If you’re visiting NYC this holiday season, or are a local wanting to do something festive, check out my top activities to do to get in the holiday spirit!
Hi everyone. So...what do I do...do I watch the show..not watch the show...blog the show...watch and not blog...no matter what I say or do I get judged. How would you feel if everything you did was scrutinized. Since I know the REAL truth..watching Sonja hit on the contractor ,Luann forgive Ramona...after they both admitted they don't really like each other, Ramona has called her daughter a drug addict, Luann a whore on and on. Ramona a drunk .they hug and make up. How SICK is it and how unreal because if I had to accept that they would forgive each other so quickly after they have each said the most hateful, heinous things to each other, makes me want to vomit. Even The Jewish Journal blogger has said she won't be blogging the show anymore. Click here to read her LAST RHNYC blog http://www.jewishjournal.com/keepingitreal/item/real_housewives_of_nyc_double_blog_20120611/ I have so many things I want to say but as Bobby says..."If you have nothing nice to say..." or save it for later! Hah! I can't tell you how much I love reading your tweets and comments here on jillzarin.com. Since I don't have enough room here..I will be sending out my next newsletter Wednesday sharing some of the stuff we have been doing lately and what I have coming up. I tweeted today...I love waking up to trees, birds and the smell of cut grass..much better than cement! We have been in the hamptons ALOT since I don't have to do anything for the show anymore ( can you see the BIG SMILE across my face thru your computer screen?) I am relieved to not have anyone write mean things about my family and criticize my every word and move. It is much more fun watching Reality than actually being on an ensemble cast where they talk behind your back for sport. I know many of you have said you watched the first episode and won't watch again..or didn't watch any of the season..or watch it and feel guilty. Please know how I understand how you feel. You were asked to invest yourselves into a group of women and feel attached. So did we. We also were attached to all of you. I have actually made friends with some of you and you know who you are. All of the crap was worth taking knowing I would not have met you if not for Bravo and for that we must all accept and be grateful.I am sure you have heard by now that the rating were down 200,000. Actually there is a website called www.bravoratings.com that analyze all the rating since the beginning. It was very cool to see it all in writing and many people in reality television will be waiting anxiously for tonights ratings to come out. Why? Because people want to know...are you watching the show because it is RHNYC and it doesn't matter who is cast..or is the cast critical to the success of a show. Remember Dallas? ( probably not!) Well it's back BTW. One season was completely erased and called "The Dream" season because the rumor was they fired Bobby Ewing who was rumored wanted too much money and then when the fans backlashed against the network with a Boycott, call in. write in campaign ( there were no blogs, emails, tweets or Facebook back in the OLD DAYS) . The had to "eat crow" and bring back Bobby with a huge raise. I am sure Bravo is contemplating a cast "renovation" on the other cities and evaluating the success or failure of RHNYC cast. Also...what will they do next season? Will they recast again? Bring back all or some of this cast? A lot of decisions are riding on the success or failure of RHNYC Season 5. The question is..does anyone care anymore? Is the "party" over? Can you ever get back or "go back" to what was "television Magic" the original cast? Did they change too many cast members at once> RHOC was successful in changing cast members because it was subtle. Lauri one season. Jeana the next. Not all 4 at the same time. Will anyone be fired for the millions of dollars in advertising currently being refunded for the promise of certain ratings for making the decision? All these questions will be answered in the next few weeks. If you are even thinking that the cast could be asked back..the fans would have do pull off a DALLAS move. I am certainly not advocating anything..just thinking of all the scenarios out loud. Or thinking and writing them! I speak to you all from my heart...and I speak the TRUTH..like it our not...I always keep it REAL. XOXO Jill
