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Test-driving the every-day Lamborghini

spyders

It’s 80 degrees in Indian Wells, Calif., which makes sense because it’s 9am in March. This is the desert, of course, where everything is hot. And in a minute, or, actually, 3.2 seconds, things are going to get hotter. We’re standing in the brick driveway of the La Quinta Resort & Club, courtesy of Waldorf Hotels and Resorts, surrounded by attractive hacienda-style buildings and a riot of pink, white and red flowers. But all anyone can see is blue. And yellow. And black. Three 2017 Lamborghini Huracán Spyders and one Coupe, each as jagged and edgy as the nearby Santa Rosa mountains, await drivers.

I am one.

Read complete story on Observer.comA Spyder at Coachella


Alfa Development’s Michael Namer On History, Architecture and Sustainability

IMG_4205Many artists conceal changes to their work. Process is not always appreciated, and can be misconstrued as flaw. The appearance of an early layer—whether imperfectly erased or deliberate—is called pentimento (see Hellman, Lillian) and some artists hate it. Others revel in the study of development, the steps taken from beginning to end. Michael Namer, the chief executive officer and founder of Alfa Development Group, is among the latter.

Istanbul-born, Havana-escaped, Los Angeles-raised, New York-formed, the 61-year-old West Village resident is today, in his words, a painter by avocation, a developer-builder by vocation. Each layer of his life, his work, his building is as integral as the next.

We’re sitting in a muted model guest room on the seventh floor of the HGU New York, formerly known as the Grand Union Hotel. At 34 East 32nd Street in Manhattan, which should be ready for guests sometime in 2016. Earthy grays, blues and khakis inside deliberately negate the flashing brightness of the city. Mr. Namer, in navy sports coat and tie, stretches his khaki-clad legs, flashing the bright orange soles of his brown suede wingtips.

With seemingly little effort he’s inserted himself in every aspect of his current project. He draws himself in, deriving pleasure from everyone and everything around. On the 10th floor, the top, he found newspapers stuffed into the plaster spread during the 1915 expansion of the 1905 original building. Slowly, he extracted the pages from the wall.

“I’ll show you downstairs,” he said, delighted, describing Vanderbilt headlines and local postcards and art that will fill the 40,000-square-foot hotel, reminding or teaching guests that this place, like the city around it, is rich with history, culture and life. Mr. Namer hopes guests of the hotel and the not-yet-named, recognizable-chef-headed restaurant will be aware of their surroundings. This is New York and nowhere else.

Read complete story on CommercialObserver.com: The Namer of the Game


Wine Tasting and More in Woodinville, WA

Photo
Jason Baldwin, Refuge & Prospect

Sometimes stories sit in edit. Sometimes stories get lost in edit. We've discussed this, multiple times.
Here is another story that never made it to the other end. It's worth sharing as we approach the 2015 Auction of Washington Wines. That's a weekend of picnics, dinners, galas, and wine from all over the state, in Woodinville, starting August 13th. Can't make it? Keep reading anyway. Woodinville, WA is a city you should know about. Tack it onto a Seattle trip. Or visit separately.

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“We have some friends who are really into wine,” says Celia D’Alessandro, eying a limited edition creation at Chateau Ste Michelle. “We want to have something they don’t.” The real estate professional from Northport has traveled with her husband to experience the world’s greatest. Last year: Bordeaux; today: Woodinville, WA, where 108 of the state’s 800 wineries have tasting rooms. Many are satellites of operations located on the other side of the Cascades Mountains. That’s east, where the grapes are: 43,000 acres divided into 13 regions (aka appellations) across hundreds of miles. The people, the drinkers and distributors, are in the west. 20 miles from Seattle (by highway or bike path), Woodinville is the place to discover what Washington wines are all about.

Continue reading "Wine Tasting and More in Woodinville, WA" »


The Ever Changing Face of Times Square

image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/hires.aviary.com/k/mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp/15040418/76d9ba58-7103-4fef-91c9-9a2e8d66584e.pngAs the clock approached midnight on Dec. 31, 1903, a tradition was born: a New Year’s Eve bash at the intersection of Seventh Avenue, Broadway and 42nd Street, then known as Longacre Square.

The year 1904 began with fireworks from the roof of the in-construction new headquarters of The New York Times: 1475 Broadway (the first ball drop was 1907/1908). At the time, the 25-story 1475 Broadway was among the tallest in the city, and the world. A few months later the city renamed the intersection and the soon-to-open subway station below for the building (and business) above: Times Square.

