Blissfully Ignorant

201406-hd-the-toast-of-new-yorkIraq is falling apart, the Maldives are disappearing, Fukushima continues to bleed radiation into the ocean, Haiti struggles with a cholera epidemic, Russia menaces Ukraine. Domestically, Detroit is going under, prisons here are fuller than in any totalitarian-run country, guns keep killing people (sorry, people keep killing people), and the gap between the rich and everyone else has widened to unprecedented proportions. Hell, North Korea is primed to start WW III after a barber shop in the UK made fun of Kim Jong-Un’s wacky hairdo.


With such turmoil surrounding an increasingly anxious populace, it’s good to know Travel and Leisure magazine is there to provide soporific comfort.

A profile of two glamorous people in the latest edition of the light-weight, half-magazine/half-advertisement escorts the reader far, far away from the troubles that intrude daily. We’re talking about Alexander Gilkes and Misha Nonoo (is that a real name, or were her parents fans of Mork & Mindy ?). Travel and Leisure calls her “an emerging fashion darling,” a description more powerful than ipecac syrup.

Indulge yourself on this brief verbatim interview, note the frequent use of “$$$” and shameless namedropping (strozzapreti Bolognese, Belstaff biker jacket ), and try not to blow chunk.

“Alexander Gilkes took the art world by storm with his online auction site, Paddle8; his wife, designer Misha Nonoo, is an emerging fashion darling. Together they lead us on their tour of Manhattan.

—As told to Julia Chaplin

Eat “We’re always at the corner table at Sant Ambroeus SoHo ($$$), which is like a time warp to 1950’s Milan,” Gilkes says. “You get looked after with old-school attention.” Nonoo suggests the pasta with lamb ragù, mint, and pistachio: “It’s naughty but heavenly.” Antonioni’s ($$$), on the Lower East Side, is “as if the Godfather’s gay nephew opened an Italian restaurant,” Gilkes jokes. “There’s chintzy animal-print wallpaper—but the strozzapreti Bolognese is the best hangover cure ever.”

Shop “The real gems at SoHo’s What Goes Around Comes Around are in the basement,” says Nonoo, who obsessively collects vintage pieces from Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana. “I recently found an amazing old waxed-cotton Belstaff biker jacket there,” Gilkes adds. He also recommends the Upper Rust in the East Village. “We go to find eccentricities to decorate our Greenwich Village apartment—such as old racetrack chalkboards, postal sorting stations, and Nantucket antiques.”

Do For a romantic treat, Gilkes and Nonoo love TriBeCa’s Aire Ancient Baths. “It’s in a cavernous basement with candles and sensual music,” she says. “My favorite thing is the flotarium.” “Seeing art is all about presentation. The Guggenheim Museum, with its Frank Lloyd Wright spiral rotunda, always makes us swoon.” 

In the end, the couple swoon over the bulky, gimmicky Guggenheim Museum which belies their fundamental bourgeois roots, and makes me feel better that I’m somewhat cognizant of real world problems instead of pretending they don’t exist.

The Softer Side of “In your face”

Yesterday the Supreme Court shut down a Massachusetts law that imposed a no-protest buffer zone around abortion clinics there. The goal of the law was to establish a safe distance between patients and crazy bastards bent on harassing them with in-your-face polemics and lurid photos. Not everyone outside the clinics is a psycho, but all it takes is one to mess up your day. Nonetheless, the Court unanimously struck it down. The logic was articulated by Antonin Scalia who barked, ““Protecting people from speech they do not want to hear is not a function that the First Amendment allows the government to undertake in the public streets and sidewalks.” I guess Scalia never heard of libel.


In any event, it seems fair then to ask when a 250 foot no-protest buffer zone around the Supreme Court Building will be dismantled. Can we expect to see that barrier fall like those around abortion clinics in Massachusetts and elsewhere? Unlikely. This Roberts court has seen fit to upend dozens of well-established laws and conventions that affect multitudes of ordinary American citizens, but like the man behind the curtain to whom no one should pay attention, they eschew any attempt at transparency in their deliberations, and scurry from situations that might require engagement with regular people.

A Bridge Too Far

First there was the phony “traffic study” in Fort Lee, NJ that resulted in horrendous, manufactured gridlock leading to the George Washington Bridge, then came the revelation that money to be used exclusively for Port Authority of NY & NJ projects was improperly diverted to repair the Pulaski Skyway, a bridge in New Jersey leading to the Lincoln Tunnel. Gov. Chris Christie has denied involvement in anything nefarious, but still – what’s next?

Pulaski Skyway

Given the portly Christie’s obsessions with bridge controversies and food, I can envision some variant of the following headlines appearing in the pun-addled New York Post following the next New Jersey fiasco.

“Bridge on the River Chai Latte”
“London (Broil) Bridge”
“Golden Corral (formerly Gate) Bridge” –
“Pont Neuf with Hollandaise Sauce”
“Pasta Verrazano Bridge”
“Frog’s Neck Bridge”
“Bridge of Thighs”

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