A Landmark Night

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Looking south from the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 7:30 PM. Photo: JH.

Monday, November 11, 2019.  A much colder weekend in New York, in the 30s on Saturday and into the mid-40s to 50s on Sunday, with some Sun, some cloudiness. A typical mid-Autumn weekend in New York.

The week just past was a doozy on the social calendar. Last Thursday night began with a 25th anniversary party for Michael’s restaurant in New York (there’s an older Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica). It began at 6 pm and I got there on the dot since I had another commitment. The place was already crowded. By 6:15, it was mobbed, a tribute to the popularity of the place with its “regular” customers. Mind you, the reward for the guests was a lot of familiar faces, including the famous ones, excellent cocktails and drinks of your choice and fabulous hors d’oeuvres and tasty bites that for not a few was the equivalent of a great dinner.


A packed house at Michael’s celebrating its 25th anniversary.That’s Michael on the lower left talking to a guests (the guy with glasses).

The 26th Living Landmarks Celebration was a rousing success this past Wednesday night in the (Landmarked) Plaza Ballroom.  This year’s honorees longtime head of the Metropolitan Museum Emily Rafferty; New York Life Insurance Company’s CEO (and restorer in chief) Ted Mathas; Carole Bailey French who heads up the Saint Bartholomews Conservancy and is responsible for exterior restoration of the church’s dome on Park Avenue; H. Carl McCall the distinguished public servant (State Assembly, Ambassador to the UN, etc) and educator; the Mark Morris the dancing king, choreographer and dancer; and Barbara and Donald Tober who are here, there and everywhere (and equestrians on weekend), totally ubiquitous New Yorkers who do much and give much and enjoy much of New York. They drew laughter and applause as they became “Living Landmarks.” The evening raised almost $1.3 million.


The 26th Living Landmarks Celebration in the Grand Ballroom at the Plaza.
The table settings.

Choreographer Mark Morris said he had earned the title because “I’m sturdy, well built and I’m not going anywhere.”


Ted Mathas.
Donald Tober explaining what he saw on one of his sightseeing trips around the city.
Seated, l-r: Donald Tober, Barbara Tober, Carol Bailey French, and Emily Rafferty. Standing, l-r: Mark Morris, Ted Mathas, Carl McCall, and DPC.

Several past honorees attended including Liz and Jeff Peek, Patsy and Jeff Tarr, Barbara Taylor Bradford, John Rosenwald, Robert A.M. Stern, Mary McFadden, Louise Kerz Hirschfeld, Marica and Jan Vilcek, and Mayor David Dinkins. As host for the evening, my job was to introduce each nominee to the guests. Before that Roberta Fabiano of the Peter Duchin Orchestra and I saluted the nominees by singing Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top.”



The New York Landmarks Conservancy inaugurated the Living Landmarks Celebration in 1994 to recognize the extraordinary New Yorkers who give so much back to the City we love. The Living Landmarks Celebration supports the Conservancy’s efforts to preserve New York’s magnificent art, architecture, and history.


Jamee and Peter Gregory.
Stanford and Sandra Warshawsky.
L. to r.: Carol Bailey French and John French; Emily Rafferty and John Rosenwald.
Elbrun Kimmelman, Sana Sabbagh, and Jon Marder.
Patsy and Jeff Tarr.
Peter Lyden and friend.
Tom and Patricia Shiah.
Carl McCall, Peg Breen, and Michael Braner.
Carl McCall, Joyce Brown, and Dennis Basso.
Mark Morris.

Also last week, Paige Peterson co-hosted a cocktail party with Paula Silver, and Esther Margolis for film, literary, and social friends at her apartment on Central Park to celebrate the launch of film producer Hawk Koch’s memoir “Magic Time: My life in Hollywood.”  That was a time in the history of the film industry when there was a sense of  community not unlike villages and towns all over America in the 20th century.



There were a number of prominent families who led the way (sold the most tickets) and the feeling among them all was they were citizens of this town called Hollywood (or under the umbrella of LA). It was a very competitive community, socially as well as professionally; they were interchangeable.  The experience of those who grew up in that very American town was unique in a number of ways, as well as typical and even predictable in others.


L. to r.: Hawk and Molly Jordan Koch; Hosts Paige Peterson and Paula Silver.

Hawk Koch writes intimate, sometimes hilarious tales of growing up ‘on location’ with stars like Clark Gable, Jack Lemmon, Sean Connery, Angela Lansbury in films produced by his legendary father Howard W. Koch (“Manchurian Candidate,” “The Untouchables,” “The Odd Couple,” Plaza Suite.”)

He recounts his personal journey creating his own legacy producing such memorable films as “Marathon Man,” “Chinatown,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “The Idolmaker,” “Gorky Park,” and “Primal Fear.” Each was elected president of the Academy of Motion Pictures & Sciences—the only father-son duo to achieve this honor. The book is published by Post Hill Press November 12th.


L. to r.: Lisa Schultz with her daughter Maggy Villegas; Ezriel Kornel, Allison Sciplin and Anthony Tassi.
Barbara Isenberg, Stephen Sheppard and Esther Margolis.
Nancy Collins and Hawk Koch.
Peter Duchin and Susan Cheever.
Rich Conway, Anki Leeds and Greta Weil Conway.

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