Friday, April 24, 2009

Brisk Spring day

Central Park in full. 2:15 PM. Photo: JH.
April 24, 2009. Brisk Spring day in New York with rainclouds passing through leaving no precipitation.

I’m still taking in the flora sprouting up in the steel, glass, brick, macadam and concrete canyons of Manhattan.

Yesterday’s luncheon calendar was a Manhattan Trifecta, although impossible to cover all, and all of which I missed thanks to a mysterious bug that paid me a visit and stayed most of the day.

However, all were well worth the blessings of good health (and sound mind), and the proximity of Manhattan: the American Museum of Natural History’s 19th annual Spring Environmental Lecture and Luncheon, The Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon at the Waldorf honoring the great Placido Domingo, and the 6th Annual Authors in Kind Literary Luncheon at the Plaza, benefiting God’s Love We Deliver.
The luncheon scene at the Plaza ballroom for the 6th Annual Authors in Kind Literary Luncheon at the Plaza, benefiting God’s Love We Deliver.
Linda Fairstein Giulia Melucci
Wally Lamb William D. Cohan
Karen Pearl with members of the Planned Parenthood of Nassau County
The Authors luncheon featured four new books and their authors: Linda Fairstein’s “Lethal Legacy,” William D. Cohan’s “House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street,” Wally Lamb’s “The Hour I First Believed,” and Giulia Melucci’s “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” (“proving that the cure for a broken heart is pasta”). Okay.
Betsy Blattmachr, Candy Ponder, Sarah Miller, and Nancy O'Keeffe Betty and Jon Gilman
Hajime Fukuju and Susan Tennant from Mikimoto Beth Dambriunas, Cindy Nelson, and Donna DeGrandi
Cece Cord and Joanne de Guardiola Kara Young Georgiopolous and Blaine Trump
Roseline Gilbert with Victor and Kathleen Zammit Marni McBride and Jeff Pfeifle Karen Pearl and Blaine Trump
David Ludwigson and Gary Snieski Irwin and Vicki Halpert, Tara Halpert, and Jaret Keller
Jamee Gregory and Cece Cord converse with Wally Lamb
Jeff Diglio and Barbara Mohan Peggy Vance, Michele Ateyeh, and Pat Stensrud
Stephanie Olmsted, Russell Saray, and Elaine Quevedo Kerin Williamson, Michael Senate, and David Williamson
Over at the AMNH, Lynn Sherr was Moderator, the subject was “green consumerism,” and Green panelists were Sloan Barnett, Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director of Green America, the national green economy organization, and James Gustave Speth, the Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Sara Shallenberger Brown Professor in the Practice of Environmental Policy at Yale. The focus was on how what you buy affects your quality of life and the health of the Earth.

AMNH's 19th annual Spring Environmental Lecture and Luncheon included a panel discussion on Making the Right Choices: What it Really Means to Go Green.
The museum’s annual Environmental Lecture, many of which I have attended in past years, should be compulsory attending/viewing for all of us as they are informative, educational, thought provoking and take a practical viewpoint of what the planet has in store for us humanoids who aren’t thinking about it but will have to live with it.

And then there’s the Met Guild Luncheon
which I’ve also attended several times in past years. 700 attending fill the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria. This is a triumphal meal for opera lovers and it here you see how varied and vast is the passion, as it fills the room and affects nearly everybody attending.

Co-chairs were Mercedes Bass, Oscar de la Renta, Guillermo Martinez, Diana Reid Chazud, Helen Marx, Mrs. Garfield Miller III and Elizabeth Tunick.

The luncheon honored the 40th Anniversary of Placido’s Met debut. The entire opera world gathered to hear a musical tribute by Dolora Zajick with spoken tributes by Martina Arroyo, Marilyn Horne, James Levine, Sherrill Milnes and Samuel Ramey along with a special appearance by more than 35 of Maestro Domingo’s star colleagues. A love-in is what you could call it. Even poorly versed opera fans like me get the message. It’s fun and it’s beautiful.

Midday I ventured out to the store for some supplies (like soup and sandwich). I had the Digital handy to catch nature’s April blessings.
Last night, feeling a little less threatened by the mysterious bug, I ventured down to the Plaza to catch the reception of the 12th annual Bergh Ball with the Theme: “Rescue Me.” The black tie dinner dance honored Martha Stewart with the ASPCA Presidential Service Award, presented by Ed Sayres who is president of the ASPCA.

