Building A New Tower

Dear Diary:

It is half-past six and I am sprint-walking down Seventh Avenue. I dash madly across it onto Bleecker, through a rivulet of Citi Bikes decorated with sluggish models and helmeted Midtown suits. Once across (unscathed!), my momentum is interrupted by the syrupy meander of a young couple, obviously from out of town. I am nearly angry until I catch their conversation: the boy is pointing at 1 World Trade Center.

“Surely you recognize that building?”

The girl shakes her head.

The boy says: “1 World Trade Center, nearly complete!”

To which the girl replies: “They built a new one?”

Where has she been for the past decade, I wonder, laughing.

I glance down Seventh Avenue: the traffic has picked up again, barreling south, and the daylight is by now leaping into the Hudson. The tower glistens against the gathering evening. I have stopped laughing.

Yes. We built a new one.

New York Times – Building a New Tower


I am fortunate enough to have a wife that lets me indulge in – and even supports – my interests and habits. A few years ago she bought me a red Wishbone Chair and it has been one of my favorite things we own. I’m amazed at the longevity of this chair. It is a staple of classic Scandinavian design, but more than 50 years later it still has relevance in regards to not only its design – a standard of organic functionalism – but the continual craftsmanship that goes into each chair.

In 1944 Danish designer Hans J. Weg­ner began a series of chairs inspired by a portrait of Danish merchants sitting in traditional Ming chairs. The Wishbone Chair was the last in the series of “China Chairs.” The inspiration is clearly visible, but the chair remains an original and distinctively Scandinavian form. The Wishbone chair was the first collaboration between Wegner and furniture maker Carl Hansen & Søn, and has been continuously in production by Hansen since 1950.

Design Milk got a behind-the-scenes look at how the chair is made. Taking video and photos of the process, they show the quality and the craftsmanship that goes into each chair. The chair is still hand-made over the course of 3 weeks and requires 100 separate processes to assemble the 14 parts.

Wishbone Video

Now, if I could only convince her that we need a full dining set.

Simple Pairings

Every Wednesday, Katchkie Farms (a community-supported agriculture farm run from a 60-acre organic farm in Kinderhook, N.Y.) delivers our office CSA group a range of fresh produce. Tomatoes, basil, kale, scallions, cucumbers, and some crazy kohlrabi.

Channing and I have been using this as a way to simplify our diets. A less intensive effort and more raw natural ingredients basically gives us more time for dinner on the terrace. The best is when pieces of our meals are simple and only require two ingredients. We’ve been stealing that idea from a series of articles we saw in Fantastic Man (good magazine layout, decent articles, ridiculous title) about simple pairings. A few of my favorites:

Watermelon and Sea Salt. I’m always surprised when people have never heard of this. Sea salt adds a perfect balance to the sweetness of a ripe watermelon.

Cut up cucumber slices or soldiers for dipping into honey. The water from the cucumber does wonders at creating a simple syrup from the honey.

Tomato and mint are a summer version on our basil routine. Cut tomatoes, mint, plus olive oil and lemon zest and you’ve got a good salad going.

Strawberries and black pepper. Hesitant to try this at first, if only because why mess with a strawberry? But crushed black pepper adds a subtle warmth to the berries.

Watermellon and Salt

Fantastic Man - Cucumber and Honey

Fantastic Man - Tomato and Mint

Fantastic Man - Strawberries and Pepper

Side note: Why do a workplace CSA? It has been a much easier way for us to keep eating healthy despite our workload. Every Wednesday, we gather in the office kitchen for 10-15 minutes and pick up “groceries.” It’s nice being able to eat fresh, in season, organic produce from a local farm delivered directly to me. And…low carbon footprint to our food supply, healthy food, supporting local business and encouraging their growth. The limitations of in-season, delivered produce have also forced our creativity in the kitchen. How many ways can I cook kale? And, I didn’t end up taking it home with me, but I had never heard of kohlrabi before.