What do you work with in New York?
I own two companies. MH8 Associates, a corporate meeting planning companies, specializing in international events. Everyone always asks about the name. When I started the company eight years ago, I was dividing time between New York and Paris. MH is Murray Hill, my neighborhood in Manhattan, and 8 is the 8th Arrondissement in Paris, my former neighborhood in Paris. As much as I love Paris, New York ultimately won.
I launched HiFidelityNY a little over one year ago when we obtained marriage equality in New York – it’s a wedding planning company exclusively for same sex couples who want to marry here.
For how long have you been living in New York?
I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and spent 14 years in Washington DC as well. I love the South, but the call of New York was too great – I have lived there 13 years now. It would be hard for me to live anywhere else.
How do you live in New York?
I live almost part-time in New York, which makes me appreciate it more. I travel about 2-3 months per year on business organizing meetings around the world. I spend about another month each year exploring the world. I divide the rest of my time between New York and Saugerties, where I have an old farmhouse in the foothills of the Catskills Mountains. Saugerties is a great little town on the Hudson River about two hours north of the city – Frommer’s Guide named is one of the ”ten coolest small towns in America” a couple of years ago. We are proud of that, as we are next to the very famous Woodstock NY, but we won the accolade!
I would invite everyone who comes to New York to take a few days to explore the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, and specifically to come to Saugerties – it’s a wonderfully low-key, low-profile part of the world, with beautiful scenery, great farms and produce, and some exceptional restaurants with locally sourced products.
Mention 3 of you favorite places in New York
Landmarc – my favorite restaurant, with locations in TriBeCa and the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle – warm service, steaks that rival the best steak houses in town at half the price, a wonderful wine program with half bottles and whole bottles only, with almost no mark-up, and cotton candy after dinner – it’s not on the menu – you have to know to ask!
Saks Fifth Avenue – my favorite department store. They have some amazing buyers these days, their own brand has very wearable clothes at surprisingly moderate prices, and the service is without equal. For men, the classics on 7 cannot be beat – ask for Mel for casual, and Ed for suits. Plus the window displays on Fifth Avenue, 49th Street, and 50th Street are just so beautiful.
Metropolitan Opera – For an opera buff, there are few rivals in the world. The productions are just so grand, the singers are absolutely world class, and they are doing an intriguing blend of classic and modern performances now. Plus there are usually last minute individual seats, and prices are quite good compared to some of the European houses.
What do you love to do in New York in your free time?
With free time in the city, I love to walk. After 13 years of living there, I’m still discovering new streets. And the city is constantly evolving, so there’s always something new to see on streets I know.
Mention something weird that you’ve experienced as a New Yorker
Something weird in New York? There are two gay bars in town I love. One is Flaming Saddles, on Ninth Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets. They have hunky gay cowboys in tight jeans, t-shirts and cowboy hats as bartenders. They take turns dancing on the bar, including line dancing simultaneously. The other is Urge, on Second Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets. There are Latin strippers, most of whom are bisexual, dancing on the bar. The scene late at night gets quite interesting! One night, I went to these two bars, along with the jazz bar at the Setai, and the Campbell Apartment at Grand Central Station, which are two of the most elegant bars in the city. It made for a wonderful juxtaposition – a very New York evening!
What do you like best about New York?
What is best in New York is the incredible diversity and mix of cultures, and the energy. The city is a constant show – after 13 years, I am still entertained and fascinated by the city.
Describe New York with 3 words
New York in three words? The world’s city.