Friday, December 11, 2015

At the ready

Central Park. 3:10 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, December 11, 2015. Exceptionally mild, sunny day yesterday in New York, ten days before Winter. Once the leaves descend from the trees, a lot of the concrete canyons lose much of their luster all over town. Snow remedies that for the eye if not the foot, but someone told me yesterday that because of El Nino we may get little to no snow this winter.

Nevertheless, last night a friend and I went to dinner at Le Cirque. The blue Christmas tree, lighting up the glass canyon of the tower and the Bloomberg company, is what you see when you arrive at and depart from Le Cirque. As most people know, this is the third edition of Sirio Maccioni’s famous restaurant and it retains the class that Sirio brought to New York. The service is impeccable and comes with the flourish whose roots are classic and European. So it is very relaxing. And the menu accompanies with the same flourish. Everything is good. We both had the Winter Chicken and the Le Cirque Salad. Simple yes, but delicious with that Le Cirque flourish. It was packed last night.
The annual Christmas trees in the courtyard of Le Cirque looking out at the office of Bloomberg Media. If a Christmas tree can be termed New York chic, this is it. Every year.
The Autumn season has just about wound down. That doesn’t mean a lot of New Yorkers will be staying home. Tonight the Botanical Garden is hosting its annual Winter Wonderland Ball. I would guess this is the last of the big, formal social events of the Autumn Season. It’s black tie for the men and long dresses/gowns for the women and dressy as it is, it is probably more relaxing simply because it’s nice. There is the Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show which is run in the dazzling Haupt Conservatory.
With the check came this little red faux-vellum covered box .
... which could be opened by the loop on the right hand side.
... revealing two little drawers. Now what could be in those drawers?
Aha! A chocolate truffle covered with bits of what looked like walnut. (I hadn't tried it yet.) In the drawer below was another, chocolate covered chocolate. I ate it immediately. My friend took hers home. As I was writing the previous sentence I decided to remove the walnut covered from its cup. Why wait?
Already the private dinner and holiday cocktail parties are filling a lot of calendars. This will go on (where it does) right up to the day before Christmas Eve day. By then many of the social set are vacating, having been organizing their plans for their houses and lodges for the winter season in the tropics and the mountains of the West.

This is a phenomenon of the multi-residential people who move from place to place the way we go on vacation. There aren’t millions of them, of course, but there are very many. As attractive as the idea is (of having multiple residences here and there and everywhere), it can be like a tour director who has to maintain the mechanicals of the bus all by his lonesome. No, it’s not a situation that provokes sympathy or even empathy because after all ... However it is a serious problem; among the potential boo-hoos of the very rich.
Lucius Beebe (r) and his partner, Charles Clegg, in the dining salon of their private railroad car, "The Virginia City."
Because every house needs supervision to keep it in shape and at the ready. In the olden days when the society families and dowagers moved to another residence for the upcoming season, they traveled by private railroad car, along with wardrobe, pets, and favorite items -- the iconic Gilded Age iconic American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, the former duchess of Marlborough, always took her favorite pieces of furniture with her when she moved residence from New York to Palm Beach, and vice versa.

Favorite furniture or not, many man hours of labor went into the change without intruding on Mme. Balsan’s daily life. For most in that situation in those days, the main part of their in-house staff went ahead to get everything ready for their arrival.

I asked Steve Candland, the US Director of Angela Mortimer, the personal and professional staffing service with headquarters in London, how his clientele handled this kind of “problem” (one I’ll never have, that’s for sure).  He told me there is a big demand for what he calls the “PAM,” Not a lady – although it could be – it stands for Personal Assistant Manager.
Horst P. Horst's now iconic photograph of Mme. Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, the former duchess of Marlborough, the still reigning icon of the Gilded Age sixty years into the automotive age. Photographed at her house on Ox Pasture in Southampton, circa 1956.
No railroad cars of major domos for Madame anymore, although no doubt the private jets serves a similar purpose. But nowadays, the gilded classes need “a lifestyle coordinator, developer and executor.” And that may be just the beginning of the requirements. The PAM also may be scouting for new residences, ranches, boats (“yachts” to you and me), chefs. You never have to talk to your decorator, your flower arranger, your construction people. Your PAM does it all.

Ideally the PAM  would have made-to-order personality for the potential employer, i.e.,  formal, stylish, casual educated, and definitely technically savvy. They may even do Twitter for all I know; and they’re well compensated -- although God knows when you’re working for someone with that kind of a lifestyle, there’s a lot of work, all if not most of the time. While Madame plans her guest list and keeps herself in shape for the busiest time of the year for some. Now you know in case you ever win the Lottery or sell your App or just want to become familiar with it all before your ship comes in and leaves you in a daze. Or coincidentally, you just happen to be seriously looking for a P.A.M. to make sure it all work, so you can sit back and enjoy it all for a minute or two.
Catching up. Last week on December 2nd at the Plaza, to celebrate its patients, donors, and faculty, more than 350 guests gathered for Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons’ Sixth Annual Crown Awards Gala.

Mary and Michael Jaharis and G. Lynn Shostack were the event’s honorees.  Benefit co-chairs were Margo and John Catsimatidis, Cheryl and Philip Milstein, and Diana and P. Roy Vagelos, MD.
Dr. Roy Vagelos, Mary Jaharis, John Catsimatidis, and Margo Catsimatidis.
The College of Physicians & Surgeons (P&S) is the prestigious medical school of Columbia University Medical Center.  One of the nation’s premier academic medical centers with the largest faculty practice on the east coast, the medical center is also home to the largest research enterprise in New York City. Among the oldest in the nation, P&S was the first to grant the MD degree. Today, its physicians and researchers are leaders in healthcare throughout the world.
Cynthia Roberts, Bill Roberts, Diana Vagelos, and Dr. Roy Vagelos.
Dr. Lee Goldman, Jill Goldman, Cheryl Milstein, and Philip Milstein.
Dr. Lee Goldman, Tom Farber, Dana Buchman, and Dr. Roy Vagelos.
Leah Edwards Pittas, Dr. Roy Vagelos, and Dimitri Pittas.
Dr. Kenneth A. Forde and Kareitha Forde.
Jonathan Dracos, Robin Dracos, and Dr. Lee Goldman.
Katheryn Jaharis, Mary Jaharis, and Dr. Roy Vagelos.
Mary Jaharis, Katheryn Jaharis, and Dr. Lee Goldman.
Terry Moore, G. Lynn Shostack, and Dr. Lee Goldman.
Ben Malensek and Dimitri Pittas.
And more catching up ... On Saturday, November 14th, The Museum of Modern Art's Family Council hosted a special Family Morning featuring the exhibition Picasso Sculpture. This program was supported by Bonpoint and included a private family tour of Picasso Sculpture followed by a breakfast reception and a hands-on activity led by the Museum's educators. 
Barbara Ellmann.
Guests included Family Council Co-Chairs Jennifer Liang and Katie Zorn, as well as guests Noreen Ahmad, Jocelynn Cheng, Sharon Hurowitz, Ferebee Taube, and Jeanann Williams. 

The Family Council is a new MoMA patron group for families who have a passion for modern and contemporary art, providing tailored, behind-the-scenes experiences for both parents and children to enjoy.
Noreen Ahmad. Jeananne Williams.
Coralie Charriol Paul.
Jennifer and Ted Liang. Katie Zorn.
Ferebee and Brook Taube.
Steven and Alana Levine.

Contact DPC here.