United

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I wasn’t planning on sharing my thoughts on recent world events, but it has been hard to focus on anything else. Days ago America elected a new president. This is not meant to be a political post, nor am I trying to attack anyone, that’s not my goal with this blog. I try my best to spread optimism and inspire others with life in the City of Lights, and my frequent travels, both for which I feel very lucky. I am however, American, born to a Polish immigrant mother and an American father who taught me freedom of expression and acceptance of others. I grew up in a privileged community in the Hamptons, while spending summers in Communist Poland, and took pride in my bi-cultural upbringing. America is composed of immigrants after all. It wasn’t until I moved to New York City that I truly felt at home, having met so many others like myself. My circle of friends represented India, Pakistan, Mexico, Colombia, France, Italy, Israel, Bangladesh, Spain, Argentina, England, New Zealand, Korea, Turkey… the list goes on. We all felt accepted regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or social status. THIS is what America is to me. Certainly New York City does not represent the rest of the country, nor the world. Living in Paris and traveling as much as I do has proven that. Yet I have a hard time accepting the racism and bigotry which has recently been fueled in the United States of America, key word: United. It is my hope and prayer that our new president will unify rather than isolate the people of my country, and even more so, the people of our world. In moments of doubt let us remember this, and act accordingly.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

night at the library

Once upon a time, in what now feels like another lifetime, I worked on Madison Avenue. Just down the street from my office sat the Library Hotel, and I would often pass it during my lunch break, wondering what lay beyond it’s scholarly doors, was there really a library? On this trip to New York, being an avid reader, I booked a room and planned to find out.

IMG_2479Stepping into the hotel feels like entering a library, books and card catalogs lining the walls.

IMG_2435_2What I soon discovered was that the concept of the Library Hotel is inspired by the Dewey Decimal system. As per this famous method of classification (developed by Melvil Dewey in the US in 1876) each of the 10 guestroom floors is dedicated to one of the 10 categories of the Dewey Decimal System. In turn, each of the 60 rooms are filled with books and art concerning their unique topic. With over 6,000 books, there is plenty to read!

IMG_2481 3The theme of our room was mysteries, how fitting for a mysterious night in Manhattan!

IMG_2488_2With an impressive view of the New York Public Library, I truly felt surrounded by literature.

IMG_2425Venturing outside, the city lights shone brightly, with regal Grand Central in the distance.

IMG_2476_2During the complimentary buffet breakfast we met fellow travelers from around the world.

IMG_2430_2Most enchanting of all are the views from the Writer’s Den and Poetry Garden on the 14th floor rooftop. By night it becomes Bookmarks Lounge, serving literary inspired cocktails.

IMG_2549Where better to read the New York Times or a good book, over a cup of coffee and a view.

IMG_2500_2I can’t wait to return to the Library Hotel, a literary haven in the heart of New York City. Next time the romance room?

from south to north fork

Growing up on the South Fork, I rarely left the Hamptons. Possessing some of the most beautiful beaches in the US, it provides the ideal respite from life in chaotic New York City, and with family and friends all around, what more does one need? On this trip home however, we decided to venture north to Long Island’s wine country. With over 35 wineries, we decided to stop for tastings at the second oldest Lenz Winery, and Pindar.

IMG_2127The North Fork is a 30-mile-long peninsula, the easternmost part of the North Shore. Orient Point sits on the tip. Between the two forks are two large islands, Shelter Island and Gardiners Island. Much more rural feeling and not as chic as it’s southern counterpart, the North Fork is filled with vineyards, apple orchards and farms. An ideal weekend or day trip.

IMG_2070Enjoying the views along the way, we drove to Greenport where we stopped for lunch.

IMG_2079IMG_2120Many of the eateries were closed following the long Memorial Day weekend, including Claudio’s, the oldest same family owned restaurant in the United States, opened in 1870.

IMG_2123IMG_2051We took a walk in the village and the charm of Greenport was felt around every corner.

IMG_2102IMG_2093 IMG_2108   On the road home, the fruit and vegetable stands were enticing.

IMG_2160We enjoyed our time and tastings in the north, but were happy to call the south home.

the end {of summer}

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When I was a kid, Montauk was home to fisherman, a place where surfers would congregate to ride the waves and locals would take day trips. It was a tourist destination with it’s mysterious lighthouse, even for those of us who grew up on the east end. When I brought my Italian there five years ago, this was the place he found most charming and authentic. A sleepy village just steps away from gorgeous sandy beaches, considered to many ‘The End’. There was nothing chic about it, until now. But it’s not simply Brooklyn’s hipsters who discovered this surfer haven, it’s Manhattan’s social elite too, who have made this their summer home, thus creating Montauk into a surfer chic enclave. (Cap Ferret, where we recently spent a summer holiday, is often called the ‘Montauk of France’.)

