Monday, December 14, 2015

66 degrees and counting

A mid-December late afternoon picnic in Central Park. Sunday, 4:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, December 14, 2015. It’s 66 degrees here in Manhattan as I write this on a Sunday afternoon.  The sky is a nameless grey. The weatherman calls it “haze.” A kind of crazy haze. Yesterday it had a faded orangy-grey tint to it from the same view I photographed this afternoon. It looked dirty, like pollution. It made me think of Beijing although obviously there is no (or very little) comparison.

Mainly it made me think of the world we’re living in right now, like the weather. When I say “we,” I mean Us, the People ... not “they”/those who call the shots but the ones who have to “watch out” for our own safety. That in itself is a major task if you live in the city, or within proximity to masses of humanoids.
View from 83rd Street and the East River looking south toward the Ed Koch 59th Street Bridge and southern Manhattan. 1:30 p.m., Sunday.
Same time, same location looking north toward Queens and the RFK Triboro Bridge.
Yesterday, in the Daily Mail Online, there was a series of photos -- the paparazzi was having a field day -- of Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge, known to us as “Kate,” naturally smartly dressed but looking a bit fatigué while walking along a street in London.

Kate doing her Christmas shopping.
She had been shopping at a local department store in Chelsea. The London Telegraph reported that she’d picked up some kind of easy to clean tablecloth, presuming the newborn daughter’s eating habits were coming to the table for the first time. The Telegraph also reported that she’d spent an hour in the store (said to be one of her favorites), and may have done some Christmas shopping.

They were interesting pictures because she looked like she probably felt – tired, maybe exhausted. That life, for her, for her husband, is work. Going around all the time taking everything in is work.  It may be interesting, even stimulating, or amusing or charming, and they may live in palaces, but a goldfish bowl is not a life; it’s work. It’s their job and good for them.

Anyway, I like to look at her. She always makes me smile. It’s not about her necessarily, but, for a moment, it’s about life. I’ve felt that way about her from the beginning – although I know there are those who “don’t” like her. I like looking at her in the same way I liked looking at her would-have-been mother-in-law. 
I have no idea what she’s “really like” anymore than I knew about Diana. It’s the face and the bearing. It looks like she’s paying attention, and with a warmth that is felt when we demonstrate the same with people in our own lives. In a way, it could be an actor’s knack with “Kate.” Many successful public figures have that knack around photographers. Jackie Onassis did. Not that Mrs. Onassis wasn’t a nice lady anyway, but she had control of her public image, and was compelling because the eyes and the smile were warm and real. She looked like a kind, empathic person. Whether she was or wasn’t is irrelevant because it’s the image, the human image, that counts in this case.
Monarchy as it is, when it is practiced today, serves as a cohesive, a powerful tradition, a symbol of political stability for those people it serves. Queen Elizabeth II is the quintessential symbol in those terms. She is arguably the most powerful woman on the planet because of the role she plays, the image she reflects. As a world leader. She has a very powerful role in a legally powerless position, the true representative of the people. The work of the monarchy is Being There. The new duchess of Cambridge is clearly in training for that heritage. The message is the same. Except: the girl’s beautiful (and has great legs) no matter the time of day.
Meanwhile, back in ole New York. This past Friday night, Shirley Lord Rosenthal, who now goes mainly by Shirley Lord – her byline as a fashion editor for decades – gave a dinner party on to celebrate the “Name Day” for her friend Spiros Milonas, and a Happy Birthday for Boaz Mazor whose birthday was November 27th (11/27/55 I am told is the official birthdate). 
Friday night, Boaz Mazor (the birthday boy) and Spiros Milonas (the Name Day boy) with their hostess, Shirley Lord Rosenthal, at home.
There sixteen at table. As it was also a “Name Day” party, or coincidentally, there were three Davids present including yours truly – David Butter and David McCallum; and wives, as well as Ray and Veronica Kelly, their son Greg Kelly of Fox 5 in the morning, Margo Langenberg, Dr. Karen Goulandris, Barbara Walters, Peter Haywood, Antonia Milonas.
Two cakes were delivered to the table for dessert and they had what looked like exploding straws of fire burning brightly, surprising and delighting Veronica Kelly (on the right), who is in total awe.
Also this past Friday night, New York Botanical Garden hosted its 17th Annual Winter Wonderland Ball. Hervé Léger by Max Azria was the sole fashion sponsor of the evening. A number of the women attending were dressed by Hervé Léger including Lubov Azria, Selita Ebanks, Michelle Kwan, Liz Cabral, Adrienne Elrod Georgina Bloomberg, Dalia Obeerlander, Gillian Hearst Simonds, Natalie Jackson, Serena Marron, and Alexandra Power.
The Holiday Train show under the twinkling glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory of the NYBG.
The annual evening is one of the city’s most fashionable parties of the holiday season. It’s a classic black tie dinner dance held in a tent within sight of the Haupt Conservatory’s twinkling holiday display.

