A Taste of Summer

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Jay, Laurie Mandelbaum, Norman Selby, Melissa Vail, Betsy Smith, Gillian, Sylvester Miniter, Kristy Korngold, and David McCabe at the Central Park Conservancy's annual Taste of Summer Benefit at Bethesda Terrace.

On Wednesday, June 8, the Central Park Conservancy kicked off summer in Central Park with its annual Taste of Summer Benefit at the iconic Bethesda Terrace. The benefit raised $1.1 million, which supports the Conservancy’s ongoing mission to preserve and celebrate Central Park as a sanctuary from the pace and pressures of city life. As the stewards of Central Park, the Conservancy will use the funds to continue maintaining and restoring every acre of New York City’s most iconic public space.

Generously sponsored by Macquarie, friends and supporters of the Conservancy enjoyed an evening under the stars with a diverse range of cuisines and seasonal cocktails from across New York City’s eclectic array of restaurants. Guests were welcomed by the sound of steel drums, tropical colors and florals designed by Raiola/Co., an island inspired menu in the Taste Café by Canard Inc, and roaming oyster shuckers from Oysters XO. As the night went on, guests hit the dance floor to Music by DJ Timo Weiland.

Taste of Summer

“This year’s Taste of Summer Benefit was yet another example of New York City’s timeless vibrancy and energy, with hundreds of friends who turned out in support of Central Park,” said Betsy Smith, President & CEO, Central Park Conservancy. “This was another night to remember thanks to our incredible roster of participating restaurants and vendors.”

Honorary Chairs Laurie and Jay Mandelbaum and Norman Selby and Melissa Vail, and Event Co-chairs Kristy and Jonathan Korngold, Evelyn and David McCabe, and Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, were joined by guests Muffie Potter Aston, Christine and Bill Campbell, Joyce and Barry Cohen, Dori Cooperman, Rick Cotton, Anne and Bill Harrison, Gillian Hearst, Tracey Huff, Jessica Kempner and Peter Ginsberg, Carol and Earle Mack, Susan Magrino, Patty Newburger and Brad Wechsler, Elyse Newhouse, Senator Jose Serrano, Kristen Swenson, Melba Wilson, Anna Bender-Zeckendorf, William Zeckendorf, and many other friends of the Conservancy.

North Miznon — Victor Gothelf.
L. to r.: Tolache’s Julian Medina; Philippe of Philippe Chow.
Loi Estiarorio’s Maria Loi.

Participating restaurants included Amali, Benoit NY by Alain Ducasse, Bridgewater Chocolate, Butterfunk Biscuit Co., Casa Lever, Casa Mono, Dinosaur BBQ, Falansai, Felice, Georgetown Cupcakes, Insomnia Cookies, Jacob’s Pickles, LittleMad, The Loeb Boathouse, Central Park, Loi Estiatorio, Lure Fishbar, Maison Pickle, Melba’s Restaurant, Miriam, Nom Wah Nolita, North Miznon, Philippe Chow, Sant Ambroeus, Serendipity 3, Tasca, Tavern on the Green, Thalassa Restaurant, Toloache, Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, Veranda Soho, and Yellow Rose.

Guests sipped on wines provided by 90+ Cellars, beer provided by Brooklyn Brewery, as well as spirits including The Community Spirit Co. vodka. A specialty cocktail was created by Tiki Chick and SmartWater kept everyone hydrated.

The Central Park Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit organization that manages Central Park and is responsible for raising the Park’s annual operating budget. The Conservancy’s staff of more than 300 is responsible for all aspects of the Park’s stewardship, from day-to-day maintenance and operations to continued restoration and rebuilding projects. Additionally, the Conservancy operates the Park’s visitor centers, provides public programs, and serves as a resource for other NYC parks and for public-private partnerships around the world. For more information, please visit centralparknyc.org.

Bill and Anne Harrison.
Gillian Hearst.
Michele Brazil, Cathy Lorenz, and Lisa Cokinos.
Muffie Potter Aston, David Eder, and Pakhi Eder.
L. to r.: Chris and Aileen Bruner; Tracey Huff.
Peter Sullivan, Will McHale, Meghan Murray, and Lilly Fast.
Sydney Weinberg, Rick Cotton, Betsy Smith, and Jose Serrano.
L. to r.: Rocky and Sarah Kurita; Susan Magrino and Gillian Miniter.
Katie Harrison, Brooke Sinclair, Stephanie Stamas, and Natalie Danilovich.
Kristen Swenson and Hee Jung Moon.
Anna Bender-Zeckendorf and William Zeckendorf.
Amanda Conte, Kim Klimczak, and Michelle Lee.
Nom Wah and Julie Cole.
Timo Weiland.

