(Editor’s note: In keeping with our new tradition, we present the Editor’s Letter from the new issue of WAG. Welcome to August’s “Fascinating Pastimes”):
Editors are not supposed to have favorite issues of their magazines. It’s like a parent having a favorite child, isn’t it? But as I’ve said before, I’ve always had a soft spot for the A and A issues — April, our annual animal issue, and August, in which we exhale (theoretically at least) with all kinds of leisure activities.
Leisure was on my mind when I took a rare two-week vacation to Greece on another “Legacy of Alexander the Great” trip, this time with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Arrangements Abroad. Could I refrain from turning it into another working vacation? With help from the philosopher Aristotle — courtesy of Edith Hall’s highly readable “Aristotle’s Way” — I discovered that true leisure, what Aristotle said was man’s highest calling, involves mind, body and spirit, as you’ll see in our opening essay.
I find I’m always apologizing for my fascination with the ancient Greeks and Alexander the Great in particular. But tourism is way up in Greece while Alexander is the subject of the Indian TV series “Porus,” available on YouTube, and Frank Miller’s graphic novel “Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander.” So Greece, past and present, is trending.
One woman’s leisure, however, is another’s career, as in the case of the sportswomen featured here. Cover subject Marni O’Shea has always been a woman with a dream of competing in a man’s sporting world, first as a player with the Hawks, a semipro football team in Danbury, and now as a boxer deciding between Olympic or pro careers. Another star on the rise is equestrian Adrienne Sternlicht, whom we visited at her Starlight Farms in Greenwich. Always a poised presence at the Spring Horse Shows and upcoming American Gold Cup at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, Sternlicht helped the American team to a historic gold last year at the World Equestrian Games.
The third of our female trio needs little introduction. Naomi Osaka burst to the fore of women’s tennis with a memorable win over Serena Williams at last year’s US Open that she cemented by taking the Australian Open women’s singles title this year. Our story, part of our US Open salute, finds her at the crossroads, however, as she aims to repeat in New York.
Title 9 has done much to give women athletes a leg up. (Consider the recent World Cup championship of the American women’s soccer team.) But we don’t want to neglect the guys. Recently, Phil spent time with Jesse James Kosakowski in Waterbury. In the brutal world that is MMA (mixed martial arts), this otherwise gentle young man is beginning to make a name for himself.
As senior writer/editor Mary — herself a former sportswriter — observes, however, some people’s favorite sport is shopping. Mary goes for the gold (and the silver and every other metal) with her profile of Tanya Tochner, the elegant owner of the new ROCKS Jewelry Gifts Home in Chappaqua; a return visit to Ridgefield jewelry designer Amy Kahn Russell; and a look at some artful RainCapers that will keep you stylish and dry everywhere from the new Branca Bar at Greenwich Polo Club to the US Open’s Fan Week. (See related stories.)
While Mary shops till she drops, Jeremy also takes one for the team — talking cricket with former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi; work, walking and motherhood with “Today’s” Jenna Bush Hager; and weather with News 12 meteorologist Pat Cavlin in his delightful new “Table Talk” iteration of Wonderful Dining. That is when he isn’t having a “Masterpiece” moment at baronial Blantyre in the Berkshires or enjoying a cigar with Raju Mirchandandi, owner of Manhattan’s Bar & Books.
Meanwhile, Olivia detoxes at Hourglass Women’s Wellness and adjacent Haas Juice Bar in White Plains; Debbi does Jamaican barbecue; Barbara vacations in ascendant Pittsburgh; Cami entertains outdoors in Montauk; Phil visits Stamford Yacht Club; Katie plays antique board games; Jenny considers turquoise, summer’s stone; and ArtsWestchester CEO Janet T. Langsam recalls her childhood on the beach in Far Rockaway as she helps debut a new art installation at Playland in Rye.
Here Aristotle would say whom you spend your leisure time with is as important as how you spend it. When I think of summer, my mind drifts back to all those road trips I’ve taken in recent years with my sister Gina and her beloved feisty sidekick, Fausto, a Chihuahua mix. The little guy passed in June, and my heart is no less broken for his having been a four-legged friend instead of a two-legged one, as you’ll see in Pet Portraits.
However you spend your leisure time as summer wanes, may you share it with those you love.
A 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of the “The Penalty for Holding” (Less Than Three Press), a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist, and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes at thegamesmenplay.com. Readers may find her novel “Seamless Sky” and “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” on wattpad.com.