Sweating out another one in the city
Looking east on 55th between Park and Lexington. 2:30 PM. Photo: JH.
The full moon rising. Hot hot hot. Everywhere, it seems, in the Western Hemisphere, if you look at the weather maps.

Last night I went down to Dunhill on Fifth between 56th and 55th where they were holding a cocktail reception for about 350 members of the Young Friends of the (New York) Philharmonic. It was so hot out that it was almost surprising to see so many men in jackets and ties (the girls wore far lighter and lesser garments). At nine o’clock everyone moved down the avenue and around the corner to “21” where there was a dinner for more than 300 of the Young Friends and their young friends.

I got there a little early and so I went into the club room to have a drink. Seventy-five years since its founding as a speakeasy during Prohibition, “21” has never lost it magic. The place was jammed.

Ann and Herb Siegel
I saw Herb and Ann Siegel finishing up dinner at a corner table and went over to say hello. Herb Siegal is one of the most famous non-famous business tycoons of the past half century. A very friendly fellow, he wears his billion dollar successes like a comfortable old shoe and is mainly more interested in having an interesting conversation about a large variety of things including that which is always interesting to me – show business. I love talking to him because his knowledge often comes from being present at the creation (or the talk about the creation).

Herb started out in the business as an agent for Jackie Gleason and later on owned controlling stock in three separate movie companies (I don’t think there’s anyone to top this record) – Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox Pictures, the latter of which he sold to Rupert Murdoch who of course still owns it all and built his famous Fox media around it.

Herb and Ann Siegel have been married for eons and have known all the celebrities that have come down the pike since way back when. Frank Sinatra sang at their wedding (and behind a curtain) and later married Ava Gardner with them standing in for them. Anyway, the subject at the table was Peter EvansNemesis (reviewed here 9/7/04).

Herb asked me if I’d read it. I had, as many NYSD readers know. Ann told me she couldn’t put it down. Herb got his copy from a famous Hollywood producer who said: read this. He couldn’t put it down. For some reason it’s one of those books that never got the big play and yet I don’t think a day goes by when someone in the know (or someone who thinks they’re in the know) doesn’t ask me if I’ve read Nemesis. It’s in paperback now, so if you haven’t read it, believe me, you should.

Finally I left the Siegels and went upstairs where the Young Friends
of the Philharmonic were having their dinner. Two floors of tables of ten. I sat between a beautiful young public relations woman who was responsible for the evening’s cocktail reception and a beautiful young currency trader who explained to me why she’s “long” on the dollar. Then I got up and took some pictures so you could get an idea of the crowd. They raised $90,000 on this evening which was made possible by the generous support of the Thomas C. Quick Charitable Foundation.
Ambrose Carr and Victoria Hansen
Andrew Spence and Stephanie Sekara
Bill Wolfe and Nicole Robinson
Alexis Lipschultz, Oliver Moses, and Kate Pickett
Isabelle Lirakis and Clare Bendall
Georgina Schaeffer and Marissa Piropato
Eric Javits and Monique Yazigi
Florence Peyrelongue and Jose Luis Guerra
Jeff Caldwell and Ashley Spetz
Heather Miles, Ian Gumprecht, and Erin Owens
Eugenie Niven and John Colgate
Leslie Heaney and Chris Spitzmiller
Xavier and Muffie Floret
Matt Millman and Fernanda Gilligan
Mary Van Pelt and Jared Goss
L. to r.: Tom Quick, Phoebe Dunham, and Mark Gilbertson; Steve Rubenstein and Cornelia Ercklentz.
Kendall Griffin and Keith Scott
Peter and Marie-Regina Sotos
Megan Grant
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Last Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg paid tribute to Harlem Week with a special celebration and outdoor concert at Gracie Mansion. In addition to the live performances, the afternoon outing included a salute to Black theater with a special presentation in honor of the late Ossie Davis, the stage and screen star who was also beloved in his business and in his community. Harry Belafonte as well as Jihaad Muhammad, grandson of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, were on to accept the honor.

Other highlights of the even included a special scholarship presentation honoring college bound students, a salute to Columbia University Assistant vice president Larry Dias; a salute to Community Works and Frank Silvera Workshop for their outstanding contributions to Black theater. Also Phylicia Rashad was inducted to the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Clockwise from above: Allan Houston presented Phylicia Rashad with the ring inducting her into the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame Class of 2005; Harry Belafonte and Jihaad Muhammad (grandson of Ossie Davis) accepts an award in honor of the famed actor with Mayor Mike on hand; The Three Mo’ Tenors, a critically acclaimed ensemble of all star African American tenors.
The New York City Salute to Harlem Week is just one the many events composing Harlem Week’s 31st Anniversary. Other activities during the month-long celebration include the Empire State Building honorary Harlem Week lighting on July 29th; a health fair and expo, a gala celebrating this year’s inductees to the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame, a college fair, an auto show, and a children’s festival.

For further information about the excitement and culture that is Harlem Week, log on to www.HarlemDiscover.com or call (212) 862-8477.

July 21, 2005, Volume V, Number 125
Photographs by DPC/NYSD.com


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