Friday, October 9, 2015


The view along Fifth Avenue. 1:55 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, October 9, 2012. Yesterday was another really nice day in New York with temps hovering in the high 60s. After all the complaining we did about the summer heat and the winter cold, these past few weeks, even with the rain, have been a pleasure.

It was a busy night in New York. The Hispanic Society of America hosted their gala dinner at the Metropolitan Club where they honored Mario Vargas Llosa. Over in the Pool Room of the Fours Seasons restaurant, The Directors Council of the Museum of the City of New York was hosting its annual “New York After Dark” in honor of designer Nicole Hanley Mellon, Andrew Roosevelt, Alexia Hamm Ryan -- all of whom are active supporters of the Council’s work at the museum.
Max Mara models posing at the Four Seasons for MCNY's New York After Dark party.
I started out at the Four Seasons for another party. Larry Lederman and Kitty Hawks co-hosted a cocktail reception along with the New York School of Interior Design for Larry’s new book “’Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York” which he co-authored with Judith Gura and Kate Wood. Among the guests: Donald Albrecht, Kent Barwick, Laurie Beckleman, Mario Buatta, Carol and Philippe Delouvrier, Mark Gilbertson, Hugh Hardy, Bunny Williams, John Rosselli, Barbara Tober, Newell Turner.

Larry takes beautiful photographs. Impeccable, patient, connected. We ran something on these pages a few years ago of a book he did of the trees of the New York Botanical Garden. Stunning but also you can almost lose yourself in the pages. I don’t know Larry very well but it is clear that he has a strong affinity for natural beauty, including that created by man. This new book in which he does the principal photography, focuses on that. It is a treasure, just like the title says of the subject. I’ll show you more in another diary.

I’d stopped by specifically to get a picture of Larry and the book. His wife Kitty was in a conversation elsewhere but saw us and came over, kind of creeping up behind him just as I was about to take the picture. So I told her to get out of the picture because I wanted this particular shot. “Why?” She asked, laughing and hiding behind him. She didn’t understand. So I took one. Now, I said, let me take one of Larry alone. So there you are. Buy the book, enjoy the pleasure of New York that is also the treasure we rarely see despite its omnipresence.
Click to order Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York.
I was on my way to the Armory for the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine’s annual Cabaret, their annual fundraising gala. Leaving the Four Seasons, I grabbed this shot of the west side of Park Avenue between 52nd Street and 56th. It was a beautiful – this was taken about 7:15 – and the vista contains three New York City Landmarks (either officially or just in my imagination): 

The Racquet and Tennis Club was designed by Charles Follen McKim, formerly of McKim, Mead & White, was completed in 1916. The sculpture is one of 7 recently installed on the islands of Park Avenue between East 52nd and East 57th.  There are three red, two silver and two black. Spiky, metal sculptures by the "starchitect" Santiago Calatrava. The installation will run through November. The tallest is 18 feet high.
On the next block is Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Lever House, completed in 1952. The Lever House was far-out architecture for Park Avenue and the traditionalists. Modern was still a new word in the parlance. And then only years later, in 1956, Mies van der Rohe’s American masterpiece, The Seagram’s Building, with internal designs by Philip Johnson. All affirming the future of Park Avenue below 57th Street. The sculpture on the Seagrams plaza, by Urs Fischer is “Big Clay #4. It’s enormous – about 40 feet in height. Another Fischer piece “Lamp/Bear” which was installed on the plaza a few years ago – 20 ton, 23 feet tall yellow teddy bear with a lamp on its head. It later sold at auction at Christie’s for $7 million in 2011.
The tower in the background is on 56th Street on the site of the old Drake Hotel. It iis the new Macklowe residential tower – 90 stories.
There were more than a thousand guests at the Park Avenue Armory for the New York Presbyterian Hospital’s annual gala, Cabaret. Black tie for the gents, many of which were doctors or other personages in the medical field. The hospital complex seems vast to this outsider (I live about 12 blocks up from it). And it is growing all the time. Cornell-Weill changed its name from “medical college” to “medicine,” as it was explained to us last night, because it is a university of medical research covering a vast canvas.
Entering the Wade Thompson Drill Hall at the Park Avenue Armory for the New York Presbyterian Hospital’s annual gala, Cabaret.
For a big party, it is especially spectacular especially for what ironically could be classified as a conservative crowd. But thanks to Bronson Van Wyck who has the theatrical sense for making the most of it, it’s larger than life. You can see by my photo that the entry, an arch of greens, moves into a vast blue, towering room with a stage in the distance. The Wade Thompson Drill Hall, the Armory’s main room is a perfect venue for theatrical extravaganza, and Bronson loves nothing more  than the opportunity to produce one. It also gives the guests and sense of excitement for what otherwise could be, for many, a little snoozy.
Charlotte Ford and her daughter Elena Ford last night. Elena, who works for Ford Motor in Detroit, flew in from Germany to attend the evening which is co-chaired by her mother who is a long time board member at the hospital.
Not so the Cabaret. The hosts' point is to have a good dinner, see your friends  -- mainly in the field as well as the field of philanthropy which has made so much of it actualized; see a video about the honorees, another about a case that was miraculous, and have some rousing entertainment. And get out at a decent hour as these are working people.

