Smolker Letter No. 13 “The Quintessential NYC Experience – My New York City State of Mind” by Gary S. Smolker (Decemer 13, 2012)

Smolker Letter No. 13 “The Quintessential NYC Experience – My New York City State of Mind”

by Gary S. Smolker

December 13, 2012

Memo to Myself

I recently spent six days in Manhattan.

I had a great time.

Why did I have such a great time?

Why I Had A Great Time in NYC

I feel more alive in New York City than anywhere else.

Being in NYC is being in a different space than the space I am in when I am anywhere else in the world.

I feel the vitality of life in NYC.

While I was in NYC I was aware that I was in the NYC world and not “of” the NYC world when I was in NYC.

Unlike where I live, everything in NYC was close by, everything was within walking distance.

Unlike where I live, in NYC there is a readily accessible dense variety of things to experience within walking distance of each other — one thing is next to another in a never ending paradise of everything man made of every service you might need or want to experience.  In NYC there is a diversity and variety of never ending delights literally within walking distance.

NYC is a walking city.

Because people in NYC are walking everywhere, all the time, people are being “seen” all the time, and they know it.

Knowing they are being seen, has an effect on them.

One effect is they dress very well.

People in NYC

I was struck and impressed by how well dressed people are in NYC.

I wondered why people in NYC are so elegantly well dressed.

That made me think deeply about NYC.

NYC has always been a cosmopolitan city, a center of finance, trade, commerce and culture.

NYC has always been thought of as a “the land of opportunity.”

I noticed NYC is a totally alive city, twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.

Something is always happening in NYC.

People from all over the world come to NYC to do deals, to start a businesses and to find employment, to shop, to vacation, to see live shows and “to see the sights.”

Almost half the people now living in NYC did not live there five years ago.

The people I saw in restaurants, in cafes, in bistros, on the streets, and in the stores in NYC had a strong desire to influence how they appear to other people.

I wondered if people in NYC have a stronger desire to influence how they appear to other people then the people I see on the streets, in cafes and restaurants, or in stores where I live.

I concluded that people in NYC are elegantly and fashionably well dressed

  • because people in NYC know they are being seen all the time,
  • because wealthy people from all over the world are in NYC at all times,
  • because NYC is the center of the fashion industry,
  • because NYC is a center of finance, baking, trade and commerce,
  • because people work for giant enterprises in humungous office buildings in NYC
  • because people experience four seasons in NYC.

Street Fashions in L.A. vs. the Sartorial Stratification of Society in NYC

I live in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is a laid back informal city compared to NYC.

The difference in how elegantly well dressed I saw people in NYC dress to how I see people dress in Los Angeles is huge.

In Los Angeles, when wealthy people go out to eat after coming home from work and on the weekend many of them dress as plainly as their maids

Fashion and Life Style in L.A. vs. Fashion and Life Style in NYC

– The Impact of Being in A Cold Walking City Instead of Being in A Hot Spread Out City

Los Angeles, in contrast to NYC, has a temperate to warm climate and is a car city.

In Los Angeles, in contrast to NYC, everything is spread out, people drive everywhere and people need cars that have air conditioning.

In general, people in Los Angeles don’t walk from place to place to go shopping; people in L.A. don’t walk to work.

People in Los Angeles spend inordinate amounts of their time in a car, usually driving their own car.

In contrast, very few people in Manhattan own a car.

People living, working or visiting in Manhattan don’t need to own a car in order to get to anyplace in Manhattan.

In Los Angeles people spend a lot of their time sitting behind a car window (which covers their eyes) where they are cut off from the world around them.

In contrast, people walking down Fifth Avenue, or Madison Avenue, or Park Avenue are not cut off from the rest of the world; they see other people walking on the same street with them and are seen by the other people walking on the street with them.

While in NYC I didn’t see anyone wearing sun glasses or dark glasses.

People in Los Angles spend a lot of their time wearing sun glasses to protect their eyes from the sun.  This cuts their face off from the world. As a result people can’t see their face.

People, in Los Angles, also wear sun glasses as a fashion statement.  I wonder what people in Los Angeles are expressing in the fashion statement they make when they wear dark glasses that hide their eyes and part of their face.

