Only in New York

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Looking west across Central Park. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.

Friday, December 1, 2023. Sunny but cold out there but not so much yesterday and today with temps in the high 40s and low 50s. And the roadways jammed with cars (and trucks) and double and triple parkers on less lanes thanks to the re-design that someone(s) of our leaders approved of.

I mention this roadway matter because late Wednesday afternoon around five o’clock I was making my way to a private club on 54th and Fifth via auto for a memorial for Warren Hoge. Warren who had been a veteran journalist for the New York Times who died at age 82.

Warren Hoge with his wife Olivia Hoge in 2017. Photo: Patrick McMullan, via Getty Images

Diary readers may recall my first meeting Warren who, when he learned I wrote a memoir for Debbie Reynolds, was inspired to sing a song she made popular in the movies called “Aba Daba Honeymoon” which sold a million copies at the time he (and I) were kids who went to the movies a lot back in the ‘40s and ‘50s. He knew the song by heart, as did I. We were so amused by the coincidence that we tended to sing a few lyrics when we ran into each other socially. Warren was one of those people whose departure was very very sad for many friends as well as his family.

Workers at Rockefeller Center pooled their money together to buy a Christmas tree, decorating the 20-foot high balsam fir with handmade garlands made by their families. This photo, taken on Christmas Eve in 1931, shows the men lined up to receive their wages.

Just a bit later on that same route over at Rockefeller Center there was  the famous “lighting of the tree,” the official opening of the Christmas and holiday season; along with an expected turnout of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors to witness the event. Which all sounds very exciting.

But in New York, with its masterful, ongoing redesign of the roadways – including the closing of them for all but buses (in one) and bicycles (in the other). But the problem is there is also a growing number of trucks and cars, many of which are double parked in the normal lanes.

I left my apartment at 4:50 for what ordinarily was a 15- to 20-minute trip to 54th and Fifth during rush hour (the memorial I’d been invited to attend began at 5:30). So, on a more than normal busy afternoon in New York on Wednesday, as the Sun was setting (it was now 6:10), I and thousands of others were sitting (still) in traffic.

The Memorial was by then at least a half hour over. I turned around and returned home. Regrettable; but an impossible disappointment.

Back to business. This is always a very busy season — between September and now. It is a very important time for many of the charities and philanthropies in their fundraising. It ends pretty much after Thanksgiving, with just a few exceptions, because the holiday times move in.

During the past month, there have been mainly fund-raising events. On Monday, November 6th, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) hosted their 16th Annual Connoisseur’s Dinner, and they honored its founders, the brothers Leonard Lauders and Ronald Lauder, along with Leonard’s sons William Lauder and Gary Lauder, and Ronald’s daughters Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer and Jane Lauder in celebration of their historic $200 million gift to the ADDF, announced earlier this year.

Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer, Lori Kanter Tritsch, Danielle Lauder, William P. Lauder, Rachel Lauder, Jane Lauder, Ronald S. Lauder, Jo Carole Lauder, Gary M. Lauder, and Laura Lauder.

I’d been attending their annual dinners since they started. I was very impressed observing the brothers’ approach to the matter, along with the voiced opinion that they were going to succeed. I’d watched the Lauders as philanthropists. They are hands on and use all of their relationships to raise funds for their projects  — including this celebration of their centi-million dollar gift to the ADDF which was made earlier this year.

The event is always held at Sotheby’s in one of their galleries amidst the art going up for auction. At this dinner they raised an additional nearly $3 million. Every dollar goes directly toward financing the innovative science that fuels the ADDF’s mission to accelerate the development of drugs to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer’s disease.

William P. Lauder, Jane Lauder, Ronald S. Lauder, Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer, and Gary Lauder.

The special brothers extraordinary gift ensures the ADDF will be able to continue it work until they fulfill their goal, ultimately changing the way the world ages.

Author-journalist Walter Isaacson presented the Lauder family with the Chairman’s Award. “Since Leonard and Ronald Lauder founded the ADDF 25 years ago, the family has shown an unmatched dedication to curing this devastating disease, infusing the Lauder spirit of innovation, quality, and excellence into the ADDF’s quest to identify and support the most promising research. It is an honor to recognize their efforts tonight.”

Walter Isaacson.

Leonard Lauder pointed out, “Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t affect just one person, it impacts entire families. That is why it is so meaningful for my family to be honored by the ADDF, an organization my brother and I began because of our mother. She inspired us to do everything we could to fight and prevent this disease and I am proud to see my children and nieces pick up that torch.”

