Even though it’s Christmas Eve, there’s no need to get all Trinitarian on you.
Nevertheless, I’ve found the third member of my Holy Trinity of writers at The New York Times, my principal source of news and of seemingly never-ending writers delight. Before I confess my crush on essayist-critic Ginia Bellafante, let me tell you about the other two.
A part of me wants to be Bill Cunningham when I grow up. I mean, wouldn’t you like to spend your days riding around Manhattan on your bicycle or attending swanky parties, taking pictures of the beautiful people and writing all of it up once a week or so? Then again, I’ve seen the bio-mentary of Mr. Cunningham. Which is when another part of me kicks in…the part that isn’t fond of the idea of spending most of my adult life alone, riding my bicycle around Manhattan taking picture of the beautiful people.
While it’s a close call, Gail Collins gets the nod over Maureen Dowd. Both write like dreams, can snark with the best of them, and lean way far to the left. Ms. Collins, however, hails from just up the river from me, in Cincinnati, and got her start as a reporter in Northern Kentucky. Maybe she represents the hope that I might actually amount to something…someday.
I could (and do) read Frank Rich, Frank Bruni, Thomas Friedman, Nicholas Kristol, Roger Cohen, Matt Bai and other NYT writers just about every day. Yet, there’s just something about Ginia Bellafante that I simply adore. Maybe it’s her beat — New York City — which showed up about three months ago in a column entitled Big City. In it and elsewhere, Ms. Bellafante shows that she has the perfect eye and ear for a Gotham where Gatsby meets Bonfire.
Maybe it’s her pen. Which often reminds me of Hunter Thompson’s weird and wild rantings…without the Bourbon and mushrooms. To wit, a paragraph from her Dec. 16, 2011, piece about the wedding of Jacqueline Schmidt and David Friedlander, a pair of mid-30s New Yorkers who wanted their union to be “about the world of creativity and social purpose that they inhabit.” The venue was the PowerHouse Arena, “a loft-like store for arty bibliophiles” in the city’s Dumbo district.
Ms. Schmidt, who once served as the creative director of Moomah, the children’s cafe in Tribeca that caters to parents in denial about some of the distasteful aesthetics of child-rearing, made the cards in her favored style of heavy stock, neutral paper and quaint typefaces. Through her company, Screech Owl Design, Ms. Schmidt makes beautiful, twee paper products that would seem to demand an existence inside a Miranda July snow globe. Synergistically, PowerHouse is among the many places where Ms. Schmidt’s work is sold.
See what it mean?