Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

Lana Khalfin

John and Carolyn – Camelot Lost a Second Time


Cumberland Island, a 56.9 mile stretch of land just off the coast of Georgia was the stage for the wedding of America’s prince if there was such a thing. Despite everything we know about the Kennedy clan, the heartfelt centerpiece was the woman he married, Carolyn Bessette. Prior to becoming his Mrs.  Carolyn made a mark for herself as a publicist at Calvin Klein and her striking stature and beauty made her an enigma for the masses. This month, on September 21st marks, what would have been their twentieth wedding anniversary. They would have turned fifty and fifty-six respectively; Instead, their place of death is noted as the Atlantic Ocean and loss somehow feels just as vast as it did on that hot July day in 1999.

The countless number of books that have been written about them, since their death is astounding, but what has truly been touching is who the books were written by and of course the deeply poignant things they said. John’s assistant Rosemarie Terenzio in Fairytale Interrupted transformed the idea of what kind of a boss John was, and more so, the kind of friend he was to her. The need to be humble and kind, especially to those who needed it most was something John did tirelessly and without even realizing his gestures. During John’s time at the helm of George magazine, his friend, and creative director, Matt Berman describes in JFK, Jr., George & Me, the gentle nature of a man who was the people’s friend no matter their walk of life. Knowing this somehow diminishes their light, but only because of what could have been, but we will never know.

The most painful account came from a book by Carole Radziwill before she was ever in the spotlight as a cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City. Radziwill, a successful journalist at one time penned a memoir called What Remains, recounting her time as the wife of John’s cousin Anthony, an actual prince and as the faithful best friend of Carolyn and her husband John. They sound and look like a royal bunch, but at the core they were real people with actual problems, dealing with life’s ordinary issues inside an extraordinary existence.

What remains today are memories Carole tightly holds in her heart of Anthony, Carolyn, and John since tragedy doesn’t care how remarkable you are, royal or otherwise. After losing Carolyn and John in the most unforeseen plane crash of all time, three weeks later, Anthony, her husband of only five years passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. It’s clear when reading that Carole is speaking from her soul as she describes their collective friendship and the close bonds they shared for the time they had together.

In a period before the social circuit of Instagram and Twitter, our thirst for instantaneous sharing and connecting with friends and strangers alike, Carolyn didn’t fare well in the media. She quickly became the icy fixture on John’s charismatic arm, an unfortunate misconception if you believe in tabloid fodder. Reading about her through the eyes of her friends is uplifting and inspiring as she navigated being Mrs. Kennedy with as much poise as she could gather.

Today, as America blazes through the most unprecedented political landscape, I can’t help but wonder what could have been if they were still walking among us. It’s heartbreaking in its own right and brings up unanswered questions about the path and the chances of a very different aftermath come this November. Whatever the possibilities, let’s at least take the time to remember and raise a glass to the simple couple residing in a quaint loft in Tribeca, who almost had it all.

Top photo: Bigstock

Gilmore Girls – A Year in the Life


Summertime television programming has changed in the last few decades in ways I never expected. As I kid, I lived for the TV Guide to arrive, analyzing it like a textbook that required a report each week. I loved the articles and the back page crossword puzzle. Mostly, I loved seeing what shows were not airing as a repeat; ah, the life of a twelve-year-old. As I recently sipped on my ice tea, floating in the pool in this east coast heat, my friend’s thirteen-year-old said, “what should I binge watch next?” Keeping her age in mind, I couldn’t blurt out what I really wanted. I posed a question to her, “what did you just finish watching?” “Grey’s Anatomy,” she replied. I was please since I personally love the show. My answer was simple and well thought out, Gilmore Girls.

Gilmore2For anyone who missed it, well, it’s truly a lovely show. In a post 9/11 world, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore created a sweet coming of age tale experienced by both of these Gilmore Girls. Lauren Graham, more recently Parenthood fame, portrays Lorelai Gilmore, a thirty-two-year-old mom of a teenage daughter, living in a suburban town in Connecticut. She’s witty, quirky and freakishly loveable on screen. We judge her for the choices she already made and the ones she continues to live by. As Lorelai navigates the unconventional world of bringing up a daughter at such a young age, she gets a little help from her parents. As polar opposites go, her relationship with her mother could not be more different than the one she has with her own daughter. She feels deeply judged and less than loved by her mother, therefore treating her daughter more like a best friend than anything else. Emily and Richard Gilmore, portrayed by Kelly Bishop and Edward Hermann respectively are well to do socialites that vacation in Paris but only in the fall. I mean, what else is there to do at that time of year?