Proceeds from the event support NYBG’s Children’s Education programs, inspiring youth of all ages, particularly undeserved children in the Bronx, with a lifelong connection to nature through innovative workshops and activities. 
Connie Anne Phillips, Alexandra Lebenthal, Lubov Azria, Carly Cushnie, Sarah Chilton, Ariana Rockefeller, Julia Erdman, Dalia Oberlander, Peter Davis, Gillian Hearst, Maureen Chilton, Andrew Warren, Natalie Jackson, Lindsay Ellingson, Serena Marron, and Alexandra Porter.
Ariana Rockefeller, Natalie Bloomingdale, and Georgina Bloomberg. Natalie Jackson, Gaia Matisse, and Karen Shiboleth.
Charlotte Chilton, Maureen Chilton, and Sarah Chilton. Jack Fayer and Hannah Selleck.
Luigi Tadini, Julia Erdman, and Dalia Oberlander.
Zack Thain. Danielle Snyder. May Kwok.
Lubov Azria and Selita Ebanks.
Gillian Hearst. Nicole Dicocco. Alexandra Lebenthal.
Carly Cushnie, Ariana Rockefeller, Julia Erdman, Dalia Oberlander, Peter Davis, and Gillian Hearst.
Natalie Jackson, Serena Marron, and Andrew Warren.
Julia Loomis and Seth Tringali. Ali Porter and Molly Ritterbuck.
Logan Horne and Ezra Williams.
Jason and Brooke Parker.
Alexandra Toccin.
Timo Weiland and Danielle Snyder.
Then, on a Tuesday, the week before Jean and Martin Shafiroff hosted a pre-Thanksgiving cocktail reception to celebrate the work of the New York City Mission Society at their Park Avenue apartment. 

Among the guests were designers Mary McFadden and Jackie Rogers,  Elizabeth Stribling,  Geoffrey Bradfield, Roy Kean, Kenita Lloyd, Chele Farley, Susan Cushing, Assembleman William B. Allen,  Edgar Batista, Lilianna Cavendish, Bruce and Carole Harting, Alex Donner, George Wayne, Paolo and Arnie Rosenshein, Patricia and Tom Shiah, Lucia Hwong  Gordon, Dr. Judith Hellman, Scott Elkins, Randi Schatz, Caroline Z, Gary Lawrance, Zita Davisson, Barbara Poliwoda, Elizabeth Shafiroff,  Tracy Stern, Cassandra Seidenfeld, Nicole Noonan, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, Shannon Hales, Lisa Simonson and Charles Atkins.
Elsie McCabe Thompson, Executive Director of Mission, spoke briefly about the work of the charity as well. Many guests brought an unwrapped toy for the NYC Mission Society Holiday Toy Drive. More than 200 toys were collected. 
Elsie McCabe Thompson, Jean Shafiroff, and Elizabeth Stribling.
Elizabeth Shafiroff with Daisy. Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin and Judith Hellman.
Tracy Stern. Lucia Hwong Gordon. Liliana Cavendish.
Mary McFadden and George Wayne. Geoffrey Bradfield.
Caroline Z. Chiu-Ti Jansen, Victor De Souza, and Lieba Nesis.

Contact DPC here.