Friday, April 28, 2017

The week just past

Cherry tree petals underfoot. Photo: JH.
Friday, April 28, 2017. Sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy yesterday in New York with temperatures reaching up into the high 60s preparing us for a warmer, clearer weekend.

The week just past. We’re in full schedule of the Spring gala season. The following are only those events this week  to which I was invited and could accept.

Michael's List:

Jonathan Estreich
Martha Kramer
Neil Fox
Harry Macklowe
Kate White
Pattie Sellers
Stan Shuman
Steve Rubenstein
Chris Silverman
Mickey Ateyeh
Lenni May
Gerry Byrne
David Corvo
Susan Freedman
Barry Frey
Diane Clehane
Susan Silver
Dr. Gerry Imber
Jerry della Femina
Andrew Bergman
Jerry Inzerillo
Jack Kliger
Nico Bossi
Esther Newberg
David Rhodes
Preet Bharara
Nick Verbitsky
Vicky Ward
Nina Burleigh
Pamela Keogh
Fred Hochberg
Blair Sabol
Marianne Harrison
Terry Allen Kramer
Felicia Taylor
Denise LeFrak
Jennifer Bandier
Erica Jong
Molly Jong-Fast
James Schwab
Mark Carbone
I hit Michael’s for the Wednesday lunch with Blair Sabol and Marianne Harrison who is an old friend of mine and a new friend of Blair’s. Marianne now lives mainly in Beaufort, South Carolina where she and her husband Steve own the historic Rhett House Inn. Coincidentally at the next table Mickey Ateyeh was lunching with Lenni May who grew up with Marianne and hadn’t seen her in decades. It was a happy surprise for both women.

Erica Jong and Denise LeFrak who were lunching with their daughters Molly Jong-Fast and Jennifer Bandier.
At another table Erica Jong and her daughter Molly Jong-Fast, were lunching with Denise LeFrak Colicchio and her daughter Jennifer Bandier, creator of the famous Activewear shop of BANDIER, the Fitness fashion boutique in Manhattan on 72nd and Lex and in Southampton. They all wear Bandier.

Last Monday night was the International Center of Photography’s annual Infinity Awards Dinner where they honored Harry Benson with their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Then on Tuesday night City Harvest held their annual Evening of Practical Magic gala at Cipriani 42nd Street, honoring Chelsea Clinton. Several hundred attended and the evening raised more than $2 million.

There are nearly 1.4 million New Yorkers struggling to put meals on their tables regularly. The lines at soup kitchens and food pantries will grow even longer this summer. And now, with many of the social services programs low-income New Yorkers depend on in jeopardy, anti-hunger work is even more critical. 

At the same hour same night,at the Mandarin Oriental, The Friends of New Yorkers for Children hosted their annual Fool’s Fete: Enchanted Garden at the Mandarin Oriental.

At that hour, I was over at the American Museum of Natural History, where Pen America hosted its annual Pen America Literary Gala honoring publisher John Sargent; Steve Sondheim who was given the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award which was presented by Meryl Streep – with a musical tribute by Audra McDonald. The PEN/Toni and James Goodale presented to the 2017 Women’s March.

The 2017 Jeri Lauber International Freedom to Publish Award was designated for Gui Minhai, publisher, writer, and poet, co-owner of the Mighty Current publishing house in Hong Kong who is now incarcerated.

Cocktails in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda at the American Museum of Natural History.
Mr. Gui was abducted from his vacation home in Pattaya, Thailand in October 2015, as were four colleagues. For many months, friends and family had no idea where he or his colleagues were until mainland Chinese authorities admitted that he and his colleagues were detained in their custody. His colleagues have since been freed but Mr. Gui remains in a state of incommunicado detention.

The PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award was presented to Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian writer and filmmaker who is serving a 20 year sentence in a Siberian prison on charges by Russian authorities after his protest against Russia’s annexation of his native Crimea.

This year’s gala had the biggest turn-out ever with 800 attending and raising nearly $2 million, also a record. Among the 57 Literary Hosts of the black tie evening were Andrew Solomon, who is also President of PEN AMERICA; Hilton Als, Paul Auster, Robert Caro, Ron Chernow, A.M. Homes, David Henry Hwang, Jay McInerney, Daphne Merkin, Paul Muldoon, Walter Mosley, George Packer, Holly Peterson, Francine Porse, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Gay Talese, Annette Tapert, Tom Wolfe, Hanya Yanagihara.
Then on Wednesday evening, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Annual Gala celebrated Ella at 100: Forever the First Lady of Song with the concert at 7:00 and post performance dinner at 8:30. This was a great evening, hosted by Harry Connick Jr. Performing at the celebration were Renee Fleming, Roberta Gambarini, Diana Krall,  Alison Krauss, Marilyn Maye, Audra McDonald, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Camille Thurman, Kenny Washington, Sullivan Fortner, piano, along with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

The black tie evening began with the concert in the Rose Theater, with dinner afterwards in The Appel Room. They honored David and Thelma Steward of St. Louis with the Ed Bradley Award for Leadership. A longtime friend of Jazz at Lincoln Center, he served on the board from 1992 until his death in 2006. The Stewards are prominent philanthropists and supporters of Jazz. They came from St. Louis to celebrate the evening with 90 friends joining them. Mr. and Mrs. Steward also donated the beautiful floral centerpieces for the dinner tables.
Dinner in The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Annual Gala.
Last week, The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (The NYSPCC) hosted its 6th Annual Spring Luncheon Thursday, April 20th, at The Pierre. This annual event was part of the NYSPCC’s efforts to raise awareness surrounding National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  The NYSPCC hosts its Spring Luncheon to raise funds for its Trauma Recovery and Safe Touches programs which help in the prevention and treatment of child abuse.

