|One of the most anticipated evenings of the New York winter social schedule is The New York Botanical Garden's annual Orchid Dinner, known for its stunning table centerpieces of large-scale orchid arrangements created by New York's leading designers. This year's event took place on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at the The Plaza as part of NYBG's 125th Anniversary. Hearst Corporation, VERANDA, and BNY Mellon served as underwriters for the evening.
The Orchid Dinner began at 7 p.m. with cocktails served during a sale of rare and exceptional orchids. Some of the world's leading orchid specialists were on hand to assist guests with their purchases. Followed at 8 p.m., dinner and dancing took place in the Grand Ballroom.
|The evening raised more than $600,000 which will underwrite the development of the Botanical Garden's orchid research collection, which helps maintain the highest horticultural standards of orchid conservation. The Garden has been designated a Plant Rescue Center through the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Improperly documented shipments of endangered wild orchids are seized at international borders and sent to these Centers. Through careful research and the application of appropriate horticultural techniques, Garden staff members have been successful in bringing a majority of these ailing specimens back to health. Many are on view year-round in orchid displays at The New York Botanical Garden.
Gala chairs included Sharon and Bill Jacob, Kamie and Richard Lightburn, and Tina and Steven R. Swartz. Clinton Smith, Editor in Chief, VERANDA, served as Chair. Decorations Chair was Carolyn Englefield, Director of Decoration and Special Projects, VERANDA. And Honorary Chairs were Mary and Marvin Davidson, Deborah and Charles Royce, and Nonie and John Sullivan, Jr.
The Garden continued its collaboration with VERANDA in assembling an illustrious roster of more than 25 of New York's leading designers from the worlds of fashion, architecture, horticulture, and literature, each of whom created and donated a dramatic orchid centerpiece and table setting for the event.
|In addition, The New York Botanical Garden presents The Orchid Show: Orchidelirium from February 27 through April 17, 2016, the nation's largest exhibition of its kind. Thousands of orchids in a stunning array of colors, sizes, shapes, and textures will be showcased, highlighting the far-flung adventures of daring explorers who risked life and limb to secure these captivating and exotic flowers from danger-laden jungles around the world for determined collectors. From its origins in England as a symbol of power, wealth, and opulence, the frenzied fascination with orchids underpins the exhibition, which illustrates their transition from the wild to their display and cultivation as well as the Garden's important role in their conservation today.|
|This past Sunday morning at 10, in the Astor Hall of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the New York Public Library hosted its annual Family Benefit “Adventures in Space.”
This was a family event obviously, and inspired by tales of space exploration and far away galaxies. There was a band dressed in astronaut costumes, "astronauts" walking around and talking to kids, Martian-related arts and crafts, a magic show, jet pack balloon "animals," kid-friendly food with a space theme, space-related story time and more. About 300 people attended and it was over at noon.
The event was co-chaired by Abigail Baratta, Beth Kojima, Andrea Olshan, Bara Tisch, Amanda Waldron, Ivanka Trump and Nancy Walker. All co-chairs were in attendance except for Ivanka Trump who at the time of this writing is expecting any moment.
|This past February 19th, the Viennese Opera Ball (VOB) under the auspices of the US-Austrian Chamber of Commerce was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria. The beneficiary of the evening was the Ronald McDonald House New York in partnership with the NY Rotary Foundation. The theme of the ball – the 61st annual – was a celebration of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on the 260th anniversary of his birth.
The VOB’s Executive Director Marcie Rudell highlighted Austria’s rich cultural legacy as well as its important historical milestones as the centerpiece in an original annual program. A manic “Mozart,” for example, disrupted the guests and the proceedings with his raucous laughter, tossing and crumpling sheet music as he made his way across the dance floor in the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom to conduct Peter Duchin’s Orchestra.
|Premier animal handler Bill Berloni made a rare appearance in costume to shepherd two live sheep during the performance with famed soprano Amy Shoremount-Obra, who sang a Mozart aria from “Bastien and Bastienne.” The sheep stole the show. Then at 11 p.m, an Operatic Interlude led off with Baritone Jeff Mattsey, a horseman off stage, as “Salieri,” riding into the Ballroom on “Lord,” fresh from its appearance in the Met’s “La Boheme.”
The official Cadet West Point Color Guard presented the Colors who were then joined by fellow West Point Cadets serving as Cordon Escorts for the Diplomats and Dignitaries Opening the Ball. Debutantes dazzled as their Escorts swept them up to form pinwheel rotations — choreographed by Vienna’s own Heinz Heidenreich.
|Diplomats from Finland, Hungary, UK, Kazakhstan, Belgium and Slovakia joined Austrian Ambassadors on the dance floor to waltz as Peter Duchin took back his baton from “Mozart” and conducted his Orchestra. Among those on the dance floor were Austria’s new Ambassador to the US, H.E. Wolfgang Waldner and Mrs. Waldner; Austrian and Hungarian descendants of the Habsburg royals who created the Viennese Opera Ball 200 years ago: H.I.R.H Géza von Habsburg and his wife, Countess Elisabeth; Archduke Dominic von Habsburg-Lothringen and his wife, Archduchess Emmanuella. Also in attendance was a distant royal cousin, Romania'a H.R.H. Princess Marina Sturdza.|
|Photographs by Patrick McMullan & BFA|