Monday, December 7, 2015

T’is the season

Christmas is moving in. Photo: JH.
Monday, December 7, 2015. A mild, partly cloudy first weekend in December with more of the same forecast for this week with the temperatures hovering around 50 during the day and the high 30s at night.

On this day December 7, 1941, 353 Japanese warplanes descended on the U. S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. All 8 US Naval battleships were damaged and four were sunk, as well as three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and a minelayer were sunk or destroyed,186 U.S, aircraft were destroyed, more than 2400 Americans were killed, and 1175 were wounded.
President Franklin Roosevelt addressing a joint session of Congress and, via radio, the nation, at 12:30 P.M. on December 8th.
The attack shocked and terrified Americans, and it led directly to our entry in what had become World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt  referred to it as a “a date which will live in infamy." In a speech before Congress, the President declared that the American people had “nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Meanwhile, t’is the season nevertheless. When I was a kid, no snow on the ground was highly worrisome. The big question was: how will Santa transport his reindeer and sleigh without snow? Nevertheless, late yesterday afternoon as it turned dark, from the terrace, I could hear the carolers in Carl Schurz Park singing “Joy To the World.”
The holidays have arrived in my apartment building where in the lobby you can find a Christmas tree and a Menorah.
The tree and the elements that make it magic for the children and nostalgic for the adults.
A close up of the "goodies."
The wreath.
With or without Santa, in the spirit. Three weeks go, The Carter Burden Center for the Aging hosted its 44th Anniversary Gala at the Mandarin Oriental. They honored Jeff Bersh with the 2015 Business Leadership Award, and Filmmaker Lori Silverbush and her husband Tom Colicchio, Chef and Food Policy Advocate, with the 2015 Humanitarian Award.  All three honorees have been actively involved in assisting the Burden Center in its objective in providing meals for the Center’s programs for senior citizens and the increased numbers of those dealing with “food insecurity,” which is exactly what it sounds like: fear of not having food. Real fear. 

More and more, seniors do not have enough money to buy groceries after rent is paid and medications are purchased. Every day, seniors at the Carter Burden Luncheon Club & Senior Program on the Upper East Side, the Carter Burden/Leonard Covello Senior Program and its satellite, Lehman Village Senior Center, both in East Harlem, gather for hot meals and socialization. Last year, Carter Burden Center staff and volunteers served 264,446 restaurant-quality meals, including daily breakfast and lunch, as well as weekend brunch and home delivered meals to seniors who are homebound.
The honorees Lori Silverbush, Tom Colicchio, Susan Burden, and Jeff Weber, Chairman of the Board of the Carter Burden Center for the Aging.
This is a story about what we, the people can do to help our neighbors, fellow citizens when the need is self-evident (and we are paying attention to the world around us). The Carter Burden Center for the Aging was created in 1971, as a non-profit agency when Mr. Burden was City Councilman for what was then called the Silk Stocking District (generally the Upper East Side). It is a story about the will to help and its success is amazing and inspiring. The mission was and remains to promote the well-being of seniors, 60 and older, through a continuum of services, advocacy and volunteer programs oriented to individual, family and community needs. 

In the beginning they had one program, which was to assist seniors in the neighborhood with their needs for advice, counseling, etc.  Today the Center has thirteen programs. In the beginning there was one part-time staff member of Carter Burden’s office running the program along with 23 volunteers helping. Today there are 68 full time staffers and 3,000 volunteers. While back then they were serving approximately 50 people annually, today the number is 5,000! Of the meals served then, the daily number was 50. Today they are serving 127,243 meals onsite and to homebound individuals.  The annual budget at the beginning was $150,000 and today that budget is $7,742,264. Mr. Burden died while in his early 50s but his widow Susan Burden took up the responsibility and has expanded her husband’s empathic intentions and taught many of us what can be done.
Anne Wild, participant in the Carter Burden Center's Social Service program, and Sara Petit, artist and participant in the Carter Burden Art Gallery.
Jennie Rodriguez, participant in the Carter Burden/Leonard Covello Senior Program.
The Gala Co-Chairs were Jon Harris and Ted Seides, and the Vice Chairs were Susan Burden and William Goldman, Mr. and Mrs. A.J.C. Smith, and Stacey and Jeffrey A. Weber. There were 300 guests at the Mandarin that Monday night last month. They raised over $765,608 for the nonprofit organization.

