Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Beginning to move again

Clearing a path on the steps to Bethesda Terrace. 10:30 AM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016.  Sunny and warmer, yesterday in New York, with temperatures in the high 40s, and the sidewalks wet and the roadways slushy. The city’s beginning to move again. A little rain should help.

Flash! Breaking! ...

My friend, the author, social and political and financial commentator Michael Thomas is having a book launch/reading /presentation of his new novel “Fixers” (about politics and finance, Wall Street and Washington) tomorrow night, Thursday, January 28th at PowerHouse Books, Main and Water Streets in DUMBO, Brooklyn, from 7 to 9.

I just got a copy and haven’t read it yet while I’m finishing something else. But I did have a look, and stopped when I was beginning to feel tempted.

Otherwise I’ll never finish the first. Michael knows two things unlike almost anyone: Wall Street, inside-and-out; and its denizens, where they came from, where they’re going to, and where they went.
The hard work pays off.
Weekend storms. We were sorry to hear that Richard Kaplan died last Thursday at his home in Palm Beach after a brief illness. Richard and his wife Edwina Sandys have been a popular couple in New York for the past three decades. Both highly sociable and friendly people, they were always an addition to any gathering. They often attended charity galas and cultural events and entertained at their loft downtown and at their house in Palm Beach. They were fun to be with and seriously interested people.

Richard was a New York boy, a member of a very prominent philanthropic family. His father Jacob M. Kaplan made his fortune via the Welch’s Grape Juice company and founded the JM Kaplan Fund which has been a major funder of many institutions and philanthropic organizations. The Fund is now run by Richard’s sister Joan K. Davidson. A serious man with his work and interests, he had the personality of a bon vivant  when out among his friends. His wife Edwina, a serious artist, and he shared that quality and it drew many friends around them wherever they were. Richard was 82.
Edwina and Richard at home in New York in 2011.
And. Michael Kennedy passed away on Sunday. NYSD readers know Michael and his wife Eleanora, who have been very active on the social and philanthropic scene for many years. I knew them through those associations, and had the opportunity to get to know them personally. Their marriage was a romantic one in the sense that they had a very close and devoted companionship that, like Edwina and Richard Kaplan, enhanced a lot of their friendships. I knew them by Michael’s devotion to his wife. He grew up under harsh circumstances. When he was a child of three his mother put him in a school with an older brother and they were basically abandoned. I knew Michael well enough to know that this circumstance had a powerful effect on his life, and his wife. He cherished her and it was something to see.

Outside the home Michael was a lawyer, a fantastically successful lawyer on several levels. His CV is vast and best learned by reading the obituary in yesterday’s Times.  His brilliant career brought him into many circumstances with many situations both political and marital. He was a man who regarded himself as a defender of people’s Rights, and those people ran the gamut in this world of ours. He is survived by his wife, his daughters Anna Safir, Lisa Kennedy, Scott Hamilton Kennedy, three granddaughters and two grandsons. He will be missed by many, and always by his wife Eleanora from whom he never spent a night apart in their 47-year marriage.
Michael and Eleanora Kennedy with their granddaughter Ava Safir.
The Season. It’s beginning. Last Wednesday night, January 20th at the Chinese Porcelain Company, they presented a new body of work by artist Scott Houston McBee, his personal menagerie.

Scott grew up among horses, dogs, cats and other creatures who shaped his life and his art.  The exhibition is on at the Chinese Porcelain Company at 282 East 59th Street between Third and Second Avenues. You can view the collection here, which is on view through next Wednesday, February 3rd. For further information, contact Erin Mandley, 212.838.7744
Scott Houston McBee with his personal menagerie at the Chinese Porcelain Company.
Last Thursday night, the National Audubon Society held its annual Winter Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street. The nonprofit honored two exceptional conservationists: Paul Tudor Jones recipient of the Audubon Medal for his work to preserve the world’s threatened landscapes such as the Everglades, the Western Seregenti and the African Great Lakes; and former U.S. Representative Pete McCloskey, Jr., who shepherded landmark environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act, received the prestigious Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership.

Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold emceed the evening, discussing Audubon’s vision and focus for the future. “Audubon, in 2016, is going to continue to work on climate change. We’re going to work on water throughout the U.S. We are going to continue to appeal to the four million people who recognize Audubon as being authentic and local everywhere.”
Helen Hooper McCloskey, Jim Webb, David Yarnold, Pete McCloskey Jr., and David Ford.
Following dinner, Senator Jim Webb introduced the evening’s first honoree: Mr. McCloskey, who accepted his award to a roaring applause from the audience after a special video played recognizing his work.