“This is the Great White Way, theatrical center of America and wonder of the out-of-towner. Here midnight streets are more brilliant than noon, their crowds on ordinary evenings exceeding those of large town carnivals,” reads The WPA Guide to New York City, in 1939.

Last month the city announced a record 56.4 million visitors in 2014.

Read complete story on CommercialObserver.com: Get With the Times: The Ever Changing Face of Times Square


The Incarnations of Times Square’s Knickerbocker Hotel

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View of Times Square New Year's Eve Ball from roof of Knickerbocker Hotel

In February, a bit of New York City hospitality history was resurrected with the opening of The Knickerbocker Hotel at 6 Times Square, at 1466 Broadway. The 230,000-square-foot building on the southeast corner of West 42nd Street and Broadway was built in 1906 by John Jacob Astor IV for a hotel of the same name.

Read complete story and see slideshow on CommercialObserver.com: The Incarnations of Times Square’s Knickerbocker Hotel

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An original column (original paint!) in now-closed subway-level floor of Knickerbocker Hotel

Maison & Objet Comes to America

Parisohlala_CorinneCampenioIt’s like the second-coming of Art Basel, say Miami locals of the buzz surrounding Maison & Objet’s American debut. The highly regarded Paris-based interiors trade show hits the beach May 12-15, 2015. Teresa Laughlin, a spokesperson for the event, hears Art Basel-like references nonstop. “There are so many ancillary events taking place all over the city, officially connected and independent, so excitement is very high. Add to that the exceptional reputation that Maison & Objet has built, and anticipation is very high.”

Maison & Objet Americas sold out quickly, which is outstanding considering the number of U.S.-based design events taking place that same month, including NYCxDESIGN (May 8-19), Collective (May 13-17) and ICFF (May 16-19). That said, it’s hard to compare the size and scope of Maison & Objet, which brings countless categories together.

Read complete story on InteriorDesign.net: What to Expect When Maison & Objet Comes to America


The Renovation of Paris: 5 Luxury Hotels

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Plaza Athénée (c)Eric Laignel

Recent news from Paris has moved people all over the world. Even as the impact on tourism is debated, hotels are opening in the world’s most visited country. And oh-la-la what hotels they are.

Not so long ago, things looked different. In the 1990’s, says Richard Martinet, principal architect at the local Affine Design which specializes in high-end transformations, European palaces lived their last moments of glory. Lacking sufficient investments to bring them back to their original standards and revive their souls, Parisian palaces were withering too.

Yet even as the recession that dominated most of the last decade was felt worldwide, investments were made by luxury hotel operators. The returns are coming in now. It’s stunning to consider how the money was spent. These aren’t new builds with absolute freedom of structure and design. These are historic renovations, spectacular century-old buildings with many rules and laws, unexpected accidents (some happy), and thoughtful methodology.

Read complete story on InteriorDesign.net: The Renovation of Paris: 5 Luxury Hotels


Obama First President Since JFK to Sleep in Rhode Island

RIpostcardOn Thursday night President Obama will sleep where few presidents have slept before: Rhode Island.  It's been more than a half-century since a sitting president–JFK–spent the night in the nation's smallest state.  

“Rhode Island is obviously a small state, easy to get in and out of, so the fact that President Obama has chosen to spend the night is a huge honor and privilege,” says Martha Sheridan, president of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Downtown Providence, she said Thursday afternoon, was abuzz in anticipation.

Read story on BloombergPolitics.com: Obama First President Since JFK to Sleep in Rhode Island


Japan's New Luxe Urban Hotels

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looking down from Abeno Harukas

It’s minutes to sunrise in Osaka, Japan’s second largest city where the country’s tallest building – 300-meter (984-foot) Abeno Harukas - opened March 7th. Guests of the Marriott Miyako Hotel (1-1-43 Abeno-suji, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-0052; phone: 81-6-6628-6111; marriott.com/hotels/travel/osamc-osaka-marriott-miyako-hotel), occupying floors 38 to 55, await the express elevator to the top. It’s a perk of staying in one of the 376 rooms of the country’s newest hotel: exclusive, early (and free) entry to the glass-enclosed 60th floor. Even in imperfect weather you can see Kyoto, Kobe, Kansai Airport, and the Ikoma mountains. Observation deck indeed.

Continue reading "Japan's New Luxe Urban Hotels" »