Open Your Eyes to OpenNewYork

Open Your Eyes to OpenNewYork

Just who are these Yimby lobbyists behind the push to rezone Soho and Noho?

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call to rezone Soho and Noho seems more like Blaz’s desperate, last-year-in-office, attempt to appease his real estate developer donors more than it does any sincere step towards providing truly affordable housing to working New Yorkers.

And this rushed push to upzone two industrial, historical and particularly unique downtown Manhattan neighborhoods has found its ultimate cheerleader in Yimby [“yes in my backyard”] group Open New York.

But who exactly is Open New York, aka ONY?

Self-describing as an “all-volunteer group advocating for abundant homes and lower rent,” ONY certainly presents itself benignly enough as it implores, with sad dog eyes, for you to be its neighbor.

But the barest scratch beneath the ONY surface reveals a laser-focused real estate development agenda steered by a vigorous yet small troupe of garrulous and snippy professionals who are mostly men, mostly younger than middle-aged and majority white.

Initially naming itself “More New York,” Open New York was “started in a basement in Murray Hill in 2016” by “Quantitative Real Estate Investor” Ben Thypin, and grew into an incorporated nonprofit in January 2020, making it eligible for tax-exempt status with New York State (although no 990 filing appears to be currently publicly available regarding the group’s not-for-profit viability).

Perchance to strategically distance himself, founder Thypin has since stepped down as a founding ONY board member, but on paper only, as the optics of him having such a seat might begrime that ONY fallacy of equitable housing and “lower rent.” Born into steel industry wealth, Thypin arranges multi-million-dollar real estate deals as a developer with a penchant for Lower Manhattan properties, like his company Quantierra’s management of the $30 million sale of 64 Washington Street.

And what exactly is Yimby?

Yimby is the pro-gentrification movement and clapback to its older Nimby opposition, composed of what used to be the 1960s/1970s “not in my backyard” racist Archie Bunker stalwarts opposing any potential real estate development in their area. The Yimby movement, not just in NYC but nationally too, claims to be about housing equity thus the potential insidiousness lies in its promoters flying under the radar as well-meaning “housing activists” who portray themselves as cute, fun and accessible. Twitter usernames include avocado emojis (“hey! healthiness!”) and/or bike emojis (“hey! small carbon footprint! awesomeness!”) to enhance this manipulated semblance of niceness and/or normalcy.

These members and supporters work diligently, while not always that successfully, to present a neutral and friendly front despite their thick, obvious, and undeniable ties to the real estate industry which belie their alleged better intentions; their act has fallen so flat with others that the frequently-employed avocado has been viewed as a “political emoji.”

A false narrative perpetuated by Yimby is that all Nimbys are wealthy, elderly, elitist and racist homeowners, but in truth the modern Nimbys’ cultural alignment has morphed more into what the hippy artistic 70s Yimbys of yore used to be: Nimbys now are politically progressive, socially open and include many renters, including older, working-class-income creatives with stabilized leases.

I first came across ONY, and subsequently Yimby, only last year during the spring and summer of 2019 when its membership had cultivated and promoted the campaign of Long Island City resident and ONY member Justin Potter, an openly pro-AmazonHQ2, pro-development candidate for Queens District 12 State Senate, challenging infamous “Amazon Slayer” Michael Gianaris. Potter, a 20-year-voting Republican, had changed parties so to run against Democrat Gianaris but the former’s quiet and inconsequential campaign ended with Potter dropping out even before the race’s June 2020 Democratic Primary.

But what had stuck out most in Potter’s lackluster crusade were his honkingly loud Yimby supporters, including the real-estate-industry-aligned consortium ONY: a Greek chorus of earnest urbanists mocking Jane Jacobs; advocating to turn NYC into a modern Asian municipality and scoffing at concepts like “neighbor character” and “historical value.”

Although mostly not from NYC, ONY affiliates nonetheless claim that New Yorkers “view themselves as separate from and superior to other Americans.” They even have a snarky book club where they enjoy “salty” discourse about supposedly “characterless” brownstones: they even publicly cheer when NYC brownstones are demolished.

I was stunned to read such discourse.

My NYC childhood had been heavily peppered with the squawks of adults who had never gotten over what had been the recent destruction of the old, iconic, airy Pennsylvania Station, occurring the year before I was born. The former Penn Station’s demolition horrified NYC (and rest of the world), and birthed the local landmark and preservation movement the year after I was born. I have always been in love with New York City and have long felt protective of its old, glorious structures, appreciating their history, significance and beauty along with the fathoming that once something beloved is gone, it is gone forever.

