Exotic America: 5 New World Adventures


Inside Ferrari's factory. Also, the great range cook-off: celebrity chefs test the tops. Plus, visionary eyewear, tailored titanium custom-made bikes and bold watches from Milan.

From This Issue

Home Tour: Empire Strikes Back

“Strength” is a word that comes up often in conversation with Manhattan interior designer Charles Allem. “I lean toward Empire as a style because of its great strength,” he says, referring to a 3,800-square-foot pied-à-terre that he recently completed on the 27th floor of the Pierre hotel in New York. The attribute fits. Between its […]

Home Entertainment: A Matter of Truss

The sky’s the limit for most homeowners building a media room. For Anthony von Elbe, a truss was nearly the limit in Manga Reva, his historic Spanish Mediterranean-style home in Fort Lauderdale’s exclusive riverfront neighborhood along Las Olas Boulevard. In 1933, when acclaimed architect Francis Abreu was engaged to design the house, there was no […]

Exotic America: Airborne Odyssey

In a few minutes a Czech-built L-39 Albatross, a jet fighter trainer with a bright red star on its tail and a cannon in its belly, will thunder down a Santa Fe airport runway and launch itself into the sky. But first, a few words from the pilot. “See that button?” says Larry Salganek, perching […]

Exotic America: Dive In

If the marine world is the least explored region of our planet, then underwater caves represent Earth’s final frontier—which begins to explain why I’m standing in the middle of a Mexican jungle gazing down at a pond the color of pea soup. The murky green water results from an algae bloom, a seasonal event occurring […]

From The Editors: Very Personal Trips

All unpleasant journeys are unpleasant in the same way; all pleasant ones are pleasant after their own fashion. Or so a clumsy paraphrase of Tolstoy might read if it were applied to the subject of travel, about which anyone who has ever planned an itinerary, packed a bag, or braved the torments of customs has […]

Furnishings: Contemporary Cloisonné acute

“I learned from looking back,” says Robert Kuo. He is speaking of his immediate ancestors, in particular his father, who began teaching him the delicate craft of cloisonné when he was 15. But he is also acknowledging the legacy left by craftsmen from centuries past, whose vision still inspires him. Kuo’s mission is to keep […]

Appliances: Clean Machines

If it seems too much of a stretch to consider the workhorse vacuum cleaner as an art object, a walk through the recent exhibition A Century of Design, Part IV: 1975–2000 at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art would have changed your mind. Amid the sleek art glass vessels and architectural coffeepots, the Dyson Dual […]

Art: Gilty Pleasures

Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s Manhattan townhouse was the epitome of grandeur and grace during the 1880s. The largest of several Vanderbilt family homes along Fifth Avenue, it was staffed with 37 liveried servants and its facade resembled a fairy-tale version of a French château. In the dining room, guests were dwarfed by a towering mahogany mantelpiece, […]

On The Range

This is a good time to be an ambitious home cook. Twenty years ago, a gas cooktop with four individual burners was about as good as it got. These days, however, gas ranges might feature as many as six burners. You can have a gas or an electric burner big enough to heat a 14-inch […]

Wine: A Word on the White King

Burgundy: the very syllables swell and contract with the sounds of distant violence and the somber chanting of monks from matins to vespers. Grandeur and violent change, after all, are the legacy of this strip of land at the heart of modern France. From the time of the Gallic Wars, when Julius Caesar divided the […]

Connoisseur At Large: Surviving the Game

“Oh, this looks like fun,” said the Connoisseur’s companion, looking up from her magazine. “Operation Fitness,” she recited, “a coed boot camp where drill sergeants whip the elite into shape.”   The Connoisseur was chary. These faux boot camps aimed at disciplining the smart set seemed more in the tradition of Kraft-Ebbing than Rockne and […]

Exotic America: Falling For Monterey

No credible evidence suggests that I suffer from suicidal tendencies. Nonetheless, here I am standing in the open doorway of an airplane, two miles above the Monterey Peninsula, preparing to hurl myself earthward. I am wearing a parachute—I’m not crazy—but the plan is to wait to deploy it until I’ve plummeted more than a mile […]

