Goodnight Freddie Roman

Sad Obit: The Friars Club is Padlocked Shut, Closed After Years of Mismanagement and Malfeasance Comes End of Era

by Roger Friedman – March 16, 2023 7:53 pm

The Friars Club is closed.

It’s padlocked shut with a gate blocking the entrance.

In truth, the Friars Club has been gone for years. All that remains is the 1957 “monastery” built into a classic townhouse(originally constructed in 1904) at 57 East 55th Street, a grim tombstone to remember the halcyon years of Alan King, Larry King, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Joan Rivers, Freddie Roman, Dick Capri, and so on.

The group that was once so vaunted long ago lost its 501 c3 status as a charity. The Friars used to raise money for philanthropies. Now they need a GoFundMe page and a rescue from the Landmarks Commission ASAP.

Gone are the roasts that became so famous that Ted Danson’s career was almost ruined at one when he wore blackface. No one who attended the famous roast at which Gilbert Gottfried repeated “The Aristocrats” has ever recovered from it.

But I began reporting on the financial malfeasance at the Friars Club in 2016, which led eventually to them being raided by the federal government. Down the line, the club’s president Michael Gyure was found guilty of fraud and tax evasion. He’s long gone. I reported that a sexual harassment claim was filed by the club’s long time receptionist and ultimately settled for around $1 million. The club refused to get rid of the person at the center of the suit, Bruce Charet, who is still with them. 

Three years ago, just before the pandemic killed off inside dining and entertainment, the club — loaded with debt — suffered a burst water pipe that flooded the place.Renovations took place thanks to insurance. In the spring of 2021 I was invited over by new president Arthur Aidala, the defense attorney who counts among his clients Harvey Weinstein. The kitchen was closed. There was no hot food, just some cold hors d’ouevres. Aidala was very upbeat that a new day was coming including an outside restaurant operator who’d make the ground floor public. 

That was two years ago. Months ago there was talk of private gatherings. No celebrities will set foot in the Friars Club thanks to the litany of people who’ve destroyed its reputation. The Club “fired” many beloved members, others quit. Once a famed pinnacle of success for comics and entertainers, it’s now a husk of itself. 

What will happen? New York’s history is disappearing very quickly now. The famed 21 Club closed during the pandemic and there’s no sign of its return. The Friars Club is one of the last vestiges of the city’s dominance as a cultural force. But in the last two or three decades, the group was unable to attract contemporary comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Letterman, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, the “SNL” gang, etc. 

PS The Friars Club has little to no social media. Its Twitter account hasn’t been used in three to four years, and there are no updates on Facebook.

A Miami Housewife Tells Her “Dateline” Experience

Miami Life —Lois Whitman-Hess

If you are a “NBC Dateline” fan then you will want to meet my friend Gloria Winkowski who lives a few blocks away from me in Miami Beach. She was actually involved in solving a 40-plus year murder mystery that took place in Rochester, NY. She
appeared on Dateline on Friday, January 20 to discuss the case with NBC news correspondent Andrea Canning.

When Gloria first told me about the murder of her girlfriend in Rochester and how she was working with Dateline to tell the nation about what happened so long ago, I couldn’t believe my ears. My husband Eliot and I became huge Dateline fans during the Covid-19 pandemic when we were shut-ins. After a while we realized that most of the cases were about small town, husbands and wives, who killed their spouses to collect on life insurance policies.

That wasn’t the case with Gloria’s friend Kathy Krausneck who was murdered February 18, 1982. Gloria said her husband killed her because she was planning to leave him. Jim Krausneck was very abusive. He wasn’t going to let her go on her terms. He took an ax and plunged it into her head before he went to work that day at Eastman Kodak.

If that wasn’t bad enough, he also left his three year old daughter home alone while his wife was stretched out dead in her bloody bed. The little girl, who is now 40 years old, said she has no recollection of being by herself without food, water, and adult supervision. Her father wanted to make the scene look like an intruder busted into his home and killed his wife. He claimed that when he returned home that evening he was shocked to see what took place in his absence.

Gloria didn’t believe a word he said because Kathy had been telling her that she was basically living a life totally being controlled by her husband Jim. He didn’t allow her to talk on the telephone when he was home because he wanted her totally devoted to him. He also kept her captive at home everyday because he refused to buy a second car for her use. Kathy often relied on Gloria to drive her daughter to school, the doctor, and food shopping. Gloria said Jim was generally very nasty to Kathy.

