Monday, March 19, 2007

New Yorkers got their late winter storm

Melting away in Washington Square Park. 5:00 PM. Photo: JH.
3.19.07 - New Yorkers got their late winter storm this past Thursday and Friday, followed by frigid weather on Saturday night. And while it was billed as nor-easter and packed a wallop of ice and slush, by Sunday it was melting almost back to nothingness.

On Sunday night early, more than a thousand people packed the grand ballroom of the Sheraton “Americana” on 52nd Street and Seventh Avenue for a “Hillary For President Celebratory Dinner” with President William Jefferson Clinton as “honorary event chair.” I was a guest of some friends who are longtime Clinton supporters.

Several hundred of those attending were on the event committee including many prominent NewYorkers and well-known Clinton supporters such as Jurate Kazickas and Roger Altman, Helen Brann and Faith Stewart-Gordon, Edgar Bronfman, Lisa Caputo, Mareo and John Catsimatidis, Jayni and Chevy Chase, Maria Cuomo Cole, Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Barbaralee Diamonstein and Carl Spielvogel, Robin Chandler Duke, James Doland, Fred Hochberg, Cheryl and Ron Howard, Alexandra Lebenthal and Jay Diamond, Va and Deryck Maughan, Nazee and Joe Moinian, Brooke and Daniel Neidich,  Kati Marton and Richard Holbrooke, Ron Perelman, Lisa and Richard Perry, Laura and John Pomerantz, Nancy Ellison and Bill Rollnick, Susan and Alan Patricof, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, Pamela and Gifford Miller, Ophelia and Bill Rudin, Irene and Bernard Schwartz, Sydney and Stan Shuman, Kathy and Harvey Sloane, Tracy and Jay Snyder, Maurice Sonnenberg, Jonathan Tisch, Ivanka Trump, Claude and Bruce Wasserstein, Bon and Harvey Weinstein and Maureen White and Steven Rattner, to name only a few who were jammed into the ballroom for the fundraising dinner.

Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Charlie Rangel introduced Senator Clinton and her husband, President Clinton. The former president then took the mike, saying he would be brief, and he was – for him. He pointed out that they met on this month 36 years ago when they were both at Yale Law (she was a year a head of him). He talked about her long history of public service jobs right up until the time he went into the White House, and how as First Lady, she traveled to 82 countries representing him and the United States, his main point being what is already well known about Mrs. Clinton – she’s a worker.

Standing on a platform in the middle of the room (with vid-screens recording it on all four corners) Mrs. Clinton was wearing a pale yellow jacket with a ruffled border and collar and black pants. She looked good. After her husband turned over the mike she talked for about ten minutes about what she’d like to do as president. I am not at opposed to a woman being president but when confronted with the actual possibility, as I was last night, it really is a revolutionary idea to us Americans. Although I’m sure we could get used to it very quickly.

The Clintons are such well known figures in the goldfish bowl of American public life that it is difficult to view them objectively. It’s not just a presidential aspirant (with a former President) up there, it’s two profoundly documented (and video-d) lives, not the same as, but not unlike movie stars. You find yourself assessing their physical presence – how they look comparatively – wondering where they’d come from on this night; where they’d go after the dinner. She rarely looks tired although her daily schedule is overwhelming. I always wonder where she finds the time to read the things she obviously reads to know the things she knows.

Euan Rellie
After her speech about the things she’d like to accomplish as President, the crowd gave her a standing ovation. Still, the idea of her, a woman, being president is a jolt to the sensibilities when presented, as it now is. A woman’s style and approach are simply different from a man. Her skills as an orator are affected by the characteristics of her gender – her physical manner, her voice, for example. Although I thought I’ve been used to the idea (as I’m used to the idea of women in all public offices), seeing Senator Clinton last night talking about holding the office of President, considering that reality challenges the imagination. Although soon enough we may (or may not) see what it is like.

Birthday parties are a big thing around these parts.  Last Thursday night Euan Rellie and his wife Lucy Sykes hosted a birthday party for him at Malatesta, a restaurant downtown on the corner of Washington and Christopher Streets. I was there with the handy digital to record the guests. That night was Mr. Rellie’s actual birthday.
Helen Lee Schifter
Katie Zorn
Jason Denton
Milly de Cabrol and Kim Vernon comparing rings.
Dylan Brown
Doug Hand
Matt Dickinson
Andrew Fry and Ira Silverberg
Aron Weiss and Celerie Kemble
Milly de Cabrol and Bob Morris
Rachel Roy and Damon Dash
Adam Nelson, Melissa Gellman, and Alistair Clarke
Jeff Podolsky and Peter Davis
Blair Voltz Clarke and Holly Dunlap
Gregg Renfrew and Amanda Ross
Edward Helmore and Sarah Crisotbal
Hillary Narov and Kelly Bensimon
Jim Shi and Andrew Saffir
Sarah Cristobal and Kate Schelter
Rett Wallace and Amanda Ross
Sara Cristobal and Mr. Schelter
Sophie Maynard and Daniel Benedict
Sora Ahn and Manel Garcia
Bob Morris
Doug Hand and Lucy Sykes
Steve Prince and Hailey Lustig
Tim Geary, Ally Ross Green, and Sarah Geary
Tim Schifter and Lorenzo Lorenzotti
Tracy Taylor and Mortimer Sackler
Vanessa von Bismarck and Andrew Rosen
Katie Zorn and Matt Dickinson
And on Monday night before, George Farias gave himself a birthday dinner in at private room off the restaurant at MoMA.  His actual birthday was February 15th and it was his fortieth; I think, a few years older than Euan Rellie. Although both parties were about the same size, the Farias birthday had a wider age range (in other words, often older), and it was more “uptown,” fancier with the tables beautifully decorated by David Monn who is one of the most popular events designers in New York these days. Although the hosts and guests are not far apart on the current social map. You might even notice a couple of cross-overs besides this writer.
George Farias and Sarah Rosenthal
Laura Zecklendorf and friend
Allison Mazzola
Dominique Browning
Ophelia Rudin
Tracy Snyder and Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia
Dominique Browning and Alex Papachristidis
Maria Papachristidis
Anne Bass
The birthday cake
Dr. Mitch Rosenthal, Katherine Bryan, and Bruce Levingston
Debbie Bancroft
Annette Tapert
Leonel Piraino
Campion Platt toasting the birthday boy
Jeff Podolsky

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Photographs by DPC/