The honorees all spoke of their passion for the Carter Burden Center’s objectives. Jeff Bersh is a Co-Chief Investment Officer of Venor Capital Management. He has more than 20 years of experience in principal investing and managing fixed income trading businesses in both high yield and distressed strategies. 
Linda Mathews, participant in the Carter Burden Center Metro East 99th Street Adult Day Program.
Ethel Mouzon, participant in the Carter Burden Center for the Aging Abuse Program.
Lori Silverbush’s film, “A Place at the Table, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, examines the shocking paradox of hunger in the wealthiest nation on earth. Since its release, the film has become the launchpad for a national movement and media campaign called “Great Nations Eat,” centered on ending hunger and reforming food policy in the United States.

Her husband Tom Colicchio was awarded his first three stars from The New York Times as executive chef of Mondrian. Since then he has seen similar acclaim for Gramercy Tavern (with Danny Meyer), his signature venture Craft (2002), and Colicchio & Sons (2010), all in New York.  Following Craft and its casual sibling, Craftbar (2003), Colicchio opened Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (2002), Craft in Los Angeles (2007), Colicchio & Sons and Riverpark in New York (2010) and Heritage Steak at The Mirage in Las Vegas (2013). 
George Davis, participant in the Carter Burden Luncheon Club and Senior Program.
In an effort to broaden his long-standing social and political activism, Tom co-founded Food Policy Action in 2012 in collaboration with national food policy leaders, in order to hold legislators accountable on votes that have an effect on food and farming.

The Carter Burden Center is dedicated to supporting the efforts of older people to live safely and with dignity.  For more information, visit
Gala co-chairs Ted Seides and Jon Harris.
Drew Batchelder and Kathryn Batchelder Cashman, Board member of the Carter Burden Center for the Aging.
Jeff Weber, Jeff Bersh, honoree, and William Dionne, Exec. Director of the Carter Burden Center for the Aging.
More catching up. It's been Art Basel in Miami last week if you didn't notice and there were lots of parties and dinners to go along with the exhibitions. Last Wednesday Bob Colacello and Bonnie Clearwater hosted a dinner at the restaurant Juvia on the west coast of Miami Beach in honor of film and television producer Douglas S. Cramer. Among Cramer's hit shows were The Love Boat, The Brady Bunch, Dynasty, Wonder Woman.

Guests included Doug's partner Hugh Bush, Derek Blasberg, Jerry Bruckheimer, Larry Gagosian, Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Ocleppo, Karlie Kloss, Julian Schnabel, Sylvester Stallone, Hilary Swank, Eli and Edythe Broad, Debra Black, Bill and Maria Bell, Mary Boone, Marvin Ross Friedman and Adrienne Bon Haes, Dominique Levy, Martin Marguilies, Yvonne Force and Leo Villareal, Amy Cappellazzo, and Bruce Weber.
Douglas Cramer and Hugh Bush. Steve Simon and Blaine Trump.
Douglas Cramer, Bonnie Clearwater, and Eli Broad.
Karlie Kloss. Hilary Swank. Yvonne Force Villareal.
Bonnie Clearwater and Vito Schnabel. Chrissy Erpf and Larry Gagosian.
Linda Bruckheimer, Slyvester Stallone, Jennifer Stallone, and Jerry Bruckheimer.
Marvin Ross Friedman and Adrienne Bon Haes. Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Ocleppo.

Photographs by Bryan Bedder/Getty Image (Cramer).

Contact DPC here.