Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Autumn has moved in

Feeding time on 66th between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. 2:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012. Damp and rainy with temps in the 50s. Very good sleeping weather. Autumn has moved in; get it while it lasts.

I spent the better part of a grey and rainy afternoon organizing my ten foot long desk that lends itself to volume and chaos -- a mass of papers, folders, books, mail all piled and/or strewn. Every week or so I feel like I’ve gotta get my act together and know where things are.

It wasn’t until late afternoon that I finished and went down to check my mail, which included this week’s New Yorker.  I’m one of the legion of New Yorker readers whose opinions about the magazine come and go sometimes weekly. But then we hit a rich patch and I can’t wait to see what’s next. Getting back to my apartment, I’d cleaned enough space on my desk to put the magazine down and open it up, and so I did. I didn’t have time because I had an evening schedule and I had to get ready to go.


It was one of those moments where you feel like you’re worthy of a reward for cleaning your room. And mine was looking at the latest New Yorker. In “Talk of the Town,” Hertzberg wrote something on the last Debate. I didn’t start it because I knew I’d finish it then and there, and I wanted to run through the whole magazine before I finished – just to see what I could look forward to when I had time to sit down with it and read.

Then in the “Talk of the Town” was another piece by Lauren Collins on a man named Michael Ibsen who grew up in Canada and found out that his ancestry was of the Plantagenet royal family in 15th century England, and that he is the 17th generation nephew of Richard III whose skull and bones they believe were discovered just a few weeks ago buried under a parking lot in Leicester, England. This discovery was remarkable because the whereabouts of Richard’s remains had been lost for the past six and a half centuries after he was killed in the Battle of Bosworth.

I could see the piece wasn’t long so I knew I had time to read it. It was like plunging into a mini-mystery story about the remarkableness of ordinary life. Mr. Ibsen’s DNA will assist in confirming the authenticity of the Crouchback King whom Shakespeare crowned with tragedy more than a century after his death.

Ms. Collins' article follows Mr. Ibsen on his visit to the Tower of London where his cousins (18th generation back), the boy princes Edward V and Richard Duke of York vanished and were believed to have been murdered by their uncle Richard III. It was only two years later that fate stepped in and provided Richard with his own terrible end in 1485.

I’m not going to tell you anymore. If you find what you’ve read so far compellingly curious, then get the New Yorker and enjoy it thoroughly by yourself. I did. I read the whole thing and took me back in to the land of Wonder where we all live our richest lives. I love this. After the Ibsen article I passed by “The Financial Page” by James Surowieki. I really didn’t have time for this one because it was a whole page. I just read the first sentence: “In recent years, more and more Americans have adopted a new strategy in the quest to rid themselves of bad habits; an approach called pre-commitment. The idea is simple ....”  Well forget it. This sent me onto a whole new wave length of optimism about our world, this world, the United States. But that’s for another Diary. It was a good day.
Last night's window of Bunny Williams and John Rosselli's Treillage on Lexington Avenue and 73rd Street. An autumn lunch in the country (or the Manhattan country).
The main event for the uptown social crowd last night was The Director’s Council of the Museum of the City of New York’s annual autumn “New York After Dark” party. It’s a big cocktail party – the old fashioned kind where you walk into a room full of people, the canapés (excellent!) are being passed around liberally, there are six bartenders (in business suits) at the bar that was set up in the poolroom of this extraordinary now classic interior by Philip Johnson and William Pahlman. What a great way to wind down your day.
The passage between the Grille Room and the Pool Room of the Four Seasons restaurant on the plaza floor of the Seagram's Building. The party's reception staff are sitting in front of the great Picasso tapestry.
The Director’s Council, under the aegis of Mark Gilbertson and his merry band of doers and shakers, have not only kept it alive but grown it, expanded its fundraising abilities for the museum, and now the event has become a traditional destination for a good number of New Yorkers. The evening had a break when Mark assembled the three honorees, Eric Javits, Allison Rockefeller, and Celerie Kemble. There were some very brief speeches (couldn’t hear them), and it was back to the pleasure of the buzz (and the booze) and the fabulous Four Seasons canapés. Even Julian Niccolini was there. The evening was underwritten by Badgely Mischka and Graff.

