It’s been several years since Seth Vaughan departed his post at PaperCity for a life of academia in New York City, at Columbia University and an internship at the Met. Vaughan was much loved for his jaunty bow ties and blazer, head of impish curls, acerbic wit, and outlandish historical references that peppered his conversation.
On a recent trip to New York, I texted our erudite former editorial assistant to meet for a cocktail and catch up. “Darling,” he responded, “I’m preparing for a presentation on English country houses for an architecture seminar tomorrow morning. Are you free tomorrow eve?”
I was. But Vaughan’s intellectual pursuits struck again — this time, a philosophy paper prevented our cocktail hour. “I’m really sorry,” he said. “But I am sure you appreciate that when dealing with Nietzsche and Marx, you have to take your time.”
Of course, I understood. From the moment I met Vaughan, I thought of him as the next generation’s Hamish Bowles — encyclopedic and well read, he has his way with words, and is the perfectly dandy life of any party.
Herewith, Seth Vaughan’s dispatch from Manhattan — where he’s going, gazing, and dining.
Where you can find me in NYC.
The Carlyle, for six reasons: memories of staying there on trips with family; the Marcel Vertes and Ludwig Bemelmans murals; its association with Bobby Short; the Renzo Mongiardino Tea Room; the traces of past design work of Dorothy Draper and Mark Hampton; and the smell of the bar soap. The terraces of the Whitney Museum of American Art on a sunny day because they are quiet and have great views. Jefferson Street Garden in the West Village because of the tulips in April, and EN Japanese Brasserie.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith.
Shaker furniture. RuPaul’s Drag Race. Roberto Baciocchi, the architect of Prada retail stores.
Toni Morrison and Hilton Als, who trust their voices and are brave enough to write in them.
Make my day.
James Perse long-sleeve T-shirts in white, because they are well made and perfect alone or beneath sweaters. Black coffee, because I am human. Smythson stationery, because I enjoy sending notes as much as receiving them.
Three faces of Seth.
Loïc Prigent, John Fairchild, and Bob Colacello — because each has a great sense of humor and is (or was) obsessed with history, culture, and characters in the fashion and art worlds.
Photos courtesy Seth Vaughan