Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Almost full moon

5:00 PM. Photo: Jeffrey Hirsch.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013.  Very chilly, mostly overcast Tuesday in New York, clearing to sunshine in the late afternoon with a nearly full moon over Manhattan.

Busy day in New York, heavy traffic midtown. Michael’s was in a frenzy, media and otherwise. Heading home through the Park with its bowers of flowering trees, we passed by a woman biker running her Chihuahua on the along the lane. The tiny animal also wrapped in a knitted coat was running as far behind as his/her leash allowed.

The young woman obviously had no idea that this animal with a heart no bigger than a half dollar is not built for running.
The woman on the bicycle pulling her dog for a run totally unaware of the dangers she is forcing on the animal.
This is something that evades quite a few dog owners who think it’s cool to run their dogs they way they’d run themselves if they weren’t on a bike. Although if they were running with a bike like a dog on a leash, they couldn’t do what they expect their dogs can do for more than three minutes. It’s pure animal abuse. And it is not only cruel but dangerous. There have been many dogs who get back to their homes after a run like that, and lie down and die.

The stupidity of the dog owner and dilemma of the dog provoked me to get out of the cab right there on the roadway and chase after her to tell her what she was doing to her dog. Obviously she had good intentions. We’ll presume.

I caught up with her (huffing and puffing, myself) and loudly told her she was killing this four or five pound canine with a round the Park run that only serious joggers can do.

“Oh,” she said, as if she herself were in some kind of stupor. I’m not implying drugs. Maybe just dense, and definitely dumb.

She stopped for a moment and the poor dog immediately lay down on the pavement panting. But then she went off again, the poor dog trailing behind trying to keep up.

I ask myself why people like this have animals. That leads to thinking about what the dog has to deal with, and it becomes very depressing. Vets should advise all clients about exercise for their dogs. Many pet owners simply do not know (and have no common sense about it).

Yes, dogs like to run. But they don’t run the way we do – on and on and on. They’re not built for it except in extreme cases or emergency. They do not need to keep in shape like we do, and if they’re gaining weight it’s because we’re feeding them too much. They love their exercise but in spurts, and from tree to post to tree to corner.

I got home from that experience in a difficult frame of mind. Then I looked at the calendar for the night (and the day) and thought I’d like to take a nap.

Clockwise from top left: Bill O’Shaughnessy; Tom and Diahn McGrath; Hunt Slonem.
Very busy day and night in New York. For starters, this was the calendar:  At the Waldorf -- Women of Distinction Luncheon Fashion Show by Bergdorf’s and almost 900 women attending the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s benefit honoring Michelle Swarzman and Molly Roberts with ABC’s Cynthia McFadden mistress of ceremonies. 

Right after sundown, over at Le Cirque, broadcasting, my friend, broadcasting executive Bill O’Shaughnessy was feted for the “75th Anniversary 0f WO’s Natal Day”  a dinner dance hosted  by Matthew, David, Kate O’Shaughnessy.

Same time, downtown at the Bowery Hotel on the Bowery, Artists for Africa were hosting their  Spring Gala benefit and honoring my friend Tom McGrath for his work and support of African philanthropies.   

At the same time up at the Altman Building on West 18th, The Horticultural Society of New York was honoring another friend, artist Hunt Slonem with the Award of Excellence at the New York Flower Show Dinner Dance.  Black Tie. 

Farther west on the same street, The Children’s Storefront hosted its Annual Spring Gala, “A Night For Changing Lives.” Farther up and east over at Riverpark on East 29th Street, There was a “Toast to the Children” benefiting Children of Bellevue, honorary chair, Tom Colicchio.

While at Gotham Hall on Broadway and 30th, The Directors of the British Memorial Garden Trust were hosting The Queen Elizabeth II Sept. 11th Garden Gala Dinner.  Also Black Tie.

So where did I go? Over to the Café Carlyle for the opening night of Paul Williams’ cabaret evening. This is the place.  

Williams who was really famous in the 70s and 80s as singer, songwriter and actor, went away from the scene for awhile, caught up in his own torpor of self and success that Show Business often provides along with the glory.

Last year, a new documentary about the man, by Stephen Kessler, called “Still Alive” debuted:

And now, the man has returned to performing with a brilliance that only time and life can endow. Williams was prolific, writing a lot of what are now standards. When you hear them again, your whole demeanor transforms (mine did anyway) on the spot. 

This is what a perfect cabaret act in New York should be. And it got the perfect audience response. Applause Applause. From the moment he takes the stage and introduces “the real Paul Williams” to his audience you’re back in the comfort zone of your own youthful moments of energetic reverie.

