Footloose and fancy-free

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The Playground Partners hosted their Annual Family Party at the Heckscher Playground.

On Wednesday, May 24th, the Playground Partners, a program of the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, hosted their Annual Family Party, raising $580,000 for the maintenance and daily care of Central Park’s 21 playgrounds. Held in the afternoon at Heckscher Playground, the event was generously supported by Principal Sponsor, Nordstrom, for the fifth year. Additional partners for the afternoon’s festivities included Main Stage Sponsor, Spotify, returning for their second year, and Premier Sponsor, Northern Trust.

The Family Party is an annual celebration in support of the Playground Partners’ mission to provide all New York children with safe, clean, and accessible areas to play. For more than 40 years, the Conservancy has been committed to raising funds essential to the maintenance, management, and restoration of all 843 acres of the Park, including its beloved playgrounds that are used by millions each year.

Fastbreak Sports.
Loop of the Loom.

L. to r.: iCAMP Activity; Chess at Three.

The family-friendly fundraiser featured an entertaining afternoon of activities, games, and music for the whole family. This year, Spotify presented performances by KIDZ BOP and PAW Patrol. Kid Resident DJ for the Brooklyn Nets, DJ Annie Red, also performed, leading a kid-friendly dance party. Interactive fun included live gesture drawings hosted by Nordstrom and On, face painting supported by Christie’s Art Finance, and STEAM activities by iCAMP, with stroller parking by Nuna Baby Essentials and activity tents supported by Parents League of New York. Additional offerings included activities donated by Chess at Three, Craft Studio, Fastbreak Sports, Kids in Sports, Loop of the Loom, Mozart for Munchkins, and Supper Soccer Stars.

Nordstrom — On Activity.

“Central Park’s playgrounds mean so much to so many children, families, and New Yorkers,” said Betsy Smith, President and CEO, Central Park Conservancy. “The support provided by the Playground Partners ensures that the families who rely on the Park’s playgrounds will be able to continue to enjoy them for generations to come.”

Sharon Jacob, Betsy Smith, and Jenny Price.

“The Women’s Committee is thrilled to see families come together to show their support and enthusiasm for Central Park’s playgrounds,” said Jenny Price, President of the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy.

Event Co-Chairs Paige Betz, Sayuri Ganepola-Kaczynski, Sarah Johnson, Sugie Hong Bruttomesso, Dustee Jenkins, and Kate Bouquard Moretti were joined by the event’s Grandparent Chairs, Liz and Jeff Peek, Playground Partners Chairs and Vice Chair, Mimi Ritzen Crawford, Austen Phillips Cruz, and Tiffany Gardner, Women’s Committee President, Jenny Price, and Central Park Conservancy’s CEO, Betsy Smith.

Guests included Judy Hart Angelo, Ricky De Sole, Gigi Ganatra Duff, Ainsley Earhardt, Gillian Hearst, Sharon Jacob, Chloe Malle, Melanie McLennan, Gillian Miniter, Kendra and Julius Randle, Barbara H. Scott, and Chris Wanlass.

The mission of the Central Park Conservancy Playground Partners is to maintain the quality and cleanliness of Central Park’s 21 playgrounds. The funds they raise go directly towards the preservation, care, and daily inspection of these play spaces. For more information on Playground Partners, please visit

Bobbie Thomas, Lauren Rieckhoff, Alexa Scanon, Gigi Ganatra Duff, and Gillian Miniter.
Jeff Peek, Katie Peek Tochilin, and Liz Peek.
L. to r.: Jo Carson, Caroline Meade, and Elizabeth Darst; Christian Moretti and Kate Bouquard Moretti.
Brian Donovan and Paige Betz.
Kendra and Julian Randle.

L. to r.: Matthew and Melanie McLennan; Karen May and Lucinda May.
Sarah Johnson, Dustee Jenkins, Paige Betz, Sugie Hong Bruttomesso, and Sayuri Ganepola-Kaczynski.
L. to r.: Tiffany Gardner, Mimi Crawford, and Austen Cruz; Judy Hart Angelo.
Vanessa Bump, Jenny Price, Shanna Kolb, and Chris Wanlass.
Ruchira Bhuyan.
Barbara Scott, Sarah Kurita, Caroline Abramo, and Maureen Mulheren.
DJ Annie Red.

The Noel Shoe Museum celebrated the launch of its debut exhibition, “The First Step,” a curated popup exhibition showcasing a selection of shoes from the Museum’s permanent collection demonstrating the evolution of the shoe over the past thousand years.

Founded by renowned shoe designer Vanessa Noel, The Noel Shoe Museum (NSM) is the first shoe museum in the United States and will be located here in New York City.

Vanessa Noel and Nikara Johns.
Guests viewing highlights from the Museum’s permanent collection at The First Step exhibit.
Highlights from the Museum’s permanent collection, a pair of shoes gifted by Catherine Adler, Turkish or Syrian platforms from the early 20th Century.
A signed pair of Usain Bolt’s Puma running shoes, gifted by Usain Bolt.
A pair of 1970’s platform sandals.
A pair of platform sandals from the Laurence & Chico Spring 2019 fashion show.
L. to r.: CaSandra Diggs and Carolina Herrera; Billie Bailkin.
Barry Weinbaum and Vanessa Noel.
L. to r.: Vanessa Noel with fellow shoe designer Miranda Morrison; Roy Kean and Karen Klopp.

Vanessa welcomed an intimate group of 70 Noel Shoe Museum supporters for champagne and a special private exhibition preview before guests followed a trail of red vinyl footprints across the street to the restaurant Barbaresco for lunch.

During lunch Vanessa discussed the importance of education and the Museum’s mission to celebrate the Picassos of the shoe industry, and to learn about the culture of mankind through the evolution of the shoe.

Guests walking to lunch at Barbaresco after viewing The First Step.

Museum board members Carolina Herrera, Prince Dimitri, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Susan Gutfreund and her dog Lucky, Joe Pacetti, Marc Rosen and Billie Bailkin were joined by NSM Stiletto Ambassadors including Sarah Cecil, Elizabeth Kabler, Lauren Lawrence, Ellie Manko, Maribel Lieberman, Gabriel Rolon and Tracy Snyder.

Others in attendance included Paula Al-Sabah, CaSandra Diggs of the CFDA, Olivia Flatto, Leila Heller, Cheri Kaufman, Roy Kean, Karen Klopp, Pamela Morgan, Roberta Sandeman and Arthur Houghton, Jean Shafiroff, shoe designer Miranda Morrison and speaker Bill Staniford.

Cheri Kaufman and Paula Al-Sabah.
Pamela Morgan, Marc Rosen, and Susan Gutfreund with Lucky.
Marc Rosen, Elizabeth Kabler, and James Goldschmidt.

The exhibition, located at 158 East 64th Street, will be open free to the public three days a week throughout the summer, by appointment only.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, contact the Noel Shoe Museum at

Photographs by BFA/Darian DiCianno/Deonté Lee/Matteo Prandoni (CPC); Andrew Werner (Noel)

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