A beautiful day with lots of warm sunshine and temperatures in the upper 50s
The Farmer's Market in Union Square. 4:30 PM. Photo: JH.

I had an 8:30 breakfast meeting on 59th and Fifth with the Board of Safe Horizon. I have just joined the board of this organization, and this was my first meeting. Mariska Hargitay has also joined the board and is lending her public personality to draw attention to what Safe Horizon does.

The mission of Safe Horizon is to provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities. And boy if you don’t think that’s biting off a lot. I was asked to join this organization because I’ve written about it on these pages over the years, and I’ve related my own experiences in the world of domestic violence. I did that because I do believe it’s all about spreading the word. Letting the cat out of the bag; the demons out from under the bed. Domestic abuse and violence is commonplace or close to it and we all know it, and we all know examples of it. And we all know how it’s one of the most untalked about issues in a family, including some of the “finest” families. Which is a big part of the problem.

One thing I learned in the board meeting today is how little money they have raised considering that they are the number one organization of its kind in New York. The average contributor gives $22. Wow. I’m not a philanthropist and I certainly don’t have the money for it, although I do write checks for charitable organizations. Small ones but more than $22. I was thinking during that meeting that if we could raise the average contribution to $50, which is certainly not much to a lot of us and easily something we spend on a pleasant lunch for two. If we could raise it to that number, we could make a big big difference for a lot of members of our community who need our assistance. It is about life and death in many instances. So helping Safe Horizon is good for the neighborhood. Visit their site and see what I’m talking about: http://www.safehorizon.org/

A busy day at Michael’s. Mario Cuomo was lunching with three friends while a few tables away, his former or soon-to-be former daughter-in-law Kerry Kennedy Cuomo was lunching with Court TV’s Henry Schlieff. Author Lisa Bernbach was lunching with her daughters Maisie and Boco Haft and Barbara Liberman. Jeff Greenfield was lunching with Tom Brokaw; Regis Philbin with Roni Selig, Andrew Heyward with Betsy Morgan, CBS News Senior Veep; Pamela Keogh with Joe Montebello; Maternity fashion priestess Liz Lange; Sony’s Rob Wiesenthal with Howard Sloan, Maria Bartiromo (who is married to Liz Lange’s cousin). Ms. Bartiromo was with William Morris honcho Wayne Kaback, Marion Maneker, v-p of HarperCollins Business and Collins US president Joe Tessitore. Which spells out rather efficiently just what and why Michael’s is. Media=Words=Media=The World Out There. That’s what Michael’s does. Brilliant cuisine notwithstanding. Also in the mix, Harriet Weintraub and Virginia Coleman; Lloyd Grove with Elizabeth Roehm; Euan Rellie, Diane Sokolow, Stu Zakim, Gerry Byrne, Jonathan Capehart, Gill Schwartrz, Jack Romanos, Grace Mirabella; the usual suspects moving things along the rialto. And I was lunching for the first time with Choire (pronounced Ko-ree) Sicha of the New York Observer, formerly king of snarkdom during his Gawker.com reign. Mr. Sicha who has a stiletto-like, lethal, I-don’t-give-a-flying-(fill it in yourself) bark-n-bite with his writings is actually a rather sensible, feet-on-the-ground journalist who thinks for himself at all times.

Michael Sylvester, Peter Ketchum, and DPC

At four o’clock I went over to the Thomas Moser Gallery on Madison Avenue and 62nd Street (right across the street from Nello’s) to see an exhibition by artist Peter Ketchum. Peter Ketchum started out life (as an adult) in the publishing industry and eventually ended up in a top executive spot of a major book publisher. And he grew to hate it. Because really, making art was what he wanted to do with his life. Even as a husband and father of two boys. But ten years to the day after starting his career in the book publishing business, he quit and went into the business of making art. That was a long time ago and he’s made a good living with it including bringing up the two boys who are now both married and have families.

This show is called “Emerging Mid Career & Near Death." Using material “from the world’s collective attic,” Peter makes graphic visual satires. Irreverence plays a quiet but decisive role.

All of this was particularly interesting to me because I could relate to his motivations and had gone through a similar experience to get to here. But I had another, more compelling reason for going to see Peter Ketchum’s show. He and I were roommates during our freshman year at college (Colby). We kept in contact afterwards but time passed and so did our ships. The last time I saw him was in 1978 when I was moving to California. So yesterday was the first time in 28 years. We recognized each other at once, as did I recognize his wife Robin. The big difference was that we’ve all changed our haircolor in the interim (to soften the lines of time). Then to my surprise, as Peter and I were catching up, in walked Michael Sylvester who was also a roommate of ours at the same time. Michael and Peter were also roommates in prep school, so they go way back.

Memories assembled, I caught a shot of Sylvester and Ketchum and Mrs. Sylvester (Sarah). And then Sarah got a shot of the three of us. Eons later.

Peter Ketchum with Sarah and Michael Sylvester (left) amongst Peter Ketchum's “Emerging Mid Career & Near Death" at the Thomas Moser Gallery on Madison Avenue and 62nd Street.
For more information about Peter Ketchum’s exhibition, you can call 800-708-9016.



March 30, 2006, Volume VI, Number 53
Photographs by DPC/NYSD.com

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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/NewYorkSocialDiary.com