Category Archives: 19th Century

North Park Slope

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The oft’ snickered about move from the isle of Manhattan, to the largest borough of NYC, is usually “caused” by the ticking of one’s biological clock. Babies mean Brooklyn, and in one particular area, it means stroller wars, marsupial moms and single-drip coffee cafes. “The Slope” is the antidote to many Manhattanites’ who are sick of squeezing into too-small rental apartments. The North Slope, which takes its name from its location on the western slope of the park, is filled with charming brownstones and historic architecture.   Let’s explore a hidden gem on Sterling Place in The Vermeil, a mortar and brick building attached to a pre-existing brownstone, steps away from Maggie Gyllenhaal’s townhouse:

North Park Slope

North Park Slope

The area is nestled adjacent to Prospect Park and the neighborhood is relatively affordable: case in point a swanky cocktail which runs me $16 in the city, is $10 on Flatbush Avenue. Known for its preponderance of families, serious couples, aging hippies, LGBTQ  hotspots, writers and other humanities driven types, the streets have a communal vibe. The location was even named one of the “Greatest Neighborhoods in America” by the American Planning Association in 2007, “for its architectural and historical features and its diverse mix of residents and businesses, all of which are supported and preserved by its active and involved citizenry.”

North Park Slope North Park Slope


The natural light coming in from the large windows lends itself to shadow play. A sun drenched living room is perfect for lazy afternoon reading.


North Park Slope

The details of an angled globe, chinoiserie chair, moroccan tuft, midcentury credenza, B & W Photo and paper lantern give the space a simple, east-meets-west vibe.

133 Sterling Place


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Ken & Dana Designs

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In the middle of Chelsea, bordering Hell’s Kitchen, rests a hidden loft space only accessible via an elevator to the fifth floor. Tucked quietly in this NYC nook rests a studio full of love stories, and unique engagement and wedding rings. The team’s eclectic creations have been worn by such luminaries as Beyonce, Rashida Jones, Debra Messing, Keri Hilson, and Rachel Ray. Ken, the jewelry designer with a long history of familial gemstone expertise, and Patty, the love of his live, married on the beach in Cape May, NJ.  Together their love inspires bridal jewelry, imbued with meaning and authenticity.

Ken & Dana Designs  Ken & Dana Designs

Vintage Edwardian details meet ultra modern ecogold pieces. The space where the rings are crafted is just as important as the jewelry itself. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

VKen & Dana Designs Ram's Head NecklacesDSC_0508 Ken & Dana Designs

Ken is a quiet and reserved artist, who originally started his career on Wall Street. Inspired by  his genealogical roots, China’s rich cultural history, its landscapes and the energy in its pulse, he established a jewelry business piggybacking on what he learned from his fathers 1973 company. Patty is the loquacious consultant who can automatically read your “ring personality” and hates finger “muffin top”.

Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs

An old letterpress table, wherein typesets and lead symbols were kept, now becomes functional wall art, keeping trinkets on display. Ken & Dana Designs

Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs As Seen on Daily Candy.Ken & Dana Designs

The boutique’s design shop is 1/3 workroom, 1/3 showroom & 1/3 party space. All the gold and diamonds are no conflict and a portion of every engagement ring sold is donated to Global Witness, an organization dedicated to ending natural resource-related conflict and corruption and associated environmental and human rights abuses. The more one looks around the shop, the more one sees turn of the century details. Can you spot any?

   Ken & Dana Designs

Ken & Dana Designs

 Ken & Dana Designs

Ken & Dana Designs

The mannequin wears nothing more than Ken & Dana Designs and is still the chic-est in the room.

Ken & Dana Designs

Baubles and baubles.

Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs

The sculptural lines of the wire chair pair seamlessly with those of the earrings and necklaces displayed closely. It’s easy to see with a designer’s eye how something as simple as a damask fabric can inspire a gemstone choice, how a black-spined book with gilded typography can mirror a necklace’s palette.

 Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs

For such exquisite pieces, the attitude in the space is refreshingly light and carefree. The pricing is affordable. The team does not take themselves too seriously, and truly tries to understand the aesthetic of each client. As the company says, “We make engagement rings and wedding bands that are inspired by sculpture, architecture, organic shapes, and most of all, the personal stories we hear from our clients every day. We recognize that no two relationships are the same, and only by engaging you throughout the creation process are we able to craft a truly unique product that you can call your own.”

Can’t visit in person? Shop online today! The experience is just as rewarding.