The 8-year-old shih-tzu girl who's coming to live with Byron and Missy et al.
Chairmen of the evening were Somers and Jonathan Farkas, Michele and Fredrik Gradin, Margo and James Nederlander, Kim White and Kurt Wolfgruber; and Honorary Chairs Linda and Ben Lambert. Benefit committee included Ariana and Dixon Boardman, Annette and Matt Lauer, Jill Rappaport and Richard Swift, Ellen and Chuck Scarborough, Allison and Jay Aston, Mark Gilbertson and Lake Bell.

I arrived just as Martha was stepping onto the Red Carpet with a cute little pug all dolled up for the occasion and ready for a new loving home.

Among the canines attending (ostensibly to find a loving home) was a little 8-year-old shih-tzu female who on meeting agreed to join the Byron-and-Missy family. She was “owner surrendered.”

After eight years. Imagine: loving someone for eight years and then being turned out. She hasn’t been very playful since her arrival at the ASPCA. We humans respond similarly. It’s called depression.
A table in the grand ballroom with Marc Rosen and company. That's Ben Gazzara on the lower right with his wife Elke.
Stephanie Krieger and Brian Stewart figuring out their placement.
Older dogs have an even harder time finding a home once they’ve been turned out, or abandoned, or abused by all those jerks out there busily accumulating bad karma for themselves (in case you wondered how I look at it).

I’ve adopted three older dogs in the past, over the years, and they are always the sweetest little pals. So now I’m going to have the opportunity for more of that sweetness around the house. It’s one thing you can’t OD on and it returns the vibes a thousand-fold.
Martha Stewart with one of the prized pugs in need of a loving home. Isaac Mizrahi on the red carpet with Oliver, the Scarborough's 11-year-old.
Sharon Handler, Bonnie Evans, and Melissa Morris Janna Bullock Brian Stewart and Stephanie Krieger (in Carolina Herrera)
Dawn Fortangelo, Ellen Scarborough with Oliver, Felicia Taylor, and Lisa Anastos Linda and Ben Lambert Elke and Ben Gazzara
Randy and Mindy Levine Margo Nederlander, Martha Stewart, Somers Farkas, and Michele Gradin Linda Lambert and ASPCA' public events director Jaimee Bloom
It was a very glamorous looking crowd last night. And the ballroom reflected the kind hearts as well as the beautiful springtime just outside the doors of the Plaza. On departure, it was such a beautiful night right there on the corner of Central Park where 59th Street crosses Fifth Avenue. I took photos of three of those corners.

One hundred years ago, the Plaza was only two years old. Overlooking the Grand Army Plaza commemorating the Union in the Civil War that had ended only forty years before, there had been other hotels occupying the site. Across the boulevard (Central Park South) The Central Park, begun a half century before, was still filling out and maturing. The Square marked the final extension of commercial property on the avenue. The area was still commingled with the mansions of the city's millionaires and was known as millionaires row. By the time the Vanderbilt mansion was razed and replaced by Bergdorf's, the millionaires had all moved farther up the avenue where the pastoral acres of Central Park were their only neighbors.
The public entrance to the Plaza last night about nine o'clock.
One of the tulip beds in the plaza square looking south towards the Fountain and Bergdorf Goodman. Known as the Pulitzer Fountain, donated by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer (for whom the prizes are also named). The bronze and granite fountain was designed by Karl Bitter, who died at age 48, the year before it was built. For many of us who are/were readers of F. Scott Fitzgerald, our introduction to the Plaza Fountain (and the romance of it) came through the story of Scott and Zelda romping in it after a night of boozing and flappers in the 1920s. At that time the fountain was surrounded by the Plaza Hotel, the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion to the south (where Bergdorf's is) and the Savoy-Plaza Hotel (where the GM/Trump Building with the Apple Cube cube in front stands today).
Looking south down Fifth from the corner of 59th Street, towards the Apple Cube, 745 Fifth Avenue which houses Bergdorf's Men and the salons of Verdura (on the 12th floor). Across the street is Bergdorf's, and on the next block south is the Bulgari store.
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Photographs by ANN WATT (God's Love).
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