In Los Angeles, even while they are in restaurants and cafes, people spend a lot of their time looking at their cell phone and/or looking at a computer screen.  This separates people in L.A. from anyone they might be with and also cuts their face (and them) off from observing the world around them.  This must make the people doing so feel less alive.  Whether they realize it or not they are taking themselves out of and away from the physical space (world) that they occupy at the moment and prevents them from observing other people.  This deadens the “vibe” of being in that place.

In contrast, restaurants, cafes and bistros in NYC are full of people looking at other people.

They are looking at the other people at their table while talking to the other people at their table.  This puts them in the here and now physically, emotionally and mentally.  They can also look at the people around them.  They are not cut off from the world they are in.  This increases the “vibe” one feels when in the same restaurant, cafe or bistro with them, while talking to (conversing with) the other people sitting at their table or looking at the people around them.

When I went to breakfast, lunch and dinner while I was in NYC, I did not see one person talking on a cell phone or looking at a cell phone or “working” on a computer.

While I walked down Fifth Avenue one night, I had to stop walking because the other people walking on Fifth Avenue had stopped to watch a light show that was playing on the side of the Saks Fifth Avenue Department Store building.

The crowds of people on both sides of Fifth Avenue had congealed and were so thick that anyone who wanted to move (including myself) had to push and shove in order to move forward.

I haven’t experienced things like that in Los Angeles.  Things like that don’t happen in Los Angeles.

While I was in NYC,  the crowds of people I saw shopping in high end retailers such as the FAO Schwartz (a toy store located at 767 Fifth Avenue) and the flagship Bloomingdale’s (at 1000 Third Avenue) were of madhouse dimensions.  I have never been in a store in Los Angeles that was so thick with customers.


While thinking about my trip to NYC the following random thoughts and questions occurred to me.


Transportation has always determined urban form. 

Fewer than 20% of Manhattan residents own cars.

Fewer than a third of New Yorkers drive to work, while 80 percent of American commuters drive.

Twenty-nine percent of all the public transportation commuters in America live in New York’s five boroughs.

While riding in public transportation people are thrown together with other people. 

Are these factors why it feels to me that there is more energy in NYC than in other parts of our country such as L.A.?

New York State’s per capita energy consumption is next to last in the country, which largely reflects the use of public transit use in New York City. 

In terms of carbon emissions, Manhattan and downtown London and Shanghai, not suburbia, are the real friends of the environment.


Face-to-face contact (a form of density) leads to more trust, generosity and cooperation than any other sort of interaction. 

Telephone calls are disproportionately made among people who are geographically close, presumably because face-to-face relationships increase the demand for talking over the phone.

Are these interactions a higher mental energy form of life then for instance surfing on a surf board or “sunning” in Southern California?


People who race bicycle believe that “the value of pace” or competitor, shaves twenty to thirty seconds off the time to travel a mile. 

Young professionals today work longer hours if they live in a metropolitan area with plenty of competitors in their own niche.

Does the “closeness” of being next to other people while in NYC increase the pace of activity and the feeling of being alive in NYC? 


Ideas are geographically localized. 

Productivity is significantly higher for firms that locate near the geographic center of inventive activity in their industry. 

Just as proximity speeds the flow of the most important inventions, it also enables the mundane learning that turns neophytes into experts. 

Millions of years of human evolution have made us into machines for learning from the people next to us.

Is this why my mind seemed more alive and why I felt I almost always actively processing new information and new experiences while I was in NYC?


Efficiency improvements lead to more, not less, consumption. 

As we acquire more efficient means of transmitting information, like e-mail or Skype, we spend more, not less, time transmitting information. 

Better information technology has made the world more information intensive, which in turn has made knowledge more valuable than ever, which has increased the value of learning from other people. 

Improvements in information technology leads to more demand for face-to-face contact, because face to face contact complements time spent communicating electronically. 

Electronic interactions are creating a more relationship intensive world, and those relationships need both e-mail and interpersonal contact. 

Is that why I looked forward to getting with friends from all over the U.S. (who I communicate regularly by electronic means) who would be at the birthday party that I was going to attend on December 2, 2012 in NYC?

Better connections between people, in turn, create far ranging opportunities in trade and commerce.


Today, forty percent of Manhattan’s payroll is in the financial services industry.