Keren / The Walkup

All Aboard!

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More magical than station 9 3/4’s, luxury trains are vehicles designed specifically to offer sumptuous, opulent and elegant train rides. The idea of train travel was novel in the 19th century; trains had only been used as a means of transporting goods, such as coal. Without sleeping and dining cars, long distance traveling used to be a distressing and tiring experience. However, in 1867, “Hotel Cars” were introduced. Pioneer was the first railway carriage to introduce dining cars and sleeping cars in train leading to more comfort during travelling especially a long distance journey.

Vogue UK December 2005, Model: Rie Rasmussen, Photographer: Norbert Schroeder, Stylist: Charlotte Stockdale via Capture the Castle.
The Orient Express was the first luxury train in Europe. It embarked on its maiden journey on June 5, 1883 from Paris Gare de l’Est across Europe. Today the Orient Express not only provides luxury train travel across Europe but several destinations around the globe. Today’s Orient Express is a formal, black tie, white gloved affair. Although, passengers must wash up in basins and shared bathrooms….what was once the height of luxury now seems…less than.

Observation room of the Abraham Lincoln Pullman car Photograph owned and provided by Curtis Andrews.

The Classic and Edwardian trains travel with four beautiful pre-1940 dining cars on Rovos Rail in South Africa, via.

Part steampunk finery, part 19th century pedestrian yet, filled with the spoils of Victorian and Edwardian aristocracy. Louis Vuitton’s recent Fall 2012 show and ad campaign hearkens back to the heyday of train travel. Trains changed the way societies view their countries, traveling swiftly past sweeping landscapes, trains also allowed the idea of a “country home” or a vacation home to become a reality. Prior to trains, most societies had never meanders further than 100 miles from one’s home-base.  Through the 1800’s, tributaries of train tracks, like veins began to overtake Europe, lessening the divide between major cities. By 1845, 2441 miles of railway were open and 30 million passengers were being carried. The railways, offering as they did new opportunities for travel and commerce, and breaking down social barriers in the process, were immediately popular.

Ad photography for the Louis Vuitton Fall 2012 Ad Campaign by Steven Meisel via The Empress of Dress. Who doesn’t immediately think of haute couture, vintage travel when ones sees an LV trunk?


Eva Marie looks dapper in this editorial clearly inspired by Hitchcock’s suspenseful classic “North By Northwest”.  Photographed by Gabor Jurina and styled by Susie Sheffman for Fashion magazine Oct 2010. Via.

THE QUEEN OF SCOTS PULLMAN leaves GLASGOW (Queen Street) at 10:05am and EDINBURGH (Waverley) at 11:15am weekdays for KING’S CROSS, LONDON. Through connexion for the Continent via Victoria. Ad found here.

London Transport Museum has rescued a limited number of original 1960s luggage racks from decommissioned Metropolitan Line trains, found here.

Have you ever wanted to live inside the retro-futuristic world of a Jules Verne novel? Do you prefer submarine portholes to skyline views? Then say hello to your dream home, only for a cool $1.75 million, here. 

1950 ad for the Union Pacific railroad

Tracks made of stone and iron carried wagons from mines and quarries under horse power. The invention of the steam engine changed things dramatically. The Age of Steam, as it is dubbed! During the reign of Queen Victoria Britain emerged as the most powerful trading nation in the world, provoking a social and economic revolution whose effects are still being felt today. Since the latter part of the eighteenth century the process of industrialisation had built a firm foundation for nineteenth century growth and expansion. At the heart of this was the successful development and application of steam technology.

Between 1809 and 1839 exports grew from £25.4 to £76 million, almost a decade later the data was at £124.5 million, with the major export markets being Europe, India and Asia and, increasingly, the United States. Trains made the rich richer and created a middle class throughout Europe. Travel reading, in the form of popular serial publications, and mystery novels, also increased.

Orient Express editorial, photography by Benoit Perevelli for Madame Figaro.

Maharajas’ Express: A Luxury Train in India, via.

Photographed by Arthur Elgort for Vogue UK in August of 2009, model Anja Rubik. 

Railroad lamp with changeable lens, red or white. Hand held light signal of the SNCF, Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (French National Railways). The red knob turns for positioning of the red filter, the on/off button is on the top. From the 1950s or 1960s found on ETSY. 

March 30th 1868 The Pullman Palace Car Company introduced the first railroad dining car.

What is your preferred method of transport; locomotive, planes, automobiles, hot air balloon, scooter?

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