Friday, June 8, 2012

A trip to bountiful

The table at last night's New York Botanical Garden’s Conservatory Ball. 10:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, June 8, 2012. Beautiful sunny day, yesterday in New York, with temperatures in the 70s and late afternoon brief and lightest rain. Very heavy traffic in midtown and a lot of foot, horse-and-carriage, bicycle and bike-shaws traffic in the Park.

Last night was the New York Botanical Garden’s Conservatory Ball. The evening was presented by Chanel. This is a longtime annual dinner dance at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. For a lot of New Yorkers who attend, it also marks the end of the Spring social season and the beginning of summer. It is one of the most beautiful dinner dances in New York, no matter the time of year.

The Botanical Garden, right there smack in the middle of the borough of the Bronx, is beyond beautiful in its landscaping, its woodland and forests, its gardens, and its stately and elegant Enid A. Haupt Conservatory where the feature show right now is Monet’s Garden.
The Garden exhibition examines the life and work of the great Impressionist painter by highlighting his passion for gardening and the inspiration he drew from his living masterpiece, the gardens of his home at Giverny.

Monet once said that flowers inspired him to become a painter. This New York Botanical exhibition is seasonally changing also, turning the Enid Haupt Conservatory into a masterpiece of diverse plants, bold colors and dramatic forms and includes a recreation of his Japanese footbridge and his Grand Allee draped with flowers.
Beginning in July, Monet’s most famous subject, the water lilies – many of the varieties he grew will be featured in the Conservatory Courtyard Pools.

Last night’s affair was black tie and very dressy. It begins with a champagne and cocktail reception in the outdoor garden. The Gala Chairs were Ms. Barbara Cirkva, Mrs. Timothy George, Mrs. Charles Johnson, Mrs. Sylvester Miniter IV and Mrs. B. Robert Williamson Jr. Honorary Chairs were Mrs. Jeremy Biggs and Mrs. Richard  L. Chilton, Jr. The Chairmen’s Committee  was: Mrs. Christopher Cuomo, Andrea Henderson Fahnestock, Mr. and Mrs. John Galantic, Mrs. Henry P. Johnson, Mrs. Edward Kaplan, Mrs. Rebekah McCabe, Mrs. George P. Taylor V, Carmen M. Thain and Mish Tworkowski.  Journal chairs  were Alexandra Lebenthal, Christian Leone, Amy Todd Middleton, and Mrs. Jean Putzer. The Chairmen Emeriti were Mrs. Coleman Burke, Mrs. Marvin Davidson, Mai Hallingby Harrison, Mrs. John S. Hilson, Mrs. Carlisle Jones and Mrs. John R. Robinson.  Principal Benefactors for the Conservatory Ball are: Mr. and Mrs. Richard Chilton and Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Johnson.
Because of Chanel’s sponsorship, with the special assistance of Bronson Van Wyck, they transformed the tent into its own wonderland with a dance floor ingrained with images of white roses. Bob Hardwick and his orchestra and vocalists kept the music playing and the dancers dancing.

The crowd is traditionally an “older crowd” that has taken on a younger group of supporters, so it has become a newer more interesting mix. Newer, older, it doesn’t matter because the evening remains what it has always been as long as I’ve known about it – a beautiful evening dinner dance held in a tent during the fairest June weather in an verdant and floral oasis in the middle of the world’s greatest metropolis. A trip to bountiful.
The menu. First Course: Poached Quail Eggs on an Artichoke Bottom with Caviar and Lemon Mousseline Sauce, Cucumber Salad with Dill; Entrée: Roasted Free Range Chicken with Tarragon Mustard Sauce, Fresh Peas, Asparagus Tips and Chantarelles, Pommes Allumettes; Dessert: Chocolate Cake with Sugar Water Lily Spun Sugar and Raspberries.

Professor Paul Hayes Tucker, the world’s foremost authority on Claude Monet and Impressionism, Distinguished Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts Boston, will present a special lecture hosted and underwritten by Sotheby’s in Manhattan on June 27, 6:30 – 7:30. For more information and to register, please call 718–817-8557.
Jason Grant and Roger Webster, 2010.

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