Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Beyond compare

Jennifer Hudson performing at last night's 92nd Street Y Spring Gala. 8:45 PM. Photo: Jeffrey Hirsch.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013.  Very warm, beautiful, sunny day, yesterday in New York, right into mid-evening with temperatures in the mid-70s. The warmest day I can recall so far this Spring.

The social calendar has been jam-packed this season often with a half dozen major events for a wide variety of charities and institutions on any one night. The most spectacular fundraiser (beyond compare) is the annual Robin Hood benefit which was held last week at the Javits Center, the only venue in town that can handle the number of guests (this year 4200 attended).

Press is not invited, boo-hoo. I’m sure there is a good reason although I am not privy to it. The point is, they raise hundreds of millions for charity. NYSD’s superb fashion commentator Ellin Saltzman attends every year because her son David Saltzman is the longtime Executive Director of the Robin Hood Foundation. Although like a good mom, her lips are sealed when it comes to the press too.

Well, I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter as much as the fact that the guests part with a vast sum every year which is eventually parceled out to a number of deserving charities and philanthropies.

Sir Elton John entertained, and Bono, and Seinfeld, and at the end of the day the tally of contributions exceeded $80 million! to fill the coffers for good purposes and good works.

This week, the week before Memorial Day, is seeing a little bit of a let-up (with a lot more to follow). In a couple of weeks a lot of the social ones and philanthropists, aspiring and established, will be heading out of town for their long weekend, or even for the entire summer.

Last night for example the 92nd Street Y held its annual Spring Gala with cocktails, dinner and a performance by the great Jennifer Hudson.

If you didn’t know, the 92nd Street Y is synonymous with cultural events in New York. It is both neighborhood and international in terms of cultural interests, and attracts both in terms of audience. Artists, authors, actors, musicians, historians sociologists, psychologists – all appear there regularly, almost nightly. It’s what makes New York the town it is, like no other.
Co-chair John Paulson (with his wife Jenny) speaks on behalf of his fellow Spring Gala co-chairs: Jacqueline and Mortimer Sackler, Libbie and David Mugrabi, and Amanda and Jonathan Eilian.
Last night’s co-chairs were Amanda and Jonathan Ellian, Libbie and David Mugrabi, Jenny and John Paulson, and Jacqueline and Mortimer Sackler. Vice-chairs were Debbie and Glenn August, Jill and Darius Bikoff, Emily and Len Blavatnik, Stacey and Matthew Bronfman, Harriet and Steven Croman, Jean Doumanian and Jacqui Safra, Nina and Mitch Davidson, Susan and Stuart Ellman, Susan and Jeffrey Goldenberg, Jane H. Goldman and Dr. Benjamin H. Lewis, Daphne Recanati Kaplan and Thomas S. Kaplan, Lori and Marc Kasowitz, Jennifer and Marc Lipschultz, Christine and Richard Mack, Tami and Fredric Mack, Julie and Billy Macklowe, Cheryl and Philip Milstein, Nancy and Frederic M. Poses, Erica and Joseph Samuels, Carolyn and Curtis Schenker, Selina and Sihan Shu, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, and Buddy Teich; and they were sold out.

Leviev/Extraordinary Diamonds was the sponsor, and NYSD’s JH was there with his beautiful wife Danielle and his amazing digital. I’m just guessing, but I’ll bet quite a few of the aforementioned were also at the Robin Hood evening, which can give you an idea of distinction and prestige of the 92nd Street Y.
Jennifer Hudson performs at the 92nd Street Y Spring Gala.
Hudson invites guests on stage to dance alongside her while singing "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" ...
The finale ...
Lisa and David Klein of Leviev — 92nd Street Y's Spring Gala presenting sponsor — still giddy from Jennifer Hudson's performance.
Meanwhile, also last night the Frick Collection held its annual (its 41st) Spring Party at Mr. Frick’s house on Fifth Avenue and 70th Street. Black tie of course (remember the erstwhile residents of yore dined there every night in black tie), and Bob Hardwick and his Bob Hardwick Sound kept everyone on the dance floor no matter the age or the time.

That party began at 8:30, cocktails and dessert table and passed desserts. There’s nothing like the Frick to give you an authentic taste of Old New York and the Gilded Age, not to mention its stupendous collection of masterpieces.

Multi-millions, mega-backers and black tie, there are also throughout the city a broad variety of charitable organizations fund-raising for their causes every year. They all deserve attention if only to keep us all informed of what is out there to serve and service our community.

Catching up with them: last Tuesday, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Muffie Potter Aston and Somers Farkas hosted the cocktail party for jewelry designer Judith Murat, creator of House of Murat, to celebrate the release of her gold-leafed hardcover book, “Judy’s Journey into the Land of Murat,” with a private book-signing event and trunk show to benefit Alzheimer’s Association at the home of Andrea and John Stark.

The reception brought out friends and supporters of the Alzheimer’s Association including Jean Shafiroff, Nicole Noonan, Sharon Bush, Michele Gerber Klein, Geoffrey Bradfield, Cassandra Seidenfeld, Cole Rumbough, Elaine Sargent, Joanna Mastroianni and Maggie Norris, Stephania Conrad, Christine Schott and Liliana Cavendish, Susan Jacob Allison Lang, Alison Minton. Murat signed books with co-author Charles (Sunny) Castor for friends including with a first look of Judith Murat’s latest collections. 
Somers Farkas, Muffie Potter Aston, Andrea Stark, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, and Judith Murat.
Judith Murat with copies of “Judy’s Journey into the Land of Murat." Cole Rumbough and Melissa Berkelhammer.
Murat’s colorful fable follows "Judy" on her magical journey across the stars, sea, and shore. The Starks’ guests were also the first to see the new “House of Murat” charm bracelet, with miniature charms of many of the accessories featured in the tale, including the gold and diamond Seahorses, bejeweled Mermaids, pearl eating Alligators and coconut wielding Monkeys.

