Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All in a Day

Guests take to the dance floor under the tent at Central Park Conservancy's Autumn in Central Park. 10:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013. Sunny but chilly day, yesterday in New York. Around mid-evening it got really cold, like finger-nipping cold, where you wished you had a warm pair of gloves.

About 6:30 p.m., down on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street, Bergdorf Goodman unveiled their holiday windows with a “Holiday On Ice” theme before a large crowd. Bravo’s Andy Cohen, introduced by Bergdorf fashion director Linda Fargo, did the “reveal.”

Then the crowd (and it was a big crowd) was presented with a performance by STREB Extreme Action Company. The STREB performers, five acrobatic dancers appeared from the top of the building. I didn’t see it but I know STREB and their stuff can make you gasp in fear and wonder.
Yesterday noontime I was interviewed on camera by the man on the left, Matthew Mele, a screenwriter and filmmaker. The subject of a documentary that Miele is making with Victoria Miele (center) and Justin Bare (right) is about the great Harry Benson. Harry is probably the most viewed photographer of the last half century. You first saw his work with the Beatles’s hotel pillow fight when they first came to fame in the early 1960s.

A Scotsman, Harry also became something of a celebrity as the “fifth Beatle.” However, in the years following right up to today, Harry has taken some of the most famous photographs of our time. The list is too long to repeat here, but when you see them in his books, you realize they’re etched in your memory of people, events, tragedies and human comedies. 
Harry himself is physically a towering figure with a modest demeanor that belies the swift precision of his eye. So I had a good time talking about him yesterday. Coincidentally, Mr. Miele is the man who made the famous Bergdorf Goodman documentary that came out several months ago which featured Linda Fargo and David Hoey, the two resident geniuses at Bergdorf Goodman.
New Yorkers first saw STREB at the Park Avenue Armory at a performance two years ago (December 15, 2011) in the great Wade Thompson Drill Hall (NYSD 12.15.11). Led by award-winning choreographer Elizabeth Streb, they are astounding, and a wonder and a thrill to watch. You’ve never seen anything like this before, believe me.

The holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman are spectacular design, artful, witty, chic – again, like STREB, astounding – and filled and packed with beautiful objects and fashions. My photographs are inadequate in relating the experience of being in front of them because you can spend a lot of time looking at the intricacies, the subtleties and even the commentary.  A true New York spectacle, they were masterminded by Bergdorf’s Senior Director of Visual Presentation, David Hoey.
The STREB performers, five acrobatic dancers, appeared from the top of the building.
Andy Cohen and Linda Fargo watching STREB before the unveiling.
The BG windows revealed ...
Diagonally across the avenue Tiffany & Company was wearing its great holiday coat, a large illustration of the maquettes in the windows ...
The annual snowflake all ashimmering over the junction of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue.
While the Bergdorf festivities were occurring, I was two blocks up the avenue at the Metropolitan Club where the New York Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children was hosting a “Wine Dinner” fall benefit.

David Stack, Board Chair of the NYSPCC, opened the evening welcoming the guests.  Mary Pulido, PhD, Executive Director of the Society spoke briefly but concisely about the programs they’ve developed to actively raise awareness among those experiencing or witnessing the problems of abuse and assist victims in coping and dealing with matter psychologically.

The NYSPCC dates back to the 19th century, founded with the precepts of the ASPCA. Help, save, comfort, provide. The matter is not a funny one in any way and yet it is often way outside the purview of philanthropists who fortunately pour hundreds of millions into matters of health and even mental health.
The cocktail hour last night for the New York Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children's Wine Dinner benefit at the Metropolitan Club.
Like us, the matters of the NYSPCC start at the beginning of life, the roots of our mental health. Children, like the animals, are complete victims and often have no allies or defenders. We consistently ignore this truth whenever possible. But child abuse exists on all income levels -- although economic distress can ignite matters many times. It is an enormous issue in the health of our society. The NYSPCC in its own quiet way works quietly but zealously to help the many victims as well as those who commit the abuses. They need all the help they can get; they need your financial help.
NYSPCC's Chair David Stack and Executive Director Dr. Mary Pulido. Tobie Roosevelt and Betsy Bartlett, two longtime devoted supporters of the NYSPCC.
It was a serious evening of course but planned to be the pleasure of an experience for the guests that it was. It was about the meal. The Wines were provided by Napa Valley’s Tournesol Wines. Chef Jonathan Waxman, owner of Barbuto in the West Village, prepared the menu ...

Cavolini Crudi: shaved brussels sprout salad Insalata Autunno: roasted apple, parsnips, rutabaga & carrots. Served with Tournesol 2012 Sauvignon Blanc. The second course was Gnocci: pumpkin, cauliflower & fontina, served with Tournesol 2008 Proprietor’s Blend (excellent) (there were calls for more). Main course of JW Chicken with Salsa Verde, Patate: potatoes pecorino & rosemary, Verdure: wilted autumn greens with béchamel. Served with Tournesol 2009 Proprietor’s Blend. Dessert: Torta: pumpkin cake with bourbon whipped cream. Bravo!
Jamie Ritchie of Sotheby's Wine conducting the auction.
After dinner Jamie Ritchie, CEO and President, Americas and Asia, Sotheby’s Wines held a brief auction which included dinner for 10 at Barbuto, a Taos Ski Valley Holiday for 8 at the Winter Wine Festival; a Private Napa Valley Tuscan Village for 4 couples – 4 days, 3 nights at Tournesol including wine tasting. And a case (6 bottles) of Napa Valley Reserve (not commercially available for sale).

Co-chairs for the evening were Lauren B. Cramer, Neil and Amanda Friedman, Joan Granlund, Penny Grant, MD, Deborah Norville and Karl Wellner and David and Mary Alice Sherrill. Honorary Chairs were Anne and Bob Arns of Tournesol Wines.
Cocktails under the tent last night at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park for the Central Park Conservancy's second annual Autumn in Central Park.
Also last night under a heated tent at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, JH attended the Central Park Conservancy's second annual Autumn in Central Park.

Nearly 500 guests celebrated the beauty of fall in the park with a delectable fall menu, elegant décor, and dancing under the stars. The event will raise vital funds that benefit the Conservancy's mission to restore and maintain the Park.

The evening was sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels and Valentino with models wearing both. Event Chairmen included Kitty and Tom Kempner, Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, Deborah Roberts and Al Roker, and Fiona and Eric Rudin. Angelo, Gordon & Co. was the Corporate Chair. Sarah Arison, Elizabeth Kurpis, Julia Loomis, and Julianna Simmons served as the Young Associate Chairmen.
Baubles and dress by Van Cleef & Arpels and Valentino.
The Autumn-inspired table decor.
Will Zeckendorf shielding his wife Laura from the flash. Tom and Suzanne Cochran.
Anne Harrison, Elyse Newhouse, Liz Peek, and Giliian Miniter.
Geoffrey Bradfield, Merrill Stern, Len and Illana Kogan, and friend.
Fe Fendi, Angel Sanchez, and Alexandra Lebenthal. Rich Wilkie and Steven Stolman.
Anna Safir and Elenora Kennedy. Barbara and James Scott.

Contact DPC here.