Gilmore3Lorelei was only 16 when she gave birth to her daughter, Rory, who is now that age. Rory, played by Alexis Bledel, is silly and smart at the same time, with a sharp tongue and a bright smile. She compliments everything that Lorelai is and isn’t. We watch her struggle with boundaries, entering adulthood and staying true to herself, with her mother being her true best friend. Rory and Lorelai apologize to one another more than any two people I have ever seen, but then again, it’s good to acknowledge fault whenever possible, I guess.

The breakout star in all this is Lorelai’s friend; the lovingly clumsy, Sookie St. James, portrayed by non-other than Melissa McCarthy. It’s wonderful too witness the much younger version of such a comedic genius. The cast hits a cloyingly sweet note and is definitely rated G, safe for all ages. Despite this show’s sugary nature, it still made us feel warm and fuzzy for a successful seven seasons.

Gilmore Girls can bow be streamed and binge watched on Netflix. I hope my friend’s daughter takes my advice and indulges in this lovable story. Netflix recently announced that fans receive another installment of this highly popular show. The cast has committed to another, albeit shorter season, streaming this November, post election day of course. The gang is back, nearly ten years later. In an act of sheer humility, Melissa McCarthy has also signed on to recreate her supporting role. Thanks, Melissa, for showing Hollywood how it’s done, despite your the level of popularity and fame! Hat’s off to you Sookie!!

Start watching past episodes now and by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you will all be ready for Gilmore Girls, circa 2016.

Photos courtesy of Netflix

A Trio of Great Eats in Brooklyn


Brooklyn served as my home for the first half of my life. The borough still boasts some of my favorite eateries that I can’t help but flock to whenever I’m in town. Here are just a few local places on the south side of Brooklyn that locals and visitors should have on their list.

With the warm weather making its way to the northeast, Brighton Beach is the place to go. Take a seat on the boardwalk at Tatiana Restaurant and Nightclub located at 3152 Brighton 6th Street. Do some people watching while enjoying the ocean breezes. Besides the water view, you can indulge in the tasty Russian cuisine. The menu reads in both English and Russian and the wait staff speaks enough English to explain and make suggestions. It can be a somewhat of a heavy fare for day or night, but the Russian culture is a truly indulgent one and the chef at Tatiana has adapted and created some dishes with a lighter touch. One of my favorites: the pan fried potatoes with shiitake mushrooms.

Don’t be fooled by Grotta Azzurra Pizza located in Bensonhurst, a beloved, yet ever- changing neighborhood. While the pizza lives up to its billing, other dishes, including the shrimp parmigiana, are terrific. I have been  visiting this family-owned bistro since I was twelve and the food and service has remained the same. I’m always greeted with a wink and a smile, almost like a sweet nod to years gone by. Grotta Azzurra is located at 8505 21st Avenue in Brooklyn, steps away from the D train. The Mr. Softie ice cream truck makes it’s rounds during the summer months, just in case you were craving a throwback to childhood.

The final stop on my best eats of Brooklyn tour is at Ginza Sushi, a small off the beaten path establishment that makes delectable specialty rolls and boasts amazingly fresh fish all day long. Ginza is well known for half price rolls, sushi and sashimi during all kinds of hours. Their spicy tuna roll is a nice treat, since they mince the fish and treat it just right to make the perfectly sized, mouthwatering roll. Don’t forget to throw in a steamed shumai appetizer, because it’s just that good. Ginza is located a bit south of the Midwood section of Brooklyn and caters to the locals in the area. Simply GPS 2809 Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn and allow yourself to become part of the local fiber. The owners of Ginza will definitely make you feel right at home.

Liquid Liner – The Eyes Have It


The world of cosmetics is vast and changes faster than a girl can open and close her finely coated peepers. And yet, once in a while, we gather our collective experiences to find that amazing products really do exist and last longer than the blink of an eye. Liquid liner has been my best friend on most days and a nemesis on others, as I’m always on a quest to find the best possible formula and applicator in one. Recently, my friend stumbled on one that she shared with me and I can’t help but want to share it with everyone else. In an effort to be fair, there are also two that are close second and third, in my humble opinion, and they might surprise you.

Seems that tattoo artist Kat Von D has developed her own line of cosmetics, albeit it’s a limited palette with a small selection of actual make up, but it sure does wear well. Her ‘Tattoo Liner’ in Trooper Satin Black is a stand out in so many ways. This liner has a waterproof formula that will stay on until you choose to take it off and when you do, it’s effortless. Any face wash or simple facial soap, takes it right off. The brush itself is soft and flexible enough to allow control while drawing just the right line. Besides having a formula that stays on, and brush that doesn’t fray with time, Kat’s products are never tested on animals and are free of any animal derived ingredients, making them vegan friendly. Tattoo liner can be found at Sephora and retails for $19.

