“Moving on” time

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Looking south across the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. 8:00 PM. Photo: JH.

Tuesday, June 8, 2012. It was very warm again yesterday in New York. Warmer than the day before. And the air was thick with it, almost grey, save for the sunshine. At the hour of this writing (after 10 p.m.) it is now in the mid-80s but Real Feel is the mid-90s. We always forget aboutt this heavy humidity weather until the next time. We’re in a next time.

I had a lunch today with a friend I haven’t seen in more than a year, thanks to you-know-what. Like many, he and his wife moved out of the city for the duration, and are only now returning. This is a man who has done a lot for the city — his hometown — and it’s a shame that this duration of ours prevented any of his achievements. 

Nevertheless it’s “moving on” time. We ate outside at The Mark, which I prefer in the warm weather, but yesterday was far from warm. Closer to boiling. The city, however, is active, heat and all. Madison Avenue was the regular moving traffic jam, and there were many on the sidewalks coming and going as well as lunching in other sidewalk restaurants. It reminds many of Paris; and they like it.

Approaching the entrance to the Park at 72nd Street; 6 p.m.
A frequently seen trio leaving a shoot at the Bethesda Fountain plaza.

Last night the Central Park Conservancy hosted one of their “Starlight Dinners; A Taste of Summer.” It was on the Bethesda Fountain Terrace which is a vast part you don’t see from the roadway because it’s actually located under the roadways. The Bethesda fountain plaza invites everybody for a million different reasons. It’s a rest for the weary, a coming agent for us New Yorkers who can’t stop. And it’s beautiful natural elegance which is good for what ails ya.

The Committee that hosts this annual dinner usually make it a large dinner on one particular night and outdoors. This year, because of the “pandemic,” they couldn’t be sure when planning in advance what the situation would be like for numbers in public places. So last night’s dinner — co-hosted by Elyse Newhouse and Gillian Miniter — was just one of several that are being held in different locales around the Park and on different nights. They’re fund-raisers. They keep up the Park for us!

L. to r.: What looks like the currently tallest building in New York on Central Park South where the sky high residents run in the multi-millions; Then ceiling inside the Bethesda Terrace, with a bird’s nest set on a light fixture. I counted four different nests on this ceiling.

This dinner was impressive because the space is impressively elegant and sturdy and the décor is classic, as is the architecture. And the vista from that location is the Fountain and the pond and the forest. Right in the middle of NYC. It’s just beautiful.  

Our dinner featured Jonathan Waxman of Jams and Barbuto. Mr. Waxman is also a lover of the Park. Once we were all seated he first told us where he goes in the Park. He explores. And just listening to him you find yourself thinking you’ve gotta check that out. The Park is a miracle and a wonder.  After his Park tour, he gave us some details on the evening’s menu. On this warm summer night.

Chef Jonathan Waxman of Jams and Barbuto who spoke about the menu just before we were served. He also told us of his journeys discovering the Park and all of its special locations.

Gillian Miniter and Sharon Hurowitz  at last night’s dinner on the Bethesda Terrace.

I’m not a picky eater but I’m no gourmand. Although I admire them, I’m a down home type. When I go out, as a guest, I eat what’s put before me, and always with the curiosity about it, and I’m rewarded by the pleasure of it. 

The menu for last night had a first course of Marinated Beet, Stone Fruit, Local Yogurt, Nasturtium Blossom. I do like beets but I don’t know what stone fruit is (or I didn’t until last night). It didn’t look like I’d like it, if you know what I mean. Well, I loved it! The dinner was excellent.

Oh, the Dessert was Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp, Whipped Cream. Never would have thought of that one also, but I could have eaten two! (or more).

There are more of these dinners in the next couple of weeks in various locations around the Park. Next week’s is on one of the terraces in the Conservatory Garden. The location itself is worth the ticket to dine.

The dinner table in the terrace at the foot of the grand staircase.

