DEBATE | Baldwin and Buckley, 1965

Waiting for Mrs. F. to get home last night, I had a drink and watched Martin Scorsese’s “Public Speaking,” a documentary on noted New York wit Fran Lebowitz.

Another Morris County native, Lebowitz shares her introduction to the American intellectual conversation with Scorcese — speeches by the author James Baldwin. Scorsese then cuts to the seminal 1965 debate between Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. at Cambridge.

Baldwin and Buckley undertake the question, “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?”

Baldwin’s answer to the question, which he described as hideously loaded, is one of the great speeches of the civil rights era. And Buckley, of course, is Buckley in all his erudite glory.

It is, naturally, a remarkable debate. Baldwin and Buckley are simply joys to listen to. It’s also a bit sad, as such a debate would probably not be possible in today’s America.

Here’s a clip of Baldwin’s performance:

The library at Berkeley has digitized the entire debate.

ARCHITECTURE | Exploring Don Hisaka

Hikasa_leadThe Owen D. Young Library at St. Lawrence University. The main wing, designed by Don Hisaka, was completed in 1980.

More than 30 years after it opened, the Owen D. Young Library at St. Lawrence University continues to be a polarizing building. Set amid a campus that developed in two bursts — the first between 1856 and 1915 and the second between 1925 and 1930 — the international-style, cement behemoth seems incongruous to many. Indeed, its brutalist exterior is a stark contrast to its gothic and neocolonial neighbors.

Once inside, though, one can realize that architect Don Hisaka wanted the library to complement its neighbors. Windows on the second floor frame terrific views of Richardson Hall, Gunnison Chapel and other older campus buildings. Hisaka also intended the building to stimulate — its original furnishings included a spectrum of primary colors. In the 1999-2000 renovation, those were replaced with more muted and earthy tones. Among the library’s other features are a massive indoor garden and raised study carrels known as treehouses.

While ODY can be interpreted to be severe and uninviting, Hisaka’s houses are charming. Based in Cleveland in the 1960s and 1970s and later in Massachusetts and California, Hisaka’s work pays heavy tribute to the international style. Again, though, I find his domestic work very approachable. Check out this house, built as a summer residence in Peninsula, Ohio, in 1965:

Hisaka-Gund-Ext-Trees

And this is the courtyard of Hisaka’s Shaker Heights home, built in the late 1960s:
Hisaka-Hisaka-Courtyard

More Hisaka here.

HOUSES | An Alpine-style 1960s beauty in Mount Kisco

67grandview67 Grandview Drive in Mount Kisco, our new home.

We’ve taken plunge. My long silence here can be attributed to our recent purchase of a home in Mount Kisco. Mrs. F and I have been completely consumed by the improvements we’re making at 67 Grandview Drive.

The house, built in 1963, is an Alpine-style raised ranch. To be honest, it’s not what I thought we’d end up with. I had visions of us in the classic Westchester starter: a pre-1930, three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath that was either colonial revival or Tudor in style. Mrs. F. is owed the credit for finding this house and having the vision to see it through. What she saw immediately and I see now was a very interesting interpretation of our style: There are houses quite a bit like this in our beloved Lake Placid and we love the 1960s. So there you have it.

Though the place was an aesthetic mess on the inside — the exterior isn’t perfect either; stucco was carried across three sides of the first level but not on the facade — it had, as the cliche goes, good bones. The kitchen cabinets were solid, the floors were fine and the utilities were in good order. The lot is adequate and provides an ample back yard space. The best features, we think, are the collection of evergreens that screen the house from neighbors and provide an Adirondack illusion.

Since taking possession on March 9, we’ve set about correcting the interior deficiencies. Electrical service has been upgraded. Painting and floor restoration are under way. We cleaned up the Scheirich kitchen cabinets and are in the decide-and-purchase phases of ordering new countertops and new appliances. The bathrooms, one sky blue and one mauve, will wait, as will replacements for the aluminum-frame windows.

You can follow our progress at a special Tumblr blog I’ve created to track our improvements.

And here’s a Flickr set with more photos than you’ll ever need to see.

STYLE | Chipp, Fall 1965

ChippFall1965A selection of outerwear from Chipp’s Fall 1965 catalog.

Just before the holidays, I snatched up a copy of Chipp’s 1965 fall catalog.

The venerable tailor, which survives today as Chipp 2/Winston Tailors, occupied a building between Madison and Fifth on 44th Street in 1965. As you can see below, the space had been renovated that year and departments had been expanded. Sidney Winston founded Chipp in 1947 after starting his career with J. Press. His son, Paul, joined the firm in 1961 and carries on today. Paul was the subject of a charming Times story in May 2008 and gave an excellent interview to Ivy Style in April 2009. You’ll also want to give this 1980s catalog, available over at Prepidemic Magazine, a gander.

At its peak, Chipp employed 30 tailors and a sales staff of 10. The Kennedys were among its customers. Today, as Paul noted in a blog post earlier this month, Chipp 2/Winston Tailors is in search of a new home as its midtown lease was not renewed.

