Thursday, January 29, 2015

Palm Beach Social Diary

"Walking on Top of the World." Jet Aviation's 15th annual La Bella Machina benefit for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County was held in conjunction with the Cavallino Classic showcase at The Breakers. The "luxury lifestyle" event attracted more than 1,400 guests from Rodeo Drive to Wall Street who perused more than 100 Ferrari show cars and numerous corporate aircraft, as well as indulging in the customary Bull Market frills — champagne, cigars and fur coats.
The Class Menagerie: PB Zoo @ Breakers + Ferrari Horsepower @ Jet Aviation's La Bella Machina
By Augustus Mayhew

Friday night’s sold out Walk on the Wild Side celebration at The Breakers raised $1.1 million for the zoo’s ongoing programs. At the same time, chairs JoAnna and Stephen Myers and their industrious committee members, as well as more than 400 guests, honored Candace Hamm with the 2015 Gala Stewardship Award. Then again, a love for animals may be a residency requirement at Palm Beach.

Once upon a time along the Jungle Trail, an ostrich farm with Java monkeys advertised ostrich rides for children; Alligator Joe’s was replete with rattlesnakes and Cuban crocodiles.  Ned and Eva Stotesbury kept baboons at their El Mirasol zoo.  At the Phipps place, Whitney, an enormous Galapagos tortoise, roamed freely. Flo Ziegfeld and Billie Burke kept their cheetah on a leash when they stayed at Louwana.  The arrival of the lions and tigers for the annual Circus Ball at the Everglades Club was much anticipated, especially when Fifi Widener, costumed as Sabu, the Elephant Boy, and Mrs. Edward Shearson, dressed as Uncle Sam, paraded down Worth Avenue with a herd of circus acts. Down at the Hutton camp, guests were entertained at Maralago with no less than the Ringling circus set up under a tent on the lakeside.

Then, sometime during the mid-1960s, the Town Council banned exotic pets.  After all, Joey, the playful kangaroo owned by Walter Brooks, Eva Stotesbury’s grandson, escaped from the Brooks’ backyard, throwing the island into panic. Found hopping down North County Road, Joey was exiled to a habitat at the small zoo in West Palm Beach that 50 years later is known as the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society.