More CPC goodies. Last week, The Playground Partners of the Central Park Conservancy held a celebratory afternoon picnic to kick off their three-weeklong Family Scavenger Hunt. The spring event raised over $165,000 in essential funds to support the daily upkeep and ongoing care of Central Park’s 21 playgrounds, which provide New York children and families safe and accessible areas to play.

The interactive family-friendly event, generously sponsored by Nordstrom, engaged families in a rediscovery of Central Park. Each clue helped guide families to learn more about Central Park’s history and landscape. As families embarked on their scavenger hunt journey, they received a welcome package complete with supplies to help them on their self-guided expeditions.

As part of the kick-off celebration, families gathered at the Heckscher picnic area on Thursday afternoon and enjoyed picnic baskets filled with gourmet food from Nordstrom NYC’s Wolf Restaurant. Bespoke floral arrangements were crafted live with the Pop-Up Florist which complemented the custom floral archway that graced the picnic area as a special photo-op. Entertainment was provided for the whole family including performances from Magic Al and a jazz trio as well as portrait sessions with the on-site photographer. The afternoon’s festivities also included interactive clues with special appearances by Chess at Three and Juliette & Ella’s Playdate.

The Playground Partners invited friends and donors of the Central Park Conservancy to complete the scavenger hunt at their own pace between May 26th and June 19th.

Hosted by event co-chairs Michelle Auerbach, Lizzie Boswell, Krista Corl, Tiffany Gardner and Susannah Rose, and Playground Partners Committee Co-Chairs Katherine Birch and Samantha Topping Gellert and Vice Chair Heather McAuliffe, attendees included Women’s Committee President Yesim Philip as well as Gillian Hearst, Marie-Noelle Pierce and Sarah Kurita and more.

Cherlyn Dailey, Rosa Barney, Sharon Medina Chavez, Sean Dougherty, Eric Charles, and Diana Mateova.
Jeffrey Kaczynski and Sayuri Ganepola-Kaczynski.
Katherine Birch, Carey Mangriotis, and Marie-Noelle Pierce.
Leticia Presutti.
L. to r.: Gillian Hearst; Ji Park Kwak and Tiffany Gardner.
Marie-Noelle Pierce, Krista Corl, and Katherine Birch.
Philippe and Heather McAuliffe.
Susannah Rose.
Yesim Philip and Samantha Philip.
Whitney Rouse, Lisa Kirk, Ji Park Kwak, Jocelyn Galliot, and Liliahn Majeed.

And a couple weeks earlier on May 10th, The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), the only nonprofit solely focused on finding new drugs to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer’s, presented its Fourteenth Annual Virtual Connoisseur’s Event. The special evening, which commemorated the history of the ADDF’s signature event, raised over $1.3 million for Alzheimer’s research.

During the Connoisseur’s Event, philanthropists Dagmar and David Dolby, long-time supporters of the ADDF, were presented with the ADDF’s 11th Chairman’s Award, which honored the Dolby Family’s remarkable leadership and commitment to defeating Alzheimer’s.

David Dolby and Dagmar Dolby.

Connoisseur’s Dinner Founding Chair Nancy Corzine shared the story of how she first conceptualized the event, adding, “The greatest gift I’ve been given is the honor to be the first board member of ADDF and then to be the first board president.”

Nine-time Emmy award-winning journalist and ADDF board member, Paula Zahn, interviewed ADDF co-founders, Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder. Mr. Leonard Lauder shared his bright outlook, saying, “We’ve made progress every year and every day. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we are en route!”

Paula Zahn with ADDF Co-founders Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder.

Guests were treated to a performance by opera legend and Alzheimer’s advocate Andrea Bocelli, who dedicated his performance to patients and caregivers battling Alzheimer’s in a message from him and his wife, Veronica Berti Bocelli.

Andrea Bocelli performing Ave Maria.

There was also an exclusive preview of Sotheby’s spring art auction from Michael Macaulay, Senior VP at Sotheby’s.

Michael Macaulay, Senior VP at Sotheby’s.
ADDF Co-founders Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder.

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