Mother Nature’s guests

Featured image
The Lake, Central Park. Photo: JH.

Friday, October 15, 2021. Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day in New York with temps reaching up to the mid-70s and beyond. We’ve lately been having a raft of those overcast/dull days that can make you feel dull and overcast yourself. The forecast for today is more sunny days in the mid- to upper-70s this week.

We were almost there on Wednesday when the Central Park Conservancy’s Women’s Committee hosted their annual Fall Luncheon in four different spots in New York City’s fantastic 843-acre neighborhood backyard. And because it was a nice but not too warm day, we were Mother Nature’s guests. There were four locations. My table was located in an area known as the Glade Arch just inside the Park off 77th Street and Fifth Avenue.

The tables at Glade Arch.
Lunch is served at Glade Arch.

I never get to the Park on a weekday and it’s always interesting just to see the activity – all ages enjoying the space, the green, the serenity, the beauty. It is really amazing what it does for the city, and what it does for your head when you’re actually in the Park.

There were ten or twelve tables of ten. A Fall-inspired décor: red and white tablecloth fabric provided by Meg Braff Designs and beautiful centerpieces by Flowers by Philip. Then there was the gourmet picnic baskets, catered by Canard, Inc. containing a main course — a piece of salmon in a fresh salad of lettuce, beans and carrots (and some dressing), and a dessert in a glass that looked like something brown or baked topped with a large dollop of what looked like whip cream. It wasn’t whipped cream; it was even better. I don’t know what it was but I ate the whole thing (small); delicious.

Gourmet picnic baskets catered by Canard.

There was also attached to each chair a black paperbag with the name David Yurman on it. Inside was a black box. I brought it home naturally, curious as to what was, knowing it would be something that the Conservancy women would like. A fragrant candle. Ample/will last. I lit it right away. A happy dog residence can always use a little touch.

It was called for noon so that everyone could be out by 2. And so it was. I was the only man at table, surrounded by great, goodlooking, interesting, friendly women full of interesting conversations. Something to learn and company a joy for this guest. Surrounded by the splendors of Mother Nature looking exquisite thanks to the efforts of these members of the Women’s Committee who manage to raise millions to maintain this treasure. An entire pleasure for all.

Co-chairs for the luncheon were Hana Warner Bittonn, Julie Richardson, Barbara Scott and Julia Power Weld joined by Yesim Philip the Women’s Committee President and Betsy Smith, President and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy.

Ainsley Earhardt, Gillian Miniter, and Yesim Philip.
Betsy Smith, Yesim Philip, and Julia Power Weld.

The fall event which raised $400,000 was held at four locations in Central Park including Bethesda Terrace and Conservatory Water.

The luncheon supports the Conservancy’s mission to raise essential funds for the ongoing maintenance, management, and restoration of the Park and its many programs that make it a thriving green oasis and a respite for all New Yorkers. And in case you didn’t know, 75% of the Conservancy’s budget relies on us New Yorkers.

The tables settings at Bethesda Terrace.
The luncheon in full swing at Bethesda Terrace.

Yesim Philip reminded the guests that “what many people don’t realize is that Central Park is sustained largely through private funding which the Women’s Committee supports in large part through events like this.”

The 2021 Women’s Committee Fall Luncheon was generously supported by David Yurman. As part of the partnership, David Yurman created a custom Tree of Life amulet, engraved with Central Park Conservancy, which will be sold online and in their New York area stores from November 2 – December 31, with 20% of net proceeds benefitting the Conservancy.

Katherine Birch and Heather McAuliffe.
Betsy Smith and Evan Yurman.