Ronald Lauder added, “We are proud of the impact the ADDF has made over the past two decades. The progress we are seeing in prevention, diagnostics, and drug development makes me confident the innovative research we support will continue to build momentum until we eradicate this disease for future generations.”

Ronald S. Lauder and Paula Zahn.

Then the ADDF’s Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Howard Fillit remarked on the incredible progress of the past year and the ADDF’s plan to continue this. He pointed out: “The Lauders’ remarkable gift comes at a critical time, with a new era dawning in the field and the ADDF leading the charge building upon to build upon recent breakthroughs.”

Among the notable guests, Lisa Dennison, Fabrizio Freda, Roz Goldstein, Nancy Goodes, Jane Hertzmark Hudis, Walter Isaacson, Ann Jackson, Danielle Lauder, Jane Lauder, Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder, Karen Lauder, Laura and Gary Lauder, Rachel Lauder-Lyons, William Lauder and Lori Kanter-Tritsch, Bonnie Lautenberg, Heidi and Tom McWilliams, Liz and Randal Sandler, Tad Smith, Ann Tisch, Barbara Tober, and Paula Zahn.

According to Dr. Howard Fillit, “Our laser focus on a precision medicine and combination therapy approach will revolutionize treatment and stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks.”

Founded in 1998 by Leonard and Ronald Lauder, the ADDF is dedicated to rapidly accelerating the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease. It is the only public charity solely focused on funding the development of drugs for Alzheimer’s, employing a venture philanthropy model to support research in academia and the biotech industry.

The ADDF’s leadership and contributions to the field have played a pivotal role in bringing the first Alzheimer’s PET scan (Amyvid®) and blood test (PrecivityAD®) to market, as well as fueling the current robust and diverse drug pipeline. Through the generosity of its donors, the ADDF has awarded more than $270 million to fund over 730 Alzheimer’s drug development programs, biomarker programs and clinical trials in 19 countries.

To learn more, visit:

L. to r.: Dr. Howard Fillit, with Heidi and Tom McWilliams; Bonnie Lautenberg and Nancy Goodes.
L. to r.: Sir Ernest Ryder and Lady Janette Ryder; Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, Greg Rosica, and  Sharon Sager.
Marc Lefkowitz, Mark Roithmayr, and Andre Spearman.
L. to r.: Millie Bratten and Barbara Tober; Jeff and Liz Peek.
L. to r.: Ginger Feuer Leeds and Larry Leeds; Niranjan Bose and Russ Paulsen.
Ann Tisch.
L. to r.: Kevin and Julieann Shanahan; Wilbur Ross and Hilary Geary Ross.
L. to r.: Liz and Randal Sandler; Walter Isaacson and Paula Zahn.
L. to r.: Mary-Ann and Fabrizio Freda; Sharon Handler-Loeb.
L. to r.: Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz; Lisa Corridon and Al Lewis.
Eleanora Kennedy.
Jane Hertzmark-Hudis and Roger Lynch.
John Paulson and Alina De Almeida.

A Chamber Concert at home: Sharon Hite, with her husband Larry Hite, opened their home for a chamber concert by Young Concert Artists (YCA), with musicians Risa Hokamura (violin) and Hanzhi Wang (accordion).

YCA President Daniel Kellogg thanked the gracious hosts and introduced the artists and program, which included works by Bach, Paganini, and Saint-Saëns.  Afterwards he posed probing questions about their careers to the artists.

Young Concert Artists are the leaders of the future – stars who combine world-class talent with creative vision to bring new reach and relevance to the art form.

Daniel Kellogg, Sarah Graham, Risa Hokamura, Sharon Hite, and Hanzhi Wang.

The evening was held in conjunction with The Little Orchestra Society (LOS), where Sharon is Board President. The Little Orchestra Society (L.O.S.) is celebrating its 76th Anniversary season as both a community music education organization, and a premier performing arts ensemble for all children and families across the greater New York City area. They empower young people by engaging them with music composition and celebrating their creativity along a continuum of programming.

Gary Padmore and Sharon Hite.

Core offerings are found in public elementary school classrooms, and L.O.S. connects this learning with live performances by professional musicians in the concert hall and in community spaces. All of these innovative programs inspire a new generation of children with the power of musical expression.

For more than 60 years YCA has invested in extraordinary young musicians, providing them with the support, clarity, and confidence to tell their stories, as well as with the tools, opportunities, and infrastructure to take their careers to the highest level.

With a legacy of artistic excellence recognized around the world, YCA alumni include such luminaries as Emanuel Ax, Julia Bullock, Jeremy Denk, Ray Chen, Anne-Marie McDermott, Fazıl Say, Andrew Norman, Dawn Upshaw, Mason Bates, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Kevin Puts, Pinchas Zukerman, and many more.

