Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Summer's bounty

Summer's bounty at the 79th Street Greenmarket on Columbus Avenue. 12:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018. Yesterday was another beautiful late August day in New York, with temperatures in the low to mid-70s, some sunshine until the late afternoon when the rainclouds started moving in. The temperature dropped, not substantially but comfortably. By late evening the heavy rains with some thunder came on their way north, destined, according to the weatherman, all the way to Maine.

One more week after this will end with Labor Day Weekend bringing the exodus back to Noo Yawk and business-as-usual. Or unusual, depending on the economic weather. Our Diary yesterday on Nan Kempner drew a lot of new interest as well as nostalgic. She is remembered so fondly because of her style; of course, much made possible by her husband’s wealth, but only in terms of actualizing.

Nan and Thomas Kempner.
Nan’s style belonged to her. That included the way she conducted herself publically and privately. She was outgoing, open minded and discreet. She liked people and liked meeting new people. The worlds of Loulou de La Falaise and Yves Saint Laurent were always within (welcome) easy access. But her life was like that everywhere she went. And she liked getting around. Wealth made her mobility possible but Nan made her presence the pleasure and the fun.

Her marriage was long and successful too, even considering a moment when an affair was brought out the tabloids on her husband. Nan protected him. She had no intention of divorcing and every intention of continuing to enjoy her life with him, and without him. When she knew she was leaving, she was most concerned about her husband’s happiness, and was certain he shouldn’t remain a widower. It was said that she even had someone specific in mind, knowing the needs for his happiness. She was always an independent woman. A real California girl in the jungles of New York. The pioneer spirit remains among even among some of the current generation.

Nevertheless, back at the ranch, with the summertime drawing near, the social spirit is preparing for the Fall season, even out in mostly sunny Southampton. Last Saturday, for example, the sun shone on Audrey Gruss and her beautiful property Fairwind, where she was hosting a “White Tea Garden Party.”

Audrey hosted this same gardenparty last summer, for the first time, where she launched a new project for her Hope For Depression philanthropy – a fragrance collection. Audrey in her business days was an executive with Elizabeth Arden and was very familiar with the fragrance industry as well as its opportunities to create income.  This year, she announced to her guests that they were launching a new product – Body Mist Light in the Hope Fragrance Collection. 
Audrey Gruss
Since then, over the past 12-months, 100% of net profits from Hope Fragrance have gone directly to Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF) — the non-profit organization Audrey founded over a decade ago in memory of her mother Hope, who struggled with depression. This is Audrey Gruss’ style. It’s practical, far thinking and under ideal circumstances it can make a better life for a lot of people.

This is one of the major differences between the social women of the previous generation where Nan prospered – and she was an important volunteer/participant in several charities, most notably Sloan-Kettering. The social woman today, ever closer to the third decade of the new century, is looking to make a mark and make a difference, using the skills she acquired in her youth — the early years of the liberation movements of the 1960s.
The Hope Fragrance Collection. 
Depression is the number one cause of disability worldwide, with 20-million people diagnosed with depression in the US each year, and 350-million people affected globally. Despite its prevalence and the staggering cost to society, it is still misunderstood and under-researched. Hope Fragrance Collection could make a difference. A big one.

Meanwhile, after all, it was also an actual tea party, and the fifty women friends of Audrey came for the fun of dressing up for an occasion (at the beach) and enjoying the company and the ambiance as we move to the end of the season.  Among the guests, -- all dressed in white for the occasion -- Judith Giuliani, Sharon Bush, Hilary Geary Ross, Anne Eisenhower, Debbie Bancroft, Katherine Embiricos LeFrak, Mai Harrison, Kim Heirston, Carol Mack, Nancy Schaeffel, and the legendary landscape gardener Edwina von Gal.
Sharon Bush, Audrey Gruss, and Hilary Geary Ross Lucia Hwong Gordon, Laura Nicklas, and Kim Heirston
Many took the time to take in the grounds — another aspect of Audrey’s enterprising spirit — which featured a white cutting garden, blooming white hydrangeas, a white and green woodland garden, a pool surrounded by white dogwood trees with gardenia flowers wired around them, an apple orchard and white birch allee.