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, visit

Part of the Central Park Conservancy, the Women’s Committee is a community of Central Park philanthropists with a passion for preserving and enhancing Central Park. With a membership of 1,000 the Women’s Committee has provided invaluable support and raises critical funds for the general operations of the Park. Since its inception in 1983, the Women’s Committee has raised more than $200 million. For more information, visit

Tattin Lyon, Kay Nordeman, Helena Khazanova Gautier, Katherine Birch, and Krista Corl.
L. to r.: Darice Fadeyi, Kathleen Tait, Barbara H. Scott, and Tiffany Gardner; Julie Richardson and Michele Balfour Nathoo.
Sheila Labrecque, Eleanora Kennedy, and Robyn Joseph.
Claudia Severin, Tara Krolick, Hana Bitton, Gretchen Englander, Lauren Starr, and Lara Metz.
Virginia Apple, Lucinda Bhavsar, Meg Braff, and Shannon McLean.
L. to r.: Shelley Carr, Elizabeth Fuller, and Jill Roosevelt; Charlotte Snyder and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.
Margo M. Nederlander and Alexandra Doan Drucker.
Lee Tucker, Desiree Rogers, and Michael Murphy.
Holli Cutting, Blair Clarke, Kate Davis, Angela Clofine, and Andrea Ranawat.
L. to r.: Heather McAuliffe, Sarah Wetenhall, and Vira Capeci; Karen May and Judy Hart Angelo.
Becky White, Louise Armstrong, Jennifer Reardon, Lizzy Quick, Ainsley Earhardt, Camille Hellwig, and Alexandra Doan Drucker.
Betsy Pitts, Kathy Thomas, and Blair Husain.
L. to r.: Tracey Huff, Mei Gao, and Andrea DuBois; Eve Vaterlaus, Amie James, and Catherine Armitage.
Jackie Keber, Krista Corl, Marisa Van Bokhorst, and Sana Clegg.
Carole Bellidora Westfall, Janine Turner, Bonnie Comley, Janet Kagen, Roxanne Taylor, Stewart Lane, and Lee Fryd.
L. to r.: Joan Smalls; Madison Friedman and Ava Frankel.
Ann-Marie Embiricos, Amelia Prounis, Jackie Yale, Sharon Jacob, and Julie Lanning.
Jackie Yale, Neva Navab, Lucinda Bhavsar, Shannon McClean, and Lisa Baquero.
Eileen Riano, Linda Kurtz, Suzie Aijala, Leslie Craige, Jackie Yale, Regis Worsoe, and Joyce Fitzsmons.
Michele Nathoo, Mai Gao, Julie Richardson, Carrie Abramson, Catharine Osborne, Linda Kurtz, and Eileen Riano.
Caroline Meade, Kristen Harper, Megan Rams, Amory McAndrew, Kashmala Seagal, and Casey Marks Sills.
Eliza Bolen, Jenny Price, Betsy Smith, and Sarah Deid.
Elyse Newhouse, Enrica Arengi, and Fe Fendi.
Mia McDonald, Margo Nederlander, and Gillian Miniter.
Lisa McCarthy.

Also for our friends, neighbors and readers, this Sunday, October 17, is the 16th annual WALK/RUN FOR ABILIS!

It will take place at Greenwich Point Park. Participants can walk or run in-person or participant virtually from any where in the world! Registration is free for walkers and $40 for adult 5k runners and $20 for runners ages 11-17. Online registration is available up until 12 p.m. on October 15, and available in-person at the Walk/Run event starting at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.

The event will be fun for all ages with the popular Bubble Bus for children, music, dancing and an energetic warm-up before the walk with celebrity fitness instructor Billy Blanks Jr., gift items from Abilis Gardens & Gifts and more.

This is a fun family event featuring a 5K run and a 1-mile stroller-accessible walk around beautiful Greenwich Point Park — and is a “friend-raiser” for Abilis, the nonprofit that serves more than 800 individuals with special needs and their families throughout Fairfield County.

Abilis is celebrating its 70th year in 2021 of being a 501c3 non-profit organization that supports more than 800 individuals with special needs and their families from birth throughout their lives. Abilis is a leader serving the special needs community in Fairfield County, Connecticut, in towns including Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford, Westport, Weston and Wilton, and has a long-standing reputation for individualized, high quality care. For more information, visit

Sunday up in Greenwich!

Photographs by Darian DiCianno/Matteo Prandoni/BFA & Rob Rich/

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