Thursday, May 13

Bill Shapiro, Brooklyn

On a recent Sunday, I took the F train to Brooklyn to visit Bill Shapiro, whose book Other People's Rejection Letters hit shelves this week. (On the sweeter side, he also edited the popular Other People's Love Letters.) This new collection of rejection letters ranges from the romantic to the professional; from Jimi Hendrix to moi (I authored two, and contributed a photo). Fittingly, the F train —the FU train—went unexpectedly express once I left Manhattan, leaving me feeling a bit rejected myself when I realized I was completely off-track. A town car and an unplanned tour of Brooklyn later, I was hanging out with Bill and drinking a nerve-calming breakfast smoothie while the birds chirped in the garden and his kids played games on the computer and made butterfly mosaics on the floor. What snafu? I love Brooklyn.

I know Bill pretty well, considering that I'm the third wheel to the Bill-and-Naomi unit. This is what happens when your best friends have cool boyfriends. We do a lot together, i.e., I tag along.

This was my first visit to Bill's new home, and I love it! It's three stories and has shiny wood floors and gorgeous fireplaces and has a warm kitchen painted bird's-egg blue. In the kitchen are smoothies. On the walls are some fantastic pictures: Bill, a longtime editor at Time Inc., was the founding editor of He's got some great shots of Marilyn Monroe, random antique daguerreotypes, old Life covers, and lots of photo paraphernalia. Taking snapshots for Homebodies at the home of such an expert? No sweat.

Below, between the kitchen and the living room, is the mosaic room, and for adults, the office area. The desk: where book-magic and bill-paying happens. The Life poster was designed by Bill's friend Carin Goldberg, the legendary graphic designer behind those Kurt Vonnegut titles, a Madonna album, and a slew of other things (I got sucked into her website. Check it out).
On shelves along the opposite wall are more photographs and cameras. Below, the Feb. 2, 2007 Life cover featuring Sienna Miller during the Factory Girl blitz. I think that's a spring from a sofa cushion. The Marilyn Monroe series was shot by the great Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. She called him over to her house in Santa Monica and vamped in the backyard, says Bill. Bill vamped for me in the reflection of the daguerreotypes. I was admiring the framed faces when he appeared and became superimposed. Creepy!
The charcoal on paper behind the TV is by Tim Clifford, who happens to live a few blocks away. I love this rug. I think Bill said it's from his mom? I'm looking for a flat weave myself. And is that a mini tri-pod on the windowsill, next to the pocket watch? Next up, the kitchen. A preview, with the boy, from the mosaic room.


  1. Cool post. I wish Blogger would let us post bigger shots, I wanted to see more!

  2. Thanks, Patrick! I know, I'm really struggling with the Blogger format. I'm pretty sure you can edit the HTML so it makes the pics bigger, but I don't know how to do it.

  3. Very nice, Liz. Makes me want to go visit. The kitchen looks great. Hmmm, thinking about that color now!