|Falling into fall. 2:40 PM. Photo: JH.|
|Tuesday, November 2, 2010. Quite chilly in New York yesterday, and sunny; in the full autumn mode.
Last night was the New York Public Library’s annual Library Lions Dinner. This is one of the most prestigious benefit galas (fundraising dinners) of the autumn season in New York.
There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the prestige of the great New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
The 2010 Library Lions were Malcolm Gladwell, Ethan Hawke, Paul LeClerc (the Library’s CEO and main officer who is retiring from his post this year), Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) and Zadie Smith.
|Last night's honorees with their Library Lions Medals, Paul LeClerc, Steve Martin, Malcolm Gladwell, Zadie Smith, and Ethan Hawke.|
|The roster of honorees is always a draw when the invitations go out. You see those names and you can only think: that would be interesting. Some of the Lions in previous dinners have been Edward Albee, Brooke Astor, Mike Nicholas, John Richardson, Martin Scorsese, John Hope Franklin, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Hughes, E. Annie Proulx, James Watson, Robert Caro, Elie Wiesel, Nora Ephron, Susan Stroman (director and choreographer of “Scottsboro Boys” which opened on Sunday night at the Lyceum); Arthur Schlesinger, Philip Roth, Renee Fleming, Nora Ephron. You get the picture; a treat for the guests, no matter who.
There is also the historical roster of supporters including those men and women in the 19th century who managed to create this magnificent collection and archive for the next generations, including the first Mr. Astor and Mr. Lenox.
|The Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library last night, decorated by David Monn with Gayfryd Steinberg for the annual Library Lions dinner.|
|The city outside the Reading Room seen through windows that were blacked out for decades until the Room was renovated under the leadership of Paul LeClerc.|
|Then there today’s supporters many of whom were there last night and many who number among the wealthiest members of the community including Stephen Schwarzman, whose $100 million donation to the Library was acknowledged by carving his name in stone on the main building. These contributions (and bequests) are what has made it possible for this Library to become one of the greatest in the world, and an inspiration and a haven to writers and scholars everywhere.
Last night I was seated at the table near Robert Hughes, the eminent art critic and historian who has just finished a history of Rome which was largely written in the very room where we were dining. Another guest whom I know, Susan Fales-Hill, writes her books in this same room. She and Mr. Hughes both credit the Library and its facilities for their ability to create and complete a work. Besides them there are thousands of men and women who have used it to their advantage for the same reasons. It is a special place in many ways to many creative and industrious (and intellectual) people.
|Alexandra Kotur and Tory Burch.||Todd Meister and Jamie Tisch.|
|Leonel Piraino and Nina Griscom.||Louise Grunwald, John Dobkin, and Hilary Gumbel.|
|Carl Spielvogel, Donald Newhouse, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, and Sue Newhouse.|
|Dr. and Mrs. Peter McCann.||Sila Calderon, the first woman Governor of Puerto Rico.|
|Then there is the dinner itself. An hour of cocktails begins at 7. It is held in various locations in this monumental building. This year it was in the Edna Barnes Solomon Room, just across from the Rose Main Reading room (officially the Deborah, Jonathan, F. P. Samuel Priest, and Adam Raphael Rose Main Reading Room) where the actual dinner is held at the very same tables that the aforementioned authors and scholars do their research reading and writing night and day year round.
I’m not sure when it began but Gayfryd Steinberg, who with her husband Saul, has been a big Library supporter for years, and designer David Monn began collaborating on the dinner décor, or more precisely, planning the party/dinner several years ago. The result was an astonishment. Elaborate and fabulous décor along with a gilded and glamorous guest list. Each year the two outdo themselves although Mrs. Steinberg is quick to say that Mr. Monn is the genius at work and she is merely the enabler (my word, not hers). Or maybe the mother. Mr. Monn is, after all, in the business. Whatever, it’s a brilliant team.
|Charles Stevenson and David Upson.||Inge Rennert, Caryn Zucker and Nina Davidson.|
|Inge Rennert, Lewis Cullman, and Nina Griscom.|
|Dana Hammond Stubgen and John Paulson.||Zibby Right and Eva Heyman.|
|Richard and Donna Soloway.||David Monn and Susan Fales-Hill.|
|This year’s was a sensation as you can see, with the Rose Reading room done up in a kind of interior designed Halloween costume that amused and flattered the guests with its pink and pumpkins hues.
