Monday, November 12, 2012

Warm winter weekend

Hudson River Promenade. 4:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, November 12, 2012. Sunny, nice days, this past weekend in New York. Temps in the low 60s. Perfect.

Because the NYSD is an all-consuming task for me and JH, when the weekend comes it’s an opportunity to Stop. And smell the coffee. Or, in my case, clean up my desk, get my head together, do my laundry and newly acquired Must: clean up a closet.

I’m not a pack rat although I’ve lived in the same apartment for almost sixteen years, and have acquired mountains of stuff especially books. At first you think if you keep it very well organized, it won’t get in the way. Then after you haven’t kept it “well organized” and it begins to take on a life of its own, you know it is time.

The first four years I lived in this space with only a desk, a chair, a table a lamp, and the in the bedroom the requisites. My furniture was in storage in LA and I had the mistaken impression that the cost of shipping it was so prohibitive that it was cheaper to keep it in a lock-up out there.
November sun by the river. 4:20 PM. Photo: JH.
The apartment is now chock full of books, of furniture, and stuff. I like all of it, but now I am reminded that when the place was barren, I kinda liked the feeling of space. I still live at my desk, as I did then, and rarely use the living room except to look for a book, or when on the rare occasion I have guests. Rare because when I am home and free from deadlines, I like the solitude.

Merry Madness. New York is about to be taken over by The Holiday Season. A cab driver told me on Friday that sometime in the next several days (or maybe now), the signs go up on Madison and Fifth midtown prohibiting turns into side streets and traffic and its jams will take on the annual epic proportions. This is because of The Tree at Rockefeller Center. Millions will be coming to New York to see it. Millions will be coming to look at the Christmas windows. Millions are already here, not so incidentally, so there will be lots more of us.

As it is all over America, the stores on Madison and Fifth (and all over town) will be putting up their displays. And they are often fantastic. I’m not a shopper but I like to look at the windows because the artistry and creative energy is rich and fresh. From here on in, through the end of next month, New York will be on double time, hoppin’. Some of us will be having a great time. Others will be exhausted. The objective is universal: to make the best of it and make it the best.
Piotr Brzezinski, Michael Slama, Daisy Soros, Boroka Bo, Daria Nachinkina, and  Eva Luo.
A couple of weeks ago on a Friday, Daisy Soros asked me if I would come by that early evening for a reception she and her husband Paul were giving for a group of people involved in a “fellowship” she and Paul had organized.

I had no idea what “a fellowship” was. Although Daisy and Paul Soros are interesting philanthropists to me because they fund ideas borne of personal experience. The Summer Swing dance that runs for a few weeks every Summertime over at Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center is an example. Dancing, says Daisy, makes people feel good. Why not something to make people feel good? Exactly. If you’ve never been, make a point next summer. You don’t have to dance; just watching everybody dance makes you feel good. It’s Joy, pure and simple. An important ingredient.

Anyway, this particular Friday was a bit of a problem. I’m not enthusiastic about anything that intrudes on my self-appointed half day off. But I like Daisy because she’s friendly and fun, and direct; and she has a strong sense of what Need is. So I stopped by the Soros apartment on my way to dinner with friends, and this is what I saw.
Daisy Soros and Jeffrey Soros.
Daisy Soros and Stanley J. Heginbotham (Director).
Fifteen years ago the Soroses started a fund of fellowships. Both Daisy and Paul emigrated from Hungary to the United States after World War II. Both struggled to support their own graduate studies. And both succeeded. I don’t know anything about Paul Soros’s professional life although I know he has had great business success in a field unlike that of his brother George.

Paul and Daisy have taken a positive and practical way in sharing their wealth through philanthropy. The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans was borne out of experience. In the past 15 years, the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships have funded 445 Fellowships. Those who entered the program in the earlier years are now already making “impressive contributions” in the fields of American science, health, law, business, art and intellectual life.
Lynn Nicholas, Ann Kirschner, and Abdulrahman El-Sayed.
Lawrence McQuade and Rafael DeStella.
Henry W. Leung and friend.
Last April they announced 2012 awards for 30 new Americans – immigrants and children of immigrants from 20 different countries – to pursue advanced degrees. Each award provides up to $90,000 in tuition and maintenance support for two years of graduate study in the United States in any field of study.

Two Friday ago The Fellowship Program held a Fall Conference bringing together the 60 Fellows from the classes of 2011 and 2012. Mayor Bloomberg spoke at the opening day luncheon.  In the early evening there was the cocktail reception that I attended. Music for  the reception was provided by Christine Lampras, Cello, a Soros 2012 MA Candidate at the New England Conservatory of music. With Tomoko Kawamukal accompanying on the piano.
Marisol Leon and Karina Gonzalez-Herrera.
Jasmeet Kaur Ahuja, Pablo Barrera, and Esther Tetruashvily.
Yulian Ramos.
Rajesh Vedanthan, Julissa Reynoso, Lera Auerbach, and Jason Bae.
Christine Lamprea and Johnny Lin.
Tango Soros.
Last Thursday night, “Annie” opened at the Palace. At that same hour, James M. (“Jimmy”) Nederlander, Chairman of the Nederlander Producing Company, which produced the original 1977 production as well as this year’s revival, was over at the Plaza Hotel being honored along with his son Jim Nederlander as a New York Living Landmark at the Landmarks Conservancy dinner.

This revival of “Annie” was directed by James Lapine with choreography by Andy Bnakenbuchler and stars the eleven year old newcomer, Lilla Crawford as the world’s favorite orphan. For more information:
Curtain Call.
Lilla Crawford, Sunny, and Katie Finneran.
Andy Blankenbuehler,Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse,Arielle Tepper Madover, Martin Charnin, and James Lapine.
Alan, Max, Eli, and Madison Donenfeld.
Taylor Richardson.
Tom Bodkin, Stewart Lane, Bonnie Comley, Leah Lane, and Bruce Arakelian.
Amanda Lea La Vergne, Ryan Vanderboom, Sarah Sois, Desi Oakley, Ashley Blanchett, and David Rossetti.
Also this weekend, Ellen and Ian Graham held a reception for more than 70 guests to view Ellen’s photographs including those from her recent “Talking Pictures.” Among those perusing Ellen’s portraits were Margo Langenberg, Couri Hay, Carmen Dell'Orefice, Adolfo, Nicholas Mirzirants, Jamie Tisch, George Farias and Alison Mazzola, Judith and Ward Landrigan, Ann Nitze, Tom McCarter and Francine Scaife, Walter Noel, Mia Harrison, Ann Sitrick, Guy and Sarah Peyrelongue, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Laura Montalban, and Alexis Graham.
Click to order Talking Pictures.
Ellen Graham and Adolfo.
Jamie Tisch and Princess Olga of Greece.
Alexis and Ellen Graham.
Ward and Judy Landrigan.
Carmen Dell'Orefice and Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia.
Walter Noel and Mai Harrison.
Carmen Dell'Orefice and Ian Graham.
Vanessa Peyrelongue, Florence Peyrelongue, and Guy Peyrelongue.
Ann Nitze.
Guy and Sarah Peyrelongue.
Laura Montalban.
R. Couri Hay and Margo Langenberg.
George Farias and Alison Mazzola.

Photographs by (Talking Pictures); Rob Rich/ (Annie)

Contact DPC here.