Still Bloomin’ in Palm Beach

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The sun sets on Palm Beach. Photo: JH.

The New York social life has relocated – as is its historical habit – during these cold and rainy months up here, to Palm Beach where it is usually (I use the word carefully) sunny and balmy, and its citizens are having a high old time while the getting is good. I got this note yesterday from our friend Gigi Benson a/k/a Mrs. Harry Benson who couldn’t resist telling us what we’ve been missing …

There have been two incredible parties here. First there was Hilary Ross’s party for dear husband Wilbur’s 85th birthday in last week of December. 250 billionaires and us. Former President Donald Trump gave a speech and former Canadian president Brian Mulroney led the Happy Birthday (off key). There were Cirque de Soleil fire-eaters and magicians everywhere. Christopher Mason accompanied himself on the piano and sang a clever and witty song he composed about Wilbur. And there were mounds of caviar for all those (practically everybody) who couldn’t resist. And all this under the clear plastic tent called El Morocco with chandeliers and zebra-striped banquettes. Glamour and good times everywhere that evening …

Dana Blumberg and Bob Kraft. Photo: Drew Bledsoe/Instagram.

Then last week, Christine and Steve Schwarzman hosted aparty for our ex-eye doctor Dana Blumberg and her new husband Bob Kraft. The party was orchestrated by the impeccably brilliant Bronson van Wyck who was in our daughter Wendy’s group of friends when they were late teens, early 20s. Bronson is sensational. The entertainment was the wonderful Broadway baritone Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Tony Award winner known for his role in Man of La Mancha. A very nice man. Everyone was given a Covid test before being allowed into the party — a first for PB parties I believe.

Gigi also included in this note for all Harry’s fans and admirers (and collectors): “Harry is being honored as 2023 Artist in Residence at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens on February 15th, by invitation only, of course.”

Meanwhile for all you Central Park fans (and that’s all of us up north), The Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy hosted a cocktail reception at the Colony Hotel to promote the park’s BLOOMS program, an initiative to raise critical funds for the care and long term maintenance of Central Park.

Through the BLOOMS program the Conservancy plants daffodils and tulips throughout the park in honor or in memory of someone. Sarah Wetenhall, of the blooms committee, hosted the evening and welcomed the guests outdoors at her pink palace.

Alex Powers, JP Thieriot, and Jeannie Rutherford checking in.

Jenny Price, president of the Women’s Committee, reminded guests that “the BLOOMS program is a terrific initiative that allows supporters to not only add to beautifying Central Park but to help the Conservancy meet its mission to maintain the Park as a respite from the pace and pressures of the city life for all New Yorkers and its millions of visitors.”

Co-Chairs Eleanora Kennedy and Robyn Joseph organized a wonderful evening and related personal stories of gifts of Blooms that they have given and grown up in the park. Guests were told how to purchase a coupon for $50 that is redeemable without any expiration — $1 a stem! — and showed the beautiful certificate one receives with the personal message.

Robyn Joseph and Eleanora Kennedy.

Attending guests included: Suzie Aijala, Joanne and Roberto De Guardiola, Christy Ferrer, Audrey Gruss, Mai Hallingby Harrison, Anne Harrison, Sharon Jacobs, Liz McCreery, Grace Meigher, Muffy Miller, Priscilla Rattazzi, Alexander Powers, Fabiola and JP Thieriot, Christine Schott and George Ledes, Marc Rosen, Talbott Maxcey and Annie Falk.

L. to r.: Audrey Gruss, Sarah Wettenhall, and Eleanora Kennedy; Priscilla Rattazzi and Muffy Miller.
Jamie Stern, Diane and Marc Spilker, Maria von Bothmer, and Liz McCreery.
L. to r.: Sharon Jacob and Anne Harrison; Kamie Lightburn and Suzie Aijala.
L. to r.: Amy Whiteley and Charles Ruger; Katherine Boulud and Elisabeth Munder.
Mai Hallingby Harrison, Hilary Ross, and Eleanora Kennedy.
L. to r.: Robyn Joseph and Christy Ferer; Jenny Price and Alease Fisher Tallman.
Jennifer Gowdy, Catherine Carey, Amy Hoadley, Annie Falk, and Michael Reinert.
L. to r.: Roberto  and Joanne De Guardiola; Susan and Tim Malloy.
JP Thieriot, Fabiola Thieriot, and Alex Powers.
L. to r.: Robert Rionda and Kim Younes; Lena Helms and Leslie Dashiell.
Ken Joseph, Caroline Joseph, Amanda, and Tomas Otlowski.
L. to r.: Talbott Maxey and Fabiola Thieriot; Michel Witmer and Jay Keith.
Lisa Selby, Stephanie Loeffler, Melanie Holland, Jack Lynch, and Webb Egerton.
Marc Rosen, Christine Schott, and George Ledes.

Photographs by Annie Watt (Blooms)

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