Welcome to our “Fascinating Avocations” issue, in which the line between what we do to live and what we love to do is often imperceptible. To be sure there are people whose professions and hobbies have clear boundaries. Intellectual property lawyer Ed Klaris, “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller, developer Leonard Steinberg and fashion executive Thom Caughlin are among those who find that their homes in Waccabuc’s enchanting Whatmore’s Lake area offer a refreshing, outdoorsy yin to the competitive yang of their Manhattan careers.
For others, the seeds of their avocations were planted by their vocations. Seller’s partner, photographer Josh Lehrer — who actually began his professional life as a “Showtime” executive on photo shoots — has become such a steward of their northern Westchester property that it has fired him to become an environmental activist and capture environmental subjects through his lens. Wendy Shalen became a master of various genres to teach art. Now she’s a full-time artist who also teaches on weekends and draws inspiration from her Whatmore’s Lake home.
They’re some of the members of the Whatmore’s Lake Association — see Phil’s introductory story — who’ve given WAG an exclusive view into this private community, and we thank them for their graciousness.
They are by no means, however, the only ones who find their day jobs feeding their other passions. Yale Paprin, president of Yale Realty Services Corp. in West Harrison — who told us that real estate investors and developers are naturals for art collecting — invited us into his home for an entertaining tour of his Modern and contemporary art collection. WCBS-TV anchor Mary Calvi told Jeremy that it was the reporter in her — as well as her role as first lady of Yonkers — that led her to write “Dear George, Dear Mary,” about the ill-fated romance between George Washington and local Tory heiress Mary Philipse.
She’s not our only budding authoress. Real estate diva Sally Siano dishes in her juicy memoir “It’s a Great Life!,” which we will be serializing online come January.
Sometimes, one person’s vocation can help restore another’s avocation, as in guest Wagger Cindy Catterson’s story about orthopedist Frank Ennis getting skittish knee patient Ken Harris back into triathlon shape; or change the lives of untold others, as in Mary’s poignant story of Wilton High School senior Navod Jayawardhane’s electronic Food Pantry Box at the Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown Heights.
Elsewhere, we have good old-fashioned hobby-hobbies. Our philatelic Phil, an avid stamp collector as a child, wonders where this pastime has gone in the digital age and finds to his relief that it’s not, ahem, licked yet. Mary weighs in with Elise Goldschlag’s Flying Fingers Yarn Shop in Tarrytown, helping to revive a once popular pursuit that’s trending among men as well as women. (Tennis star Novak Djokovic posted photographs of himself learning the craft during a French Open rain delay.)
Speaking of tennis, it’s a favorite avocation of Philippe de Montebello, who’ll receive the Katonah Museum of Art’s Himmel Award this month. The co-host, with Paula Zahn, of Thirteen-WNET’s NYC-ARTS and former director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art — which celebrates the big 150 next year (see related story) — also enjoys concerts and a good summer jigsaw puzzle. Where he finds the time, however, with all his other artistic pursuits is anyone’s guess.
But that’s the thing about avocations: One alone will never do and, when it does, it’s a grand passion to which you dedicate your life, usually in the hope that it will lead to its next chapter.
A 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of the new “Burying the Dead” and “The Penalty for Holding,” a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (both JMS Books) 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. On Nov. 30, JMS Books publishes her revised and expanded “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” and, in January, her novel “Seamless Sky.”