Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Off-and-On

Bowling Green. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012. Overcast most of the day until late afternoon when it began to rain, off-and-on through early evening. These days were called Indian Summer in New England when the heat can return and then leave as suddenly. So far it’s been temperate autumn, and neither hot nor chilly in New York.

The rain tapered off by 7, so any doubt that New Yorkers would not be going out could be cast aside by all the event chairs and planners because it was a busy night for the social crowd.
Bowling Green. The first public park to be established in New York, March 12, 1733.
Over at Saks Fifth Avenue on the ninth floor at the Rizzoli Shop, Rachel Roy, Lela Rose, Jill Fairchild, Celerie Kemble, Hilary Dick joined VERANDA editor-in-chief Dara Caponigro and the magazine’s publisher Jennifer Levene Bruno in hosting a booksigning for Danielle Rollins, a contributing editor to VERANDA to celebrate the launch of “Soiree Entertaining With Style.”

You get that? When people inevitably ask me, this “Social Diary” reporter, if there is still a society out there, I always answer yes. And where are they? Out shopping. Or specifically: frequently in a store, not so much as customers (or clientele, sorry…) but rather as the sales force. The marketers.

This cocktail party killed several birds with one stone. Magazines today are very involved in promoting themselves as product, get the name out there. The “Brand.” Done. Danielle Rollins itself, done by a contributing editor, adds to the luster that is directed at the customer (subscriber).  
The non-pros on the list, Ms. Fairchild, Roy, Rose, Kemble and Dick are the draw, providing a guest list and making their own connections. Plus, it’s a cocktail party (6 to 8 PM), people come and go, and they’re enjoying the process, and maybe even the evening too.

Society today is marketing. In the best of all possible worlds, it becomes “branding.” And they lived happily ever after. Or so the story should go. In a movie maybe. 

I’m running away with this thought. We’re looking at that force of ambition that thrives in the Big Town.

And it was a cocktail party where New Yorkers could get out and see each other, meet, enjoy a glass of wine and appreciate VERANDA and Danielle Rollins’ project. Because they do know what they’re doing, and to whom they’re talking. This is New York, and why an awful lot of us are here.

Click to order Mary McFadden;s A Lifetime of Design, Collecting & Adventure.”
Then there was the real thing, or what used to be the real thing, with its roots in elegance, on the Upper East Side at the townhouse of Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera.  They were hosting a reception for their great friend Mary McFadden and her new book “A Lifetime of Design, Collecting & Adventure.” Now that is not to say that the Herreras and Mary don’t know a thing or two about marketing. Or branding. After all, they invented it. The difference is their version is like silk damask lined with velvet. It’s a matter of style. And that’s life.

Meanwhile, just a few blocks down the avenue from Saks, and a half-a-block west at the Harvard Club, the Health Advocates for Older People were holding their “Gala” celebrating their 27th year (and you’ve never heard of them until now…? — I wonder why ....) They honored Edward Cardinal Egan and Herbert Kurz and Gwendolen L. Wade. Cocktails, dinner, some brief speeches and a lovely night for a good cause at a wonderful New York venue.

Others, drawn to a serious pursuit, were over at Rockefeller University on York Avenue and 67th Street, for a program and presentation entitled “Friend & Foe: Microbes in the Human Body,” followed by a panel discussion on Disorders of the Digestive System. Dr. Martin Blaser, Chair of the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology at NYU Langone Medical Center, made the presentation. This was followed by a panel discussion with Rockefeller scientists Daniel Mucida and Luciano Marraffini.  Dr. Barry Coller, Director of The Rockefeller University Center for Basic and Translational Research on Disorders of the Digestive System, served as moderator. 

These programs at Rockefeller University have a very broad following including many prominent New Yorkers as well as professionals with interest in science and medicine, research and discovery.

At that same hour over at the New-York Historical Society on 77th Street (or Roger Hertog Way) and Central Park West, they were “celebrating the new Fall Exhibition WWII & NYC” with Ed Koch being interviewed about that time. Mr. Koch, a former mayor New York and before that a Congressman from the Silk Stocking District, was nineteen when the United States entered the war and he was drafted the following year, 1944.
Irving Boyer, Prospect Park, ca. 1942–1944. Oil on academy board. The New-York Historical Society.
My family was living in Manhattan in the early 1940s. My eldest sister has often recalled the “blackouts” and the fear that moved into everyday life in what were far more innocent times than these. Eventually we were moved up to Massachusetts to stay with an aunt and uncle, responding to fears that the city would be attacked. Reading Lynn Olson’s “Citizens of London” recently, I learned that Hitler wasn’t far from using a rocket that could have traveled across the Atlantic. The plans were foiled.

E. McKnight Kauffer, Target No. 1 New York City, 1942.
Last night reception at the Historical Society was a special preview of the exhibition which opens to the public on Friday and will run through next May. 

The exhibition ranges from the mobilization of workers to the frenzy of shipbuilding, from the home front arts and entertainment industry to the dispatch of troops to the European theater, from the struggles over Civil Rights and segregation to the Times Square celebration of V-J Day.  The city was rife with men in uniform celebrating their stateside moments, having come here from all over the United States, on their way out, across the sea. It is a picture of tearful families embracing their sons, women with lunch pails off to work, celebrity-studded bond rallies and calls for justice at home and abroad from African-American patriots.

Installed throughout all floors of the New-York Historical Society, the exhibition will feature more than 300 objects, including artifacts, paintings, maps, photographs, posters, film footage, music, radio broadcasts, and newly recorded eyewitness accounts that document the most widespread, destructive, and consequential conflict in history.

And now for an entirely different mood, to set your mind at ease, over at the Hotel Carlyle beginning at 7:45 the very popular chanteuse of cabaret Andrea Marcovicci was making her debut at the Café Carlyle.

Catching Up. Last Thursday night was one of those chock-a-block calendar nights. When I was over at Avery Fisher Hall, listening to the  New York Philharmonic and Itzhak Perlman, over on the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 70th, Creel and Gow were hosting their Grand Opening. Jamie Creel and Christopher Gow are incorporating and expanding the collection of Ruzzetti & Gow, featuring an extensive inventory of fascinating, exquisite objects sourced from all around the world. It will be the perfect resource to embellish one’s life with originality and to find that unique gift for discerning individuals. So saieth the marketers, and those in the know.
They brought out a very New York crowd. Among the guests were: Dennis Basso, Tory Burch, Jennifer Creel, Mark Gilbertson, Nina Griscom and Leo Piraino, Gillian Minter, Peter Pennoyer, Jill and Andrew Roosevelt, Marina Rust, Jamie Tisch, Blaine Trump, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, and Bettina Zilkha.

After the opening there was a dinner held just down the street at the Explorers Club designed by their good friend, Carlos Mota.
Jamie Tisch and Carlos Mota Amanda Nisbet and Anne Detwiler
Tingting Sakai, Shiro Sakai, Amy Yanagawa, and Shining Sung
Marco Scarani, Susan Harling, and Robert Harling
Valerie Paley and Deborah Gelston Keith Langham and Blaine Trump
Vicky Ward, Bettina Zilkha, Chesie Breen, and Caroline Dean
Alta Brockinton, Tom McCarter, and Frances Scaife Christopher Gow and Jamie Creel
Greg Connors, Don Burns, and Ronald Braso
Gigi Mortimer and Leslie Stevens Elizabeth de Kergorlay and Vicky Ward
Sid Goudie, Joy Goudie, and Francis Goudie
 

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