Reflecting on his career, and acknowledging other stewards of environmentalism, he shared, “What you don’t know is that the environmental movement, until 1970, there weren’t environmentalists in the Congress, there were a few. But Earth Day came, and a bunch of kids decided to take out 12 members of Congress—they called the dirty dozen. These kids got Dan Lufkin to help them, long before he was what he is today. And they turned out seven members of the house—the dirty dozen—two democrats, five Republicans. When Congress reconvenes in 1971, what do you find? The Endangered Species Act, clean air, clean water, marine mammals, coastal zone, estuarine protection—so I think we ought to be honoring Dan Lufkin.”
Dan Lufkin, Spencer and Jane Beebe, and Paul Tudor Jones.
Nathaniel Reed introduced the night’s second honoree: Paul Tudor Jones. Jones discussed the many environmental pioneers who have inspired him, “The one incredible force in my life from 1990 onward was Donal O’Brien, former Audubon Medal Awardee. Donal was the most passionate and persistent when it came to environment. He would call me all the time and within ten minutes I was either sad in tears, or I’d be shaking my fist with righteous rage because something had altered nature’s compass.” He continued on expressing the urgent need to take action, “I just read something where we are, mankind, we are extinguishing our brother-sister species at a rate 1,000 times the background natural rate. Can you imagine that? That’s where we are right now. Many scientists say that we are at the spear point of the sixth great mass extinction that will have occurred on planet earth in its four-and-a-half billion-year history.”
David Yarnold and Lili Taylor.
Guests included: David Yarnold, David B. Ford, David Roux, David Hartwell, Margaret Walker, Kristi Patterson, Susan Bell and Joseph Ellis, Jane Alexander, Leigh Altadonna, Peter Alpert, Susan and Coleman Burke, Mary McDermott Cook, Michele Crist, George S. Golumbeski, Jeffrey Goodby, James C. Greenwood, William Heck, Joy Hester, Karim Al-Khafaji, Stephanie Little, Alexis Maybank, Hector E. Morales, Jr., Terry L. Root, Ajay Shah, Hugh Simmons, Jack Stewart, Phil Swan, Stephen Tan, Art Wang, Lucy Walters, Lili Taylor and Louis Bacon.

Proceeds from the event went to support Audubon’s mission to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.
Coleman Burke, Susan Burke, and David Ford.
Fran Smith and Robbianne Mackin.
Lucy Walters. Alexis Maybank and Allison Rockefeller.
John Scully, David Walentas, Dan Lufkin, and friends.
Tom Lovejoy and Jane Alexander.
Lindsy Smithson Stanly, Robbianne Mackin, David Yarnold, and Lynne Hoppe.
Pete McCloskey Jr., Hong Webb, and Jim Webb.
John Gwynne and Edith McBean. Spencer and Jane Beebe.
Allison and Peter Rockefeller.
Paul Tudor Jone and Louis Bacon.
Charles Loveday, Joyce Johnson, Peggie Shephard, and Matt Lider.
Caroline Niemczyk, Bill Sammons, and Christina Giammalda.
Catching up. Two weeks ago on January 13th, Geoffrey Bradfield and Roric Tobin, his associate, hosted a reception to mark the opening of their new offices at 227 East 58th Street (Second Floor). Geoffrey is renowned among his boatloads of friends and close acquaintances all over the world for his “entertaining.” So it is not surprising that a launch of a new office would draw a crowd (it was scheduled from 5 to 8 to catch them all coming and going). Champagne is the word for it.
Roric Tobin and Geoffrey Bradfield.
CeCe Black, Lee Black, and Mika Sterling.
Felicia Taylor and Debbie Bancroft. Helena Lehane and Denise DeLuca.
R. Couri Hay, Wendy Moonan, and Stephen Kelly.
Michael Rockefeller, Tara Rockefeller, and Roric Tobin.
Brian Zechman and Barbara de Portago. Randy Polumbo and Cathy Buxton.
Mika Sterling, CeCe Black, and Georgina Schaeffer.
Eric Javits, Chelsea Chen, and Di Mondo.
Geoffrey Bradfield and Willoughby. Jean-Michel Placent and Kate Bryan.
John Ferguson, Roric Tobin, Willoughby, Magdalen, Tina Krivoshein, Justina Watorek, Norga Mendez, and Ang Sherpa.
Meanwhile back on the end of the year calendar:  In late December, music industry honchos, recording artists, and philanthropy minded New Yorkers came together to unite for PEACE at OUI R. UNITED for Peace.

There was an after dinner cocktail party and dance held at Beautique, the “chic boîte” across from the Plaza. 300 guests. The event highlighted the need for donations to the IRCC, who were first to respond at the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.
Justin Estill, John Mahdessian, and Michael Ladagana.
Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis, Arden "Keyz" Altino, and Samey.
Christopher Peacock, Patricia Kluge, and Bill Moses.
Stanley Smith, Valerie Greenberg, and Adrienne Stern.
Gina DeFranco, Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis, Robert Hughes, and John Mahdessian.
Justin Estill and Sonia Nassery Cole.
Ryan Man and Joe Karl.
Stuart Sundlun and Eva Potel.
Sonia Nassery Cole, Janna Bullock, and Emanuele Fiore.
 

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