Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Another busy one in the city

Playground, 43rd between 9th and 10th Avenue. 12:00 AM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012. Overcast and mild with light rain moving in at evening.

It was another busy one in the city. Over at the New-York Historical Society, they were holding their annual Strawberry Festival Luncheon. Chelsea Clinton was the “honoree.” I don’t know if that meant she spoke since I wasn’t there, but usually the speaker is the draw.  I saw her mother there, as well as Michelle Obama and several other prominent women. All interesting; all good. I’ve never heard Ms. Clinton speak but she comes from a fascinating upbringing, child of two hyper-dynamic people, so there must be a uniquely intelligent perspective.
Looking down Fifth Avenue from 64th Street at 8:10 p.m. last night.
Meanwhile, last night up at the Apollo on 125th Street, it was the opening Ailey at the Apollo with a performance by Alvin Ailey Dance, followed by a Reception to in the tent set up outside, in the rear of the theater.

At approximately the same hour, John Jay College was hosting its Gala, honoring Ted Ullyot of Facebook and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, with awards followed by a Champagne reception at 524 West 59th Street.

At about seven I stopped by Tamsen Z, the jewelry boutique owned by (Tamsen) Ann Ziff. Mrs. Ziff jewels are classic. She uses precious gems, pearls and gold in her designs. They’re very luxurious and beautiful to look at.

This sounds like a commercial but there is something intriguing about her venture into this business. It has come relatively late in life although borne out of childhood wonder and awareness of her mother’s magnificent jewels.

Ann is a native New Yorker. Her mother was the American opera singer Harriet Henders and so the child grew up in the rarified world of the theatrical arts and music. Her mother and her mother’s career had a profound effect on the daughter’s paths in life, as we can see. Ann, not surprisingly loves opera and serves on the Board of Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera (where she serves as Chairman), Conservation International, New York Restoration and Smile Train. She also has a strong background in social work and continues to work to help children in need as well as enriching the lives of young people by exposure to culture and the arts.

Last night’s reception was to exhibit a new collection she designed in the spirit of “Das Rheingold” of The Ring. (Stephanie Blythe had just departed before I arrived).

The emphasis in this collection was on gold, which drew my interest as gold is a frequent topic these days as an “investment” pro and con. There seemed to be a kind of creative significance to this collection.
Ann Ziff last night at Tamsen Z, wearing her creations. The gold and diamond bracelets by the dozen ...
Ann gave me a tour. I had not known that she actually makes all of her own jewelry. She collects the stones, designs the pieces, and puts them together, stringing the beads and putting the pieces together. It’s an amazing feat when you see the productivity.

She has a web site: where you can see more of her work. She uses only real stones and gold, so we can assume it’s very expensive. Nor will it come as a surprise that many fashionable and wealthy New York women wear her creations.

I know little to nothing about jewels and jewelry so it was a surprise to see the use of “rough” diamonds – uncut, unpolished – black, green, mustard. “You can tell what they are,” however, as Ann explained, “because they sparkle.”
Necklaces of gold and of black pearls and black diamonds in the rough.
From Tamsen Z I went over to Susan and John Gutfreund’s apartment around the corner on Fifth Avenue, where they were hosting a cocktail reception for the upcoming Masterpiece London’s Inaugural American Committee. I had no idea what that is but like the Ann Ziff story, Susan Gutfreund always has big and interesting cocktail parties, and the Gutfreund apartment is one of the great private residences in New York.
Susan Gutfreund and Jeffrey Bilhuber.
Masterpiece London was created by Philip Hewat-Jaboor, co-founded with Thomas Woodham-Smith who is the creative director. It is art, antiques and design fair “renowned for the pre-eminence of its selections." Mr. Hewat-Jaboor, incidentally, was a subject of an NYSD HOUSE interview. I soon learned that there were a number of guests had been subjects of the NYSD HOUSE interviews, including our hostess.

This summer’s Masterpiece London exhibition includes 12 leading galleries from the United States including Kentshire, Michele Beiny, Les Enluminures, Safani Gallery, Elle Shusan, Tambaran Gallery, A La Vielle Russie, the Silver Fund, and for the first time this year: The Merrin Gallery, Fred Leighton, Siegelson, Fred Hill and Sperone Westwater & Alberto di Castro.
American Committee Co-chairs with Masterpiece London Organizers: Mario Buatta, Ellie Cullman, Scott Snyder, Geoffrey Bradfield, Susan Gutfreund, Jamie Drake, Audrey Gruss, Thomas Woodham-Smith, Philip Hewat-Jaboor, and Nicola Winwood.
The fair showcases the best in fine and decorative arts but also premium collector’s items – classic cars, fine wines at the opening preview on June 27th on the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The show runs from June 28th through July 4th.

Of course this year is not like any other in London what with the Celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.
Masterpiece London's co-founders Philip Hewat-Jaboor and Thomas Woodham-Smith. Maureen Footer Christopher Petkanas.
Joan and Jayne Michaels with Wendy Moonan.
Joan and Jayne Michaels with Miles Redd. Kelly Graham and John Barman.

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