|Last Thursday night at the Frick Collection, they held the 12th annual Young Fellows Ball. It was a very rainy night and it was black tie and very fancy dress – the theme was the name Bal de Chinoiserie, which took its inspiration from the fanciful, Eastern and Eastern-inspired objects popular in homes of Western art collectors since the 17th Century. On display in the Frick’s mansion art galleries and Reception Hall are many examples of blue and white and famille noir porcelains from China. Also upstairs in the hallways of this former 1914 residence are whimsical chinoiserie painted ceilings (the inspiration of Lady Mendl, incidentally, who “did” the family rooms at the time).
Now that you know that: The Young Fellows Ball is exactly as it says with the young women who more and more prefer elegance and sophistication when they party at places as grand as the Frick. Dress appropriate. This is a cocktail party/dance/ and buffet (Chinese this year, of course). The crowd concentrates in the great atrium, with bars set up around its edges, and in the Music Room where there was dancing and a Dim Sum station with tables nearby.
|The Frick is one of the most beautiful museums anywhere. Although it is an institution of note, it nevertheless offers a sense of intimacy that one finds in the house of another. The building itself is a reflection of the late Gilded Age in New York when the great European art and antique dealers were driving the new American collections.
They set the standard of “can-do” that exists today with an entirely different kind of collector. The house was meant to be a museum for the man’s collections. That vision has been met but it is the evidence and elements of a way of life at a certain time in New York that enhances the museum. It also glorifies any parties, like the lively Young Fellows Ball where the drinks of the night were the “The Ginger Dragon” (made with Belvedere Vodka) and of course the Veuve Clicquot. When you see that orange label on that dark green bottle sitting by the crystal flutes, you know you’re going to be just fine.
|Some facts: DJ Anton provided the music. Caterer Olivier Cheng kept with the Asiastic theme with his savory food and desserts. Hors d’oeuvres such as: crab salad with ginger and lime on a shrimp chip, tuna tartare with ginger on a taro chip, ginger chicken dumpling, sticky rice and Chinese sausage ‘arancini’, spring roll of duck, green apple and coriander, fermented black bean beef tenderloin ‘lollipops’, sesame tartlets with fresh soybean salad, shiitake mushroom dumplings. Uh-huh.
Chairmen: Allison Aston, Lydia Fenet, Clare McKeon, Sloan Overstrom, and Joann Pailey. Steering Committee members: Caitlin Davis, Sarah Irwin, Lucy J. Lang, Lisa D. Morse, Elisabeth Saint-Amand, Sara Gilbane Sullivan, and Jennifer Wright. Fashion sponsor: Rachel Roy. Benefit Committee members: Alexandra W. Wilson and Nicole Esposito. Judith Leiber adorned the event chairs and Baccarat bejeweled them.
A big hit.
|Dick Beattie, Joel Klein and Joe and Mary Lou Quinlan hosted about 150 people at the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University a week ago Monday to honor the publication of award-winning education journalist John Merrow’s book, The Influence of Teachers: Reflections on Teaching and Leadership.
On a beautiful late-winter night, with a sliver of a moon looming over Washington Square Arch, education-world luminaries were out in full support of Merrow and his life’s work. Among the swells were New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, “Between the Lions” Executive Producer Christopher Cerf, Teacher’s College President Susan H. Fuhrman, Carnegie Corporation President Vartan Gregorian, generationOn’s Silda Wall Spitzer, and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
|Amidst passed hors d’oeuvres of potato slices with bacon and mango and other bite-sized goodies, department of education officials, teachers and principals mingled with publishers, lawyers, reporters and more broadly, city folk who get the work of the city done.
“The reason I love John’s work, it’s less about the big issues we talk about, the tenure and the budgets and things. It’s about what he did to bring national coverage on npr and public television … the everyday teacher,” said Joe Quinlan, the son of a lifelong teacher and Merrow’s producer at the “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.” “John’s not into hierarchy, he’s into the story, added Quinlan.
And given the assortment of guests, the collegial tenor of the evening, and kind words expressed by many, it’s clear that Merrow’s storytelling finesse and impact are far reaching.
“As someone who’s been the subject of your work…” said Joel Klein, former New York City public schools chancellor, speaking to the guest of honor, “you are scrupulously, scrupulously fair. You don’t try to impose a view on the work but let the work express the competing views.” And turning to the guests, “And I think you’ll see that in The Influence of Teachers.”
Merrow wrote the book as the education wars over merit pay, seniority and so on were heating up. Speaking to the guests, he defined two camps. There’s the better people group “with a scary amount of firepower,” some of the very people who were in the room, and the better job group. The problem is that 40% of teachers leave in the first five years. “We need to make it a better job,” he said.
Adults argue over test scores, teacher competence and union rules, “issues” said Merrow, “that are fundamentally irrelevant to the world children live in.”
|Summing up his role in the education reporting world, “John knows the research, he knows what to look for in schools and classrooms, and he doesn't fall for silver bullets or simple answers, GothamSchools Reporter and Editor Elizabeth Green told me. “Most amazing of all, he's able to communicate all of this complexity and nuance with a medium that usually distorts education issues into wars with clear heroes and villains.”
The Influence of Teachers is Merrow’s fourth book. He began his career as an education reporter with National Public Radio in 1974. He is currently the Education Correspondent for PBS “NewsHour” and President of Learning Matters, a New York City-based independent production company he founded in 1995. Add to all that his doctorate in Education and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and you get a journalist of the highest integrity. The royalties for this book go to Learning Matters, Merrow’s not-for-profit production company, a testament to Merrow’s commitment to telling more truths.
— Susan Sawyers for NYSD
|Chloé’s party for New Yorkers For Children last week drew an impressive crowd of prominent New Yorkers, including Christian Cota, Hilary Rhoda, Katie Lee, Julie Macklowe, Tony Gilroy and Cristina Greeven Cuomo, who were treated to an exclusive preview of Chloé’s Summer 2011 Runway Collection.
Proceeds from the night benefitted youth in foster care in New York City.
|Spring fever was abundant as partygoers stayed well past the designated end time. Other notables in attendance at the Madison Avenue boutique included Marisa Brown, Alina Cho, Maggie Cordish, Nicole Esposito, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Julie Macklowe, Susan Shin, Zani Gugelmann, Derek Anderson, Ariel Meredith, Andrew Saffir, Daniel Benedict, Nicholas Scoppetta, Adelina Wong Ettelson, Ashley McDermott, Coralie Charriol Paul, Natalia Echavarria, Alison Harmelin, Vanessa von Bismarck, Lesley Schulhof, Alexandra Lebenthal, Ann Dexter-Jones, Campion and Tatiana Platt, Steve Speaks, Toneya Bird, Lottie Oakley, and Donya Bommer.|
|Photographs by Christine Butler and Mary Hilliard (Frick); PatrickMcMullan.com.|