Tonight was quite surreal for us. Bobby and I were in the hamptons and this morning made the decision to drive back to the city and stop by 3...yes 3! housewife parties in NYC tonight. First stop was Luann...she looked beautiful as usual. I got to meet Carole for the first time, Heather for the second and some old friends. Even Brad..yes Brad Boles was there..with Jersey ( Luann's fab stylist from the music video). I felt like I graduated high school and am in college now ..going back to the high school to visit my old friends and some transfer students. Does that make any sense. I stayed for a "Diet Coke" and then left for party #2. I was invited to Adrianne Malouf's launch party of her new skin care line with Dr. Paul. Can I say Paul looks much cuter in person? he is cute on TV but even yummier in person. ( no pun intended Heather!). Our last stop was at a bowling..yes bowling Alley next to the Port Authority. Not the best neighborhood in the city that is for sure but you would never know it once inside the door. There were about 150? friends and family. The overwhelming love Bobby and I received tonight was surprising and overwhelming. People were hugging and kissing us all night and wishing us well. We felt love from all of you like none other. How lucky are we. Everyone asked how Allyson is. Ally is working at AOL this summer and goes to Vanderbilt University now. She is in a really good place and is very grounded. Television is not her thing and she doesn't "social media" like most kids do today. I am so proud of her but still go with the motto " you can't take all the credit and you can't take all the blame" . Back to the party....Aviva could not be more gracious and hope she knew we came to support her and let her know that. I have to admit...it would have been fun to film with her and get to know her. Bravo does have good taste in housewives! ( most of them at least..I leave it to you to decide who you think I'm not that fond of". The good thing about not being on this season? Everything I told you all in the past is all happening and coming true. I am not the instigator some fans accused me of and I did try to tell you about some of the girls but no one believed me!
It will be interesting to see what all of you think of the show ( IF you watched it) and whether you will watch it after tonight. After reading the tweets tonight...alot of you didn't like what you saw and won't be tuning in. I am curious..what did you think of tonight and will you be tuning in this season? I don't think I can watch girls be mean to each other anymore. Its too dark. I like the family reality shows these days...! Tell me what you think! Share your thoughts here...its safe and unedited!
Dear Friends and Family,
I've had four amazing years on The Real Housewives of New York City. I'm grateful for the experiences and friendships I've made on the show. I've certainly learned a lot about myself and others. The show has decided to take a different direction and unfortunately I will not be a part of Season five. I have received literally thousands of tweets, emails and Facebook comments from fans all over the world, from Australia to Alaska, and that has meant the world to me. More than you could ever know.
For all the people who have supported me and wished me well, you can see me on a new show that will be announced soon. I will also be making personal appearances around the country promoting my new line of shapewear and leggings called SKWEEZ COUTURE. For more information continue to visit jillzarin.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
As my husband Bobby always tells me "When one door closes, many will open."
Love and Kisses
This may sound odd to you, but even though I don't live in Westport CT, I feel like I grew up there and want to protect my sister's quaint town of Westport, CT. Home to Paul Newman and so many other artists and actors of years gone by. Did you know Lucy and RIcky lived there ( In TV LAND that is). It is small town USA...that is until the developers RUIN it. Lisa used to be on the board of Zoning there many moons ago..and believe me, is SO sorry she isn't right now. Lisa, a local radio show host, is also an active attorney and will not take this lying down. These cowards..yes cowards..waited until people like Don Imus were on vacation..to make the move. Wait till IMUS HEARS ABOUT THIS! He lives there too! ( I say that because he has a big voice and influence in the world and would hopefully try to squash them like the bugs they are!) The long and short of the story? They want to build 60 foot building in the middle of a town of 1-2 story building and ruin the character of the town. HAS THIS HAPPENED WHERE YOU LIVE? PLEASE email us asap if it has. The NYT and other newspapers MIGHT consider the story if she can show a pattern. Here, the pattern is, the decision makers brought it up for a vote WHEN EVERYONE WAS ON VACATION so no one would know and they would sneak it by. That is how some towns in our country get ruined. By greedy real estate developers who have their hands in everyone's pockets so to speak. Anyway..read for yourself the evidence Lisa has provided. She is doing this FREE with no personal interest except SAVING HER TOWN. Please help? Tell anyone you know from Westport CT to SHOW UP. That's what we all need to do when an injustice is being done to you right? That's what our parents tought us, right? FIGHT FOR WHAT'S RIGHT. Fight for those who can't. Please read on...
