Good, Bad and Otherwise

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A lone squirrel in Central Park. Photo: JH.

Friday, March 13, 2020. Weather yesterday was middling (55 -60) and grey, with light rain beginning in mid-evening. Good for the flowers that are beginning to pop up and bloom here and there in the park. That’s the good news.

The other news was not good. The Coronavirus has taken over the news as well as the lives of many New Yorkers (and everywhere else). It seems it grows more intense with each passing day. I saw it when I went out to shop for food.

I was at Zabar’s on the West Side, and then D’Ag’s, and Morton Williams in my neighborhood. The energy was noticeably different. The stores were crowded and you could see by the shopping cards, they “stocking up.” I noticed the emphasis was on veggies, pastas, beans and chicken.

Zabar’s was just about out of their chicken. I also stored up on some dog treats. I worry about the animals during crises such as this where their owners are stressed. And the more dangerous the situation, the harder it is on many of our four-legged friends and other pets. 

The list of museums and school closings is likely to grow.

Its effect on New York life and the social calendar you read in the NYSD will be major if not profound. Just yesterday I received five notices of cancellations of events that I’d already accepted. Schools are closing, museums are closing, trips are being canceled; dinner parties, birthday parties, cocktail parties, same. Traffic on the roads and the highways surrounding us, was definitely lighter. 

This virus-creepy matter appears to have taken over the world. It was on the minds of most if not all New Yorkers.  Getting into my elevator with my groceries, I was joined by another tenant, a woman looking alarmed and stressed. She was wide-eyed and emotionally upset as if she had something to say. We got to my floor first and as I exited, she blurted out as if in a full panic: “It’s going to get worse!!”

I knew what she meant because that’s the predominant feeling among many of us. But it is not a community matter, like a disaster affecting all of us (which it is), but as if it is threatening you/me/the individual personally.

The news media is having a ball with this. It beats both Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein combined. Because it’s pushing the panic button, scaring the sh*t out us. Everyday brings more bad news looming and even leering. The thing is being regarded as a potential threat to the whole human race. Is it? We shall see. Even worse, it’s believed to be man-made. Like the bomb. This is what we do to ourselves in the name military (and/or political) preparedness against The Enemy. Whoever he is. We must be crazy underneath it all.

Meanwhile, life goes on. Last Thursday the 5th down in Palm Beach at the home of Arriana and Dixon Boardman, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — better known to all as the ASPCA — hosted an evening focused what their work bringing vital pet care services to underserved communities in Miami-Dade County. 

Arriana, who is a Board Member, introduced ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker to the guests.  He spoke about the ASPCA’s new Community Veterinary Center in Liberty City, Miami. The Center brings partially and fully subsidized veterinary services, including vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, and treatment for infections, to pets and pet owners in Miami-Dade County, with a particular focus on the underserved Liberty City area. 

Arriana Boardman, Dixon Boardman, and Emilia Pfeifler.

Since opening in October 2019, the Center has helped hundreds of pets and their owners. Among the guests and supporters were: Ambassador Howard Leach and Gretchen Leach, Leslie Smith, Mark Badgley and James Mischka, Kelly Klein, Board Member Fred and Laura Tanne, Jeff Pfeifle who is also a Board Member, Emilia Fanjul, her daughter Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler, Peter Van Ingen and Boo Van Ingen, Talbott Maxey, Kim Renk Dryer, Chris and Grace Meigher, and David Ober.

L. to r.: Kim Dryer, Arriana Boardman, and Talbott Maxie; Mark Badgley and James Mischka.
Nancy Malnik, Catherine Lignelli, Meredith Beerbaum, and Barbara Coleman.
L. to r.: Carole French, Matt Bershadker and Barbara Dauphin-Duthuit; Leslie Smith, Peter Van Ingen and Alexandra Olsner.
Danielle Moore, Arriana Boardman, and Barbie Bancroft.
L. to r.: Jeff Pfeifel, Felicia Taylor, and Dave Granville; Fred Tanne and Laura Tanne with their newly adopted dog “Mitch.”
L. to r.: Arriana Boardman and Kelly Klein; Lourdes Fanjul, Emilia Pfeifler, and Mai Hallingby-Harrison.

Note from another world: Vienna Philharmonic Society USA members, led by their chairman, Marife Hernandez, and her husband Joel Bell, traveled to Paris for a week to celebrate with the Vienna Philharmonic and attend the historic concerts at Théâtre des Champs Elysée where they played all nine Beethoven symphonies in honor of the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.  

Ambassador Michael Linhart invited a distinguished group Austrian Embassy to celebrate.  The Vienna Philharmonic Society also had special access to sites including The Louvre, Citéde L’ Architecture, and Louvois Castle.

The Vienna Philharmonic returns Carnegie Hall June 19th-20th under the baton of Daniel Barenboim playing Mahler and Schubert.  The Vienna Philharmonic Society will host a private benefit concert and dinner Thursday June 18th with Maestro Barenboim.

