Monday, April 18, 2016

Cast of characters

Central Park, Sunday at 1:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, April 18, 2016.  It was a fair and sunny weekend in New York, getting warmer by the day — it reached 70 by midafternoon yesterday. Sunday was a good day for a walk with the dog in the park — Carl Schurz by the East River. Me and Tobey, down by the riverside.

The river traffic seems quieter these past few weeks. I’m used to seeing tugs pulling and driving large oil tankers to and from down river, out to the Sound.

The warmer temperatures are delivering bigger buds on the trees and larger blossoms on those that are already out. Everything is still in the pointillist mode, adding the luster of the Impressionist’s eye. Yesterday it brought out the sunbathers, and the riverside spectators, readers, friends, family, dogs, infants.
Looking north from Gracie Square on the Promenade in Carl Schurz Park.
Looking south toward Gracie Square, Sunday at noontime.
The garden island soon to be in full bloom.
The forsythia maturing.
Cherry trees and early in the season Sun worshippers plus picnickers preparing.
More flowering trees.
Mid-afternoon Sunday, with the line waiting to order from the ice cream man on the corner of East End Avenue and Gracie Square.
Friday night I had dinner with old friends at Sette Mezzo. You could call it the Over Thirty Club for I’ve known everyone at the table for more than three decades. When this group gets together the conversation covers the world we’ve been living in and its cast of characters.
Marianne Harrison, Philip Carlson, Steve Harrison, and Pax Quigley.
Pax is the newcomer in the group. She and I met over the phone — introduced by a mutual friend, thirty-five years ago in Los Angeles. She was working in public relations at Playboy and I was new in town in the early stages of making a career as a writer. Our conversation took place one weekday afternoon. I was at my desk in my house; she was at her desk in the office down on Sunset. I don’t recall why she called me, but we talked for more than an hour about god-knows-what — probably politics and/or the movie/entertainment business — and have been good friends ever since. We’ve continued having  those occasional long phone conversations (and sometimes dinner conversations) ever since. About five or six years ago, Pax moved to New York to be near her grandchildren. She loves living in New York.
Back in the 1980s, Pax wrote a best-selling book "Armed and Female" about teaching women how to use a gun safely.
Marianne Harrison and her husband Steve own a bed-and-breakfast, the Rhett House Inn located in a large and stately 19th century mansion near the water in Beaufort, South Carolina. In the antebellum days when it was owned by the Rhetts, a prominent Southern family, Beaufort was known as the “Newport of the South.”

Marianne and Steve on the on the wraparound porch of the Rhett House Inn.
Native New Yorkers, Marianne and Steve still keep an apartment here in the city. Ironically they also see many people from New York and Hollywood at their very popular bed and breakfast. My wife at the time and I met the Harrisons in 1970, forty-six years ago, and we have been close friends ever since despite the lapses of time and the frequent distances between us.

Philip Carlson and I met when we were both cast in an off-Off-Broadway play (in Brooklyn Heights) “Christopher Columbus” in 1966, and we too have been close friends ever since despite the long periods of distance between us. Philip had a good career as a talent agent, having nurtured the careers of several very well known actors — including stars.

Philip left that end of the business several years ago and now hosts a seminar/lecture for actors and aspiring actors on “how to get a job” as an actor. He’s put the knowledge he acquired after years of experience nurturing and promoting careers in a book called “Breaking and Entering; How to Get a Job as an Actor” that will be published in September. What impressed me about Phil’s book was that it is actually a serious How-To book for any person starting out in pursuit of a particular career, be it in theatre, film, or other professional areas of life.
Philip Carlson in 1965 as drawn by Bob Schulenberg.
Catching up. Last Wednesday night at Cipriani 42nd Street, the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House hosted their annual gala “A Century of Design” honoring Audrey Gruss for her Outstanding Leadership and Support to benefit the Neighborhood House.  The Gala Dinner Chair was Diana Quasha. The evening’s Friends were Audrey and Martin Gruss, and Kristen and Michael Swenson. Benefactors were Ingrid and Thomas Edelman, Thompson Dean, Arthur Loeb, the Marc Haas Foundation, Elizabeth Munson and Robert von Stade, Marianne and Juan Sabater, Sydney and Stan Shuman and Diana Quasha. Sponsors were Kamie and Richard Lightburn, Kathy and Orthon Prounis, Margo and Rand Takian.

Patrons were: George and Wendy David, Caroline Dean, Beth and David Greenwald, Renee and Carl Landegger, Anne and John Manice, Kathy and Billy Rayner, Jane Spinak and Warren Scharf, Christine and Stephen Schwarzman, Chirstopher Spitzmiller, Helene and Hugh Tilney, Heidi and Tom White, Bunny Williams and John Rosselli.

Corporate underwriter was Goldman Sachs. Michael Kors was the Fashion Sponsor and Veranda was Media Sponsor.
McMillen Inc. — The Psychedelic Sixties.
Each year, the evening features outstanding table designs. This year’s tables were designed by: Alex Papachristidis Interiors & David Monn; Aman and Meeks Interiors; Andrea Stark for Stark Carpet; Arthur Dunnam for Jed Johnson Associats; Ashley Whittaker Design; Branca; Bruce Bierman Design; Byron C. James LLP; Campion Platt; CeCe Barfield, Inc.; Christina Murphy Interiors; Christopher Spitzmiller, Inc.; Creel & Gow; Decorative Traces; Geoffrey N. Bradfield; Grace W. Kaynor Designs for Sotre; Harry Heissmann Inc. with Eerdmans Fine Art; Hilary Pereira with Molly Patton Design; Hunt Slonem LLC; Juan Montoya Design; Kapito Muller Interiors; Laila Flowers, Lindsey Coral Harper Interior Design; McMillen; Natalie Kraiem Interiors; Plaza Flowers/ Connie Plaissay; Tamara Stephenson and Susan Young for Root Cellar Designs; Roric Tobin for B & T Global; Sam Allen Interiors LLC; Sasha Bikoff Interior Design; Scott Snyder; Selina van der Geest with Brett McCormack; The Studio at One Kings Lane; Villalobos Desio, and The New York School of Interior Design. All spectacular, as you can see ...
1920s The Gatsby — Natalie Kraiem Interiors.
It's Delovely 1930s Interbellum — CeCe Barfie.
Underwater World Decade' 80s — Sasha Bikoff Interior Design.
Henry Samuel. French 20th Century — Harry Heismann Inc. with Eerdmans Fine Art.
An evening in Paris — Bruce Bierman Design.
Docuette's Folly.
Design by Kapito Muller, fabric by Soane.
Macintosh Moment — Campion Platt.
Italian '60s — Arthur Dunnam for Jed Johnson Associates.
A Study of the Greek Style. An Expression of the Regency Period, 1820-1837 — Scott Snyder.
Springtime in Paris 1920s Art Deco — Juan Montaya Design Corporation.
Fragonard-Spring Blossoms in Rocco Paris — Selena van der Geest, NL-GB Inc. with Brett McCormack.
An Enchanted Chinoiserie Evening — Alex Papachristidis Interiors & David Monn, LLC.
Everyone Will Be Famous for 15 Minutes '60s Pop Art.
Breakfast with The Bradys 1970s — Ashley Whittaker Design.
This Side of Paradise 1920s — Grace W. Kaynor Designs for Sotre.
Indigo Dreams — Franca.
Alexander Calder A 20th Century Visionary — Aman & Meeks Interiors.
Table Design Andrea Stark — Stark Carpet.

Photographs by Annie Watt (Lenox Hill).

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