It is an open secret that the chairman of the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission has been meeting this summer with a small group of Westport landlords to create proposals to radically transform Wesport's small downtown Main Street business district. The Text Amendments on the table include proposals for 6 story, 60 FOOT HIGH buildings to go up in the middle of downtown. They include proposals for a new " overlay zone", an entirely new concept, which removes setback and height restrictions. They include proposals to increase the square footage of commercial space from 10,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet. Now we discover that Mr. Corwin is actually a paying member of their group, called Downtown Activist. http://bit.ly/nLBbfS . Mr. Corwin ought to recuse himself from a vote on these proposals given his obvious bias on the issue. P & Z Commissioners sit in quasi-judicial capacities during public hearings. Mr. Corwin has prejudged these text amendments and ought not to vote. He has abdicated his responsibility to be an impartial commissioner who would fairly hear both sides of the issue during the upcoming hearing on September 8, 2011.
If you haven't heard about this, it's most likely because The Westport News and The Minuteman are not covering the story. I leave it to you to speculate on the reasons for that. Thank you to theWestport Patch for alerting me to this entire situation. http://westport.patch.com/articles/paving-paradise Had it not been for the journalistic prowess of Chandra Niles Folsom, I would not have known about this. And I host a daily talk radio show. You can see that an effort has been made to keep this under the radar.
In a recent article in Fairfield Business Journal http://westfaironline.com/2011/15742-in-wesport-an-active-voice-for-business/, Mr. Corwin is even quoted as saying, "There is no question there is a widespead community sentiment that the downtown area needs a makeover." Widespread Community Sentiment? Sure, if the "community" is a small group of landlords who raised their rents so high in the good years that many small businesses were forced to flee or close. But last time I checked, the word community was more inclusive than that. Community actually means the people who moved to Westport because they LIKE the downtown the way it is. They LIKE the fact that downtown has a small, pedestrian-friendly feeling, with open sidewalks and low buildings. They moved to Westport BECAUSE of the small-town feeling, not in spite of it.
And how exactly would Mr. Corwin be able to judge such "widespread community sentiment"? On the basis of an anonymous poll taken on the Downtown Activist site, admittedly funded by landlords who have the greatest economic stake in increasing the square footage and density of their properties? The first chance that anyone in the community will have to voice their concerns is on September 8th, which has not even occurred yet. Clearly Mr. Corwin has already made up his mind.
The main argument in favor of these proposals that I heard was that there was a "lack of economic vitality" in downtown Westport. Hello? There is a lack of economic vitality in this country right now, a situation which has existed for at least two years and may persist. This economic downturn is not exclusive to Westport. Nor can it be attributed to the zoning requirements.
Second, the perceived lack of economic vitality is due more to the lack of diversity in the downtown shopping district than any other factor. What is missing from our downtown? Hmmm. Here is my short list- feel free to add.- Bookstore (there used to be three), Movie Theaters (there used to be four, none in higher than a two-story building), Grocery Store (Gristede's- before my time), Hardware, Gas Station, Bagel Cafes... Moreover, the Westport Y and the Post Office (!) are actually leaving downtown! Without the Y and the Post Office, the only reason to go downtown will be to shop. A real downtown is not merely an outdoor shopping mall. That is what is being overlooked in this discussion.
There are mutliple ironies in these proposals. One, of course, is that the landlords are bringing these proposals to increase square footage when people can't afford the rents that exist right now. Two, the landlords arguably caused the problem because they raised the rents so high that only large, non-local chainstores could afford to move in. Those managers do not support local charities, they do not have a hand out for our community and they are not really a part of it in any meaningful way. Contrast the contributions of the Mioli family, owners of Westport Pizza, with the owners of the Gap, Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers. Who do you think gives more to our community? Not even a contest.
The third irony is that one of the leaders in this effort is David Waldman, who bought up the Y property and intends to transform its use into more commercial and retail space. Will he diversify use with space he controls? We don't know- and he doesn't have to tell us. Nevertheless, he and others are seeeking to increase the maximum square footage of their buildings from 10,000 feet to 50,000 square feet. A five-fold increase. You do the math.
Moreover, Gordon Joseloff, Westport's First Selectman is a member of the family that closed the last movie theaters in town, transforming their property into Restoration Hardware. If the leader of this town cares so much about diversity of use, the answer lies not in building more and higher buildings, but in creating economic incentives to transform the buildings we already have.
