Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Long after dark

Rooftop view, Upper West Side. 1:30 AM. Photo: JH.
October 28, 2009. Yesterday was grey and rainy. Long after dark. The pavement and the parked-overnight-cars of the sidestreets are pasted with Mother Nature’s mosaics of wet fallen leaves. Walking by the park with the dogs this morning, the wet wood and earth smelled like autumn.

New York Business. went down to Michael’s to lunch with Brooke Hayward Duchin. At the table behind us in the bay were several very well dressed New York women, and Hutton Wilkinson (see Monday’s Diary) and his Book, More Is More; Tony Duquette in a pile on the middle of the table.

I think the hostess was Francesca Stanfill Nye who has known Hutton and his wife Ruth, and Tony and Beegle Duquette for a very long time through her mother and father Dennis and Terry Stanfill who live in San Marino and are old friends.
The luncheon table yesterday at Michael's, standing left to right: Adrienne Vittadini, Wendy Goodman, Hutton Wilkinson. Seated left to right: Harriet Weintraub, Ruth Wilkinson, Francesca Stanfill Nye, Charlotte Moss, and Susan Hess.
I’m guessing it was a book party luncheon, as you can see the printed menus on the table – unusual for Michael’s unless it’s a special occasion. Wendy Goodman (red scarf) is the well known author/journalist on the subject of interior design. She wrote the first book on Tony Duquette and his style and life, with Hutton’s collaboration. There was one other guest who came in after I took the picture – Pamela Fiori, the editor-in-chief of Town & Country.

This looks to be a very stylish ladies’ lunch with Special Guest. But in New York, at Michael’s, at the scene of being seen, and the women at table – novelist, journalist, editor, interior designer, fashion designer, opinion maker, working girls all, this was an example of what New York is to itself and to the world – the source of information and the source for putting it out there. As glamorous as all of these girls look, all have much higher priorities and actualizing them. That would be business. New York business.

Rain and all, New York was busy again last night.
Up at Verdura, the Landrigans, pere et fils, Ward and Nico, and Gilles Mendel, Amanda Ross, Mary Alice Stephenson and Annabel Tollman hosted a cocktail reception marking Verdura’s 70th Anniversary.

On the occassion of its 70th anniversary, Verdura is offering limited-edition reissues of Coco Chanel's cuffs (enameled gold set with sapphires, rubies and emeralds).
Fulco started in business at this time in 1939, backed by Cole Porter and Vincent Astor, with an atelier on the second floor of what is now the Henri Bendel store on Fifth Avenue between 55th and 56th Street. World War II was breaking out in Europe at the same time. Not a good time to start a business, but yes, as it turned out, it was. The current salon is located at 745 Fifth Avenue, twelve stories above the Bergdorf Men’s with a great view of the Plaza fountain and the Park.

Last night’s guests were treated to a special exhibition of Verdura’s Museum collection including Coco Chanel’s original Verdura Maltese Cross Cuff.

A few blocks north on Madison and 74th
Street at VBH, Valentino and Giancarlo Giamatti were expected to join a packed of boldfaced ones to celebrate the great success of Matt Tyrnauer’s fabulous documentary on the two men, “The Last Emperor.” I never got there to find out who the revelers were but no doubt they had ever reason to celebrate.

And just a few blocks from there Charlotte Moss and her husband Barry Friedberg were hosting a dinner at the townhouse for Hutton Wilkinson of the aforementioned Michael’s lunch.

While up in Central Park, underneath a tent, the Central Park Conservancy was holding its annual Halloween Ball. The eerie, the supernatural and the Big Hams all meet under the chosen theme of “Twilight”. A costume contest, dancing and dining. Chaired by Suzanne and Bob Cochran. A fundraiser and fun-raiser.
Fred and Stephanie Shuman Little Red Riding Hood and Big Bad Wolf
Sarah Pribyl
Todd Romano Kristin Accola
Rosemary Ponzo and Bill Cunningham
Warrie Price Pana Chung Christine Brice
The Characters from CLUE
Steven Rich and Jennifer Saul Lauren and Alex Silverman with Ellen and Teddy Schwarzman
The storm of August 18th, 2009
Patsy and Jeff Tarr Doug Blonsky
James Price, Melvin Kaufman, and Brian Fusetti
Piggy Bank Dan Levine Tatiana Ridley and Sabina Wirth
Marina Rust and Ian Connor
Karla La Bianca and Gary McDaniels Sandra Wijnberg and Hugh Freund
Syvester and Gillian Miniter
Chef Giordano Paula Smith and Steve Hoffman
Then down at the Waldorf, they were celebrating the Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala. This was their 26th, and the last I heard, they took in around $2 million last night.

