Wednesday, March 2, 2016

NYBG Orchid Dinner, NYPL Family Benefit, and Viennese Opera Ball

The grand ballroom at the Plaza for The New York Botanical Garden's annual Orchid Dinner.
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.
Some of the orchids for sale ...
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.
Hilary Pereira
David M. Handy Events, Inc.
Ralph Lauren Home
Suzanne Kasler Interiors
Antony Todd Events & Interior Design
Selina van der Geest, NL-BG with Brett McCormack
Rod Winterrowd
Mark D. Sikes
Kathleen Walsh Interiors
Bowman Dahl Floral & Event Design
Nick Olsen
Katie Leede & Company
Lewis Miller, Lewis Miller Design
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.
Martha Stewart
Douglas Thomas
Maureen Chilton, Kamie Lightburn, Gregory Long, Tina Swartz, and Sharon Jacob
Clinton Smith and Carolyn Englefield
Deborah Royce
Friederike Biggs and Jill Joyce
Susan Matelich and Margot Weinstein
Steve Swartz, Gregory Long, and Russell Byers
Eleanora Kennedy
Marjorie and Jeffrey Rosen
DeWayne Phillips, Louise Hirschfeld Cullman, Lewis Cullman, and Caroline Wamsler
Cece and Louis Black
Hutton Wilkinson, Caroline Englefield, and Brett Leemkuil
Bill Brockschmidt, Courtney Coleman, and Elena Seegers
Anne and Russell Byers
Fleur and Bill Rueckert
Katharina Plath, Frank di Biasi, Andrea Greeven Douzet, and Jaime Jimenez
Robert Johnson and Dianne Renwick
Kate Solomon and David Wasserman
Laurie Dhue and Danielle Rollins
Ellie Cullman
Roric Tobin
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. 
Co-Chair Abigail Baratta and daughter
Co-Chair Amanda Waldron
Dana Wallach Jones and Co-Chair and Library Trustee Beth Kojima
Co-Chairs Andrea Olshan, Amanda Waldron, and Abigail Baratta
David and Lesley Schulhof
Eric Feuerstein and Rebecca Raphael
Abigail and David Schumer
Alexandra Shuman and Jahanaz Jaffer
Chris Kojima
Jack Pitts
Kamila Islam
Library President Tony Marx, Helene Comfort, and Co-Chair and Library Trustee Beth Kojima
Alexander Maldutis and Reena Russell Nasr
Neil Blumenthal and Library President Tony Marx
Pilar Queen and Andrew Ross Sorkin
Rachel Blumenthal
Reena Russell Nasr and Alexander Maldutis
Stephen Prince and Hailey Lustig Prince
Tali and Boaz Weinstein
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. 
West Point Color Guard presents the Colors
Debutante choreographed Opening Presentation
Vienna's Executive City Councillor Renate Brauner joins choreographer Heinz Heidenreich for the first waltz of the 2016 VOB — "allies walzer!"
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.  
Amy Shoremount-Obra ("Bastienne") and Bill Berloni ("Bastien") with their flock of sheep
"Salieri" (baritone Jeff Mattsey) arrives astride "Lord" for the Mozart Operatic Interlude
"Mozart" (conductor Carmine Aufiero)
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.
Honorable Georg Heindl, Consul General of Austria, and Mrs. Neline Heindl with Honorable Jana Trnovcova, Consul General of Slovakia, and Mr. Christopher Ragucci
Debi and Stephen Harnik, wearing Austria's "Silberner Rathausmann" Award from the City of Vienna for promoting the ties of Viennese cultural institutions with New York
Charles Nicol and Ann Nicol, Executive Director of the UN Association New York
Dr. Mel and Leena Sturman with H.E. Kai Sauer, Finland Ambassador to the UN, and Mrs. Erika Sauer
Honorable Mark Calcoen, Consul General of Belgium, with Mrs. Miek Calcoen
H.E. Wolfgang Waldner, Austria's new Ambassador to the US, with Mrs. Gudrun Faudon-Waldner
Mr. Tamas Lorinczy, Mrs. Monica Kahlenberg, Mrs. Michele Heidt, H.E. Katalin Annamária Bogyay, Hungarian Ambassador to the UN
Katherine Haik, Miss Teen USA, and "Lord"
Katherine Haik with Adler and Baa Baa the Black Sheep
Steve Weatherford with wife Laura
Cole Rumbough in the VOB Tanz Bar Cabaret
H.R.H. Princess Marina Sturdza with Romanian Debutante Elif Memet, a student at Columbia University
Jane Hemenway and John Sullivan
Mr. and Mrs. Carl Landegger with H.I.R.H. Géza von Habsburg and Countess Elisabeth von Habsburg
Archduke Dominic von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduchess Emmanuella von Habsburg-Lothringen, and H.I.R.H. Géza von Habsburg
Manic Mozart
Tricia and John Willis with VOB JC Co-Chair Sarah Esserman
Honorable Jana Trnovcova, Consul General of Slovakia, and Mr. Christopher Ragucci
VOB Debutante Jennifer Kuhl with her Escort Cole Rumbough
Dieter Beintrexler and Anthony Walton hold court on the dance floor
Austrian Consul General Georg Heindl and Mrs. Neline Heindl are just a step ahead of H.E. Katalin Annamaria Bogyay, Hungarian Ambassador to the UN, and H.E. Jan Kickert, Austrian Ambassador to the UN
VOB Debutante Tiffany Dessain and her Escort Isaac Latif Marshall
VOB Debutante Alum Leah Lane, who made her debut at the 2015 VOB, with Cole Rumbough
Midnight Quadrille - controlled chaos!
VOB Debutante Johanna Sofia Qvist and her Escort Patrick Kane
VOB Debutante Lena Pertsovski and her Escort Christopher Kenneth Bereday Steffens
Peter Duchin playing until the last note of the last waltz at the 2016 VOB
Photographs by Patrick McMullan & BFA