Classic white tea sandwiches were passed around. There were tables covered in green linen — representing the crisp fresh garden notes of the fragrance — laden with white coconut cupcakes, white teas, floral bouquets and petit fours decorated with the blossoms of the four white flowers that compose Hope Fragrance’s key notes — gardenia, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and tuberose.
Clelia Zacharias and Mai Hallingby Shannon Nordeman and Katherine Embiricos LeFrak
Audrey assembled the guests to introduce Hope Fragrance’s new product, giving them samples to review in advance of the launch this fall. Their support simply aids something good for all.

The Hope Fragrance collection currently includes an Eau de Parfum, an Eau de Parfum Purse Spray, a Hand and Body Creme, and a Scented Candle. The products range from $40 to $115 SRP, and are available to purchase at The Body Mist Light will launch in the fall of 2018. 

To learn more about Hope For Depression and Hope Fragrances, visit
Sana Sabbagh, Sharon Bush, and Victoria Wyman
Judith Giuliani, Anne Eisenhower, and Sandy Norman Anne Nordeman and Shannon Nordeman
Mariana Kaufman, Nancy Schaffel, and  Elizabeth Howard
Good works, good deeds, good works. Earlier in the month at the New York Marriot Marquis, Macy’s hosted St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters’ 16th Annual Women of Valor Awards Tea. The Event was presented by the Catsimatidis Family Foundation. Ernie Anastos of Fox News was Master of Ceremonies.

Eight extraordinary women were honored for their outstanding work in the community and improving the lives of those less fortunate. All proceeds benefited St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters, which serves over 10,000 needy families each week throughout the New York area.
Letitia James addresses the room
The Keynote Speaker was Letitia James, Public Advocate for the City of New York. Ms. James was also Honorary Chair of the Tea. Andrea Catsimatidis, Principal of the Red Apple Group, was the guest of honor and recipient of the St. Francis Award.

Women of Valor Award recipients were Melissa Armenti of Lazard, Cristen Colantoni of HLW, Jena Hwang of Morgan Stanley, Julie May of Gunlocke, Ayda Melo-Taveras of WeWork, Sonya Verny of Colliers. The Macy’s Community Star Award was presented to Alyssa Youngerman of Ralph Lauren by Samantha Harrison Vice President, Corporate Communications, Giving and Volunteerism, Macy’s.

Like Audrey Gruss, the style of the times: all business, all good works.
Fr. Francis Gasparik and Joseph Sano of St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters with the 2018 Honorees
Andrea and Margo Catsimatidis
Cristen Colantoni, Daniel Weissbach, Peter Colantoni, Albert Maniscalco, and Cassey Stypowany
Deborah Cole, Amy Kaufman, and Linda Foggie
Lee Cannon, Decoda Johnson, Daniel Weissbach, and Adam Lutz
Jena Hwang, Julie May, and Ayda Melo-Taveras
Michael Day, Emily Nissim, Bonnie O'Callaghan, and Kaitlin Kilian
Barbara Koudellou, Shifoli Desjardins, and Nicole Vukosavljevic
Art Thompson, Laura Woodard, Colleen Moran, and Bonnie Pfleiderer
Melissa Armenti, Alexandra Liz, Ayda Melo-Tavera, and Sonya Verny
Ayda Melo-Taveras, Melissa Armenti, Sonya Verny, Julie May, Jena Hwang, and Cristen Colantoni
Howard Rubin, Joseph Sano, Father Michael Marigliano, and Father Francis Gasparik
Sister Pamela and Sister Monica of The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
Vilana Bedeau of St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters
Andrea and John Catsimatidis
Melissa Armenti and the Lazard Table
Sonya Verny with the Colliers Table
Jena Hwang and the Morgan Stanley Table
Jena Hwang and guests of Morgan Stanley
Nicole Baker and Ernie Anastos
Sam Harrison of Macy's
Alyssa Youngerman of Ralph Lauren
Joseph Sano presenting Alyssa Youngerman with the Macy's Community Star Award, with Father Francis Gasparik and Sam Harrison
Rikki Klieman presenting Andrea Catsimatidis the Guest of Honor award with Father Francis Gasparik, Joseph Sano, and Ernie Anastos
Letitia James, Public Advocate for the City of New York, and Ernie Anastos
Police Athletic League Acting Program

Photographs by Annie Watt (Women of Valor); Eugene Gologursky/PMC (White Tea)

Contact DPC here.