It took 40 years and several marriages later for Jim to be convicted and sent to jail for the rest of his life. It sickens Gloria to think it took the Rochester police all those years to gather enough evidence to put him away. Smaller cities just do not have the investigation resources as bigger ones.

Gloria was also upset with Dateline. She felt they didn’t tell the true story of Jim Krausneck. They just gave the highlights to fit the two hour slot and never gave Kathy the justice she deserved. “She was a sweetheart and he was disturbed. Jim was under investigation at Eastman Kodak for claiming he had a PhD when he never finished the program. They kept asking him to see his documents but he never produced it. He was about to be fired. Dateline, with all of their resources, also never covered that fact and that the Krausneck dog was locked up in the basement for the day. That was something Kathy would never do.”

Gloria realizes that Dateline produces a shows for TV entertainment. She just wishes they showed more facts why Jim was the killer. It was bad enough that Gloria had to tolerate Jim being free for four decades while her girlfriend’s life was cut short.

Gloria lives with her husband Bill, a retired pharmacist, in Miami Beach. They have a beautiful life filled with their four adult children and 11 grandchildren.

Dateline is a newsmagazine that has been an airing staple since in 1992. Cases involving murders and missing people are frequent topics on the series that has won multiple Emmys in the news and documentary category.

Every Democrat Needs To Watch This Video

Leigh McGowan launched PoliticsGirl as a way to help people reconnect with politics. She started the YouTube channel in 2015 as a way to inform and inspire because she said, “when you understand you care, and when you care you vote”. After watching the fallout from the Trump years, Leigh relaunched the project on TikTok in September of 2020 doing rants in her kitchen as a way to engage the younger generation whose participation, she believed, was essential to the future of the country. People loved her no-nonsense, casual approach and the way she was able to break down complicated issues into everyday speak. As her numbers grew so did her popularity and influence. People like her because she’s smart in a way that doesn’t make them feel dumb.



Be stategic. There’s too much on the line not to play to win.

♬ original sound – IAmPoliticsGirl

Second option, click on link below to access the video

William Shatner on ‘Star Trek,’ Space Travel and Mortality: ‘I Don’t Have Long to Live

By Brent Lang

William Shatner kicks things off with a compliment. 

We’re talking via Zoom — he’s beaming in from the sprawling kitchen of his Los Angeles home, which overlooks the San Fernando Valley. I’m dialing in from the living room of my walkup apartment in Brooklyn, a much more modest setting. But Shatner is impressed by the over-stocked bookcase behind me, as well as the paintings, a seascape and an impressionist pastoral scene that I inherited from my grandmother, that line the wall around it. 

“You have terrific taste,” Shatner exclaims with the kind of brio that Captain James T. Kirk, his most famous alter-ego, approached his mission “to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, [and] boldly go where no man has gone before!” 

But Shatner isn’t just here to talk about “Star Trek,” though his time commanding the Starship Enterprise invariably comes up. Instead, he’s discussing “You Can Call Me Bill,” a new documentary that covers Shatner’s career highlights — from the “Star Trek” films and series to “T.J. Hooker” and “Boston Legal” — as well as his acting idols (Brando and Olivier) and love of nature. The film, which is directed by Alexandre O. Philippe and which premieres at SXSW, is also a meditation on mortality, something that the 91-year-old Shatner has been thinking a great deal about these days. 

Why did you decide to make the documentary? 

I’ve turned down a lot of offers to do documentaries before. But I don’t have long to live. Whether I keel over as I’m speaking to you or 10 years from now, my time is limited, so that’s very much a factor. I’ve got grandchildren. This documentary is a way of reaching out after I die. 

Did you learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before you made this film? 

Time and time again, I’ve come across some interesting thought or idea. That can be because of a thoughtful interviewer sparking something in me. In the movie, I didn’t just want to go on about I did this or that when I was 7 or this is my favorite color . I’m trying to discover something I’ve never said before or to find a way to say something I’ve said before in a different way, so I can explore that truth further. I read all the time — newspapers and books. I’m feeding my mind. The sad thing is that the older a person gets the wiser they become and then they die with all that knowledge. And it’s gone. It’s not like I’m going to take my ideas or my clothing with me. Today, there’s a person going through some of my clothes in order to donate or sell them, because what am I going to do with all these suits that I’ve got? What am I going to do with all these thoughts? What am I going to do with 90 years of observations? The moths of extinction will eat my brain as they will my clothing and it will all disappear. 