The five zip codes that occupy the mile of Manhattan between forty-first and 59th streets employ 600,000 workers (more workers than New Hampshire or Maine) who earn on average more than $100,000 each, giving that tiny piece of real estate a larger annual payroll than Oregon or Nevada.

Is that why people dress so well in Manhattan?


The Four Seasons Hotel brand is known for world leadership in quality.

Isadore Sharp’s book “FOUR SEASONS The Story of a Business Philosophy” is a masterpiece. 

In his book Mr. Sharp opines that New York is the most important city in the America and at the time he opened the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan, for his hotel chain, the most important city in the world.

Mr. Sharp goes on to say: When the Four Seasons Hotel opened in Manhattan in June 1993, one reporter called it “the best…an architectural achievement,” the creation of two eminent architects, I. M. Pei and Frank Williams.  It was the tallest hotel in New York, splendidly located between Park and Madison Avenues, the most expensive hotel ever constructed in North America, and one that was destined to be a landmark. Within six months after its opening in July 1993, it was not always possible to secure a Four Seasons reservation in New York, while today (at the time of writing his book) it brings in a premium of more than 20 percent above its nearest competitor.

At a lecture I attended the day after I returned from NYC, the speaker (Food Expert and Celebrity Chef Aida Mollenkamp) discussed how you can bring people together through food and had this to say about how to build a following based on her experiences building successful websites including building her own website ( (1) Be consistent. (2) Be authentic, i.e. be who you are. (3) Be reliable. (4) Act with the highest degree of integrity at all times. (5) Be diligent; do everything you do seriously. (6) Be a good “party guest.” — Entice, don’t sell. Make sure people want to follow what you are doing.  Don’t be all sales. (7)  Concentrate on core values. (8) Focus on the “In Real Life” factor. (9) Be real. Make sure your brand/blog/website is a real live person. (10) Analyze: Measure how you are doing. (11) Optimize and monetize. Partner with others.


The urge to self display is an innate impulse.

Everything that is alive has an urge to appear, an urge to fit itself into the world of appearances by showing and displacing itself as an individual.

To appear always means to seem to others.  This seeming varies according to the standpoint and perspective of the spectators.

We are of this world and not merely in it.


Life in preindustrial European cities was ruled by an “appearential ordering”, inhabitants of a city located each other as social actors almost exclusively in terms of appearance, i.e., by the clothes and costuming they wore.

Is that still the case today?

Every living thing depends upon spectators to acknowledge and recognize its existence.

Today, men in professions with a strong tradition of decorum whose practitioners are subject to high public exposure (e.g. law, banking and finance), even in Los Angeles, still wear suits with ties, or coats and ties.

Success and failure in the enterprise of self-presentation depends on the consistency and duration of the image presented to the world.

Clothing is still intimately associated with status assertions and pretensions. 

Think of the attire worn by Steve Jobs in public before he passed away and of the attire worn today in public by Mark Zuckerman and Simon Cowell and other celebrities.


I traveled to New York City (NYC) on Friday, November 30, to attend a black tie birthday party dinner which took place at the elegant Daniel Restaurant (located at 60 East 65th Street) on Sunday night, December 2.

I returned home to Los Angeles from New York on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.

My experience while being in Manhattan was/is what I imagine what it would be like to attend a spectacular Festival in Celebration of Life.

I experienced a Manhattan that is much more than a great adult playground, much more than one of the finest eating cities in the world, much more than a heritage of American civilization and much more than urban excellence.

Being in Manhattan revved my psychic engine.

Being in Manhattan was inspiring.

Manhattan has what makes cities rich and real. By the way, that has nothing to do with real estate values.

My Los Angeles, California state of mind was changed during my recent trip to NYC as a result of (1) seeing and walking next to big beautiful well maintained buildings on Park Avenue, Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue; (2) eating at Rue 57 (at 60 W. 57th Street), Amali (at 115 E. 60th Street), Daniel (at 60 E. 65th Street), and at the Library in Loews Regency Hotel at 540 Park Avenue and 61st Street; (3) shopping at Rizzoli Book Store at 31 W. 57th Street, Bergdorf Goodman at 745 Fifth Avenue, the Museum of Modern Art’s Design Store at 44 West 53rd Street and the Museum of Modern Art’s Design and Book Store 11 West 53rd Street, Bloomingdale’s flagship store at 1000 Third Avenue, Macy’s at Herald Square (the largest department store in the world), and at the Ferrari store on Park Avenue, and as a result of (4) seeing the live Broadway production of “Jersey Boys” — The Story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons — in a cozy seat at the August Wilson Theatre.

