Second annual benefit photography auction for Riverkeeper
Robert Kennedy Jr. and Lorraine Bracco
Joel Grey
Matthew and Cari Modine

Robert F. Kennedy Jr, along with Hudson Riverkeeper Alex Matthiessen and Dan Aykroyd as emcee, hosted the second benefit photography auction for Riverkeeper, one of the New York area’s premier environmental organizations, at Boylan Studios in Chelsea.

There were surprise guests including Robin Williams and Matthew Modine. More than 100 works were auctioned from the world’s premier photographers, including Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel, Peter Beard, Chuck Close, and Jacques Lowe.

A portrait of Marilyn Monroe in 1961, by Jacques Lowe

Lorraine Bracco snapped up a rare portrait of Marilyn Monroe taken at the Plaza in 1961 by Jacques Lowe. She said that she would have bought more but everyone kept talking to her!

Simon de Pury, the renowned auctioneer of Phillips, de Pury & Company purchased a tennis lesson with John McEnroe for himself.

• Amazingly, as the luxury trip on the Queen Mary 2 was being auctioned off, the real thing sailed by the window. The whole party stopped and ran to the window to watch as it slowly sailed by.

The auction helped to raise approximately $250,000 for the organization.

Attendees included: Donna Dixon, Robin Williams, Lorraine Bracco, John McEnroe, Anne Hearst, Peter Beard, Joel Grey, Timothy White, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

All proceeds will benefit Riverkeeper, a member supported non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the Hudson River and safeguard the drinking water supply that serves over 9,000,000 New Yorkers daily.

Since its founding, Riverkeeper has successfully prosecuted more than 300 environmental lawbreakers and is credited with having led the battle to restore the Hudson River.

Donna Dixon, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Anne Heasrt, and Dan Aykroyd
John McEnroe
Peter Beard
Robin Williams and Alex Matthiessen
Dan Aykroyd and Robert Kennedy Jr.

Photographs by Joe Schildhorn/PMc

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation hosted its 14th annual gala “A Magical Evening”
Denise and Larry Wohl
Dana and Will Reeves
Kim Cattrall, Jessie Billaurer, and Minnie Driver
Ten days ago, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation hosted its 14th annual gala “A Magical Evening” at the New York Marriot Marquis. It was an evening filled with remembrances and an outpouring of love coming just over a month after Reeve’s death, and was marked by emotional tributes and impassioned pleas to keep the man’s dreams alive.

Dana Reeve, who succeeded her husband as the chairman of the Foundation after his death, provided the emotional high point of the night, speaking movingly of her husband and eloquently of his strength and the hope he provided. She also hailed the Senate’s passage of the Research Review Act earlier in the week. The bill, which requires the National Institutes of Health to detail how they have encouraged use of multidisciplinary research teams to advance treatments, develop new therapies and collaborate on clinical trials with respect to spinal chord injury and paralysis research, is a crucial portion of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act and brings it one step closer to becoming a law.
Glenn Close

With such celebrities as Minnie Driver, William H. Macy, Glenn Close, Alec Baldwin, and a special performance by Paul Simon, the evening raised significant funds for the mission of CRPF.

Glenn Close, a long-time friend of the Reeves, was honored with the Human Spirit Award in recognition of her contributions to the foundation and to the causes that were dear to her late friend. Receiving the award from William H. Macy, she reminded the audience of her friend whom she has called a “great star who grew through tragedy into a great man … an inspiration to millions, the personification of beating the odds and making the most of what life hands you.”

Dr. John W. Rowe
, chairman and CEO of Aetna, received the CRPF Visionary Leadership Award in recognition of his professional achievements, civic contributions and leadership support of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

Actress Minnie Driver hosted the event, filling in at the last minute for Nathan Lane who had to be in London for another commitment.
Paul Simon, who gave an inspirational performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” was introduced by Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall and actor Daryl Chill Mitchell, who implored people to increase their commitment to making Reeve’s dream of finding a cure for paralysis a reality. Michael J. Fox and Susan Sarandon contributed moving comments to an inspirational video tribute that was shown.

More than 900 guests attended the Gala reception, including Alec Baldwin, Carol Alt, Deborah Roberts, Giancarlo Esposito, John Slattery and David Blaine as well as CRPF Gala Chairs Francine LeFrak and Rick Friedberg, Jonathan and Somers Farkas, Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox, Eaddo and Peter Kiernan III, Elaine Sargent, Denise and Larry Wohl, Joycelyn Wildenstein, Noreen and Peter Thomas Roth.

The New Jersey-based Foundation raised almost $1.8 million for CRPF’s research and Quality of Life programs. The funds will be used to develop treatments and cures for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders; as well as to improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities.

