Owner of Bernd Goeckler, an art gallery in Greenwich Village, Katja Hirche manages a cutting-edge collection of contemporary artwork and antique furniture.
Born and raised near the spa town of Baden-Baden in Germany, Ms Hirche had only visited the gallery that bears her uncle’s name once before asking her to work with him 22 years ago.
“He told me he planned to retire in 10 to 20 years,” she said. So she dropped out of college at the University of Stuttgart and moved to Manhattan, she said. “I was immediately mesmerized; I have read all 500 books in the store.”
Ms. Hirche, 44, has been running the gallery solo since 2019, when her uncle died. She and her fiancé, Yolande Milan Batteau, 51, an artist, renovated a 19th-century shoe factory in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, where they now live with their dogs, Kitsune and Misaki and Dagmar.
READ BY THE FIRE Sundays feel a bit more luxurious, so I usually sleep in until 9 instead of 8. I’m a fire devil, so I run downstairs to make a fire in the cast iron stove, where Yolande and I sit for about half an hour reading parts of DailyExpertNews to each other. I usually eat an everything bagel with lox from Bergen Bagels, while Yolande has a protein smoothie. But maybe she’ll steal a bite from me. We chat about the articles, then walk around Kitsune, Misaki, and Dagmar, and then return to our conversations, which could last up to a few hours.
STEAK AND ROMANCE By then it’s almost noon, so we go for lunch and often drive into Manhattan. Our favorite spot is Frenchette, the French bistro and bar in TriBeCa. It has a special meaning because Yolande and I had our second date there. We only had three dates, and they were only three days away; after the last one I proposed to her. I was caught off guard; it was like a fairy tale. We generally share steak tartare and chips, both of which are fantastic.
STOP TO SHOPPING We like to give gifts, so on Sundays we do a lot of shopping and museum hopping. Staying in Brooklyn, we stop at Layla, a boutique in Boerum Hill. It has ethically sourced textiles and 18th- and 19th-century gold jewelry; Yolande is a big jewelry collector.
One of our favorite places is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I love the spice section as the vegetables are nicely laid out. And the immersive children’s garden—with instruments such as xylophones that allow visitors, even those who aren’t children, to play outside—is a charming idea.
THE MUSEUMS I really like the Museum of Natural History. We tried to see the new mineral section, which has recently reopened after a renovation. We had two appointments but had to cancel due to the spike in Omicron cases. I like to visit lots of shops and galleries to see what’s out there and discover styles other than my own aesthetic. There is always something useful to be found in the MoMA store. The last thing I bought there was a pair of Setago table lamps, which we take with us on the roof when we eat outside. With Covid we don’t always get the chance to enter stores, so we do a lot of window shopping.
PORT TO TABLE Yolande and I like to be outside and when the weather is nice we go fishing in New York Harbor. You can catch a 30-inch black bass, which is enough for two fillets to last more than a week.
HOME COOKED MEALS When we get home, we take it easy. During the week we are on our feet every day, so we like to relax with the dogs. Cooking is one of my passions and I have been doing it for a long time. I make chicken and rice for Kitsune and Misaki and Dagmar. I let Yolande choose what we eat. I was single for a long time before I met her; it’s just nice to be able to eat with someone, and she’s an adventurous eater, so that’s a good thing. One of my favorite dishes is Coca-Cola roast – Google it, it’s a real recipe. For a long time I didn’t tell anyone what was in it; when I finally revealed the secret ingredient, people were amazed.
Chats before bed We are big talkers; sometimes we talk for three to four hours after dinner about anything and everything: current events, people in our industry, and shows we’re planning. In one of these marathon chats, we actually planned an entire show for Yolande. When we’re not talking, we read for inspiration and historical reference, and talk about what we read. We read parts of books and magazines, such as Architectural Digest and Elle Décor, to each other; they always relate to our passions, which are the same as our businesses. Recently we read about the French artist and interior designer Jean Dunand, who was popular during the Art Deco period.
By 10 or 11 we have put the puppies to bed and are getting ready to go to sleep. We have a strict rule: no iPhones once we’re in bed. The lights are generally off at midnight.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Katja Hirche on Instagram @agranddayout.