In a sea of liquid liners, Revlon’s Colorstay in Blackest Black is a close second in my book. I’ve used it on and off over the course of the last fifteen years. This liner will not dry out if closed properly every time. It’s long lasting and has a sturdy enough brush, that when it does begin to fray, you can just go buy a new one. It’s price ranges from $5-$7 and can be purchased at drugstores, big box stores or online. It comes in several colors and black has always been the winner with me. It’s deemed ophthalmologist tested and can easily be worn with contact lens. Revlon, a brand that has been a staple for generations, remains steadfast with its formula and tip applicator. Create any look you like for day or night with an inexpensive tool that can be found just about anywhere on the globe!

The third liner in line for the crown is Maybelline’s Line Stiletto, also aptly named Blackest Black. It’s a precision based application and requires a steady hand, but once you master the art of cat eyes, this will be your go to. Sold almost everywhere just like Revlon’s Colorstay liquid liner, it retails in the neighborhood between $5-$8 and glides on swiftly. Washing it off may take a few extra minutes, as I find this one to be the blackest of them all. It’s long tip, sweeps across the lid to create a striking black line that makes any eye larger and more dramatic. On the con side, it tends to dry out after three to four weeks, depending on use, the tip applicator is less sturdy than the other liners. Line Stiletto is also ophthalmologist tested and can be used by those with sensitive eyes and is safe for all contact lens wearers.

Whatever type of liner you find yourself in the market for, these three make a great start. Be your own judge and find just the right amount of drama for your life, through cosmetics.

When a Lost Son Returns, The Family Is Torn Apart


Familial relationships always come with challenges. The bonds developed with family members are undeniably complicated and no where is this subject better explored than in the new ABC physiological drama, The Family. When eight year-old Adam Warren goes missing from a park filled with locals, the remaining family members – a mom, dad, and two older siblings – are thrown into a new normal filled with grief, doubt, and uncertainty as police question their recollections, motives and whereabouts.

In the very first hour (the show premiered on March 6), the missing Adam (Liam James) miraculously reappears and lands back home with his family ten years after being declared dead. The acceptance is swift and suspicion only creeps in when Danny (Zach Gilford), the oldest Warren child and a raging alcoholic, questions Adam’s true identity. The family matriarch Claire (Joan Allen), now deeply entrenched in politics as the mayor of a fictional town in Maine, refuses to allow anyone in her family to bring Adam’s identity into question. In a momentary Keyser Söze twist, Danny discovers that only through the prominent display of photographs on the family mantle is Adam able to demonstrate knowledge of his past with the Warrens. The episode fades in and out from ten years ago to present time reflecting each family member’s memory of the past and feelings about Adam’s return. Which character’s recollections are to be believed? Before we can decide, another dramatic event adds further intrigue.

Hank (Andrew McCarthy), a neighbor who once lived across the street was tried and convicted for Adam’s murder and was given a life sentence. Adam’s homecoming brings this would be killer back to the house where his ordeal began. Frame by frame, details unfold of how each family member contributed to the events that led to the outcome that became the Warren family truth; the alleged death of the youngest Warren. Questionable parenting, sibling carelessness, youthful naiveté are all factors leading us down the crooked path of discovering different versions of reality. In a calculated move, Claire quickly announces her candidacy for Governor, to the surprise of her family and the heavy hearts of Maine constituents still reeling from Adam’s return. Meanwhile Claire’s husband, Adam’s father, John (Rupert Graves) is having an affair with Police Sgt. Nina Meyer (Margot Bingham), who was instrumental in putting Hank behind bars. How will this fractured family deal with further scrutiny as Claire fights not only for a new political office but to mend the broken bonds within her home?

The series boasts an impressive cast. Allen is fresh off her lauded performance opposite Oscar-winner Brie Larson in Room, while Graves is known for his role as DI Lestrade in BBC’s Sherlock. Alison Pill, who plays Adam’s religious-obsessed sister, Willa, most recently starred in HBO’s The Newsroom. And Andrew McCarthy has a long list of credits to his resume, making him instantly recognizable to his fans.

The series got off too a slow start, playing opposite presidential debates. ABC hopes that viewers will now tune in and get caught up as Adam’s story slowly unfolds. How did he disappear and how has he spent the last ten years? And is he truly Adam Warren or a doppelgänger who has taken his place? If he’s an imposter, then who is taunting the Warrens and why?

The Family can be seen at 9 p.m. Sundays on ABC.