tea be without the inclusion of scones accompanied by Devonshire Cream and Seasonal Gelée?
Photo Credit: The Baccarat Hotel
We can’t give the entire menu away, so you’ll have to witness this royal affair for yourself. Let’s say our inner-Brit came out in full swing, and we may or may not have waved the Union Jack for good measure. The Royal Afternoon Tea: A Tale of Two Cities is offered throughout May, so if you’re still reeling from the Royal Wedding and want to recap the momentous occasion there’s plenty of time to join in on the royal festivities.
If you simply fancy a ‘cuppa’ in an extraordinary setting, you can also partake in the hotel’s other tea receptions long after the Royal Wedding has come and gone. The Prince of Wales Tea is offered Monday through Sunday, with all other tea presentations offered Wednesday through Sunday. Tea service occurs between1 pm to 4 pm.
The Baccarat Hotel is the crystal palace of New York city filled with opulence and French glamor. An oasis of luxury and an escape from one’s pattern lifestyle and into an alternate reality where crystal dreams are made. Baccarat opened its doors as not only a staple name within French culture, but incorporates culture from around the globe to encompass a curated tea reception to bring these “imaginary journeys to life.” A hotel that exudes poise and stature in every sense of the word, but also presents an ear of modernity and a reflection of the current times.
We often find ourselves at a cross-road with life, the same patterned routine or juggling act trying to find that perfect balance between work and play. No one is more familiar with this daunting reality than a New Yorker city native. It’s around this time of year when New Yorkers are at their breaking point of having those summer blues and dare we say, the echoed term of “Rosé and Rooftop Season” encompasses the office. As the songwriter declared, “Take me away to a secret place, a sweet escape…take me away.” Taking heed to those choice words – Welcome to the Catskills.
The Catskill Mountains, also known as ‘the Catskills’ is a province of the larger Appalachian Mountains, located in southeastern New York state. Locals of New York City have favored the popular American culture area since the mid-20th century as a destination of solace. The Catskills take pride in their abundant landscapes, picturesque views, endless outdoor recreation, farm-to-table eateries, and the ever so popular festival lineup.
A weekend getaway awaits filled with delight from Fly Fishing in the Esopus Creek to hiking and taking in the majestic waterfall views at Kaaterskill Falls and Russell Brook Falls. If you’re a thrill seeker then river canoeing, white water rafting, and kayaking may be more your speed amongst the favored aquatic recreation activities. Of course, camping is a must with favored campsites such as Bear Spring Mountain and North-South Lake up for grabs. Lest we forget a notable mention of the mountain range as ski and snowboard enthusiasts flock to the Catskills for those significant snow-covered peaks. There are five main downhill ski and snowboard areas in the Catskills including, Belleayre Mountain, Hunter Mountain, Windham Mountain, Holiday Mountain Ski and Fun in Monticello; and Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury.
If you’re like us and want to visit the Catskills for the pure enjoyment of peace of mind, how about grabbing a local brew with the gals and the lads, or merely enjoy an authentic farm-to-table experience by venturing to a variety of breweries and eateries. The Catskills is known for their local brews from ales to stouts and lagers; a hotspot you might want to jot down on your beverage trail is the Honey Hollow Brewing Company in Earlton. If your all about fresh, local produce then the farm-to-table experience has your name written all over it. Eateries such as Table on Ten in Bloomville and Phoenicia Dinner in Phoenicia is sure to give all the nostalgic, and Instagram-able feels, but that ‘s only the tip of the iceberg of hidden gems to be found within the Catskills.
Now that you’ve received your foodie fix how about a generous helping of music and entertainment? The Catskills have long been a haven for artists, musicians, and writers, especially in and around the towns of Phoenicia and Woodstock. The town of Bethel is famous for the Woodstock Music festival in 1969, where thirty-two music acts performed amongst 500,000 concert-goers. The momentous event was captured in the documentary movie Woodstock (1970); over three-dozen films have resided in the Catskills. The former Woodstock site is now home to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
It’s no wonder your itinerary will be flooded with countless adventures and experiences to dive into, but first things first – where does one stay in the Catskills? The vast variety of hotels, resorts, and lodges located in the Catskills can be a bit daunting and overwhelming to choose from, as the accommodations are notable in American cultural history. Rest assured, any accommodation you choose will be a great fit, and no doubt will feel like that ‘home away from home’ experience. We felt it best to narrow down your options as we ventured to the Catskills for a mini “stay-cation” at Scribner’s Catskill Lodge.
Scribner’s has always been a reputable source as a “popular summer social center” for locals and tourist alike from the days of Hunter Mountain Prospect House during the 1800s, to their revamp during the 1960s when a new wave of eclectic attraction swept the Catskills area. A fashionable crowd was drawn to Hunter Mountain’s winter sports and après-ski revelry. In 1969, the ever so prominent Woodstock festival drew thousands of concert-goers for a countercultural revolution like none other. It was an exciting time for Scribner’s filled with revising, refining and redefining who they were as a brand and what they represent to the Catskills, as an artist acquired the Scribner’s site with a vision to create a “fantastical resort that captured the optimism and playfulness of that era.” In 1966, Scribner’s welcomed their first guests and quickly gained legendary status as a critically acclaimed accommodation haven within the Catskills.
