Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Neighborhood

Sunbathing outside Madison Square Park. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday, April 4, 2013.  Sunny and cold in New York.

The Wednesday lunch at Michael’s was busy and all business. Dennis Basso with CeCe Cord; Matt Blank, CEO and Chairman of Showtime; Tom Goodman (CEO Goodman Media); Steven Haft with Bob Friedman;’s David Adler; mega-literary attorney Bob Barnett; Paul Blake, writer/producer for Bway; Veranda’s Dara Caponigro; Diane Clehane, columnist with Evan Shapiro; Marianne Diorio, Beauty & Style Director; Victor Garvey, Senior VP of Special Olympics; investor Leonard Harlan; political consultant Jane Hartley; Da Boyz, Dr. Gerry Imber, Michael Kramer, Andrew Bergman and Jerry Della Femina;  Alexis Graham; Ralph Isham; Peter Izzo of Merrill Lynch; Cornelia Guest with former CNN President Jon Klein; Amy (Mrs. Jack) Kliger; Susan Magrino, uber-PR exec; Wednesday Martin with Elizabeth Gordon; Eva Mohr, Senior VP, Sotheby’s Realty International; John Needham, CEO of the Clinton Global Initiative, with Patty Sellers; Judy Price, National Jewelry Institute founder; Peter Price entrepreneur (husband of Judy), with Jon Patricof; David Sable, President and CEO of Young and Rubicam; Donna Solloway; Stan Shuman, investment banker; Todd Snyder; Chris-Craft private investor, Herb Siegel with John Heymann; Starwood Hotels founder Barry Sternlicht; Steve Tisch, producer, co-owner of the New York Giants; Michael Braun; Bloomberg Muse editorial director Manuela Hoelterhoff with Marilyn Perry, former chairman of the World Monuments Fund, president of the Kress Foundation; Clifford Sobel, former US Ambassador to Brazil; Cindi Berger, publicist (Dixie Chicks, Mariah Carey); Chris Meigher of Quest Media. And scores more just like ‘em.
Reading along Fifth Avenue.
Last night New York was back in business too. Down at Michael’s (yet again), at six, Liz Smith was hosting a kick-off cocktail party for the upcoming Literacy Partners annual gala over at Cipriani 42nd Street May 1st.  And just as that was letting out, five blocks north, up at the Mandarin Oriental in the Time Warner Center, guests were settling in at their tables  for the Hale House Spring black tie gala hosted by Patricia Clarkson and honoring Sharon Bush and Christine Larsen. While down at LAVO on 39 East 58th Street, the Young New Yorkers for the Fight Against Parkinson’s Committee and the PDF.

Also beginning at 7, down at Cipriani 42nd Street, the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House was hosting its annual fundraising gala. They were honoring Caroline and Thompson Dean for their decades of devotion to Lenox Hill Neighborhood. I put on my dinner jacket and black tie and went to this one, a guest Diana Quasha who is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of LHNH.
There were forty-one participating designers and my only regret is that I was unable to get all 41 tables or credit each individually. I did notice that the Diana Vreeland table was done by Andrea Stark with the floral design and concept by Lewis Miller, who was last week's HOUSE interview. The other designers were: Allison Hennessy, Andrew Raquet, LLC, Arden, Ashley Whittaker Design, Brock Forsblom and George Venson, Brooke Gomez, Christopher Maya Interior Design, Christopher Spitzmiller, Creel and Gow, David Duncan Antiques, David Kleinberg Design Associates, Dekar Design, Dennis Rolland, E. Braun & Co. Design by Susan Orsini, ETOS, Harery Heissman featuring Hermes, Puiforcat and Saint Louis, Hilary Pereirea Design, House of Oasis, Joel Woodard, John Todd Bishop, Julia B., Kathy Abbott Interiors, Katie Ridder, Keith Carroll, Leontine Linens, Ltd., Lindsay Coral Harper Interior Design, McMillen, Michael Aram, Mr. Call Desings for Stark, Nicole Gibbons Studio, Plaza Flowers/Connie, Richard Keith Langham, Roric Tobin for Geoffrey Bradfield, Rottet Studio, Ryan Korban, Sallie Giordana for Leta Austin Foster, Sam Allen Interiors, Samuel Botero, Scalamandre, Thomas Burak Interiors and Michael Devine.
This turned out to be a very glamorous affair and probably the LHNH’s biggest attendance-wise. I know they raised over $1.2 million and an additional $140,000 during the auction. Half of that was a matching fund provided by an anonymous donor.