Here are some impressions from the Palm Beach Zoo’s gala and La Bella Machina at Jet Aviation.
"Private Jets at Palm Beach." Aeronautic landing field landscape at twilight.
Walk on the Wild Side Celebration @ The Breakers
Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society
23 January 2015 – 7 p.m.
The Breakers, façade and fountain. 6:55 p.m.
When I arrived, Kim K. Campbell was sitting in the lobby waiting for her guests to arrive. A supporter for more than three decades, Kim is among the Zoo's most ardent patrons.
The South Loggia leads to the Mediterranean Ballroom.
South Loggia, approaching the Mediterranean Ballroom.
Stephen and JoAnna Myers, the event chairmen.
Samantha Fairchild Storkerson, auction chairman, and James Berwind, honorary chairman.
Michelle and Howard Kessler. Michelle is chairman of the Zoo's executive committee.
Lucia and Robert Harvey with Kim Campbell, right.
Claire Levine and Annette Mally. The PB Zoo's Melvin and Claire Animal Care Complex, housing the Center for Conservation Medicine, is named in honor of Claire and her late husband.
Jane and Girard Brownlow.
Victor Figueredo and Ross Meltzer arriving in the South Loggia.
Eric and Maura Ziska Christu with Jackie and Beau Breckenridge.
Phil and Ashley Reagan. Dean and Jane Woodman.
Sandy and Buddy Thompson.
Mediterranean Ballroom. Originally a magnificent oceanfront Loggia entered from the Courtyard, the open space was later enclosed and converted into two adjacent dining facilities, known as the Mediterranean Ballroom and the Venetian Ballroom.
Mediterranean Ballroom.
LaVern Morris with Goose, the parrot, who welcomed guests as they entered the ballroom.
Sarah Colman, one of the zoo's animal keepers, keeps her eye on Goose as she greets Rick and Trish Keitel.
Sarah and Goose with Julie and Mike Connors.
John Dotterrer and Julie Araskog checking out Goose's wingspread.
Christie Gannon surveys Goose's red feathered gown.
Mediterranean Ballroom.
Mediterranean Ballroom.
The Venetian Ballroom moments before guests entered for dinner.
Gala Underwriters and Sponsors.
Andrew Aiken, president and CEO of the Palm Beach Zoo, introduced several slide presentations illustrating the zoo's ongoing programs.
Andrew Aiken familiarizes guests with the PB Zoo's Species Survival program.
Candace Hamm and Tom Quick, event co-chairman.
Candace Hamm, honoree of the 2015 Gala Stewardship Award.
The event was sold out.
Luis Fernandez and Karin Luter.
Andres Fanjul.
Tracie and Gary Krieger. I was a guest at the Kriegers' table. Serving on the Zoo's board of directors, Gary is a director at Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, 450 Royal Palm Way. I was seated between Tracie, we both really like Café Chardonay, and Claire Levine, one of the Zoo's patrons. What a pleasure meeting Claire.
Jarrod Schilling and Kristen Stiltner.
Joel Paschow and Lori Kolfenbach.
Rachel and Jesse Azqueta.
The colorful peacock feathers made for an interesting centerpiece. Jamie Niven emceed the successful auction.
The auction raised additional funds for the Palm Beach Zoo.
After the auction, the Soul Survivors played.
The Grand Hall outside the Venetian Ballroom.
Before leaving, I walked out to glance the breakers, albeit, not quite the Prouts Neck cliff walk that inspired Winslow Homer or Newport's cliff walk. Nonetheless, the ocean in front of The Breakers has a fascinating history when steamships heading for Havana docked at the end of hotel's steel pier to pick up passengers directly from their railroad cars from tracks that extended more than 500 feet out into the ocean. While the Sailfish Club kept its scales at the pier and convened at the hotel, the area became best known for shark fishing. When the pier was destroyed during the 1928 hurricane, so did the memory of the time when fishing in front of The Breakers was a major attraction.
15th annual La Bella Machina benefit for Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County
Jet Aviation – West Palm Beach
22 January 2015 - 5:30 pm

As I remembered the airport's perimeter road turned into a parking lot standstill that last time I attended this event, I arrived a half hour before the 5:30 invitation time and reached the valet parking in only a few minutes.

This year I was adventuresome, taking Jet Aviation's sky lift offered to press photographers. Triple-harnessed for security, it was a real bird's-eye view but those stadium lights killed my settings.

Along with my lifelong attraction to Italian design, and the classic Ferraris are awfully swell, I think what attracts me to this event is the eclectic gathering where though most look like CEOs, they might as easily be from Montana as Mars.

And how better to gauge the economy than monitor the constant line waiting to up-close Gulfstream's $65 million G650?
"Higher, you wanna go higher?" the operator kept asking.
The centerpiece.
Ferrari Fanfare
Palm Beach Life editor Darrell Hofheinz and Jeff Chaussee. PBL's February 7 issue features Hilary Geary Ross on the cover.
"We're here."
A sea of Ferraris and jets.
Kathryn and Leo Vecellio.
Among the Jets
Embraer - Legacy 500. $19.5 million.
Embraer - Legacy 500.
The Bombardier Global 5000 team.
Bombardier Global 5000, specifications.
Bombardier Global 5000, cockpit.
Bombardier Global 5000, cabin accommodation.
Falcon 5X. $49.5 million.
Falcon 5X, cabin interior.
On the scene
As much a runway as a midway.
Roche Bobois had a fascinating station.
Inside the hangar, the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 has a base price of $3.85 million US.
Pilatus PC-12, detail.
Ferraris continued arriving into the night.
Sikorsky helicopter. $16.5 million.
Gulfstream G650. $65 million.
What fascinates 21st century Americans.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Lost in Wonderland – Reflections on Palm Beach.