He’s upfront (and funny) about his life, trials and tribulations. You know what he’s referring to; you might have been there too. There's a bit more basso and wisdom in the voice (which is out of the Willie Nelson genre) and he has great backup from Chris Caswell on the keys and John Lee Sanders on the sax. You know almost all of the songs and find yourself smiling and singing along under your breath, in complete pleasure and delight.
The Cafe Carlyle at 8 p.m. By 8:45 when Paul Williams came out, the place was packed, and in for an hour and a half of pure showtime from a pro. They loved it. He gave them two encores at the end, each better than the last.
I loved this show. The Carlyle is a tough spot for a performer these days because the audience is basically sophisticated and older and has seen it all and heard it all, and often by the very very best. It still retains an air of the glamour years when the witty and chic renditions of the American songbook that Bobby Short performed drew crowds from all over the world six months a year for three decades. Bobby himself was the ultimate archivist and performer of songs of an age now legend. Since his demise very few have matched his magic -- Judy Collins, who was there last night -- comes to mind. Barbara Cook, Steve Tyrell too, and of course Stritch.

The Café Carlyle with its pastel Vertes murals and soft lighting still evokes that sense of being in a special place as soon as you enter. Paul Williams’ show is that moment now. What a great evening. The audience was in love with the show again. And, like one of his songs goes: “We’ve Only Just Begun” .... Last night at the Café Carlyle; a good idea for lifting any New York in Springtime.
He's a clever man, a humble man; forthright, funny, witty, self-revealing, amused and grateful to be there, and so is his audience.
Catching up down among the sheltering palms, There are big moving vans in front of houses all over Palm Beach ... to pick up the cars and send them north, evidence of the Season ending (although still going strong).

The restaurants are full and there are still lots of big parties – including David and Julia Koch’s dinner at the Everglades and the annual Garden Club event.

There was a very large fundraiser for Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and his wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Choa. The cocktail reception was at “La Guerida,” the home of Marianne and John Castle followed by a private dinner at “Windsong,” the home of Hilary and Wilbur Ross.
The scene at the Beth DeWoody's West Palm Beach estate for the Mounts Botanical Garden's spring benefit.
Some of the guests at the Castles’ cocktail were Ambassador Nancy Brinker and Howard Bernick,  Katherine and Leo Vecillio, Ed Cox, the New York State Repubican chairman; Muffy and Donald Miller, Carolyn and John Yurtchuk, Barbara and Al Marulli, Richard Palumbo and Laurie Garadela, Sallie Phillips, Katherine and Hans Angermueller, Jamie Birge, Christine and Robert Brinkman, Melanie Cabot, Mary and Marvin Davidson, Robert Francis, Marc Goldman, Julie and Amin Khoury, Ann and Charles Johnson, William Matthews, Harold Smith, Bob Wright.

At the Ross’ dinner: Ed Cox, the Pepe Fanjuls, Sr. and Jr.; Dr. Jamie Birge of Franklin Pierce University, Carolyn and John Yutchuk of Calspan Corporation, Marianne and John Castle, Ambassador Mary Ourisman and Mandy Ourisman; Boca Raton insurance executive Paul Lawless, Ambassador Earl Mack and Carol Mack.
There was the big gaming night benefit at the Sailfish Club benefiting the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti two Saturdays ago. Louise Stephaich (she of the Mellon and Hitchcock families of the North Shore of Long Island) and Anna Mann (formerly Mrs. Rupert Murdoch) were the chairs of the evening. 185 guests said it was the best charity event of the season and they raised more than $300,000 for the hospital which was started by Mrs. Stephaich’s uncle, the late Larimer Mellon and his wife Gwen in Deschapelles, Haiti a half century ago.

Among the guests were Lesly Smith and Dr. James Walsh, Jo Shaw Kendall, Tom Quick, Beth Rudin DeWoody and Firooz Zahedi; June Rooney, Jenny Garigues, Fern Tailer De Naravez, Maureen Donnell, Barbara Cates, Princess Maria Pia di Savois and Prince Michel de Bourbon Parme; Audrey and Martin Gruss, Isabel and Dick Furland, and Howard Cox.
On a Friday night, Maureen Donnell had forty guests for dinner at the Friday Night Cook Out at the Bath and Tennis. Some of Maureen’s guests were: Mai Harrison, Jimmy Clarke, William Wister, Jay Page, Michael Sullivan, Barbara Cates, Fern Tailer, Jim Mitchell, Hope and Jack Annan, Frayda and George Lindeman, Liz and John Schuler, Pat Cook and Bob Nederlander, Candy and Bill Hamm, Julia and Mike Connors from Washington who just bought Barton Gubelmann’s old property on Banyan Road; Joyce and Bob Sterling, and Franny Scaife and Tom McArter.

Meanwhile Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson have left their whirlwind tour of Palm Beach and returned to their house in Saratoga for their season.

The Season will sort of officially end with Mai Harrison’s dinner at her house on South County Road this coming Saturday (April 27). Mai has sold the house and is moving into a magnificent penthouse apartment overlooking Lake Worth. Although the season does have a final shutdown, many Palm Beachers stay through April, May and now even June  -- which are the most beautiful months in Palm Beach.
Florentine Fountain at the Breakers.

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