Archives for posts with tag: Caribbean

Tivoli HotelDevon Gilroy

There are many wonderful things to recommend a visit to The Hotel Tivoli or The Corner Restaurant in Tivoli, Duchess County.   The exquisite decor, the art, the many celebrities who visit this tasteful oasis created by the sensationally successful artist Brice Marden and his imposingly chic wife Helen.  Adding The Hotel Tivoli to a burgeoning chain… they also own The Golden Rock Inn on the Caribbean island of Nevis.

Together with landscape architect Raymond Jungles, Brice and Helen have turned Golden Rock into something extraordinary: a jungly hideaway, with the artfully overgrown botanical gardens of a fantastical world. It’s impossible to tell where the gardens end and rainforest begins. Curious plants grow on a grand scale: giant palms, like fans of the gods; elephant’s ears so vast you can use them as parasols. On this island-in-the-sun you can almost hear them growing.

Without doubt the Mardens’ have exquisite taste and an eye for sensitive restoration.

The Hotel Tivoli, once the Hotel Madeleine is an imposing Victorian building on the corner of North Street and Broadway in the heart of charming Tivoli.  Apparently, when they bought it, it had seen better days.  The Mardens’ transformed the building from dull… to glamorous.  The startling restoration of this fine building has attracted many new faces to what was becoming a Bard dormitory town.  Indeed, the younger staff at the Hotel are all Bard attendees.

These optimistic, wealthy students who flush through the town every year, year after year lend the place a Southern Californian hippy vibe.  Youngsters hang out on stoops, out of windows, laughing and singing.

Tivoli HotelTivoli Hotel

The whole operation would be perfect were it not for the chef at The Corner, Billy Gilroy’s errant son Devon Gilroy.  Covered in Tattoos, clipped hair… I met him through one of his many, many ex girlfriends who he dumped unceremoniously… but continued fucking.

This good looking, bearish, slightly over weight young man is single handedly the fly in the luxurious ointment at The Corner Restaurant.  Despised by his wait staff and many of the women in the hotel, he bullies anyone and everyone in his kitchen.  Perhaps he thinks he needs to behave like Gordon Ramsey to be a great chef?  In fact, this screaming, shouting and abusive behavior has more to do with his insecurity than some mad, uncontrollable genius.

Only today one of his ex staff bemoaned how he treated her disrespectfully, reducing her to tears…  then, after a couple of days, Devon makes a simpering passive/aggressive faux amends.

Devon Gilroy is a very lucky boy.  Helen and Brice Marden sent him to Morocco to learn the ways of North African cuisine.  He came back with a lame Tagine and a recipe for ‘Moroccan street bread’… what ever that is.

During the Spring, after the harshest upstate winter,  I made a great effort and spent a lot of money supporting The Corner Restaurant, well before the summer rush.

There were occasion when my friends were the only party in the restaurant.

I introduced fancy architects, I took my celebrity dot com friends. I took artists and art collectors and gallery owners.  As the restaurant grew busier the food shrank in portion, the plating messier and the quality dwindled.  I took my very best English friends and a clumsy waitress spilled a bottle of beer on his head and over his white shirt.  No apology.  Nothing removed from the bill.

My early Yelp review raved about the place.  I wished it every success.  I have stayed in the Hotel twice.  The rooms are wonderful (I really wanted to write wonderful in Caps) and The Hotel remains without any serious competition for 100 miles.  I urge you to break the bank and stay in the Hotel Tivoli, eat the amazing breakfast (divine almond cakes and home made jam) but please don’t bother with dinner at The Corner, unless… you’re drinking at the spectacular marble bar.

(Hungry?  Drive six miles to Gaskin’s in Germantown for dinner.  A class act.)

Oddly, my later… less complimentary Yelp review was removed at the The Corner’s demand.

Pity they forgot my blog.  I didn’t.

Brice and Helen Marden run a money no object operation at the Hotel Tivoli.  It is a beautiful gift to the people of Tivoli.  Stuffed with iconic, contemporary furniture and millions of dollars of art.  A true gem.  There is a huge portrait of Helen at the top of the stairs by Francesco Clemente.  It is without doubt one of the finest hotels in the state of old New York.

I’m sure that with well trained servers and a new, less tyrannical chef, (working along side Nancy the excellent GM and Jeannette the elegant maitre d’)  this star restaurant will rightfully sparkle in the local firmament.

Brunch Hotel TivoliHelen Marden by Clemente

I left LA last week (July 2nd) though it actually feels like months ago, so much has happened.   I flew into JFK with bags and dog and chaos.  He was waiting for me and whisked me off to a beautiful house set in perfect woodland and rolling lawns.

We ate and walked and talked.  I never tire of listening to him.   We have done our fair share of soul-searching these past few months and now it is time to have a few laughs.   I know that at the back of his mind he worries, that he is not truly free.

I loved the countryside and delightful clapboard houses on the border of New York and Connecticut.

In distant, very white upstate town Katonah there were two very black gay men from the Caribbean eating a light lunch.   They were the only black people for miles around.

 

Two days later we were in a taxi back to JFK and onto one of Air France’s spectacular Airbus A380.   The huge plane was almost empty!  Deciding to fly on July 4th was a great idea.  Taking off over a million 4th July firework parties.  Fireworks exploding all around us.