Guests at the evening included LOS Artistic Advisor David Alan Miller and Executive Director Anthony Ball, Board Members Eileen K. Cutler, Garrett T. Desman, Karen S.W. Friedman, Joan Rudel Weinreich, and Christine Wheeler, YCA Board Member Marlene Herring; as well as Yanna Avis, Britt Asher, Nora Coblence, Anne Dexter Jones, Robin Dolch, Julie Flanagan, Lola Abigail Koch, Helen Little, Gary Padmore, Liane Pei, and Carol Schaefer.

Joan Weinrich, Sarah Graham, Daniel Kellogg, and Lawrence Weinrich.
Daniel Kellogg, Helen Little, and Vanessa Reed.
Sylvia Owen, Sharon Hite, Christine Wheeler, and Antigoni Papadopoulos.
Dr. Benjamin Paul, Anthony Ball, David Alan Miller, and Sharon Hite.
Carol Schaefer, Chuck Schaefer, Barb Mandler, and Milt Rubin.
Sharon Hite, Karen Friedman, and Ed Friedman.
Liane Pei and Eunice Bet-Mansour.
Ryan Asher, Britt Asher, Carol Schaefer, and Dr. Benjamin Paul.
Ed Friedman, Karen Friedman, and Lawrence Hite.
Anthony Ball, Sarah Graham, and Daniel Kellogg.
Anthony Ball, Julie Flanagan, and David Alan Miller.
Larry and Eileen Cutler.
Lola Koch and Christine Wheeler.
Daniel Kellogg, Sarah Graham, Eunice Bet-Mansour, Liane Pei, and Chuck Schaefer.
Anthony Ball, Christine Wheeler, Garrett Desman, and Lawrence Hite.

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons celebrated its 14th Annual Crown Awards Gala at The Glasshouse on Monday, November 13th. The event was attended by more than 400 benefactors, faculty, and friends from the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons community.

Dr. Katrina Armstrong, Dean of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences at Columbia University.

The program included remarks from Columbia University President Minouche Shafik and Katrina Armstrong, MD, Dean of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences at Columbia University.

Guests also enjoyed a special performance by Tony Award-Winning Actress Kelli O’Hara, who performed several Broadway hits. The evening was emceed by NBC 4 New York Anchor David Ushery.

The Crown Awards is the annual fundraising event for Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. This year’s gala raised essential funds to invest in Columbia’s scientific mission, and to celebrate how its philanthropic partners, faculty, students, and staff are “Transforming Health by Driving Discovery.”

This year’s Award was presented to Dr. Carol and Gene Ludwig to honor their establishment of The Carol and Gene Ludwig Center for Research on Neurodegeneration.

To view all event photos, films, and the list of supporters, please visit

Crown Awards Gala Co-Chair Margo Catsimatidis, Marilou Tenenbaum, Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, and Crown Awards Gala Co-Chair and VP&S Board of Advisors Member John Catstimatidis.
L. to r.: Beth Ann Greenwald and The Trustees of Columbia University Co-Chair David Greenwald; Rick Elbaum and The Trustees of Columbia University Vice Chair Abby Elbaum.
Community Board 12 Chair Katherine Diaz, Sandra Harris, and Community Board Vice Chair Cimary Hernandez.
L. to r.: The Crown Awards Gala emcee, NBC 4 New York Anchor David Ushery; Columbia University President Minouche Shafik.
Special performance by Tony Award-Winning Actress Kelli O’Hara.
2023 Crown Awards Honorees Dr. Carol Ludwig and Eugene Ludwig.
Crown Awards Gala Co-Chair and VP&S Board of Advisors Vice Chair, Philip Milstein; Crown Awards Gala Co-Chair Cheryl Milstein; Columbia University President Minouche Shafik; Crown Awards Gala Co-Chair Diana Vagelos; Crown Awards Gala Co-Chair and VP&S Board of Advisors Chair Dr. P. Roy Vagelos; Dean of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences at Columbia University, Dr. Katrina Armstrong; and Dr. Tom Randall.
Isabel Rivera Ushery; Crown Awards Gala Emcee and NBC 4 New York Anchor David Ushery; Marie Unanue; VP&S Board of Advisors Member Andy Unanue; Vilma Brennan; Michael Brennan; Richard Baquero; and Lynda Baquero.
Dr. Olajide Williams; Crown Awards Gala Co-Chair and VP&S Board of Advisors Vice Chair Richard Witten; and Crown Awards Gala Co-Chair Lisa Witten.

Photographs by & Annie Watt Photography (ADDF)

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