I have often wished I could write like Jay McInerney.
Along with Bret Easton Ellis, McInerney is the author who most epitomized the go-go 1980s in New York City, with its non-stop parties and jet-setting celebrities. In my teens, I read “Bright Lights, Big City,” which made McInerney a literary star and made a fan out of me. Since then, he has continued to produce novels, and the latest — his eighth — landed positive reviews from the Times and others.
Reporter Isabel Schwab was lucky enough to get a glimpse of his seemingly charmed life for a profile in this issue, which starts on page 28.
There are many kinds of authors, and McInerney is clearly not the kind who finds himself writing in a cabin in the Carpathians with no running water or electricity, hiding out from some repressive political regime while he completes his magnum opus. He also isn’t the kind of outside-artist-hoping-to-make-it who lives in a basement rental in Queens, sitting down to write after getting home from his day job as a laborer, typing out his novel late into the night.
No, as our profile details, McInerney is the kind of writer who is married to a member of the Hearst clan, who pens a column about wine for a glossy shelter magazine, who is fawned over by maître d’s when he shows up to top restaurants in New York without a reservation, and who checks into a hotel when the air-conditioning in his penthouse in Greenwich Village is on the fritz.
Given that every reporter and editor secretly (or not so secretly) wants to be a novelist one day, what’s not to idolize? He may have had to fight a hard-partying reputation, which didn’t exactly score him points with literary critics, but the man seems to know how to live.
Meanwhile, no less fascinating is our other profile subject in this issue, Tim Gunn.
In our story by Christopher Cameron starting on page 12, the dapper “Project Runway” star talks about the success of the show, gets in a few digs at athleisure wear and celebrity designers, and weighs in on young people today (and their motivation, or lack thereof).
But what’s most interesting about Gunn is his upbringing as a closeted gay man raised by a father who worked closely alongside FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover — and whom Gunn believes was himself closeted. Gunn’s trips to FBI headquarters when he was a kid and what the culture was like there make for fascinating reading, and it’s all the more impressive to see where Gunn, the former head of the department of Fashion Design at Parsons, has ended up today.
The conversation with Gunn invariably, like all conversations lately, turned to Trump. Gunn likened these months before the election to the last days of the Roman Republic, when democracy ended and Augustus declared himself emperor. And a Trump presidency is the one thing that McInerney says would make him leave his beloved city. Pretty dramatic (and somewhat reasonable, in my opinion).
With Fashion Week in town, we’re in a fashion state of mind, too. We have stories on the best accessories for navigating Fashion Week (see page 106); a conversation with Ron Wendt, the party planner extraordinaire fashion houses turn to for their fêtes (see page 64); and a valuable roundup of the top tailors in town — few of these under-the-radar men and women of the cloth promote themselves, let alone have an email address (see page 24).
Meanwhile, as the season changes, our thoughts turn to fall. We’re staying a little closer to home and enjoying one of New York’s natural wonders— Central Park that is. On page 58, we’ve got a story on the folks who’ll pack a luxurious picnic with everything you need (think blankets and pillows!). And we go on a ramble with park-loving actress Lois Robbins, who shows us her favorite spots (see page 56).
With the kids back to school this month, we’ve also got the posh gear your college student needs to make his or her dorm room the coolest (see page 10). And in this issue, LLNYC goes to L.A. for the first time, discussing what makes the market out there different and rounding up the most expensive properties in La La Land. Sometimes, looking at Los Angeles homes makes you second-guess living in New York — maybe just a little.
Finally, don’t miss our expanded party section (see page 34) and “LLNYC’s look at listings,” which offers reviews of the priciest homes for sale in our own backyard (see page 84). Some of them are not too shabby, and if you like gold leaf, check out the $40 million penthouse in a Trump property (see page 102).
Enjoy the issue.