Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Early September in early December

Looking south towards Central Park South. 10:30 PM. Photo: JH
Wednesday, December 5, 2012. Early September in early December, yesterday in New York in the low 60s. Many like this weather but it’s weird just the same.

Last at Carlton Hobbs gallery in what was originally the beautiful Virginia Fair Vanderbilt mansion on East 93rd Street, they had a booksigning for Carolyne Roehm and her new book simply called “Flowers.”

Carolyne is a gardener and the photographs are from her gardens at her property in Northwestern Connecticut. So it’s a gardening book. She writes (with brevity) about her experience with her gardens but the book is something else beyond that.

Click to order Carolyne Roehm's Flowers. Or buy immediately at Archivia on Lexington between 71st and 72nd Street.
It’s a big book, physically larger than most coffee table books. And it’s heavy and beautifully bound. However, I’m not inclined to spend time perusing gardening books, although I love the beauty and am fascinated at what the impassioned gardeners can do with their talent.

I was thinking that way when I opened “Flowers” ... except this one is different. How? Carolyne is a visualist – I guess any good gardener would have to be. But she is a sensationalist, a horticultural showman, a muralist, a sensualist, a poet for the eye. She gives you the subject right up close and intimate, and WOW!  A rose is a rose is a rose is NOT what she had in mind when she made her garden. A full page spread of a single rose or a tulip or a vase of lily of the valley, or the most extraordinary irises, and you think, the beauty is intricate and complex and broad and bursting and enveloping.

I can’t say anymore because there’s nothing more to say. Her images say it all. Her timing for this book is impeccable in marketing terms. In the cold and grey of winter a’comin’, a gift of Carolyne Roehm’s “Flowers” will revive anybody’s spirits, remind you of possibilities, the superior possibilities of Mother Nature’s gifts, which for all of us is just around the corner come Springtime.

You won’t be able to put it down, once you open it. I guess you could spread it out on a table and leave it open, like a piece of art, different pages at a time; and take it in whenever you pass by (and pause ...) and wonder: how did she ever get these flowers to look like the most beautiful, most perfect specimens in the world. Or another world.

The Carlton Hobbs Gallery was the perfect choice to launch this book. The architects’ work is akin to the sumptuousness of Carolyne Roehm’s gardens. It’s a big house – a real mansion, and spacious enough to comfortably handle the mob, the hundreds who couldn’t stay away just to see who was there to celebrate with the author/horticulturalist.
Elsewhere around town it was a busy night for the social scene. The Young New Yorkers for the Philharmonic held their Winter Benefit, starting out at their pal Milly’s shop on Madison Avenue for cocktails and a raffle, and then down to Doubles for dinner and dancing.

I went down to the Pierre where the Lighthouse International was hosting its annual gala “LIGHTYEARS; Celebrating 100 Years of Music at the Lighthouse.” It marked a century of musical distinction of the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School, which is a very important part of the Lighthouse and its purpose.
Mark Ackermann and Lori Stokes presenting the award to Grace and Chris Meigher Lori Stokes presenting the award to Joseph Ripp.
Blind or vision impaired is something we all know/hear about. What most of us don’t realize is that it is not an issue or a problem that is “over there ....” But right here in our daily lives, affecting all ages, all types and all conditions of impairment.

The Lighthouse is exactly that – a beacon for the millions of us who need one kind of assistance or another with our vision. It is also a solace for those whose impairments run all the way to blindness. For all ages. The Music School provides relief and inspiration.

Last night they honored Grace and Chris Meigher, Joseph A. Ripp, and Broadway’s Tommy Tune.
Presenting the award to Tommy Tune.
Chris– the Quest publisher, is also a member of the Lighthouse International Palm Beach Advisory Board. The couple have long been involved in a number of institutions and charities both in New York and Palm Beach. Both Chris’ stepmother and Grace’s mother also have macular degeneration which is the leading cause of vision loss for Americans over the age of 60.  The Meighers serve as a reminder of how the problems of vision impairment is found in every family.

Joseph Ripp who serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lighthouse. He is CEO of Cannondale Investments and has an impressive portfolio of experience building value in the media and information services industry. He’s been closely involved in the growth and expansion of the Lighthouse and its services for more than 20 years.
Chiu-Ti Jansen and Geoffrey Bradfield. Connie and Randy Jones.
Peggy Mejia, Wilbur Ross, and Karen LeFrak.
Dennis Basso. Gillian and Sylvester Miniter.
Tommy Tune is one of the most prolific director/choreographers of the 20th Century, the winner of nine Tonys as performer, choreographer, director, as well as 8 Drama Desk Awards, 3 Astaire Awards, and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor of artistic achievement awarded by the President.

He has been very involved in the Lighthouse’s music program, donating all of his musical scores for use (including in Braille and in enlarged print) by its members.

And finally there was a moment of Special Recognition to another longtime Lighthouse supporter, the late, great Marvin Hamlisch. Last night the Lighthouse’s musical chorus members performed his songs.
Alberto Mejia and Hilary Geary Ross,
Peter Lyden and Gigi Benson. Hilary Geary Ross and Harry Benson.
Last night’s Gala Chairs were Mark and June Ackermann (Mr. Ackermann is the President and CEO of the Lighthouse), Mario Buatta, Margo and John Catsimatidis, Donald D’Amico MD and Kimberly Sippel MD, Anna and Marios Damianides, Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, Somers and Jonathan Farkas, Stephanie Goldman-Pitte, Francine LeFrak and Rick Friedberg, Suzanne Mados, Jay Paul, Marc and Arlene Dahl Rosen, Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Jean and Martin Shafiroff and Candace and Jonathan Wainwright. Vice Chairs were Julie Hembrock Daum, Elizabeth De Cuevas, Mr. and Mrs. Freddie Gerson, Judith Giuliani, Leslie Feldman, Jo Hallingby, Emilia Saint Amand and Fred Krimendahl, Lizzie and Jon Tisch, and Barbara and Donald Tober.
The Lighthouse Vocal Ensemble, Dr. Dalia Sakas, Director, and Dr. Leslie Jones, pianist.
The guests listening to the Lighthouse Vocal Ensemble singing their tribute to Marvin Hamlisch.
Bandleader Alex Donner (who also conducted an auction) raising additional funds for the Lighthouse programs, warming up the crowd for a dance.
The Christmas trees in the 61st Street lobby of the Pierre.

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