James Weatherly Neal
Creative Entrepreneur in Brooklyn, New York
My life has been filled with unique experiences and fascinating people. I was the second gay person in history to run for the US Senate. I've dined with Desmond Tutu and Dr. James Watson. Lauren Bacall screamed at me during a conversation. Brooke Astor at the Knickerbocker Club and Philip Johnson at the Four Seasons Grill Room flirted with me over lunch. I smoked a cigar with Monica Lewinsky in London. Civil rights icon The Rev. Joseph Lowery prayed for me and fashion icon Nan Kempner lauded me as the most handsome man in New York. I've been jailed twice for civil disobedience. Lord Jacob Rothschild and Edmond Safra are amongst the banking clients for whom I have worked. Valentino invited me to cruise the Mediterranean on his yacht. I was a state tennis champion at age thirteen.
Grizzly bears fascinate me. I'm an activist for the poor and the LGBTQ community. I'm southern. But New York is home. Mom grew up in a mill village. I've never met a stranger.
Three start-ups so far. Now I partner with artists & designers by bringing my talents as an entrepreneur and strategist to bear. I give back- whether it's a buck in a bucket, a night in a homeless shelter or membership on non-profit boards such as The New School or The NYC Partnership's Mayoral Task Force for Economic Development. I contribute occasionally to The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post.
I love deconstructing a wacky idea and turning it into a jewel. I'm a jock who is drawn to contemporary art, vintage strike lighters / boxes / crucifixes, interior design, going barefoot, sand between my toes, swimming, cooking, photography, smart people, creative writing and travel. I'll never turn down a shot of Blanton's- and urge you to try a bottle of red from the Douro region of Portugal (inexpensive, unfortified and complex.)
My friends- and my integrity- are my treasures. I love my work and my life.