At the recent P & Z meeting I attended, the only people who sat at the table with Ron Corwin and Ellie Lowenstein (the former Chair of the P & Z) were three landlords, one landlord employee, Larry Bradley, who works for the Town, and two consultants. I think Jonathan Steinberg was there too, our Westport Representative in Hartford who sits on a board that has a financial interest in this project. Not one member of the general public was at that table. Almost everyone who spoke had either a direct financial interest in seeing their property wealth increase, or stood to earn money from the town.
The fundamental problem with re-zoning a downtown so dramatically is that once the buildings go up, they don't go down. The Wright building, on the corner of the Post Road and Route 33,at the edge of town, is universally regarded as a huge mistake by the planners of Westport. They let it go up and now we all have to live with that ugly eyesore. The only good result to come out of that edifice was the community's response to it, which was to write zoning laws to (theoretically) prevent it from happening again. If a six story building is built to house the "next great arts center", who is to say it will be economically viable? What if that, too, goes under, just as so many worthy ventures have not been able to thrive? The town is stuck with another problem, this one right in the middle of downtown.
I was scared when I attended that recent meeting. I was scared to lose the downtown essence that I love, a main reason for moving here 22 years ago. I was scared when I heard Ron Corwin say "This is just a foot opening the door". What more might he have planned, that we haven't even seen yet? I was scared, because this movement is organized and determined. They said as much during the meeting, noting that they only had until November to get this done.
Town activists lost a brutal and expensive battle when the P & Z decided to allow Mahackeno Camp to become a new Y, leaving a gaping hole in the downtown district. The wounds are still fresh, and many are disheartened. I understand and share their frustration, and their pain. Were I sitting on that P & Z Commission, I would have rejected that proposal, but my time on that Commission had passed. Nonetheless, this battle is just as important. We, the vigilant soldiers who love our town, must attend this meeting on September 8th and make ourselves known. We need to elect leadership in November that will reflect our vision of Westport, one which is in accordance with the Town Plan, and not in accordance with the view of a few myopic , shortsighted developers. It's too easy to sit on the sidelines and complain when the buildings go up. The time to act is now.
Please sign and circulate this petition I have written with respect to these text amendments. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/713/944/407/ "We, the undersigned, oppose Text Amendment 637, which would permit 60 foot high buildings in downtown Westport, CT, create a new "overlay zone", and increase square footage of certain commercial buildings from 10,000 square feet to a maximum of 50,000 square feet.
We would very much appreciate your support. There is urgency to this request because this Amendment is being heard on Thursday, September 8, 2011 at Westport Town Hall at 7:00 PM. We will present this petition at that hearing. Thank you very, very much."
I'll see you at 7PM on September 8th at Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880. If it can happen here in Westport, CT, it can happen in your town too. We don't want Bedford Falls turning into Pottersville.
Hi everyone! I just noticed that I have unusual activity from the UK this week. I think it is because the show is airing there. As you probably know, we are very close to Robbie Williams and his beautiful wife Ayda and we love going there to visit as often as possible. We are trying to plan a visit during the Olympics next summer if Robbie sings during ceremonies. ( I have NO idea if he is..sorry!) We were just there in July and saw 2 concerts at Wembley Stadium. We stayed at Coworth Park with the band. It is a BEAUTIFUL part of the countryside. It is owned by the Dorchester group and has a brand new state of the art SPA in addition to the POLO fields. We went riding in the countryside. Words can't describe the color of the flowers, the smell of the grass and the color of the sky. I will say though..for americans it is VERY expensive. We visited Windsor Castle and bought some cute souvenirs of the newlyweds for fun. So I just wanted to welcome my UK fans and let you know how much I appreciate the love and PLEASE..don't take the show so seriously. It is edited to be as dramatic as possible....but my life is much calmer now. Bobby and I are sitting in bed in Montreal enjoying the city and each other. Sign up for my newsletter if you want a weekly JZ update from me on my life and I love to post recipes from you and share any interesting places to visit that you guys tell me. Once again..WELCOME!!! XOXO Jill