Exotic America: Links to the Past

I stood on the first tee and swished my club back and forth. Instead of the latest high-tech driver, with a few hundred cc’s of lightweight steel laced with high-density titanium shaped into some futuristic aerodynamic wing, I was wielding a “play club,” circa 1885. It had a genuine hickory shaft as thick as my […]

Sport: Tailors of Titanium

Behind the dusty windows of a tiny storefront, Allen Trepel and his son Keith hover over Paul Livornese like surgeons, eyeing him intently. They pull out a measuring tape and gauge the lengths of the 39-year-old’s inseam, torso, forearms, and calves. They calculate the angles of Livornese’s body—standing, seated, hunched over, leaning.   The Trepels […]

Wardrobe: It Started in Naples

In the 1930s, a middle-aged Italian tailor named Vincenzo Attolini made an indelible mark on the international men’s fashion scene. While working for the legendary tailor Gennaro Rubinacci, Attolini designed a completely revolutionary men’s suit jacket featuring a slimmer fit, higher armholes, and a boat-shaped breast pocket. The new coat was more comfortable than the […]

Style: On Specs

Craig Caplan did not want to cut down royal palm and rare black palm trees to embellish his limited edition eyewear, so he brokered a deal with the Waorani tribe, which controls 2 million acres of rain forest in Ecuador. The tribe agreed to supply Caplan’s company, Specs 2C,with only petrified or rare woods that […]

Watches: Cool Hands

During my annual pilgrimage to the Grimoldi store in Milan’s Piazza Duomo last fall, I noticed that its proprietors, brothers Roberto and Cesare Grimoldi, were wearing something, well, different. These retailers, who also happen to be watchmakers, have always displayed their preference for enormous watches—Panerais, Franck Mullers, and the like. But the watches on their […]

Lasting Impressions

During the dark days of the Depression in 1932, Coco Chanel set out to prove that luxury was not dead. At a time when gloom reigned over glamour, the gutsy fashion designer staged an extravagant showing of her first diamond jewelry collection. The lavish designs included a necklace with a diamond comet and shooting stars […]

Finance & Investment: Frontline Philanthropists

Mark Solomon and Paul Silberberg can smile about the day they lost a $750 million account. Silberberg, the president of CMS Companies, a private financial services company in Philadelphia, recalls the meeting two years ago that he and Solomon, the chairman and founder of CMS, had with the prospective client. The would-be client had just […]

Wheels: Prancing Horse Power

Just before the engine turns over, I like to close my eyes, blocking out any distractions so that I can fully absorb the sound and feel of the mechanical energy that follows. I’ve performed this ritual on the grids at the 24 Hours of Daytona and at Le Mans, but I also do it in […]

Motorcycles: Legend of Leather

“Is that a Langlitz?” In the bustling pavilion of New York’s Grand Central Terminal, an unlikely place for conversation between strangers about leather jackets, a stylish woman in Prada stops me midstride. Her husband wears a Langlitz, both on and off his Harley, she informs me, and she recognized the craftsmanship and distinctive fit. I […]

Autos: Hello, Old Friend

On Nov. 19, 1987, a month after the Black Monday stock market crash, a Christie’s auctioneer named Robert Brooks auctioned off a 1930 Bugatti Type 41 Royale for a world-record $10 million. Last year, Brooks was informed that the Japanese multinational corporation that bought the car in 1987 wanted to sell it—and hoped he would […]

Aircraft: Global Reach

Earlier this year, the pilot of a Houston company’s Gulfstream IV was waiting for his employer to leave an event at Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts so that he could fly him to New York. As the employer left the Kennedy Center, he announced that his plans had changed and that […]

Exotic America: Five-Star Campsite

I take off my shoes and socks and feel the soft wool of the Persian rug under my bare feet. Pulling back the down duvet, I slip into my queen-size Adirondack bed, then yank the cover back up around my neck to fend off the evening chill. A little more heat would be nice, so […]

Boating: Speed Demon

When you’re skimming across the water at 90 mph in the best of conditions, the line that separates you from mayhem is ultrafine. Add some 5-foot waves, and the line all but vanishes. I learned this firsthand recently while driving Drambuie On Ice, the 40-foot Skater speedboat that won the latest American Power Boat Association […]