That’s sad. What about your legacy? 

When Leonard Nimoy died a few years ago, his funeral was on a Sunday. His death was very sudden, and I had obligated myself to go to Mar-a-Lago for a Red Cross fundraiser. I was one of the celebrities raising money. That event was on Saturday night. I chose to keep my promise and go to Mar-a-Lago instead of the funeral, and I said to the audience, “People ask about a legacy. There’s no legacy. Statues are torn down. Graveyards are ransacked. Headstones are knocked over. No one remembers anyone. Who remembers Danny Kaye or Cary Grant? They were great stars. But they’re gone and no one cares.” But what does live on are good deeds. If you do a good deed, it reverberates to the end of time. It’s the butterfly effect thing. That’s why I have done this film. 

Your decision not to attend Leonard Nimoy’s funeral was controversial . How did the backlash feel? Do you regret your decision? 

Who cares? I know what I did was right. So it doesn’t matter. We’re criticized when we lift a finger. I don’t read that stuff. I try to not to indulge in the evil that’s out there. 

Everyone thinks about dying, but actors actually get to act out what it’s like to die on stage or on film. Does that change your perspective on death? 

William Shatner Documentary Beams Up $790,000 in Equity Crowdfunding, Selling Out in Less Than a Week 

There was a time when actors, and I include myself in this, would portray death by falling to the ground and your eyes would flicker and you’d slump around and then you’re dead. That’s not how you die. This is how you die [Shatner’s eyes go wide abruptly and his breath stops] . See? I’m dead. Ever put a dog down? When I have to put a dog down and I’m at the vet, I cup my dog’s head and I say, “I’m with you baby, I’m with you.” And the injection goes in and the dog looks at me with love, and that’s it. You don’t know they’re dead. That’s how you die. It’s abrupt. My wife’s brother walked out of the living room and into the bedroom. There was a thud. His wife walked in, and he was dead. Death comes anew to all of us. 

In “Star Trek: Generations” you got to have some say in how Kirk died. In that scene , he approaches his last moments with wonder. Why was that something you pushed for? 

I’m of the opinion that you die the way you live. I thought Kirk would die with a “Wow, look at that coming at me. There’s a guy with a scythe. Holy shit!” He’d seen all these weird aliens before. Here comes death and he meets it with awe and a sense of discovery. 

You’ve been touring the country doing sold-out screenings of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” a movie that came out in 1982. Danny Kaye and Cary Grant aside, some of your movies are going to outlast you. Is that comforting? 

They’ll be good for another 10 years, maybe five. I’ve made all these films that are popular, so I’m sure they’ll pop up every so often. But I don’t need validation from a film I made in 1982. I get pleasure in talking to you right now. 

In “You Can Call Me Bill,” you talk about thinking frequently about how you’re 91-years-old and you won’t get to see the people your grandchildren grow up to be. What is that like to realize that? 

I have a grandson named Sebastian, who is 3 months old and already he’s got a mischievous smile. He’s already a little bit of a comic. His mother and father are lovely people. You look into his eyes, and you can see the aspects of what he will be like. If hunger and disease and bad fortune don’t disturb him too much, he should become this wonderful, amusing human being. So with the time I have left, I like to look at all my grandchildren and try to extract what I can out of my impressions. 

Do you like going to these “Star Trek” screenings and conventions and being in front of all those fans? 

I don’t enjoy being tugged at, but I enjoy answering questions and being in front of thousands of people. 

Do you have a favorite role? 

No. I just try to have a good time on the set. I just did a commercial for a watch that I designed. It has a face with a telescope, a sun, the milky way. And the watch company did this whole science fiction background for me to talk about it. Well, there’s a part of the commercial where they use CGI to have a meteorite land next to me. I ad lib, “That’s a lot of meteorite.” That was a pretty funny improv. I did that on Monday, and that’s become one of my favorite moments. I don’t know what it’s like for others. I went to watch Dwight Yoakam record an album last night, because I have no idea how a great artist makes their art. It’s like, how does everybody else fuck? You have no idea. I don’t know if he has a favorite album, and I don’t know if I don’t have a favorite role. 

In 2021, you went into space on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space shuttle and you said it made you weep because it gave you a better sense of what is happening to the planet. What did you mean? 

