Thursday, April 30, 2015

Etched in Sand

The American Museum of Natural HIstory through the limbs of Spring. Photo: JH.
Thursday, April 30, 2015. Yesterday was a perfect Spring day in New York weather-wise: bright, sunny, with temperatures in the mid-70s.

Michael’s was its Wednesday busy; no doubt a lot of business moving along at the tables of public relations execs, hedge fund owners, authors, editors, lawyers, as well as three of Dah Boyz – Dr. Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Andrew Bergman. Michael Kramer cut out to play golf. I don’t know where Greenfield was. At a table across the aisle from them, Linda Fairstein was lunching with a friend.

Michael’s List, 4/29

Bob Barnett
Michael Heller
Michael Peterson
Lisa Linden
Lucianne Goldberg
Deborah Fine
Bonnie Dudley
Jay Sures
Peter Brown
James Chanos
Alexandre Chemla
Linda Fairstein
Ken Garschina
George Green
Jimmy Finkelstein
Bruce Hallet
Russell Hampton
Tony Hoyt
Gerald Imber
Jerry Della Femina
Andrew Bergman
Diane Clehane
AJ Khubani
Jesse Kornbluth
Cynthia Lewis
Lesley Jane Seymour
Lynn Tesoro
Alice Mayhew
Connie Anne Phillips
Judy Price
Tom Rogers
David Zaslav
Andrew Stein
Wednesday Martin
Stu Zakim
Ellin Saltzman
Frank McCourt
Linda is coming out in August with her latest crime novel with the main characters D.A. Alexandra Cooper and NYPD Detective Mike Chapman. The partners in crime-solving take a turn in their relationship. The book’s title is “The Devil’s Bridge” and being that this series is about specific locations in New York City, this “Bridge” presumably is the GWB.

Click to pre-order "Devil's Bridge."
Click to pre-order "Married Sex.”
We’ll have to wait and see. This is Linda’s seventeenth, written in as many years. I know Linda; we see each other from time to time at parties and events. She has a very active life aside from her novels. I’m always amazed at what a person is able to do in a day ... And write also.

Meanwhile, around the room in the book department. Jesse Kornbluth was lunching with a couple of lawyerly types. Jesse’s book “Married Sex” is coming out in August and the movie is tentatively scheduled to start shooting in September. Continuing: Wednesday Martin has a new book coming out very soon. I can’t remember the name of it but I’m sure she’ll remind me because Wednesday is like Linda – takes care of business.

Also in the room, Alice Mayhew, editor at Simon & Schuster, whose list of authors is sterling. Then there’s Bob Barnett, lawyer and partner at Williams and Connelly in Washington. Mr. Barnett is a mega-dealer maker for talent and properties in the media business. And nearby was Jay Sures  who head of the powerful United Talent Agency. I was lunching with Ellin Saltzman who covers the fashion collections for the NYSD every February and September.

Catching up. There were two very important luncheons last week.  Last Tuesday, The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC), the world’s first child protection agency, celebrated its 140th anniversary at its annual Spring Luncheon at The Pierre. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The event raised $275,000 for the agency’s Trauma Recovery Program which offers specialized therapy for children, ages 5-21, who have endured physical or sexual abuse, chronic neglect, traumatic bereavement, or who have witnessed family violence.

Two hundred guests attended the luncheon which featured a talk by The New York Times best-selling author, attorney and official for New York State, Regina Calcaterra. Ms. Calcaterra wrote a powerful memoir  “Etched in Sand” – in which she recounts her childhood spent both on the streets and in and out of foster homes in Suffolk County, Long Island, often motherless, always fatherless, and with her four siblings, both younger and older by a year or two or three.
Regina Calcaterra.
Her mother had five children by five different men over a period of a few years. Her mother was also an out-of-control alcoholic who abused her five children in every way including abandonment and beatings. Ms. Calcaterra’s story, however, is about how five young children survived a great deal of the time without any adult supervision, mainly by taking care of each other and doing anything they needed to do – including stealing food all the time – to eat and to keep a roof over their heads.

