--Veronica Lake, Veronica, The Autobiography of Veronica Lake
“[My husband’s] theory of economic survival would make many an economist turn in his fiscal grave. With him, the less you had, the more you should spend. And that’s how we got our first airplane.”
--Veronica Lake, Veronica, The Autobiography of Veronica Lake
Image Credit: Horst Portraits
“I always knew what looked good on me. Simple dresses—beautifully cut—flats. Then I found Hubert [de Givenchy]. We started talking, and we have never stopped. He is like family.”
--Audrey Hepburn, via Patricia Bosworth, The Men in My Life: A Memoir of Love and Art in 1950s Manhattan
Image Credit: The Givenchy Style
“I live in Brooklyn, but not Williamsburg. I auditioned to live in Williamsburg, but I didn’t get a callback.”
In Wednesday's New York Times, Ian Schrager noted that it was his Studio 54 partner Steve Rubell who coined the phrase “bridge and tunnel.” Rubell used it to describe the wannabes on the wrong side of the Studio 54 velvet rope: those whose heavy gold chains jangled against their overly exposed hairy chests and whose suits were one hundred percent polyester. Said Rubell, “We can’t let the bridge-and-tunnel people come in. That’ll kill the night.”
Of course, it is rather bridge and tunnel to call out others for being “bridge and tunnel.” The more posh response would be to pretend that no such distinction exists, or in the alternative, to invent a less snobbish euphemism for it.
And, now that Brooklyn is red-hot, what does it mean to be bridge and tunnel, anyway? Like the word “Hollywood,” it has shed its geographic limitations and become a state of mind. According to the Urban Dictionary, its use and application now extend far beyond the Hudson and East Rivers.
Schrager told the Times, “The ultimate irony is that [Steve Rubell and I] were bridge-and-tunnel people.” Yet Ian Shrager is a prime example of how this pejorative no longer denotes place of birth. He has become its antithesis. A trait of the bridge-and-tunnel personality is to confuse lavish expenditures of cash with good taste. That does not describe Schrager, America's leading boutique hotelier, whose post-Studio 54 ventures are as stylish as they are reasonably priced (dare we use the word chic?).
Image Credit: Andy Warhol's Exposures
“My crucial literary experience of these pre-college years was my first reading of Emma, when I was sixteen. When Emma behaves rudely to poor, harmless, talkative Miss Bates in the famous scene of the picnic on Box Hill, I was suffused with mortification: I had been forced to look at my own acts of carelessness and unkindness. Jane Austen had pinned me to the wall. It was the first time I really made the connection between what I was reading and my inner self. There was no religious instruction in my life, no guiding principles other than to work hard, and my mind was not a philosophical one. It was in the novel, beginning with Emma, that I would discover some kind of moral compass.”
--Robert Gottlieb, An Avid Reader: A Life
The set of Jane Austen is available for purchase via the Nick Harvill Libraries store.
“About twenty years ago, I thought it was ridiculous that I'd never read Ulysses and I thought I never would read it if I just went on leading the ordinary life one does. Not enough leisure. I promised myself I would take a cargo boat across the Atlantic and take Ulysses and nothing else. I took this cargo boat from Boston to Southampton. It took about three weeks and I read Ulysses with delight. It's one of the nicest trips I ever did. On this very comfortable boat—there was practically nobody on board at all—I had a cabin like a cathedral, played bad bridge with a Spanish purser in the evening, and I'd taken a case of vodka with me, because you aren't allowed to buy liquor, and that endeared me to the Captain. I had a lovely time lying on a deck chair in the sun reading Ulysses.”
--Alan Pryce-Jones, as Recorded by Kurt Thometz in 1991
Kurt Thometz recorded the above passage when he was organizing Alan Pryce-Jones's treasure-filled library. Within the masses of disorganized books, he discovered presentation copies from the Sitwells, Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Powell, and Brian Howard.
Pryce-Jones was one of London's Bright Young Things. He later became editor of the Times Literary Supplement (1948 to 1959). His son David Pryce-Jones wrote a biography of Unity Mitford. The controversial book, done without access to Unity's papers (which were under the control of her nephew Jonathan Guinness), created difficulties between Jessica Mitford and her surviving sisters (see The Mitfords, Letters Between Six Sisters).
Note: Though the Pryce-Jones voyage sounds divine, one need not go to such extremes. Marilyn Monroe read Ulysses in a park—if press photos can be believed (which they cannot).
Image Credit: Horst Portraits: Paris, London, New York
“There are some people who, from the moment you meet them, you care about. Suddenly they have something to do with your life. You find yourself thinking about them at the strangest times and the oddest places. If they succeed, you succeed. If they have a failure, you have a failure. There are not many people like that. Jane Fonda is one of them.”
--José Quintero, on Jane Fonda, Double Exposure, A Gallery of the Celebrated by the Equally Celebrated
“Do not expect to be welcomed to New York. It will simply envelop you and will shed no tears when you leave.”
--Jean Shepherd, The Night People's Guide to New York
Image Credit: Album, The Portraits of Duane Michals, 1958-1988
“Darling! Nobody loves honesty more than I, but honey! There are times, there are situations, there are circumstances in which the head must not rule the heart but at least act in collaboration with it”
--Tennessee Williams, Letter to Maria St. Just, via Five O’Clock Angel, Letters of Tennessee Williams to Maria St. Just
“As with music, there is also a timelessness about flowers and a sense of communication. They bring people together in the most enchanting ways, and isn’t that what life is all about?”
--Princess Grace of Monaco, My Book of Flowers
A copy of My Book of Flowers signed by Princess Grace of Monaco is available here. Read more about Monaco and the French Riviera in Grant Richards's The Coast of Pleasure (1928).
Image Credit: My Book of Flowers
“I think there is something morally vulgar in trying to get too familiar with men’s souls.”
--Margot Asquith, The Autobiography of Margot Asquith
Image Credit: The Duchess of Devonshire's Ball