I had figured preserving New York history, especially its architecture, would never be threatened again.

But then along came NYC Yimby Daddy Nikolai Fedak.

It was Fedak who coined the concept that NYC preservationists were selfish: “There’s a lot of hatred of development out there,” he declared about Nimbys in 2014. “But generally it comes from selfish people who don’t want to lose their views.”

Selfish is a purposeful and deliberate word choice and is also the hook upon which every Yimby persists on hanging their primary argument: they are “hated!” by “selfish people!” By alleging it is not sentimentality which endears people to their environment and physical surroundings but rather narcissism, self-absorption and an absence of empathy, Yimby attempts to pivot the aesthetic appreciation argument to a character flaw. The tactic depicts Nimby as lacking decency, being morally inept, even racist, simply because Nimbys enjoy and celebrate specific places and neighborhoods; this enjoyment is viewed as selfish and perpetuating prejudiced practices.

This is the only way Yimby and ONY know how to defend their argument for development: their opponents are immoral while they, themselves, are not.

The argument against aesthetics is an unworthy argument. Winston Churchill celebrated the delight of humans experiencing architecture: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

Because aesthetic appreciation, or the lack thereof, is a matter of taste, not morals. It is a perception, not a moral flaw, by where one conceives of preference and of appeal: aesthetic inclination is more opinion than feeling; it is what a person likes and to which they are drawn and cannot be utilized in good faith against any person because none of us have any control over what we love.

We cannot help to which we react, to which we are attracted, those sights we love, the places which inspire us. ONY and Yimby strive to use that against us. So if you find yourself fancying a building for your entire lifetime or being awed by the expanse of sky or feeling a strong, primal attachment to a geographic area, you are perceived, strategically and deliberately, by this small group as “being selfish.” An intentional and purposeful strategy: you are selfish while they, by default, are not. The Yimby “I’m good! You’re bad!!” strategy also allows for the morphing of the accusation of “selfish” slapped onto Nimbyism to start wearing more sinister coats: “horrible” is commonly used by this faction as well, as are “immoral,” “racist,” and “classist.”

A fight for the city’s architectural posterity is neither “woefully out of touch” nor an “extremely myopic prioritizing [of a] sense of aesthetics over other New Yorkers’ housing.”

It is not selfish nor trite nor superficial to experience aesthetic appreciation: it is human. But ONY narrowly depicts its Nimby opposition, as all “wealthy homeowners who… seek to maintain ethnic and class composition [while] selfishly trying to thwart development… over parochial concerns like aesthetics and shadows.”

It is bad faith to either blame, or read more into, the human inclination of the appreciation of beauty.

But bad faith is all that Yimby, and Open New York, bring to the table.

It shouldn’t matter that ONY and their supporters are, like Potter and Thypin, mostly in their 30’s, most male, mostly white and mostly not from NYC, but that materiality is nonetheless their own glaring reality. Composed solely of highly educated, multi-degree-earning individuals, ONY is deeply aligned with NYC real estate development although it hotly protests not to be. Thypin even plays defensive victim crying poor when confronted on his background and financial success.

The smokescreen ONY creates, and then hides behind, is an alleged advocation of housing and a claim there are not enough homes for NYC residents, which is complete balderdash. They pretend not to be wealthy and privileged while whiningly accusing any opposition of being exactly that: wealthy and privileged. Deliberately and strategically, they falsely characterize Nimbys to be old, white, wealthy, cheap, immoral, selfish and racist: all Nimbys are the same to them, one big tenet in their quite flawed argument.

And with ONY, it isn’t just their insincere platform: it’s their conduct. Bad faith arguing is born out of desperation, which can be tough to discern when the manner of conduct is so brash and confident.

ONY board members include the easily annoyed Jake Schmidt, good cop/bad faith debater Will Thomas, native Illinoian Dan Miller and recent Columbia University public affairs grad Kyle Dontoh. Its more vocal members are the sanctimonious and damning Pennsylvanian native Mike Cherepko, the aforementioned New Jersey native founder Thypin, Southern Californian transplant Spencer Heckwolf, Philadelphia-raised Stephen Smith, aka Twitter urbanist celebrity Market Urbanism (who is also Thypin’s employee), and their lawyer, Sullivan and Cromwell land use attorney Charley Dorsaneo.

