Living for the City

Featured image
All is quiet and crisp on Park Avenue on Sunday afternoon. Photo: JH.

Monday, November 20, 2023. Good weather all weekend with lots of sunshine and temps reaching up to the low 60s. Not exactly what November weather’s usually been for this longtime resident.

The city is busy back in the saddle again. And the traffic along with the fewer (re-designed)lanes is, as the French could say: “de trop.” However, at least we’re out and about making the most of a good day. Then temps dropped last night into the low 40s and lower in some parts.

The green has turned to gold marking the end of the season.

Taking it as it comes. With Winter less than a month away, the season’s been a full calendar of fund-raising for all kinds of charities and philanthropies. It’s only unusual this year in the sense that there are more out there fund-raising. A lot of those involved in many of them are women who used to be classed as the social ladies, or what was once termed the ladies of society. Today, the “ladies” are out there workin’ it for a better world ultimately.

DPC and Jimmy Carter at a dinner party in the late ’90s.

The moment reminds of Rosalyn Carter who died this past week at the family home which the Carters have occupied for most of their adult lives. I had the good fortune to meet President Carter and Rosalyn Carter thanks to Alice Mason who hosted a dinner for them at her apartment here in New York.

Alice’s dinners were legend among the social/political/financial  members of the community. However, when it came to the Carters, when Governor Carter had entered the Presidential race in 1976, Alice hosted a fund-raising dinner for him, inviting 15 couples, each donating $100,000. For a total of $1.5 million. This was astounding for the time.

Meeting the Carters at a social dinner was interesting in the sense that these two, this couple, were accessible in presence, almost like a good neighbor. And Mrs. Carter, like a good neighbor you’d imagine was working for a better world for all. And like the good neighbor, she espoused decency and honest-to-god courtesy.

Meanwhile, back at the calendar. Last Wednesday I went to a luncheon at the Plaza, the 36th annual affair called a “Power Lunch.” It was a beautiful day, sunny and bright, and fair enough weather for just a suit (and tie).

The traffic — cars/trucks/ bikes/scooters — was very heavy mid- and upper-midtown; and what would ordinarily take 15 or 20 minutes, took 45 to (sit in traffic and) get there. The lunch was scheduled to start at noon. In other words: a drama in the head.

However, I got to the Plaza and I walk into its beautiful, classic lobby and hallways; and already I’m feeling “New York!” the old fashioned, slow down, brighten up, and enjoy the moment. The elevator takes you directly to the grand ballroom on the 3rd floor where the  350 guests (tables filling the entire floor were gathering at tables). All there for Citymeals On Wheels.

Over 350 guests attended the 36th annual Power Lunch for Citymeals on Wheels at The Plaza.

It was a very refreshing vibe in the air of this vast room. You could tell by the energy that people were just enjoying being there with each other. And for a good cause. Stephanie Ruhle (MSNBC and NBC News) was emcee. The honorees were philanthropist Barbara Tober and volunteer and fitness innovator Joe Holder and Standard Industries.

Once the crowd was seated and settled in, Citymeals CEO Beth Shapiro took the mike: “We are proud to honor our dedicated supporters Barbara Tober, Joe Holder and Standard Industries, who have helped Citymeals ensure this lifeline of nourishing meals for the homebound elderly. Their collective impact on the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors is truly inspiring, and we’re grateful for their support,” adding, “We also want to thank all the Citymeals supporters and sponsors who joined us today in the fight to end elder hunger. Through their generosity, we raised funds to deliver over 150,000 meals to older New Yorkers in need across the five boroughs.”

Deborah Roberts.

Also in attendance was Citymeals Board President Colleen Goggins, Board Chair Chef Daniel Boulud and Event Chairs Derek BlasbergSamantha BoardmanMargo M. Nederlander, and Lizzie Tisch.

This is Citymeals’ largest annual fundraiser. And it comes at a critical time when one out of every 10 older New Yorkers are facing food insecurity and increasing rates of poverty among older adults. Among the 22,000 older New Yorkers Citymeals it serves, almost 3,000 (14 percent) have to make do with the one meal a day the organization delivers. The event exceeded its goal raising $1.5 million to deliver 150,000 nourishing meals for homebound elderly New Yorkers.

L. to r.: Power Lunch honoree Joe Holder; Lizzie Tisch and Samantha Boardman.
Tracy Mackenzie from Honoree Standard Industries.

Barbara Tober was introduced by Daniel Boulud who is Board Chair. The indefatigable Mrs. Tober has been involved with CityMeals through her late and adored husband Donald who was involved in its inception.

This is one of several of Mrs. Tober’s current philanthropic and charitable interests. She and Donald were a great team both on the dance floor and in their philanthropic activity, involved in making life a little better for one and all.

Citymeals Board Chair Daniel Boulud presenting Power Lunch honoree Barbara Tober.

Working in partnership with 30 community-based organizations and senior centers, Citymeals delivered over 2,000,000 meals last year!! It is the largest non-profit meals on wheels program in the U.S., and the only organization focused on delivering nutritious meals to homebound older adults in all five boroughs.

Citymeals Board Chair Daniel Boulud, Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro, and Margo Nederlander (Citymeals Board Member).

Additional notable attendees at this year’s event included: Huma Abedin, Byron Athans, Aliyyah Baylor, Fabiola Beracasa, Serena Boardman, Bill Buford, Giusy Buonfantino, Barbara Bush, Gerry Byrne, Diana Carone, Dan Colen, Florence Fabricant, Georgette Farkas, Jane Gol, Brett Heyman, Camille Joseph-Goldman, Donna Hanover, NYC Council Member Crystal Hudson, Suri Kasirer, Kenny Lane, Leigh Lezark, Rebekah McCabe, Natalie Massenet, Colby Mugrabi, Claire Paull, Deborah Roberts, Aby Rosen, John Shapiro, Christian Siriano, Steve Soutendijk, Hamilton South, Bara Tisch, Kathleen Turner, Ali Wentworth, Pat Wexler, Cheryl Wills, David Winter, Kate Young, Judith Zabar, and Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer. Event sponsors included Citymeals’ official airline American Airlines and official water FIJI Water.

To learn more, click here.

Derek Blasberg (Citymeals Board Member), Mark Guiducci, Joe Holder, Leigh Lezark, and Claire Bernard.
L. to r.: Emcee and MSNBC Host and NBC News Senior Business Analyst Stephanie Ruhle; Katherine Boulud.
Christian Siriano and Leslie Ziff.
Brynn Whitfield, Brett Heyman, and Ali Wentworth.
L. to r.: Claire Paull (Citymeals Board Member) and Libbey Gillette; Honoree Joe Holder and Derek Blasberg (Citymeals Board Member).
Huma Abedin and Fabiola Beracasa.
Barbara Bush.
Honoree Barbara Tober and friends at the Power Lunch for Citymeals. Seated, l. to r.: Layla Diba, David Patrick Columbia, Barbara Tober, and Bill Buford. Standing, l. to r.: Jessica Green, Katherine Boulud, Florence Fabricant, and Daniel Boulud.

Eric Vitale Photography & Stephanie Badini Photography

Recent Posts