|Looking south along Park Avenue at 67th Street. 3:30 PM. Photo: JH.|
| Wintry grey day in Manhattan, warmish with rain falling intermittently, only three days left before the long holiday weekend. My cabbie told me that today (Thursday) is the beginning of the exodus. The sidewalks along Fifth Avenue were jammed with shoppers or lookers or tourists.
Joan is Joan, on-stage or off. Although off-stage, off-camera you get a more thorough sense of the very intelligent, very sensitive and kind woman who turned a career into an industry (writing, acting, stand-up and of course the very lucrative jewelry business).
At the table in front of Joan (and next to ours) Liam Neeson was lunching with casting director-turned-producer Bonnie Timmerman. On the other side of us, Maria Bartiromo. Across the aisle Blythe Danner was lunching with Kim McCarty. On the other side of Timmerman and Neeson, former prosecutor and prolific mystery novelist Linda Fairstein was lunching with three women who are experts on DNA forensics. Linda was carrying the galleys to her 10th detective thriller, Killer Heat. And at the table next to her media mogul Barry Diller was lunching with a colleague.
And next to her: Sandy Hill; beyond them BizBash’s Ed Adler with Tammy Haddad (see Monday’s Washington Social Diary); Also author Pamela Keogh; Jonathan Wald, Henry Schlieff, Steve Rubenstein Walter Sabo and Reese Schoenfeld; Jaqui Lividini with designers (Vena Cava) Sophie Buhal and Lisa Mayock, and I with producer/ philanthropist/world traveler Francine LeFrak. Michael’s is closed all of next week as so many of their clientele will be hitting the beaches and ski-slopes in warmer or snowier (and partier) climes.
Last Thursday at Brooks Brothers’ Madison Avenue store (346 Madison at 44th Street), Santa Claus came to visit along with Marlo Thomas, making her second annual appearance and reading from her book, “Marlo Thomas and Friends: Thanks & Giving All Year Long”.
Santa posed for pictures with the children attending. They were also entertained with cookie and ornament decorating, balloonists dressed as elves. In keeping with the holiday spirit, guests were served egg nog, hot cider and hors d’oeuvres. Designer Jeffrey Banks also made a special appearnce autographing his book Tartain: Romancing the Plaid.
All of this was done with Brooks Brothers in partnership with Cookie Magazine in an effort to raise funds for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, which was founded by Ms. Thomas’ father, the late actor/comedian Danny Thomas.
In fact, since November 18th and right through the first of the New Year, Brooks Brothers stores has added a $1 donation or more at the registers during check-out.
They also offered all guests at the party 15% off all purchases as well as donating 10% of the evening’s proceeds to St. Jude’s. Their goal was to raise $500,000 during the Thanks and Giving Campaign.
The campaign’s motto was “Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not.” The campaign was created by Marlo Thomas and her two siblings Terre and Tony Thomas.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is am extraordinary achievement of a man’s idea of helping children. It is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. For more information, please visit www.stjude.org.
|And while we’re on the subject of giving to the children and the community: A week ago Monday night the Food Allergy Initiative held its 10th annual Ball at in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria and raised a record $5 million to benefit the Initiatives research activities and educational programs aimed at effectively treating and raising awareness of life-threatening food allergies.
This year they honored Frank Bruno, president of Cerberus Global Investment Advisors LLL, and the Jaffe Family who founded the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine as well as a FAI founding family.
Ron Perelman, Chairman and CEO, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., was the Corporate Dinner Chair, Sharyn Mann and Todd Slotkin were the Gala Dinner Chairs. Patricia and James Cayne, Mary Richardson Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Julia and David H. Koch were the Benefit Dinner Chairs. Renée Fleming and Brian Stokes Mitchell gave a special performance.
Whenever the subject of food allergy comes up, I always think of Sharyn Mann whom I first met when we were dinner partners at a charity gala about twelve years ago. She told me about the problem, how she had a child they almost lost to food allergies.
The crisis was so great that she decided to “do something about it.” At the time of our meeting, she had only an idea on how to take it to the public. In 1997, the first fundraiser was held and there were doubters out there who didn’t get the gravity of the situation. There was not a lot of encouragement to succeed. But Mrs. Mann ignored the doubters and in short time proved them wrong. Let that be a lesson.