Larry Bogdanow 1947-2011
I first met Larry when I was barely one month into becoming editor of Hospitality Design. We were introduced by Iva Kravitz, his media rep at the time, and the three of us had lunch at one of Larry's more celebrated creations, the restaurant City Hall in Tribeca. Larry was the first "big name" architect I had met, and I remember thinking that the job would be a breeze if every hospitality designer I met was going to turn out to be as warm, funny, and articulate as he was.
Over the next 11 or so years, I'd see Larry intermittently at various HD functions. We inducted him into our Platinum Circle shortly after that City Hall meeting, and we published some of his work. He attended a couple of our Summits, and on each occasion, he would say, with his typical effervescence, "I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this, but I really did!"
On one occasion, I ran into him on a very crowded subway that crawled along sluggishly for quite a few stops. (It was a local.) Larry was sitting with his lovely wife Deborah Shaffer, and as I stood knee-to-knee with them, they offered plentiful advice and tips for my pending—and first—trip to Mexico City, a veritable Lonely Planet's worth of suggestions in 15 minutes. They were as excited and as exuberant as if they themselves were making the trip.
I'm not lucky enough to have been Larry's friend; we were friendly acquaintances. But the Larry described in the memorial service held on July 1 made me realize that it was my distinct loss not to have known him better. Held at the Columbia University Faculty House—whose redesign was Larry's last major project—the memorial was packed to overflowing with his family, friends and colleagues. The Larry they evoked was more than a wonderful architect and ebullient raconteur. He was also a creative, ambitious chef, famous for his unusually themed dinner parties; a scrupulous maker of personal music mixes, including an 11-CD Bob Dylan set, thematically arranged; a fantasist, a writer, an avid mushroom aficionado, a passionate liberal, and a most devoted and loving husband, father, brother, and uncle.
We last saw Larry at this year's Summit, in early March in Palos Verdes, California. Everyone who spoke to him there tells of his high spirits, his plans for the future, the travel he was looking forward to. It must have been shortly after that that he was diagnosed with the brain tumor that took his life on June 29. Little wonder that his eulogists seemed shocked and stunned that he was gone.
Our HD family sends our deepest condolences to his. We didn't see him often, but often enough to know what a loss his death represents to everyone who knew him.