Tuesday, December 27, 2016

All Quiet on the Homefront

Looking south from the Great Lawn in Central Park. 4:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016. A cool, cloudy, sometimes rainy day, yesterday in New York. Much of the city remained “holiday quiet.”  In my neighborhood where there are two girls’ schools on either side of my block, there was very little traffic and only occasionally someone walking their dogs to and from the park.

Christmas Eve, I went to Nan and Gay Talese’s annual Christmas Eve party at their East Side townhouse, which they host with their two daughters Catherine and Pamela. This is now an old tradition.

I’ve been attending this annual fete for about fifteen years and I’m a relative newcomer to the crowd. Gay is one of those neighbors who invites people he might bump into in the weeks before. It’s called for 6:30, and by 7:15, the entire first floor of the house is filled with guests. The Taleses years ago converted their backyard into a large entertainment room where there is a well-stocked bar and quite a few round tables for those of us who prefer to sit with their cocktails.
The holiday decor at the Taleses' on Christmas Eve. I don't know the whole story of this brass goathead but someone at the party told me Gay bought it on one of his trips abroad and carried it home, on the plane, and disembarked with it under his arm. She's wearing the family's holiday decor obviously.
Meanwhile the sofas and chairs throughout the first floor are filled, not to mention the many who remain standing so that they can maneuver to talk to others. Around 8 o’clock a full buffet of salads, pastas, meats and breads is set up in one of the living rooms. I don’t know how long people stay although when I left about 9:30 there were still guests arriving (from other parties).

It’s a cheerful, perfect holiday affair in New York. Many of the guests know many of the guests, and the Taleses are very welcoming even to those who are relative strangers. Not surprisingly, with Nan as a book editor (with her own imprint at Doubleday) and Gay a best-selling author/journalist), there are always a fair number of literary people present. Among those I saw: Judy Collins, Victor Navasky, Carl Bernstein, Warren and Olivia Hoge, their son Nicholas Hoge, the actor; Lionel Tiger, Nick Pileggi, Chip and Susan Fisher, Barbara Hodes and Michael Gross, Jim Hoge and Kathy Lacey; Gale Hayman and Dr. Richard Bockman, Harriet and Frank Stella, Ina and Robert Caro, Kathy and Harvey Sloane; Philip Carlson who has a new book out, “Breaking and Entering; From Auditions, to Agents, to a Career”; Joan and John Jakobson, and scores more.  A great evening in New York and a wonderful way to spend Christmas Eve among lots of friends as well so many interesting people we don’t know.
I couldn't resist this shot when I got out of the taxi on Park Avenue to go to the party. It's the Helmsley building (or whatever it's called now, in front of the Met Life building — that was originally the Pan Am building).
I took more than one photo beause I wasn't sure I got it right but when I got home I noticed that the colors had changed.
The New York Landmarks Conservancy recently awarded the Sacred Sites Challenge Grant of $35,000 to Old First Presbyterian Church in Huntington, New York to assist with their bell tower restoration.

The check was presented to church officials at the Church on Tuesday, December 13th.  The grant is the largest challenge grant awarded to any church statewide in the Conservancy’s most recent grant round.
The Old First Presbyterian Church in Huntington, New York.
Peg Breen, President of The New York Landmarks Conservancy commented that "Old First’ demonstrates how religious institutions have positive impacts well beyond their congregations. Seeing a beautiful and historic church like Old First helps you realize why it is so important to help save landmark religious buildings.”  

The historic Church replaced one that British soldiers tore down during their eight-year occupation of Long Island during the Revolutionary War.  Now it serves not only its congregation but as a gathering place for the community at large. 
Rev. Anne Stewart Miller, Interim Minister, Old First Presbyterian Church and Peg Breen, President, the New York Landmarks Conservancy
Following the ceremony, Landmark’s Advisory Board member Bernadette Castro hosted a luncheon at her 101-year-old historic home, Panfield, which was built for Albert Goodsell Milbank, a partner in the law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hope & Hadley.  The residence was acquired by her father and has been home to three generations of the Castro family.
Sandra Warshawsky, Peg Breen, Bernadette Castro, and Angela Anton
Peg Breen and Sandra Warshawsky
Neil Fruchtman and Angela Anton
Bernadette Castro and Judge Peter Fox Cohalan
Peg Breen, Peter Fox Cohalan, Kathryn M. Curran, and Rev. Anne Stewart Miller
Kirk Hirschberg, John Collins, Cindy Samuels, Rev. Anne Stewart Miller, and Peg Breen
Lise Moran and Dr. Stephanie Pincus
Bernadette Castro and Jonathan Marder
Ann Friedman and Kathryn M. Curran

Contact DPC here.