Thursday, May 12, 2016

Very cool for May

Taking a cigarette break. 12:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Very cool for May, yesterday in New York with occasional Sun.

Breaking news: Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman died yesterday afternoon at home. She had been hospitalized in the past month for reasons undisclosed. Her daughter Sage Lehman was with her. She was the eldest child of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt Jr. and his first wife, Palm Beach socialite Molly Hudson. She had once been married to the late Orin Lehman with whom she had two daughters, Brooke and Sage. She was the great-granddaughter of Alice Gwynne and Cornelius Vanderbilt II and grand-niece of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Like her great-aunt, Wendy was an artist, painter and sculptor, committed and hard working.
Wendy Vanderbilt and Chris Meigher in 2007.
The week. I broke precedent on Monday and went to a charity luncheon. It’s not that I’m against them, it’s just that there’s a limit on how much I can cover in a day especially at the height of the season for fund-raising luncheons, dinners, etc. 

So I went over to the Plaza where the City of Hope was hosting its annual fundraiser, persuaded only a week or so before by Lisa Fuld, who is devoted to City of Hope, and Sandra Lee, who was being honored with their Spirit of Life Award.

City of Hope, which is headquartered in Duarte, California in the San Fernando Valley, is very well known out there probably because of their relationship since founding, with the entertainment industry. It is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.
Essie Weingarten tells the luncheon guests why this honor humbles her ...
Rosanno Scotto tells the guests about her friend, honoree, designer Ramy Brook Sharp. Ramy Brook accepting her honor.
They were also honoring Ramy Brook Sharp, the fashion designer, and Essie Weingarten, the creator of the nail polish brand ESSIE. Essie is a new friend/acquaintance for me. We see each other frequently at our local restaurant Sette Mezzo, which is where we met. However, Essie is one of those people who is so there and at ease with herself, as well as possessing a humble demeanor lending to her charm, that I feel like I know her.

This lunch started at 11:15. I got there in time to be seated a little more than an hour later. They packed the house. A lot of people know about City of Hope and its value. We heard more about it throughout the next hour and a half.
Sandra Lee and Dr. Jill Biden.
Hope is the word. Lisa Fuld welcomed the guests and introduced Hoda Kotb who introduced Essie Weingarten. Kotb, who as you may know is Personality Plus, introduced Essie. Essie is a phenomenon. She told us about her own relationship to cancer in her family – her father and a sister. She told us how she was very humbled to be selected for the honor because of her respect for the work of City of Hope.

Then she told us about how she got into the nail polish business. She’d always been fascinated by color since she was a small child playing with Crayola Crayons. When she was about 20, she told her mother she wanted to go into the nail polish business. Her mother wisely suggested she give it a year. Her first business trip with her samples was to Las Vegas, visiting all the hairdressing salons as back in those days there were no nail salons. It was onwards and upwards ever since.

Essie Weingarten Sortino with her mother Blanche Weingarten.
When I mention her name to the women I know, they know immediately which of her “colors” they like. I recounted the  anecdote Essie told us about getting a call from Buckingham Palace. Evidently the Queen loves one of Essie’s colors – “Ballet Slipper.” Monday night, I told two different women that story, and both exclaimed “Ballet Slipper is my favorite too!” And they were both wearing it.

Dr. Jill Biden a/k/a Mrs. Joe Biden was there to introduce Sandra Lee. Dr. Biden is a very attractive woman, likeable and easy-to-meet. Evidently she and Sandra Lee have been friends for sometime. Sandra bears the same qualities as her friend. She talked to the guests about her own experience with breast cancer, and about the first time she visited City of Hope and the children’s wing which had a profound effect. She ended her speech by listing the many things she is grateful for.

Rosanna Scotto introduced Ramy Brooke Sharp. Ms. Scotto was looking good in an outfit designed by Ms. Sharp, who is a dedicated supporter of the charity. Afterwards we had a runway show of her newest collections. What was striking about the event was the women – all dynamic, upbeat, smart, sunny and very involved in their careers and their worlds of interest. They shed light with their attitudes and their sharing. There was nothing Pollyanna about their concerns and interests, but with their presence, they graced the room and City of Hope. It was a pleasure. And a learning.

City of Hope is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics. For more information, visit
Models from the Ramy Brooke Collection.
Monday night, the Lighthouse Guild hosted its annual POSH dinner at the Four Seasons. They were honoring four “Visionaries”: Margo Catsimatidis, introduced by Mark Simone, for her philanthropy and humanitarian work, Kim and Michael McCarty, artist and restaurateur, introduced by Blythe Danner and Jay McInerney respectively; and B. Michael, fashion designer who was introduced by Cicely Tyson. After the presentation we were treated to Valerie Simpson performed, accompanying herself on the grand piano.