As a lobbying entity, ONY presents a threat to New York City historical landmarking and preservation as they aim to abolish landmarking preservation in the name of racism. But ONY’s motivation goes way beyond standing up to racism just like the issue of racist housing practices spread way beyond redlining and historical preservation.

It is the behavior, comportment and type of engagement exhibited by the ONY crew which screams louder than their anti-racist rhetoric: they are, as individuals and together, a group of purposefully impatient, condescending, exaggerative (dishonest) bullies with no productive, civic or good faith engagement.

Cherepko, long known for his bad attitude (of which he is quite proud) and his moral judgment, doesn’t care if the proposed Elizabeth Street Garden replacement housing stays affordable in the future: which is odd for the guy who’s fighting for it, all in the name of affordable housing.

ONY board member Miller’s piece to support urban density rests on his sole argument that Nimby objections to gentrification should be answered with a toddleresque and astonishingly obtuse retort of “tough.” No logic, no facts, no math: just “tough.”

ONY knows me, too: founder Thypin grumbled about my speaking at the January 2020 Manhattan Community Board 2 meeting and took issue with my presence at the meeting but had no comment on what I had specifically stated; I was faulted solely for having attended. Waterfront developer Thypin had no defense for what I said, he was only angry that I said the words, that I showed up.

I had also dared to confront ONY board member Schmidt on Twitter about a resoundingly abhorred project in Sunnyside, Queens, the notorious Phipps proposal at 50-25 Barnett Avenue, only to experience the signature and oft-practiced pile-on of a dozen Yimbys jumping in to accuse me of hating poor people and of being an immoral person. It was a conversation which started at 9am and lasted through the whole day until after 8pm: that is how they operate; they’ll take hours working on one person, trying to exhaust them, trying to get a bad reaction out of them, deliberately and habitually.

City officials have also sparred with ONY members. Lower Manhattan District Leader Paul Newell’s tweet thread on Thypin’s history and behavior is gloriously thorough and revealing. Committeman Ben Yee called them out for the same pile on treatment I received.

ONY and Yimby are intrigued by the idea of being perceived as thought leaders and world changers and they are eager for a substantial win: knocking down the Elizabeth Street Garden is seen as important and urgent to them. They don’t care how much the community loves this space: they care about winning; they crave a psychological conquest and they want to be victorious over Soho. This has never been about what the community wants for them: they loudly advocate that the community shouldn’t even have a voice (they feel they should have a voice but not the residents who actually live in the area).

One challenge we do not need now, especially as we endure the covid19 pandemic, is a Yimby apocalypse. The last thing we need are more new buildings, more empty luxury tax-break structures and more of the exasperated youthful white males who support their construction.

We face extraordinary times and we need perchance very un-American approaches, like a socialist methodology for emergency housing needs along with rent and mortgage forgiveness and universal basic income. These are uncomfortable constructs: I appreciate how traditional capitalists balk at such concessions but we still need to consider them because rampant construction has never been the answer.

ONY and Yimbys come up short on any answers for NYC, especially regarding its historic districts. ONY’s flimsy claims about creating less racist living standards are revealed as false by expiration-dated affordable housing which will revert to luxury units within one generation. The effort to upzone Soho by angry young transients is not what NYC architecture and history needs or even deserves.

Open your eyes to Open New York: New York City can do so much better.

Postscript: It seems I misunderstood Ben Thypin’s mention of his “ancestral homeland of LIC:” how foolish of me to have drawn the conclusion that he was, indeed, from Queens. Mr. Thypin, is in fact, not from New York but rather New Jersey, a detail which I have amended above. But the fact that Thypin, along with the rest of his small knot of Yimby proponents, is not from NYC even more weakens and diminishes his argument to destroy this city in the name of his own profit.

Fuck Yeah, Jimmy Van Bramer

Fuck yes, Jimmy Van Bramer!

I get it.

The word “fuck” is offensive, abrasive, unchristian, inappropriate for mixed company, even subject to federal censure in some instances.

It is a slap of a word.

For some of us, though, that slap is a common occurrence, a word we use and hear often, not a big deal, a regular visitor. It is not that the word has become meaningless in its repetition but rather that it has remained a satisfying sound to use, a reverberation which suitably fits particular moments and situations as the best means of expression.

