Thursday, June 3, 2010

Very warm late Spring day, yesterday in New York

Looking towards Bethesda Terrace. 9:25 PM. Photo: JH.
June 3, 2010. Very warm late Spring day, yesterday in New York.

Whereas the traffic on Tuesday was light as a Sunday, yesterday was jam time all over town. I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Arie and Coco Kopelman, Marge van Dercook, Executive Director for the School of American Ballet, and Liz McCreery to chat about next Tuesday night’s School of American Ballet Workshop Performance Benefit at Lincoln Center. The Kopelmans, who have been long-time supporters of the SAB, will be the evening’s honorees.

Arie Kopelman, when he was President and CEO of Chanel US, forged a long term supporting relationship between the fragrance and fashion giant and the SAB. That relationship continues today, after Arie’s retirement, under the aegis to Chanel’s new President and CEO John Galantic.

School of American Ballet teacher Darci Kistler, teaching.
Coco Kopelman, as a young child growing up in New York, attended SAB classes in her pre-teen years. Today her granddaughter Sadie Kargman, age 7, is following in her grandmother’s “footsteps.” This may be the first time that both grandmother and granddaughter attended SAB. Sadie is in a class taught by the great Darci Kistler, who is retiring from the stage this year and will continue to teach at the SAB.

The Workshop evening is when the graduating students perform in concert before departing to the Great Big World out there. Not all SAB students continue in the ballet world, but there are more than 70 ballet companies across the world employing SAB graduates.

This year’s Workshop performance will be Christopher Wheeldon’s Scenes de Ballet with music by Igor Stravinsky. Next Tuesday night’s event is chaired by Paige Bluhdorn, Elizabeth McCreery, Suzanne Allen Redpath and Laura Zeckendorf. Dinner chairs are Sasha and John Galantic. Corporate chair is Jack Watters of Pfizer, Inc., and Young Patrons Chairs are Alexandra Adame and Genevieve Labean.

Michael’s was its usual Wednesday hopping:
Michael Gross was with Maer Roshan, who’s been away from the Big Town and working in Los Angeles, but is back, at least for awhile. At the table next to them Glamour‘s Cindi Leive was lunching with Liz Lange, who is now selling her new line on HSN, Completely Me by Liz Lange. At nearby tables: mega-literary agent Esther Newberg, film and broadcasting tycoon Herb Siegel, Gerry Byrne; Jim Abernathy and Preppy Handbook creator Lisa Birnbach, who has a new book True Prep, co-created with Chip Kidd. Also: Today‘s Judy Gordon, Martha Nelson of Time’s Style and Entertainment Group; PR exec Harriet Weintraub; Showtime's Matt Blank; Peter Price; Stefani Greenfield with Robi and Ramy Ludwig; Judy Price, Gordon Davis, Randy Jones with Dr. Mitch Rosenthal, literary agent Fredi Friedman with Betsy Perry; David Poltrack of CBS News; Harold Ford, Jr. with CNBC's Squawk Box anchor Joe Kernen; Jack Myers, Nancy Lynn, Conde Nast's David Carey.
Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture on the corner of 55th Street and Sixth Avenue yesterday afternoon at 2:30.
Meanwhile, last night at the Bandshell (under an enormous tent) in Central Park, the Central Park Conservancy held its annual “Taste of Summer” benefit, al fresco with more than 1000 guests, open bar, a buffet of tasting from more than 40 restaurants across the city, a big dance floor and music by the great DJ Tom Finn – all from 7 – 11. Jordana Z. was there and took some mouthwatering shots of some of the delectables (click to visit).

The host committee included the Women’s Committee President Gillian Miniter, Vittorio Assaf, Fabio Granato, Selmin Arat, Carol Bell, Rebecca Campbell, Lydia Fenet, Darren Henault, Kristy and Jonathan Korngold, Jill Lafer, Alexandra Lebenthal, Patrick McMullan, Connie Anne Phillips, Angel Sanchez, Gina Tuttle.
Benefit Committee included: Kathryn Patterson, Suzanne and Bob Cochran, Elizabeth Belfer, Noreen Buckfire, Diana and Joe DiMenna, Yaz and Valentin Hernandez, Ann Tenenbaum and Tom Lee, Margaret and Daniel Loeb, Alison Minton, Elyse and Michael Newhouse, Liz and Jeff Peek, Patsy and Jeff Tarr and Laurie M. Tisch. A good time and then some was had by all.
Looking towards the the tent where the Central Park Conservancy held its annual “Taste of Summer” benefit.
The changing scene under the tent ...
It was a perfect night for a party in the Park. The funds raised benefit the Central Park Conservancy and its mission to maintain and preserve the Park. The Conservancy founded in 1980, manages Central Park under a contract with the City of New York/Department of Parks and Recreation. Thanks to the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations, it has raised more than a half billion dollars to date, and has transformed Central Park into a model for urban parks nationwide. The Conservancy provides more than 85% of Central Park's annual $27 million operating budget and is responsible for all basic care of the Park.
Colleen and Graves Tompkins with Mimi Crawford. Susan Fales-HIll, Gillian Miniter, and Sarah Evans.
Roger Webster, Janna Bullock, and R. Couri Hay.
Handing the Torch of Liberty to a Great Newspaperman. A room full of editors, writers, public figures and donors gathered in midtown last night for the presentation of the 2010 Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award. Attorney Kenneth Bialkin, chairman emeritus of the American Jewish Historical Society, presented the society's highest honor to Seth Lipsky, the Wall Street Journal stalwart and the founder and editor of the New York Sun and the English edition of the Forward newspaper.