I’ve attended many of these Rita Hayworth galas, and written about them many times. However, they are remarkable events. There is an energy in this particular project that is well-represented and presented by the committee women who put it together.

The table just before the dessert serving.
Like that luncheon table at Michael’s yesterday day, the cast are New York women who work at their choices/jobs/ positions. Muffie Potter Aston who was honored with the Rita Hayworth award has been on this committee for years. In introducing her, Princess Yasmin Khan (Yaz or Yazzie to her many friends) who founded this event in memory of her mother, said that Muffie was always calling, sending messages of ideas, thoughts, plans of attack at all hours of the day and night. She’s intense. And fashionable.

Maybe that’s the best way to describe this particular project. Intense and fashionable. As you can see from the few party pictures I took (we’ll have more from Patrick McMullan), they dress for the occasion. There were several hundred of them last night, all dressed for the occasion. Although I would have to say that, diamonds and emeralds aside, this is a rock-and-roll crowd.

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd offered to play “Wish You Were Here” with musicians and singers. The Pointer Sisters performed. Dan Ackroyd and Jay McInerney conducted a rousing auctions. And the dance floor was rockin’, so there was no want of entertainment.

However, it is also an intensely emotional event.
Alexandra Lebenthal Princess Yasmin Aga Khan
Water’s “Wish You Were Here” could have been the mantra of so many present who know Alzheimers from family experience. While he sang, on the screen above him were changing images of famous people who were victims of the disease. Astounding. So many names and faces familiar to all of us.

Statistic: now every 70 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Alexandra Lebenthal who was last night’s Chairman and has worked for the organization for years, recounted her mother’s entry into the state of this disease ten years ago.
It was explained to me that the reason it is so intense and so successful is because of the family tie. The Catsimatidis Family, John, Margo and their son and daughter, John Jr. and Andrea were given the inaugural Family Philanthropy Award.

John and Margo have been bringing their son and daughter to the event for several years. Their sharing this with their children has inspired the children to participate in charitable work also. After all four made brief acceptance speeches, John announced that he was pledging an additional $100,000 to the cause.
Dr. Sherrell Aston, Muffie Potter Aston, and Doug Leeds Nikki Haskell, Sharon Bush, and Richard and Donna Solloway
A third award, also inaugural, the Rita Hayworth Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Lonni Wollen, a lawyer who has lost several members of his family to Alzheimers and has been working for the cause since the gala’s inception and has personally worked more than thirty years to help find a cure.

After the Awards and the main course at dinner (filet mignon, asparagus, polenta), The Pointers came on and got the room dancing (and table hopping). Ackroyd and McInerney started the auction – first, an appearance in the “Ghost Busters” sequel that is going into production soon – and the party began. Outside in the galleries and reception rooms, a lot of people were checking out the Silent Auction Items – a lot of them, and signing up.

It’s scary to even think about. Except. It’s there. It’s here. It’s also intergenerational, and the numbers are growing. It’s insidious and everybody loses, and forever. There must be an answer. That’s what these women, these girls work for. Alexandra Lebenthal reminded the guests last night: “Next year starts tomorrow morning at eleven o’clcok.”
Douglas Hannant and Felicia Taylor Debbie Bancroft and Felicia Taylor
Barbara and Bruce Winston Rodolfo Valentin and Mark Simone Patty Raynes and Frederick Anderson
Diandra Douglas, John McEnroe, and Marty Bregman Alexandra Lebenthal, Frederick Anderson, and Jeanne Lawrence
Christopher Nixon Cox and Andrea Catsimitidis Patrick McMullan and Nancy Silverman
Barbara Bancroft and Nikki Haskell Lucia Hwong Gordon Harriet Weintraub
One of the digital crowd Prince Dimitri and Anne Hearst
Kimberly Rockefeller and Laura Hunt Janna Bullock Alison Mazzola and Hunt Slonem
John and Andrea Stark Richard and Dana Kirschenbaum Paola Rosenshein and friend
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Photographs by ANN WATT (CPC Halloween)
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