For others, however, the eff bomb is appalling, gratuitous, a betrayer of low class, a demonstration of anger, a denouncement of God, even an expression of violence. When the word is said to them, it is as if they cannot hear anything else beyond that word: the uttering of it ends the communication and the utterer is held in contempt and subject to judgment for having dared to have used it. The word is then held against the speaker as if it were the sole act committed, a great crime which conveniently diminishes the integrity of all else spoken.

But maybe such a word falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, between complete ease and complete inconsolable horror. Because there is a credibility to sporadic use of a good curse word: when utilized sparingly, there is a gravitas to it, however offensive it may be.

Sometimes, no other word will do. Sometimes, “fuck” just simply fits.

And in the case of Jimmy Van Bramer’s pointed response to the latest false accusation of Pat Lynch who heads of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York: that “fuck” fit.

Mr. Lynch’s assertion that “LIC residents should know that this is exactly what @JimmyVanBramer and his radicals comrades wanted: decriminalize everything, then undermine and sideline the NYPD” is a lie about me, too as one of those “radicals [sic] comrades.”

Lynch’s habitual, fear-mongering whine belies his rage that his zero-credibility “benevolent association” is under especially deep scrutiny these days as the call to defunding the police builds momentum. The PBA is known for consistent dishonesty so the demand for greater transparency has never been more warranted.

At the height of the Black Lives Matter movement here in the city, in order to plea for pro-cop sympathy, the PBA dramatically tweeted that police officers had been “poisoned” at Shake Shack which was immediately called out for the lie it was.

The NYCPBA continually reveal themselves to be desperate, cheating, greedy fabricators who will do anything to maintain their power, which ultimately means maintaining their cash flow.

Because no one wants to “sideline the NYPD:” every NYC citizen wants order but we also seek to manage the financial and political power of an abusive union.

And no one is “pro-crime” in this city, either: that is as much of a lie as Donald Trump’s present claim that American cities are “on fire.”

New York City is a population which wants fairness, a dynamic that somehow threatens the quite oddly monikered Benevolent Association. Is that why they endorsed Trump for a second term? What an absurd and inappropriate gesture: it is like they are in fact the ones who are trying to “sideline” the city with such misguided support.

Police unions are corrupt, blatantly corrupt in this city in particular. They fool no one.

So, in this instance, Jimmy Van Bramer telling the NYCPBA to “fuck off” is fitting.

It is forceful, it is offensive but it is also fitting.

And Jimmy catches hell when he drops an eff bomb, which isn’t often.

In January 2019, at what turned out to be the final NYC Council hearing for Amazon HQ2 LIC, Van Bramer derided Amazon Global Public Policy Head Brian Huseman for Amazon’s inability to guarantee any significant job numbers for low income public housing residents; the best Huseman could come up with was a one-office-site call center, offering 30 part-time, no-benefits roles.

30 jobs, are you fucking kidding me?” spat Van Bramer.

The passage of time has since confirmed the treachery of Amazon, Brian Huseman and their ever-present team of lobbyists: their secrecy and inability to partner warranted such a response.

Amazon was not in NYC to try to make HQ2LIC work for everyone involved: it was in New York to do whatever it wanted to do. That’s how Amazon operates.

When HQ2 was met by the Queens community with suspicion and the demand for transparency and negotiation, Amazon decided leaving was a better option than trying. Two weeks after that January 2019 NY City Council hearing, Amazon quit.

Amazon spent over two years whittling down choices on which Northern Hemisphere city it would take as its new HQ2 bride: a commitment of years which then culminated in a lukewarm, 12-week courtship where a reluctant, evasive and absent Amazon, after having spent no time in Long Island City and met with no constituents, at least not publicly, rolled its eye at the deserved criticism and just walked out.

I mean, are you fucking kidding me?

This year’s story of fired warehouse manager Chris Smalls corroborates Amazon’s inability to partner or lead, which directly reflects exactly LIC’s experience of Amazon as an entity here in Queens. It is a sneaky, silent, cheating liar.

Jimmy was right to say “fuck” to Amazon almost two years ago and he is right to use it now with the NYCPBA.

Because a lie is a lie is a lie and all lies need to be called out each and every time they happen.

Jimmy was endlessly criticized for using rough language, that one word, at that city council meeting: it is still held against him.

But I come from the camp which believes politicians are allowed to be angry.

