Friday, March 18, 2011

New York still going strong

Russell Simmons and Sean Combs at The Jackie Robinson Foundation's Annual Awards Dinner
Last Monday I missed the pre-Gala kick-off for Literacy Partners’ 27th Annual Evening of Readings, which was held at Michael’s restaurant

Hosted by Literacy Partners founders for the past almost three decades, the force behind it, Parker Ladd, Arnold Scaasi, Liz Smith, and Jackie Weld Drake, who’s taken on the “force” for the future of Literacy Partners. This year’s pre-event cocktail party guests included Literacy Partners Chairman and Dow Jones & Company Chief Legal Officer Mark Jackson. Among those attending Peter Brown,  Jonathan and Somers Farkas, Jane Friedman, John H. Josephson, David and Sherri Westin, and Judith Miller and Jason Epstein, among others.
Helen Gurley Brown, Liz Smith, Jackie Rogers, and Barbara Taylor Bradford
This year’s Gala will take place on May 16th at Lincoln Center. Its honorees are Barnes & Noble Founder Leonard Riggio and his wife, philanthropist Louise Riggio. Gala readers will include authors and TV personalities Whoopi Goldberg and Katie Couric. Also reading from their work at the event will be best-selling author Michael Connelly (City of Bones, Chasing the Dime, and The Lincoln Lawyer) and Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction writer, author of the current bestseller Cleopatra: A Life and guest columnist for The New York Times.

This is a wonderful New York evening, black tie, with a healthy dose of literary and publishing people as well. It’s always great fun.
Liz Smith Mark Jackson
However, aside from all the razz-a-matazz and bold facers who make this event happen every year, and those who have contributed millions of dollars to advance and grow this cause, the community is still not aware of the growing crisis in American literacy. It is as great a crisis, maybe moreso, as the public education crisis in America. These are matters which directly affect everyone, and always adversely. But we all can address it in one way or another, for others and even for ourselves. Any contribution to this cause is a vote for the community and our neighbors. Do not take it lightly.

To learn more, visit:
Barbara Taylor Bradford, Susan Wendy Jeffrey, and Paul Licalsi
Judith Miller, Calvin Trillin, and Sharon Hoge
Jane Friedman and Iris Love Marjorie and Ellery Gordon
Liz Smith, Steve Millington, Judith Miller, and Susan Magrino
Caroline Reidy and Gina Centrello Susan McLean and Luke Parker Bowles
William O'Shaughnessy and Gregorio Alvarez
Alina Cho and Peter Brown Karen Burke Goulandris, Tim Jessel, and Renee Fleming
Dr. Douglas Steinbrech and Geoffrey Bradfield
Mario Buatta, Iris Love, and Jane Friedman
Caroline Whitman and Yanna Avis Gina Centrello, Markus Dohle, and Carol Higgins Clark
Nick Grimaldi, Tina Flaherty, and Paolo Giorno
A few weeks ago the Carlisle showroom in NYC was a-buzz with a networking evening for the BITTT "Bring it to the Table" club for women in high-end luxury interior design. The evening of "secrets of dressing successfully" for the busy designing lady included an insightful presentation by Luann Sampson, Director of Merchandising for Carlisle, showing each woman how she can truly be her best self in how she dresses.

Each woman in attendance has impeccable style and yet they all were seeking a fresh perspective. It was the perfect timing for shaking off the winder doldrums in anticipation for a much warmer spring and clothing to match. The evening was hosted by Lana Lawrence and Sherri Skov, founders of BITTT.
Lana Lawrence and Luann Sampson
The fashionistas from both Carlisle's NYC and Greenwich, CT showrooms attended to assist the BITTT members with their specific styling needs.

Lana started the BITTT networking group for women about five months ago, recruiting Sherri to be co-founder, and from there they have grown considerably. The group was organized specifically for women in the interior design industry. Most of the members are self-employed, high-end residential designers and their meetings bring them together to support each other, share ideas, and network.