This evening a big crowd, even more surprising because there were other events around town Monday night. Being in the beautiful rooms of the restaurant which will cease to exist in a little more than a month after a lifetime in New York, was fun for everyone, and also drew some of the guests eager to have a last chance to appreciate what New Yorkers once had, and will have no more.
Kim and Michael McCarty accepting their award Monday night at the Four Seasons Restaurant.
Kim and Michael in front of one of Kim's works and Michael behind two of his Thanksgiving birds.
The guests in the Pool Room of the Four Seasons.
Dinner chairs were this writer and Margo and James Nederlander. Honorary Chair was Arlene Dahl. Honorary Dinner Hosts were Hamish Bowles, Amy Fine Collins, Alex Hitz and Lorry Newhouse. Vice Dinner Chairs were Mark-Anthony Edwards , Susan Fales-Hill, Joanna and Brian Fisher, Somers Farkas, Charlie Haroche, Risteard Keating and Charles Van Campenhout, Sharon and John L. Loeb Jr., Tina and Terry Lundgren, Amelia Quist-Ogunlesi, Karen and Charles Phillips.

Except for the welcoming introduction to the evening by James Dubin, Chairman of the Lighthouse and Alan Morse, President and CEO, it was a relaxed evening of many friends enjoying the great menu followed by the Four Seasons Signature Cotton Candy which were presented at all tables after the dessert. Some of the more talented guests (actors) improvised to the delight of everyone else.
Alan R. Morse, Kim McCarty, Michael McCarty, and James Dubin.
Blythe Danner, Kim McCarty, Michael McCarty, and Jay McInerney.
Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, Geoffrey Bradfield, and Sharon Handler Loeb. Cicely Tyson and B Michael.
Marylyn and David Malkin. Somers Farkas and Marc Rosen.
Martin von Haselberg thinks pink when it comes to a cotton candy moustachio as Blythe Danner looks on admiringly.
Outside the Seagrams Building on its plaza preparing for artist's project.
The Tom Friedman sculpture on the Park Avenue island at 53rd Street across from the Lever House.
Meanwhile, same night, over in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza, the Fashion Institute of Technology and the FIT Foundation hosted their annual gala honoring Dennis Basso, John and Laura Pomerantz and QVC.  The evening benefited the FIT Educational Development Fund, which helps FIT cultivate the next generation of creative leaders through enhancing programs, developing new initiatives, and providing scholarship funds to the college’s most promising students.

FIT president, Dr. Joyce Brown presented Dennis Basso with the Designer of the Year Award; Bill Dillard and Abbey Doneger presented John and Laura Pomerantz with the Patrons of the Year Award; and Jill Martin presented the Retailer of the Year Award to QVC (President and CEO Mike George accepted the award).
Ashley McDermott, Dennis Basso, and Danielle Ganek.
Notable attendees at the event included: Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Paris Hilton, Hilary Rhoda and Sean Avery, Ivana Trump, Carol Alt, June Ambrose, Karl Wellner Deborah Norville, Liz Peek, Amsale Aberra and Adrienne Vittadini.

In addition to presenting the awards, QVC announced their new scholarship fund that will provide seven scholarships a year of $5,000 each for four years to FIT students who come from the countries in which QVC operates (US, Japan, Germany, UK, Italy, France and China).

QVC has fostered the growth of some of today’s most successful brands and provides a platform for designers and entrepreneurs to tell their unique stories to millions of consumers.  Because they believe in the transformative power of education and in the talent that’s nurtured at FIT, they’ve established this scholarship.
Dennis Basso and June Ambrose.
H. Carl McCall and Dr. Joyce Brown.
Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Dennis Basso, and Hilary Rhoda.
Tulips-dig news for gardeners: Beginning on Friday, May 20th and through May 27, tulips can be carefully removed by volunteers from the end beds on Park Avenue between 54th and 86th Streets.

With proper care, Park Avenue tulips have been replanted and continue to bloom in personal and community gardens in and around New York City. To enjoy the tulips for years to come, please be sure to follow the instructions below and exercise extreme caution while on the malls:

When digging up the bulbs, do not take any soil and do not cut off the leaves. Bulbs should be stored in a dry place until the leaves have turned brittle.  They can be re-planted in October or November. Use a small amount of Bulbtone-type fertilizer and be sure to choose a location that gets full sunlight.

Photographs by Patrick McMullan (Posh) & BFA (FIT)

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