When I came out of the space ship I was crying, just sobbing, and I thought why am I crying? What’s going on? I’m in grief. What am I grieving about? Oh shit, I’m grieving about the world, because I now know so much about what’s happening. I saw the Earth and its beauty and its destruction. It’s going extinct. Billions of years of evolution may vanish. It’s sacred, it’s holy, it’s life and it’s gone. It’s beyond tragic. We stupid fucking animals are destroying this gorgeous thing called the Earth. Doesn’t that make you angry? Don’t you want to do something about it? 

My Palm Beach Faux Pas

My Palm Beach Faux Pas:
Old Money Vs New Money
Lois Whitman-Hess

I was recently told that I made a faux pas in Palm Beach that I shouldn’t repeat again. I love the person who tried to correct me, but I am too old, and too satisfied with who I am, to change my ways.

This is what happened. I was at a Palm Beach party a few weeks ago and one of the other female guests was staring at me as if she wanted to have a conversation. Instead of standing there awkwardly, I said, “Hello I’m Lois Whitman-Hess, how do you know our host and what do you do?” She was around my age so I thought she might be retired but would have plenty to say. She could just give me a one liner about her career so we could strike up a conversation. Instead, she looked me straight in the eye and said, “I do nothing.”

I have to admit that most people would have backed off and tiptoed away in embarrassment. Not me. I didn’t let men order me around in business, so I sure wasn’t going to let this uptight senior get the better of me. I said, “You did nothing? Surely you had to do something.” She cleared her throat, paused to think, and then blurted out, “I raised my children.”

I wasn’t finished. I never am. “I’m sure you worked before having children.” She stepped back in an attempt to run away but she snapped back, “I was a writer for Seventeen Magazine.”

I was flabbergasted. Standing before me was someone I would have loved to know better so we could reminisce about our journalism days. I was a reporter for WWD and HFD for eight years in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. I read every issue of Seventeen Magazine as a young girl. I wanted to know so much more. I told her how thrilled I was to meet someone who wrote for a leading magazine during my reporting heyday. She wasn’t interested. She politely ended the conversation and walked away.

I was baffled by this encounter, so I mentioned it to the Palm Beach woman who hosted the party a few days later when we spoke on the phone. Her response was like she found out I was picking my nose in the middle of her party. “You don’t ask people what they did for a living in Palm Beach. It’s rude and classless.” I didn’t answer her because after 55 years of successfully navigating myself in the business world, I wasn’t going to listen to someone telling me right from wrong. I Iet it go.

A few weeks later I read a chapter in Laurence Leamer’s book, entitled, Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace about the protocol at parties in Palm Beach. Apparently, Donald Trump and I have bad etiquette in common.

I will let Laurence Leamer’s book explain. “After one of the dinner parties at Mar-a-Lago, when the waiters were serving coffee, Trump stood up at the head of the table. ‘I’d like to go around the table,’ he said, sweeping the room with his hand, ‘and have everyone get up and say a little about themselves, where they are from and what they do.’One of the grandes dames rose slowly and stood quietly as she looked across the table. ‘I live in Palm Beach,’ she said finally. ‘And I do nothing.’ With that she sat down while the other guests contemplated her words. Another of the ladies, copying the first speaker’s words, rose and said, ‘I live in Palm Beach. And I do nothing.’

Trump had merely been trying to enliven the island’s tired social rituals, but he discovered that most of these people did little. That was the point. They didn’t have to do anything. They stayed among their kind. They never went places where someone would ask anything so impertinent and expect one to stand up and answer.

Another of the dinner guests, Richard Cowell, observed these proceedings with astonishment. Born in 1927, Cowell had lived in one of the first fifty houses on the island and gone to the Palm Beach Day School. To him, Mar-a-Lago was not a legendary estate but the landed expanse that he and Dina Merrill, the actress and Mrs. Post’s daughter, had roamed as children. Cowell was the second generation of his family to belong to the Everglades and the Bath and Tennis, and he saw himself as the keeper of certain aristocratic traditions.

Cowell watched that evening at Mar-a-Lago with bemused fascination as Trump belly-flopped in front of the social arbiters of the island. ‘All of the top people were there, the peak of the Bath and Tennis and the Everglades,’ Cowell said three decades later, his memory vivid. ‘Everybody was laughing at him. That was his first major blunder with that group.’ The guests left right after coffee, and by the next morning the story of Trump’s behavior was all over the island.

