Here’s a fun little game for your Thanksgiving travels will completely alienate all but like 30 of you. (I’m super good at social media engagement strategy.) Facebook has informed me that @tedgushue and I threw the above party thirteen years ago last night. Who do we recognize here and what are they up to now, and if it’s you, why don’t you chime in and share with the class?
A couple weeks back, I got a call out of the blue from one Joseph Pace Mawhinney asking if he could come stay with me in New York as he’d just gone through his second divorce and needed a getaway. We hadn’t been in very frequent contact over the last decade or so as life and kids and things got in the way and also we’re men, but from the age of ten through college, Pace and I were best friends. The awkwardness of adolescence, our first loves and subsequent heartbreaks, our parents’ respective divorces, the entirety of the high school experience, we went through all of it together. I obviously replied “of course” and asked him how long he had free. When he told me “nine days” I said “f@ck that, we’re going on an adventure.” So off to Amsterdam, Prague, and Budapest we went; where we immediately reverted to our middle school humor, listened to our favorite grunge rock, and sampled the local beers like we were back at a frat party. Never in our lives had we traveled abroad together before, and it was one of the best weeks I can remember. Moral of the story: if you have that old friend you haven’t seen in ages, and I bet all of you do, go hang out with them for a bit. Preferably in a spot full of history and great architecture where the women are gorgeous and the drinks are dirt cheap. You won’t regret it.
My grandmother Edith was the youngest of the four Salkay children, and the only one not to be born in Hungary. It may be time to start looking into whether that qualifies me for residency, because this is consistently one of my favorite cities in the world.
And with a key slipped under the mat, my Charleston chapter officially comes to a close. It provided a respite exactly when I needed it, a place to regroup when the pandemic caused my travel company to fold. I certainly picked up some more stories for the memoirs during my years here, I finally got to scratch the itch of opening a collector car dealership, I solidified some old friendships and made some new ones, and I fell deeply in love. But all along I missed my life in New York. I missed the people, the energy, the culture. They say you can never go home again, but I’m about to try. See you tomorrow Manhattan.
I hate to part with this one, but I’m moving back to Manhattan where garage prices are absurd and I’d rather have a nicer apartment.
This is my 2006 Aston Martin DB9 Volante. It was my 40th birthday present to myself after lusting after them since the day they were introduced. It has just over 32k miles on it and a three ring binder full of meticulous service records since day one that add up to more than $27,000 in maintenance. It is turnkey and ready to go, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive it cross country tomorrow. Along with being one of the most beautiful cars, hell, one of the most beautiful things ever made it’s got a 6 liter, naturally aspirated V12 that puts out 450 horsepower and makes a glorious sound above 4k rpm that can only be described as a machine having an orgasm.
It is an absolutely magnificent grand tourer that will get you wherever you’re going in speed, comfort, and style and will get you laid once you get there. It retailed for $176k in 2006 which translates to about $260k today, and you can now buy it from me for less than the price of a fully loaded Toyota Corolla.
If you hate the idea of being called James Bond by strangers this isn’t the car for you. If you don’t like having a stupid grin on your face every time you mash the go pedal, this isn’t the car for you. If you want the single best bang for your buck in hand crafted automotive sex appeal, you owe it to yourself to DM me. You won’t regret it.
Several years ago I received the single greatest compliment I’ve ever gotten in my life. I was at a lunch near Villefranche-sur-Mer, seated next to Sean MacPherson, the hotelier whose career I idolize and his wife Rachelle, whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for longer than either of us would like to admit. As a disciple of both NYC and Rock n’ Roll I have always mythologized the Hotel Chelsea, which was to be Sean’s next project. I asked him how he was going to design it. He said “The inspiration was one word- Louche. Actually, we had a conversation about things that encapsulated “louche” and your name came up.” The boost to my ego was immediate and immense. That I, the kid from Lakeland, Florida who never really knew where he fit in had managed to live a life that became even tangentially linked to such a legendary place remains all the reassurance I’ll ever need.
For as long as I can remember, I aspired to work in hedge funds or venture capital. I knew I was smart enough, but whenever I would apply, the answer way always no. I didn’t have the right “background”. So I took the jobs I could find, and I met people along the way, and I wrote, and I threw parties, because they were fun, and distracting, and introduced me to more people, and let me introduce them to each other, and that brought me joy. Still I’d try for those industries, and still they’d say no- I didn’t have the right “education”. So I went and got an MBA at the FT’s number one business school in the world, and they voted me valedictorian, and I applied again, and it was still no. I didn’t have the right “track record”. So I started a company, where I created amazing experiences in beautiful places that brought people together in meaningful ways. It was fulfilling, and I was great at it, but it still didn’t make me feel successful, not in the way I wanted my parents to see me become and could support a future family. Then a global pandemic closed the borders, and my business had to shut down. I was about to turn 40 and felt like I was back at square one. It was tough. So I tried again, and I reached out to some of the people I’d met along the way. One was someone who’d read my writing, who’d come to my parties. A brilliant person, with whom we’d formed a mutual admiration, and now she was the chief of staff for one of the most innovative hedge funds/venture capital firms in the industry. She told me they were looking for someone to curate unforgettable experiences and create a community around the people they were betting on to build the future of finance and technology. And maybe that person could be me. But as a trial, they needed me to throw them a party. So I went to Texas, and I planned a party like my life depended on it. Because in a lot of ways, it did. And it was one hell of a party. And last night, on a rooftop in Paris, I put on my first dinner in the official capacity of my new career as the Head of Community for Pantera Capital. It may have taken a few decades longer than I’d hoped, but it feels damn good. #DontGiveUp