Friday, June 3, 2016

Up for the occasion

The view of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the NYBG's Conservatory Ball. 10:50 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, June 3, 2016. A perfectly beautiful day in New York yesterday, with temperatures in the mid-70s and what felt like minimal humidity.

We're nearing the end of the 2016 Spring social season in New York,
and it is marked by the The New York Botanical Garden's annual Conservatory Ball, where they are celebrating the 125th anniversary of its founding in 1891. It's a beautiful affair, all around, as serene as the beautiful gardens surrounding the big tent that is set up for the occasion. This is an important fundraiser for the Botanical Garden but it is also a lovely evening, beginning with cocktails in the garden and around the exhibition that runs through September 11th in the Conservatory, "Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas," where American Impressionism comes to life in an exhibition capturing the spirit of the gardens that inspired artists at the turn of the 20th century. Oscar de la Renta was the presenting sponsor, so as you can imagine there were quite a few women wearing Oscar.
Conservatory Ball Co-chairs Alexandra Lebenthal, Deborah Royce, and Gillian Miniter.
Proceeds from the Ball help underwrite the Garden's internationally acclaimed programs in children's education, which serve more than 325,000 children and families in the tri-state area, and botanical research programs, which influence conservation, climate change, and biodiversity causes worldwide.

and wife Danielle (who was wearing an Oscar dress which Peter Copping noticed immediately and pointed out was one of his first designs for Oscar) were among the guests attending last night's dinner dance, an event reflecting the beauty of the gardens surrounding. JH brought his handy Sony along to give you a snapshot of the evening.
Gillian Miniter with her mother Anita Meltzer. Patrick and Patsy Callahan.
Patsy Callahan and Barbara Cirkva.
Eric Javits and Di Mondo. Elyse Newhouse and Tom Gold.
Romeo and Juliet and all that. The talk in the towers above Fifth and Park Avenues in the past couple of days, according to Emily Smith in the New York Post’s “Page Six” has been about real estate developer Harry Macklowe who “has been secretly keeping his girlfriend in a Park Avenue apartment for as long as two years.”

Park Avenue, I should hope so, if you know who Harry Macklowe is. Actually this has been some year for the Macklowe’s in the matrimonial department. Mr. Macklowe’s daughter who just settled her divorce (also reported by Emily Smith on Page Six), got in the settlement the marital apartment at 740 Park Avenue, right across the avenue from her father’s alleged girlfriend’s flat.

What makes all this news isn’t that Mr. Macklowe is a real estate developer extraordinaire but that he has been married to his wife for 57 years and together they accumulated (among other things) an art collection that is reported to be worth $1 billion. Also, no small matter, Mother Nature cooperating, Mr. Macklowe is one year away from 80.

You can’t blame the guy for making the leap while inching toward his next decades. Wait till you get there. It is ironic, or at least literarily coincidental that Mr. Macklowe at this moment in his spectacular career is also responsible for the newest tallest building in town, on Park Avenue at 56th Street.

Just fifteen blocks south of the young lady’s flat, it’s one long tall drink of water, known to many who can’t avoid seeing it every day, from all over the city, as “the big penis.” It’s also the first thing the girlfriend can’t avoid seeing when she walks out of her apartment building on 71st Street and turns south. There was a message in the man’s endeavor. Atlas shrugged and all that.

Harry and Linda Macklowe, 57 years later.
Adding to the modern day romance drama, Page Six reported yesterday that Mr. Macklowe and his wife have had a rocky road for a long time, with both reportedly bad-mouthing the other enough so others heard about it. D’you ever hear of such a thing? Although if they were still at it after fifty-seven years, it only means there’s a lot of youth still left in those two hearts.

You’re thinking: Did the wife know? Or, if she did, did she care? Probably not. After fifty-seven years with the same guy, it could have been welcome news. And maybe even good riddance.

Mr. Macklowe's French girlfriend, Patricia Landeau.
A couple of weeks ago I saw the wonderful revival  of “Do I Hear a Waltz” at ENCORES! There was a moment when the lead couple in the show were having an argument about romance (she’d just found out he was married and had a large family). He pointed out that they were having the thrill of romance, something quite separate from a marriage. She, who had never been married – and was then middle-aged and hankering – didn’t get it.

And then the leading man/philanderer retorted to make his point: “Did you ever think of what would have happened to Romeo and Juliet if they had lived?”

Of course we don’t know about Romeo and Juliet, but we do know -- if it’s true -- about Mr. Macklowe and his inamorata who wasn’t even a gleam in someone’s eye fifty-seven years ago when he and the missus started out life together. Life’s tender ironies.

The denouement: this whole drama has occurred during a time when the already septuagenarian real estate developer had reportedly lost his then $2 billion fortune in 2008 when the markets collapsed. Eight years, later, he not only has he rebounded and recovered his then bankrupt business but is back in the chips, and with a new inspiration for his next venture.
Which, speaking of new ventures, Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini sent this message yesterday to their friends and clientele:

Vroom Vroom!  After months of speculation about where we will reopen – once the Four Seasons moves on July 16, 2016 – we are thrilled to announce we’re hitting the road, Park Avenue in this case, and moving to 280 Park, between 48th and 49th Streets.

The most exciting part is that Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld will design the space and create an artist’s series of furniture and tableware – exclusively for the Four Seasons of the Future.

Starting next week, the new 20,000+ square foot space will undergo 6-months of structural changes to the building itself and a 12-month build-out of a state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen, two public dining rooms, a private events space, an outdoor cocktail lounge on one side of the building, and sidewalk al fresco on the other.

Because we are grateful to you for your loyal support, we’ll be sharing photos and renderings as they become available. Until then, we hope you will stop by and say hello before we hit the road in July. — Alex and Julian.

Contact DPC here.