“Trump paid no attention to the naysayers. He would rise to the heights of Palm Beach life, and Mar-a-Lago would be the splendid device that would take him there.”

The moral of the story. Marry rich and do nothing, or live in Miami, a wonderful melting pot, where everyone wants to know who you are.

Ageless Diane Plans For Third-Generation Rebirth

She did it—we watched. I wish I could start all over again.—LWH

Diane von Furstenberg is working on the next chapter for her fashion company.


By Katharine K. Zarrella

At 75, Diane von Furstenberg is working on a reinvention of her company. “This is my third-generation rebirth,” says Ms. von Furstenberg, who over the past two years brought in 33-year-old Gabby Hirata as president and CEO of her company and hired granddaughter Talita von Furstenberg as co-chairwoman.

The Belgian-born, New York-based designer and entrepreneur launched her business in the early 1970s with the famed wrap dress—a jersey style she created while pregnant that combined comfort, work-appropriate polish and Studio 54-worthy sex appeal. The versatile dress was such a sensation that Ms. von Furstenberg landed on the cover of Newsweek in 1976.

But the frenzy eventually faded and Ms. von Furstenberg, facing bankruptcy, sold off her licenses. She relaunched the brand in 1997, again becoming a global success. In recent years, its relevance waned. The pandemic, she says, afforded her time to step back and rethink her namesake label—and write a book, “Own It: The Secret of Life,” published by Phaidon in March 2021. 

The designer talked with The Wall Street Journal about the post-lockdown work wardrobe, fashion in the metaverse and taking her company into the future.

Diane von Furstenberg at her desk in her studio above the flagship DVF boutique in Manhattan.

In the 1970s, women didn’t have many options when it came to workwear that was comfortable and fashionable. Your wrap dress helped change that. Do you think that women have different clothing needs today?

No, they’re the same needs. It’s always about effortless, sexy, on-the-go and the personality of the woman. I am much more interested in how the woman will feel than the striking dress that’s completely uncomfortable.

We’re trickling back into the office after two years of working from home in leggings and sweatshirts. What will workwear look like in this new normal?

Everybody wants to be much more casual. A lot of people have stopped wearing high heels. They’re wearing Birkenstocks or shoes that, if your mother asked you to wear them [before], you would sue her. And color obviously, because it’s very effective. It’s about maximum effect, but in a practical way. We design a uniform for women in charge. If you want to be a woman in charge, practical is key.

What does it mean to be a woman in charge today versus when you started your business?

For me, it’s pretty much the same. A woman in charge at the time was independent, able to pay the bills and able to have a man’s life in a woman’s body. But to be in charge is first and foremost a commitment to ourselves. It’s owning who we are. We own our imperfections. We turn them into assets. We own our vulnerability. We turn it into strengths.

In, say, 20 years from now, what will the “woman in charge” uniform look like?

I have no idea. You think when I did the wrap dress I thought that it would still be relevant? No way. 

Your wrap dress was included in the 2017 MoMA Exhibition, “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” Can you pinpoint what’s made it relevant for so long?

Diane von Furstenberg, with Andy Warhol and actress Monique van Vooren in New York in 1974, wears one of her own designs, a leopard-print wrap dress. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

I can’t. I know I created the wrap dress, but truly the wrap dress created me. It’s thanks to the wrap dress that I became independent, that I became successful, that I was able to pay my bills. So it came out of me, but it has a life on its own. I don’t know that I can get—well, obviously I get all the credit—but it’s the dress that should get the credit for making me.

In the last two years, you’ve restructured your business. Were you rethinking your business before Covid or was Covid the catalyst?

I wasn’t happy where it was before Covid. I’m always looking ahead. When I [relaunched my brand] 20 years ago or so, I was very much ahead of the game. Then when I tried to grow it, I thought that we were going the old way. So for me, Covid and having to relook at everything was an opportunity. 

How will these changes equip your company to move into the future?

I had a lot of options. I could sell, but then if I sell, I sell all my archives. Or I could close. What Gabby did when she came in is put the production and the operation into the hands of my partner [Glamazon] in China. It was very clever in terms of logistics and practicality. But it’s still in the working process now.

How do you plan on courting a younger audience while maintaining your longtime customers? 

Funny enough, every time I start, I get the young ones. It’s the young ones who bring the old ones back, not the other way around.

What will the fashion industry and your job—the founder of a legacy business—look like in 2030?