Kathy Lewis, the Foundation’s President and CEO, spoke of Reeve’s impact on the world.

“Tonight, we celebrate Christopher’s belief that nothing is impossible. He created momentum on both a public and private level that unfettered scientific inquiry will lead to better treatments and potentially cures for spinal cord injury and paralysis. Our collective voices must continue to build a lasting monument in memory of our founder, Christopher Reeve.”

Reeve dedicated his life to raising public awareness about the significance of medical research and the challenges facing those with disabilities. He also educated families about the importance of having adequate health and disability coverage.

His life embodied the Foundation’s motto: “We must. We can. We will.”

L. to r.: Carol Alt; David Blaine performing card tricks for Alec Baldwin and Nicole Seidel; Jacques Khodara, Lucia Hwong Gordon, Della Rounick, Mara Khodara, and Caroline and Louis Schribnik.
Hunt Slonem, Jamie Figg, Elaine Sargeant, and Bill Smith
Alec Baldwin and girlfriend Nicole Seidel
John Carlo Esposito
William Macy
David Blaine
Lloyd Klein and Jocelyn Wildenstein
Alexei Yashin and Carol Alt
Keiko and Rocky Aioki with Liz Deringer
Kim Cattrall and William H. Macy
Carolyne Hansen, Erica Collum, Ellie Price, and Kelley Coughlan
Dana Reeves, Kim Cattrall, and Daryl Chill Mitchell
Wendy and Ron Feldstein
Andrew Fox and Caroline Hirsch
Paul Simon
Carol Alt, Will and Dana Reeves, and Glenn Close
Carol and Stewart Rahr with Francine LeFrak and Rick Friedberg

Photographs by Rob Rich/516-676-3939

Second annual Johnny Mercer Award Gala honoring Cy Coleman
Glenn Close and Cy Coleman
Kathie Lee Gifford with Lucky Diamond
Tony Bennett and Chita Rivera

Three weeks ago, on a Monday night at the Rainbow Room, they held the 2nd annual Johnny Mercer Award Gala and they honored Cy Coleman, the beloved Cy Coleman, composer and creative genius of such Broadway musical scores as Sweet Charity, Little Me, City of Angels, and The Will Rogers Follies, Barnum Wildcat, I Love My Wife, Fosse, On the Twentieth Century, The Life and John Murray Anderson’s Almanac (in 1953).

Shelby and Cy Coleman

The evening was organized by Margaret Whiting, president of the foundation, and her husband writer/director Jack Wrangler. Ms. Whiting, who had her first recording hits in the 1940s with songs that became pop standards such as “Moonlight In Vermont,” is the daughter of composer Richard Whiting who wrote more than 50 hits in the first half of the 20th century including “Too Marvelous For Words,” “Ain’t We Got Fun,” “She’s Funny That Way,” “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” and “Hooray for Hollywood.”

I mention these facts because none of them were lost on Mr. Coleman who loved his business and its community.

Upon arriving for cocktails, each guest was handed a pair of gold binoculars, both to take in the sweeping vistas from the Cotillion room and also to literally have a birdseye view of all the proceedings in the Rainbow Room. And what proceedings they were.

The glittering crowd was a veritable who's who of great American music, sharing a passion for the preservation of The Great American Songbook. Among those toasting Cy and his lovely wife Shelby Coleman were Hal David, Tony Danza, Marty and Edith Segal, David Zippel, Charles Strouse, Jimmy Webb and Sheldon Harnick. ASCAP filled its tables to overflow with such talents as Liz Callaway, Karen Mason, Phyllis Newman and Andrea Marcovicci.

Singer/songwriter Kathie Lee Gifford, currently starring in her original musical Under the Bridge rang the dinner bell and Maggie Whiting immediately set the tone for deep appreciation to Coleman with a lovely welcome toast, "Here's to Us" from “Little Me.”

At each place setting was a CD of Cy Coleman’s greatest hits. The entertainment went on throughout dinner. The evening kicked-off with a rousing rendition of "Big Spender" by an extraordinary vocal ensemble "The Accentuate-the-Positive Kids,” a dozen elementary school students who have participated in the Mercer Foundation's arts initiative, Accentuate-the-Positive. The fifth, sixth and seventh graders shared original lyrics they had created in their workshops sponsored by the foundation, and then they went into Coleman's anthem "It's Not Where You Start".

Gary Ademek, Ruth Appelhoff, and Frank Gifford

Gifford then performed a song from her new musical with her co-star Ed Dixon. Brian Stokes Mitchell gave the audience Coleman’s “Witchcraft” with the classic arrangement Coleman did when he first performed it himself. Glenn Close reprised her Tony award winning turn in Coleman's Broadway spectacle, Barnum.