Children who suffer from abuse learn very quickly the basics of survival. The author makes us aware of the other side of that coin: children detached by abuse from a kind or loving parental relationship also have to battle the chronic demon of little or no self-esteem that can travel through life. Calceterra told us how their lives on the street meant dirty clothes, dirty hair, devoid of any hygiene. That in turn separated them from the others in school. Outcasts, is how a child naturally interprets that. Fortunately for these children, they had each other.
Elizabeth Mayhew, Mary Pulido, David Stack, Regina Calcaterra, and Valesca Guerrand-Hermes.
“Etched in Sand” is a story about the abuse the children suffered at the hands of their mentally deranged mother, which is deeply distressing, but what amazes is how well they took care of each other and themselves. It is a Dickensian story in terms of environment and experiences: little children up against a harsh, careless world. Although miraculously all five survived it, and between them, they are parents of ten children, all living in stable households.

Ms. Calcaterra, who is a successful lawyer as well as author, is dedicated to spreading the message of perseverance and letting children know that a bright future is still possible. This simple message makes a great lifetime difference to any child who suffers or has suffered the abuse of adults.
Mary Pulido, Karl Wellner, and Juju Chang.
JuJu Chang, co-anchor of ABC News’ Nightline, hosted the event. Luncheon co-chairs were Joan Granlund, Valesca Guerrand-Hermès, Tania Higgins, and Elizabeth Mayhew. Dr. Mary Pulido is the Executive Director of the The NYSPCC.

Attendees included: Tania Higgins, Elizabeth Mayhew, David Stack, who is President, NYSPCC Board of Directors, Graciela Bitar, Dori Cooperman, Donna Clower, Ide Dangoor, Victor de Souza, Diandra Morell Douglas, Kathe Dyson, Penny Gorman, Boo Grace, Dr. Penny Grant, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Holly Kelly, Christine Mack, Joy Marks, Sonja Morgan, Carolyn and Joe Reece, Hillary Geary Ross, Kelly Rutherford, Jean Shafiroff, Alexandra Papanicolaou Shaheen, David and Mary Alice Sherrill, Frank E. Sommerfield, Felicia Taylor, Karl Wellner.
Nathalie Kaplan, Carolyn Reece, and Alexia Hamm Ryan.
Regina Calcaterra and Juju Chang. Sonja Morgan and Christine Mack.
Lisa Sharkey and Felicia Taylor.
Sarah and David Stack. Clea Hermes and Valesca Guerrand-Hermes.
Dr. Joanna Rubinstein, Christine Mack, and Dori Cooperman.
Suzanne Gault and Tanja Dreiding Wallace. Meaghan Chorske and Norah Daly.
Penny Grant, Hillary Geary Ross, and Jean Shafiroff.
Susan Avarde, Marta Radzyminski, and Monique Tabbs. Kelly Rutherford.
Donna Clower, Tania Higgins, and Beth Kojima.
Lisa Wolf, Joe Reece, and Kara Young.
Kristy Rao and Alexandra Shaheen.
Missy Rice, Christine Danforth, and Holly Kelly.
Juliette Janssens and Helena Skarstedt.
The NYSPCC was founded in 1875 by a man named Elbridge Gerry (pronounced Gehry) who lived in a mansion on a plot of land on which now sits the Pierre Hotel where we were having our lunch. I happened to tell Mary Pulido about it, certain it was a coincidence. It was. Mr. Gerry was a very prominent lawyer here in New York, son of wealthy parents, who evidently was a deeply empathic and compassionate man. For besides his important clients, in the 1870 he got involved with Henry Bergh’s project to protect the thousands of horses who lived in the city and often were subjected by horrific abuse. Gerry became the newly formed ASPCA’s legal counsel. No doubt this raised this privileged man’s awareness, for only a few years later he took the idea one obvious step further, the protection of children. Not everyone was impressed. Children in those days often had a very different place in minds of many, often treated as badly as were the animals.
The Elbridge Gerry mansion at Fifth Avenue and 61st Street. Unlike the limestone mansion Richard Morris Hunt created for the Vanderbilts, he designed the Gerry mansion in brick.
Mr. Gerry’s house was designed by Richard Morris Hunt and was built in 1891 when Fifth Avenue had moved uptown and bordered Central Park. He lived there with his family and his wife until his death at age 90 in 1927. His wife had pre-deceased him by seven years.

The land was leased from Gerry’s heirs to a group headed by Otto Kahn and Finley Shepard who had plans to build the Pierre Hotel. Despite coincidence, it remains fitting that the land on which sat the founder’s house now contains the hotel for last Tuesday’s luncheon.