The first part of the journey was not without drama as we managed to get delayed for 3 hours by a bomb scare at JFK.  The entire airport emptied out just minutes before we were about to fly.    We were herded outside and sat around smoking cigarettes and drinking water.   After a couple of hours in the sun we stampeded back into the building directly onto our planes and landed in France 6 hours later.

It is delicious to be back in Europe.  Away from the tangled life I have left behind in the USA.   Once in Paris we checked into Mama Shelter in the 20th, seconds from the cemetery Pere Lachaise.  We loved it!

 

Although I smuggled the dog into the hotel-actually we had no need as dogs, we later found out, are allowed.   The food and service were excellent.  The only vaguely irritating thing was the Internet wi-fi connection which was linked to their rather modern but baffling Apple TV.  Apart from finding it impossible to get on-line their sophisticated interconnected system meant that the TV remote would also remotely control our lap tops..hmmm.

It is so easy to concentrate on what is wrong in life or in others without noticing how beautiful things are.  The staff at the hotel were gorgeous and we drooled over them everyday.

First day of Couture shows in Paris.  We had lunch with William Stoddart at Hotel d’Amour near Pigalle.  Gosh that area has changed so much!   When I lived there with Claire Sant it was ghastly.  Last week it was wonderful.   The weather has been gorgeous everywhere we have been.

The beautiful Edouard joined us afterwards for coffee.  We had dinner with him the night before and 6 others at Italian restaurant.   Very pretty German model who was obviously rooting for Germany in the World Cup..she was tall and womanly and intelligent.  We talked France’s ignominious exit from the competition and sneered at the British teams pathetic attempt to get into the last 8.

 

Three days in Paris followed by a train ride to Calais and a ferry to Dover after a short taxi ride home to Whitstable we were sitting on the beach eating venison burgers and the travelling companion couldn’t believe how beautiful it all was and complained that I had underplayed how Whitstable really is.

 

Today there are warnings that old people may overheat.  We are going to take a train to London.

I am sitting writing this from my room overlooking the sea in Georgina’s home in Whitstable.   It was my birthday yesterday.   The day started well enough with coffee at Dave’s deli catching up on gossip and drinking his perfect latte.   I left the companion in bed.  He is not really a morning person.  We met my mother for lunch at Wheelers where Mark Stubbs the chef there continues to surpass himself-this time with delicately spiced soft shell crab.

I really had no desire to see anyone other than who was at that table.  I am certainly not interested in tangoing in front of 500 people like an eastern European gypsy.    My mum and Georgina bonded over their hatred of Asylum Seekers.  My mother pointed out that some asylum seekers were pretending to be gay so that they could stay in the country.  If it’s not the Mexican’s it’s the Eastern Europeans..there always someone to blame for never having enough.

I thought that the fear of others getting something for nothing was an American phenomena but no!  It’s British too.

After lunch Adam took my picture as part of his photographic Whitstable project and his lovely mum cut my hair.  We sat in their lush garden drinking lemonade and lusting after his gorgeous, recently tattooed, diver brother.   After the pictures were taken we walked the couple of miles home up the beach.   I have never been so happy.

When we got home the companion had a drama unfold which he needed to deal with.  When he finally tore himself away from the Internet we sat in the garden and ate dinner with Georgina.  We ate huge organic pork chops that I managed to burn on the bbq.   After dinner we sat outside the Neptune pub with Barry and other drunksters.   The dog was tired and lay on the beach and fell asleep.  The night was balmy and the sea lapped lazily over the shingle.

This morning I woke at 6am and walked the dog up to the harbor.  He loves it here.   The Greens who own the Oyster Company scrawl unfortunate notes on black boards all over their property.  Don’t do this and don’t do that. Those black boards used to be charming now they just look vicious.

Some people like to get their own way..I am one of them.  When you finally meet your match, as I seem to, it can be less than comfortable.  I am trying to be sensitive to the needs of others but I am a stubborn old fool.

As for him..the traveling companion..he’s finding his feet and I am finding mine.

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There is a storm brewing over Los Angeles and it seems also to be brewing in my heart.

I really need to connect with my 12-step brethren.   I am experiencing a disconnect.   My head is thumping and I know that this isn’t brain cancer just anxiety.

I know what to do-all I need to do is get on my knees and pray but I am scared of using up my only option.

I have a million things to do tomorrow.  Cooper arrives from NYC so maybe we can do those things together.

I have to take action rather than let life wash over me.  Yet, I feel tired-exhausted.  Keeping optimistic in profoundly pessimistic times is exhausting.

I think that you can tell, dear readers, that I am under the weather.

So, this week I have goat shelter, garden plan and solar decisions to make.   I have to prepare the house for rental and get the sofas that need repairing out of the house.  I have to call the bank and respond to various requests that have been left unanswered.

I think that the idea of a relationship weighs heavy on my soul.  I can’t go though any sort of misery again.  I want joy in my life and to share the projects I have with another interested party.

Haiti is a ghastly mess.  The images and news reports from the Caribbean are harrowing and add to my sense of helplessness.  It reminds me daily that a large earthquake in LA could cause the same sort of terrible catastrophe.  I have made several charitable donations and am shocked that Rush Limbaugh has urged his listeners not to give to any charities suggested by Obama.  What kind of racist monster is he?   Where is the compassion?