2030 is now, it’s tomorrow morning. For me, what I hope is that [my successors] will maintain the spirit and the attitude. Right now I’m putting all of my archive, all of my 50 years of experience, into this huge vault with the codes and the tricks and the knowhow and all of that. Then it’s in the hands of young people—my granddaughter, Gabby, whoever else works here—to do it, respecting the values and not trying to be something that we aren’t. DVF is about respecting the woman and giving her the tools to be the woman she wants to be.


Her studio features an extensive collection of art and books, including her portrait (turquoise background) by Ara Gallant for a 1977 cover of Interview magazine. PHOTO: MOLLY MATALON FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

In your dream world, what will the fashion industry’s biggest focus be 10 years from now?

Fashion is not just clothes. Fashion is what you eat, what you use in your house. It’s architecture, it’s food. Fashion is the zeitgeist of the time, it’s not just what you put on you. So what I hope is that we respect nature more and throw away less.

What are you doing to make your company more sustainable?

Well, I try to make clothes that people are not going to throw away. How about that?

What will the next generation of women want out of their clothes?

The world is changing so fast and so much that there’s absolutely no way anyone can predict how we will live. [During] Covid, we got much, much closer to the digital world. My nine-year-old grandson would rather buy sneakers for his avatar than real sneakers for himself. AI is already here. I mean, this [smartphone] is my life. I read my books here, I get my information here. I don’t need an atlas. I don’t need a dictionary. I don’t need anything. I connect with everyone. I take pictures. I send pictures. It’s all here.

Do you have any desire to hang out in the metaverse?

Yeah, sure. Why not? 

Could there be a virtual DVF world in our future?


PODCAST EPISODE 22 – The Subject Of Suicide

My client Susan S Warner

Not too many people understand why a growing number of men, women and children are choosing death by suicide. The press is filled with young people and celebrities alike that take their own lives. It is now time to take a hard look at this phenomenon. Susan’s 32-year-old son died by suicide six years ago. Tragically her husband of 38 years died of an aggressive cancer six months later. Susan has spent the last year sharing her experiences and thoughts with others through essays, editorial interviews, podcasts and quotes from her soon to be released book “Never Say Never, Never Say Always.”

It’s time for Susan to focus on the subject of suicide in ways we haven’t heard from her before. She wants to be very careful about the way she addresses the topic because she is not a trained mental health counselor. Unfortunately, she has had more personal experience in this area than many others. She wants to share her insights and clear up many misconceptions.


Listen to episode 22 of Susan’s podcast here –


The Susan is Suddenly Single Podcast is also available on popular podcast sites:


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Less Is More. I Love The Simplicity. That’s His Style.

eric ripert

Step Inside Chef Eric Ripert’s Sag Harbor Oasis

Zen Buddhism inspired the tranquil design of this Long Island home


Photography by 

​​The principles of Zen Buddhism can cover all dimensions of life, and, for Chef Eric Ripert,that was the focus when designing his Sag Harbor home. Austerity, simplicity, naturalness, subtlety, imperfection, originality, and stillness—those were the concepts the French culinary force presented to architect Blaze Makoid for his new home’s design. Considering Ripert has been seriously practicing Zen Buddhism since the mid 1990s, it was only natural for him to easily have this top of mind.

“My challenge was to create a monastery, but I didn’t want my wife to know that she was living in a monastery,” says Ripert, referring to his partner, Sandra. “I wanted her to think it was a beautiful luxurious house, which meant creating a bridge between what we both wanted: a sanctuary and a monastery.” Luckily, the Riperts were able to find the perfect team to execute their combined visions. Besides Makoid, a key member of that team was Marie Aiello Design Studio, with whom the Riperts worked on the interior design of the home. Another was Landscape Details, who spearheaded the landscape architecture. And finally, Greg Diangelo Construction, who handled the building.

“Landscaping was very important because the house is part of nature and vice versa,” Ripert says. “I wanted it to feel like the house is in a forest—cultivated and a little bit wild.” Ferns, towering oaks, and wild grasses surround the home in natural and deliberate ways. “The bedroom, in my mind, looks like a tree house. You are in the trees when you take a shower too,” he says, adding that bird feeders and statues are placed in perfect sight lines throughout the yard. Ripert notes the beauty of simply coming down the driveway—trees and animals everywhere. Naturalness and stillness: check.

housepool househousebeddining roomkitchenbedroombathroom sinkstub

Since the home is in the woods, the metal roof was a practical choice to avoid damage. The industrial look was also a perfect interpretation of the principle of austerity.

