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.
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.
The 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.
Enjoying the views along the way, we drove to Greenport where we stopped for lunch.
Many 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.
We took a walk in the village and the charm of Greenport was felt around every corner.
On the road home, the fruit and vegetable stands were enticing.
We enjoyed our time and tastings in the north, but were happy to call the south home.
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’.)
Just after Labor Day we drove the length of the island, eager to see the village’s evolution.
What we found were designer boutiques and chic hotels, seemingly abandoned after a full season.
Montauk was left to the locals once more, just as I had remembered it.
The once trendy but now tranquil Surf Lodge was an ideal spot to enjoy an end of summer sunset.
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.
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.
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.Thank you Noélie, for the courage to experience my country & culture and to share it with yours!
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!