Those experiences enable me to easily and distinctly tell the difference between good, very good, excellent and WOW.

Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, and Fifth Avenue

I felt more alive while I was walking down Park Avenue, Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue then I normally feel while I am at home in California.

I loved seeing the superbly crafted majestic big buildings on Park Avenue, Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

The buildings which I walked past have personality, dignity, strength, history and are of strong diverse architectural styles.

I loved seeing very solid old buildings buildings harmoniously existing next to each other and harmoniously existing new to newer buildings.

I appreciate(d) that I did not see an invasion of fast food stores while I was walking along those avenues.

I also appreciate(d) that those classy avenues have not become overrun or overwhelmed by an invasion of big ticky tacky shinny boxy buildings.

The big strong buildings I walked by on Park Avenue, Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue made me feel small, but not insignificant.

Seeing those buildings put me in awe of the ability of mankind to design and construct and of the self confidence of men who had/have the self confidence to design, build and own such solid majestic buildings, one next to another, that harmoniously reach to the sky.

Those buildings are a manifestation of the drive towards excellence, and of endurance in the face of adversity, to make great things.

NYC is treasured by all who know her intimately, by all who are capable of perceiving the breath of her beauty, by everyone who appreciates the difference between good,very good, excellent and WOW.

Whoever originally designed, built and financed the strong solid majestic buildings I walked by on Park Avenue, Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue had the imagination and fearlessness to go past currently accepted concepts.

Being in NYC is a mental experience equivalent to feeding fresh wood to a fire.

Walking by those buildings, shopping in the stores listed above and eating in the restaurants listed above both inspired me and gave me psychic nourishment.

The Difference between Good, Very Good, Excellent and WOW

NYC is one of the best cities for eating in the world.  Delicious food is served everywhere.

Delicious food was served everywhere I ate.

I will never forget the Apple Crepes with cinnamon laced maple syrup and grilled apples I had for breakfast at Rue 57 Brasserie Parisienne Et Sushi Bar at the corner of 57th Street and Avenue of the Americas (60 W. 57th Street).

Nor will I will never forget the Open Faced Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna Club Sandwich with roasted shiitake, black sesame mayonnaise, scallion tempura on a bed of spicy sea weed I had for lunch at Rue 57

Both dishes were excellent.  The members of a female wait staff who served those dishes while wearing black bow ties, while I was sitting at a table with a cloth table cloth in a wood paneled restaurant, provided warm friendly engaging excellent service.

Le Menu at the December 2, 2012 birthday dinner I attended at Daniel (a French Restaurant located at 60 E. 65th Street) was also an unforgettable experience.

Each of the six dinner courses consisted of dishes that were both delicious and picture perfect, each dish was a work of art.

The main course consisted of of a plate containing picture perfect individual squares of a Duo of Black Angus Beef, Braised Short Ribs with Romanesco Puree, Seared Tenderloin, Bone Marrow, Crispy Potato and Glazed Wild Mushrooms.

At an intermezzo, between the second and third course, the main singer playing Frankie Vallie in the Broadway production of “Jersey Boys” appeared and sang a medley of  songs before rushing off to make curtain call at the live performance of “Jersey Boys” that evening.

A variety of appetizers were served before dinner was served, while a live band played and people were talking to each other or dancing.

One of the appetizers served at that party was seared scallops served on a long porcelain spoon.

One waiter served that appetizer followed by another waiter who took the spoon once the appetizer had been eaten so guests did not have to hold on to or place a long empty porcelain spoon anywhere.

During dinner service there was one waiter for each two people being served; glasses of wine never became empty, glasses of water never became empty.

Les Vins: Godspeed Vineyard Chardonnay, Mount Veeder 2207; Maison Drouhin Morey St Denis, Burgundy 2009.

Guests did not have to ask the wait staff for anything.

Daniel is considered to be one of the five finest restaurants in New York.  The interior of the restaurant itself lots like a set where a scene of the richest people going out to dinner at the most exclusive restaurant would be eating in a movie.