Jennifer Hudson is a sensation and her sound is of the moment, today, and dynamic and the thousand guests were the older sets, i.e. an older generation. Well, forget it. She brought down the house at the end and had people up from their seats and dancing. They raised a record $3.6 million. It was a great evening. More details next week.
Jennifer Hudson takes the stage ...
A week ago Monday, the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) hosted its 50th Year Anniversary Gala Kickoff at The Plaza.  As part of the celebration, HSA honored a number of these great artists of today: renowned soprano, the great diva Jessye Norman, who received the Dorothy Maynor Award; the amazing, Cicely Tyson, actress and activist, with the Betty Allen Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Tyson is now appearing on Broadway with James Earl Jones in ”The Gin Game.”  I saw the original production with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy here in New York in 1977. Cronyn and Tandy were the draw at the opening. However, the play’s the thing. D. L. Coburn wrote a two-act piece for two people -- husband and wife -- in which you learn all about them and all about yourself and everybody else, and you even laugh! Fairly frequently. And you’re glad at the end when you leave the theater. I haven’t seen Tyson and Jones yet, but I know they are going do just that for you. And me. It’s a limited run, closing in January.
Janice Savin Williams (Vice Chair/Secretary of the HSA Board of Directors) introduces honoree, Keith L.T. Wright.
Charles J. Hamilton, Jr.  (Chairman of the HSA Board of Directors) gives remarks as HSA President, Eric Pryor looks on.
Onward.  Another honoree at the Harlem School of the Arts gala was Kehinde Wiley. Mr. Wiley, if you didn’t know is. a very great painter, often of portraits. Still in his 30s, he has established himself professionally by popular demand. His prices reflect it too, of course. But more importantly his pictures move us along toward something better while observing the present. I had the privilege of meeting him a couple of years ago at a gala at Lincoln Center. I can’t remember the evening but I was seated at his table. He’s an L.A. boy, the child of an all-American 20th century culture, which is defined in his art. You can see it. And it lifts you just like the light Out There.
Honoree Kehinde Wiley is presented with the Visionary Artist award.
Honoree, Keith L.T. Wright is presented with The Civic Award.
Steinway & Sons' Chairman John Paulson accepts The Corporate Award.
And there’s more:  They honored Alicia Keys who requires no background and description, and they honored her mother, the actress Terria Joseph with the Visionary Artist Award. Also honored that evening were Steinway & Sons; and New York State Assemblyman, the Honorable Keith L.T. Wright.
Alicia Keys and her mother Terria Joseph are introduced and both receive Visionary Artist awards.
Stephen Usher (Gala Chair / HSA Board of Directors) with wife Emily and guest (left).
HSA Theatre Program Director, Alfred Preisser, with wife Mia, and Melvin van Peebles.
Christopher Williams (CEO, Founder, The Williams Capital Group, LP) and Janice Savin Williams (Vice Chair/Secretary of the HSA Board of Directors). Rona Sebastian, President of the Herb Alpert Foundation, with Mort Gleberman.
Tamara Tunie with guest, Alexander Smalls, Gloria Reuben, and Michael Michele.
Charles J. Hamilton, Jr. (Chairman of the HSA Board of Directors), Tamara Tunie, and Pamela Carlton.
Alicia Keys watches her son bid on an auction item.
HSA student performances ...
And this past Tuesday night over at the Rockefeller University on York Avenue and 68th Street hosted its annual Celebrating Science benefit lecture and dinner.  The evening begins with a lecture by an individual involved with the University research programs. This year’s guest was C. David Allis, Ph.D., who was also recipient of the 2015 Breakthrough Prize. His topic: “Epigenetics Changes Everything: Revisiting the Nature vs. Nurture Debate.”
C. David Allis, Ph.D.
You know about epigenetics? No? I don’t either. However, this is part of what Rockefeller University does for the public outside the gates of this great research center of learning. They have these convocations, dinners, lectures, where those working on these amazing programs come in and talk about it in a way that you can comprehend. It’s the comprehending that is their gift.

Rockefeller President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and special guest Alan Alda hosted the evening in honor of James and Marilyn Simons. The Simons were being feted for their roles in transforming math and science education and advancing biomedical research.
Marilyn and Jim Simons. Addavail Coslett and Nat Heintz.
Dr. Allis’ lecture was followed by a dinner in a tent outside the lecture hall. Among the guests were Sydney and Stan Shuman, Amy Falls Rogers, Debra and Leon Black, Marnie S. Pillsbury, Blair Pillsbury Enders, Lulu Wang, Karen and Paul Levy, Anna Chapman, Karen and Marc de Saint Phalle, Kathryn Murdoch, Marean and Thomas Pompidou, Pat Klingenstein, Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, Rosanna Scotto, Julian H. Roberston Jr.
Marnie Pillsbury and Blair Pillsbury Enders. Robert Davis and Caroline Curry.
Lulu Wang and Kristin Hohmann. LeRoy Kim and Lindsey Boylan.
Stan and Sydney Shuman.
Andrew and Pat Klingenstein. Marc and Karen de Saint Phalle.
Gillian Miniter. Debra Black. Millicent Fortunoff.
Alan Alda, David Allis, and Marc Tessier-Lavigne.
Arlene Alda, Alan Alda, Barbara Allis, and David Allis.
David Allis, Robin Chemers Neustein, Marnie Pillsbury, and Michael Wigler.
Judy Berkowitz, Howard Berkowitz, and Claudia Steinman.
Chris and Courtney Rae.
Amy Falls Rogers, Anthony Thompson, and Hope Smith.
Karen Levy and Tara Agroskin.
Mary Morgan and Desmond FitzGerald.
Roxy Zajac and friends.
Sandra Horbach, Steven Skoler, and Lulu Wang. Rosanna Scotto and Betsy Perry.
Hugh Hildesley.

Photographs by Scott Rudd & BFA (Rockefeller)

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