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Cocktails at the Plaza

The Black and White Ball. Ink drawing. $50

Today my two top collectors and I flew to New York City where we’ll meet up with John, Ryan, and a group of John Ross Palmer collectors to celebrate John’s 46th birthday! It’s all very exciting. Being back in NYC always makes me nostalgic, but it’s so different this time around, arriving with my two top collectors, and getting to share my experience of New York – past and present – with people who care about me and my work. Naturally, I made a beeline first for real NYC pizza, then for The Plaza. There we sat in the Rose Room and had cocktails. Which were delicious. When the bill came, they brought a little postcard of Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball. I just recently read about that, so I found it very inspiring. I had to do a little sketch of Gloria Guinness, Bill Paley, and Babe Paley at the ball. And it got me to thinking. New York has changed and not all changes are great: Henri Bendel has closed, so has Clyde’s Pharmacy. Sadder still, a huge Apple store has replaced FAO Scwarz, the famous toy store, on Fifth Avenue. I wonder where the giant $6,000 giraffe went when they closed. Did they sell it at auction? Does some kid have it now? Is it homeless?

Of course, New York has always reinvented itself and there have always been people around mourning the loss of a more charming era. Frankly, sometimes I think it’s its grittier times we should mourn – especially as artists and art lovers. The inexpensive bohemian New York of the 1970s. Even the 80s and 90s were still times that allowed artists and dreamers to carve out a nook for themselves in what was a more dangerous but more affordable City. Then it all became sanitized and uber expensive, all money and no fun. The peep shows in Times Square were gone, the Park became safe to joggers, and someone took the $6,000 giraffe away and put a giant Apple store in its place.

Can you find Roosevelt Island on this map?
My top collectors reading Dogs with Bagels on the plane. Can you spot the Chanel bookmark?