Of course, another very important aspect of the home’s design is the kitchen. Ripert being the co-owner of Le Bernardin—which has been awarded three Michelin stars for excellence in cuisine and has received four stars from The New York Times four consecutive times, making it the only restaurant to maintain that unique status for that length of time—the kitchen is a big deal. And, though the kitchen doesn’t necessarily look flashy, it is all about simplicity and efficiency. “I went to Gaggenau, the very best for building kitchens, and they made sense of my nonsense,” says Ripert, who chose to outfit his with an induction stove top, which is easy to maintain and saves energy, and worked with SieMatic on the space’s design. “It’s very effective to have a one-man show. I call it a Formula One kitchen.”

Ripert’s other passion, his Zen Buddhism practice, is most apparent in his meditation room. “It was very important for me to have that room, and it was designed with the help of a Nepalese monk—my teacher—to have the right feng shui.” Filled with statues made in Nepal that are sanctified and sealed with precious stones and prayers, the room was designed to host these pieces collected over the years. From the window, one can spot a more than 12-foot-tall statue of Buddha.

When Ripert and Sandra bought this land in Long Island nearly 22 years ago, it included a cute 1980s house, but, at a certain point, everything about the house began falling apart. Still, the couple liked the energy of the location, so they decided to rebuild. With the space complete, it’s clearly become an oasis. Chef Eric Ripert adds, “Every detail in the house was nonnegotiable.”


It occurred to me the other day that one of the reasons why I like writing about art is that it lasts longer than technology. Most of the tech stuff I wrote about for decades never made it to the market, or fizzed out after a few years. Art hangs on your wall forever. Twin stars by Jayda Knight


We bought this painting over 20 years ago from an artist in Aventura, Marvin Marham. We found out he recently died. He advertised it in Ocean Drive magazine. It’s insane looking, half amateurish, half daring. That’s why we wanted it.

I posted it a week ago on Facebook to see what others thought of it. I thought everyone would say we had bad taste in art. The response has been just the opposite. We even got offers to buy it. I have posted other art work hoping for sales but never received the kudos like this one. Life is a mystery.


Our amazing trip to Iceland and Greenland, September 2019 with Rene Alberto Rodriguez Bellucci,Dr. Howard Stark, Marcos Andreos and Greg Walton.


My interview with Brook Dorsch of the Emerson Dorsch Gallery for, March 3, 2023


I like to think of Brook Dorsch, co-owner of the Emerson Dorsch gallery in Little Haiti, (a neighborhood in Miami) as the Lorne Michaels of gallerists. During the last 31 years, he has promoted more unknown artists than most anyone else. Many of the artists have become well known all over the world and they credit Brook for giving them their start.

“Isn’t that what it’s all about?” asks Brook as we talk about the art scene in Miami. It was his efforts that eventually made Miami one of the most important cities for art in the world. Ever since he was a young rocker in New York City working at Symphony Space, a multi-disciplinary performing arts organization on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Brook was visiting galleries in Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribeca, and the lower east side.

“I was interested in becoming an artist, as well as continuing my music. As time marched on, I realized I was a hobby artist at best. However, I did have a good eye for interesting work and I wasn’t afraid of presenting art in dramatic new ways. We have been known to rip down walls in our galleries to accommodate certain exhibits, pile up sand on our floors to provide the proper atmosphere, and hang flying objects from the ceilings to make visitors look at works from a different perspective. We don’t do it to shock our clients, we do it to spark the imagination.”

When Brook first arrived in Miami in 1991, most of the art galleries were in Coral Gables. “They were very traditional and didn’t really promote the artists, or their work, in any creative way. There really wasn’t much enthusiasm. I was grateful for their efforts because it motivated me to bring new life into the Miami art market.”

Brook’s story of how he first got started is a dream come true for many art lovers who always wanted to open a gallery. When he was in his 20s, he moved into a 900 square foot loft, over Parkway Drugs on Coral Way, (very close to the Viscaya Metro Rail Station) and turned it into an art gallery. The loft featured wooden floors that reminded him of his days in Soho so he loved the place immediately. He actually lived amongst the art he was exhibiting. He even closed off the windows and added special lighting to properly present the paintings and sculptures.