It was a big group – several hundred. The ladies were in cocktail dresses and the men in business suits. Mainly shirt and tie, which gives the room a different sensibility, almost square and old fashioned. Except it’s not; it’s the opposite, and it’s reassuring (or self-deluding, take your pick).
The pool room last night about 8:15 PM./td>
I didn’t know everybody and got to speak to very few but I saw passing by, across the room, in front of me, etc.:  Geoffrey Bradfield, Vicky Ward, Jamie Creel, Marco Scarani, Bruce and Teresa Colley, Jennifer Creel, Muffie Potter Ashton, Chris and Grace Meigher, Peter Pennoyer, Martha and John Glass, Anne Smithers, Mary Hilliard, Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Marianne and Henri Barguidjian, Ara and Rachel Hovnanian, Doug Hannant and Fred Anderson, Philippe Bigard, Cricket Burns, Julie Dannenberg, Greg Calejo, Kate Allen, Lise Arliss, Courtney Arnot, Leslie Stevens, Melissa Berkelhammer, Allison Aston, Wendy Carduner, Liliana Cavenidsh, Joanne DeGuardiola, Boykin Curry and Celerie Kemble, Michael Comminoto and Dennis Basso, Denise deLuca, Helene Lehane, Ellen Niven Deery, Walter Deane, Tom and Caroline Dean, Jonathan and Somers Farkas, Scott Currie, Andrew Fry and Bronson van Wyck, Libby Tozer, Patricia Duff, Tom Glover, Jared Goss, Michael Gross, Sylvia Hemingway, Stephanie Foster, Amy Hoadley, Dayssi and Paul Kanavos, Ted Kruckel, Karen Klopp, Fernanda Kellogg, Kristen and Charlie Krusen, Nathalie Leventhal, Robert Lindgren, Carol Mack, Chappy and Melissa Morris, Bill Manger, Stewart Manger, Barbara Regna, Gregory Speck, Amy Fine Collins, Alex Rose, Alexia Hamm Ryan, Georgina Schaeffer, Jay and Tracy Snyder, Roric Tobin, Evelyn Tompkins, Mary and Guy Van Pelt, Whitney Connor and hundreds more of that ilk and stripe.

It was a great evening, a wonderful way to end a beautiful, cool, grey rainy day in New York, in that landmark New York edifice of commerce, cuisine, camaraderie and society. I’d gone with the intention of getting some pictures seeing What it was all about, and getting out within forty-five minutes. I was there two hours later, sometimes chatting, sometimes trying to get a photo, and sometimes just taking it all in, and finally had to get back to the desk. We were lucky to be there.
Amy Hoadley and Webb Egerton. Allison Rockefeller, Eric Javits, and Celerie Kemble.
Bruce and Teresa Colley with Karen Klopp. Eric Javits and Helena Lehane.
Hilary and Wilbur Ross. Julie Dannenberg and Cricket Burns.
Allison Rockefeller and Zibby Tozer. Martha Glass and Suzanne and Richard Clary.
Edmundo Huerta, Eric Javits, Allison Rockefeller, and Mark Gilbertson.
Somers Farkas, Amy Fine Collins, and Joanne de Guardiola. Muffie Potter Aston, Somers Farkas, and Amy Fine Collins.
Ara Hovnanian from across the room.
Grace and Christopher Meigher with Peter Pennoyer. Stephanie Foster, Whitney Connor, and Sylvia Hemingway.
Special to the NYSD, from Jill Krementz: Last Thursday night Vartan Gregorian and Robert Menshel hosted a party in the grill room at The Four Seasons to celebrate the publication of Janet Wallach's new biography: The Richest Woman in America: Hetty Green in the Gilded Age.

Hetty Green's holdings ranged from gilt-edged mortgages and real estate in New York to dozens of buildings in downtown Chicago; gold, copper, and iron mines out west; diamonds and pearls; railroads and government bonds.  She was considered the single biggest individual financier in the world.  By the time she died she was worth a minimum of $100 million, the equivalent of more than $2 billion today.
Hetty Howland Robinson. The striking 26-year-old, on her way to a dinner party at the home of former President McKinley, was known to be a good dancer and a witty conversationlist (image courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum).
On hand to help celebrate were Nan Talese, Ms. Wallach's long-time editor at Doubleday, Catherine Talese (Ms. Talese's daughter) who tracked down all the historical photographs for the book, Ronay and Richard Menschel, Richard and Maryellen Oldenburg, artist Clifford Ross, Shirley Lord, Jeanette Wagner, Magda and Ed Bleir, Patti Kenner, and Louise and Lewis Cullman.  The jet-lagged Cullmans were just back from a trip to Nice but were feeling energetic enough to go on from The Four Seasons to a gala at the Metropolitan Club for The Art Student's League.
Janet Wallach and Robert Menschel photographed earlier in the year at MoMA where Mr. Menschel is a trustee.

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