After a two-year hiatus, Red Door Community gathered  for their annual benefit luncheon, Celebrating Women, Living & Working with Cancer. Former NYC Commissioner of Health, and Senior Fellow for Public Health & Justice, Oxiris Barbot, M.D., was the keynote speaker. Held at the Metropolitan Club, Gerri Willis, TV anchor and correspondent from Fox Business Network and previous keynote speaker, hosted the event.

“The Benefit Luncheon is our way of recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of women who play an important role in improving the lives of others through research, advocacy, and education,” notes Red Door Community CEO, Lily Safani. For the past 15 years, Red Door Community has honored women who work tirelessly to improve the quality of healthcare for women and other minorities, and who advocate for the disparities in healthcare, work, school or at home.

Gerri Willis.
Keynote speaker Oxiris Barbot M.D.
Lily Safani.
Red Door Community member Katie Smith shared, “Today is particularly special for me as I finally get to sit around a table with my Red Door support group. For most of us, this is the first time we’ve been able to meet in person… I say this from the depths of my heart that this group of women mean so much to me, and I would not be able to navigate this road without them. Because to me, cancer is just the beginning, and as Red Door says, you should never have to face it alone. And none of us ever will.”

This year’s Red Door Community honorees for Leadership include two powerhouse women for their exemplary leadership qualities and achievements and who recognize the importance of empowering women and breaking barriers in the workforce, Laura Shawver, Ph.D., CEO of Silverback Therapeutics, and Founder of The Clearity Foundation, and Lt. General (ret) Nadja West, The 44th Army Surgeon General and Former CG, Army Medical Command.

Guests in attendance joined in celebrating Red Door Community’s commitment to expanding its free cancer support program, both in person and virtually to meet the growing needs of individuals living with cancer, in more ways, and in more places than ever before.

Red Door Community – Formerly Gilda’s Club NYC was initially established in memory of Saturday Night Live cast member Gilda Radner, who passed away in 1989 from ovarian Cancer. Founded in 1995 by Gene Wilder, Psychotherapist Joanna Bull, Mandy Patinkin, Joel Siegel, and others, and renamed in 2021, Red Door Community provides a place where cancer patients and their families can find support, resources, and a community that cares so that no one faces cancer alone.

Red Door Community is New York City’s preeminent nonprofit cancer support organization helping everyone and anyone impacted by cancer. A welcoming place that provides a full complement of FREE cancer support, emotional and educational programs, and healthy lifestyle workshops online and in-person.

For more, visit https://reddoorcommunity.org/

Laura Schroff, June Burke, Tish Slattery, and Madeline Slattery.
Ellen Lubman, Laura Shawver, Ph.D, Nadja West, Barbara Ryan, Lily Safani, and Oxiris Barbot, M.D.
Meg Fitzgerald, Gerri Willis, Sydney West, Nadja West, and Barbara Ryan.
John DiGiovanni, Barbara Ryan, Lili Safani, Bob Easton, and Ellen Lubman.
Matt Deyoung, Jane Cushey, Leo Vartorella, Deborah Elson, and Michael Barron.
Melissa Scott, Polly Fleiss, and Annabel Samimy.
Jamie Halperen, Katie Cook, Laura Shawver, Maggie Hannegan, and John Brannelly.
Dimitry Siegel, Rachael Eckles, Brandy Cale, and Marsha Gryvatz.
Celeste Melett, Katherine Rossolimo, Erica Hall, and Maren Winnick.
Greg Bosch, Faith Charles, and Lynette Koppel.
Julie Kessler, Janet Crowley, and Diana Gradus.
Dawn Edwards, Michael Edwards, and Sarah Griswald Collins.
Jamie Rubin, Bob Easton, and Barbara Ryan.
Jill Cohen, Debra Netschert, Jana Zinn, Elena Ridloff, and Ellen Lubman,
Diana Smith , Katie Smith, and Gerri Willis.
Diana Smith, Kim Smith, Kaite Smith, and Laura Shawver, Ph.D.
Frank Russo, Ann Russo, and Bill Slattery.

Photographs by Matteo Prandoni & Yvonne Tnt/BFA (Taste of Summer); Rob Rich (Red Door).

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