The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House is located on East 70th Street between Third and Second Avenues. It’s 119 years old this year and not surprisingly is considered one of the city’s premier non-profits. Profits or non- aside, what it has done and continues to do is to support those in the neighborhood who have needs that they are unable to fill themselves. From 3 to 103 is the age span of its friends who receive the support of all kinds. Last night’s auction, for example, was to raise money to provide nutritious meals, emphasizing the healthy diets for children who come to the Neighborhood House sometimes daily.
Keith Langham and Melanie Seymour. The honorees, Caroline and Thom Dean.
Johnny Rosselli, Hiram Williams, and Peter Vaughn.
Ashley McDermott. Mark Gilbertson and Dr. Doug Steinbrecht.
This is not the only non-profit of its kind here in New York. There are others, many of which are as old or older and still flourishing including the Henry Street Settlement which is having its gala tonight. They have all had their devoted supporters of note over the years.

These are large enterprises. LHNH has an annual budget of about $21 million. Seventy percent of the funds come from government and some corporate foundations. The rest is raised by volunteers. Last night’s gala will have raised close to half of it for the year. Much of the work at LHNH is done by volunteers. At LHNH you find many active and loyal volunteers of long standing. What is optimistic – as witnessed by last night’s gala – is that the generations coming up are getting very involved.
Helen and Hugh Tilney. Jackie Weld and Anderson Ferrell.
Stefan and Pauline Reyniak. Dana Hammond with Dr. Patrick Stubgen behind her.
Richard Wilkie and Steven Stolman. Leslie Klotz and Frances Schultz Dittmer.
The funds go for a variety of programs including adult education, children and family services, homeless and housing services, legal advocacy and organizing, older adult services, visual and performing arts, and most importantly the volunteer program. Many of the women I know who volunteer for LHNH have been doing it for many years from their early 20s onwards.

We need all this right now, more than ever. These are hard times, or at least very difficult times for a greater number of people. The more difficult, the greater the number, the greater the threat to the stability of our society today. All of those men and women who run and volunteer for the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House are the very best hope right now.
Di Petroff and Dr. Steven Butensky. Adelina Wong Ettelson and Christy Ferer.
Arthur Becker and friend. Vera Wang.
Diana Quasha, Chairman of the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. Warren Scharf, Executive Director.
Last night’s charming, disarming, elegant, glamorous décor, provided by 41 designers, purveyors of the decorative arts, and floral designers working around the theme of “High Society,” a reference to the 1950's Cole Porter’s “High Society” which starred Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Celeste Holm. That’s a broad topic to say the least and the artists met it with flourish throughout the room.

The speaker’s part of the evening was very brief, including the auction. Diana Quasha, Tom Edelman (the President who has prospered the non-profit), and Executive Director Warren Scharf. Probably no more than 15 minutes in all. Then there was the delicious dinner and followed by the dancing. The dance floor was jammed as you can see, and the lady in red is the honoree, Mrs. Dean. Jubilation.

Of the several hundred guests, most of them knew each other by not more than 2 degrees of separation. Many of these are the upcoming movers and shakers to support the charities and the life around it, here in New York.
Some of the 41 elegant, glamorous tables ...
Paul Jarrell, DJ extraordinaire.
Dennis Basso boogies down. The Lady in Red hits the dance floor.
And so does the rest of the crowd ...

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