David Patrick Columbia's New York Social Diary

January 22, 2007

New York Week End

New York weekend. It snowed in Manhattan on Friday night/Saturday morning. About 3 a.m., a full-fledged storm for all of twenty minutes, leaving zero accumulation on our tropical sidewalks. Otherwise it was very cold. The big news was that Hillary Clinton announced she was running for President in 2008.

Thursday night was the opening night preview for the Winter Antiques Show which drew a big crowd. We went back on Saturday afternoon and the place was teeming with visitors.  I asked one of the dealers how business was and he answered: “Fantastic, people are really buying.”  This same dealer was complaining about business only four months ago. I asked what had changed things. “The election; right after the election, the big money came out to buy again. He took it as a sign of optimism.

He also told me that the “billiionaires” had made a very big difference in the marketplace, that there were individuals spending millions and even hundreds of millions on art and antiques. He named a couple of people --  the head of a big Wall Street firm who is turning his “farm” into a kind of museum, and the heir to a big retailing fortune who is literally building a museum.

Of course on a grey and cold winter's Saturday afternoon in New York, the visitors to the Armory were very casually dressed, jeans, jeans and jeans – men and women – so it was slightly difficult to distinguish the well-heeled from the really loaded, but we can safely assume they were there.

I'm not a collector nor do I have the bucks to be but there were some very interesting things to see, if only from a historical interest. Elinor Gordon's stall for example had a set of china called Fitzhugh Green and made between 1800 and 1840. It was part of Laurence Rockefeller's household and sold at auction after his death.

Also Kenneth Rendell who has the store selling rare autographs and libraries on Madison Avenue and 76th Street (in the Carlyle), had a letter the late Gerald Ford wrote to industrialist/ art collector Norton Simon after Ford had pardoned Richard Nixon . Simon evidently had written to Ford protesting the decision. Ford's response which was short, but thorough and very courteous, written on White House stationary, is for sale in Rendell's stall for $25,000. 

Morning Star Gallery had a Southern Plains Native American two piece dress, circa 1860. Over at James and Nancy Glazer's stall (Early American) they had an honorary tomahawk/pipe for $375,000.

For collectors as well as the I-can-dream-can't-I set, the show is full of beautiful and fascinating pieces, jewelry, furniture, rugs, books, sculptures and paintings. Taste Caterers has set up a café so that you can spend hours perusing and have a leisurely lunch people watching while you're there. The show runs through next Sunday the 28th.

Alison Minton