The food and service at Daniel was excellent.

In a different vein, I will never forget a WOW appetizer, WOW entree and and WOW desert I ate at Amali, a Italian Restaurant.  Amali is located at 115 E. 60th Street.

While dining at Amali, I ate the Eggplant Appetizer consisting of Eggplant, Calabrian Chili Honey Vinaigrette, Sesame, Cilantro, and Yogurt.

While eating that delicious dish, I kept asking myself, “What is this white stuff.”  Executive Chef Junior Borges came to my table and explained to me that the “white stuff” was yogurt.

This is/was a WOW appetizer because while eating it I was filled with wonder.

I wanted to know the ingredients.

When I learned the ingredients I was astonished at how creatively the dish was put together.

WOW is the difference between excellence and creativity.

The dishes I ate at Amali were astonishing.  They filled me with wonder.

The dishes I ate at Daniel were excellent.  The dishes I ate at Daniel were picture perfect but they did not fill me with wonder or astonish me.

Although Amali is an Italian Restaurant, it’s Executive Chef Junior Borges is from Brazil.

For my entree at Amali I thought I had ordered and was going to be served a plain simple Spaghetti Entree, instead I was served a WOW masterpiece Spaghetti dish.

The Spaghetti I was served at Amali consisted of pasta, cured San Marzano Tomatoes, and Fiore Sardo.

The cheese on the spaghetti was very sharp in a hot spicy way.

I couldn’t get over how delicious the dish was and what a wonderful taste experience I had while eating it.  I had to ask Chef Borges for the name of the cheese on the Spaghetti.

My adventure in eating didn’t end with the appetizer and entree I ate at Amali.

Although I don’t like custard, out of curiosity I ordered the Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Orange, Honeycomb and Pistachio desert, which is a custard dessert specialty at Amali.  WOW.

That dessert is a show stopping wonder.

The pistachio is candied and made into a brittle which is drizzled on the dish and a slice of honeycomb is placed on top of the custard. Orange slices are scattered about . YUM.

Unlike the interior at the French Restaurant Daniel, the interior at Italian Restaurant Amali is not plush or luxurious.

The lighting was so poor at the table I was sitting at, in Amali, with my girl-friend Lynne, that we had to use the flash light app on our iPhone in order to see the menu.

That in no way distracted from the great time we had eating at Amali.

Fun Shopping in Paradise

I had great fun shopping at the Rizzoli Book Store, Bergdorf Goodman, and at the MoMA Design Store and at the MoMA Book and Design Store on my recent trip to NYC.

I call the experience I had “shopping therapy” because shopping at those stores enhanced my quality of life.

I “shop” about once every three to five years.  Some times I do not shop so frequently.

In those stores, I found one of a kind unique things I didn’t want to live without.

For example, at the MoMA Book and Design store I purchased a book entitled “STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST – 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.”

At the MoMA Design Store I purchased a compact folding multi tool.  Print on the package containing the multi tool states, Stay prepared for the unexpected with Protocol’s Hammer/Wrench Multi Tool. This versatile, cleverly designed multi tool packs the most useful tools into one stainless steel device.  The tool features a hammer, adjustable wrench, hide-away pliers, wire cuter, utility blades, and a  12 piece screwdriver bit set conveniently packed into the handle. Everything fits neatly into the nylon carrying case with belt loop and it’s small enough to fit in a desk drawer yet loaded with enough tools to complete almost any quick fix.

At the Rizzoli Book Store I found a giant coffee table type book celebrating the work of the Viennese Artist Gustav Klimt, that weighs in excess of seventeen pounds.

I also found a coffee table type book celebrating the work of the Jeweler Harry Winston, another coffee table type book celebrating the work of Fashion Clothing Designer Tom Ford.

I purchased five books at the Rizzoli Book Store, which in the aggregate weighed 52 pounds.  I had those books shipped to my office.

Having each of those books in my home makes living in my home more comfy.

The first day (Dec. 1), that I went to the Bergdorf Goodman store I went there to buy a hat to protect my head from the cold.

While in Bergdorf Goodman, I saw a jacket that I had been imaging must exist for the past five years, “had” to have it and bought it, and while there I also bought a black tie to wear at the black tie party that I had come to NYC to attend on Dec. 2.