In attendance, along with other members of BITTT were: Duane Hampton, Tina Sloan, Ann LeConey, Patti Thomas, Amy Calagna, Therese Krull, Martha Stack, Lisa Kaye, Hillary Levy, Elizabeth Pyne, Kristin Thomas, Miriam Ellner, Gloria Cressler, Mildred Brignoni, Helene Oerman, Julie Tupler and Marie Calagna.
Lana Lawrence talks to the group
Lana Lawrence and Sherri Skov Julie Tupler
Lana Lawrence and Jackie Caradonio
Lisa Kaye and Hillary Levy Lauren Cherry
Duane Hampton and Tina Sloan
Sherri Skov, Helene Oerman, and Lana Lawrence
Vyna St Phard Patti Thomas and Amy Calagna
Sherri Skov and Martha Stack Susan Kone
Sherri Skov, Bonnie Steves, and Morgan Pederson
Anne Friday Dawnja Burris and Susan Gittens
Helene Oerman, Patrice Hoban, and Mildred Brignoni
Leena Gurevich Viva Bhogaita, Luanne Sampson, and Joan Rose
Patricia Grever Quackenbush, Megan Smythe, and Marlene Middlemiss
Marie Calagna Elizabeth Pyne and Lana Lawrence
Kristin Thomas and Gloria Cressler
Marie Calagna and Patti Thomas
Z Davis and Therese Kull Miriam Ellner
Kari Skov and Mike Jarmuz
Last Thursday the BAM held its Theater Gala and celebrated the BAM 2011 Theater season with a performance of The Diary of a Madman, starring that brilliant Academy, Emmy and Tony Award winner Geoffrey Rush.

There were cocktails and dinner on the stage of the Howard Gilman Opera House with 500 guests. It was the largest dinner hosted by BAM on the stage. It was followed by a performance at the Harvey Theater; and then following the performance, there was a dessert party in the Lepercq Space of the Opera House where 200 more joined the group.
Director Neil Armfield, BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo, Catherine Martin and husband Baz Luhrmann, and BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins
Dinner on the stage of the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
The BAM Lepercq Space where guests were treated to a post-performance dessert reception with the cast
Among those attending: Hugh Jackman, Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin (who designed the sets for the production), Isabella Rossellini, Blake Lively, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy, Alessandro Nivola, David Hyde Pierce, and Mario Batali.
Alan and Judith Fishman
Geoffrey Rush with BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo and BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins
Hugh Jackman, Pat Schoenfeld, and Baz Luhrmann
Merryl Tisch
David Hyde Pierce
Mario Batali
Isabella Rossellini
Director Neil Armfield and Jeffrey H. Barker, NYC President, Bank of America
DJ duo AndrewAndrew
Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy
Blake Lively
Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Director Neil Armfield and Jeffrey H. Barker, NYC President, Bank of America
Geoffrey Rush
Diane and Adam Max
Liz Giamatti and Gala Chair Amy Schulman with guests
The Jackie Robinson Foundation’s 2011 ROBIE Awards were presented at its Annual Awards Dinner on Monday, March 7th at the Waldorf. The evening has been hosted by the in comparable Bill Cosby for nearly three decades, and pays tribute to individuals who embody the humanitarian ideals of Jackie Robinson, and raises funds for the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The Foundation provides generous, four-year college scholarships, graduate school grants and extensive mentoring to academically distinguished minority students with financial need and records of leadership capacity. 

The ROBIE Humanitarian Award was presented to Ingrid Saunders Jones, Senior Vice President, Global Community Connections, The Coca-Cola Company and Chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation.
Colonel and Mrs. Irving Smith, Colonel Mike Endress, Hon. David N. Dinkins, Archie Elam, and Major and Mrs. Michael Burns
Honoree Ingrid Saunders Jones greets David Robinson while Rachel Robinson and Della Britton Baeza (far right) look on
The ROBIE Achievement in Industry Award was presented to Sean “Diddy” Combs and Joseph Perella. Sean “Diddy” Combs, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bad Boy Entertainment Group, was saluted for his innovation in music and fashion as well as his charitable work with Children's Hope Foundation, Daddy's House social programs and the public schools of New York City. 

Joseph Perella, Founding Partner and Chairman, Perella Weinberg Partners, was honored for his unique contributions to the financial community. In addition, his steadfast commitment to higher education and medical research exemplify the values exhibited by Jackie and Rachel Robinson. 

