A few weeks ago, I took myself to a piano bar on the Upper East Side. Unfortunately, my favorite pianist was sick, and the substitute was a young twenty-something trying to bang out various disco hits of the 70’s. I took myself to the bar and began a conversation with another disappointed patron when I noticed two men and a lady enter our room and take a table right across from the bar. I continued to talk to the other patron when the threesome began to compare the various textures of their hair by touching each other on the head. I found this to be incredibly amusing, as it reminded me of the Discovery Channel specials you see on chimpanzees in the wildlife.

When one of the men in the fabulous chimp trio turned his head in an awkward position, I let out a mild giggle (I promise this was nowhere near my donkey laugh), to which one of the men replied “yes!?” in an amused tone.

“Oh, don’t stop on account of me” I said “you’re obviously having more fun than anyone in here.”

“Oh!?” said the man “then why don’t you come over and join our fun!?”

I (being the social butterfly that everyone claims me to be), took myself across the room and joined the trio at their table.

“What’s your name?” asked my host.

“I’m Jacob” I replied extending my hand to greet him.

“I’m Ken, and this is Carolyn and Phil.”

The two others shook my hand as we arranged ourselves to face the bar.

“What are you having to drink?” asked Ken. Ken was a handsomely charming man with salt and pepper hair… the kind of guy I like to refer to as a silver fox (ala Anderson Cooper).

“I haven’t even gotten that far yet” I replied “I was too amused by the bad disco and your antics.”

“Oh? Well… Grey Goose for you!”

When I got my drink from the server, Ken asked me an array of questions like “Where are you from? Are you in school? Do you like NYC? What was growing up in NEW MEXICO like!?”

It was around this time that Phil decided to go home and sleep, and the three of us moved into a difProxy-Connection: keep-alive
Cache-Control: max-age=0

rent room closer to the front of the bar.

“So what do you do Ken?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m a designer” replied Ken in a modest tone.

Carolyn leaned in and said “Yeah… but he’s a real designer.” to which Ken interjected “Carolyn!”

“Did you watch the VMA’s Jacob?” asked Carolyn.


“Did you see Taylor Swift’s dress?”

“The silver sequined one? I loved it…”

“That was his…”

“The Golden Globes?”


“and Halle Berry’s dress.”

I quickly learned that my generous host for the evening was none other than Ken Kaufman… one half of the celebrated fashion team KAUFMANFRANCO, who he heads with fellow designer Isaac Franco. I also learned that Carolyn (Bernstein) runs her own travel company through lvmh (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and arranges the travel for the world’s leading fashion houses and designers.

The three of us talked until the early morning when the bar began to close.

“I’m having such a great time” said Ken “would you two mind coming out for breakfast now?”

“Now!?” replied Carolyn in a shocked yet amused tone.

“Sure! Let’s go!”

The three of us hopped into a cab and headed to French Roast’s 11th Avenue location. The great thing about French Roast (croque monsieur aside) is that both the 11th Avenue and 84th street locations are open 24 hours. So the next time you are full of energy (and vodka) at 4 am in NYC, you know where to go.

After another hour of amusing and inspiring conversation, I said goodbye to Ken, hopped in a cab with Carolyn and headed uptown. A couple weeks later, I went to a bar with friends to watch the Grammy Awards, and when I looked up, I saw Taylor Swift, wearing a beautiful blue sequined gown, designed by… KAUFMANFRANCO.