Thursday, April 28, 2022. Bright and sunny, chilly 50, flowers flowering, flowering trees along the avenues, yesterday in New York with temps between 50 and 65, chillier air coming off the river.
Before I started this column online, I never thought much about the change in the weather, the hot and the cold, rain and snow. So in writing about the day, why not the weather first. It influences all of us in all our lives, and daily. And it’s always changing, and so are we. We call it aging.
Changing. The city’s energy is picking up daily. You can see it in the numbers on the sidewalks and the streets and avenues. And you can see it in the beauty emerging brightly and fresh in the flowering trees and gardens all over Manhattan. And the charity lanes are lighting up.
We wrote about the Marie Droste evening on Tuesday’s Diary when the subject was suicide particularly the growing numbers among the young. Yesterday it was New York Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) hosting their at Spring Luncheon at the Tavern on the Green.
It was a sunny day and a great day for the Tavern which I hadn’t been to in a few years. It has been transformed. The luncheon was held outside on a large terrace bordered by another brick building. Many who’d been to the Tavern many times in the past had never seen it before because went unused by the public.
The featured guest was a young blonde woman from Southern California. On first sight, knowing she was from Southern California she looked like a movie star making a special appearance for this charity. Her name was Audry Nafziger, a native California who grew up in Huntington Beach, who is a sex crimes prosecutor and lives and works in Montecito, which is a beautiful area.
She was interviewed by Judy Woodruff, the anchor and manager editor at PBS NewsHour. Her story is another Diary and it’s not about the cases she prosecutes but rather about a case in which she was the victim.
Which speaking of beautiful California girls, last night at Sette Mezzo I was having dinner with Mary Hilliard, the great society and fashion photographer. When, as if out of nowhere, this beautiful young woman came over to the table heading toward me. And it was a big surprise: Sela Ward with her husband Howard Sherman. They were having dinner there, celebrating their 30th anniversary! Neither looks old enough to have been married that long. And that successfully.
I knew Sela when I lived out in Los Angeles. I met her not long after she’d come out from New York where she was modeling for some project. In not a long time that turned her into a star. I was a guest at their wedding in Montecito on a grand lawn of a stately mansion on a beautiful estate. Now, all these years later, I think they’re mainly Easterners. And Southerners.
Meanwhile back in town with people getting out, there’s more and more social activity. For example: Since their Christmas Glitter Party was postponed the Associate Members of Doubles were beyond ready to Sprint Into Spring.
Wendy Carduner welcomed 160 members and friends to enjoy a pasta appetizer, Chicken Française and a delicious gelato pavlova with hot chocolate sauce and lots of chocolate shavings.
The dance floor was quickly filled with guests of Mark Gilbertson and his long tables seating 45 people. Mark’s guests were among the FIRST on the dance floor. A fun time was had by all: Kara Ross, Kamie and Rich Lightburn, Mary Van Pelt, Hilary Dick, Anjele and Tim Fischer, Tatiana and Thorne Perkin, Alison Manning, Alison Weaver, Mike Clifford, Georgina Schaeffer, Noel Momsen, Victor Geraci, Polly Onet from Oyster Bay, Tim Taft, Ashley and Adam Rosenbluth, Tara and Brad Sullivan, Eric Brinker, Alexandra Rose and you get the picture. A great dinner and a great DJ.
Which speaking of, after a two-year absence, the Apollo Theater held its 8th annual Dining with Divas Luncheon celebrating women in business, the Arts and Philanthropy.
This year’s event raised a record-breaking $525,000. It will support The Apollo’s year-round education, community and performing arts programs that reach New York City’s underserved children, students and families. The Apollo is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. It’s also a legendary classic institution/theater that had served as the birthplace of many great American musical careers, legends in their own time.
Jonelle Procope, Apollo president & CEO, kicked off the afternoon with welcome remarks and introduction of this year’s luncheon co-chairs, Carolyn Minick Mason, Terri Borden and Joan Haffenreffer who delivered remarks followed by words from Apollo Theater Executive Producer Khamilah Forbes.
The theme of this year’s Divas event was “The Renaissance is Now.” This year’s speakers included Harper’s Bazaar Digital Director Nikki Ogunnaike, acclaimed writer Glory Edim and Good Morning America television producer and author Michelle Hord, who all gave insightful presentations about what the theme means to them and the importance of women breaking ground, informing dialogue and affecting culture in real and meaningful ways.
Held on the Apollo’s iconic stage, the Divas luncheon offers participants an opportunity to connect with some of the country’s most powerful, accomplished, and influential women. Attendees included Gayle King; First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy; New York Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs Laurie Cumbo, Crystal McCrary McGuire, Tonya Lewis Lee, Erika Liles, Jill Pemberton (CFO, LVMH). Wendy Credle, Lisa Davis, Nina Wells, Lesley Goldwasser, and Whitney Gayle-Benta among many others.
Celebrity twin DJ duo Angel & Wren kept vibrant tunes throughout the afternoon and recording artist Aaron Marcellus delivered an exceptional special performance.
Apollo President Jonelle Procope summed up their achievements: “Today is a homecoming and a renaissance in the truest sense. Though we have experienced tremendous loss and suffering, both personally and as a community in the past two years, today, we return to reclaim our narratives and to uplift one another.”
Procope continued, “Let’s raise our glasses to women — to our rich diversity, our shared aims and goals, and our collective power. Let this afternoon be an opportunity to recognize and affirm all that we are, to strengthen connections and make new ones, to refresh and renew and to carry this amazing energy forward every day.”