Today, Scribner’s Catskills Lodge is known for its distinctive architecture and design with their recent reopening and extensive renovation to welcome a newer generation of ‘urban explorers.’ Scribner’s offer 38 guest rooms and suites, of which few are alike, have fireplaces and lofted beds accompanied by custom-designed toiletries for guests to savor. A decadent outdoor pool area awaits as guests can view the vast mountain range and breathtaking greenery during the summer months.
There is multiple indoor and outdoor event space, including a vast communal room that lends an aesthetically pleasing loft-like experience where guests will find several bookshelves filled with various genres from fashion to interior design. If you’re more of gamer how about a round of a pool or board games to unleash the competitor within, always a good idea amongst friends. From there you’re lead to the outside cedar deck that hosts a bonfire under the stars as guests can cozy up with loved ones sharing stories amongst new and old friends as they toast away to smores.
We couldn’t mention Scribner’s Catskill Lodge without a nod to their excellent farm-to-table experience with Prospect their locally-inspired restaurant. Executive chef Joseph Buenconsejo who has worked at notable restaurants such as Nobu, Jean George Vongerichten, Domaine Chandon, L’auberge Carmel, and Aqua and Masa respectively is the mastermind behind Prospect. Prospect serves a playful twist on local cuisine inspired by the “rich and diverse offerings of the Hudson Valley.” As guests look out of the floor to ceiling windows, the restaurant presents picturesque 270-degree views of the Catskills mountains that will leave you in awe.
Prospect prides themselves on comfort and inevitability as shareable dishes are offered and putting your phone on silent is a must – well, until you have to take that cheeky insta-story photo, because if you didn’t capture it were you even there? Prospect feels familiar as a gathering space for area-visitors and hotel guests to come together as one. Prospect at Scribner’s offer a menu for breakfast, brunch, après ski, and dinner drawing from its surroundings as culinary ingredients are sourced within the Hudson Valley, utilizing the region’s rich agriculture of local mushrooms, root vegetables with a focus on ‘innovative fermentation.’ Whether you are a breakfast/brunch person like us and like to rise with the sun, or you prefer an alpine dinner customized by the house chefs you will leave filled, satisfied and content.
The Catskills is a destination close to home, but even closer to our hearts. It’s a stay-cation that can meander in many different ways despite your preference, but no matter what route you decide to choose there is something for everyone during your Catskills adventure. Scribner’s Catskill Lodge offers guests a home away from home experience filled with over 20 acres of mountain-side to venture and explore. It’s a destination you won’t want to miss out on as guests are welcomed with open arms to a host of hospitable staff that always put the guest first and meet your needs with a smile. As summer is quickly approaching, you might want to book your next stay-cation sooner rather than later. Travel close, discover more as the Catskills awaits you.
A taste of Europe in the heart of Tribeca, New York City – Bâtard enables the culinary enthusiast in all of us through classic cuisine and seasonal ingredients with a focus on quality and authenticity. The Michelin-starred restaurant offers a “refined simplicity” accompanied by a defined palette that is transcending. Much of Bâtard’s culinary flare steams from Chef/Partner Markus Glocker’s diverse background, born in Austria with a passionate appreciation of the culinary arts. He has infused vibrant, rustic Austrian heritage into a restaurant that has received critical acclaim as Best New Restaurant in America by the James Beard Foundation. Bâtard is a culinary force dominating the New York City circuit one plate at a time.
Intrigued? Well, you should be as Bâtard bids adieu to the city’s winter-blues, and spring’s forward with a culinary clash like no other. New Orleans Chef Isaac Toups teams up with Markus Glocker for a two-night Crescent City 5-Course Collaborative Dinner on Wednesday, March 14th, and Thursday, March 15th. The James Beard “Best Chef: South” and Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” season 13 “Fan Favorite” aims to spice up the kitchen and bring some Cajun flair to the big apple that is unrivaled. Its Austrian meets Cajun cuisines where guests are taken through a menu offering that creates a symphony of palette pleasing flavor combinations. “Cajun cuisine is steeped in French and European tradition, and my cooking is certainly influenced by my European roots. It’s going to be a blast cooking together.” – Markus Glocker
The dinner, priced at $180 per person (includes a welcome cocktail, 5-course dinner, tax, and gratuity), will begin each night at 6:30 PM with passed canapés and a Reisetbauer sloe gin cocktail. *Optional pairings and full bar available at additional cost.
Seating is limited, and tickets must be purchased in advance at Crescent City Culinary Collab at Bâtard. For additional information, please visit www.batardtribeca.com or call (212) 219-2777.
Here’s to an evening of Collaborative Culinary Creations!