Politicians are allowed, by law and freedom, to express their exasperation and chagrin. In fact, it is beneficial and relieving for the voting public to see the human inside the person they have elected, to hear the anger, to witness its effect.

Cursing is jarring for sure, but not necessarily inappropriate, especially when executed sporadically. Abuse of foul language is not Van Bramer’s style: he knows the strength of a good swear is its spare utilization.

And despite a broad political divide in his district, along with the hatred, homophobia and veiled physical threats thrown at him, Jimmy Van Bramer’s service to our community remains consistent, enthusiastic, thoughtful and passionate. And pandemic notwithstanding, his popularity has even grown.

So, fuck yeah, Jimmy Van Bramer!

Thank you for swearing, thank you for taking the heat, thank you for advocating for sanity, thank you for always taking a stand for what is right.

And Pat Lynch can fuck the fuck off.

Monday, December 29, 2014: Temping, Blogging, Hungry and Halves

I’m temping this week in a quiet office; I am filling in for the vacationing receptionist. It’s a beautiful day here in NYC: it’s New Year’s week so the city, or at least the office workforce city, is more calm and unpeopled than usual.

I haven’t blogged at all in the past month, even though I have so much on tap, in draft form, to post about my neighborhood, about racism, about my family, about food I love, about being alive and getting older. I’ve still been flirting with the Master Cleanse: not quite fully committed, which is typical of me, in so many ways. But I have been working out more, doing my crazy Bound Lotus yoga routine and fairing very well in keeping my ice cream consumption in check. I actually have a half pint leftover in my freezer right now (Bourbon Pecan Praline, limited edition Haagen Dazs: double thumbs up), evidence that I can actually from time to time be a normal person who doesn’t snort up a whole pint in one sitting.

In this office where I am temping, I can’t log into my Gmail account via their desktop nor can I even post anything on Twitter or Instagram on my iPhone, so shame on me for not having my own wireless access. I can, at least, check my email on my phone so I don’t feel like a total Flintstone but I am a lil itchy to post pics from this phat 32nd floor sunny view: I can see so far into Jersey, I bet I could almost make out Ohio but I’ll have to wait until the workday is over to attack the rest of my social media. Yet somehow, happily, I can connect to WordPress here, which I guess these guys don’t view as social media or as a site of general-screw-offedness, so that’s awesome. The universe is thusly directing me towards bloggage: onward!

It’s lunchtime, I’m hungry and there’s no free office food but that really is another blessing. It’s not the worst thing in the world if my broke large butt can’t scarf down Luna Bars I didn’t pay for. I am very happy instead to be sitting at the dreaded receptionist desk, writing and getting paid for just being here. My broke large butt serves a purpose if only by existing to these gentle folk who’ve hired me for this week so I shall choose to feel touched and lucky. Plus I have all those limes at home, just waiting to be squeezed, waiting to be used for the purpose of cleaning me out, giving me a recharge, challenging me to fight my laziness. Being hungry is good for me.

And I am lazy. I hate to admit that. I’m complacent. I’m content when stuff isn’t great. I’m fine if things don’t work out or if I fail or if I lose. I busy myself with delusions that the next great thing is around the corner and I distract myself by walking to the waterfront at Gantry Plaza State Park, taking pictures of Manhattan at sunset, thinking I am contributing something to my future by posting photos of pink skies on Instagram, by taking long walks, by just existing. Sort of like my being in this office right now. In my heart of hearts, half of me thinks I deserve more than I am willing to work for, which is absurd. Whether it’s my own arrogance or how I was raised or the insane comfort I have known on this planet as a white, educated American, this half of me has a slanted, almost collapsed view as every year sees more and more of my innate drive being chipped away by my laziness and complacency. I never got married or had kids because of my inertia. That, and my ridiculous theory that something better is always looking for me so I shouldn’t make any drastic moves; I should just sit tight and wait for the grand reward to fall from the pink sky. This is the half of me I need to leave behind: this is the half of me that doesn’t live in the truth.

The other half of me is much darker but also more urgently poised, more alive really. This other half is the half that knows I am quite mediocre and isn’t surprised when someone is mean or rude to me; this is the half that is insecure, on the edge, alone, a little muddied. This half of me is angry, wants more, feels frustrated by the first half’s yawning slothfulness: this half can’t believe what the other half does or thinks. This half is sick of rolling through the other half’s life, with bits of ice cream and Thai food flying off the crooked, squarish wheels of its apparatus.

