Thursday, May 4, 2017

At the Garden Gate

Conservatory Garden Center Fountain Inside Conservatory Garden. 12:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday, May 4, 2017.  It was a sunny, slightly breezing, beautiful day yesterday in New York with temperatures in the mid-60s. It was a day when New Yorkers liked getting out and walking the streets with their leafy green arches over the roadways.

TEFAF, the world-renowned art fair known for its Maastricht show which you may have read about on these pages over the years, has returned to New York to showcase more than 90 internationally acclaimed galleries and dealers to participate in its debut edition, focusing on modern and contemporary art & design with a small number of dealers exhibiting jewelry, African & Oceanic art, and antiquities. 
The tulip chandeliers hang over every aisle of the TEFAF NY show.
A detail of the hanging tulips.
There was a special preview last night, with a huge turnout, more than 2000 guests from the fashion, art, philanthropic and design worlds were there taking it all in. TEFAF has brought new excitement to the Arts & Design world in New York.

I’m not surprised by this, having covered the TEFAF shows with JH in Maastricht which are unlike any art & antiques fairs. Its exhibitions are as contemporary as the art. Last night’s preview (called “Opening Night”) benefited the Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s patient care, research and education programs.

The evening was organized by SMSKCC. The event chairs were Kelly Behun, Stephanie Coleman, Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler, Sara Zilkha, Caryn Zucker, Debra Black. It was a great success.
Galerie Gmurzynska at TEFAF.
We’re on what I call overload right now because of the charity calendar.  Two of the most spectacular of these events occurred yesterday. Besides the TEFAF opening, in the early afternoon was the famous Hat Lunch hosted by the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy: the 35th Annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon. This took place, as always, in the Conservatory Garden in Central Park at Fifth Avenue between 104th and 105th behind the massive palatial gates that originally adorned the entrance to the porte cochere of the 130-room, four-story mansion on Fifth Avenue between 57th and 58th Street on the land where Bergdorf’s and Van Cleef stands today.
This luncheon is one of the highlights of any year on the New York social calendar because of the support that it draws, and the results of their contributions that benefit every individual who visits the Park – and there are many New Yorkers who visit the Park nearly every day of their week.

This year at this luncheon with 1300 guests, they raised more than $4.5 million, all of which goes to keeping up the Park and its places. It was not always thus and it wasn’t until the early 1980s when the Park, then more than a century old, was in profound need of restoration. The Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy was founded by five forward thinking women have, since their creation in 1983, has raised more than $150 million and funded more than 40 projects that highlight that great restoration.
A quick look around the Conservatory Garden
The current president of the Women’s Committee is Susie Aijala. Yesterday’s lunch co-chairs were Norma Dana, the surviving original founding members, Shelley Clark, Beth Dozoretz and Sima Ghadamian. Doug Blonsky is President & CIO, Central Park Conservancy and Central Park Administrator. The Frederick Law Olmsted Award was presented to Angela E. Thompson, Amanda Thompson Riegel, and the Thompson Family Foundation; and to: Karen Thornwell May, and JP Morgan which was represented by Kelly Coffey, CEO of the US Private Bank.
Co-chair Shelley Clark, Co-chair Sima Ghadamian, Women’s Committee President Susie Aijala, Co-chair Norma Dana, and Co-chair Beth Dozoretz.
Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor make their way down the steps.
I first covered the luncheon a little more than 20 years ago. It was already a great success, with a few hundred attending, and always sold out long before the actual date. Beginning 17 years ago when JH and I started the NYSD, we began the mass archive of the ladies of the lunch, publishing a greater number of photos of those attending. In that time our coverage too has naturally grown. This year there were four of us from NYSD with our cameras:

JH, whose photos adorn this page, and my photos which can be found on a second page, plus Sharon Hoge whose focus can be found on a third page; and a new contributor to the NYSD, Pierre Crosby, a young born-and-bred New Yorker who has been coming to the Park since he was a kid – like JH – and who made his debut with us with his photos of the Easter Parade this year.

Photographs by JH.

Contact DPC here.