“Judy’s Journey into the Land of Murat” is available for $65.00 at independent retailors including The Classic Bookstore, Main Street News, Barzina and The Palm Beach Bookstore in addition to Amazon.com.
Jean Shafiroff. Steven Knobel and Nicole Noonan. Andrea Stark.
Princess Yasmin Aga Khan and John Stark.
Cassandra Seidenfeld and Michele Gerber Klein.
Also: Last Wednesday Boys & Girls Harbor welcomed a prominent guest list of social and corporate leaders to its annual fundraiser Salute to Achievement at The Heckscher Building on Fift Avenue between 104th and 105th streets. This year they honored its Founder, Anthony “Tony” Drexel Duke, a man who has dedicated the last 76 years (he is now in his late 90s) to serving young people in Harlem.

Tony is a humanitarian, veteran and visionary. He has spent a lifetime educating children, growing the Harbor from a small summer camp to an education and performing arts nonprofit serving more than 1,000 students annually.  His son, Washington Duke, accepted the honor on his father’s behalf.

The event was hosted by Emmy Award-winning anchor and reporter David Ushery from NBC 4 New York, and featured a theatrical production conceived by the renowned faculty of the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts.
David Ushery and Boys & Girls Harbor students.
Titled Estampas on 6: Postcards from El Barrio, this year’s performance was a tribute to Harlem. The students showcased the sights and sounds of the New York City blocks they call home. They took a ride on the 6 train, from the historic Duke Ellington statue to the 103rd Street station, weaving their way through a patchwork of street vendors, passing by the Apollo Theater, and encountering musicians and domino players. The performance showcased Harlem’s rich cultural history through a mosaic of motion as the performance ended at the Harbor and encountered a world of possibilities. Thank you thank you Tony for showing us the way!

Among the guests were its Board of Directors Lyor Cohen, Stephen Dannhauser, (Chairman of the Board, Boys & Girls Harbor), Barry Friedberg, Sylvester Miniter, and Craig Overlander), Washington Duke, Kevin Liles, Gilian Miniter.
Lyor Cohen, Harbor Board Member Ernie Lyles, Kevin Liles, and Harbor Executive Director Thomas Howard.
Gillian and Sylvester Miniter.
Tony Duke Jr. and Washington Duke.
More from last Wednesday ... the Young Professionals Committee of The Children's Storefront held an evening of cocktails at the trendy Simyone Lounge on 14th Street. The benefit was hosted by Jon Palmer, Brad Anzman, Chris Swinney, Kristin Welton, Will Platt, Shannon Friedrichs, Paul Godinez, Marcelia Freeman, and Amy Wu. The event was sponsored by Wodka Vodka, Bulldog Gin and Yonkers Brewing Company.

The Children's Storefront is an independent, tuition-free school in Harlem committed to providing a comprehensive education to children with varied academic strengths from preschool through eighth grade.
Co-host Chris Swinney and Head of School Wendy Reynoso.
Co-host Jonathan Palmer with Wendy Reynoso.
Tristan Andrews and YPC President Brad Anzman.
Finally, last Wednesday over at the Metropolitan Club, actress Emma Stone hosted Gilda’s Club of New York City’s 6th Annual benefit luncheon celebrating women working and living with cancer. They honored Jacqualyn A. Fouse, PhD, EVP, Chief Financial Officer of the Celgene Corporation Development, and Sharyn N. Lewin, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center New York-Presbyterian Hospital.  The Guest Speaker was Mary Lou Quinlan.
The reception before lunch.
The event was sold out and they raised more than $240,000. Emma Stone shared her own personal story and connection to cancer - her mother is a breast cancer survivor and attended the luncheon with her daughter.

Emma is the official ambassador to Gilda’s Club NYC and spends her spare time with the children who attend the clubhouse’s support groups and Camp Sparkle. Mary Lou Quinlan, CEO of Just Ask a Woman, gave a humorous as well as moving speech on the topic of working and living with cancer.
Guests listening to Mary Lou Quinlan.
Gilda’s Club New York City creates welcoming communities of free support for everyone living with cancer - men, women, teens and children - along with their families and friends, an essential complement to medical care, providing networking and support groups, workshops, educational lectures and social activities -- all free of charge.

They provide their program at their downtown clubhouse and at six satellite locations throughout the City.  For more information visit www.GildasClubNYC.org.

The annual Gilda’s Club luncheon also evokes the memory of that wonderful, hilarious, heart-warming, zany and beautiful comedienne Gilda Radner whose genius was taken from us far too early in her life, at age 42 in 1989. She could always make you laugh and the memory of that joy can make you cry too.
GCNYC Board of Directors.
Jacqualyn Fouse, Logan West, Sharyn Lewin, and Mary Lou Quinlan. Sarah Judd Welch and Dara Adams.
Bob Easton, Jami Rubin, Jacqualyn Fouse, Lily Safani, Sharyn Lewin, and Mary Lou Quinlan.
Emma Stone with young guests.
Alan Ennis and Emma Stone. Jennifer Fox, Michael Weiser, and Ellen Lubman.
Kipp Clark, Kimia Kashef, Annette Powers, Jack Tiwari, Alex Scott, Melanie Trinida, Robyn Dormer, Alexandria Cherry, and Claudio Faria.
Katie O'Brien, Dr. Alyssa Palmer, and Jean Kim.
Emma Stone, Jessica Safran, and Lily Safani.
Hail Gilda, long may we laugh till we cry! ...

Photographs by Rob Rich (Gilda's)

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