Had I not lost a hat I had brought to NYC to protect my head from the cold, while shopping for gifts for my grandchildren, across the street, in the FAO Schwartz Toy Store, I might never had gone to the Bergdorf Goodman store and would then would never have seen or purchased that coat.

So much in life is chance.  Lucky for me I lost my hat while shopping in the FAO Schwartz Toy Store for gifts for my grandchildren.

At the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) stores I found and bought “one of a kind” holiday cards and gifts.

Going to the MoMA stores was a great time saver for me and great fun.

Mental Stimulation

For me, life without thought would be meaningless, so would life without humor.

I can’t help but chuckle when I wonder why my friend was having a black-tie birthday party dinner because my friend is not anti-establishment but the Tuxedo existence as a self-communicative device came into existence as an expression of anti-establishment sentiment.

At one time the Tuxedo was a calculated affront to reigning status conventions.  The tuxedo was introduced in the late 1880’sat gatherings held at the palatial Tuxedo Park, New York, estate of tobacco tycoon Pierre Lorillard.

People who think about things and examine things interest me.

I love the experience of thinking and the dialogue that transpires while talking to thinking people.

That is to say, I love traveling through words with thinking people who have a thirst for knowledge.

That being said, I was especially fortunate to attend a lecture on Thursday night (December 6, 2012), the night after I returned from NYC, in Los Angeles (Westwood) at the Hotel Palomar located at 10740 Wilshire Blvd., entitled “How to Leverage Social Media to Build Your Brand” at which both the presenter (Aida Mollenkamp) and the attendees were high level thinkers who enjoy talking to people they don’t know yet.

The Hotel Palomar is located about 10 miles from my office in Encino.

It too me about half an hour, traveling by car on a Freeway (the 405 Freeway) and by major streets (Ventura Blvd. and Westwood Blvd.), to get to the Hotel Palomar from my office in Encino.

By comparison it took me and Lynne, while I was wearing a tuxedo and Lynne was wearing a formal gown, less than five minutes to walk from the hotel (Loews Regency Hotel) we were staying at while in NYC on Park Avenue to the Daniel Restaurant.

The presenter at the event on Thursday night, December 6, was food expert, TV host, writer, culinary curator and entrepreneur Aida Mollenkamp.

There appeared to be in excess of 100 people in attendance at the December 6 event in Los Angeles.

Only two of the men attending that event were wearing suits and ties.

Only a few people attending that event were well dressed.  Only one person attending that event was dressed elegantly.

However, although the attendees were dressed in the uninteresting laid back style of dress typical in Southern California, their intellectual level and the level of their accomplishments was high.

The presenter, Aida, told us she when she started at the “Chow” website, at its inception, there were zero viewers.

Three years later, when Aida left “Chow”, “Chow” had five million unique viewers.

Aida went from working at “Chow” to become a host of her “own” TV Show on two different TV networks.

Later still, Aida left her TV shows to do her own thing on various social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Aida now has her own website ( which has about 100,000 unique visitors per month.

Aida told us she has used social media to build a following and to create a ground swell of interest in purchasing her recently published cookbook “Keys to the Kitchen.”

During her presentation, Aida discussed how to create, organize, manage, optimize and measure the reach of a blog or the reach of a website.

Aida also discussed how to create a “ground-swell”, how to leverage your network and extend beyond social media.

Aida gave a five star performance and answered questions from the audience.

Aida can be reached at

An open mike followed Aida’s presentation.

During the open mike portion of the program, an amazing group of people told us what they are doing.

Here is what three of the people attending that event told us about themselves.

One person (Lucie Zimmerman) told us she is a wine consultant.

Another person (Debby Alberts, Creative Director) told us she is involved in putting together a foodie’s fantasy camp at Caesar’s Palace.

Another person (Ghassan J. Sader) told us he is involved in turning around restaurants, hotels and castles.

By the way, at that event, Mr. Sader was an extremely elegantly dressed man.  Mr. Sader has elegant demeanor and is a very well spoken man.

I asked each of those three people (Lucie, Debby, and Ghassan) to tell me more about themselves for me to report to readers of this blog post.

I think that Luci, Debby and Ghassan are fascinating people.

I would like to know them better because they are fully alive doing interesting engrossing things.

Set forth below is a brief write up they gave me on what they are doing and the instructions they gave me on how to contact them.


