A Bit of where I am at
Fall is the hardest stretch for me, always.
The transition into cold weather & the march towards shorter days & the holidays always put me breathless, not to say most of the time spinning.
And this year is no exception with the intense violence spread in the news everyday (national & international), and the transition from running 2 restaurants instead of 1…
Yet, this time around, I’ve never felt more energized.
Probably because more than ever, I grounded myself & went back to the essentials.
Here are my basics, and how I draw energy, whether it be in work, a run at the park or a glass of red wine..
Upon opening Maison May 5 months ago & I decided to remove tipping from both of my establishments.
I know this is the right decision and yet it has been anything but easy so far.
Like a few major decisions I have made before, as I came to the realization of what is fair & needs to happen, now there is no turning back.
Here is, in essence, what led me to take such a giant step.
I have no perspective on this decision yet, neither do I have tangible results.
I am here to show the process & to enjoy the ride.
Chatting with Catherine May About the Expansion and Evolution of her Fort Greene Farm-to-Table Trailblazer, iCi
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Brooklyn Magazine’s Sarah Zorn about the recent expansion and evolution of ICI into Maison May.
A few weeks ago, I pushed open the doors of MAISON MAY VANDERBILT.
I had a clear aesthetic vision, a strong business idea and above all, a deep desire for it to perspire emotions & tell a story, my story. I was not sure how it would all articulate itself in the end or really, how this story would even manifest itself in the actual space.
But to my own surprise, it is working.
In a few days, I will open the doors of my 2nd business.
All at once it will be a beginning, an end, an expansion, a continuation, and a true manifestation of what I have been marching towards.
It has been quite a journey.
Here is what has been happening.
In early November, I had had enough of it all. I had been searching for a full year for the right 2nd location- and the process had gone from being exhilarating and exciting, to utterly depleting. I had pushed myself, as I always do: going really fast, just go, go, go.
And so by November, I gave up.
Right at that moment, when everything about my project softened in me, well, the location came.
And of course, it had been there all along.
Recently the boys & I went to see the latest Hunger Games Mockingjay movie. With a budget of $160 million,
the film is considered a “success” for grossing something like $240 million so far, worldwide.
As we left the movie, my head still spinning, I kept thinking: how do I reframe what really defines creativity, art & dedicated work to my boys in our society that defines success based on dollars.
Then, a memory came to me and the summers I spent in the Ardèche region in my godmother’s little bakery & how with each baguette sold, I learnt how success is what happens when someone pursue quality & integrity.
If you live in Brooklyn, and take time to walk around a bit, you are probably well aware of the incredible disconnect happening in our borough right now: stretches of once-vibrant commercial streets are turning into no-man’s-lands, with two or three vacant storefronts on every block (please, if you haven’t recently, go walk down Smith Street.)
At the same time, the rest of the world is looking at Brooklyn fantasizing about the way of life here, supposedly the most vibrant, creative, and exciting place to be in the whole wide world.
How can such a dichotomy happen?
More importantly, what does it mean for those living in Brooklyn, and then, for those beyond this microcosm?
And why do I care about that so much?