Peter Kann, who first met Lipsky in Vietnam, and later worked with him at the Wall Street Journal, served as master of ceremonies, introducing six speakers who gave an affectionate mixture of toasts and roasts. They were Roger Hertog, Michael Steinhardt, and Tom Tisch, who were among the owners of The New York Sun; Philip Gourevitch, a writer for the New Yorker; Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal; and Amity Shlaes, a columnist for Bloomberg and Mr. Lipsky's wife.
Elie Wiesel and Jane Eisner.
Amity Shlaes and Flora Lipsky. Bernard Nussbaum and Nancy Kuhn.
The many accomplishments of the author of “The Citizen’s Constitution: An Annotated Guide” and a forthcoming biography of Abraham Cahan were evident as speakers regaled the audience.

Philip Gourevitch, the former editor of the Paris Review, told amusing anecdotes as a young reporter at the Forward. He came to the Forward offices having written a couple of book reviews. Mr. Lipsky told him, “My New York bureau chief just quit. Have you ever done any reporting?’ Mr. Gourevitch recalled his response: "I said "no'‘ and Lipsky said, 'Good! No bad habits.'”
Ira and Ingeborg Rennert with Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy.
Lipsky-nurtured talent: writers Jonathan Mahler, Philip Gourevitch, and Jonathan Rosen.
Mr. Gourevitch said that Mr. Lipsky made others feel that working at a newspaper was fun and that he was a great mentor. "It's pretty hard to pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading work by people who got their start from him," he said.

Then he told of Lipsky's preference of attire for his reporters. “He believed that a newspaperman should wear a hat. And he had a relationship with a hat company over on Herald Square, and he sent me over there early on to buy a hat so that I could look like a proper newspaperman.

“So I went over there and bought this fabulous Borsalino, which to me spoke of great Italian style, and I came back to the office, and he said, ‘What is that thing on your head?’ and I said, ‘It’s the hat you bought for me.' He said, ‘No, no, no,’ and he went over to his office closet door and out tumbled a stack of hats. And he said, ‘Now, look,' and he brought out a ruler and measured the brim of my hat and he measured his hat, and he pointed out that the brim of his hat was at least half an inch smaller than my hat. And he said, ‘Now, you take that back and return that, because when you walk into a room with a guy and you say you’re from the Forward, we want him to know that you’re there to interview him and not to shoot him.”
Karen and Masha Leon.
Minky Worden and Peter Huvos of Human Rights Watch. Seth Lipsky and Thomas Meaney.
Mr. Gigot said that Mr. Lipsky’s ideal presidential candidate would be a Zionist, neoconservative who believes in the gold standard and the flat tax. In other words, “he’s a Jew who believes in the Messiah.”

He said to work for Mr. Lipsky is to believe you have the best job in the world, because Mr. Lipsky believes that being a newspaper reporter is the best job in the world. "Seth was my foreign editor when I was a correspondent in Asia for the Wall Street Journal and my first job for Seth was to go write a profile of Imelda Marcos. When I arrived at the hotel in the Philipines there was a telex waiting for me with three words: ‘Anecdotes, anecdotes, anecdotes.’
Nancy, Martin, and John Polevoy.
Peter Kann and American Jewish Historical Society President Donald Kaplan.
In pursuit of these gems, Mr. Gigot racked up some very large bills. "I had never spent money like this and I became concerned," Mr. Gigot explained. "So I called Seth and said, 'How should I handle it?' 'Well, Gigot,'" Lipsky replied, "'think of it as your money — but think of it as if you made $150,000,000 a year."

“Another lesson I learned from Seth was about sources. Seth was famous for knowing heads of state, finance ministers, opposition leaders, but I never really understood fully the breadth of Seth’s contacts until I was pursuing a story for him in southeast Asia on whether the Soviet Union had used biological weapons in the Vietnam War. “And as I was reporting, Seth said, ‘You really ought to talk to the former king of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk. And I said, ‘Seth, that would be good, but Sihanouk is in exile in North Korea.’ And Seth said, ‘Well, that’s right. I have his number. It’s 7.’ I said, 'What number?’ and he said, “Yeah, it’s 7.” He got it from a great journalist Nayan Chanda. So sure enough, I called the operator and said, 'I’d like to talk to Pyongyang, number 7.’ I got Sihanouk."
Remy Holzer and Adam Kirsch. Paul Gigot.
Robert Emmett Tyrrell, Sheldon Solow, and Michael Steinhardt.
While editorialists are known for shooting the wounded, Miss Shlaes said her husband has always taken a different approach. "Seth comes on to the bloody battlefield but he doesn't shoot the wounded. He brings them soup... He defends the most unpopular and least loved person at his most unpopular and least loved moment."

On the event committee were Henry Kissinger; Sir Harold Evans; Tina Brown; Schools Chancellor Joel Klein; Ira Stoll, editor and founder of; and newspaper publishers Donald Graham of the Washington Post, Rupert Murdoch of News Corp., Arthur Sulzberger Jr. of the New York Times, and Mortimer Zuckerman of the New York Daily News.
Tom Tisch, Michael Stoler, and Billie Tisch.
Ira Stoll and Joseph Steinberg. Michael Mukasey.
Guests included Mayor Koch, Lally Weymouth, Elie Wiesel, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, United Nations correspondent Benny Avni, Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter, Neal and Maud Kozodoy, as well as Masha Leon, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the gossip column she writes (and her daughter, Karen Leon photographs) for the Forward.

Mr. Lipsky said that while he loves newspapers, what he loves most is pursuing a story. He entertained the crowd with a little-known tale of Zionist leader Theodore Herzl. "The truth is that his dream was to start a Jewish newspaper," Mr. Lipsky said. But after considering the proposition, he decided "to do something simpler, something easier. He thought, 'I'm going to start a Jewish state.'"

— Amanda Gordon and Gary Shapiro
Seth Lipsky accepts congratulations from Paul Singer.
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