Here (set forth below) is how Lucie described herself to me:

I have been working in the wine business in various capacities for decades, primarily in California, but also in France.  I grew up spending summers in the Napa Valley when there were only about a dozen wineries.  My true job is as “Wine Matchmaker.”  I help individuals, and sometimes restaurants and other organizations, discover their wine passion.  I don’t use ratings or reviews.  The process is very personal, and I create a data base of information regarding the palate preferences of each individual.  I inventory and organize cellars in private homes and I buy wines on behalf of my clients.  Most frequently a customer will contact me and say “You know what I like, just please get it.”  I prepare custom wine lists for private homes and restaurants, typically replete with an interesting descriptive feature of each wine.  Many of my clients are celebrities who appreciate when I make them look quite knowledgeable about wine.  They are particularly thrilled with my preparation of their in-home wine list, one that is often far more extensive than a restaurant list.  I also conduce tastings, classes and special events.  At this time I do not have a website.  All of my business has been generated by “word of mouth.”  I love my job, and I take great pride in guiding others to better understand and to purchase wines that give them pleasure.

Lucie can be reached at


Debby told me she is the Creative Director of Food University at Caesar’s Palace, handling all advertising, and marketing materials, overseeing website designers an helping to get sponsors.

Debby told me Food University at Caesar’s Palace is a foodie fantasy camp where everybody gets to come into the playground.

Food University is described as 3 days of hands on, fun filled programs designed to provide guests with the essentials relative to ingredients, food and wine.  The faculty consists of prestigious celebrity chefs, authors, high profile sommeliers and world-renown purveyors.

Tuition is $1,995 per person for the three days and Caesars is offering a discount on room rates for the event.

The next event will probably take place at the end of March, 2013.

Debby can be contacted at


Here (set forth below) is how Gus describes himself.

Ghassan J. Sader is the founder and CEO of Sader Hospitality Worldwide, LLC.  Gus is a graduate of the prestigious Institut International de Gilon of Montreaux, Switzerland.  Following graduation he subsequently attended Cornell University and completed special courses in the Professional Development Program on a scholarship.  Over the next 25 years Sader managed and consulted for hotels in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf States.  He has worked for numerous hotel chains including Hilton Domestic and International, Sheraton Hotels, Intercontinental, Omni Hotels and independent boutique hotels in the United States and Canada, a Castle in Japan, opened and managed a Beach Club Resort in Baku/Azerbaijan, assessed/evaluated seven hospitality assets in Croatia, and consulted and opened a resort on an island in the Middle East on the Red Sea.  Gus continues to provide management and consulting services to the hospitality industry and is actively involved in turnaround management.

Gus can be contacted at

Fashion Counts

Fashion, culture and identity are interconnected.

Clothing represents a set of symbols.

Clothes speak.

Clothes make a clear reference to who we are and wish to be taken to be.

We say things with what we choose to wear.

The way we dress communicates messages about our identity, our roles, about who we are and who we think we are and simultaneously creates an aura which suggests a great deal more than it communicates.

Fashion responds to a complex cultural marketplace.

To see and behold are activities of the highest rank.

The very same apparel ensemble that “said” one thing last year may “say” something quite different today and yet another thing next year.

There is considerable variability in how its constituent symbols are understood and appreciated by different social strata and taste groupings; and, it is — in Western society — much more given to “undercoding” than to precision and explicitness.

The clothing fashion code is highly context-dependent.

That is to say what some combination of clothes or a certain style emphasis “means” will vary tremendously depending upon the identity of the wearer the occasion, the place, the company, and even something as vague and transient as the wearer’s and viewers’ moods.

What is signified is strikingly different for different publics, audiences, and social groupings.

Clothing communicates social identity.

Good luck at decoding fashion statements and good luck at being fashionable, if that is what you want to be.

I am fascinated by the mystery of what is being communicated by what people choose to wear and by what they are wearing.

For further enlightenment on deciphering the statements being made by what people choose to wear, I recommend that you read Fred Davis’ book “Fashion, Culture, and Identity.”

Best holiday wishes,


Gary S. Smolker, Publisher
Gary Smolker Idea Exchange Blog

Copyright (c) 2012 by Gary S. Smolker

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail

Posted on December 13, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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