Editor’s Letter | January/February 2014

Valeria Suasnavas

I recently came across the following in a New York Times piece on luxury real estate in Manhattan:

“The most expensive buildings were once filled with blue-blood Americans, and as for wealthy foreigners, they put their money in securities or Swiss banks.”

But, as the pundits say, that was then and this is now. Everybody these days is in the race. Oh, sure, there are apartments that still require full—and then some—financial disclosures that make them off-limits to many. But there are plenty of other brand-new buildings—with brand-name architects and personal concierge services and storage rooms alone that come with hundred-thousand-dollar price tags—that are literally the talk of the town; the pricier the better. And as Cindy Adams might put it, only in New York, kids. Only in New York. That very rarefied, dog-eat-dog world of high finance and high rollers is the one that reporter Michael Gross pursues in this issue’s cover story. The $100 million apartment has yet to be bought or sold, but we’re on the verge, writes Gross. And what with Wall Street bonuses and the further migration of overseas billionaires, it’s only a matter of time: The countdown’s begun. Stay tuned.

Last year Departures published our first ever “list”—34 pages of who, what and where we love now. This year we return again to The Departures 100, give or take a couple of dozen—the actual number is 122. The entries are in no particular order—a bag of mints from Amsterdam gets equal billing with my own new favorite, the Amanzo’e resort on the Peloponnesian peninsula. Go figure. The objective was always—and only—to entertain, illuminate and inform.

This issue, like those before it, closes with the one page that I believe captures the spirit of the magazine: Necessary Luxury. Not the most expensive, the grandest, the most impressive but rather the most necessary and personal. This month that page belongs to Daniel Boulud, one of the most respected and celebrated chefs working today. This year, he celebrates 25 years in business with a redo of our favorite after-theater haunt—db Bistro Moderne (55 W. 44th St., New York; 212-391-2400; dbbistro.com)—and an elegant new book with essays by Bill Buford. His generosity is legendary; his talents are without comparison. What he considers Necessary Luxury is…perfect as well.

P.S. My own new favorite discovery—and in the “challenging” world of aviation, mind you—is Tradewind (800-376-7922; tradewindaviation.com), Eric and David Zipkin’s super charter and private-air service connecting all those hard-to-get-to dots on the map. Perfect for getting around at the last minute this season.

N.Y.C. Confidentials: Nothing Personal (February, St. Martin’s Press) combines Mike Offit’s literary gifts—there’s something Gatsby-esque about this book—with his Wall Street past for a turbocharged thriller. Think The Great Gatsby meets Barbarians at the Gate. Don’t let the fact that Carole Radziwill is one of Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York turn you off—nor the title of her new book, The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating (February, Holt). Believe me, you couldn’t have made me read, watch or care about Sex and the City, but I genuinely loved this book—it’s smart, funny and very knowing.