I’ve spent a lot of time with Dewey over the years. He always seemed to follow the Neverland dream (Peter’s, not Michael’s) of never growing up. And the way I see it, that’s the perfect philosophy for fatherhood. Dewey is fun, patient, and spontaneous. He has great style and knows his way around a Broadway hit—not to mention a 12-cylinder Supercar.
How do you celebrate Father’s Day? For me the celebration of Father’s Day is a gift from the kids (George and Madeleine, 8 year old twins), so anything that they do for me or with me is a blast. I like for them to surprise me. We do like to get dressed up on Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) for a dinner date with the whole family, jackets required. I love anything that took a little thought to connect to me. A book about a specific topic or artist I have expressed interest in is always welcomed. Better yet is an out-of-print book found on a dusty shelf for not much money. Also love the drawings or small sculptures made in art class—animals figurines are a favorite. And Swiss watches are nice.
Is there a family ritual you carry out out with your family? We like to have a “course dinner” where we make (or order) at least four courses. George came up with the name as a three year old and it stuck in the family lexicon. The kids love a big production.
Typical “Course Dinner”:
Appetizer: Shrimp and avocado salad inspired by the Mercer lobby restaurant.
Pasta: Bucatini with roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic.
Main: Swordfish with red onion, capers and vinegar sauce.
Dessert: Local ice cream with berries.
What’s your weekend dad style? Jeans, beat up oxford cloth button down, and New Balance sneakers in green suede. A Patagonia down sweater if needed. Good for NYC or LA. (Dewey is a sought-after photographer and commercial director, based in California.)
What is your favorite book to read to your kids? We loved reading The Boxcar Children recently. Totally out-of-date story, but we all got into the idea of kids making a train car homey. The description of the pot of stew the kids whipped up made us crave a homemade beef stew,
What would you say is your dad talent? Very good with art/school projects that need a little production design. And funny stories.
What would be a dad tip you would give to other dads? I started putting the kids down when they were really young with a 60 second massage. You literally count out loud in a soft and calm voice while rubbing their back, feet, hands. Helps them settle down, and has a reasonable time frame.
Do you want your kids to follow in the family business or your chosen profession? I love to expose them to the work I do because I remember loving my father sharing his workplace with me. They like to visit the set because they get a lot of attention and the snacks on a craft service table. At this stage I’m glad that their dreams of the future are more autonomous and pure than simply following anyone.
What was your first car and have you thought about what your kids’ first car would or should be? My first car was a ’67 Impala two door that was a hand me down from a family friend who bought it new and barely drove it.. I earned the money to buy it from cutting grass. We nicked named the brute “Wanetta”. There was very little cool factor to the car but it ran well and was indestructible. The need to feed the hungry beast kept me industrious. I delivered 1000’s of pizzas from the cavernous trunk. I learned to tune the car from a book and with the help of friends learn to repair the small block Chevy engine. I would want the kids to have the same relationship with their first car. Caring for it, becoming responsible for keeping it running right, understanding the costs of usage—but I would want them in a safer, more advanced and designed car. Nothing flashy or slick. A one-owner 2000 MBZ E320 wagon would work.
What’s your proudest moment, so far, being a dad? While visiting the kids in the middle of school one day I saw a massive game of tag in which one of the classmates got pushed down hard, crying and embarrassed he sulked away alone. Both my twin son and daughter broke away and comforted the friend. At first they were the only two but soon others joined them. Showing concern and a bit of humor they made him go from crying to laughter and brought him back into the game after a few minutes. They had no idea I was watching. I was so proud it brought tears to my eyes.
Do you have an heirloom that you are looking forward to handing down? I have gold cufflinks from my grandfather (the original GDN) which will go to George (GDN IV). My dad did an amazing painting 1954 while in art school which was a huge inspiration to me as a kid. Madeleine is the heir apparent.