Vienna Philharmonic Society USA members tour Domain Laurent-Perrier (l. to r.): Philippe Agid, former Deputy Director of the Paris Opera, Nasser Saidi, Former Minister of Economy and Industry of Lebanon, and his wife, Safa; Joel Bell, Chairman of the Chumir Foundation for Ethics in leadership; Marifé Hernandez, Chairman, Vienna Philharmonic Society USA; Dr. Margaret Natajaran, Dr. Ananth Natajaran, Julia Neugebauer, Caroline Jahn, Sedgwick Ward, Max Jahn, Pamela Ward, and Hélène Danguy.
At the Austrian Embassy in Paris (l. to r.): Michael Bladerer, General Manager of the VPO, Daniel Froschauer, Chairman of the VPO, Ambassador Michael Linhart, Austrian Ambassador to France.

Citymeals on Wheels, Board Co-President Chef Daniel Boulud, and celebrated chefs from around the world, hosted the 23rd Annual Sunday Supper at Restaurant DANIEL. “This is one of my favorite nights of the year,” he told the guests, adding that the entire team at Restaurant DANIEL “is proud to support Citymeals on Wheels and its essential work.”

*As the designated emergency responder for New York City’s seniors, Citymeals is preparing 200,000 meals in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Click here to help more than 18,000 homebound elderly New Yorkers.

Chef Boulud also welcomed (“thrilled” as he put it) six award-winning guest chefs in the kitchen for that night. The guest chefs were: Emma Bengtsson (Aquavit, New York), Anna Bolz (Per Se, New York), Alexandre Gauthier (La Grenouillère, La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France), Noel Jelfs (Chinese Tuxedo, New York), Julien Royer (Odette, Singapore), and Nicholas Tang (DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Washington, D.C.).

Chef Noel Jelfs (Chinese Tuxedo, New York) prepared Cheong Fun with Shepherd’s Purse and Aromatic Peanut Sauce.
Chef Alexandre Gauthier (La Grenouillère, France) served Raviole Rouge with Betterave et Haddock.

The fête honored Citymeals Board Vice Chair Joseph M. Cohen for his outstanding generosity and contributions to the organization over the last 20 years raising $1 million to prepare and deliver more those 127,000 meals to New York City’s homebound elderly.

Honoree Joe Cohen (Board Vice Chair, Citymeals on Wheels) with Lally Weymouth at the 23rd Annual Sunday Supper at DANIEL benefitting Citymeals on Wheels on March 8th in New York City

100% of the proceeds raised from the dinner go directly to the preparation and delivery of the meals. Over the years, Sunday Supper at Restaurant DANIEL has raised nearly $12 million to fund home-delivered meals for vulnerable New Yorkers too old and frail to shop or cook for themselves. A vitally important service in this environment. 

The evening also marked the 89th birthday of our friend Donald Tober who was one of the original founders of CityMeals along with James Beard and Gael Greene. Chef Daniel Boulud presented the birthday boy’s cake while the whole room joined in singing Happy Birthday.

Toasting Donald Tober on his birthday.
Donald blowing out his birthday candles.
The birthday cake presented by Chef Boulud.

Among the first to join the Board of Citymeals, Donald served for 30 years. As chairman and ​CEO of Sugar Foods Corporation he’s offered insights into the food industry as well as significant financial support. In 2013 he was honored for his steadfast support at their annual Power Lunch for Women. Next month Donald and his beloved Barbara continue celebrating with their 47th wedding anniversary.

The evening’s co-chairs were Ellen and Robert S. Grimes and Lisa Rosenblum. Guests included Neil and Marika Bender, Jean François Bruel, Eddy Leroux, Margo M. and Jimmy Nederlander, Beth Shapiro (Executive Director, Citymeals on Wheels), Christian Siriano, Galia Stawski, Marcia Stein (Founding Executive Director, Citymeals on Wheels), ​a​nd Leslie Ziff.

Lisa Rosenblum (Board Member, Citymeals on Wheels), Suri Kasirer (Board Member, Citymeals on Wheels), and Robert S. Grimes (Board Co-President, Citymeals on Wheels)
Cesare Casella and Drew Nieporent (Board Member, Citymeals on Wheels).
Christian Siriano and Leslie Ziff.
Claudia Saez-Fromm and Suri Kasirer (Board Member, Citymeals on Wheels).
David Patrick Columbia, Barbara Tober, and Donald Tober.
Margo M. Nederlander (Board Vice President, Citymeals on Wheels) and Jimmy Nederlander (guest) at the 23rd Annual Sunday Supper at DANIEL benefitting Citymeals on Wheels on March 8th in New York City
Chef Daniel Boulud (Board Co-President, Citymeals on Wheels), guest, Marcelo Claure (guest) and Jordan Claure (guest) at the 23rd Annual Sunday Supper at DANIEL benefitting Citymeals on Wheels on March 8th in New York City
Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez (Commissioner, New York City Department for the Aging) and Beth Shapiro (Executive Director, Citymeals on Wheels).
Neil and Marika Bender.

Photographs by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images (ASPCA); Konrad Brattke (Citymeals).

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