Via The New Yorker

“[F]or many of those who did not know Ms. Ephron personally, her zeal for food seemed to generate a bond.” So wrote Matt Flegenheimer in his July 1st New York Times column, “Mourning the Wit and the Woman.” In that fashion, our own acquaintance with Nora Ephron was epicurean in nature. In September 2011, Nora and her husband, Nick Pileggi, graciously accepted our invitation to serve as co-chairs of our first-ever Landmark Feast event, which celebrated farm-to-table dining and preservation ideals (and, of course, the West Side neighborhood we all love!). For their enthusiastic support, we will be forever grateful.

The West Side setting was another element on which Nora Ephron and LW! connected: our commitment to preserving the neighborhood’s architecture and special sense of place is embodied in the one West Side abode that Nora loved so much as to pen a novella in the June 5, 2006, edition of The New Yorker. Entitled “Moving On: A love story“, we learn about Nora’s introduction to — and immediate amorous fall for — the Apthorp Apartments. On the first of this six-page homage, she writes that “I had never planned to live on the Upper West Side, but after a few weeks I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else, and I began, in my manner, to make a religion out of my neighborhood.” Nora captures the draw that LW! — and certainly all West Siders — feel for that intangible sense of place that is squarely at home on the Upper West Side.

And to zoom in on the gloriously decadent Apthorp, specifically? Well, Nora never stood a chance! She continues: “The apartment in the Apthorp seemed like an urban miracle. I’d found a haven. And the architecture of the building added to the illusion … Every time I walked into the courtyard at the end of the day, I fell in love all over again.” Nora Ephron’s love of her neighborhood, of her apartment, of its architecture inspired countless fans via her films which used the West Side as their backdrop.

She also inspired the next generation of cultural movers and shakers, it seems, as Lena Dunham writes (in her touching remembrance of Nora from The New Yorker‘s June 28, 2012 issue) of her mental list when looking for a residence of her own: “I tried to use Nora-esque criteria — prewar details, an open courtyard, an eccentric building staff, and neighbors who appeared to dabble in the occult, at least enough for a good story”. When Ms. Dunham finally signed her name to a Brooklyn apartment, she “told [Nora] it was my Apthorp, whatever that means”. 

To a woman who, as Mayor Bloomberg tweeted, “always loved a good New York story” and “could tell them like no one else”, we pay tribute. To a woman who adored the Apthorp and its impressionable architecture. To Nora Ephron, forever a West Sider.

Click here to read James Barron’s July 10th New York Times piece dedicated to Nora’s “exit”, her utterly unique, self-planned memorial service.

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