The JRF Annual Awards Dinner has recognized some of the most decorated names in business, politics, education, media, sports and the arts, including Bishop Desmond Tutu, J. W. Marriott, Jr., Dr. Benjamin Carson, Sr., Clive Davis, Spike Lee, Ruth J. Simmons, Allan H. “Bud” Selig, Henry L. “Hank” Aaron, John Welch Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, George Lucas, Marian Wright Edelman, Arthur Ashe, Michael Jordan, Tom Brokaw, Dr. Sheila C. Johnson, Robert Redford, Robin Roberts and Katharine Graham. 
ROBIE Awards
Established in 1973, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is the nation's premier education and leadership development program. Transcending financial assistance, the Foundation equips its scholarship recipients with a comprehensive set of support services including mentoring, career guidance and practical life skills, resulting in a nearly 100% graduation rate, more than twice the national average for minority students. The over 1,400 JRF alumni are both leaders in their professional fields and consummate ambassadors of Jackie Robinson's legacy of community service. 

This 2010-2011 academic year, JRF is providing generous financial aid and program support to 220 Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars representing 31 states and the District of Columbia and enrolled in 92 different colleges and universities across the country. 

For more information about JRF, visit
Chrisette Michelle
Carl Ware, Javier Goizueta, and Lee and Linda Dunham
Irving Lorenzo Jr.
Bill Cosby and honoree Sean Combs
Honoree Joseph Perella and Ray McGuire
Honoree Ingrid Saunders Jones and Terrie Williams
Maurice DuBois, Robin Bell Stevens and daughter Savanna K. Stevens, Andrea DuBois (seated), Hon. David N. Dinkins, and Rachel Robinson
Sheila Johnson, honoree Ingrid Saunders Jones, and Della Britton Baeza
Joseph Perella and Della Britton Baeza
Wendy Lewis and Leonard S. Coleman
Sharon Robinson and Joyce Dinkins
Sharon Robinson, honoree Sean Combs, and Andre Harrell
Last Thursday night, 100 supporters of the Playground Partners of the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy gathered at the Buchan apartment for a spring cocktail party in honor of the Playground Patrons, the leading contributors. The mission of Central Park Playground Partners is to improve the 21 beloved, well-used playgrounds, and maintain their overall quality for the children of New York.

Among the guests: Playground Partners Committee Chairman Kamie Lightburn, Women’s Committee President Gillian Miniter, Hostess Hannah Buchan, Central Park Conservancy President Doug Blonsky, Kimberly and Charlie Thurston, Nina and Michael Whitman, Nyssa and William Kourakos, Sharon and Tom Teles, Dianna DiMenna, MK O’Shaughnessy, Paige and Tripp Hardy, Amy and Jeff Tarr, Virginia and David Apple, Lise Evans, Frederic Fekkai – enjoyed cocktails as well as the Buchan’s wonderful view of the recently renovated Ancient Playground, from their beautiful apartment on Fifth Avenue.
The scene at the Buchan apartment
The Playground Partners also host a popular Annual Family Party in Heckscher Playground, this year to be held on May 25, 2011. Visit or call 212-310-6655.
Gillian Miniter, Doug Blonsky, and Hannah Buchan
Hannah Buchan and Lise Evans
Hannah Buchan, Kamie Lightburn, and Annabelle Brown Fowlkes
David and Virginia Apple, and Tripp Hardy
Kimberly and Charlie Thurston with friends
Judy Collins, Mary Van Pelt, and McDowell Winn
McDowell Winn, Paul Cole, Jill Ross, and Sharon Teles
MK O'Shaughnessy and Sarah Kurita
Nyssa and William Kourakos
Rich and Kamie Lightburn
Mary Beth Adelson, Sharon Teles, and McDowell Winn
Kimberly Thurston, Nancy Sipp, and Diana DiMenna
Rocky Kurita and Charles Thurston
Susie Anderson, Kate Hope, and Lauren Blair

Photographs by ANN WATT (Carlisle); Margot Jordan (Robinson)
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