This second half is where my energy lives despite the fact that my self-hatred has planted a few nubby roots: this second half cares deeply, feels deeply. It is irritated: things count to it. It’s not satisfied. It’s yelling at me. It’s hungry. And it doesn’t want ice cream.

Thursday, November 13, 2014: SigNotUre and Initials

I GOT MY new SAG/AFTRA membership card in the mail today. It’s always an issue when I have to write my brontosaurus signature on the back of any new plastic card, membership, credit or otherwise. I end up practicing on the back of a piece of paper I’ve already lined up for shredding: on it, I execute my signature several times, ’til it flows easily out of me, so I won’t blow it on the actual SAG membership card, which of course I’ve done in the past and such action has left scars.

My signature has been a source of ridicule from my family for years. Yes, it is illegible, unlike the signatures of my mother with her gorgeously chubby and curvy script, cleanly spelling out her name or of my sister Helen, whose linear, elegant, black piano-key-esque autograph almost echoes written music on white paper.

But I, the only other female in our family, have an unfeminine wipe of a signature: I start my first name, penning its capital C as coming out of the gate like some sort of tidal wave rising over the spewed-out snake of its subsequent letters, the whole word projectiled out, like old used beer. Other than the screaming C, the first letter, all the other characters in my first name aren’t even close to being recognizable as actual letters.

I open my last name with a huge whirl of an M, and then end with the cushion I create out of the Y’s under-loop, it being the very last letter of my name. In between these two curlicues, these two statement letters M and Y, like as had been with my first name, there is just a mess of a field, no comprehensible letters, instead an inky flat plane.

I’m good at framing, as I try to do with my photos, so my signature has a commanding beginning, a distinct middle and a rolled-up end. You could sit on my signature’s end, that loop, it’s solid, final and large.

My signature is three points: the first letter C, then that M followed by the Y. More like a drawing, three points, not writing. Three defining pops, three distinguishable forms.  The rest is road, flat ink, not distinguishable, not legible.

“No one can tell what your name is.” My mother squints when she sees me sign anything.

“Ugh, I’m aware you feel that way, Mom. But my name is already printed on the card, so they can tell my name.

“Because this,” I continue, pointing to the signature, while my quick glance confirms what I’ve written still looks like a scritchy map, “This is how I write my name and this is what it’s always looked like, Mom, for years.  For years.  It’s not going to change.”

My indecipherable signature is certainly consistent, so if you are the cashier who’s checking to see if what I’ve scrawled on the receipt matches what’s been inked on the back of my Amazon Points Visa Card, you’ll see it’s got to be me who signed both. My signature may be a mess, but it’s a unique and consistent mess and those three loops are hard to replicate.

And isn’t that really the most important part of a signature, most specifically as a means of identification, like a fingerprint: doesn’t it all come down to consistency? The name of the game must be regularity of product execution: your signature must always look the same every time you scratch it out. And mine always does look the same: every time I wrist out my autograph, my hand always swings out those same arcs, knowing those same sweeps: the camber never loses any humps. Even those practiced autographs for my SAG card, soon shredded, were still consistent, still had those main characteristics.

The electronic signature at the grocery check-out seems especially sensitive to these characteristics, those loops; I smash and splatter the plastic pen in circles against the blue screen after having clarified “credit” to the sweet pea who’s packing my bags at the Food Bazaar; I swirl out my signature.

No electronic screen has ever had any problem with my signature I keep meaning to tell my mother.

HOUSE OF DVF on E! is not to be missed simply because of Madame Diller herself, the shining, leeeeeeegendary Diane Von Furstenberg.

Miss DVF has spent decades not just designing dresses, hunnai, but also teaching my gender how to make it all look easy; when I was 12, I devoured the first edition of her 1976 bestseller The Book of Beauty, which I had copped from the Book of the Month Club; at the time, I was shapeless, inflamed but very hopeful.  She offered hints on eating well, managing stress, taking off makeup, putting it back on.  I’ve been acquainted with all that is Furstenbergilicousness since back in the day, girl.

And Miss Diana alone is enough for me to watch this show: she enters a room like liquid gold, a contented grin never far from her wide-eyed and high-cheekboned kind face; her honeyed skin stretches her long neck and smooth shoulders, she is more dancer than grandma, always wearing a dress.

Easy to watch.