Monday, January 22, 2018

Walks and their expectations

Out with the old. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.
January 22, 2018. Sunny and mild weekend in New York with temperatures reaching up above 50 on Saturday and the mid-40s at nighttime.

Last Wednesday the New York Times carried the headline: “Earth Sweltered Again in 2017: Hottest Year Without an El Nino.” This little paragraph tells you everything you need to know about it:  "From 1900 to 1980 a new temperature record was set on average every 13.5 years; however, since 1981 it has increased to every three years," NOAA said. Mother Nature; faster and faster.
The fir trees down on Park Avenue where artist Hugh Hayden will be collecting and repurposing them to create sculptures. 
Animal form. My neighborhood has many dogs, and many breeds. Dogs are mainly our personal providers of therapy, not to mention live-in joy and steady companionship. There are probably more than a dozen dogs that live in my building of more than 200 apartments. I love dogs, all of them, and I love to watch them interact.

I’m always troubled by the assumptions some owners make about their dogs. The jogger or cyclist, for example, who takes the pet dog along for the run or the cycling (with the dog running behind), for example. Dogs are built differently than humans, constructed to live within the confines of the animal.
Unlike us bipeds, they also know when they’ve had enough exercise. They lie down and rest, and even sleep. Given the opportunity, that is. They possess a common sense that many of us do not possess. Dogs do not naturally go for steady runs for miles, on a leash while the human Fido at the handlebars goes peddling through the breeze. It’s actually animal cruelty or animal abuse, take your pick.

A much too oft sight.
Another, subtler form of neglect is those who don’t walk their dogs on leashes. Many a dog has ended up in photo taped to streetlamp or parking post: “Lost Dog ... Reward.” Spooked or distracted, they can disappear in a flash, out of fear or curiosity. Not if they’re on a leash, they can’t.

At times I’ve reminded some leashlesss owners that it’s not safe for the dog. However, many do not like being reminded even if it’s for the sake of their dog’s safety. (“It’s my dog and I’ll do what the f**k I want,” is the response I’ve received more than once.) They don’t care that it is for the benefit of their pet. The question remains: how much do they care about their pet’s safety?

I see lots of dogs every day as I walk mine, often down along the Promenade which borders the East River. I love to observe the different personalities as well as the animal’s relationship to its walker. The dog walkers who walk the herds (4 or 8 or more at a time) don’t hit the Promenade because they have destinations on their clocks. Those on the Promenade are often going to or coming from the two dog runs (little dogs/big dogs), or just a leisurely stroll for the owner getting some exercise.

Saturday I saw a cat being walked among the dogs. Actually the cat was walking the walker at her own curiosity-packed pace. The kitty was only two. When she was finished sniffing around, she hopped up onto the bench behind which I was standing with my dogs. There was a lot of nose to nose sniffing going on. None of my dogs had ever seen a cat before, and the cat was already wise to that so she wasn’t afraid. Another person stopped also and talked to the cat. She was very receptive. And on a leash. Her owner told me that she’d been out many times, and liked it. Mainly the scent-exploring is too fascinating for kitty to ignore.
A cat sighting — Fun for the whole family!
During these quiet early weeks of the year, the social calendar has been quiet too. Nevertheless, there are interesting moments such as two receptions that Susan Gutfreund has hosted over the last two weeks in her magnificent Fifth Avenue apartment. The first, on January 10th was for the Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Stephen E. Benko, the “Friends” Chairman, flew in from Hungary to attend.
Stephen Benko.
In a heartfelt toast, he thanked Mrs. Gutfreund for her kindness and generosity. He also brought important news for classical music lovers: “In October of this year, the Orchestra Maestro Fischer will be unveiling the inaugural Vicenza Opera Festival at the magnificent Teatro Olimpico, in Italy, the birth place of modern opera.” Maestro Fischer hopes this new festival will bolster the international opera scene and highlight Italy’s hidden treasures.