Word spread fast that a young guy from New York was featuring the work from artists who were enrolled in the University of Miami’s Visual Arts department. He was also featuring works from unknown artists that never showed in Miami before. The intrigue was also the space. Everyone wanted to be a part of the new cool factor. It was a brilliant move because it generated interest from a growing number of people who were l interested in seeing works from a much more diversified group of artists. Enthusiasts were showing up at his studio all the time. The Dorsch gallery quickly became an underground hangout.

The same thing happened when Brook decided to relocate his gallery to Wynwood in 2001. He just needed more space. This was the big time. The new Dorsch Gallery was now 7,000 square feet showing the works by Robert Chambers, Joshua Levine, Cooper, Andrew Binder and so many others. Big groups of art lovers would congregate in the back of his gallery at night as if it was a nightclub or bar. In those days Wynwood was a commercial warehouse district that few people ever entered. The streets were usually empty which meant there was plenty of parking space for everyone. The police always stopped by at night to check out if any funny stuff was going on. They were actually impressed that in the middle of so many dark empty streets, there was a crowd of people hanging out under a string of lights. This was a sanctuary for so many creative people.

Brook was always interested in getting people together to talk about all kinds of art, music, writing, theater, movies, photography, fashion, broadcast, etc. “That’s the beauty of owning a gallery. You promote dialog.”

One of the topics Brook has expounded on over the years is the importance of exposure. He feels that many tend to hide their work. They finish a piece and never show it to anyone. Brett Sokol, the New York Times art writer who happens to live in Miami, quoted Brooke in an article he wrote years ago for the Miami New Times. Brook said, “It’s much better to have your work on the wall of somebody’s house than sitting in the corner of your studio in a pile. As great an artist as you think you’re gonna be, you’ve got to get it out there, and that means letting it go for a little cheaper. They have these formulas for selling art. How many hours did you work on it? What was your medium, your materials? If you calculate all that stuff out, and then add in the dealer commission, by that time it’s expensive. So look, cut the price, get it out there.”

Brook is very much a realist. That’s why he has not only survived, but prospered over the years. His mother gave him one bit of advice that served him well for most of his career. When the family all moved from New York to Miami, she told him to get a college degree in something he would like other than art. She said it was important to have something to fall back on. Brook, who was always an eager beaver, wanted to make sure his love and interest in art was never at risk. He immediately enrolled in Miami Dade College and then Barry University focusing on computer science. For most of his art career, he has had a day job in technology for the cruise industry. Brooke, who says he is a damn good coder, loves the fact that computers gave him the freedom to express his creative side.

Brook’s wife, Tyler Emerson-Dorsch, joined the gallery as a co-owner in 2008 after earning a Masters from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. In 2013, the Dorsch Gallery was renamed to Emerson Dorsch. “Tyler brought in a strong academic territorial practice to the gallery. Tyler leads the curation of our shows and she is the resident writer for all of our materials. She brings in all of the professionalism we were missing.”

In January 2020, Ibett Yanez del Castillo joined the gallery as Director. Ibett was the Director of the de la Cruz Collection from its inception until 2019. Ibett runs the day to day operations. She gives Brook and Tyler great flexibility to focus on the future.

In June 2015, the gallery relocated to a building Brook and Tyler bought in Little Haiti because they wanted a gallery that offered more versatility. There is now room for art installations and outdoor performances. We are part of a migration of small businesses and art galleries from Wynwood to Little Haiti and Little River. Other galleries close to our new location are Nina Johnson, Pan American, and Anthony Spinello.

The gallery represents South Florida artists as well as emerging and mid-career visiting artists: Jenny Brillhart, Clifton Childree, Robert Chambers (sculptor), Felecia Chizuko Carlisle, Elisabeth Condon, Yanira Collado, Karen Rifas, Onajide Shabaka, Magnus Sigurdarson, Robert Thiele, Mette Tommerup, Frances Trombly, and Paula Wilson. Emerson Dorsch’s solo exhibitions include: Walter Darby Bannard, Corin Hewitt, Victoria Fu, Michael Jones McKean, Brookhart Jonquil, Siebren Versteeg, Arnold Mesches, Tameka Norris, Gustavo Matamoros and Saya Woolfalk.

Emerson Dorsch now offers cultural events as well as visual arts such as concerts and dance performances. Gestured artists include: Iron and Wine, SSingSSing, Arthur Doyle, Cock ESP, Otto von Schirach and Awesome New Republic.

Emerson-Dorsch Gallery recently celebrated its 31st anniversary.