Following dinner, Kathie Lee Gifford brought on Adam Guettel who performed a tune from his Broadway bound original musical Light in the Piazza. The show, which opens in January at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater, received early development and financial support from the Foundation through its unique collaboration with The Sundance Theater Institute.

Broadway composer Charles Strouse took to the piano to perform a tune from his upcoming Broadway musical, Marty. Next came the vivacious and impassioned Chita Rivera who sang Coleman's, "Where Am I Going".

And then for dessert, Margaret Whiting introduced her long time Capitol Records mate, Tony Bennett. Bennett not only paid tribute to Coleman but also to Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer. He told the enraptured audience how Geoff Clarkson had once written a song with Johnny Mercer some thirty years ago for the Dean Martin Show. Published but never recorded, the song lay unsung for years until Clarkson approached Whiting five years ago. The indefatigable Whiting spent four years getting the song from its publishers to present it to Tony Bennett. This "new" Johnny Mercer song is now on Bennett's just released CD. Bennett then launched into brilliant recitative of his buddy Cy Coleman's extraordinary accomplishments, that led critic Clive Barnes to call Coleman "a permanent gem in Broadway's crown."

Then the honoree Mr. Coleman took to his favorite spot — at the piano singing his own songs.

Last September, Cy Coleman completed a two-week sold out engagement at Feinstein’s at The Regency performing — as he did 50+ years ago. The he went to L.A. where he was honored by The Actors Fund. After a round of parties and interviews, he came back to Manhattan to receive an award from the organization he cherished.

Four nights after the gala, on a Thursday, Cy Coleman attended the opening night performance of Michael Frayn’s “Democracy.” Not feeling well, he left the opening night party and went directly to New York Hospital where he collapsed and died. He was seventy-five.

He was one of the best-liked individuals on Broadway, a pleasant friendly personality who loved his business and loved his music

"It's a big loss," said Emanuel Azenberg, a longtime friend and producer of a revival of Coleman's "Little Me." "He was one of the last of the giants."

The Accentuate The Positive Kids
Tony Danza and Skitch Henderson
Dan Foster and Liz Callaway
Randie Levine-Miller and Ruth Appelhoff
Glenn Close and Colleen McDonough

Photographs by Barry Gordon

Lenox Hill Hospital's “Stardust” Gala
Stardust room pre-dinner
Armando E. Grasso, M.D.
Celestial “Stardust” Gala was a heavenly Success for Lenox Hill Hospital Autumn Ball 2004 thanks to the creative co-chairs Kay and John McEnroe and Judy and Will Hiltz and dinner chair Caroline A. Davis. They transformed the Waldorf’s Grand Ballroom into a cosmic fantasyland – a perfect backdrop for this heavenly celebration of the Hospital’s dedicated doctors, nurses and staff.

Francis Claps, M.D. and Mike Wallace
It was also the ideal setting for the acknowledgment of the Hospital’s “stars,” this year’s recipients of LHH Board of Trustees prestigious Medals of Distinction which has been presented to such extraordinary New Yorkers as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Beverly Sills, Lena Horne, Neil Simon, Alan Alda, Carol Burnett, Harry Belafonte, Joe Namath, Katie Couric, Whoopi Goldberg, John McEnroe, Tom Brokaw, Julie Andrews, Bette Midler, and the 2003 Medal of Distinction recipients Al Roker and Deborah Roberts.

The 2004 Medals of Distinction were presented to: Erika K. Aron and Barbara W. Kummel for Volunteer Leadership, Theodore L. Sann for Creative Excellence, Armando E. Grassi, M.D. for Medical Excellence, Senator Roy M. Goodman for Community Service and Mike Wallace, The 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Journalism. The ever-genial veteran broadcaster Wallace displayed all of the charm, wit and intelligence that has made him one of America’s most beloved and respected journalist.
John and Kay McEnroe, Sen. Roy Goodman, Mike Wallace, and Judy and Will Hiltz
For the second year, Patrick Bonomo’s Epicurean Productions played on the event’s theme with a dazzling display of conjurers, wizards, psychics and card readers to the delight of the audience. Following the awards and entertainment everyone took to the dance floor and the music of the Deanna Jones Orchestra.

Gladys George
, President of Lenox Hill Hospital, the gala’s co-chairs and committees were thrilled with the success of the evening: they raised $ 2.4 million for the hospital’s emergency care and community programs.
James and Ellen Marcus with John and Kay McEnroe
Erika Aron, Gladys George, and Barbara Kummel

Photographs by Brad Hess


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