Then, on Wednesday a week, The American Museum of Natural History hosted its 25th annual Spring Environmental Lecture and Luncheon. The event begins at noon with a panel discussion led by Lynn Sherr in the LeFrak auditorium in the museum.
The entrance to the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West.
Tulips on the northeast corner of 77th and Columbus.
This topic of discussion this year was “Come Spend Earth Day With Us: Learn About the Cutting Edge of Green Design.”  The panel was: Helen Crowley, Martha Honey, and Matt Stinchcomb.

Helen Crowley is the head of Sustainable Sourcing Innovation at the Luxury, Sport & Lifestyle Group of Kering, the French luxury goods holding company which owns Alexander McQueen, Balenciega, Brioni, Gucci, Puma, Volcom among other brands distributed worldwide.

Dr. Crowley works with the company’s 23 brands and focuses on ways to reduce business’s environmental footprint through more sustainable sourcing of raw materials. She has spent the majority of her 25-year career working in conservation and development programs. Dr. Crowley holds a Ph.D. degree in zoology from the Australian National University and sits on the boards of the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, Textile Exchange Europe, and IUCN USA.
Moderator Lynn Sherr with panelists Martha Honey, Helen Crowley, and Matt Stinchcomb.
Martha Honey is co-founder and executive director of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST). She has written and lectured on ecotourism and certification issues over the last 20 years. Among her books is “Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise?” She is currently writing a book on coastal and cruise tourism. Formerly the executive director of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES), she’s also worked for 20 years as a journalist based in Tanzania and in Costa Rica. In 2008, Ms. Honey was named one of the world’s top 10 eco- and sustainable-travel “watchdogs” by Conde Nast Traveler.

Matt Stinchcomb is vice president of values and impact at, where he oversees the stewardship of the company’s mission, and works to empower all employees with the means and the desire to maximize the benefit their work has on people and the planet. Presently, he is focused on reimagining the how, what, and who of entrepreneurial education. A graduate of Oberlin College and a reformed professional musician, Mr. Stinchcomb has been an employee of Etsy since its earliest days. He also serves on the boards of the Schumacher Center for New Economics and the Center for a New American Dream.
Panel discussion in the LeFrak Theater.
Lunch in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.
After the lecture (which is actually a panel discussion), guests moved to the Milstein Hall (home of the blue whale) for lunch. Among those attending were the Museum’s Board of Trustees Lewis Bernard, Jill Bernard, BJ Blum, Valerie Boster, Laura Garcia, Michelle Manning, Elisa Lipsky-Karasz, Amanda Wurtz, Meredith Melling, Annie Pell, Romy Coquillette, Vivian Donnelley, Alison Feagin, Vicki Gross, Wendy Kleinman, Julie Leff, Allison Mignone, Alexandra Mondre, Mary and Garrett Moran, Sarah O’Hagan, Valerie Ohrstrom, Valerie Peltier, Veronique C. Pittman, Shaiza Rizavi, Mary Solomon, Constance Spahn, Susan Steinhardt, and Laura Whitman.

All proceeds from the Spring Environmental Lecture and Luncheon support the Museum’s scientific research and educational initiatives, including important work in biodiversity conservation.
Chairs Claire Bernard, Katheryn P. Kempner, Vicki Foley, and Catherine B. Sidamon-Eristoff with Museum President Ellen V. Futter (center).
Josh and Judy Weston.
Meredith Melling, Kirk Spahn, and Michelle Manning.
Valerie Boster with Chair Claire Bernard.
Connie Spahn, Kirk Spahn, and Jennifer Alden. Mary Solomon.
John Mowinckel and friend.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Lewis Bernard with Chair Claire Bernard.
Alexandra Mondre and Allison Mignone.
Vivian Donnelley and friend.
Catherine and Anne Sidamon-Eristoff.
Charlotte Serena di Lapigio (right) and friend.
Ascanio and Ottavio Serena di Lapigio.
Chair Claire Bernard with Amanda Wurtz. Chair Claire Bernard with Laura Garcia.
Museum Provost Michael Novacek and Anne Mott.
Moderator Lynn Sherr and Janet Ross.
Holly Heston Rochell (right) and friend.
Luncheon guests.