IMG_7496 Just after Labor Day we drove the length of the island, eager to see the village’s evolution.

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What we found were designer boutiques and chic hotels, seemingly abandoned after a full season.

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Montauk was left to the locals once more, just as I had remembered it.

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The once trendy but now tranquil Surf Lodge was an ideal spot to enjoy an end of summer sunset.

USA à Paris

In mid 2013, I met a French journalist who had in 2011 spent 6 months living in New York City. This experience changed her life. Upon returning to Paris she was filled with new ideas and dreams, having gained the “we can do it” attitude from life in the big apple. In September 2011, Noélie Viallet joined forces with Kamal Ben Saïd and together they launched  www.paris-newyork.tv, for their shared love of New York and America. Following the success of that project, Noélie spent the next few years working on a book, expressing her affections for all things American, in Paris.

Kasia Dietz-USA in Paris photo

We met to speak about my handbags, as a New York designer now living in Paris, and our conversations quickly led to life between here and there. I enjoyed speaking with Noélie and was impressed with her ambitious projects! Needless to say, I’m honored to be included in Le Guide des USA à Paris, which was recently published and can now be found in bookstores all over Paris and on Amazon.com. All photos by photographer Pierre Olivier Signe.

USA a Paris cover

Included within the pages are many fabulous addresses for all things USA, including food, fashion, culture… Among them fellow New Yorkers and friends Suzanne Flenard of Square Modern, Daisy de Plume of THATLou (and now THATRue) and Kristen Beddard Heimann of The Kale Project.USA a Paris-Kasia DietzThank you Noélie, for the courage to experience my country & culture and to share it with yours!

adventures in the keys

Admittedly, I’ve seen much more of the world than of my own homeland. My dream of driving cross-country to experience what is truly America remains to be realized. One day. For the time being my American adventures remain in New York and Florida with family and friends. During our recent trip to the Sunshine State, we did have the good fortune to take a mini road trip to the Florida Keys, along with my mom and her husband, final destination Key West.

IMG_5166Our first stop after nearly 3 hours of driving was just past Key Largo, which left much to be desired with it’s multitudinous strip malls and pharmacy’s, a kitschy fish restaurant in Islamorada. Savouring the catch of the day (and not thinking too much about which day it was actually caught), we continued on our way until we reached our destination for the night in nearby Marathon.

IMG_5224 Our secluded refuge was Tranquility Bay Resort, also home to the iguanas.

IMG_5232And tranquil it was, surrounded by clear blue stillness.

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That evening we experienced a magical sunset along the 7-mile bridge… that alone worth the drive.

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And still in time to sit beneath the glowing sky with a bottle of French wine.

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The following morning we got back on the road, crossed the infamous bridge and made our way to Key West. First stop, Hemingway’s House. Not to mention his cats, all 45 of them.

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Here is one of the 6-toed wonders, drinking from a urinal Hemingway ‘installed’ in his garden.

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We also explored the infamous brothel Blue Heaven, where Hemingway spent many an evening.

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After carousing the scenic town and indulging in key lime pie like proper tourists, we headed south.

IMG_5614To the southernmost tip of the USA. Last stop before the long drive home.

IMG_5697Guided by the setting sun alongside the historic Bahia Honda Rail Bridge… filled with memories.

time travel

As many times as I’ve stepped onto an airplane, crossing a continent, it never ceases to amaze me how in mere hours you can be transported through time, or so it feels. Most recently I flew from Pisa, near Monterosso where my Italian and I spent the weekend with his family and friends…

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…to New York City, to visit my family and friends. From what felt like the past, to the future.

NYC

Could there be any two places on the earth more different yet equally loved? Yes, certainly there are. But these are mine. Two very distinct and disparate parts of the world I call home. One for it’s calm and beauty, and one for it’s energy and innovation. And both for their culture. Not to mention all the other parts of the world that became home even for a brief moment. Ah yes, and then there’s Paris…

happy holidays!

Wishing all my dear readers, fellow romantics and francophiles around the world the happiest of holidays! From the City of Lights (with a glorious display on the Champs-Élysées) to sunny Florida where my Italian and I are spending Christmas with family and the New Year with friends. Time to reflect on the year that is behind us, and think of all that is yet to find us in the days ahead.

Looking forward to sharing many more adventures, travels and musings in 2013!

Warmest regards,
Kasia