Mark Gilbertson gives this cocktail party every year. He’s been giving cocktails as long as I’ve known him, beginning in his cozy apartment on East 81st Street. A few years ago he moved this “annual” one to a private club in the East 50s (one’s not supposed to mention the name – it’s a Big Secret).
The guest list runs into the hundreds. I think 350. The room is big and welcoming, like someone’s gigantic living room. There’s a good bar and a big crowd of people, many of whom know each other and probably someone or someones who knows every person in the room.
I like to stand on the sidelines and just watch. Cocktail party conversation is much more interesting to overhear than to listen to. Because all kinds of cheerful drivel pours into the room with such density that occasionally you hear something fabulously mysterious, like the “… did you hear about Mindy’s appointment? …” That’s all you hear but it’s enough to ply your imagination. Mine, anyway.
It’s a really great New York party and if it seems like I’m exaggerating, I’m not. Cocktail parties are rare these days. Parties in stores with drinks are not the same thing. Fund-raisers are not the same thing. A cocktail party where the only reason to go is to see some old friends or someone you haven’t seen in ages feels like a big class reunion. Everyone’s happy to be there and pleased as well.
Mark’s in the business of seeing that things like this go well, so it probably has its “commercial” advantages. After all, it’s the time we live in. Nevertheless it was fun just being there and watching everyone apparently enjoying themselves.
Speaking of great parties … on Tuesday, October 23rd, The Horticultural Society of New York hosted its 25th Annual Fall Luncheon at the Metropolitan Club. This year’s event honored Melissa Biggs Bradley, the Founder and CEO of Indagare, for her influence in encouraging travelers to explore and appreciate the natural world. Jared Goss, Chairman of the Board, and Alatia Bradley Bach, Vice-Chairman, led the luncheon, which raised over $200,000 for The Hort’s vital programs and services such as the GreenHouse Horticultural Therapy Program at Rikers Island that was highlighted during the event.
Photographs by Cutty McGill (Mark G.); Owen Hoffman/PMc (The Hort)