But back to 1965.

Naturally, these pages prompt a good deal of nostalgia — not simply for much better prices ($18 for tassel loafers!) but also for elements of style that have faded away. The hat, which most believe died with the advent of the Kennedy administration, appears alive in the Chipp world of 1965. There’s lots to chew on here, so I hope you enjoy. These pages display fairly well in the gallery, but if you’d like to dowload full-sized versions, visit the Flickr set I’ve created.

COCKTAILS | Drop into the Stork Club

StorkClubCocktailThe Stork Club cocktail, a liquid relic of Old New York.

Stork Club barA couple of evenings ago, deterred from going out to dinner by the arctic cold, we turned to Dale DeGroff. No, we didn’t ring him up; we opened up his “Essential Cocktail.” From the extensive menu, we selected the Stork Club cocktail, a relic of one of New York’s greatest old night clubs.

The Stork, opened in 1929 by Sherman Billingsley, was among the most exclusive night spots in Old New York. A seat in the club’s storied Cub Room signaled your arrival. Among the cocktails sipped at the Stork Club, was its siganture, a gin, Cointreau and citrus and Angostura. It was one of countless cocktails mixed every night at the bar, left.

We were pleased — particularly because DeGroff’s recipe called for a flamed orange peel, which is accomplished by lightly seering a small peel of orange.

Billingsley’s daughter, Shermane, maintains a charming online archive of the place, which includes an adequate history, radio and TV clips and other electronic ephemera that document the famous 53rd Street haunt. Here’s a particularly entertaining video from the dawn of television:

Here’s the recipe for the cocktail:

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 ounces gin
• 3/4 ounce Cointreau
• 1 ounce orange juice
• 1/2 ounce lime juice
• Dashes Angostura
• Flamed orange peel

Directions
Combine your gin, Cointreau, orange juice, lime juice, Angostura in a shaker over ice. Shake over ice and serve up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange peel.

GALLERY | 50 years after: The Kennedy inauguration

President John F. Kennedy delivers his inaugural address.

President John F. Kennedy delivers his inaugural address.

Fifty years ago today, John F. Kennedy, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts who won the White House by the smallest popular-vote margin in history, was inaugurated as the 35th president of the United States.

The event, which included a reading from memory of “The Gift Outright” by Robert Frost and a delivery of the Star-Spangled Banner by Marian Anderson, is perhaps the best-remembered inauguration in American history. Kennedy’s 14-minute speech, in which he charged Americans to answer their nation’s call to service, sits near the top of a list of spectacular American orations. Kennedy said:

… Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty. …

As Todd S. Purdum writes in Vanity Fair this month, the day sent a “tidal wave of glamour, promise, and high spirits” across Washington and the nation. No inauguration, before or since, could be argued to be as glamorous or filled with optimism as Kennedy’s.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has assembled a terrific website that gathers together materials related to the dawn of the Thousand Days. And, to boot, they’ve digitized the bulk of their Kennedy Administration archive.

Here’s a collection of LIFE photos from the inauguration:

LIVES | Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., 1915-2011

ShriverRober Sargent Shriver Jr. in the mid-1960s.

Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., a giant of the New Frontier and the driving force behind the creation of the Peace Corps, has died. He was 95.

Born in Westminster, Md. on Nov. 9, 1915, Shriver was a scion of one of that state’s oldest families. His ancestor, David Schriver, signed Maryland’s constitution in 1776. Educated at Canterbury School in New Milford, Conn., Shriver was graduated from Yale in 1938. While in New Haven, he was chairman of the Yale Daily News, a member of Delta Epsilon Kappa and of Scroll and Key. He went on to earn a law degree from Yale in 1941.

During World War II, Shriver served in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant. Returning to civilian life, he became an editor at Newsweek. He met his future wife, Eunice Kennedy, in 1946 and was subsequently hired by her father, Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, to help manage Merchandise Mart in Chicago.

Shriver and Kennedy married in 1953 in a service performed by Cardinal Francis Spelman at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The Shrivers called Chicago home and Mr. Shriver dove into Democratic politics, so much so that he was considered as a candidate for Illinois governor in 1960. Those plans were dashed by the presidential candidacy of his brother-in-law, John F. Kennedy. Shriver joined the campaign and, after the election, set about designing and then administering the Peace Corps, created by an executive order in March 1961.

Shriver led the Peace Corps into the Johnson administration and went on to design President Johnson’s War on Poverty. He later served as Ambassador to France from 1968 to 1970 and was the running mate for the doomed presidential candidate George McGovern in 1972. His own presidential run in 1976 lasted only months.

In retirement from political life, Shriver was active as an attorney and as chairman of the Special Olympics. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2003. His wife, Eunice, predeceased him in 2009.

Here’s the Times obituary.

And here’s a gallery of images taken between 1961 and about 1966 from the LIFE archive:

CLIP | Sargent Shriver, 1961

CLIP | Bill Evans, ‘My Foolish Heart,’ 1960s

CLIP | ‘Zulu,’ 1964

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