Catie Marron, chairman of the board of trustees, opened the evening, welcomed the guests and introduced Josh Steiner, the vice-chair, who spoke about the progress of the Library and introduced Paul LeClerc. In Mr. LeClerc’s 17 years as head of the Library, in-person visits has risen from 7 million in 1993 to 18 million this year. During his tenure some of the outstanding new collections that have been acquired and preserved have been the archives of Merce Cunningham, Jack Kerouac, Malcolm X, Jerome Robbins, and The New York Times. He has also overseen some of the greatest fund-raising in the history of the institution for the benefit of everybody in the community.
Maria Bartiromo, everybody’s favorite Wall Street television reporter spoke, and the honorees were called to the podium to receive their medals.
|Louise Grunwald, Saul Steinberg, and John Dobkin.||Gayfryd Steinberg.|
|Ellen Niven-Deery.||Susan Fales-Hill and Crystal McCrary Anthony.|
|All of this went on while we were having our dinner (or just before or in between courses) and our many conversations with dinner partners, cross-table, down-table (when the speakers weren’t speaking, that is).
After the awards we were shown short video interviews with the honorees. All were a pleasure, but of course Steve Martin was funny. Lots of laughter at the man’s ability to sound very intelligent and hilarious. He’s always a surprise even though you think you know what to expect: a kind of nutty guy next door. But hip. And nice looking, even conservative. And just plain funny.
Everyone was a pleasure to watch at listen to. Malcolm Gladwell, asked about the influence of the internet on writing today, said the internet had created by its existence, a “Golden Age for writers.”
|Sharon Hewitt-Watkins and Demetrious Watkins||Princess Firyal of Jordan and Gil Shiva.|
|Christy Ferer and Richard Edwards||Caroline Dean.|
|I meant to make this Diary short and simple since
I’ve written about this particular dinner several times before, and always with praise and enthusiasm, so I’m going to stop now.
My enthusiasm is the result of the pleasure of this occasion. It is the quintessential New York socio-cultural event at a certain level. Everything about this evening explains much of what makes the city the Big Attraction that draws the curiosity and even the attendance of so many people across the planet. It is the feather in the cap well worth wearing.
|One of the ceiling murals specially lit for the evening.||Astor Hall about 10:15 as guests becan leaving. The young women next to the long table are distributing the gift bags for the guests which include Malcolm Gladwell's "What the Dog Saw," a DVD of "Before Sunset" with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, Zadie Smith's "Changing My Mind, Occasional Essays," and "Candide and Other Stories" by Voltaire which is one of Paul LeClerc's favorite books.|
|The Library Lions dinner was hardly the only thing going on in New York last night. Over at the St. Regis, the Venetian Heritage Society was hosting its annual autumn gala and honoring, among others, Patricia Patterson. I was unable to get there obviously but it was very much on my mind because of Mrs. Patterson.
Patricia had a stroke several months ago. It occurred at a dinner party she was giving at her Fifth Avenue apartment. Fortunately she wasn’t alone and she was attended to immediately. However, it has been a long road to recovery.
I mention all this because Patricia’s navigation down that road has been plucky, courageous, and unabashed. I saw her the other night at dinner at Swifty’s. She was in a wheelchair, and dressed in the most relaxing and casual garments for a woman on her current path. In fact she wasn’t able to speak. However, despite that limitation, just on sight of me, and by my speaking to her and her responding with her hands, she didn’t miss a beat in getting the message across. But I knew why she was there: she’s been in recovery for some time now and wasn’t going to just stay home and wait for the world to come by. She was doing what she has always done: go out and catch it by the tail. That’s Patricia. It is an honor to be her friend.
Also last night, international interior designer Geoffrey Bradfield had an opening for his Art Exhibition “The Quick And the Dead” at Chelsea’s Sebastian & Barquet Gallery.” A big turnout. Jill Lynne was there and took it all in with her camera. We’ll be running them on tomorrow’s Diary. Here's a sneak peek.
|Geoffrey Bradfield with an Angel behind.||The Devil|
|Zang Toi flanked by Amy Hoadley and Lisa Selby.|
|Sylvia Miles.||Hunt Slonem and Liliana Cavendish.|
|Last Monday night there was a special performance of Stephen Sondheim’s long-lost musical, “Evening Primrose.” Performed only once, on television in 1966, this delightful production at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, starred the always dynamic Candice Bergen, as well as the oh-so-beautiful prima Dancer and Choreographer, Carmen De Lavallade as well as Sean Palmer, John Cunningham, Bethe Austin, Frederick Franklin, Sondra Lee, William Duell, Jessica Gove, Emma Howard, Matthew Schatz and other notables.|
|The cast of Sondheim's "Evening Primrose" with Candice Bergen.|
|Post- show, a gala Dinner was held atop the Hearst Building, surrounded by the twinkling nightscape of New York. The St. George Awards were given to the English Tony Walton (who also designed and directed “Evening Primrose”) for his many years of impressive Set and Costume Design – including a 1980 Oscar for “All That Jazz." An additional award was given to Glenda Bailey, Harper’s Bazaar’s Editor-in Chief, who was also hosted the evening.