It was a good crowd, and a big one (and growing in number I’ve noticed year to year). Among the guests: Brooke Shields, new ACS Commissioner David Hansell, Dori Cooperman, Diandra Douglas, Jean Shafiroff, Frederique van der Wal, Michael Gross, actor Tom Pelphrey, Valesca Guerrand-Hermès,Wendy Neuss.
Eric MacLeish.
This year’s guest speaker was Eric MacLeish, the man, the attorney portrayed in the Oscar-winning “Spotlight,” defending hundreds of victims of sexual abuse against the Archdiocese of Boston. When he first took the podium to speak, Mr. MacLeish mentioned the film. He said that one of his daughters, after having seen it, remarked to him that the guy “who played you dad, really got you perfectly ... except he was much better looking.”

MacLeish then discussed something much worse looking:  his recent work as the attorney for one of the victims in the Choate Rosemary Hall private school scandal — a case that was unveiled two Thursdays ago in a report exposing decades of sexual abuse by members of the faculty. This is not a new story, as sexual abuse is not a new story. But there is something substantially different.

He said this case was especially important because “Private schools could do enormous good by championing the way on much needed legislation that could make a real difference in the protection of children.” Here in New York, private schools do not have to report to law enforcement abuse that takes place internally. And they rarely do. It’s the old-fashioned: “Don’t talk about it.”
Dr. Mary Pulido.
“Right now,” he added, “if a teacher sexually assaults a student in a private school, there is no obligation to report that teacher to law enforcement.  There is if he or she is a public school teacher. But not in a private school.”

In a call-to-action, Dr. Mary L. Pulido, the Executive Director of The NYSPCC, urged guests to call upon local legislators to change New York State’s Education Law:

“We helped author a bill that would ensure these protections for private school children. It has been passed by the Senate Children and Families Committee.  In the Assembly, we’re making progress, but still have work to do.  I urge all of you to help us get this law passed. You can call Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan who chairs the Education Committee or Senator John J. Flanagan. We want children in private schools protected!”
Honorable Carol Sherman (Supervising Judge of BX Family Court), David Hansell (ACS Commissioner), Honorable Jeanette Ruiz (Administrative Judge of the New York City Family Court), and Dr. Mary Pulido (Executive Director, NYSPCC).
The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) is the first — and one of the most highly respected — child protective agencies in the world.

It was founded in 1875 by Elbridge T. Gerry. Mr. Gerry was a lawyer and a member of a distinguished early American family. His grandfather for whom he was named was the 5th Vice President of the United States under President James Madison. The year before, in 1874, as a lawyer he took up the case of Mary Ellen McCormack, who had been abused by foster parents.
Valesca Guerrand-Hermes, Eric MacLeish, Dr. Mary Pulido, Maarit Glocer, and Elizabeth Mayhew.
The case was eventually argued before the Supreme Court. The following year Mr. Gerry, with Henry Bergh who founded the ASPCA, took up the cause personally and founded the NYSPCC. Coincidentally Mr. Gerry’s mansion was located on the land on which stands the Pierre Hotel where the lunch was taking place. It could be said that those of us at the lunch when looking out the window, were looking at the same site as Mr. Gerry did more than a century ago when he was in residence. Back then, the Central Park had begun creation only 30 years before.

The NYSPCC helps the most vulnerable children of our community recover from trauma. More importantly, it helps prevent child abuse through its work with parents, teachers, children and foster care agencies. More than a century since its founding, The NYSPCC’s amazing work is used as a model for child abuse prevention centers across the nation. The NYPSCC has investigated more than 650,000 cases on behalf of over two million children and has educated over 47,000 professionals working with children on child abuse and neglect issues.
Eric MacLeish and Brooke Shields.
Karl Wellner and Diandra Douglas. Boo Grace.
Kathy Van Ness and Frank Sommerfield.
Randi Schatz, Dr. Penny Grant, and Wendy Neuss. Dori Cooperman.
Jessica Hart and Valesca Guerrand-Hermes.
Jennifer Creel. Jean Shafiroff and Victor de Souza.
Valesca Guerrand-Hermes, Frederick Anderson, and Frederique van der Wal.
Regina Calcaterra and Dr. Mary Pulido. Flo Anthony.
Tom Pelphrey.

Contact DPC here.