from the archives

Revisiting Some of the Most Memorable Homes I Ever Scouted

May I Come In? by Wendy Goodman. Photo: Hannah Whitaker for New York Magazine

In May I Come In? (Abrams, September 25), Wendy Goodman, who first worked for New York in 1984 and has been producing design stories here since 1997, recounts an unusual life. An uncanny percentage of her friends are hugely talented and/or just fabulous, and the book tells her professional story as a tour through three worlds: her own life, those amazing interiors, and the great era of print magazines. Here, we’ve excerpted five of her most memorable New York recollections.

1. Andrew Solomon

Photo: Hannah Whitaker for New York Magazine

When the writer Andrew Solomon bought his townhouse on West 10th Street, it was a gloomy beauty, with cracked walls and peeling paint. I went to see it before the designer Robert Couturier started to transform it, and today, the main salon and library are perfect for the parties that Andrew and his husband, John Habich, hold regularly. But there is a guest room on the top floor, created by the artist Stephen Hendee, that offers a window into Andrew’s more eccentric tastes. It isn’t a room in any familiar sense; it’s more of an igloo with a barge of a bed, by the Danish designer Mathias Bengtsson, floating in the center.

2. Hervé Pierre

Photo: Hannah Whitaker for New York Magazine

At the time of our shoot in 2010, Hervé Pierre was the creative director of Carolina Herrera. We’d known each other for decades, and I think I begged him weekly to allow me to do a story on his new space. I totally wore him down. I would never have dreamed of asking Hervé to put on his pj’s and get into bed, and that is why, as an editor, you can get very lucky working with a photographer like Todd Selby, a.k.a. The Selby, who thought nothing of it. I winced, fearing that Hervé might be offended, but he was perfectly game.

3. Kehinde Wiley

Photo: Hannah Whitaker for New York Magazine

In 2006, Kehinde Wiley told me that his time as artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem made it clear that a live-work environment was what he needed. “I had my work there, a futon, and a television,” he said. “It was just the most insane, overcrowded, intense moment, but it allowed me to engage my work in a way I never had.” I remember that, on my walk back to the subway from our shoot, I turned around and stared at the lights glowing from his windows over the Williamsburg landscape. Eleven years later, the wider world saw his brilliance as his official portrait of President Barack Obama was unveiled.

4. Richard Avedon

Photo: Hannah Whitaker for New York Magazine

He would always be waiting at the top of the stairs to greet me with a big hug. I knew Dick through his son John, whom I met during a snowball fight when I was 12. When you entered his studio, there was a waiting area with a giant framed print of Dovima With Elephants. A door in the reception area hid a narrow staircase that led up to Dick’s apartment, where the walls were lined in Homasote so he could pin up anything that caught his eye. I have never gotten over that apartment, which we photographed, untouched, after his death.

5. Anne Slater

Photo: Hannah Whitaker for New York Magazine

I didn’t want to just photograph Anne Slater’s Fifth Avenue apartment; I wanted her, and I wanted to see Anne entertaining there. She and her partner, John Cahill, were game to participate in the story, and she brought out hundreds of party pictures. We chose a picture of Anne in a satin jumpsuit trimmed with ostrich feathers, another of the Duke of Windsor playing the drums at a party, and one of Rosie the bear — a real bear — with guests in the front hall.

*This article appears in the September 17, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

Wendy Goodman Revisits 5 Memorable Homes