That Saturday, the 13th, the Orchestra held its first sensory-friendly Cocoa concert outside of Hungary at Lincoln Center. Maestro Fischer designed these concerts for young people on the autism spectrum and with other developmental disabilities and their families. The event was sold out within hours of its announcement in December.
Sana Sabbagh, Susan Gutfreund, and Daisy Soros.
On hand at Susan’s to celebrate were Daisy Soros, who founded the Friends organization and is currently chairman emeritus, as well as this year’s gala co-chairs Kathryn Livingston Forgan and Christine Schott Ledes. Other guests included Steven Aronson, Tony Bechara, Stephen and Radka Benko, Cornelia Bregman, Janna Bullock, Cece Cord, Steve and Rebecca Greenwald, Sylvia Hemingway, Geoffrey and Caron Johnson, Richard Johnson, Michèle Gerber Klein, Andrew and Heidi-Lee Komaromi, Liz Peek, Monika McLennan, Christopher Mason, Sana Sabbagh, Dame Jillian Sackler, Laine Siklos, Stephanie Stokes, Kathy Roder, Elizabeth Segerstrom, Jean Shafiroff, Barbara Tober, and David and Julie Tobey
Kathryn Livingston Forgan, Robert Kaplan, Kathy Horvath, Sylvia Hemingway, Peter Thomas Roth, and Christine Schott Ledes.
The Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra's mission is to support programs of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Members have the unique opportunity to build a closer relationship with the Orchestra both in the United States and in Budapest through special events with Maestro Iván Fischer and the Orchestra. The Friends support major programming initiatives of the Orchestra including Dancing on the Square, Community Weeks, U.S. touring, and the Juilliard Apprentice Program, as well as chamber music concerts with important visiting Orchestra members in Manhattan residences.
Whitney Schott, Conor Tochilin, and Katie Tochilin.
Monika McLennan and Tony Bechara. Liz Peek, Heidi Lee-Komaromi, and Sylvia Hemingway.
Christopher Mason, Judy Auchincloss, and Steven Aronson.
Helen Marx and Barbara Tober.
Dame Jillian Sackler. Elizabeth Jacoby and Beverly Schreiber.
Kathryn Livingston Forgan, Susan Gutfreund, Daisy Soros, and Christine Schott Ledes.
Lee Fryd, CeCe Cord, and Michele Gerber Klein.
Susan Abrams, Stanford Warshawsky, and Sandra Warshawsky. Janna Bullock.
Mike Levin, Jean Shafiroff, Laine Siklos, Julia Burns, Andrew Fader, Maggie Stack, and Peter Sprenger.
Peter Thomas Roth, Sarah McNamara, and George Ledes.
Robert Kaplan and Kathy Horvath.
Richard Johnson. Andrew Komaromi and Heidi Lee-Komaromi.
Laura Wilmott, Laine Siklos, Maggie Stack, and Mai Shiver.
Stephanie Stokes, Elizabeth Segerstrom, Charles Holmes, and CeCe Cord.
George Ledes and Christine Schott Ledes.
Jack Sholl and Mai Shiver.
Then, last week Susan Gutfreund hosted a reception in her apartment for Julia Samuel and her new book: “Grief Works; Stories of Life, Death and Surviving.”

Julia Samuel and Susan Gutfreund. Click to order Grief Works.
Ms. Samuel is well known in the UK because of her family names, both illustrious in terms of wealth and generations. She has what the Daily Mail referred to as “consummate social capital.” She is the daughter of late James Guinness and his wife Pauline. Her husband Michael Samuel is a member of the Hill Samuel banking dynasty. Her twin brother Hugo Guinness is an artist and model, and lives here in New York; and her sister is Sabrina Guinness, who is married to the playwright Tom Stoppard.

Ms. Samuel was particularly well known to many in her country because she and Princess Diana were good friends. They were young mothers together. Aside from their compatible (upperclass) backgrounds, the two women got on from the start because they were “kindred spirits,” sharing similar empathic sensibilities. And they could laugh together.

Having known Prince William and Prince Harry since they were infants, not surprisingly she is one of the seven godparents of Prince George of Cambridge, the son of William and Kate.

However, all that aside, Julia Samuel is a psychotherapist and pediatric counselor whose early experience was in working with mothers whose children died at birth, specializing in grief, at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. She was a pioneer in the role of maternity and pediatric psychotherapy.

In 1994 she worked to help launch and establish Child Bereavement UK (founded as the Child Bereavement Trust), and as Founder Patron, continues to play an active role in the charity which will mark its 24th anniversary this year.

Ms. Samuel continues to raise funds for the Trust in the same way we do over here: through gala dinners.

Photographs by Patrick McMullan

Contact DPC here.