Lives of Style: Riva Berelson

Riva Berelson stands out in a crowd. Petite, blonde, striking, with a killer figure and a great smile, she’s stunning. But that’s only a small portion of the dynamo that’s bigger than life: Riva. She’s a force of nature. Energetic, bright, cogent, creative, she’s a woman in action — she lives a full life.

It’s easy to like her — her warmth is palpable and her look both au courant and uniquely hers. This is not a woman who follows the crowd. She leads.

She’s also gamine, feminine, smart and has a great sense of humor.

Born in New York City, (her family owns and manages real estate) she was graduated from SUNY Stonybrook, received her M.A. in Urban Planning from Hunter College.

Riva’s first job, on a number of publicly funded projects for HUD (“it was the era of accountability”), brought her mentors who had worked with legendary Felix Rohatyn, widely credited with New York City’s economic turnaround. She became one of the first residents on Roosevelt Island, taking a cable car to work in Manhattan.

She met her husband, David, on a blind date (“He stole my heart”) and soon moved to San Francisco to be with him. They have one son, Serj, almost 18.

Riva soon segued into David’s food business, learning the industry from him. Their stellar success, in launching “Sea Legs” imitation crab — which is now ubiquitous, highlighted 18 years of professional camaraderie.

Riva’s a longtime member of the Opera Guild, on the board of Child Abuse Prevention, serving on the National Executive Committee of the Anti-Defamation League. She went to Oslo for the peace process; met with Jacques Chirac, King Abdullah, Queen Rania, and recently, the pope, in a small, private audience.

Her Marin County home is a modern masterpiece. Designed by Terry Hunziker, the curved, multi-story entryway anent tall, wide windows that soak in the sun and receive filtered light from upper floors delights the eye right from the start. Urbane neutrals in cool synergy interact with metal and wood railings that are an artistic tour de force. Riva’s collection of world-class sculpture and art, along with her husband’s books, photographs and music, intermingle with innovative use of texture, design and furnishings. Of particular note are the elegant, square dining tables that can conjoin to form a concomitant rectangle, the day-in-a-life triptych in the dining room and the living room featuring the Judith Shea and Robert Graham sculptures.

Riva’s beauty and ebullience are aptly concordant with her wisdom, sophistication and dedication to making a difference.

There are those who make a statement, even before saying a word. Such is Riva Berelson.

elaurence@examiner.com

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Recology executives have acknowledged overcharging city ratepayers. (Mira Laing/2017 Special to S.F. Examiner)
Recology to repay customers $95M in overcharged garbage fees, city attorney says

San Francisco’s waste management company, Recology, has agreed to repay its customers… Continue reading

A construction worker watches a load for a crane operator at the site of the future Chinatown Muni station for the Central Subway on Tuesday, March 3, 2021. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli / Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Major construction on Central Subway to end by March 31

SFMTA board approves renegotiated contract with new deadline, more contractor payments

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Settlement clears path for all youth, high school sports to resume in California

John Maffei The San Diego Union-Tribune All youth and high school sports… Continue reading

Neighbors and environmental advocates have found the Ferris wheel in Golden Gate Park noisy and inappropriate for its natural setting. <ins>(</ins>
Golden Gate Park wheel wins extension, but for how long?

Supervisors move to limit contract under City Charter provision requiring two-thirds approval

San Francisco school teachers and staff will be able to get vaccinations without delay with the recent distribution of priority codes. 
Shutterstock
SF distributes vaccine priority codes to city schools

San Francisco has received its first vaccine priority access codes from the… Continue reading

Most Read