Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Preserving what is good

A moment on Fifth. 5:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017. Very warm, yesterday in New York, and humid up into the high 90s. I sat next to a woman last night at a dinner at the Metropolitan Club who goes to Stockbridge on weekends and holidays. She said the wildlife, such as the squirrels, are fattening up earlier this year, and taking all the pine cones and nuts they can gather for what some say augers a very hard winter. I grew up in that neck of the woods, and although I don’t miss the weather, the experience of it as a kid growing up was rich and wonderful. Recalling it I only think how lucky we were as children to have those winters.

Meanwhile here in Manhattan the air conditioners were humming big time. Last night I went down to the Metropolitan Club for a dinner honoring Ann Pyne.
The cocktail reception for the dinner last night at the Metropolitan Club.
On my way there we took the FDR to the 63rd Street exit and traveled straight across 63rd to Fifth where I suddenly thought the party was at the Knickerbocker, which is on 62nd and Fifth. So I got out there but inside at the desk they didn’t know what I was talking about. I realized I was confused and realized it was another “M” – the Metropolitan which is just two blocks south.

So out I went and moved quickly down the block whereupon I found myself following a very interesting woman, all in black but kinda sparkling here and there, implying a New York glamour, moving along quickly but with certainty. It soon occurred to me that she might be someone I know, so I decided to sneak up on her. Catching up still a pace behind, I said clearly as if talking to someone I was walking with: “And where would she be going, all by herself on Fifth Avenue dressed to the nines?!” She turned and laughed. The same place.

The main gallery of the Metropolitan Club was full when we arrived (cocktails had started almost an hour before). The evening was a celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District. “Thirty 35 Years of Advocacy for a Livable Upper East Side.”
In 1982, two women who were preservationists Halina Rosenthal and Anne Millard gathered a group of volunteers at the Municipal Art Society and made it their business to monitor the Upper East Side Historic District that had only recently designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. All these years later Ann Pyne, who’s probably been involved in the organization for a long time also, was honored for her service.

Her honoring brought out a big crowd, a surprisingly big crowd for a “district/neighborhood” organization. But she and her husband John are well known to many for their work and their company. Except this is New York and so-called progress real estate-wise is another animal from the wilds. These people who work for these organizations are keeping the “neighbor” back in neighborhood. It is a great challenge, one that is only appreciated in retrospect.
Tom Edelman and the honoree Ann Pyne.
Ann Pyne is a very serious woman but with a great sense of humor and irony. She is a curator, a connoisseur, a writer and at this time in her life, an interior designer at the firm of her late mother Betty Sherrill: McMillen & Co. McMillen is now the oldest interior design firm in America with a sterling provenance of clients. When I list Ann’s identities, I should add, her interest in each is equally as intense, for want of a better word. Ann is intense, yet so light is her charm, that this quality could escape you. She gets things done.
Michael Bloomberg readis aloud the inscription on Ann's award.
The honoree speaks.
Poetry plays a part.
If you want to know more about her, Sian Ballen and Lesley Hauge interviewed her at her apartment a number of years ago for our HOUSE section, and JH photographed the place. That will give you a good idea of this remarkable woman ... who is always good for a laugh or two as well.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented Ann with the Award. And then she spoke about her work and how she looks at it demonstrating that power of devotion along with the irony that bespeaks her mind.

It was a beautiful dinner in the great room overlooking Fifth Avenue. There were many friends and neighbors there and it was a wonderful evening that basically ended at 9:30. Also a good sign for those New Yorkers who get around everyday. And around and around.
Ann at home.
More preservation talk. Last Tuesday, September 19th more than 140 guests attended a sold-out lecture with world renowned landscape designer Arne Maynard. Co-hosted by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) and Architectural Digest, Maynard’s discussion focused on the balance between formal and informal elements in his landscapes and gardens. 

Following introductions by ICAA President Peter Lyden and Architectural Digest Decorative Arts Editor Mitchell Owens, Maynard highlighted a selection of mature projects in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. Maynard illustrated how formal garden layouts – defined by elements such as paths, hedges, trees, and topiary – form the bones of the garden that endure throughout the year and juxtapose with seasonal plants that, in their moment of exuberance, are encouraged to inhabit the spaces. 
The sold-out lecture with world renowned landscape designer Arne Maynard.
Arne Maynard.
Peter Lyden in an interview with Architectural Digest described Maynard as "among today's most influential and renowned landscape designers. To experience one of Arne's gardens is to witness the perfect synthesis of formal and informal design principles that, together, harmonize the architecture of a place with its natural setting."
Gardens designed by Arne Maynard (Photos: William Collinson)
Among those attending were: Architectural Digest Editor in Chief Amy Astley, as well as the magazine’s Interiors & Garden Director Alison Levasseur. Also present were ICAA Board Members Andrew Cogar, Pierre Crosby, Barbara Eberlein, Mark Ferguson, John Flower, Jared Goss, Kirk Henckels, Michael Mesko, and Mark Pledger. Caleb Anderson, Anne Bass, Frank de Biasi, Kathryn Herman, Edmund Hollander, Chris Kane, Tham Kannalikham, Fernanda Kellogg, Julian Lethbridge, Thomas Lloyd, Charles Miers, Gene Meyer, Karen Pascoe, Kathy Rayner, and Gilbert P. Schafer III, among other ICAA supporters and friends, were also in attendance.
Arne Maynard, Elizabeth Graziolo, and Ed Hollander.
Brett Williams, Austin D. Mill, Valentin Goux, Spencer Gervasoni, and Caleb Anderson.
Amy Astley with ICAA President Peter Lyden.
Gene Meyer and Frank de Biasi.
ICAA President Peter Lyden and Thomas Lloyd.
Julian Lethbridge and Anne Bass.
Kirk Henckels, Fernanda Kellogg, and Percival P. Steinhart.
Gilbert P. Schafer III and ICAA President Peter Lyden.

Photographs by Sean Zanni/PMC (ICAA )

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