Birthday Bash
Empire State Building plays peek-a-boo. 8:50 PM. Photo: JH.

“D’you think that’s it for winter?” a cabbie asked me this afternoon. Only thirteen more days til Spring, I was reminded.

At lunchtime at Michael’s I met with Marcia Vickers, an editor with Fortune, Maggie Jones and Silda Wall Spitzer, the last two of whom are active in a non-profit called Children For Children. You may have read about it here before. Silda is one of the founders of the organization. She also now has a bit of public profile as the wife of the New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer who is running for Governor of the state in the next election.

Silda Wall Spitzer, DPC, Marcia Vickers, and Maggie Jones at Michael's.
Click here for the NYSD Philanthropy profile of Children for Children.

We’d lunched before about a year and a half ago when I was introduced to Mrs. Spitzer by our mutual friends Mrs. Vickers. We met then so that she could tell me about her new organization which is dedicated to teaching children the benefits of sharing and helping in the community. There are two objectives: teaching children the value of community involvement and civic engagement starting at a young age and providing resources to under-served New York City schools.

It’s kind of pathetic at this time in our history that volunteer organizations have to “provide resources” to our public schools, but there you have it. Children For Children has awarded more than $1 million to needed resources to hundreds of under-served New York City schools, as well as placing about a half million new and gently used books in the hands of teachers for their students. CFC also works with the children in these schools in encouraging them to continue the cycle of giving by involving them in school projects.

This coming April 20th, Children For Children is holding its 6th annual benefit “The Art of Giving ... Celebrating 10 years of Helping Kids Grow Involved.” The event will be help at Christie’s in Rockefeller Center. To learn more, visit their web site

Charlie Scheips and Deborah Buck at the opening of Buck House

Last night in New York. I started out at Buck House, a gallery at 1326 Madison Avenue (and 94th Street) where the gallery’s owner Deborah Buck was launching her new quarters with an exhibition of photographs, sculpture, paintings and drawing curated by Charlie Scheips (who occasionally contributes to NYSD with his column “The Art Set”). The exhibition “Manhattan: Glamour” is the first in a series of exhibitions that will reflect the international and eclectic nature of Mrs. Buck’s taste. She regards the new space with 2000 square feet of space as a laboratory for her ideas.

The exhibit including works by Edward Steichen, Clifford Coffin, John Rawlings and Vic Nuniz. “New York emerged as a capital of glamour during the 1920s and 1930s, not surprisingly during the golden age of both magazine publishing and Hollywood,” said Scheips. “During World War II, when New York became the capital of the cultural world thanks in large part to the enormous surge in European artists and designers to our shores, a new more international cosmopolitan glamour emerged.”  Prices for the artwork at Buck House will range from $1,000.00 to $20,000.00.

From Buck House, I hopped a cab down to Cipriani 42nd Street where Barbara and Donald Tober were hosting a party marking Mr. Tober’s 75th birthday. NYSD readers have seen the Tobers’ pictures on these pages many times for they are very active in New York social life and New York philanthropy. Mrs. Tober, who for more than thirty years was editor-in-chief of what she turned into a Conde Nast goldmine, Bride’s magazine, is now one of the leading forces behind the American Museum of Arts and Design (formerly the American Crafts Museum) that will eventually be occupying the former Huntington Hartford Museum on Columbus Circle. Mr. Tober is co-CEO with Scott Odell of a privately company called Sugar Foods which distributes a little product called “Sweet and Low.” Ever heard of it?

So to celebrate, the Tobers who are far more active in every area of their lives than a lot of people I know half their age, decided to have a party and invite a good many of their friends. 400 were on hand last night for the black tie dinner which started with cocktails at 6:45 – along with a slideshow movie of Donald’s life, extending back to his antecedents – great-grandparents and grandparents who immigrated to this country at the beginning of the last century.

I’ve known Donald Tober for some time now because of my business reporting on the social scene. He’s an especially friendly fellow – outgoing, always extending a gracious hand. I’ve even been a guest a dinner at his table. He likes to laugh and he likes the social life. Watching the film about him, however, I realized how much time we spend around people and yet know so little about them. For example, there two things he liked as a kid – water and music (an astrologer would tell you that is not surprising for a man born in the sign of Pisces). As he started to grow up, he developed what became a lifelong interest in the piano and by the time he was in his teens, he was a life guard. As a young man he went into the artificial sweeteners business, following in his father’s footsteps. Thirty-three years ago at 42, he married Barbara, and the two of them haven’t stopped dancing (and swimming through it all) since.