The St. George Society of New York was founded in 1770 by Englishmen living in New York to assist fellow countrymen in distress. It is one of the few pre-revolutionary societies still in operation, carrying out its charitable mission.
Jill Lynne for NYSD
|Angela Lansbury.||Mercedes Ellington.|
|Glenda Bailey, Editor-in-Chief of Harper's Bazaar.||Peter Glebo and Tommy Tune.|
|John Shannon, Executive Director St. George's Society of New York.||Bob Blume, Producer Drama desk Awards.|
|Award Winner Set Designer Tony Walton.||Geoffrey Holder and Carmen De Lavallade.|
|June and Peter Felix.||Infamous Paparazzi Ron Gallela featured in HBO's docu "Smash His Camera."|
|Producer Margot Astrachan.||Lindsay Smits and Valerie Evans-Freke.|
|Eileen Guggenheim and Russell Wllkinson.||Sir Mark Justin Lyall Grant, British Permanent Representative to the United Nations.|
|The fabulous Alan Cumming presents his One Man Show.|
|Last week Hilton Hotels & Resorts in Short Hills, New Jersey, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, celebrated with a fabulous fundraising event. Guests were treated to a Poolside sushi dinner, a Private Concert by SEAL; as well as healing “eforea” spa treatments based on the indigenous Australian Aboriginal ways - the utilization of herbs, smudging, heat, bamboo, the spiral ...|
|Guest enjoy the Pool at the Hilton eforea Spa.|
|Australian Indigenous smudging to cleanse Body & Spirit.||Healing Treatment using hot Bamboo Stick.|
|Just 30 minutes from New York City, and almost adjacent Short Hills’ very chic mall -- the Hilton Hotel and “eforea Spa” are a perfect escape from the frenzy of the city.|
|Seth Aaron Henderson, host and winner 7th Season "Project Runway."||Bethenny Frankel and Tyson Beckford.||Katie Lee.|
|Melissa Tropeano LaTour, Tyson Beckford, Gina La Morte, Martha Fava, and Danielle D'Ambrosio.|
|Dave Horton, Global Head, Hilton Hotel & Resorts Brands, welcoming all.||Seth Aaron Henderson opens the show.|
|Private Concert with SEAL.|
|*** We are re-running this today because Joker is still SCHEDULED TO BE PUT DOWN TOMORROW MORNING at the MANHATTAN ANIMAL CARE AND CONTROL (212-788-4000, 326 100th Street between 1st and 2nd Ave).
By posting this yesterday we bought Joker ONE more day. If you are anyone you know is interested in ADOPTING JOKER, please call 212-788-4000 or go directly to the shelter tomorrow morning (adoptions opens at 11am, but please make sure you let the shelter know if you plan to adopt so that the pup is not put down before you arrive!).
From what we understand it can be very difficult to get a hold of Animal Control on the phone, so if someone is interested, at this point they should also contact Brooke Slater (of Bruised, Not Broken Bully-Dog Rescue) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|A Volunteer Wrote: Just look at Joker with his reddish hair and pittie-smile and tell me how someone could leave him tied to a fence? He is a sweet and docile dog, who was very understandably scared when he arrived at the shelter, but has come out of his shell since. When I approached him to take him out for a walk, he immediately put his paws on my shoulders and kissed me to death.
Although he pulls a little on the leash, he responded well to my corrections, and by the second half of the walk was behaving quite well. At 2 years old and 63lbs, Joker seems pretty healthy, as if someone was feeding him before abandoning him. In addition to his reddish hair, Joker has a cute patch of white hair running from the top of his down his snout, and a bright pink nose, which possibly led to his name. When he sat next to me for his pictures, he was a bit confused by the camera flash, but as soon as that was over he ended up putting his big head on my lap to relax. A beautiful pittie with lots of gentle love to give, Joker needs you to give him his forever home today!