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Randy Rainbow’s (Upper) West Side Story

  • July 07, 2020

Because he is confused by design, he said, he laid his chips on a black-and-white palette (tufted black-leather sofa, black-and-off-white area rug with a leaf pattern, black-and-white accent pillows) backed by chrome (the mirrored desk in the living room where he does much of his writing) and gold (a lamp base). “Those are safe,” he said. “You can throw anything in there and it will work.”

The heavy reliance on CB2 notwithstanding, Mr. Rainbow has put own stamp on the apartment. It is apparent to even the most casual observer that here lives a true family man, albeit one with two families. There’s the showbiz “kin” — Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton; Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis; Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando; Paul Newman (“because he’s hot”); Bette Davis, Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Taylor — whose images are displayed, variously, on walls and shelves. Likenesses of Barbra Streisand are all over the place. Framed letters from fans Stephen Sondheim and Hillary Clinton hang in the studio.

The luminaries share space with Mr. Rainbow’s real-life clan. A framed New Yorker cover dated April 14, 1951, his mother’s birthday, hangs near his desk. A photo of Mr. Rainbow with his maternal grandmother, Irene, “who is no longer with us,” sits on the windowsill in the studio. A photo of his cat, Mushi, also no longer with us, sits on a windowsill in the living room; Mushi’s ashes are on the windowsill as well, nestled in a box Mr. Rainbow found on Etsy.

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