Dining By Design in New York

Last week for work, I was able to spend a few days in my former city, Manhattan.

Most of the time I was busy staffing Walt Disney Signature's dining installation at an architectural design show called DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS). Only 30 or so designers, brands and design schools participate and construct some really imaginative displays or "tablescapes." Film maker John Waters famously dubbed the annual fund-raiser the "Cannes of Tabletop." Clever.

Yes, I'm totally biased, but I thought Disney's display blew a lot of the others out of the water with it's fun and colorful presentation. Partnering with a famous Italian designer, their booth consisted of Cappellini's iconic chair designs with a Disney twist. Also, on top of the table-top sat a 3-dimensional Cappellini chair with a sculpting of Mickey Mouse made of polyurethane, measuring 10 feet tall from head to toe and weighing 86 lbs.

I also liked this pretty and glittery purple table top by Eric Warner for Aesthete. Not because it was particularly innovative, but I could see this working at an upscale wedding with a purple glam theme.

Benjamin Moore meanwhile created an iPhone candelabra as part of their tabletop in order to promote their new iPhone application, which I thought was a clever tie in and use of technology.

I was annoyed that two of the displays used Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany's as their inspiration. I thought it was a cop out. Audrey has been a fashion icon for years and is overused as Marilyn Monroe. I would have been more impressed if they drew from Katharine Hepburn or found inspiration in a legend that's not typically associated with fashion and design.

Anyway, when not working I did get to try a bunch of good NY eats like the Stage Deli for a meaty corn beef sandwich, Craft, as well as visited the gorgeously girly Sweetie Pie Restaurant, and the all Mac and Cheese restaurant S'MAC.

Also, I finally visited the Belvedere Castle in Central Park after many failed attempts in the past.

It was definitely fun and sad being a tourist in my old city.


  1. I've never been to the Stage Deli - is it better than Carnegie Deli a few blocks away? Pics of event look great - good to see Disney partaking in a wonderful cause.

  2. Gwen, it's just as good and usually not as crowded, which is why I go there.