At the end of the evening, guests were given two goodie bags – one with a chocolate piano – containing chocolate likenesses of musical notes (and a white chocolate keyboard) and the other containing some granola for breakfast in the morning.

The intention of the fabulous party was simply to enjoy the music and dance. They set up a big dance floor next to the platform where Bob Hardwick and his orchestra were playing (DJ Tom Finn took over with the music during the Hardwick breaks). After the main course, Barbara Tober and Donald’s business partner (for the past 37 years) Scott Odell delivered the toasts. We heard about a man who has never lost enthusiasm for chasing his dreams, who loves going to work everyday, who is constantly working on growing his business and who during his non-working hours, travels, entertains his friends, plays the piano daily, and rides every weekend at his country house.

Before dessert, guests were treated to a special favorite of the Tobers, cabaret singer pianist Steve Ross who is one of the greatest interpreters of Cole Porter and Noel Coward performing today. After the birthday boy blew out the candles on his cake, Bob Hardwick was back and the crowd filled the dance floor. It was one of those rare nights in New York – a huge and elaborate private dinner party, no fund-raising, no auctions – just dining and dancing and the camaraderie of one couple’s friends – all congregated to celebrate what has now become, even to the surprise of the man himself, a long, interesting and stimulating life.

During Donald’s little speech of thanks, he recalled when he first married Barbara they celebrated by having a small dinner for twelve or fourteen of their friends. And now there they were last night with more than twenty times as many, all of whom he knows – many of whom he’s known for decades, and some for more than a half century.

Occasionally in my travels I see a man or a woman who is indeed blessed with the Good Life – which means many things, but most especially living life to its fullest daily and reveling in the friendship that graces those days. It’s fascinating to behold because there is an artfulness to it, abetted of course by personality. And accompanied by an ongoing youthfulness, a spring in one’s step, that makes it an elegant art. I think Donald Tober is one of those men. And very young he remains, at seventy-five. 
Steve Ross performing Cole Porter
Donald blows out the birthday candles
Paul and Daisy Soros
Donald and Barbara Tober
Sharon Handler and Ambassador John Loeb
Beth DeWoody and Marjorie Reed Gordon
Anne Whitehead and Beth DeWoody
Daniel Aubry
April and Roddy Gow
Michele Herbert
Ninah and Michael Lynne
Warrie Price with Joe and Nazee Noinian
Arthur Backal
The kids doing a birthday dance for Donald Tober
Larry Herbert and April Gow

Last night in the Pool Room of The Four Seasons restaurant, Graff Jewelers and NetJets hosted a cocktail reception for the launch of Whitewall, the new generation of art magazine. Models in Eres bathing suits displayed a dazzling array of Graff diamonds while guests quaffed the Ruinart champagne. Worse things could happen to you on an early Wednesday evening in New York in March.

Host committee members included: Samantha Boardman and Aby Rosen, Yvonne Force Villareal, Lisa Phillips, Barbara Gladstone, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Richard Meier, Richard Prince, Katelijne De Backer, Mark Fletcher, David Maupin, Henri Barguirdjian, and Richard Richard Santulli.

Whitewall is designed as a lifestyle art publication and goes beyond the gallery walls to reveal the personalities that shape the art world. Its mission is to make art more accessible yet glamorous to its audience. The publication intends to open doors for a new generation of art collectors by merging the disciplines of art, architecture, design and fashion, revealing the interplay of influences across the vital spectrum of visual creativity. the magazine will monitor the pulse of today’s global art market and lifestyle trends by delving into artists’ studios, interviewing major collectors, and providing informative articles about the contemporary art market. Whitewall offers its readers exclusive access to this fascinating world.

Colleen Caslin and Henri Barguirdjian
Charles R. Lynch and Amy J. Bojarski
Victoire Bertholon
Aby Rosen with Hilary and Wilbur Ross
Michael Klug , Aby Rosen, and Yehoram Houri
Peter Kairis
Models dripping with Graff Diamonds and wearing Eres swimsuits
George Farias and Judy Gordon Cox
Dana Hammond Stubgen and Dr. Patrick Stubgen
Tara Milne and Tivia Kramer
Walter and Nancy Raquet
Michael Rubell
The Pool Room at The Four Seasons

March 9, 2006, Volume VI, Number 41
Photographs by DPC & JH/


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/