John Pierpont Morgan was many things. Financier. Banker. Owner of the White Star Line and its ill-fated ship, the RMS Titanic. (Reportedly, he was scheduled to take part in its maiden voyage but changed his plans at the last minute.) Globe-trotter. Philanthropist. But among his many roles, few were more important than that of collector.“He collected everything,” says William M. Griswold, the director of The Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan, “from pocket watches to Old Master paintings to Chinese porcelain.” The breadth and depth of that passion is reflected in the holdings and exhibits at The Morgan.
My sister Gina and I are having Sunday brunch at Le Château in South Salem, seated at a table whose window frames the verdure of Lewisboro as it rolls into the summer mist and the Hudson Valley’s ever-elusive horizon. Over cappuccino and tea, she remarks that the two couples sitting behind me look so much alike that they could be each other – 50 years apart. As they pass, I realize how fitting my sister’s remark is. At Le Château, the past, present and future dine happily together.
The original Orient Express traversed the route from Paris to Istanbul, the 19th to 20th centuries. But really it traveled the realm of the imagination, with passengers longing for a bit of the luxe intrigue they found in Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel “Murder on the Orient Express” and the many movie versions it inspired. The Orient Express’ spirit – not to mention its name and some of its destinations and train cars – survives in the Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., whose chairman of the board, Jesse Lovejoy, lives with his wife, Pat, in Larchmont, often the starting point for their great escapes with their five children.
Perhaps more than any other saint, Francis lies at the intersection of myth and reality, our ideals and our shortcomings. In “Francis of Assisi: A New Biography” (Cornell University Press, $29.95, 299 pages), medievalist Thompson, nurtured in Hastings-on-Hudson, separates the historical wheat from the tabloid-y chaff.