Have you been keeping up with the ongoing NYT series on Deborah Copaken Kogan?
We have, so we already knew Kogan was a photographer, a memoir writer, a novelist, a Vespa rider, and a showbiz mom. Now it turns out she's handy with a hammer!
With today's "Habitats" column, Kogan has achieved a what appears to be a remarkable new record: she has now been the subject and/or author of five different NYT columns about herself.
Way to go, Debbie -- the NYT has a crush on you. Now who are you, again?
In a single decade, Kogan has been the subject of a "Modern Love" column in Styles, a "Night Out With" column in Styles, an "Urban Strategist" column, a "Lives" column in the NYT Magazine -- and, as of this morning, the topic of an 1,168-word "Habitats" column on her family's new Harlem home, in Real Estate.
It's a singular and remarkable achievement for a relatively little-known writer who, only a decade ago, couldn't even rate a review of her first memoir -- "Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War" -- in the NYT. For those unfamiliar, "Shutterbabe" recounted Kogan's travels through Europe as a sexually adventurous young photographer. She named each chapter for a different boyfriend.
The NYT kicked off its obsession with Kogan right around the time "Shutterbabe" was published, with a "Lives" column that chronicled her willingness to let her 3-year-old daughter climb dangerous rocks in the park, despite demurring adults nearby.
"I'm used to unsolicited parental advice by now," Kogan wrote.
Next came the "Night Out With" column by Linda Lee, only a few months later, describing Kogan as a "media powerbabe" in leather pants, drinking Cosmos and fixing up friends. By this time Kogan had abandoned her wanderlust and started a family with her husband, Paul. But the NYT informed she still liked to party at hotspots.
"Does it count if it's by remote control, from a cell phone?" Kogan asks the reporter, when she remembers that she has forgotten to light the Hanukah candles for her children.
For four years we didn't hear from Kogan, until she re-surfaced with an "Urban Tactics" column (a now-defunct feature) in 2004 that described her recent purchase of a Vespa to ride around Manhattan.
Kogan bought one to address her considerable commuting challenges. "We live on the Upper West Side," Kogen explained. "My office is in TriBeCa. I have one child in school on the Upper East Side, the other on the Upper West..."
The NYT welcomed Kogan back to its pages with an April 15, 2007 "Modern Love" column -- a breezy confessional about an encounter with a stranger who entered their apartment to signal his passion for a girl across the way -- and who helped Kogan and her husband rekindle their own fiery love.
"It was as if, via the amorous couplings across the way," Kogan wrote, "Paul and I were reaping the benefits of an extramarital affair — a rise in ardor, a distraction from reality, a reawakening of what it means to be alive — without the guilt and lies....We tucked the kids into bed early and found our way to each other for the second night in a row."
It has been almost four years since the NYT updated us on the Kogans. Constance Rosenblum corrected this with a "Habitats" column this morning that covers the family's move to Harlem -- a neighborhood that until recently, Rosenblum reports, Kogan had seen "only through the windows of a Town Car."
After years of ridiculous rents, the Kogans now pay a paltry $3,5oo for the top three floors of a townhouse on St. Nicholas Avenue in Sugar Hill. Debbie did the renovations.
"Mastering the mysteries of the power drill and the molly bolt," Rosenblum wrote, "[Kogan] installed kitchen shelves and hung a spice rack, pot racks and knife holders."
Are you listening, Home section editors?