|Money, money. Meanwhile at the Gugg, the place was (having started an hour before I arrived) mobbed, quite mobbed for a book party. I could assume that a lot of these people were in the hedge fund business (but that’s second guessing) and supporting their friend. I found the authoress (who got a very good review in Sunday’s NY Times Book Review) busily signing book after book.
I asked her how long it took to write. She told me she’d been writing all her life. But this book? “Three years,” she said. Three kids, a husband and a novel. You have to hand it to her, no matter how much they’ve got in the bank (or the market). A real achievement. I got a couple of shots, as you can see. Someone told me Tory Burch was giving her a dinner party later that night. This is her moment.
|Back out on 72nd Street, some Ralph Lauren staff were embracing some male mannequins (all business of course) and transporting them from there to ... there. I headed up the avenue to Tom and Diahn McGrath’s where they were hosting a dinner party for the new Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Dr. Asha Rose Migiro from Tanzania.|
|The McGraths, both lawyers, always have interesting dinner parties for this New Yorkers because the guest of honor usually evokes table conversation that involves everyone. This is, surprising, unusual (at least in my experience) because most dinner parties involve conversation with your partner on the right and then your partner on the left. Even if the conversation is informal, etiquette requires changing from one side to the other after each course. At the McGraths’ it usually begins with some remarks from the hostess, and the host, and somewhere into the courses, the guest of honor is asked to speak.
As dessert was being served, Tom McGrath asked the guest of honor, Madame Deputy Secretary General to tell the guests about herself and her country (which the McGraths have been involved in through philanthropy for some time). Madame Migiro had visited New York before, but never lived here. She talked about the problems facing developing countries such as Tanzania, including HIV, which is a very major problem. By the time she finished, the conversation at the table opened up to the United Nations.
Lewis Lapham told us about being a ten-year-old in San Francisco in 1945 when the UN had just been formed. The War was not yet over; the bomb had not been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Lapham’s grandfather was the Mayor of San Francisco at the time, and the grandson recalled the day that President Truman arrived by train from Washington for the opening of the United Nations meetings. Truman’s arrival, he said, brought out the largest crowd ever assembled in the state of California (to this day) to see him.
Because his grandfather was mayor, the boy of ten was taken to see that arrival, and later taken by boat out to visit the fleet where Admirals Nimitz and Halsey were awaiting their new Commander-in-chief (Franklin Roosevelt had died only two months before). Sixty-two years later, at table last night, Mr. Lapham could recall the high spirits of the creation of the United Nations, and voiced the opinion that he still believed the UN was possibly the best hope for the world’s future together.
From those remarks arose a spirited conversation at table about the state of the world and the country today with several expressing their opinions, observations and conclusions. Very spirited and very stimulating; there is probably nothing greater that can happen in “social” New York at a gathering such as this than exposure to these diverse and different opinions, expressed by individuals of accomplishment, achievement and experience, all with frankness and without hostility or rancor (for, if nothing else, we were guests at someone’s table). While not unique, it is, generally speaking, unusual, especially in these times. Interestingly, no one brought up the subject of the 2008 Presidential race, nor the names of any of the candidates from either party.
|Photographs by DPC/NYSD.com|
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