Monday, May 18, 2015

A Sunday night affair

City bound. 5:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, May 18, 2015. Beautiful sunny weekend with temps in the 70s, a light rain in the late Friday and Saturday evenings.
Tree of Life. Late this past March, in my angst about the world and all its problems and my anxiousness to bid the cold, harsh winter goodbye, and to hail the springtime, I decided to focus on Mother Nature's work -- the tree just outside my window. This was the first image I took of the sign of Spring.
I'd never observed the process so closely before, and was amazed and thrilled by its development. This was the same branch (I used a zoom lens obviously) several days later, fascinated how each simple bud burst into a complex bouquet of green shapes.
Several days later, warming to the Sun.
A couple of weeks later, the young leaves flourishing and then beginning to growth that would soon obscure the branch.
And now, several weeks later, abundance. Mother Nature's message, inevitable no matter what we humans perceive as our "power" ...
... And beautiful ...
... And varied, and exotic ...
All just steps away, and found everywhere there is room to grow, initially planted in the city, of course, by loving hands of man.
Last night the Irvington Fellowship Program of the Cancer Research Institute hosted its annual “Through the Kitchen Party” at the Four Seasons Restaurant.

This is the brainchild of Lauren Veronis who started it more than twenty years ago. It is always a Sunday night affair and Mrs. Veronis --  and now joined by her daughter Perri Peltz -- bring out a big crowd of prominent New Yorkers. It is quite a feat to gather any group together on a Sunday night in May when they could home settled in to their Sunday night TV shows or even still in the country.
A close up of Walter Chrysler's building, completed on October 23, 1929. When the spire was put in place, it was, for the moment, the highest structure ever built in the world, higher even than the Eiffel Tower. Although its 'highest" accolade was overtaken the following year by the Empire State, the Chrysler Building remains one of the wonders and most popular of skyscrapers in New York.
But it’s a great idea – which is part of the strong attraction. Guests have cocktails first in the Grille Room, served with delicious hors d’oeuvres for the first hour. Hundreds fill the room and the bar. Then at 8 everyone moves into the kitchen where they are each handed a chef’s apron, this year with the theme – which was “Divine Obsession”. This year even Bill Cunningham was there catching the donning of the aprons.

Once in apron, each guest is handed a large plate while entering the kitchen area – which is vast – where all the tables and counter space are filled with dishes and pans of all kinds of wonderful items. It’s one of the moments when I’m reminded of that term I used to hear when I was a kid looking at a table full of desserts where “your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” You’d be surprised how even the slimmest and the slightest among us can’t resist, and start loading their plates with all kinds of salads, steamed vegetables, meats, fish, pastas, sauces, sushi; taking a little bit (and sometimes a lot) of everything, and even returning for more.
Guests gather for cocktails in the Four Seasons Restaurant.
Lauren Veronis and Rochelle Hirsch. Lisa Schiff with Will and Laura Zeckendorf.
Guests enter the kitchen and begin to help themselves.
Regis Philbin.
Jamie Niven and Beatrice Stern, having been photographed by Bill Cunningham of the Times.
Jane Rosenthal of the Tribeca Film Festival with Darren Walker, head of the Ford Foundation, and Pamela Joyner, in from San Francisco for Frieze New York.
From there guests take their plates piled high with their favorites into the Pool Room where the tables decorated with all kinds of kitschy kitsch to go along with each table’s personal “theme.”  These themes (“Divine Obsessions,” get it?) were: Body Building, Children, Chocolate, Diets, Dogs, (I was put at that table), Downton Abbey, Exercise, Exotic Travel, Football, Gambling, Golf Jewelry Juicing, Celebrities, Sex, Shoes, Social Media, Youth & Beauty, Horse Racing, Junk Food, Love of Money, Reality TV, Tanning, Trashy Novels, Wine Collecting, Work. The table décor matched the “obsession.”

Right next to the Dogs table was the Chocolate table and for awhile as the room was seating, no one showed up at that table and the chocolates were real – and good – from Hershey Kisses to Godiva et al. I was thinking I’d raid the table if no one showed up. Although that doesn’t happen at this dinner.
Reality TV table.
Social Media table.
Love of Money table.
Body Building table.
The Sex table. I'm not totally certain but I think the centerpiece is a model of a "threeway," hmmm ...
The Jewelry table.
The Chocolate table.
The Dogs table.
Jeanne Siegel holding up a pearl and diamond dog collar for her pooch (a shih-tzu).
The tablecloth.
This is one of those events where the food is definitely the entertainment and the raison d’etre for a lot of those attending. Once seated, guests dig in and enjoy. When the main course is finished (and people have gone back for seconds and even thirds), Perri Peltz takes the stage (or rather, the staircase) and greets and thanks the guests, and then introduces Jamie Niven, the Chairman of Sotheby’s North and South America, to conduct a brief auction. The auction included a Lunch with Charlie Rose at Cipriani, and a Summer Internship with Bloomberg Media, a dinner for four at Rao’s, an onstage appearance in “Kinky Boots,” a renewing of marriage vows, and then outright donations in increments of $50,000 (there were four who bid), $25,000, $10,000, $5,000, $1,000. Niven, who is an old pro at this and knows so many in the audience he can say whatever irreverent things that comes to mind (and a lot do), and practically shame some of his pals into ante-ing up. He raised more than $400,000 in the space of ten minutes. The total raised for the evening was a record $1.42 million.
Perri Peltz takes the steps to thank the guests and introduce Jamie Niven of Sotheby's to begin the auction.
Sold! More than $400,000 raised for cancer research fellowships.
Then after the auction, it’s time for dessert. And oh, the desserts. Again, all of these ladies and gents, so many who are slenderellas and slim Jims, hit the dessert tables ready for a big sugar high with a little of this and a little of that and a lot more of everything. 

