Tortoise Strolls

Archive for October 2012

New Amsterdam Market

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The New Amsterdam Market was founded by Robert LaValva in 2005 and takes place every Sunday from 11-4pm. Its location, just north of the South Street Seaport, is a familiar place for haggling produce as far back as the 1640’s when markets began to spring up along the Ferry landing at Peck Slip.

Right next door to the New Amsterdam Market sits an old icon of a building that once housed the Fulton Fish Market, (which you can see in my second photo). The fish operation moved to Hunts Point in the Bronx as of 2005 and for 7 years nothing has been done with this crumbling building. No one comes down at the crack of dawn to buy fish here anymore. The area’s residents probably don’t miss the smells but a crumbling empty building with no purpose is a waste and an eyesore.  Robert LaValva’s bright idea would be to move his once a week New Amsterdam Market (which currently takes place outside in the parking area) into this enclosed space. Of course there’s red tape but I think it’s a great idea and I wish him luck. Through the New Amsterdam Market, many emerging businesses get to have their fledgling opportunities. Some of the vendors sell handcrafted, vintage inspired bicycles, artisanal jams, kimchi and wines grown on the North Fork of Long Island. There’s plenty of cheeses, meats and heirloom fruits and vegetables. There’s even some yummy sandwiches that pair up well with a walk along the East River. The New Amsterdam Market has great views of the Brooklyn Bridge so grab a treat from the market and head over for a stroll or cycle.


Written by agnesbstanton

October 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm

550 Park Avenue & Diana Vreeland

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I took a walk across Central Park the other day and marveled at the leaves that now litter the ground. September, my favorite month, is gone, replaced by October ever so quickly. My strides led me to Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. The Documentary on Diana Vreeland “The Eye Has to Travel” was playing and since such movies only play in three or four theaters in the city, I decided to go to the one on the  West side.  Angelika theatre  on Houston Street was too far, and I don’t particularly like City Cinemas across from busy Bloomingdales.

On my way to the theatre I made sure to pass by Diana Vreeland’s former home at 550 Park Avenue. A very civilized building, nothing eye catchy about it. Diana lived with her husband Reed on the 9th floor. They did not have a particularly large apartment (for Park Avenue standards), but it was made distinctive by her choice of the color red used in her living room. She called that room “a garden in hell”. Lacking the serious money needed to properly decorate such an apartment, Diana instead chose a very inexpensive fabric, some would even call it hideous, and had her walls, her sofa, chairs and pillows upholstered in it. Other shades and patterns of red were added, and with her trained eye, the room came alive with excitement. It goes to show how you don’t always need a boat load of money when you have ideas. Designers such as Carolina Herrera and Anna Sui have paid homage to Diana’s inspirational room by having red rooms of their own. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

The documentary would not necessarily get a standing ovation but it was very informative. Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Diana’s granddaughter- in-law, was the director of this movie. She also wrote a book by the same name that was published in 2011.  The film mainly revolved around  the interview/talks that George Plimpton had with Diana in preparation for her autobiography “DV” which was published in 1984 and which Plimpton edited. One of my favorite lines in the film is when Diane is describing how to become a fashion editor and says in her deep drawn voice “One must first arranged to be born in Paris”. Indeed that was the city she was born in, (5 Avenue Foch) and the city she loved coming back to throughout her life.

Diana’s estate sold her apartment at 550 Park Avenue to W. Michael Blumenthal, a Carter-era Treasury Secretary. In 2008 Mr. Blumenthal decided to sell and combined his apartment with his neighbors for a total of about 6,500 square feet, making it one of the largest Park Avenue apartments in today’s era. I can think of a few larger apartments at 740 Park Avenue but not too many other buildings kept their 1920’s configurations. Socialite Phyllis Mack passed the board and now lives here, having paid only $20 million, a bargain.

Written by agnesbstanton

October 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Co-ops, Upper East Side