And that’s the evening. Just a good time with many groups of good friends, old friends, new friends and dedicated supporters to Mrs. Veronis’ (and now also her daughter’s) pet charity. By ten o’clock it’s time to lift up and head home, after a good time is had by ALL.
And by ALL, we mean: Lauren and John Veronis, David and Lisa Schiff, Hilary and Joe Califano, Judi Flom, Marshall Heyman, Maurice Sonnenberg, Joan Schnitzer Levy, Jeanne and Herb Siegel, Susan and Tony Bennett, Joy and Regis Philbin, Bill Finneran and Barbara Chevallard, Susan and Marty Lipton, Marilyn Sorensen, Rochelle and David Hirsch, Karen and Peter Georgiopoulos, Cynthia Clift and David Wassong, Rebecca and Dan Flores, Harlan Peltz and Marina Dobreva, Perri Peltz and Eric Rutenberg, Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder, Debra and Leon Black, Lally Weymouth and Joe Cohen,Victor Chu, Nancy and Howard Marks, Julie and Billy Macklowe, Denise and Michael Kellen, Caitlan Moscatello and Chris Kellen, Deb and Carl Ramsay, Caroline and Eric Kellen-Garcia, Allison and Leonard Stern, Stephanie Rein and Edward Stern, Beth and Ron Dozoretz, Prudence Solomon and Jerry Inzerillo, Maria Eugenia and Bill Haseltine, Rita May and Charles Bronfman, Judy and Russell Carson, Diana Taylor, Daryl and Steven Roth, Jurate Kazickas and Roger Altman, John Hart, Jill and Alan Rappaport, Sara and Charlie Ayres, Dennis Basso and Michael Cominotto, Marie Brenner and Ernie Pomerantz, Caroline Dean, Pat and Gil Caffrey, Eva Dubin, Eric Ellenbogen, Danielle and David Ganek, Marjorie Gubelmann, Ros and Fran L'Esperance, Cynthia McFadden, Jane Rosenthal, Drew Schiff, Stephen Sherrill, Jennifer and Richard David Story, Darren Walker and Pamela Joyner, Linda Wells, Caryn Zucker, Greg Kelly, Marlene Hess and Jim Zirin, Barbara and Peter Georgescu, Polly Espy and Peter Millard, Burwell and Paul Schorr, Vicki and Ron Weiner, Arline and Norman Feinberg, Karen and Peter Secrist, Penny Wohlstetter and Ted Sonnschein, Richard Roth, Karen Hsu, Anne and Jacques Nordeman, Eliza Nordeman and Blake Davis, Shannon and Landon Nordeman, Nick and Eugenie Goodman, Josh Gruss, Katherine and Bob Hormats, Richard Meier, Cathy Black and Tom Harvey, Cece Cord, John Levy, Olga and George Votis, Tiffany Dubin, Mark Antonio Antamoro, Liz and Jeff Peek, Laurie Glimcher and Greg Petsco, Dan Littman and Laura Johnston, Coco and Arie Kopelman, Ann and Andrew Tisch, Katherine Oliver and Steve Rabinowitz, Ray Kelly, Princess Firyal, Carl McCall and Joyce Brown, Michael Bloomberg, Elaine and Ken Langone, Jamie Niven and Beatrice Stern, Diane and Tom Tuft, Laura and Will Zeckendorf, Colleen and Phil Hempleman, Allison and Warren Kanders, Samara Heafitz, Dan Shedrick, Purva and Andrew Tsai, Mara and Dean Landis, Julie and Andrew Rubinstein, Gayatari and Schin Shah, Franny and Dean Curnutt, Mr. and Ms. Yacov Arnopolin, Paul Sekhri and Mark Gude, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon, Pega and Jeff Easton, Margery Feidberg and Dr. Jeremy Levin, Nina Kjelson and Sanford Zweifach, Paula and Leon Root, Robin and Joel Kassimir, Dalia and Larry Leeds, Ashley Leeds and Christopher Harland, Christine and John Fitzgibbons, Andrew Campo, Antonio Campo, Daniel Campo, Jose Campo, Susana Marin, Beatrice Martel-Hennekens, Adriana Munera, Katie Thies, Debbie and Glenn August, Robin and Sean Fahey, Anne and Leigh Randall, Jill and Frank Troise, Wendie and Fernando Lopez, Ron Prosor, Andy and Tom Menell, Jane and James Stern, Melissa Yanis and Fred Bloch, Julie and Steve Ingils, Sherry Flynn, Lauren Mendell, Leslie Toepfer, Charles Hecht, Nina von Maltzahn, ShaSha and Mickey Targoff, Hannah and Thomas Saujet, Betty and Artuhur Kowaloff, Erica Boyd and Jordan Brown, Jean Adams, Robert Towbin, Betsy and Paul Shiverick, Diane and Joe Steinberg Sharon Slade, Karen Popkin and Jedd Wolchok, Sara and Frederick Cook, Jennifer Borsen and Rich DeMartini, Jill O'Donnell-Tormey, Ann and Geoffrey Coley, Mary Margaret and John Trousdale, Laurie and Jay Mandelbaum, Vivian and Jim Zeller.